I Love Running Dungeons And Dragons Games

I ran the first session of a new Dungeons and Dragons campaign last week. This was the game I was building while I wrote last month’s posts about how to do interesting worldbuilding for your Tabletop Roleplaying Game, and that resulted in me spending more time than usual reflecting on the place that TTRPGs have in my life. It went well, thanks to the efforts of myself and my players working to get everything ready and the world built for an engaging first session. It was a lot of fun to run for such a roleplaying-centric group! It’s not that my other groups aren’t interested in roleplaying, it’s just that they aren’t always super invested in roleplaying at the same time. Which is fair, you know? Not everyone plays Dungeons and Dragons so they can do a bunch of roleplaying. Many people play because they want to enjoy the mechanics and mix in some roleplaying between chances to roll dice. Some people just want to roll dice and do math. All of these are valid and acceptable reasons to play TTRPGs.

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Open-World Situation Building In Dungeons & Dragons

After nearly two months, I got to run my Sunday night Dungeons and Dragons campaign again. After side-sessions, many missed sessions, and a whole lot of tumult in everyone’s life, we were able to gather again and return to the dark fantasy and mild horror stylings of the world I’d spent over a year slowly developing. I had fun, my players had fun, there was a lot of lucky rolls, the player characters survived a lot of nasty damage, there were some clutch reactions and actions, and only one player character died in a boss battle they were absolutely unprepared for! That’s the danger of open-world scenarios, you know. You can accidentally wander into the desecrated temple to the not-evil gods right as a priest of what is essentially malicious entropy completes a ritual that temporarily grants him a huge deal of power in a side-realm. All without any of the information that contextualizes any of that so even when you do win, you’re not sure if it matters or not, or even how to do anything as a result.

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The Horror Game Is Off To a Great Start!

After approximately a month and a half, I got to return to my main weekly D&D campaign and run the next session (the first full session) in the extra-universal domain I built way back in 2020 when I was bored due to only working alternate weeks. I set up a whole mystery thing I was going to unveil for a different campaign since one of my core players loved mysteries, but she wound up withdrawing from the campaign because only doing stuff online became too much for her, so I recycled it into a different D&D campaign. Now, one kidnapping and a side character later, my players have fully immersed themselves in a world of betentacled eyeball sunrises, screams instead of clock chimes to mark passing hours, and a massive mystery to solve before the constant wear of terror and nothingness grinds down their very souls.

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I Never Wrote About Valheim

I have been updating my blog for two months and eleven days. A more merciful schedule means that I have posted sixty-one times in those seventy-two days. Things have progressed to the point where I no longer feel like this is something I need to do every day. This isn’t a task to fulfill, though writing and editing are on my daily to-do lists, but so is making my bed, washing my masks, and driving to work. Updating constantly, unless I need a break (and I guess I’m just taking Sundays off, since that is the pattern that seems to be emerging), no longer takes up psychic space.

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A Verbose Guide to Vexatious Villain Introductions

It is always dangerous (and frequently difficult) when introducing a villain in dungeons and dragons, especially a big villain meant to last a while. If they’re near the players in power initially, there’s a good chance the players might just take them out immediately, bringing their villany to a premature end. If they’re too powerful, the players might take a shot at them and be wiped out by the response. Additionally, there’s the stretch in credibility that comes when a super-powered entity doesn’t just lay waste to the plucky young heroes at their first meetting. You can make a good story out of the villain taunting the weaker protagonists, egging them on for some dramatic final confrontation, but that requires a certain style of story and it is difficult to smoothly employ in a shared storytelling medium like a tabletop RPG.

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Playing Outside The Session

I’ve been experimenting with different ways of playing Dungeons and Dragons lately. Not in a “these are the rules of the game” kind of way, but in how the sessions are formatted, how time passes, what kind of activities are available during those times. That sort of thing. I was prompted by my desire to run three d&d groups combined with my inability to run three groups every week. One game stayed weekly, another is monthly, and the third is sort of every two or three weeks, depending on people’s availability during the one time each week we all had available.

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Dawn of the Second Play

After over three years, I’ve finally returned to Horizon Zero Dawn. I bought it back in 2018, started playing it, and then stopped because of some overly critical comparisons to Breath of the Wild (which I had just finished replaying) and a significant frustration that it LOOKED like I could climb anywhere if I did it right, but the game wouldn’t really let me do that. I never really got back to it because one of my roommates played through it and I dislike playing anything that he’s played where he can watch because he is terrible at not spoiling things. Just the worst. He makes a lot of comments and they’re all revealing rather than clever, plus he has very particular opinions about plotting and world building that I don’t necessarily agree with.

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Alignment Systems Lack Nuance

I’ve been thinking about alignment in tabletop RPGs a lot lately. It came up because the game that I’ve been playing lately, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, has an incredibly clunky alignment system that pushes characters towards lawfulness and goodness (on a 9-alignment system of good vs evil and lawful vs chaotic with neutral separating each alignment from the others) because the basic assumption is that a decent person is “neutral good.” Anything that is a little orderly is lawful, anything even a bit self-oriented or anti-established norms is chaotic, anything other than being decent is neutral, and anything absolutely reprehensible is evil. I disagree on so many levels it is difficult to find a place to start other than the very basic assumption: I think most people, even allowing them to be decent human beings, is “true neutral” or unaligned.

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Why Do Video Game Bandits Keep Attacking Me?

It has been a rough few days. I have a medical issue that’s been cropping up throughout 2021 (because this is apparently the year of just constant but relatively low-stakes problems I guess, for me, personally) and it once again reared its head this past weekend, resulting in no blog posts, lots of escapism, and some pretty constant headaches. Not because of the medical issue. No, these are from jaw clenching, actually. Lots and lots of jaw clenching.

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My Biggest Gaming Influences

One of the first games I actually bought for myself was Age of Empires II (the special “The Conquerors” Expansion edition). Up to that point, I mostly got games for birthdays and as christmas presents, and I didn’t get very many since most games up to that point had been console games and my parents had set up consoles as “family owned” objects so no kid could claim ownership. When I bought my own laptop at 13, a few years after The Conquerors came out, I bought a handful of computer games to play on it. Knights of the Old Republic and KotOR II were two such games, but those came later.

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