As much as D&D is story based around game play, the fact it is a game and not a story means there are times when the tale goes awry. The protagonists fail and fail hard when everything leading up to the moment says they should have succeeded.
Having played in games where this has happened to my character and having DM’d sessions where this happened to my players, I can tell you my point of view on how to handle these moments have evolved.
In a world filled with magic, monsters, and amazing treasures it is sometimes hard to imagine what the life of the common person is like. And when we create an NPC for the PCs to interact with, we sometimes make the NPC a character class: fighter, rogue, mage, or cleric. Yet, if every village has a 4th level Cleric, everyone gets healed all the time for a tithe to the church. If all guards are 1st level fighters, why don’t they level up? Is every person who plays a lute and sings a bawdy song about the tinker and the farmer’s son a bard? That is a lot of random power just walking about in the world. What if there was a way of having characters with some abilities that scale with experience, but doesn’t make every frontier road a haven of 10th level rogues trying to steal apples on the way to the cidery?
Since the beginning of the hobby of gaming, there has always been a strong contingent of DIY resources. A lot of effort went into taking military gaming guides like Totten’s Strategos and converting them for use in tabletop wargames. Translating complex material for easy reference by others is one of the best aspects of tabletop games.
Dungeons and Dragons history is filled with homebrew rules and resource guides. Some of these are simple and useful like a Skills Guide and alternative DM Screens. Some are rare, unique resources that you never knew you needed until you saw them.
There you are, sitting at the table with the other players, eager to roll some dice and kick some ass. Maybe you’ve popped open your favorite tasty beverage and sampled some tasty salty snacks as you wait for the other players to arrange themselves and the game to start. What you didn’t realize is you are ruining your DM’s campaign.
Hi, I’m Sean D. Francis and I’ve run RPGs since the early 80s. I do not pretend to have immense amounts of experience in game design, player psychology, or anything like that. I do not have revolutionary ideas on how to change games to make them better, in fact I err on the side of sticking with rules that are archaic and pointless out of an innate fear removing them will upset some gaming economy I don’t quite understand.
Hey, so my wife and I are doing this thing called No Spend September. Is it really a thing beyond our house? I have no idea. Doesn’t matter. This is the gist of what is going on. We had an expensive summer. I went on wild tech buying sprees (buying WordPress themes and plugins, buying tech, buying kitchen gadgets), we took a trip to Montana where I finally was able to buy my wife a Yogo sapphire ring – something I wanted to do for our wedding but finally accomplished for our 2 year anniversary. Not a cheap thing.