Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reverse Dungeoneering #2 - Encouraging Roleplaying: It's delicious!

Improving your D&D experience. For Dungeons and Dragons Players and DMs.

So you think D&D is only about combat? *slaps you with a fish* Look what you made me do! *helps you get back up and brushes you off* Alright. Now that the unpleasant part is over with, we can move to the next step. This lesson is about encouraging roleplaying for both players and DMs. Now with 100% more cooking metaphors! Time to eat up.

For Dungeon Masters

1) Sprinkle a little EXP and a dash of sugar.
That's right. You heard me. Don't just give EXP when they slash open a dragon's chest and carve their names on its scales. If there is some interesting roleplaying going on and people are staying in character then hand out some additional EXP. That's the first step.

2) Cook up some scenarios.
Don't just think of ideas for combat or that's all there might ever be. Make up scenarios to entice your players to get into character. Maybe they have to talk their way out of a fight? Maybe they have to talk to some townsfolk to figure out what's going on? There are a million ways to go about this but provoke them into talking with each other and with the NPCs to get those creative juices flowing.

3) Put on the apron.
You think I'm kidding? Get into character yourself. It's your job as the DM to be the main storyteller. You control all NPCs so you need to try your best to improve your own roleplaying. Try to engage them into conversation.

4) Variety is the spice of life.
Vary up your NPCs. Different quirks, voices, appearances, intelligence levels, personalities, ages, and so much more. Go for the gold.

5) Don't constantly serve your best dishes.
It gets stale when you keep giving them lovable characters. Make some of your NPCs creepy, angry, rude, brash, judgmental, whiney, etc. Maybe they have some horrible quirk or bad habit. Maybe they're super polite but they eat babies? Just try not to make anyone so unlikable that they'll never return to that character. People have flaws, it's a fact of life. Learn to make flaws in your characters.

6) Learn from another recipe.
Don't try to be 100% original. Seriously. Quit it. There is nothing wrong with borrowing ideas from shows, movies, novels, other people, and so on. In fact, it's a part of good game design to borrow. Maybe there's an Anime character you think would be a great side character for next session or you got an idea for a setting from the last movie you just watched. Borrow what works and maybe take what doesn't work and expand upon it.

For Players

1) Write down the recipe.
Bust out that pencil. Write ideas down. Lots of them. Plan out your characters as much as possible out of game. Some people seem to think that a long backstory equates to having a character with personality. It doesn't mean squat if all of your characters act the same. Too many people spend too much time on background and not enough time on quirks, traits, flaws, manners of speech, ideologies, philosophies, likes, dislikes, the works.

2) Make a dish of your own.
It's great that you borrow ideas or turn your favorite character into a D&D equivalent but maybe you should try to make your own? Even if you throw together a ton of other ideas and tweak and expand them into something of your own, that's fine. Test out some ideas on paper first and then bring it to the table.

3) Get ready for the heat of the oven.
Even when the battles get heated up, you should still try to roleplay. Roleplaying during combat can be rather rewarding and make battles a bit more exciting at times.

4) Variety is the spice of life.
Vary up your PCs. Different quirks, voices, appearances, intelligence levels, personalities, ages, and so much more. Go for the gold. Deja vu!

5) Mix some ingredients.
Sometimes when you mix peanut butter with chocolate you get reese's cups. Mix some ideas together that you wouldn't normally see in the same light. You might be surprised what you come up with.

6) Communicate with the head chef.
Talk to your DM about your character. Maybe you can both come up with a plot element that you can both enjoy for the campaign. It can't hurt to try.

Well there are obviously a million other examples but I can't put all of my eggs in one basket if you know what I mean. Get out there and encourage some roleplaying.

This is Kylak signing out and hoping you enjoyed the taste of this article.


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