Playing RPG’s with the regular guy….

Playing RPG’s with the Regular Guy or making it fun for everyone.

Many, many years ago, I can remember sitting at a table in Jr.High around ’84 (I was 13) at the Science Fiction Club. The science teacher at the time had a strong passion for fantasy and D&D,  so he set up a club where like minded kids could come on fridays and play games. The Science Fiction club was always packed. It was here, I learned to play Dungeon & Dragons.

I had a blast as my imagination ran wild… in fact it was D&D that helped fuel my passion to create my own fantasy story. It was also D&D that opened my eyes to what kind of character not be and what things not to do in developing my story. In fact some things people did just drove me nuts…. so after 28 years it is time to vent… about why people don’t always want to play with certain characters/people or DM’s (Dungeon Masters). In fact if a few people would just drop the ego a little, prob Dice RPG’s would get a little more love by the regular guy.

Now mind you- the game is awesome and most of the time it is a fun experience, though it has been many years since I have played and I prefer one shot D20 stories. Yet as I listen to gamers, who still play, I see the same old traps and attitudes and yes I am guilty at times myself. So thanks to those DM’s that keep those players humbled, may your bags of holding never fill and the dice never lie….

So here’s what I avoid when playing RPG’s… I want the game to be a fun story, not an opportunity to stroke someone’s imaginary ego….

First: The all powerful dude. Ok I get that you want to be the top dog. I get you like having that +5 defender vorpal sword, with swivel-action handle grip and that your armor is so powerful that not even a God’s lightening bolt will penetrate it. I also get that you like have 76000 HP and that you have every skill available plus all your stats are 17 or 18/89. Wow… I am impressed.

Yet you are usually the jerk of the game, bragging about everything your character can and has done.  It is as though your character is compensating for something you are lacking. The all powerful dude takes all the fun out the game… honestly why play the adventure at all if your going to walk through it without breaking a sweat.

We all get attached to our hero, some of our characters even creep into our stories, which is pretty cool…. Keep your hero realistic and play smart and the game’s fun for every one.

Second: Weapons that are really unrealistic..
. For instance how can a 3ft dwarf wield a 7 ft broad sword. The logistics alone are…well you get the idea. Put that guy up against a bunch of goblins and he’s gonna have problems….

The best DM I ever met, handles this really well. He limits characters to what they can physically carry. Which brings me to point 3….

Third: The bag of holding and unlimited gear. The more I write and strive to make Bean realistic, the more I realize that you can’t carry it all with you. I find that this has become a pet peeve of mine in any rpg game. I personally don’t care if your character sheet has 3000 items from rule book, how can you carry it all??? Even your bag of holding can’t hold all that weight and treasure too. You are as bad as all-powerful dude.  You take away from the game.

A great DM can fix this as well… it’s all in the prep.
Fourth: That’s a lot of treasure there.… As you crawl through your game… you find all sorts of stuff.  Usually stuff dropped from monsters, though why a +5 sword of protection was being held by a +2 kobold, I will never know.  I also have noticed that monsters are pretty rich, the amount of gold and platinum coins on the ground amazes is me. What amazes me even more is they have no weight in gamers eyes.

Standard weight 50 coins= 1lb…. so the dude carrying 2500 coins on him over the game has just picked up 50lbs. This doesn’t include new armor or weapons, plus the fact that most characters seem to opt to retain their old armor, so they can sell it. DM’s man up and make them drop the old stuff, it seems 90% of D&D characters are hoarders, and need to be broken of this.

Fifth: A pissed DM can result in a miserable evening. Extra Traps, constant saving rolls with loaded dice, monsters that don’t even belong there and tons of cursed items.  You are the game god… just don’t be a punk about it. Seriously the more you make the game miserable, there is a +5 chance your going to be a very lonely game god out there. So leave your anger at the door. You make the game fun for us, we rely on you to entertain, don’t disappoint.

Don’t get me wrong I really do enjoy the game. In fact at times I miss playing them, yet I like telling stories more these days. It has been many years since I have played an dice based RPG and that is ok. If the moment arrises, I’ll jump in, but I have other fantasy worlds to create and conquer. I also think at times computer RPG’s, though visually stunning with some great story lines, removes the fun human interaction of game.

Yet it was some great RPG games that really taught me how to put a good story together and make it enjoyable. I will also admit, I have fallen prey to my complaints  one time or another.  It took some great DM’s to help me break some of those bad habits I posted above. Once I was able to do that, and the people I played with, those games got really really exciting and intense. It was like we were there.

Bean to a degree is a product of one fun roleplaying game…were anything is possible. So dust off the dice, create a new character, grab some like-minded buddies, pop some corn, get some sodas and adventure the night away-


*First monster to ever kick my butt…. stupid mushroom dudes….


George Soros » 29 Mar 2012 » Reply

Coins were first made of scraps of metal. Ancient coins were produced through a process of hitting a hammer positioned over an anvil. The Chinese produced primarily cast coinage, and this spread to South-East Asia and Japan. Relatively few non-Chinese cast coins were produced by governments, however it was a common practice amongst counterfeiters.

L0N » 28 Nov 2011 » Reply

Playing AD&D is how I met my wife. My buddies & I came back from GenCon one year intent on adding some new blood to the group. Gordy who DM'd the campaign thought it would be good to have some women in the game again. We went to the FLGS and check the index card box of people looking for a game to play in and picked out three likely candidates. We called the first one no one answered the second was Ann who had just moved here from WI. She came over a couple weeks later and rolled up her half-elven mage Willowbrook. We were just friends for several years before we ended up being married. And most of the groomsmen were from our gaming group. We still game. And Ann did some writing for White Wolf some years back. We are coming up on 19 years of marriage and still rolling those funny shaped dice.

Marcus » 25 Jan 2011 » Reply

One of the best characters I played was a Second Edition Paladin. Severe limitation on wealth and equipment kept me from being greedy. The DM enforced the Paladins code with appropriate warnings (like a little zap of lightning out of the blue when about to violate the code). The DM made the campaign fun and interesting, and was able to keep us coming back for more (even if he beat the holy heck out of our characters. We loved the stories the survivors could tell (yes, characters could easily die, and permanently) – and the story we were living in, if only for a couple hours a week. Thirty years later I can still relate some great episodes…

Ilayas » 19 Jan 2011 » Reply

You know I've had great D&D experiences but then again all the people I've gamed with have been pretty laid and were friends of mine. The first time I played I rolled a serous character it wasn't long before I killed her off and started rolling more amusing ones. Currently I'm playing a crazy old 1/2 elf druid who insists on being paid largely in pastries (namely pie). Playing mentally unstable characters is a lot of fun.

    Trav the bean » 19 Jan 2011 » Reply

    crazy is always good:) I agree a little mentally unstableness always makes for fun game play. Yet you need to have the right group to play those characters at times as well.

Rocco » 10 Jan 2011 » Reply

What do you think of roguelike games—nethack, zangband, etc.?

    Trav the bean » 11 Jan 2011 » Reply

    never played those-

    My all time go to game though was gangbusters (tsr 1982 i think) That game was awesome

Daniel » 6 Jan 2011 » Reply

Love it. Really great post. I started playing in 1981 or '82 and I'm only quit because I got so busy with Steam Crow. (But I'm going to change that…)

ironhenry » 6 Jan 2011 » Reply

Those spot illustrations are priceless!!! Last year I bought a bunch of old D&D stuff to share with my son. O! the memories.

b003 » 5 Jan 2011 » Reply

Wow, I thought this just happend to me! How about,
7 Gauduate from college
8 DM gets married and the wife wants to play something else.

Ed McKeogh » 5 Jan 2011 » Reply

My first D&D experience:

I joined a pre-existing group of players, let's say 1984 (beginning of my junior year in HS). I had created a half-orc thief and was excited to be playing. First game session, my character fumbled a lock-picking; a trap door opened beneath him. I rolled a critical failure on my saving throw, and my character fell on poisoned spikes below, took a butt-load of hit points, and died. None of the other players wanted to "waste" a spell or potion to restore me, so that was it.

I left the group. By the way they were laughing, I think that had been their intention all along.

Every D&D game I subsequently entered went pretty much the same way: I was an outsider joining a pre-existing group (filled with the kinds of people you mention above), and it was only a matter of time before my character became the group's cannon fodder.

Still, I have a burning desire to play D&D. Perhaps because I've never been part of a good game … yet.

Lord Slapdash » 5 Jan 2011 » Reply

The mushroom dudes are awesome!


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