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Thursday, November 10, 2011

My list of TRPBTNTWAs, or, Things Role Playing Bloggers Tend Not To Write About:

From Monster and Manuals- Noisms list, my answers, because I can't help but fall victim to an OSR blogging meme.

Book binding. (I can't be the only person who bemoans the way new rulebooks tend to fall apart like a sheaf of dry leaves after about 5 seconds of use).

The only problems here for me came from TSR- my 1st edition AD&D Oriental Adventures book's binding glue cracked literally the first time I opened it, as I was leaving the store- it was a pre-ordered 1st printing, the other 1st edition AD&D TSR book that started to self destruct almost immediately was Unearthed Arcana, the other "bad" TSR book was my 2nd edition AD&D DMG, that had a few pages fall out pretty quickly, but they looked to be a printer's error, a fluke. I can't bitch about newer products because I don't really buy any, most of the "new" stuff I get is older RPG stuff off EBay anyway and, while I have had a couple of problems with bindings, here and there, they are mostly good; not like, say, old issues of The Dragon- those bastards practically had tear-away covers.

"Doing a voice". How many people "do voices"? Should they? How do you get better at "doing a voice" if that's your thing?

That depends. Sometimes I change up my speech patterns or alter my pitch or tone for different NPCs or intelligent monsters with whom the party parleys, mostly it's a change of attitude for different characters, rarely a change of accent- because I hate to sound like a stereotype of whatever accent I am going for, but if I am doing a WW2 game I'll do accents for all the foreign NPCs and regional accents for all the Americans too. Having traveled all over the US and having a good ear for accents I can do this pretty well usually. The British will get a range of accents from me, I don't try Welsh, I do a decent Scottish (not Glasgow though), the English get to either sound like Imperial officers from Star Wars or how every lower class character sounds in a film adaptation of a Dickens tale. The French all get the same accent from me, kind of resistance-ey, with a hint of DeGaulle. The Germans are fun, the get to be either Schwarzenegger, Hollywood Evil Nazi or what my wife calls Dieter the Gay Bavarian.

Breaks. How often do you have breaks within sessions?

Breaks are for the weak, time enough to stop gaming when you are dead. No, really, I usually call breaks for a meal time and that's about it. Or if I have to pee. Otherwise it's kind of like being at a movie, if you have to get up and go, do it quietly and try not to disturb the rest of us, hopefully you won't miss much and someone will fill you in on what you missed when you get back.

Description. Exactly how florid are your descriptions?

Depends on what I am describing and how much I am "feeling" it. I tend to start minimal and add detail if asked.

Where do you strike the balance between "doing what your character would do" and "acting like a dickhead"?

Don't be a dick, not only will your character not live a long and healthy life, but you probably won't be making it back to too many more of my games. Life's too short to game with people that you wouldn't hang out with if they didn't game. That is a lesson that took me a long time to learn (cough, cough, the 1990's, cough, cough).

PC-on-PC violence. Do your players tend to avoid it, or do you ban it? Or does anything go?

I don't game with dicks, so it's not really an issue. I don't ban it, so it could happen, but I haven't seen any PC on PC violence in my games, ever that I can remember, and that includes before I quit playing RPGs with dicks.

How do you explain what a role playing game is to a stranger who is also a non-player? (Real life example: my friends and I were playing in the local M:tG club space. A M:tG groupie teenage goth girl came over and asked, "What are you playing?" "[We answered.]" "Sounds kind of gay.")

I have a hard time imagining a situation where I would be somewhere where there were strangers that were non-roleplayers, so it's never come up. I have had to try and explain the game genre to a number of friends and girlfriends and friend's girlfriends over the years, usually it's something along the lines of "Remember playing make believe as a little kid? It's kind of like that only with some rules as guidelines." I tailor it more or less to the person in question, but it's pretty much like that; this usually elicits no response other than "Oh, OK.".

Alchohol at the table?

I have a fairly strict no drinking and RPGing stance, when I was younger me and my buddies tried it a few times and it sucked. Maybe now that I am in my 40s and a more responsible drinker it might work, but since 1/2 of my current group is too young to legally drink, it's not an issue still. I have had a couple of games where I had a beer in the past and it was OK, but I still feel like I'd rather keep my drinking and my gaming separate.

What's acceptable to do to a PC whose player is absent from the session? Is whatever happens their fault for not being there, or are there some limits?

I hand their character sheet off to one of the players that did show up and they get run as an NPC. The ground rules are they don't give away equipment, or act stupid- no Polish mine detectors; and I as DM keep a veto on all of their declared actions. Otherwise, what happens happens.