Leveling up my game
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 February 2014, 4:18 am
Gnome Stew recently had two articles on the different levels of play in a pen & paper roleplaying game. And I must say that I am not completely happy with on what level we play in my D&D campaign. To some extent I blame video games: Computer role-playing games teach us that it is important to min/max your character, to create a dwarven warrior with optimal strength instead of trying a halfling warrior with cunning. If you tried to make a more interesting but sub-optimal character, people would tell you to learn2play. So now I have a pen & paper campaign in which cookie-cutter characters are using video-game tactics like trying to kite monsters. And if I run a session without combat, some of my players are getting antsy, because their characters aren't built for actual role-playing.

Now our previous DM, who is now a player, tried having adventures that were light on combat and heavy on role-playing interaction. That doesn't really work if the players aren't all that interested. Murder mystery city adventures are hard to run even under the best of conditions, and if the players would rather do dungeon crawling they get downright impossible. So my idea is to keep a necessary degree of combat action up to keep the players interested, but to intersperse that with enough role-playing interaction and story to somewhat raise the level of my campaign.

That might require techniques like those used in the recently published D&D Sundering adventures, where the story doesn't stop if the players don't advance it. Basically the players are repeatedly brought into contact with possible role-playing and story interactions, but if they refuse to bite some default story happens and drives the overall adventure forward. In a pen & paper game, the world can be a lot more dynamic than in a video game. As a DM I have to use that advantage.
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