RPGBOT.Podcast – How to Play Dungeons and Dragons, Part 4 – Questions and Answers

Show Notes

In this 4-part series, we teach new players with absolutely no exposure to the game how to play Dungeons and Dragons with the help of our special guest, Jodie, who prior to recording with us had never been exposed to Dungeons and Dragons. By the end of this series, you’ll be ready to build a character and play your first game.

In our fourth and final episode in this series, Randall, Random, and Tyler sit down with Jodie for a short question and answer session to answer some lingering questions.

If you have more questions about how to play Dungeons and Dragons or want to learn the rules in more depth, see our full article series on How to Play Dungeons and Dragons.

The Full 4-Part Series

  1. Part 1 – Concepts and Themes
  2. Part 2 – Characters
  3. Part 3 – Playing the Game
  4. Part 4 – Questions and Answers

Materials Referenced in This Episode

  • RPGBOT.Podcast Episodes – You won’t need these to play, but we mention them in this episode
  • Finding a Group
    • Gamely: App dedicated to finding local groups to play board games and tabletop RPGs.
    • Meetup.com: Website/app for finding local groups for activities.
    • Reddit: Reddit’s /r/LFG (Looking For Group) is dedicated to finding groups for tabletop games, if you live in or near a city with a local subreddit you may have luck posting there too.
    • Yawning Portal: The official event portal from Wizards of the Coast. Great if you want to get into “organized play”.
    • Local Games Store: Local game stores frequently have bulletin boards to advertise events and game groups, and the employees may know of people looking to form a group or add new members to an existing one.

Transcript

Randall 

Welcome to this very special episode arc of the RPGBOT.podcast. Yeah, so in this arc, we’re going to take our special guest God Through learning about how to play tabletop gaming. In particular, we’re focused in Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition. We’re going to do this in four episodes. So the first episode we’re gonna talk about concepts and themes in tabletop gaming. The second episode, we’re going to work through building a character for playing D&D 5e. The third episode, we’re going to do a one-shot in D&D 5e. And in the fourth episode, we’re going to gather and kind of talk through everything that Jodie experienced. Give her an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the game. So yeah, if you’re a regular listener, if you’re super into D&D 5e, this art might not be super useful for you, but we’re hoping it’s something you can bring to folks who want to come to the game. And if you’ve been away from tabletop for a while, and you want to come back to it, we’re hoping this is a great resource for you to kind of get familiar, reacquaint yourself, and come back into the game. Thanks a lot. And now an episode with the whole gang together with our special guest, Jodie. Here we’re gonna answer some questions that Jodie has about tabletop gaming, her whole experience going through this with us. Welcome to the RPGBOT.Podcast. I’m Randall James, your interactive instructor, and with me is Tyler Kamstra.  Hi everybody. and Random Powell.

Random 

Howdy.

Randall 

and our special guest, Jodie.

Jodie 

Hi.

Randall 

Tyler, what are, what are we doing tonight?

Tyler 

Today we’re wrapping up our four-part series on how to play Dungeons and Dragons, which, generally people’s first RPG. We have our special guest Jodie here who was with us through all three of the previous episodes. And we’re going to touch on… we’re going to wrap things up, answer some questions, discuss Jodie’s experiences, and maybe answer some other questions that new players might have the first time they get into the game.

Randall 

All right, no, that sounds perfect. And just to recap, so we did a session with Random and Jodie, where Random talked about what tabletop gaming is. And in particular kind of what D&D is generally what to expect. Tyler, you did a session with Jodie, where you worked through building a character that would be exciting for Jodie. And then the third episode, I played a quick one shot with Jodie. And she successfully didn’t die. And I think that was great.

Jodie 

Yes!

Randall 

And yeah, we got all the way through. And now we’re here and we want to talk through. Yeah, exactly that, you know, God, what were your thoughts? And so I guess we’ll open with that. Hey, Jodie, what were your thoughts?

Jodie 

Well, first of all, I enjoyed all three episodes. You know, very informative, and, and then the game was really fun. I was telling Tyler a few weeks ago that my perception of what D&D was changed a little bit as I went through the process. In particular, I had talked to Random about the idea that I had played a video game years and years and years and years ago. And I kind of thought that it might be something like that. And it was a little bit. But I still had this idea in mind that it was, while not like a regular board game where you where you have a board, and you put a marker on one side of the board, and everybody’s taking turns trying to get to the other side the quickest. I knew it wasn’t like that, but I still kind of had it in mind that it might be something like, well, everybody kind of creates a character. When you go into the game, I still had the thought that everybody was kind of just trying to get through it on their own, like everybody was there together. But everyone came out the other side of the game independently. And it wasn’t until I talked to Random that I realized when he talked about going into battle, and that every one would have a turn in the battle that Wow, you really are doing this together as a team. And then that made me think about some of the stuff that Tyler and I had talked about before doing this, where I said will shoot, you know, here I am. I’m not a teenager, way beyond that. If I learned to play this game, what am I going to do with it? You know, what young group of people is going to want me tagging along with their game? And Tyler said, You know what, people of all ages play it, it doesn’t matter. And then when I went through this process, and I realized that you were creating characters, and they were working together, and you’re solving problems, and you’re doing this together that it truly could be for people with diverse backgrounds, or diverse ages. And it didn’t have to be a group of people who were already friends that sat down to play the game. It could be people who didn’t necessarily know each other, and through this problem solving and working together that you could form the bonds and that that you could continue on with that. So that’s what I kind of came to think of as er went through at least the first two episodes. And then the third one was the chance to play, which was really fun.

Randall 

No, that’s great. And I think what you’re hitting on is perfect. Like, well, we can link some resources in the show notes. But there’s a lot of ways to find a game to play in, whether you want to go somewhere and physically play, whether you want to get online and play with people kind of like how we did together. Yeah, there’s a lot of amazing options. And you know, I feel like every year those options get better and better as technology advances.

Jodie 

That was actually one of the questions I had, because I had heard that there might be ways to connect with people and do this. But I wondered, what does that look like? I mean, pictured something like match.com? Like, do they ask you questions when you try to, you know, is there a place you can go when they ask you what, what kind of game? Are you looking for? What… that kind of stuff so that you’re put with someone that you’d be comfortable playing with?

Tyler 

there. So there’s a lot of options starting from like your old-school analog options. If you just know people who are playing, you might say, hey, I’m interested in playing, do you have a group going right now,? if you’re… if you have a bunch of other new people who want to play for the first time, it’s totally fine to organize a group of your friends, like, call up your friends say, “Hey, have you heard about this thing called Dungeons and Dragons? We’re going to learn to play together, it’s going to be great.” You can go to your friendly local game store. Frequently, they’ll have some kind of message board or sometimes an online forum or something. And you can post looking for games or post looking to host games, looking for players and find people in your area who frequently attend to that same gaming store and find people that way. Beyond that there are plenty of mediums to find people online. The official Dungeons of Dragons organized play option is called the Yawning Portal. And it’s for their organized play league, which is a little bit different from your standard D&D game. But if you go into that, you’re still going to have a great time. It’s not that much different, but there are some rules just because you’re playing with strangers, essentially. There’s a lot of services. Roll20 has a game forum where you can find games, there’s an official D&D Discord channel run by Wizards of the Coast, there are online forums like Reddit, people do actually use sites like meetup.com. And occasionally dating sites like like Tinder and match.com to find people to play with. That’s probably not the route I would go specifically. There are there are dedicated apps for finding people to play tabletop RPGs with I’m struggling to remember any names, but I know there’s at least three that came out in the past year.

Randall 

And that’s something that we can easily link in in the show notes. I think one thing that’s worth maybe diving a little bit deeper into is the Roll20 interface. I think there’s a few interfaces that do this. But Roll20 is probably the most popular, where, you know, when we played, we didn’t play with a map. But we did play where we can look at each other, so Roll20 is kind of a system Imagine you go and you log into something and you click into your game as a dungeon master, which is the role that I was filling, I can have like all of my maps hidden to where I know like, Okay, we’re going to go from point A to point B to point C, and I can have kind of creatures ready to go to run any combat, I can have all my notes kind of prepared an organized way. From your perspective, as somebody who’s playing, I put your token on the board for you. And I show you a map and I tell you what’s going on. And occasionally I pull up like pictures or paragraphs so that you can either look at something or read something, it allows you to integrate music. And so if I want to have like ominous music as we get to something serious, or if I want to have like light jovial music in a tavern, it helps to really set that setting. Given how many games have had to be online for the past few years, it’s really a fantastic tool to have available to you that super easy to use.

Random 

I will personally say. while I am absolutely grateful, especially during these pandemic times for the online tools, I will 100% plug, just going down to your local game store and finding games that way. That was actually how I found both the very first game I ever played in, which lasted a long time. And also the Tise of the Runelords game that I was a player in back when Pathfinder was just a setting and not a rule set, which is what then led me to run it like I have talked about that the Tyler was in later. And both of those sets of players and both of those games I remember 15, 20 years later, as the enormous fun that they were having never met these people before. And in both cases, the DM’s were at least twice my age. A lot of the players were close to that age. And nobody minded that I was a 16 year old kid or younger for the first game I made it I was I think 14 in Ben’s campaign showing up to play because as long as you’re there contributing to the story, and everyone’s having good time. There you go. Absolutely the online tools are amazing and Tyler talks about a lot of good ones which you’ll be able to look up whatever you want, whichever way you want to try and engage with that, Roll20 does have some really robust tools for DM to be able to describe the sort of game that they’re going to run. So that you can go through and pick a one that will like maybe I do want something a little more grimdark, or maybe I do want, you know, something lighter, because, hey, the world is kind of grimdark. I will definitely say that that’s a great place to start. If you don’t know… I know nobody else who wants to play this game, I want to find a game. Roll20 is a pretty good place to just find a group and get going.

Tyler 

I probably should have mentioned this earlier. But if you’re if you’re kind of on the the younger or older ends of the age spectrum, D&D clubs and tabletop gaming clubs are becoming really popular in high schools and middle schools right now. Wizards of the Coast will frequently sponsor those clubs by sending them free books and stuff so that they have all the materials they need to play. So if you or someone you know is looking to get into D&D, and they’re in high school or middle school se if the school has a club. That’s a great way for people at those ages, to get into the game, learn to play and meet some people. I can’t attest to this personally, but I have been told that people also play D&D in retirement homes now. So there is no maximum or minimum age here. If you look, you can find a game.

Jodie 

Oh that’s cool.

Randall 

By the time we get there, we’ll all be wizards.

Tyler 

I’ve got to grow my beard longer

Randall 

I’m come starting over. That’s a visual joke. It’s not gonna work through the podcast. It’s fine. Yeah, no, my, my oldest son is actually part of a like a D&D club in school. And I think he’s having a really great time with it. Definitely.

Jodie 

I do have another question. And it has to do with getting comfortable with the roles, the different characters, and the terminology that goes along with it. I mean, it’s all so new to me that when we went through making the character it was it was just a huge amount of information. And I really needed to go through it. But I mean, how long were you guys playing before you felt like you were… you knew what you were doing? Or do you feel that way?

Randall 

So maybe as the the most recent joiner, maybe I’ll go first. So I kind of thought I knew what I was doing. Then I signed up to DM a game for Tyler with a few other friends. And afterwards, he didn’t hate me and he kept answering my text messages. And so that was, I figured I had made it. In kind of a more serious note, what I realized as I went through that is there’s a ton of rules that, as a DM or a player, I don’t incorporate because I don’t know them. And if you’re unaware that you’re skipping rules, like you’re missing whole parts of the game. And that’s one of the things that I thought was fantastic about playing with people who have had different experiences, played in different games, is that they can bring in and say, like, Hey, by the way, you know, you missed everything about lighting. What if you didn’t? That’d be pretty cool. But in a really polite way, so that you can incrementally add those things to your toolbox. I say that to say like, I think you did fantastic. And I think you’ll play next time, and maybe one more rule will come up and then the next time one more rule will come up. And all sudden you wake up one day and you think, you know what, I, I actually have a pretty good grasp of what’s going on here.

Jodie 

Well, and then the other thought I had was like, how long did it take before you felt comfortable taking on the role of DM?

Tyler 

That answer is going to change for everybody. A lot of people won’t DM for several years after they first play. Some people have never DM’ed and never will. Some people DM the first time they play, especially if you’re in a group of just people who’ve never played before someone has to DM. I cheated a little bit when I… let’s see, when I first learned to play I was 11. And I needed people to play with. So I had to teach you the other kids in the neighborhood how to play. And I got everything wrong. I was 11, it was third edition, the rules are way more complicated than they are now. But we still had a great time. And as long as you understand things enough to get through a game and have fun, you know enough to run a game. And you know enough to say yes, I know how to play this game. We are having fun and that is the only measure of success.

Random 

So I will say first off, thank you. Measure of success.

Tyler 

Stole your words.

Random 

It’s good. I mean, realistically, what you say is…. exactly I agree with and the only thing…. I research game design. One of the books that I read by an author Jane McGonigal called Reality is Broken, provides a really easy four-part definition of what a game is. And one of the things that always sticks with me is that when we break it down to even its core components, a game needs consistent rules. It doesn’t matter what the rules are. Your players will be happy as long as you are enforcing them consistently, even if they are not the rules in the book, even if they’re not rules that anyone has ever heard of before, as long as you are enforcing them consistently, and people are having fun, your players are going to go along with it and they’re going to have a good time. To answer that question: I think that the first time I DM’ed was probably about three years after I first played I first played when I was 13. And 16, when I first DM’ed. And that wasn’t because I felt like I needed that much time. It was because that’s when I was like, man, you know, I really liked this game, I should introduce this to other people. And that’s I think that’s probably going to be the main reason why a lot of people stretch their legs into DMing is like, oh, man, I’ve been having this great time with this group. I have friends, my friends can have fun with this, I should teach by friends, and therefore I’m going to run the game. But realistically, the only criteria for yourself is are you going to enjoy it? Because as long as you’re running something that everyone’s going to enjoy, yourself included, you’re doing it right, you’re DMing. Even if you’re not getting all the rules right. Even if you’re making things up, out of whole cloth, that’s fine. The only thing that I would say is whenever you feel you will be confident enough to be speaking to a group of four-ish people for a couple hours at a time. That’s when you’re ready.

Jodie 

I’m guessing that there are people though, who just never end up doing that. They just prefer to play.

Tyler 

Yeah, absolutely.

Randall 

Oh, no, not a problem at all. Like, I guess one of the things I’ll ask about. So I actually I’ve never gone into a local game shop and tried to play I’ve never gone online and tried to find a random game. I basically just forced piles of people together into games, whenever that I’ve ever really wanted to have a session. I say that to say, I can imagine your first time DMing it’d be fantastic to do it with friends, with folks who are comfortable with you know, you on a personal… You’ve already, you’ve already built the goodwill to have a good time socially. And now you’re just trying a new framework, which is tabletop gaming. I say that to say it would seem to me like probably getting a few of those kinds of sessions underneath your belt before you, you know, hop on Roll20 and put your name and or on a session might make sense. But I don’t know, what do you folks say?

Tyler 

If you’re going to run a game, personally, I’d say start with people, you know, even if it’s a really small group. Like, start with one person. Start with two people. That’s totally fine. Starting with people who you’re comfortable with, especially if they’re willing to give you honest, kind feedback. Like, that’s a great way to get comfortable with DMing to improve your skills to learn the game better. Throwing yourself to the wolves by DMing for random strangers might be a little much for the first time.

Randall 

Yeah, I mean, I have I have no evidence that anyone that would ever be impolite. But I can also imagine.

Random 

Let me introduce you to the RPG horror stories subreddit,

Randall 

Or just the internet that’l…  I, right… and that, to, So to that point, and I think Tyler just said something really topical. People giving you constructive feedback as you’re DMing because, you know, realistically, no one is going to be good at something… or, sorry, no one is going to be perfect at something the first time they set out to do it. You can be good. And in fact, my you know, my Strahd game the DM had ever DM’ed before and he was annoyingly fantastic. Preposterously barr-raising, fantastic. I, I don’t know what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. With with that being the clear exception. As you are going to tell a story the first time this is a very different skillset than kind of anything except creative writing. And even… while creative writing is the thing it’s closest to, you’re probably not creative writing a story with five people. It’s a very different skillset than anything else. And don’t be afraid to, have air quotes here, listeners, “fail.” Just get practice in the same way that you just get practice building a character and then eventually you’ll understand optimization and be able to optimize to whatever you’re trying to do. Just DM. Like, if you want to DM, just go. Even if you’re quiet, even if you’re, you know, it’s mostly like I’m gonna nose in the book, look at the numbers, just make sure that I’m doing the numbers right, and kind of halfway tell a story. People are still going to enjoy that. I mean, people enjoy playing games with no story. So if you’re playing a game with a little story, people are still probably going to have a good time and then be willing to take that, that criticism and then practice, practice, practice, practice. The more that you practice running a game, the better you’re going to get, the more that that mechanical stuff is going to be second nature, so that you can let the story you want to tell come to the forefront. Oh, that’s perfect.

Jodie 

I have another question if it’s okay?

Tyler 

Sweet.

Randall 

That’s awesome. That’s exactly what we want.

Jodie 

So it has to do with how much a player knows when they’re going in to play a game. And it came up a little bit. I think when I was talking to Tyler, that if it’s a published game, that you might have an idea of what it’s going to look like and that might help you to, to decide what kind of character that you want to be. But when I did the one game that I did, I had absolutely no idea what it was going to be about. I’m guessing, with published games, I mean, if you go into maybe a game shop, like you talked about and join a group that you might know what it’s gonna be, but how often do people play homebrew? Is it homebrew games?

Tyler 

Yeah.

Jodie 

Versus published games? Is that Is it more typical to play a published game? Is it more typical to play a homebrew game? I guess it depends on who you are, but, tell me more.

Random 

Yeah, I’ll say. So definitely, that’s going to be 100% up to the DM. A lot, especially in the very busy world we currently live in, one of the big benefits of a pre written module is that you don’t have to do nearly as much work to run it, right? You are not writing it, you are simply reading it, and that takes a lot less time to set up. I think it’s gonna probably skew more towards people running pre-written modules. But there are still plenty of people who man like, I have this story in my head, and I want to tell it, and we’re gonna play it. And that’s great. Now, to your point about Do people know what they’re getting into? The vast majority of the time, you’re going to have what’s called a session zero. This is the DM and all the players getting together to meet to discuss what kind of story are we going into? What sort of expectations do I have about what this path is going to look like? What sort of expectations do you the players have about what this path is going to look like? How can I make sure that we are both contributing to the story we all want to experience? That’s where you’re gonna get those sorts of questions answered, you know, like, what am I getting into? Okay, well, you know, if you don’t have a session zero, if you do just go in blind, you’re gonna maybe have this character that’s, and I’m like, modern-day Sherlock Holmes, I am great at solving crimes, I can find all these sorts of things. And we’re tracking a goblin army. Not helpful. Session zero is always a good idea. The 2, 3, 4 hours you lose at the beginning are going to be more than made up for by how much greater enjoyment everyone is going to take out of the experience over the next… even if it’s just a one-shot, if you can fit in an hour long, or even a half hour like Hey, real super basic. Here’s what we’re doing. Get your characters made. Here’s the rules for making characters. Go. And then you know, we’ll actually get to play next week or something.

Randall 

Yeah, and I guess I’ll say if you can’t make the session zero happen. And I know we talked about in previous episode that hasn’t aired yet, so there we go. We talked about this idea that sometimes like you just want to get somebody into the game, if you have a group of people, and they say let’s play right now, and we have hours, which is likely coming over the holidays, there’s gonna be good times for this. If you find yourself in that scenario, if you can do the prep work ahead of time, if you can do this asynchronously through text message or chatting, email, you know however you like to communicate. You can, I think, answer some of these questions. I will say, like, practically for what we did, I got your class ahead of time from Tyler.

Tyler 

Okay.

Randall 

And so you worked with Tyler to figure out what kind of character you wanted to build, and then I made sure that there were fun things for your character.

Jodie 

Yeah.

Randall 

In the one-shot I made. Oh, and

Jodie 

I did, I did enjoy that element of not knowing what was coming. I mean, I had no idea. And that was really fun.

Randall 

And I think like if that’s if a group of players want that, I think they can ask for that. And this is what I was gonna say. So, you know, Random always talks about the social fix. And I think this is a great way, this is a great place to call it in to say, if a group of players want that mystery, and they want to go in and not know what they’re getting into, other than the highest level that a lot of times can be something at the end is going to provide with a published module, I’d say that’s a little bit harder, just because as soon as I say, you know, Descent in Avernus. Okay, you kind of know what you’re getting into. Icewind Dale Rime of the Frostmaiden, it’s probably going to be cold. I’ve got it, you know, I’m able to put this together. Nobody knows what a “rime” is, so we were safe as far as that went. But anyway…

Jodie 

Well, that that just led me to another question is so there are these modules that you can play. I don’t know how many are out there in the world.

Randall 

A ton.

Tyler 

A ton.

Jodie 

Do you ever but do you ever play them more than once? Like with a different group or…?

Tyler 

It’s a little unusual for people to play the same module more than once as a player. That said, I’m sure there are people that do it. I don’t know anyone personally who has done that. But some of the more recent official modules have had some degree of randomization in them, so that the story changes a little bit every time you play. There are DM’s, who will run their favorite module multiple times. So people really, really like Curse of Strahd, which is which random has mentioned a few times. So people will run Curse of Strahd, multiple times for different groups. And there’s enough randomization in that adventure that it’s a little bit different every time so the DM doesn’t get bored. It is unusual for players to play the same published module more than once, but there’s enough of them out there that there aren’t enough hours in a lifetime to play everything that has ever been published. Like, there is no end to variety.

Randall 

Yeah, I think another piece of this worth mentioning. So there are, like, one-shot modules and you would consider what we did together as a one-shot. You know, we can likely get together if we can’t finish it in one in one short session, certainly across two we could. A lot of the published modules, like the thicker books that you’ll you know, you can see on Tyler’s shelf. These are, these are our you know, it’s calling it a module, I think it’s selling a short, it’s a campaign. Most of these will take you through 4 or 5 levels, if not 10 levels of the game. And you could potentially meet on a weekly basis for months, and not finish one. Okay, I guess I wanted to make that clear to then say, that’s the reason people aren’t necessarily like starving for content and playing the same module over and over again, as a player is because it’s probably more fun for everybody to just go to another module. I would say, one situation you might find yourself in where you might play module again, especially if you’ve maybe only just gotten into it is if you have a TPK, a total party kill, where everyone dies, you might either pick it up where you left off, or you might go a few steps back and then hop into it. Because you really want to see how it ends.

Jodie 

Okay.

Tyler 

Yeah. I’ve been in a couple of those years long running games, Random ran Rise of the Runelords for me and a few of our other friends. And I think that campaign went for, what, a year and a half, two years before we got to the end?

Random 

You were in it for a year and a half. It was two and a half years before the thing ended. Yeah.

Tyler 

I had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, unfortunately. But I got to be in the last session, which was very exciting.

Jodie 

Well, I have a question that has to do with choosing a character. So the character that I ended up with, Andrea Tealeaf, I felt like it was a character that was kind of like who I am. That that was kind of what I was going for, as far as someone that kind of would like to be more in the background, if you like, or if you’re on a team, you’re you’re the one who’s running around the edges, gathering information, finding things, helping people, I really identified with that role. Do you think that people tend to do that? Or does anyone that would feel comfortable in that kind of role ever decide, hey, I’m going to be, what, I don’t know, a warrior or something that’s going to lead the charge? And I mean, do you ever, too? Do you guys ever choose a role that’s completely different than your own personality just to try it out? And does that go well?

Random 

I will speak to this with some psychology. If you have ever been in a therapist’s office, particularly any therapist that works with children, you may have seen a sandbox, and a enormous, you know, shelves full of toys. So a thing which is known when they are using this as a therapeutic technique for kids, is that the first toy a child chooses, represents themselves every time. And that’s just how humans are. In a very similar way, pretty much 100% of the time, the first character a person makes is going to be representative of themselves. In general, I will usually say that every character somebody makes is a caricature of some aspect of themselves, unless they are very intentionally trying to do something different. And then that character will likely start the way that they are designing it and over time become some caricature of themselves. Realistically, short of a lot of training and practice, you’re going to behave the way you’re going to behave as a person. If you’re inhabiting this character for dozens, hundreds of hours over the course of a campaign. It’s going to be an extension of you. It’s not going to be exactly you, generally. One of the things that I have really enjoyed over the campaigns that I’ve played is different DM’s will do different things to help make you invest in a character and help make that character feel fleshed out. And so something as simple as pick three pillars that matter to your character enormously, whether that’s family, strength, honor, protecting innocents And really, you know, with those three pillars, think about, I know how this character embraces those three beliefs very strongly those three core beliefs. And with that information, I can shape how it’s going to act in any situations, I have played dozens of characters over the years, I absolutely think that they have all been pieces of me, exaggerated somehow, with some extra bits. But in general, like I said, I mean, you can’t act in a way that you aren’t. Unless you spend a lot of time thinking about it, every character that people are going to play is going to be some reflection of themselves.

Randall 

And I think a couple of things we’re calling out for this. One is, like, pick an aspect of yourself or pick a… Yeah, I guess, pick a piece of yourself that you want to highlight, or you want to exaggerate or you want to grow with. So you brought up the example of, like, being a warrior, I think that’s fantastic. And, and maybe the thing that you would feel is a desire to protect the party. Because that might be a piece of you, where even if it doesn’t manifest itself in everyday life, in the game, you are, you know, in real life, you understand that there are folks that you love that you want to protect it in the game, it’s something that you could channel into the character. And so picking pieces like this of things that you want to grow, I think can help you to get there. The other piece of this I’ll bring up is I don’t know how much you talked with Tyler about character alignment. But the idea that you can be lawful or neutral or chaotic on one dimension, and you can be good or neutral or evil on another dimension, I think one of the other things that you can do is actually go clear the opposite way. Pick something that has nothing to do with you. Pick something that is very against everything that you represent, and try that for a little bit. And so imagine if your character was like a chaotic-evil character, because I think you’re a good person. So we’re gonna go with this.

Jodie 

Thank you.

Randall 

Yeah, absolutely. So So imagine, you know, you have this chaotic evil character, and you’re going to do a one-shot. And you’re going to be in a situation where there’s a motivation for the characters to do something that’s evil, and you’re going to go pull it off. And you have to push yourself to do those. So even as a, as a human being, you would never put in the session at something that makes sense. That might be a good way to exercise being someone else because it’s safe. And it has an it has an expiration, you don’t have to be this evil character for… and evil could just be tying someone’s shoes together. It doesn’t have to be so dramatic.

Tyler 

Doesn’t have to involve twirling mustaches.

Randall 

No.

Jodie 

It’s like dressing up for Halloween with some character that you would never be. Okay.

Randall 

Because you get to take it off the next day. Exactly.

Jodie 

Right. Okay.

Randall 

Preferably that night even. I don’t… depends on how your Halloween’s going, I suppose.

Jodie 

Well, I do have one other thing. And it has to do with when you’re playing the game, and you have a character that has a certain skill set that’s been chosen, or it goes with your character. And you get into a situation where you might decide that you need to use some kind of skill that you have, you’re like zero, or minus one or something. I mean, is that something that happens? And you just like, well, you know what, I’ll just take a shot here, you know, I’d have to luckily roll extremely high number. Okay.

Randall 

So and yeah, Random loves to call this out, right? D&D Fifth Edition is meant to be a bounded system. And what what he tells me that means is that the dice should always be more influential than the skill number, which is a fancy way of saying, like, you might have a plus three on animal handling, because you’re a Druid and you have minus one on intimidation, because you’re not an intimidating Druid. But the variance in that plus three to minus one versus what you’re gonna roll on the die. You know, it’s it isn’t such a big deal.

Random 

We’ve talked about this in some of our other episodes, particularly like the failure one, just because you don’t roll well on a check doesn’t mean that’s bad storytelling. And we talked about ways to actually make that interesting. If your skill set is not particularly suited to the task at hand, then there’s a couple things that can be solutions for that. Maybe that’s because your party is optimized around one person is really good at talking to people. This person is often called “the Face.” And when we talk about these roles. And a lot of times you know, you’re just Alright, we have some social situation, Bard, go do your thing, the rest of us are going to go get snacks for 20 minutes while you talk to the DM. And that’s fine. That’s a perfectly legitimate way to play. Or you can also say, You know what, my character would not agree with the thing that the face just said, I’m going to make my own damn persuade roll and I am going to roll a four and it’s going to be great. That’s amazing. That’s good storytelling. That’s good roleplay! Which is really the, I mean, what this is about, you know, a lot of times, we can feel pigeon holed into only doing the things that our characters are good at. But that’s not how people work in in the real world. Absolutely. In, you know, I harkening all the way back to Episode 1, absolutely, you may try and figure out ways to make a situation play to your strengths. Maybe you are trying to investigate instead of perceive. That’s fine. If you are trying to say, Man, I really want to do this thing and my characters only sort of mediocre at the way that we describe. But I can I can be creative this way. And maybe that’s how I can apply my skills. That’s going to be good storytelling. I actively encourage you to do things outside what your character sheet says uou’re good at.

Jodie 

Cool.

Randall 

Alright. Well, Jodie, thank you very much for going through this exercise. I had a lot of fun with you.

Jodie 

You know, I had fun also. I, you know, going into it, I kind of thought it would be a little more intimidating than it actually was. And I don’t know if those are the right words, but I just kind of had it in mind that this is going to be something that’s really complex. I mean, it is still complex, but but having the experience of going through it, I thought I can do this. This is fun, I can do this. So thank you. I really appreciate all three of you.

Randall 

Alright, I have to ask the question, are you going to play again?

Jodie 

I’m going to play again. I did play again, just…

Randall 

Oh, you’ve already played again!

Jodie 

Just once. So we started a game, and it didn’t last very long. But we’re gonna work on it some more.

Randall 

You’re gonna have another session in the game?

Jodie 

Yes.

Randall 

Okay. That’s fantastic. Yeah. Alright. Well, this is exciting. So Jodie, thank you very much. Tyler, Random, thank you very much. And yeah, to talk to the audience for a second. If you came upon this randomly, we’re gonna put notes in the show notes. We’re gonna put notes in the show notes to give you resources to find a game around you. Definitely take a look at your local game shop, because that’s going to be one of the greatest ways to find it, especially if you’re looking for an in person. If you didn’t randomly find this if you were recommended by somebody because you said, Hey, I kind of want to learn more about this and they said, just listen to this arc, that’s, that’s your person that is your spirit guide. You go find that person and you say, “Hey, I listened and I didn’t hate it. Now I want to play tabletop gaming. Let’s do this together.” Having, you know, I’ll give you a secret. The fact that the person shared it with you probably means that that person might be interested in playing a game with you. You should follow through on it. Hope you have a great time with them. You’ll find affiliate links for source books and other materials linked in the show notes following these links helps us to make the show happen every week. You can find our podcast wherever fine podcasts are distributed. If you enjoy this podcast, please rate review and subscribe. Share it with your friends. Alright, thanks, folks. Talk soon. Alright, well, thank you for joining us. I hope you found this episode useful. If you enjoyed this content, please listen to our regular weekly episodes on the RPGBOT.Podcast, where we talk about all kinds of topics across tabletop gaming. If you want to read more about building characters and character optimization, please visit RPGBOT.net. Alright, thanks a lot folks.

Tyler 

Aw, there’s a fly in my beer.

Randall 

That’s not what you want. Give it back, you wee bastard!

3 Comments

  1. Jordan M December 1, 2021
  2. Keovar January 22, 2022

Leave a Reply