Lateral Rewards

At My Table

Games like D&D often recommend awarding what I call primary rewards for excellence, things like experience points, or extra treasure. Roleplaying xp is a good example of this, and it serves the function of motivating players as I discussed last month. But rewarding people in these ways can lead to some pretty disheartening gaps, so at my table, we use lateral rewards.  Read more

It isn’t a Problem Until It’s a Problem

Cat fixed

At My Table

When I tell people I like to run 3.5 D&D, one of the responses I often get are “That system is totally broken!” And they’re not wrong. There are lots of points where it’s utterly ridiculous, like the fact that class balance is completely wonky,  some of them can’t even do what they’re supposed to, and there’s a lot of trash abilities and things put there just to fill space. It’s the system my players know and it gives us the complexity we’re looking for, though I’m really liking some of the things I’m seeing in D&D Next. Still, when people bring up brokenness, I say “It isn’t a problem until it’s a problem.”  Read more

At My Table: Lax Attendance

Scheduling is probably the biggest issue facing tabletop groups. It wasn’t an issue when we were teenagers and had all the time in the world, but now there’s responsibilities, papers to write and children to care for, all of which put constraints on our time. I had games lapse for months at a time as we tried to find a point where all of our schedules lined up. Lax attendance is the best way I’ve found to ensure that the game goes on, regardless of how many people are there.  Read more

At My Table: We Think About Roles

I think everybody’s thinking about roles in some way or another when they come to the table. But how we think about roles is going to be as important as what we think about them. Today I want to start by talking about how I encourage people to think about them and why I do that, and over the next few weeks I’ll talk about how roles work in some other games, and whether they work well or not. 4th Edition D&D focuses on roles, and that’s something worth talking about, but first I want to get through what roles mean. Read more

At My Table: Conversation Café

At my table, instead of characters meeting in a bar, we use Conversation Café. It’s a method of discussion which encourages deeper character descriptions and leads to each of the players having a better understanding not just of the other characters and their place in the party dynamic, but often their own as well. It’s been effective with new players and experienced ones, and serves as a kind of round robin fireside chat. Read more