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About Me nad why DnD
Hi, I'm Conor and I particularly like the RP aspect of DnD. I consider myself a writer and actor too and I think DnD is good exercise for both, not to mention fun. People relay their DnD stories like they do their drunk stories; they are both ridiculous for different reasons but there's that same 'I can't believe that happened' tone in their voice and usually a big dumb grin on their face. That to me is what it's all about; story-telling in the old-school sense and little miracles of fluke - friends joking with each other as they go on a wild trip.
My Kind Of Game
I see magic users as rare (but not very rare). Plot and motive are the most important parts driving a story. I like intrigue and betrayal and generally let the combat take care of itself. I love setting puzzles but also just giving flavour text if a player wants to take another look at those curtains. I do not like the idea of PC's that are evil aligned. I may set the odds in favour of the Players but I roll my dice in the open and stick to them. If a PC must die, so be it. I wonder about XP and whether I should just award a level at each gaming quest end to everyone in the party? I like to introduce mechanics to the story; in the old days, you would have to spend XP to scribe scrolls so in my campaign there is a NPC wizard who trades in his memories so he can produce scrolls - he sees the same bard a hundred times and wipes and stores his memory in scrolls - he says it makes him feel young. I cannot go into all the cool places that could take you as a storyteller!
There are probably rules I don't agree with but I won't bore you. Here is the flavor of the games I run:
Definitely not straight-faced. I don't dislike players putting on accents or voices but it may or may not get your character inspiration. On the flipside, I like to have a trial scene ready just in case a PC ends up thinking that murdering a town guard will have no consequences.
In live games I like the idea of a food break halfway through a session. The players are usually hungry and it's something that lets the characters learn more about each other in a casual way. Of course you have to have players who are invested in their characters and have worked on them.
I am a big believer in the new Flaws, Bonds, Ideals thing. I love giving away inspiration, especially when the player has gotten the party into trouble.
I am experimenting now with Quote Cards: the player must slip a pre-determined phrase into play. I hand out one card to each player at the start of the session and it will say something like "I had a very different childhood." or "Your kind know nothing of good food". If the player can sneak it into conversation then they are rewarded, if any other player guesses it is their Quote Card phrase when it is said, then the others share the reward. This pushes players to use similar language or discuss their character.
I like the idea of cultural references so I take the Knight's Tale angle on things:
"The Dave Matthews Minstrels were in town not long ago..."
"Well I don't care for song so much as theatre; I saw Snakes On An Astral Plane lately and it sounds like the sort of thing that would be in Brinweir's bargain bin - y'know, a straight-to-halfling-puppet-show release - but it was actually very good."