Are you a responsible gamer?

 

You and I know the gamer stereotypes that are out there.  And you know the one that you’re dangerously close to being!

Me?  I’m the obsessive gamer type, who goes crazy over a game (usually for a short season) but eventually burns out and moves on to another.  AD&D has been a rare long-standing muse for me!

Regardless of which stereotype fits you most closely, I think we can be a part of creating a new stereotype: that of the responsible gamer.  You know, the person who is deeply engaged with the people around them–who does good, creative, life-affirming work–who lives with purpose and vivacity–and also really loves games.  That’s who I want to be.  But is that possible?

It’s a question I’ve asked before: does growing up mean giving up gaming?  There’s a tension between responsibility and play in our culture, as though you can’t be responsible and still engage  imagination and fun.  Well, I call shenanigans.  How can I do that?  Because I think I’m pulling it off fairly well.  And here’s how you can do it too:

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I’m not giving up.

 

Just wanted to pop in and give a quick update on my journey through AD&D, Chasing the Dragon.  As a few of you know, family life has gotten complex with a third baby due in June!  So between that and work, I’m having to prioritize my free time.  So what does that mean for Chasing the Dragon?

First, the online AD&D group that I’m GMing is still waging war against the Cult of the Reptile God!  I anticipate that group to continue for another four sessions or so.

Second, after baby is born, I’m hoping to start another local AD&D group.  I’m not sure whether I’ll be GMing or playing, nor am I sure which module we’ll be traversing.  But it’s in the works.

Third, as far as madcleric.com is concerned, I’m going to give myself the freedom to post more sporadically.  The video blog method seems less time-intensive at present, so I may use that as a more primary method of communicating.  That said, I’m going to make an effort to be more present on Twitter to interact on all things AD&D and gaming.

While this post is (understandably) short and (unfortunately) focused on what I’m doing.  I hope it will encourage you to stop and take inventory of your gaming life.  Are you making sure that most important things in life are being taken care of?  There’s nothing wrong with dialing the gaming back just a bit for a season.  We take short breaks, so that we can fully engage again in the near future.

Thanks for your patience with me.  And I look forward to chatting with you all soon.  If you don’t follow me on Twitter yet, make it happen!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Different Genres in D&D

I’m still getting the technical stuff worked out, so you’ll need to turn your speakers up and I lost the last five seconds or so.  But we’re making progress in the right direction.  Enjoy!

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Jason’s reading list:

RPGs
D&D 5e Player’s Handbook
D&D 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide
N1: Against the Cult of the Reptile God (AD&D; currently DMing)
Star Wars RPG: Mask of the Pirate Queen (currently playing as PC)

Other books
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Playing at the World by Jon Peterson

Recently completed
AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide (3rd read-through)

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Can you provide your players freedom of choice?

It all started out so innocently–just a normal, every-day mattress fire started by our cleric.  You know, in a wooden inn.  And in the end, the Golden Grain Inn (from N1: Against the Cult of the Reptile God) was in ashes.

This, my friends, is the danger of giving players freedom to choose.  It’s possible that they may just burn the inn down!

Now this came as no surprise to me.  As a player character, I’ve roleplayed as arsonist a time or two.  I’m sure you’ve seen it happen too.  But these sorts of character actions cause a problem for us: offering freedom to players often constrains the story.

In the case of this unfortunate fire (which occurred in last Monday’s session, mind you), we now have a major set piece in ashes.  But beyond that, as the DM, I’m faced with a really complicated conundrum: how do the [bad guys] respond?  The module does not have much fluff about these folks.  So now the storyline has been shaken.  Where do I go from here?

While many GMs would default to railroading the players (thus limiting the players’ freedom), some would abandon the storyline altogether (thus limiting the GM’s freedom).  But I think there’s a better way to handle situations like this when players throw the story into a tailspin.  The answer?  Consequences.

For every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction.  And that is what the GM must be prepared to do.  Here’s how you can do it with ease:

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Making Good Gamers Great Gamers

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Jason’s reading list:

RPGs
AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide
D&D 5e Player’s Handbook
D&D 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide
N1: Against the Cult of the Reptile God (AD&D; currently DMing)

Other books
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Playing at the World by Jon Peterson

Recently completed
Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston
U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (AD&D; played through as a PC)

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

How can you have a great AD&D experience online?

Good games don’t die.  They adapt with you.

This is a lesson I’m learning, as I’ve just begun DMing an AD&D campaign online using Roll20.  Of course, your skin may crawl even hearing such a proposition!  Playing AD&D online?  Doesn’t that violate the very nature of the game?

Well, I will admit that there are several setbacks to playing AD&D online.  But they’re not insurmountable.  Instead, if you take on those setbacks one by one, in the end you’ll find yourself enjoying AD&D in a whole new way.

An AD&D group like you might be used to.  The good folks of GaryCon.

Playing AD&D online will not be the AD&D of your earlier years.  It will be a new thing.  That’s what good games do.  They don’t die–they adapt with you!

Here’s how you can enjoy a whole new phase of AD&D online:

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Should you reconsider D&D alignments?

You’ve heard it said–maybe you yourself have said it:

“There’s no point to character alignments in D&D or any other roleplaying game.  It’s an unnecessary hindrance to players!”

Or if you’re a proponent of alignments, you’ve seen the eye-rolls from players and other GMs.  I mean, who really takes those kinds of rules seriously?  Should alignments even exist in roleplaying games?

Well, I am taking those rules seriously, as I play my way through First Edition AD&D.  And I’m not simply finding them tolerable, I’m actually really enjoying the rules on alignment.

As someone who played 4th Edition D&D consistently for about four years (and has even dabbled a bit in the last year, believe it or not), I’ve experienced the other side of alignments.  In the 4e Essentials book, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, alignment is discussed in this way:

“A character’s alignment describes his or her moral stance.  Many adventurers…are unaligned, which means they have no overriding moral stance. … Most people in the world, and plenty of adventurers, haven’t signed up to play on any team–they’re unaligned.  Picking and adhering to an alignment represents a distinct choice.

If you choose an alignment for your character, you should pick either good or lawful good” (Mearls, Slavicsek, and Thompson, pg. 43).

As I’ve played 4th Edition, my experience has been that 4e alignment rules functionally led to no alignments at all.  Which is fine!  I just think it’s an unfortunate drift from their original function.  So why were alignments originally written into D&D?  And how can their rigorous use  actually benefit our games?

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