Getting back on the regular track this week after Origins 2017 – con fatigue is a thing that is real, folks – there were two RPG player experiences I’ve had recently that taught me a valuable lesson. One is from the time-stamped video above that happened during Nerdarchy’s Open Legend RPG-sponsored live game Fridays at noon EST. The other is from my home group’s fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game. Both situations illustrated a poignant paradigm. As you’ve undoubtedly guessed from this article’s title, the lesson is that great stories emerge from less-than-great people.
Great examples of not so great people in RPG campaigns who drive the narrative forward and create great stories are everywhere. Critical Role’s Vox Machina will be the first to admit they’re often terrible people. Dice, Camera, Action’s Waffle Crew barely get along. Acquisitions Inc.’s The C Team aren’t exactly shining examples of heroism. And Titansgrave’s cast of adventurers were built from the beginning with inherent flaws. Yet all of them tell compelling RPG stories full of action, excitement, humor and drama driven by characters who are far from perfect. I’m sure anyone’s home game has plenty of examples, too.
PTSD in gamingAlrighty, well many a statement has been made about PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many a facet and corner of the internet is about how to diagnose yourself or whatever, and I only state whatever because that is not what this article is about. What this article is about is how to show and bring this intense aspect of recovery from stress into your game. I bring this up for two sources of inspiration in the last 24 hours. The first being a game session one where one of our players chose the background of soldier, and I was thinking how this is portrayed or roleplayed. The other is that I watched the movie Wonder Woman, in which there is a character that has obvious PTSD or ‘shell shock’ as it was known back then. This all combined to get my mind working for this subject in multiple ways.
Tabletop roleplaying games afford players amazing opportunities. Through the characters and worlds we imagine at the gaming table, we create adventures and stories filled with heroism, villainy, danger, humor, drama, action and intrigue. Through game play we surprise ourselves through improvisation and collaboration, letting our shared stories twist and turn and carry us along. Through our characters’ actions, we affect the imaginary world and have an impact.
We invest something of ourselves into our characters. Players might portray characters who are exaggerated or ideal versions of themselves, or one aspect of themselves. Conversely, they can explore personalities, philosophies or lifestyles vastly different than their own. In a similar way, GMs create and run adventures that satisfy (sometimes intangible) goals and interests, populating the game environment with people, places and things – and monsters! – that appeal to those goals.
There’s a certain kind of player, and I myself am one, who just wants to know everything about their character and has a tendency to overthink it. If you’re one of those, this article is for you. None of these are things you absolutely have to know the answers to, but they can be fun to think about. So if you’re the kind of player who spends way too much away-from-table time thinking about your PC, have fun with this.
1 – What does your character smell like?
My last week’s article covered a brief character creation ideal, which was to create your Dungeons & Dragons character based entirely off your own ego. I think for most people, most characters are made this way, or at least partly. You might add features or traits that you have, eg. your character suffers from an untamed shaking in one hand that won’t stop due to real life PTSD that you struggle with. Or perhaps your character wears a certain handkerchief in one pocket as a symbol of a past event that changed him, and he wears it to remember. While these small details are mostly forgotten along the character creation path, to really explore those details can add a lot of fun and/or humor to your game play style.
Bringing romance to D&D
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and with all this pink and red plastered everywhere, and all of these teddy bears crowding the shelves at every store, it’s no wonder I’ve got romance on the brain. It’s enough to make a person want to barf. But in honor of the holiday, I’m going to take a moment to talk about romance subplots at the gaming table.
Sanforth felt the white, runed stone in the leather pouch at his belt. It had been two weeks since Ferrion Gatebreaker, leader of the adventuring band the Spire Strikers had given it to him – since she had left the Silver Gryff Inn. Those two weeks had been busy. Adventuring band Sovereign Rain had (with Gryff’s consent) used the fields near the Silver Gryff Inn to broker a trade for a magical spear they had procured in Faerun.
Three wizards and one monk, each from a different plane, had brought chests of coins and collections of magic items to bargain for the spear. Sovereign Rain had even brought in a special negotiator from Aebrynis to help manage the trade. The whole affair had proved to be quite profitable for the Silver Gryff Inn, which had done much trade in mutton and ale and all rooms had been full for days before and after the trade. Sanforth thought about Ferrion, her ambition to create her own unique spells, about the extemporaneous meal time they had shared in the stable. He also considered her request, to throw the white runed stone into the river if he saw the two brother adventurers who carried matching black swords, each bearing a glowing white gem in its center.
The Background Story for J. Scott Garibay’s Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition Player Character, Sanforth Grunswain
If you have been following the Tales from the Silver Gryff Inn, welcome! If you are new to the Tales from the Silver Gryff Inn, you can start at the beginning here at Part One.
Sanforth shook his head as he watched Ferrion Gatebreaker stomp toward the Inn. Glad to see the back of her, he was now free to get to the tasks of his role, the work of a stablehand.
The Background Story for J. Scott Garibay’s Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition Player Character, Sanforth Grunswain. You can check out part one here.
Sanforth judged there were six riders coming in from the forest, heading toward the stables. He turned and jogged to the center of the third floor. The lift had Feather Fallen back to the first floor. Without hesitation, Sanforth leapt into the open center of the third floor, falling 15 feet before catching a smooth wooden beam with both hands. His momentum slowed and he swung from the beam at the edge of the second floor circular opening and somersaulted backwards onto a bale of hay on the first floor.
Dungeons and Dragons Character Stories
Scritching the ear of a dark mare in passing, Sanforth headed toward the entrance\exit of the stables.
The Background Story for J. Scott Garibay’s Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition Player Character, Sanforth Grunswain. Last week I completed the write up for Oljatts armor. You can read about it here.
Sanforth lowered the wooden bucket into the dark well. His eyes swept across the thick grass, a waist-high well-built stone wall and then the Silver Gryff Inn.
- PC \ Sanforth Grunswain – Human (Male) Fighter (Folk Hero) \ 3 years of service at the Silver Gryff Inn
- Location \ Silver Gryff Inn – A large Inn 20 miles east of Oljatt City
Dungeons and Dragons Character Story
Sanforth took note of warm lights beaming through each window. He could hear the quick notes of a lyre. Lyles the Red was in for a full week and already the Inn was starting to fill. Sanforth was relieved to hear no sounds of confrontation. Gryff expected Sanforth to help Quick Zern and Little Migwa if there was a brawl in the Inn. Sanforth was excused if magic was involved, but even with that caveat he had helped in more than one situation involving a drunk wizard.
Hello Nerdarchist Ted here and I am going to present a new article series written by guest DM on our channel and frequent guest on our video Scott Garibay. Scott proposed to make this armor in one of my most recent sessions and while the idea was not fitting for our low magic world of ‘Chimes of Discordia’ it was a great concept that Scott wanted to take further. So without further ado.
The Oljatt Century Armor, an unprecedented collection of 100 artifact level magic items, were built over a 25 year period by the citizens of the city of Oljatt.
This is the first in a series of articles that will define the following for the Oljatt Century Armor –
Fear not loyal Nerdarchist there will be no spoilers here- I haven’t even had a chance to see the movie yet! Then what, pray tell is this article about you ask? Tomorrow night at (or around) 10:30 EST, Halloween, Nerdarchist Dave’s running an eerie Dungeons and Dragons Witch Hunter game live on Google Hangout for myself, Nate the Nerdarch, as well as friend, and frequent guest poster, Art Wood.
Our characters were created using the Witch Hunter (click link to download PDF of the class!) custom character class written by Critical Role’s Matthew Mercer. It’s a full 20 levels of a character class with three distinct orders to choose from, The Orders of the Ghostslayer, Profane Soul, and the Mutant. The three of us will be playing each of the orders as 15th level characters. Our intrepid Dungeon Master Dave has given us a 30 point stat buy and 6,000 gp to spend on starting equipment using the gold costs out of the Dungeon Master’s Guide for magic items.
Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition- Witch Hunter Class
Yours truly will be playing a dwarf following the Order of the Mutant. Below is the backstory for Egrec Rune Hammer:
Hello today I present you a Dungeons and Dragons story. This is written by Micheal Rovinski.
Ephram is an Aarakocra, commonly referred to as Bird-Folk, Bird People, or Avian Humanoids. At a young age, he joined a monastery to learn the way of martial arts, and once he learned enough he was sent on a pilgrimage. During his pilgrimage, Ephram seeks out those in need of help. It is a part of his martial philosophy, the Way of the Open Palm; a martial philosophy considered the key to maintaining harmony with nature, one’s surroundings, and the place that one has with the Celestial Bureaucracy.
Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition
Greetings Nerdarchists. Nerdarchy is looking to launch another game into our schedule. If you missed our session zero feel free to watch the video below. My character build for that Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition game is a deep gnome bard.
Now bards in previous editions really did not appeal to me. I think before 5th edition I had only played one bard in approximately 20 years of playing Dungeons and Dragons. 5th edition on the other hand really changed my mind. I have played in less than 10 campaigns in the year since the release of Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition and 2 of those characters have been bards. So what does that say about them?
Dungeons and Dragons character build
So with this character build for 5th edition, my goal was to make a well rounded character. He has a few things that he would be good at, excel at really because of expertise but be a support character all around. As this race class combination is a sub-optimal character build it fits.