It is Thursday, and other thoughts #DnD #RPG #CriticalRole

Yay! It is Thursday, and I can stay up again tonight in order to stay up to date on the doings of Vox Machina. Few things inspire me to run games and really get back into the swing of role playing than watching a session of Critical Role. Luckily for me I have a session of Deadlands coming up, and then Pathfinder the following week. The inspiration should not go to waste.

One thing I have been inspired to do by Critical Role is to do a better job of keeping notes for my games. I love my electronic character sheet for my Pathfinder, it is an outstanding App. And the App for tracking things as a GM is equally handy. And yet, something is missing. Like using Dice app instead of actual dice. There is a visceral thrill to actually rolling the dice.

All of this has inspired me to make a few changes and test some things out. First, a minor cosmetic change. I like my little dice box, but one of the things  I purchased with my birthday money is a good dice tray. I think that I will go back to the dice bag, and use the tray for future sessions. No real reason for this other than pure cosmetics, I like the feel of the dice bag.

Second, I am planning to go back to a regular character sheet for my Pathfinder game. I will try it out for a session or two. It would be easy to revert to the iPad if I want to. One of the reasons is to also have note paper there, and a place to store things so I can also get better at taking notes.

Third and last, I plan to start using printed notes during the sessions I run. I can use the iPad for combats. But for regular session notes having a printed notes will be easier to manage. And again this should encourage me to keep better notes of what the players do, or have done.

Overall, most of this is purely cosmetic. But I think it will improve my own experience with the games. Get away from the passivity of the electronics. It remains to be seen if I will like it this way, but I look forward to trying it all out.


It can’t be Thursday already #DnD #CriticalRole

When I was laid off about 2 months ago I had been keeping myself up to date and current on a number of podcasts and web shows. Because my job allowed me to keep things like this going as a background while I did other work. Since then I have not had the same circumstances. My life at home has not been one where I did a lot where it made sense to have background shows. Recently, however, I have made a commitment to doing more writing. These shows are actually a fine background for my writing.

That means that I have spent this week catching up on my Critical Role. I was several episodes behind. But I have been able to make real good headway here. I have enjoyed these recent episodes. The death and resurrection of Percy. The masterful huge battle at Glintshore. The humor of the Spice deal. They have all been great, and a joy to watch and listen to.

As I listen to another episode it occurs to me that it is Thursday again. Which means that even if I catch up to the last 2 episodes available, I will have to wait until Monday to truly become current again. I do not try to watch the shows live because I normally do not like to stay up later on weeknights.

I will admit that listening to these has given me inspiration to really get going on my own campaign work. I spent yesterday plotting and researching ideas in Pathfinder. I have lots of thoughts and ideas for my character in that game. And I am looking forward to really digging into the Storm King’s Thunder for my next game with the boys.

It is all coming from this wonderful show. Thanks again to the crew for making this show, and making it so much fun.

Even the best group needs some action #DnD #RPG #Criticalrole

Last night I stayed up late to watch all of Critical Role. Which was not easy, given that they started late due to travel. That meant I was getting to sleep around 12:30 AM. Made me wish there was a way to DVR internet shows, although I know that would disrupt the economic model. I did enjoy the episode. There was a lot of good player interaction and great character development.

I am in awe of Matthew Mercer’s skill as a GM for pulling NPC’s completely out of his ass. And I will never think of the Sun Tree the same way again. That said I do have a general comment, but since it is a bit of a spoiler I will warn folks and use the Read More tag.

Continue reading “Even the best group needs some action #DnD #RPG #Criticalrole”

Using #CriticalRole for #DND evangelism

This past weekend my brother was in town for a visit. Way back in the day, when I was first playing D&D, he played a little with some of his buddies in high school. I even got to join them for one session, although I might have enjoyed that more than he did. And later, when he was in college, when one of his buddies came home with him for a visit we ran a quick one shot. In short my brother knows about D&D but has not really played it very much. But, he is a creative person who used to be a professional actor.

That meant that I felt that it was my duty to share Critical Role with him. Because it would appeal on multiple levels. As someone who had played D&D, he would not be completely lost when they talked about some of the concepts. And as an actor, he would appreciate the talent of the actors on the show as they demonstrated their skills as voice actors and also at improvisation.

Then Monday night before our Deadlands game the GM was asking me about 5th Edition. Was it any good? Was it worth the investment? As I waxed somewhat incoherently but enthusiastically about the game I brought up the show. Because the show does a great job of showing off what people can do with this edition, even at the higher levels of power that have so often thrown other games off in the past. And as a veteran role player, he would really appreciate some of the playing and inside jokes as well.

And that is another reason I really tried to get the boys to watch the show. Because they can learn so much about the game watching it. How to use their abilities and spells. The people on the show do a fantastically creative job of using everything at their disposal. I end up going to my spell descriptions and Monster Manual almost every time they play just to see if that is how something works because it is so novel.

In fact, I am kind of sad that I am now completely caught up with the show. Now I just have to wait until Thursdays, or more accurately Fridays because of time constraints, to watch the continuing story. Oh well, it is just something to look forward to.


It is a reminder to have fun #DnD #CriticalRole #RPG

I wanted to revisit the show Critical Role for another of the good things it teaches. Namely, I want to refer back to Rule 3 of being a better player: remember it is play. Because that is one of the things it can be very easy to forget (at least for me.) And it is so clear from watching/listening to these shows that these people get that.

It is funny when I watch an episode how I will find myself thinking what I would do in that situation the players are in. Sure I probably know the rules better than any of these players. And it is clear I approach the game very differently. Because I know I would do things differently as pretty much every player.

Does that mean I am a better player? I am not sure. From a tactical, beat the GM, style of play that answer is probably yes. Given what I know of the characters they have I am certain I could be even more effective than they are in many situations.

But do I have as much fun as those players? Even our Pathfinder group, which has a lot of fun and jokes a lot, has a very different kind of fun. In watching the show I have seen so many more interesting and fun choices made that I wonder a little. Am I guilty of not following Rule 3?

Here is how I answer that question. If I was being graded I would say I am getting a 70% grade. It has taken me a while but I think in the last couple of sessions that I am finally playing my character in a way that takes a fun and creative approach while still being effective. As a GM, I try my best to remain open and run things in such a way that everyone can have fun. It is not always easy. So I am not great at this, I do tend to let my practical side win out a little too much.

All of this is why I basically forced Jimmy to watch the show. And strongly encourage people to watch at least one episode, especially new players. To see role playing when it is not bogged down by numbers or tactical decisions. I think if you start from that direction, having fun with it, and later on figure out what is really possible, the game gets much better for everyone.