Tabletop Baby Steps

Well, that went well I thought. Four potential players of the six were able to attend, so we took over a corner of the coffee house and I produced stacks of paper, pens and a Deadpool mask full of dice to begin the process of creating characters from scratch.


Everyone there had played some form of Dungeons & Dragons before, but crucially none of them had played version 3.5 except Lady M; and it had been a couple of years for her too. It quickly became an exercise in shuffling books and dice, with some picking up concepts more quickly than others. Some had a basic concept in mind already, while Lady M let the dice decide her concept for her.

For me, it was a useful exercise in gauging how things were likely to play out. Who was clued up on searching out information, and who was intimidated by the walls of text? Who was looking for the highest combat modifiers and who was thinking how their rolled statistics would inform their roleplay choices?

Over the couple of hours we’d set aside, the first four characters began to take shape. An elven sorcerer, a dwarven cleric, a human ranger (loosely based on Merida from Brave) and a half-orc monk took on substance as skills were chosen and feats debated. With that development began the formation of rudimentary battle plans as each person took onboard a clearer mental image of their characters’ strengths, weaknesses, aptitudes and interests.


There are two more people confirmed as wanting to play, and another potential player from my Monday group who only lives down the road. If he joins, he’ll have the clearest understanding of how I GM games from the off. Lady M and Charleesi have played a couple of short games, while Lady P and the others have only heard stories or read the blog entries here.

The buzz is quite different from that around the Roll20 screen on Mondays – the mix of personalities is younger and less scarred by enduring my GMing than the grizzled veterans I’m writing about in the Wartorn campaign. In addition, this (probably) Sunday group has an even mix of genders, so I’m expecting some different approaches to the game than the usual testosterone-driven games that I’ve typically had over the years. I’m really looking forward to it.

When gamers get excited

I’m gathering the new tabletop gamers group together tomorrow afternoon, and as there’s a few who haven’t yet met in person, I took a leaf from the Monday Roll20 session. I set up a Facebook shared conversation, introduced the topic and gave it a snazzy name. Then I gave it a bit of a stir and let the geekiness fizz over.

It started quietly, with questions about the game, and then the ice broke and this afternoon saw a torrent of geek conversation comprised of as many quotes from different fandom’s as possible. We skipped between Disney, Friends, superheroes of various stripes (although Guardians of the Galaxy seemed most popular), and on untilĀ  we ran out of steam.

It bodes well that most people got most of the references, and that they dived into it so eagerly. Tomorrow’s session will be for creating characters and the whole exercise has given me a good idea of the types of players we have as anything else.

With that in mind, I found this list lurking on my hard drive from a few years ago. I’m not sure who originally did this, lists like it have been circulating for years, but it made me chuckle, so I’m sharing it here:

  1. The Real Man – “Hot Diggity!! Gnoll outpost at twelve o’clock!! CHAAAAAAAARGE!!!”
  2. The Real Roleplayer – “Don’t start yet!! I need my two minutes to get properly into character.”
  3. The Lunatic – “I sheathe my longsword and kiss the ogre on the lips.”
  4. The Munchkin – “Five arch-devils and two demigods? That’s ALL?! I guess I’ll only need to use six of my rings for this encounter.”
  5. The Coward – “Yikes! Three kobolds!! Retreat! Retreat!”
  6. The Troublemaker – “Just before the Mayor gives his speech to the town, I cast ‘command – vomit’ on him.”
  7. The Novice – “I just rolled a 2 on my ‘to hit’ roll. Did I want high or low?”
  8. The Tactician – “The archer will move silently into position behind the podium, carefully aiming at the sergeant. The mage will remain behind the door in preparation of a ‘sleep’ spell which will be centered at the table around which are the bulk of the guards. Meanwhile, the fighter and I . . .”
  9. The Quiet Type – “I dunno . . . I lob off another arrow at the monster this round, I guess.”
  10. The Punster – “You know how many clerics it takes to fix a light bulb? One to cast ‘cure light’.”
  11. The PC Infighter – “Since Ruth’s been such a twit, I hit her in the face with my flail while she’s casting her ‘find familiar’ spell.”
  12. The Rules Lawyer – “No, if you look in the DMG, page 87, paragraph 5, you’ll find this spell won’t affect griffons.”
  13. The Whinger – “Three points?! I take THREE POINTS OF DAMAGE!?! Frank, what the hell kind of grudge do you have against me?”
  14. The Bully – “Are you sure I don’t make my saving throw? Are you ABSOLUTELY sure? Do you want to keep your nose the way it is, Lou?”
  15. Mr. Greedy – “So it’s not evil? And it’s not attacking? So what! I WANT THAT XP!!!!”
  16. The Cheater – “I roll an… 18! It hits!” [Quickly grabs dice.]
  17. The Chastiser – “And you DIDN’T SEE THAT TRAP COMING? Hahahaha!! Just how long did you say you’ve been playing this game?”
  18. The Kamikaze Guy – “I jump off our perch, taking careful aim to land dead center on the hobgoblin patrol. Just before I hit the ground, though, I set off the “fire trap’ on all my nine flasks of oil.”
  19. The Good Roller – “Oh, looky here. An 03 on percentile dice. If that door was trapped, I just found something.”
  20. The Bad Roller – “Oh, damn it all!! *Another* critical fumble!!”
  21. The Braggart – “The thought of you attacking me isn’t even interesting. I could get off a ‘sleep’ spell and slit your unconscious throat before you even get your longsword out of its sheath.”
  22. The Reminiscer – “Say, y’know, this is like the time our party thief spent twenty minutes trying to lock-pick an unlocked door.”
  23. Goody Two-Shoes – “Wait a minute. Even if they are orcs, we just can’t kill them when they’re asleep and can’t defend themselves.”
  24. The Overoptimistic Daydreamer – “After we get through this campaign, and have gained about nine, ten levels, I’m going to buy me the finest battle axe +3 money can buy.”
  25. Short-Attention-Span Man – “Hmmm? What? Are we attacking now?”