Let's Play

Sarah Darkmagic - Posted on 28 August 2010

I am writing this while on a bus to New York City to meet up with a friend I made while at Gen Con. While I'm excited about this trip for many reasons, one of the things I'm most looking forward to is the ability to just play. You see, my friend has a puppy. I've already warned him that I'm going to lose all sense of decorum for a moment while I play with the dog. It's not really my fault either; I get so few moments of pure child-like joy, that I need to take them where I can get them. I always feel refreshed and re-energized afterward.

So what does this have to do with gaming? Sometimes I'm afraid we are a bit too serious about our games. We box ourselves into viewing the game in one particular manner. Take for instance the number of people who refuse to view D&D as anything other than a Western-European, medieval fantasy game. Or the people who limit themselves only to the powers and skill manifestations listed on their character sheet or the player's handbook.

So to everyone out there, I say take a night off from the very serious campaign and have a night of pure play. Whether that takes the form of improvised weapons or something completely different, go out and just have fun. You might be surprised at what you discover.


Very true. Having fun should be why we game. Go play.

Enjoy your trip to the big city.

I have spent the vast majority of my 26 years gaming as a DM/GM, and I truly cherish the few moments I get to actually play.

As a lover of RPGs, I really like to get into the meaty intrigue of world. Sometimes when I GM, my group will just be so serious for a time that you *need* that break. I liken it to Avatar: The Last Airbender.

You may not know this, but Avatar has a very deep storyline with lots of angst and drama. The reason the show is so successful is because of what I call "Silly Sounds." Whenever the show needs to remind us that we're watching a cartoon, or just wants us to have some more fun, the show will have a "Silly Sounds" episode, where the adventure that episode is lighthearted and they make use of cartoony sound effects and childish anime techniques.

Sneaking through the city to assassinate the evil emperor? Well, just before the incredibly dangerous and difficult task before them, maybe they need to spend the night pretending to be farm hands at the pig farm outside the city. Skill Challenges and "combats" could involve chasing pigs or fighting wolves. Just make sure there's some reward for the silly night. Maybe the farmer supplies a good cover by asking the PCs to take his cart into town so you can pick up supplies.

Sometimes, no matter how intense your scenario is, your players will thank you by adding a "Silly Sounds" night into their adventure.


Well said Sarah! I have issued a couple of new edicts to enhance our role-playing. First off I don't allow rulebooks on the table anymore, mine or theirs. I have taken down my DM Screen and adopted a less confrontational style.(I do still chuckle when somebody rolls a 1 though) I also make the player describe, in thier own words, what they're doing. Reading the words "Twin Strike" is not roleplaying! I'm also calling myself the Fungeon Master from now on.

I lived on a desert island for two years and there were no pets. I so missed having a dog around. On one of my short return visits, I stopped to pet every mutt I saw on the Montreal streets. Enjoy!


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