Play Deeply


Sarah Darkmagic - Posted on 11 May 2010

Recently, my emphasis has been on playing boldly. A lot of that is due to the play-by-post campaign I'm in where my swordmage is getting the reputation of being a bit of a loose cannon. However, I don't want to leave out another aspect of playing I really love, playing deeply.

When I say this, I don't mean amateur theater at the table. If that's what you and your table are into, great! But I'm a bit too shy for that and I'm not sure I would have the support of my table either, unless I was really funny. What's great about playing your character deeply is that most of it happens between your ears and no one else has to know about it for it to be fun and exciting.

Perhaps the easiest way to explain the phrase is to give an example. First, a spoilers warning because my example comes from my very first campaign where we played Keep on the Shadowfell. My poor little half-elf rogue/warlock was acting as the tank. Since it was my first character, I made this her first time away from home, so we could both be scared together. My group was in area 7, the Skeletal Legion right outside of Sir Keegan's Tomb. Soon we were surrounded by skeletons. The party wanted Sarah to check over in the chapel area to see if she might be able to disarm the sarcophagi. When she got there, she was confronted by two altars. Reliefs behind them depict soldiers in plate "on their knees in prayer." She frantically searched for a switch or anything that she thought might stop the skeletons but found nothing. Taking a moment to look around she noticed the reliefs.

"Guys, I think I need to kneel."

"Well do that."

Sarah kneels. "Ok, any ideas of what to do now?"

Around this time, one of the party members who could read Draconic finally made his way down and read the inscription. Sarah quickly offered some words of praise to the Platinum Dragon and the skeletons stopped attacking. I then proceeded to "collapse" at the table, resting my head on my forearms. "I think I need to kneel," I giggled and the rest of the table laughed with me.

To this day, my husband and I will randomly say something from that game that to each other whenever we need a little laugh. However, if I had never bothered to get into my character's head, it never would have happened. Doing this might not be everyone's favorite thing, heck, my favorite part of D&D is battlefield tactics. But I find getting into my character's head brings the tactics to life and increases my fun. Do you have a favorite "play deeply" story?

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I could easily see, "I think I need to kneel" becoming a running joke amongst your group.

I enjoy playing deep. While I love combat, especially in 4E, I also enjoy really getting into character and engaging with the other characters and NPC's.

In one campaign, my rogue, Sazakus, was infamous for stopping and talking with practically everyone. He once called to some men rowing down river and asked if the river lead to the city. The other characters called out, "You don't have to talk to everyone, Sazzy!"

As a GM, I love those moments when the players are so into character that they are talking amongst themselves and the game goes on with very little input from me.

Thanks for the article.

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