Friday Five: 2009-10-23

Character Sheet Cross Dressing

Playing a character of the opposite sex can be a huge blast. I’m not talking about logging into your favorite MMORPG as a member of the opposite sex and flirting with people when your true identity is hidden. I’m talking about sitting at the table with a beer gut and a five-o-clock shadow and playing that elven maiden… or for you ladies, sitting there with makeup on and a fresh manicure and playing a belching, farting barbarian. Sure, I’m taking things to the extreme with my examples, but that’s not necessary. As a matter of fact, taking the opposite sex to the extreme will only be good for some laughs, and could potentially offend the other people at the table. For more details about playing someone totally different, check out Nicholas’s post over at Dungeon Mastering.

Benefits of Random Treasure

Random treasure… As a GM, I love it. It always inspires me to give things to the players that I would have otherwise not thought of handing out. As a player, I’m ambivalent about random treasure. It means sometimes I’ll get something beyond my wildest dreams, or I may be the guy that gets nothing for several encounters as I’m waiting for that just right item to fall into my lap. With the advent of D&D 4e, random treasure is pretty much gone and this makes me sad. Sure, the GM can hand out customized items for the group and target items for certain players, but in the end, that just doesn’t sound as much fun to me as the days of random treasure. More thoughts on the matter from Ameron over at Dungeon’s Master.com.

From Player to GM: Tips for Making the Switch

Any GM, regardless of experience level, should run right over to Role Playing Tips immediately and check out their advice for players becoming GMs. It’s very sound and great words for anyone running a game. I’ve always said that every player should run at least one campaign, even if it’s short lived. It will give them more respect for GMs in general, and help them understand how to better be part of the game as a whole.

Schrödinger’s Dungeon

The post over at Grognardia laments about the “missing” epic dungeons (he calls them, very appropriately I might add, megadungeons) from the days of Gygax and Arneson. Like him, I would love to see what the full Castle Greyhawk looks like. I’ve had two experiences with megadungeons. The first was Undermountain (beneath Waterdeep in Faerun) and I was the GM. There was so much to keep track of, that it was very very hard to run it properly. In the end, I settled for taking a sub-set of the overall plot lines and hooks and ran with those. It was quite enjoyable. The other experience I had was as a player going through The Worlds Largest Dungeon. That was a horrible experience. Just horrible. I think we made it to the tenth room where a large, overpowered ogre got the drop on us and we ended up with a TPK (total party kill). It wasn’t the GM’s fault in this case. It was just a poorly written adventure that he shelled out $100 for, and we felt obligated to run through it even though he warned us that it wasn’t all that great.

Using Undead Intelligently

Immortal undead are a blast to run as Bad Guys because they just think differently. They have more than a few dozen years to put a plot into place. If that uber-powerful lich decides he wants to take over a country, he doesn’t have to face down the popular, powerful army-backed king that is in power right now. He can wait for hard economic times, a downturn in morale in the army and a weak king to ascend to the throne. If you are running an longer-lived Bad Guy, keep this in mind when coming up with their plots and plans. Always remember that running away is an option for the immortal Bad Guy. He can come back later and clean up the group at his leisure and on his terms. Wimwick over at Dungeon’s Master.com has more info on the subject if you want to follow the link.