What I Did Wrong at D&D: March 2nd, 2016

Week 4 of D&D brought another player from me homegroup to the table, an another new player in general, ripped a disadvantage out of a racial feature, and showed how jailbreaks are not supposed to go.

This was the first real backslide week. three players who had been there the week before were not there that week. So the table felt really different. I had a few plans of things people could do tied into Mertahl. Surprisingly, by the time we left, weeks later, we had done 3 of the 4, which ain’t to shabby. And because I had some vague ideas of where we were headed, I could tweak my plans and go into far different ones. There were still issues, of course, but I wasn’t improving off the cuff.

First: Roll rumors before the game. Really, anything that’s not on a single table of 20 lines or less should be generated before the game. I spent too long hunting down that one exact reddit article, rolling the dice, piecing together the story, when I could have done this prep off stage. That’s what off stage is for.

Second: A jail break needs good maps, and solid info. I had wanted to run a jail break. So I did. And it went…. okay. It needed more prep on my side, with, well, good maps, solid info, important things. I also should have had the players do more of the creation of events. Maybe in the future, I will have another opportunity. It just wasn’t my best work.

Third: What are things worth? This is a big one. I need to have an idea on how much gold things actually take. Money in D&D is this vague thing. See, us D&D players have learned horrible lessons from video games and, well, RPGs and other games. Money is treated as a way to keep score. If you have all the money, you win. Simple, right? But the world doesn’t really work like that and so when we try to bring any simulation to D&D, money is off. Partly because we don’t know the intrinsic value of, say, a boat. How many meals is a boat worth. How many fancy meals? What IS the exchange rate? And then when we know what mundane things cost, what is the cost for something that is magical? or reproduces a magical effect? Everything I see in the PHB and DMG say, basically, “Just use ourt numbers. We made them up, but it’s okay, they work.” Which makes dungeon loot a bit pointless. Once you’ve handled golds, why do you care about coppers, right? I suppose we get that, slowly, as we grow up. That quarter for candy as a kid doesn’t mean anything now. And maybe, in the future, $5 for a burrito is chump change?

Money is weird. That’s my point. And I do it badly, because I don’t GET the system behind it. I need a system behind it to make commerce work in D&D. And then I can know exactly how crazy finding 50 gold really is.

Also, maybe I should stop spitting you numbers that sound big. It’s a thing I do and it gets me in trouble. And then I have to write an article.


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