What do You Love About role-playing games?

I see this year #RPGaDay2018 questions are starting off strong. So,”What do you love about role-playing games?”

Well, honestly there’s a lot to love about role-playing games. When you get right down to it we are part of a  hobby that in some ways centuries old if not far older. Consider that Merlin, or Jason and the Argonauts. These Tales are collaborative stories that were told around campfires or after dinner meals for hundreds of years. All we really did was come along and had a few Dice and rules.

So, what does this have to do with what I love about role-playing games? the truth is everything!  The best part about stories the of old and the games we play today is people coming together socializing and celebrating their group creativity.

Granted not every story we tell is going to be an Iliad.
Yet I would be so bold as to say that some of your players know the goings-on in your game world better than the Iliad, and that’s powerful.

So that brings us to the point, what do I love about role-playing games? I love the profound impact that a good story can have on your friends. That moment when something happens at the table between you and your fellow players. A moment so powerful that years or sometimes decades later everyone still remembers.
That is what I love about RPG’s!

So go out, play games, tell stories, and create your own Epics.  



Do you like #RPGaDay?  I would love to hear your thoughts both positive and negative were here for a conversation!

If you liked Day 1 of #RPGaDay2018 Take a look at some past Day One questions in links below.


#RPGaDay2017 1st Day What Published RPG do you wish you were playing right now?


#RPGaDay2016 Day 1 Real Dice, Dice App, Diceless how do you prefer to roll?



Setting the Scene, Tournament Session!

Setting a good scene can be one of the more rewarding parts of running a good game. Ask yourself how often do you recall great encounters your players have been in but you can not recall where those encounters have been set? A good scene location can lay the foundation of a great encounter. A Tourney can further that and provide us with the foundation for several great Scenes!

Not only can a tournament event be set as a backdrop for your adventure but you can bring it to the forefront and make it the center of one or several game sessions. There were several types of tournaments that were held In medieval times and all were held over the period of several days of celebration and feasting.

The advantages of running a tournament were many. Chiefly among them was the notoriety and power it could bring to a region. Tourneys brought nobility to one location. If it’s a large enough tourney lords from far off kingdoms may even make an appearance. Giving your players a fun opportunity to meet and role play with nobility on potently neutral ground and possibility make contacts allies or even have to opportunity for travel to distant locations later in your campaign. But if you are going to have a Tournaments in your game you are going to need some events for everyone to participate in. The goal of each will be brief so that they do not bog down your game but add to it.

If you are going to have a Tournaments in your game you are going to need some events and Scenes for everyone to participate in. Here are a few ideas of events you could run during a tourney for your players. Or you can make up some of your own.

1250x814_10223_Knight_Fight_2d_fantasy_knights_fight_picture_image_digital_artRunning a Historical Melee would be a mess to run at the game table. Why you ask? Well basically because the Melee was a mass combat with the goal of capturing your opponent’s men for ransom. Each side would face one and other mounted and armed with lances. They would charge into the center and then wheel around and make a second pass or single out downed opponents to capture. The Melee could take place on an open field or stretch over several miles of area. In game terms, it is nothing less than a small-scale mock war.

So if I were to run Melee I would instead turn to movies like A Knights Tale, First Knight, and Excalibur. A test of the master of the sword. One on one combat with blunted weapons as a test of skills. Thus keeping everyone involved alive yet proving themselves in a test of combat. The first competitor to five successful strikes is the victor. All combatants are expressly forbidden to use magic arms or armor. And no spells of buffs allowed during the contest.

This is a contest of skill, not a test of magical resources. Run a melee tourney event just like a standard melee combat. Each competitor may take as many attacks as they have per turn as per a normal combat. Whichever combatant strikes more blows in a melee round gets a point for that round. The winner of the round is announced to the crowd and the next round begins. If after five rounds there is a tie the combatants move on to sudden death. Where each blow landed counts as a point. This continues until there is a winner in one round.

Rules for the Melee:
Each Round Lasts 5 rounds of combat (roughly 30-second rounds)
Track all hits on your opponent for scoring.
The highest number of hits wins the round.
Repeat for three rounds to determine the victor.
If tied continue until there is a victor of one round.

The Joust: 
10886_1222833600The Joust is as old as the Tournament itself yet the melee was the preferred event in the beginning And for a time it was occasionally banned from some events that held Melee due to the exhausting nature of the Joust would leave warriors at a disadvantage when the Melee event would begin. Over the years the Joust became the more popular event.
The concept is simple two horsemen with lances meet on the field of battle known as the Lists. The two ride at each other from opposite ends of the field. The goal was not always the same. Some Jousts the goal was to unseat your opponent from his horse and others was to shatter your lance on your foe’s body.  And the popularized movie version of both shatter and unhorsing your foe.

Conducting the Joust

All combatants are expressly forbidden to use magic arms or armor. And no spells of buffs allowed during the contest. 
At the signal (usually a trumpet charge), the opponents ride at each other, carrying only a lance and a shield, (make a ride check higher roll attacks first (simultaneous on tie).You may use three lance’s in each jousting match.

You receive one point for breaking your lance on your opponent’s chest.
You receive two points for breaking your lance on your opponent’s helmet.
You receive three points for knocking your opponent off from his horse.
An “unhorsing” ends the match.
Once your three lances have shattered, the jousting match is over.
If you do not break your lance, it is considered a glancing blow and does not count for points, unless you manage to unhorse your opponent in that charge.

Game Rules Note:
All attacks that hit strike your opponent’s Chest.
All attacks that crit are strikes to your opponent’s Head
Any attack that strikes and deals damage results in a ride check DC=10+1/2 Damage
Lances break on a roll of 1 or missing your targets AC by 5 or more.
Archery contests.
Three rounds of three shots much like darts.
Hit strikes outer ring.  Scoring 1 Points
17 hits blue ring              Scoring 2 Points
18 hits red ring                Scoring 3 Points
19 hits yellow ring         Scoring  4 Points
20 hits Bullseye               Scoring 5 Points

Hunting and Falconry.
These tests of skill and training can be conducted with a series of Skill checks. Each day the hunters roll a survival check to see how much food they are able to provide for the nightly feast. On the last day, the huntsman who provided the most is awarded the title of Grand Master of the Hunt until next tourney.

NOTE: Any of these events can still be used as backdrops for Roleplaying scene if your players have no interest in taking part. Anything from Gambling to assassination might be taking place under the cover of the cheer of the crowds.

Other Tourney events! 

filename-50-jpg-thumbnail0As important a part of any great tourney is the nightlife! Great feasts on an epic scale of decadence. Entertainment from around the realms. This is the prefect time for your not combat players to get involved in what they do the best.
Bards and Rouges can ply their trade among the crowds while the warriors of the day recover from their bruised bodies and egos from the day’s events.  Wine and Ale flow and stories of adventure are shared. The opportunity to make a powerful ally or enemy might just hang on a simple word. So tread wisely and enjoy tournament session.

Song & Dance
When the sun goes down and feast ends then the revelry begins. The backdrop makes a perfect setting for your players to come face to face with foes in an environment where combat is likely the absolute last course of action that they can take. It also sets a great stage for overt diplomacy or back room dealings. These kinds of scenes can enrich your game and if the right deals are struck. Maybe even have long lasting repercussions in your game world if things go poorly.

Let’s not forget all of the ceremonies that we can use have. Maybe your players are going to be given Land or title. Why just handwave this, a tourney with a ceremony presenting the players with their lands grants or title is the perfect time to lay in some politics for your group. This can also be a good scene for awarding and acknowledging any players that did well in the tourney events.

Have you run Tourney in any of your games? Would you run aTournamentt now ? Are there some other events that you think I should add to the list here? I welcome your thoughts!

Monday Musing, Bringing a touch of Halloween to your table.

The other day I found myself at one of the local big box stores and discovered that once again it’s that time of year where three sessions of holiday items are on the shelves. Now as annoying as I find this in regards to the total commercialization of my favorite holidays. The gamer in me loves it. This is that one time of the year where I am able to get my hands on tons of alternative gaming goodies to use at the table.


So this year my most recent find was my Giant undead frog that I used in my down the drain D&D game session. With his immense size, I gave him a swallow whole attack and a 60-foot reach with his undead tongue attack. led-fairy-string-lights-battery-operated-nbsp-nbsp-warm-white-3_260It was a blast and went over well. This was just one of the items I picked up so far. I also picked up some Halloween lights that I will be making torches and fires with.

I think that I can make a few very nice torch stands with these. Or some other things. Now it is not just about finding cool deals for me. Granted it is very nice to find anything I can implement well at the table for cheap. For me, it is times like this that I can head to the store and let my creative juices flow.

Over the years I have found some excellent things that I use to this day, here are pics of just a few.

2013-01-08 11.49.12

A fine example of an old setup that takes advantage of much of these wonderful sessional purchases I have found from trips to the store like this. In this amazing Dwarven Forge setup, I am also using. Trees that I had picked up in an after Christmas sale for a quarter. As well as the cool skeletal torches. I also added Tealights Halloween webbing for fog as well as my sweet Rise all Ye Dead statue I had found on sale at the local Michaels crafts. 2013-01-08 11.49.25

So am I the only one that does this ? Or do you love this time of year as a GM for the same reason as I do?  Or maybe I have inspired you to make a trip to the store? Let me know as I love to hear your input about any great finds you may have come across as well!

#RPGaDay2016 Day 31 Best advice you were ever given for your game of choice?


The best advice I have ever been given was not for my game of choice. But my roll of choice as a Gamemaster. That lovely piece of advice was.

Run the games you enjoy, and tell the stories you would want to be in. Playing RPGs is a hobby and it’s fun and if your not having fun then stop!

This is vice enlighten me to run games for me and my friends that I was comfortable with. And to not try to force myself to run games for my friends that they wanted  me to run but I wasn’t capable of running.

Several times sadly I’ve been asked to run animal anthropomorphic games such as Red Wall. But sadly for some reason as a GM, I just can’t wrap my head around the style of stories. Instead of forcing myself to run these games I’ve just politely declined.

Oh, I know that I’m completely capable of running a game like this. The problem is with such a game I  would be a struggle. finding a story that I would enjoy telling would be a struggle for me. I think it would also show at the table how hard of a time I would have with the subject. That would take away from my player’s enjoyment of the game.

#RPGaDay2016 Day:30 Describe the ideal game room if your budget were unlimited?


This will more be a series of pictures.

Right out the gate, I would like to have a very sharp looking room that would still reflect a Fantasy Inn or Tavern. I love my Sci-Fi but if I want a game room this has got to be the look. So I think this is the closest to what I would like to have.


So with the rooms base look covered lets hit on the two walls of the room not pictured. IF you are going to be gaming for hours on end. You will need to take some breaks. What better way to take a break then have a mini/full sized bar in the room.


Now we are not to the table yet but the other wall would be for storage of my Dwarven Forge as well as a huge layout for the main city hub that game would be taking place on like shown below. Yeah AWESOME..


And next up we have to have the table of AWESOME to be the grand centerpiece for this room of epicness ! So we turn to the Sultan to do the job.


Tack on a gorgeous wrap around deck for after game and fresh air. And I will call my unlimited game room done.

#RPGaDay2016 Day:24 What is the game you are most likely to give to others?


This one is pretty easy for me. If I wanted to give a game to others my fist choice would be Cypher System, Why?

Handing a gamer the Cypher System is literally handing them a system that is designed to run anything or any genre one can imagine. So by giving them one ruleset I have also given them a game with the ability to run any game they would ever want to and more. See a show on TV that you like? Sit down and make that world in a few short min. It can be as easy as that!

My reasons for giving the Cypher System over D&D or Pathfinder is two-fold. First the
Cypher System is rules light so I would also be gifting a player a system that would not require them to do a lot of heavy lifting to learn from both players and GM’s perspective.
Secondly, so many people have seen or played D&D or Pathfinder I would want to give them something they might be able to experience that would be new for them as well as fun and useful.

#RPGaDay2016 Day:22 Supposedly Random game events that keep recurring?


I have a good one, But it is not an in-game event. This one has been happening for years and years of my gaming lifetime. It is my one pain that the digital world has finally stepped in to solve. Or so I thought. Just when I thought I was free of this event. Yet once again this weekend at our groups Shadowrun game. It happened again.

I lost my damn Character sheet! It is truly terrifying the number of character sheets I have lost misplaced spent hectic moments before game vainly looking to find my misplaced Characters.

Enter the age of Digital Character sheets and I cheer to myself knowing that the days of lost sheets are over! For a few years, I was free of the curse. Then just recently we started up a Shadowrun game. I dreaded writing up this character. Because I knew .. I just it would happen. It did not fail.
After about our 5 game session we sat down last week to play and it happens. I lost my character sheet. Sighs.. SO it is not in the game but it is recurring and it feels like it’s not random lol.