As part of our gaming at the moment I am performing the role of DM for the inhabitants of the floating citadel, we are even joined in our imaginary adventures by Mrs Servitob. We have yet to convince any other spouse/girlfriend to participate. This is a custom campaign we are currently undertaking, formed solely from my own warped imagination. This provides an interesting diversion from our other gaming and exercises a completely different set of skills from tabletop gaming. Things are more freeform and there really is no limit to what a player can do, save his imagination of course or an overly dictatorial DM.
D&D 4th edition is certainly different to previous incarnations, it introduced the idea of Tiers for character progression. A standard level one character is now supposed to represent an above average person, whereas before you were a regular joe who got butt-whooped by a Badger or some-such. Your stats reflect you as being a cut above the mundane populace of your world and therefore you start in an aptly named Heroic Tier. This doesn’t mean that combat is a walk over, there are still tough fights to be had as our group encountered when they met with the first milestone encounter I designed for them. Gribblin’s Elf bit the dust after feeling the attentions of one of the Guards patrolling a ruined temple.
As DM I am trying to portray a world in which the characters not only feel at home, but is believable, even within the realms that there is magic and various monsters of differing ferocity. So far all the players have encountered is humans, halflings and a dragonborn as their enemies. Not a horde of fantastical creatures, I am trying to create a very “real” world with a touch of the fantastic so as to achieve a decent suspension of disbelief. If this world lives on in the memories of the players and if it seems like a proper place to them I will have succeeded.
Now, as much as it is my job to try to craft a believable world for my players I think it is the responsibility of the players to live in that world in a proper manner. While we are all sitting around the table to have fun together acting like a douche is not really an option if you are thinking about the other players in your group. We have an interesting dynamic in our group between one of our dragonborn warriors and a sulking teenage human wizard. These players also happen to be the husband and wife team. Our group is composed of the following characters;
- Dragonborn Fighter
- Dragonborn Fighter
- Halfling Rogue
- Elf Shaman
- Human Wizard
We therefore have a pretty good combination of roles fulfilled. After the last session where the players reached another milestone, following on from their trip through the catacombs of the aforementioned temple everyone left with very good feelings. I’d like to take a moment to share some of the goings on that characterised people getting into character and playing their part in bringing the story to life.
While our wizard is a sulking emo our rogue has a flair for the dramatic. So far she has launched herself sliding across table to get to otherwise inaccessible enemies to jab daggers in the ribs of an assailant, has run up the back of our dragonborn on several occasions to land behind the enemy after delivering a ninja like kick to an opponent’s skull and generally beaten the living crap out of anything we’ve come across. This indulgence into a character, providing an heroic flair, acting in character with how someone with decent skills could go about performing their role brings our games to life. It makes things seem more cinematic, we play using dungeon tiles so you can see the layout of the playing area, we use what is on them to enhance the game and make things look more lively than just a plain old grid or our own imaginings. Having a visual representation of the dungeon certainly adds something to our play (and makes me work harder when designing these adventures), it creates an atmosphere in which the players can exercise their creativity and as DM I (of course) welcome it with open arms. When I see a player seizing hold of their place in the world, acting heroically as Heroic Tier characters, it brings me great joy. The world comes alive and we spin tales there together. If we can continue this as we delve deeper into the story I look forward with eager anticipation to see where they go next and how they deal with the things that will be thrown at them.