Updates Wednesdays

Comic 298 - Playing Dungeons & Dragons

Posted on Wednesday, the 28th of March at 12:00 AM, 2018 in 2018

Author Notes:

DanVzare Wed, 28. Mar 12:00 AM, 2018 edit delete
I recently tried to play a Tabletop RPG by the official rules again. This time going for a much more simpler system than DnD (the game I chose this time only has one book as opposed to three), and so I read the entire rule book from beginning to end, while making notes and a quick reference guide.

Then I got together some family members (my brother and sister to be precise), made the characters days in advance, and tried playing a game. Everything was going ok until we got to a battle. When suddenly the whole game slowed down to a boring crawl, which eventually resulted in me saying "Screw it, I'll make up the rules as we go along!" and then the fun resumed.

But that got me thinking, Dungeons and Dragons has waaaaaaaay more rules when it comes down to combat, than the Tabletop RPG I was playing.
I mean you first have to call the action, roll the dice, check the associated attribute, check the associated skills, check the weapon's stats, check any debuffs or bonuses, check the opponent's associated attribute and skills, check the opponent's armour stats, check the opponent's debuffs and/or bonuses, check even more attributes and skills if the opponent tried to dodge, along with any associated dice rolls, recheck all of those things you just checked because it's taken you so long you're probably doubting your ability to remember it all, and then you can finally say whether or not the attack landed, and how much (if any) damage it did. And then you have to do it all over again for the opponent.

How... just how does this work in an actual game with experienced players?
Do the dungeon master's just have this all memorised? Do the games just go really slowly and everyone is ok with that? Or am I missing something?

Because I'm telling you, it feels like you have to be a goddamn computer to play DnD properly.


Geeky Meerkat Thu, 29. Mar 1:52 PM, 2018 edit delete reply
As a dungeon master the trick is to not memorize everything. Get a general idea for all the rules so that if you need to make a decision you can do something that seems right (IE: Ask the players to roll d20 and do stuff with that number and then decide if things worked). While you have a general knowledge of things, and have notes related to your specific adventure (IE: that this monster has so much health and is so hard to hit), the players should know their characters fully.

What I mean by that is you might know a general idea of their abilities and what not, but they should know the specifics of their own character. You can help them understand something if need be, but it's their job to know and use their character to it's fullest not yours. If for instance their character has some sort of magic shield that can be used twice a day to create a globe of energy around the party that protects them... you told them about the shield once but it's on them to remember it can do that. If you forget... well your the dungeon master it's not your job to remember all the tricks your players can do. You have notes for that if you ever need to look it up anyways.

Sometimes you'll get a player that will know a rule that you don't. So you as the dungeon master will say 'Okay this is the ruling...' and then they'll say 'Well actually...' and if they say that before the round is done and aren't a twat about it then ya be cool and say 'Ah I stand corrected.' but if they are a twat about it or they try to revisit a past decision just remind them that it's more about the story and that we'll keep in mind the specifics of the rule in the future.

If they are an extreme twat about the rules then always remember that the dungeon master makes their rolls behind a screen and oh wouldn't you know... the bad guys are getting lucky on their attack rolls towards him.
DanVzare Tue, 3. Apr 5:21 PM, 2018 edit delete reply
Awesome, thanks for the reply. I really appreciate it.

So basically, a good idea to keep things moving along at a reasonable pace, is to not only know the general rules and have notes, but also to offload the stuff relating to the player characters, to the people actually playing them.

Thanks again. :)