Improv Acting for D&D Players (part 1)

One of the most memorable scenes in our campaign was the time we had to say goodbye to Ahnar’a at the falls by the tomb. The mood was right, people were emotionally involved and connected. It was a very enjoyable scene to be in.

Realistically speaking, not all scenes in a D&D campaign will be as memorable (nor should it be). But there are ways of making a scene more entertaining and there are ways of running a scene to the ground. In looking for ways to improve the way a scene develops in D&D, let’s take a look at improv theater.

Role playing in D&D (or many RPGs I would guess) is a lot like performing in improv theater: Each player has a character and is expected to act and react to imaginary situation.  Those of you who have seen improv theater can attest that, with little or no planning, performers can improvise their way into a very entertaining and memorable scene.

I used to think that improv performers were just fast-thinking geniuses that just made everything up as they went along. It was only recently that I learned that there are actually are methods and techniques to creating a good improv scene.

Here are some of the tips they give new improv actors. I think these tips can also help make a more enjoyable scene in DnD.


Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

GM’s Role in Party Decision-Makings

There have been many points in the campaign when a major decision had to be made by the party before they could move forward. The most recent example was the decision on how to take on Vraath Keep.

Most if the time, the GM (that’s me) has been acting as a moderator – clarifying and summarizing the major ideas I’ve heard from you and then calling for a vote. I have split feelings about acting as moderator for these discussions.

On one hand, it does make it easier to voice one’s opinion when an impartial (at least ideally speaking) person such as the GM manages the discussions. I am able to make sure everyone’s opinion is heard and considered.  I have found that stepping in and moderating the discussion does make the decision making process a bit faster. When I think I’ve heard enough options, I list the major ideas then call for a vote.

The disadvantage of the GM being there to moderate all the time is the players do not grow or develop their own methods of interaction with each other –  some sort of group dynamic for decision making.

The alternative is for me to give you the situation, and let you decide among yourselves on the best option to take. I will be there to answer questions or clarify some things, but you the players will have to come to a decision on your own. I’ll let you develop your own system of debate and in the end, come to me and say, “Ok, we talked about it and this is what we want to do.”

Right now I am leaning more towards this last idea. I kinda want you to develop more of a group dynamic with each other.  It might take longer, but how long it takes will be up to you*.

*I’ll of course be letting the in-game time go by accordingly as you make your decision.

My hope is that as this group adventures together more, and your team dynamic becomes more refined, you will be able to reach a consensus faster as well.

So for now I think I’ll try letting you guys develop your own system for coming to a decision. We’ll try this for a while. Of course I’ll still consider bailing you out by stepping in and moderating if you have too much problems with this de-regulation.

Let me know what you guys think ok? Don’t be shy to use the comment box.

Published in: on October 29, 2008 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

8 Tips for Making the Most of your Ranger

By special request, here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your ranger.


Published in: on October 15, 2008 at 2:27 pm  Comments (2)  

7 Tips for Keeping Your Wizard/Archivist Alive

Due to the recent multiple near-death experiences of your one and only arcane spellcaster, I compiled a few tips on how to get the most out of your wizard/archivist.


Published in: on October 14, 2008 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment