Christopher Moore Home Page

The bulletin board is currently closed to new posts. Instead, why not check out Chris' Twitter and Facebook pages?


bbs.chrismoore.com Forum Index -> So You Wanna Be a Writer?

Dungeons and Dragons ... research.
Goto page 1, 2  Next
  Author    Thread This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics. This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.
knikkki



Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 3145
Location: Davis, CA
Dungeons and Dragons ... research.  Reply with quote  

I thought it might be easier to ask you all rather than to figure it out on my own. So, has anybody ever played D and D? Can you tell me a little bit how it works?

I know there are books and characters and people get together and play. That's about all I know. What does the book do? Does it create the world and then what happens after that is up to the players? Do the players keep notes on what happens?

Thanks for any help you can provide.
_________________
My Book
My Myspace

Post Sun Jun 26, 2005 10:51 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
knikkki



Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 3145
Location: Davis, CA
P.S.  Reply with quote  

I was just on the D and D website, and my jaw was on the ground. I don't get it AT ALL ... Thanks again.
_________________
My Book
My Myspace

Post Sun Jun 26, 2005 10:58 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Q



Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 297
oh. sure. great, guys.  Reply with quote  

Just me?

I'm the only one?

C'mon! Somewhere out there at least one of you has a Crown Royal bag filled with 4,6,8,10,12, and 20 sided dice!





great.





So yeah, knikkki, what do you need to know?


Q
_________________
Angels, Devils, and Men:
The first forgets,
The third regrets,
and the second has all of the fun.

--Analytics of Five

Post Sun Jun 26, 2005 12:19 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
knikkki



Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 3145
Location: Davis, CA
 Reply with quote  

OK ... a high level overview would be great.

I guess my specific questions would be ...
1. What does the book do? It gives the rules, and sets the game up, right?

2. Are characters created by the people who play? Or are they chosen from the book? Can people be more than one character?

3. Does the game end? Is there a clear winner?

4. What does the dungeon master do?

5. Is what happens in the game defined by the book? Or do the players make stuff up?

6. How many people can play at a time?

Thanks!!!!!!!!
_________________
My Book
My Myspace

Post Sun Jun 26, 2005 1:54 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jaandlu



Joined: 17 Apr 2005
Posts: 4578
Location: Location, location, location.
 Reply with quote  

I've played as recent as five years ago. Although I am by no means a Dungon Master I can give you the gist.

1. The books lay out the rules and are a refrence for building charactors. The more you get into it the more books you use in creating the fantasy. So there are books on the basic charactors you can create and books on monsters you might fight and every little detail you might encounter. With the roling of dice and these refrence books the game is laid out in a loose framework to be filled in by the players.

2.Yes, you create and evolve these charactors under the Dungeon Master. You can make and use as many charactors as your Dungeon master will allow you for any given Quest.

3. If your charactor live your doing pretty well. If it keeps dieing, time to get a new Dungeon Master. It's also an accomplishment it seems to me to actually acheive some sort of overall goal that was set at the beginning of the game. In my experience the game never ends and a lot of cheesy poofs and beer are consumed.

4. He's there to shit on your game. I mean sit and watch over your game. Often he will play some high level charactor who comes in and saves the day after everyone else is mortaly wounded. Basically he makes sure everyone abides by the rules and guides the story along. (with exceptions for his charactor)

5. The books are just an outline for the adventure.But better to defer to Q on this. I was never a Dungeon Master and played with one who I know wasn't very traditional. We all made alot of stuff up.

6. As many as you can keep organized.


As for note keeping there is a series of books that were actual D&D games played out by some die hards. As I hear they weren't to bad either.
_________________
I honestly never thought I would live this long. Now I don't know what to do with myself.

Post Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:38 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
 Reply with quote  

I still play roleplaying games, although I haven't played D&D in quite some time. We've moved onto darker, more adult games. And I do have the Crown Royal bag of odd shaped dice around here somewhere. LOL. The main game I play only uses 10-sided dice. It's called Storyteller System and we play Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and some others.

Instead of a Dungeonmaster (DM) you have a Storyteller, who does exactly the same thing. Makes up the game and coordinates it as it unfolds. Storyteller System is pretty fun because it's like writing a story as you go with everyone who plays adding their own parts. In D&D I have spent days putting together a game, making stats for monsters, making up NPC's. (Non Player Characters who are controlled by the DM.) I have ran entire Storyteller games with one sentence written in a notebook. Then I just wing the whole thing as the players help me tell the story.

Yes. I am a geek. A big scary looking geek, but a geek nonetheless.
_________________
"We went together like Kennedys and head wounds."--Lenny Kapowski

Post Sun Jun 26, 2005 9:37 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lauren



Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 1582
Location: Massachusetts
 Reply with quote  

I haven't DM'd for D&D, but I've played. And I've been a storyteller/GM (game master) for several White Wolf games (like the ones Boota mentioned). So, my take:

1. What does the book do? It gives the rules, and sets the game up, right?
Short answer: yes. The book gives you the world in which your characters live - setting, culture, races, etc. And it gives you character creation rules, so your players don't go making mini-gods. I don't know if the D&D handbook does this, but the White Wolf ones also offer some sample characters, either for the players to use or for the DM to use as NPCs (non-player characters, the personas the DM takes on for the players to interact with). It may also have some sample stories for you to run.

2. Are characters created by the people who play? Or are they chosen from the book? Can people be more than one character?
Yes, the main characters, the ones who go on the quests and adventures, are created by your players. *points to #1* - dunno if the D&D books have ready-made characters, but the White Wolf ones do. While players *can* have multiple characters in one adventure, that's up to the DM. If he/she can handle that and keep it straight, sure. But you get a better sense of the characters (IMHO) when it's limited to one. Although I have heard a story of a party that had 4 players and 20 characters. I think it was my husband who told me about it. I'll ask him.

3. Does the game end? Is there a clear winner?
Again, depends on the DM. If you want people to keep playing your game, there should at least be clear chapters, or some sort of sense of accomplishment. The game doesn't *have* to end, but if you're not playing those characters anymore, some closure would be nice.

Adventure: A single quest with a specific goal in mind. Think of it like a short story.
Campaign: A series of adventures tied together by an overarching story. Small victories along the way lead to the big climax. Think of it like a novel, or a series.

Is there a clear winner? Not always. Or sometimes the "good guys" might have to lose for a while before they can win. I think in D&D it's a little more cut-and-dried. You're after the dragon, or a treasure, or this or that. With Mage: The Ascension, you're saving the world, baby!

4. What does the dungeon master do?
Herds cats.

No, really. The DM is responsible for telling the story and keeping it moving. He/she takes on the roles of narrator, supporting characters and villains. The DM has to be prepared for anything the players might do. My favorite example: the DM tells the characters that at the end of the hallway, there are three doors and asks the players what they do - with the expectation that they'll pick one. He might have huge plans for really cool things behind each of the doors, but he also has to be prepared for the characters to say "we turn around and leave."

The DM is also responsible for knowing what's on the character's sheets that the others might not know about - if one of them is secretly wanted for stealing a horse, the DM needs to work that into the story. Or if one of them is the bastard child of royalty, it's up to the DM to bring that in. Because, if the players put it on their sheets, they obviously want it to come into play at some point.

Being the DM is exhausting. You have to keep up with a group of people who are trying to out-think you for several hours at a stretch. Why are they trying to out-think you? Because they know that at every turn, you're trying to trip them up. It's fun. Go ahead and ask players you know about their characters' families. I'll bet that the majority of them are orphans or in some way have no contact with their parents and siblings. Why? Because if your family is non-existant, it's harder for the DM to use them against you. Notice I said "harder" not "impossible."

There's a bumper sticker I keep meaning to pick up: "When the GM smiles, it's already too late." Oh yes, DMs/GMs/Storytellers are eeeeevil. It's so wonderful.


5. Is what happens in the game defined by the book? Or do the players make stuff up? Both. If you're running an adventure based out of the book, a lot of your bases are covered. But the books are also guidelines - you can take what's in there and do with it as you please. A friend of mine destroyed the upper 2/3 of mage society well before White Wolf did it officially. If you don't like a rule, you can change it (we call it a "house rule"). You can create new towns, new enemies, whatever you'd like, as long as your players are having fun. The players can make stuff up to a point - basically, if the DM says it's okay, then fine. But they can't say "Well, I pull out the Staff of Healing that's been secretly in my back pocket this whole time (shrunk to travel size) and save us all" unless they've already established with the DM well ahead of time that they have a Pocket-sized Staff of Healing.

6. How many people can play at a time?
As many as the DM can handle, really. But you have to keep in mind that everyone needs a turn, and individual attention every once in a while, or people are going to get bored. My largest group was seven people - the GM and six players. Any more than that and I would have said no.

Any other questions? Seems like there are a lot of us ready to answer!
_________________
Well, I guess you left me with some feathers in my hand.

Post Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:08 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address ICQ Number
Pilgrim



Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 13
Location: making progress
Re: Dungeons and Dragons ... research.  Reply with quote  

knikkki wrote:
I thought it might be easier to ask you all rather than to figure it out on my own.


True, but you won't get it thoroughly enough under your skin to write fiction around it unless it plays a really minor part in your story.

Post Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:26 am   View user's profile Send private message
Q



Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 297
 Reply with quote  

(I've discovered that playing Rage Against the Machine's cover of 'Street Fighting Man" REALLY loud helps when responding to this post.)

The best way I know to explain the game (and most every role-playing game i know of) is that it's collective story telling.

It certainly doesn't seem so when you start off playing as kids, but that's what you come to realize as you keep playing and the game grows with you.

To use the analogy; the DM is the author/narrator of the story and the players create and inhabit the charaters in the story. The author presents the circumstances of the world (the setting, the history, the realities and oppurtunities, etc) and the players move the characters through the story. Their choices and actions lead to conciquiences, rewards, failures, etc. (ascribed by the author) and thus: story.

To win is to, together, tell a really great story.


Q
_________________
Angels, Devils, and Men:
The first forgets,
The third regrets,
and the second has all of the fun.

--Analytics of Five

Post Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:51 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
knikkki



Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 3145
Location: Davis, CA
Wow, sounds SO SO FUN! I want to play now. (is that dorky?)  Reply with quote  

Thank you all, so so much! It's absolutely perfect and just what I needed.
Basically, I needed something at the end of my book which tied it all together, and I thought it would be fun if one or two of the minor characters in the book turned out to be writing a video game, but then I thought that unless 9-year old girls are the video game demographic, it probably wouldn't be a very good video game.

So I thought, well my characters could either be writing or playing an RPG, and what you just told me will fit absolutely with people playing an RPG, so instead of my character waking up one morning and realizing it was just a dream, (overdone, I know) she'll never know that she was actually a pawn in a game. I hope that doesn't sound dorky, but it's just one of the 3 endings my book will have when it's done, which it almost is, and I really really can't wait. (I like to have more than one ending, that way everybody's happy)
_________________
My Book
My Myspace

Post Mon Jun 27, 2005 4:46 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Goudron



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Posts: 2570
Location: near Cleveland OH
 Reply with quote  

Q wrote:

To win is to, together, tell a really great story.
Q


Exactly!

I've found that character development and role playing will lead to the most fun though, the plot itself can be sub-par. The best DM's will evolve portions of the story and characters to suit events as they happen. The books and dice just "keep you honest." Carrying characters from one adventure to another is also a plus, but dying isn't all that bad. I have a guitar effects pedal box that holds my dice and a stack of folded up looseleaf sheets that comprise my former characters. Most of them have "Fried and Crispy," "Squashed like a Bug," or some other method of destruction written over top of them in big black letters.

Goudron was a barbarian whose tribe ritualistically performed wrestling moves on the bloody corpses after a battle. Second Story Mort was an insane slutty thief who lived in the sewers and checked to see how well he was hiding in shadows by nonchalantly giving people the finger. Simon Fury was a meager mage with an ego more suited to a supreme ruler.

A good pen 'n paper RPG is a social gathering. An escapist sport for geeks. At least it was for me Smile
_________________
White and feathery, yet crude and noisy, the chicken is the backbone of our farming community.

Post Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:44 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Dr. Schadenfreude



Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 9
 Reply with quote  

Another dork's explanation:


1. What does the book do? It gives the rules, and sets the game up, right?

In D&D, you have three basic books: The Player's Handbook, The Dungeon Master's Guide, and The Monster Manual.

The Player's Guide is for everyone and includes the basic classes (Paladin, Monk, Sorcerer, Wizard, Rogue, Fighter, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Ranger, Druid), the races (Human, Dwarf, Elf, Half-elf, Half-orc, Gnome, Halfling), and the other rules/option for making a character, such as stats (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma), Feats (special abilities or skills), and Spells (such as the ever-lovable Magic Missile, Feather Fall, and Cure Light Wounds).

There are more option books to expand the character creation part of the book, including race, class, and feat/spell books. A good place to look for information is the Wizards of the Coast website (that's the D&D website) or Monte Cook's website (www.montecook.com). Monte helped create the 3rd edition of D&D and then left to start his own rpg company. His books are really good (Arcana Evolved is a great rpg if you like the D20 system (D20 is a twenty sided dice that is used for most rolls in D&D 3rd edition).

The Dungeon Master's Guide is for the storyteller. It has guidelines for creating adventures, and hints and tips for being a good world builder/plot builder. It also has a lot of magical weapons/items to hand out to the player.

The Monster Manual is a book full of creatures to populate the world with. Most of them are just evil and easy to use as cannon-fodder, but all have a storyline built into them. The monsters, while attacking humans in most cases, have a motivation for doing so. Sometimes they are defending a homeland that is being encroached upon, or sometimes they seek the power or wealth of other races. Anyway, big book of creatures such as Trolls, multiple types of dragons (White, Black, Red, etc.), and Demons and Devils.

2. Are characters created by the people who play? Or are they chosen from the book? Can people be more than one character?

The D&D book doesn't provide pre-made characters, though after each class, there is a sample of a character of that class. With a book based almost entirely on character creation, it's mostly up to the player to make a character and a history for that character.

A lot of DMs require you to do a 'write-up' for your character. These usually look like a character outline. Why are you a druid (or whatever class)? What is your history/growing up experiences? Why would you be traveling around looking for adventure - what motivates your character to fight evil? Power? Vengence? Money? A search for balance? Guilt?

Players can be more than one character, but usually only if the group is so small that it's necessary. A normal group is 4 players + the DM. A small group is anything smaller. A large group is 7+ players.

A large group is harder to DM for than a small group. But, it really depends on the players' and DM's style of play. Playing more than one character is an exception, rather than a rule.

3. Does the game end? Is there a clear winner?

The game ends when the next game begins, usually. The goals in most games are to 1) finish the story, and 2) retire your character. The story can be anything from a six hour adventure to a multiple year epic quest along the lines of the Lord of the Rings. The story takes as long as it takes.

Retiring the character means that you've come to the logical conclusion of your character's story. The paladin who was seeking redemption from the church for his past sin of betrayal is finally accepted back into the church after slaying a powerful necromancer. Upon acceptance, he realizes that he doesn't care about the church, but only the good it should serve. He dedicates his new life to building his own church in a small town. He no longer wants/needs to adventure, so he leaves the party and begins to preach.

Not a great example, but you get the idea. Usually, a group will retire their characters at the same time (after the main storyline has been completed). The DM (if he's into building a history of the world), will then add those characters to the world and you'll often see them in subsequent adventures as NPCs (Non-player characters, the DM's background characters).

4. What does the dungeon master do?

The planning, execution, heavy lifting, and problem solving. The DM has to plan the adventure (think of it as a very detailed rough outline), and then change almost everything he's planned to fit the mood and actions of the other players.

Often, a DM will come up with a storyline that is about death or sickness or some other very serious subject. When he gets ready to tell the tale, the players might be in the mood for something different, such as, hack&slash (lots of battle) or RP (character interaction, dialogue that fills out the detail of the characters/world/NPCs or moves the plot along with talking), or silliness (which is a staple of D&D, since it is a game and the point of a game is to enjoy yourself). When the mood is different from the story, a DM has to improv an entire new story (or mold his story to fit the mood).

Otherwise, the DM's job is to reward the players for playing well. Some DM's are punishers. They punish the players for playing badly, but this never works out well and that DM becomes the guy that nobody wants to play with. The most important part of a DM's job is to let the players describe what they want to do, and then tell them what happens as a result.

If a DM doesn't love his players more than he loves his own storyline, then the story usually falls apart. It's cooperative storytelling, really. The DM tells the players a story; the players tell the DM a story.

5. Is what happens in the game defined by the book? Or do the players make stuff up?

The books are a guideline for how to play, and that's all. The rest is in the imagination of the players and DM. Kids playing pretend soldiers or pretend detectives or cops and robbers are role-playing, they just don't call it that and they usually don't have books telling them what they can and can't do.

The rule books are mostly a way of setting up the world and stopping the age old argument:

I shot you!
No, you didn't. I'm bulletproof.
Are not.
Are so.
I used bulletproof-proof bullets. Lay down, you're dead.
Am not. I totally dodged.

6. How many people can play at a time?
Smallest group, 2 players. 1 playing a character, the other playing a character and DMing. Largest group is usually 10 players, and that's way too many. It gets bogged down, because each player should feel like a character and not a character's sheet of numbers.

4 players + DM is usually ideal.

Post Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:19 am   View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
RedOrcaMoon



Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 2399
Location: someplace...probably inside my head or in another world
 Reply with quote  

I do a lot of online Roleplaying, and that helped me out a lot when I leanred at my school that there was an adventureres guild, I was recruited by them and found out it was only a D&D thing, sadly as much fun as we had, we stopped it since everyone else was too busy. ^^ just thought I 'd say somethign here. heh , I have no dice or book, jsut a profile and one npc. its a little fox I named Arcanis after a friends character. ok I'll shut up now...I talk waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much
_________________
current pics: drawings and some photos. http://www.dizzyhellfire.deviantart.com

Post Tue Jul 05, 2005 12:22 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
ken
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
Location: Boulder, CO
 Reply with quote  

I'd say the best way to really learn about D & D or other roleplaying games is to read Knights of the Dinner Table comic books. And they are hell of a lot easier to get through than the Dungeon Master's guide.

BTW Lauren -- my son is a White Wolf freak... must have over 100 books, many thanks to a friend who owns a used book store and saves them all for him when they come in. If you're ever looking for a 10-year-old obscure city book, or something, let me know.

Post Tue Jul 05, 2005 8:21 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website ICQ Number
conspiracies unlimited



Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 4281
Location: California
 Reply with quote  

Ah, skip D&D and go right to EverQuest2... plug... The greatest computer role playing-like game ever invented... plug... granted I have never played any other computer role playing games... disclaimer...

Rent the old Tom Hanks movie about D&D... I think that might be helpful... look it up on IMDB.com... plug... It should give you a sufficient bit of infor to write your book... talking out my ass/giving unsolicited advice...
_________________
You are so whack.Wiggity whack?Nope, just the regular kind.
You can't dust for vomit
This is the Governor's wife. -- You mean she's not the hooker?
It's time to separate the awkwardly feminine from the possibly canadian

Post Thu Jul 07, 2005 3:30 pm   View user's profile Send private message
  Display posts from previous:      
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics. This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.

Jump to:  
Goto page 1, 2  Next

Last Thread | Next Thread  >

Forum Rules:
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

 
Templates created by Vereor and Ken