Illustration by Kieran Yanner

Tables; Roleplaying; Metal

Thursday, March 4, 2010

One of my first duties at Paizo was to create some random encounter tables for the GameMastery Guide. It took more than three workdays, and by the end of the process I was seeing tables in my sleep. It was a little bit like the first time you play Guitar Hero, and you look away from the screen and think the world is scrolling up for a couple seconds. Except with tables. But, I'm done with that, so that's kind of neat. Now I can dream about normal things, like giant robot rock operas and going to Chipotle with my ex-boss of three years. Rest assured, GMs, there will be no shortage of random encounter tables for when your PCs randomly wander off into the woods, or cave, or different plane of existence. I've even snuck out a piece of art from the book by artist Kieran Yanner.

On a completely different note, I GMed a Pathfinder game yesterday, and it totally rocked. I'm always the GM, so it's not like it was a new experience or anything, and I've been running Pathfinder since it came out, but I finally figured out a core component to any tabletop roleplaying game: roleplaying.

You see, for quite some time, I was having trouble encouraging my players to roleplay. I'm the type of person who writes out the five-page character background when I'm a player, and I will totally handicap myself and give myself silly stats and gear if it matches my character concept. I don't expect every player to do this, but it would be kind of cool if my group got into character every now and then. Being a fairly chill GM, I wasn't going to force them to roleplay against their will or anything, since that would kind of defeat the purpose of playing a game. No, what I wanted was for them to want to roleplay.

So, I've been thinking of ways to do this, and I stumbled upon a rather valuable, yet seemingly obvious, idea. The notion was simple, and I presented it to my group before the game. "Alright, guys, I'm thinking of trying this new thing; everything you say at the table is in-character, unless you preface with 'Out of character,' and it can only be game-related at that." They were all kind of like, "Hmm, I dunno about this, Patrick, but we'll give it a shot for an hour and see how it goes."

One hour later: awesomeness. Few distractions, if any; everybody's talking with epic accents and saying ridiculously metal (aka really, really cool) things; and we're all getting really immersed in the game. The dark and brooding wizard was dark and brooding; the charming bard was courting the maiden he had saved from a coven of hags; the druid was giving the totally rad armor of a fallen cleric to the church instead of selling it for mad gold; and the summoner was poring over books in the library and hypothesizing the origins of the mysterious crystals they had found in the abandoned temple. This group of hack-and-slashers actually began to care about the adventure and NPCs I had crafted for them. Success.

I guess my point is that even if you think you know your group (mine consists of close friends), they can still pleasantly surprise you, given the opportunity.

Patrick Renie
Editorial Intern

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Tags: Game Mastering Kieran Yanner Monsters Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Wallpapers
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Like, thanks for sharing Patrick.

Chill story man.

The pic reminds me of old school horror comic books, like that's awsome.

And dude keep both the radical stories and b'tchin' pics coming.

Who says metal ?


Peace bro.

Actually saying "out of character" can typically get old fast, which is why I offer the added suggestion of having an out-of-character hand sign instead. The old fingers-crossed was very successful in my college gaming group for a while, until the fist-on-forehead sign migrated over from the LARPing crowd.

I say metal!

METAL! \m/


I had the Guitar Hero experience he talks about, except it wasn't Guitar Hero. It was Tetris when it first came out 20 some years ago. I played it so much that I'd be playing it in my head when I went to sleep, in my dreams, while in class at school, pretty much everywhere. I remember being really weirded out by the fact. It was truely an obsession for a while.

We tend to use an open hand held up to the side of your head. It originated as "Bulwinkle Horns" done with both hands but eventually went to one hand as it looks slightly less idiotic and it's easier.

And roleplaying is totally metal!

That's such a great idea, especially the hand signals. Next time I'm GMing at a table (My current game is gonna be done through d20pro), I'm using that. Fist to the forehead is my favorite.

As a GM I always have a hard time to get my players to RP and as a player, I played 8 sessions before I started to GM so I'm going to give this a try.

Dear Young Master Ren,

My Chinese horoscope says I am a metal dog. I never knew what that meant until today.

Thank you,

PS You are now my favorite intern. If you don't know why, BAH or Y8MH can tell you if I'm not around.

Sovereign Court

Ah, the Den... sounds cozy!


Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:

PS You are now my favorite intern. If you don't know why, BAH or Y8MH can tell you if I'm not around.

It's because you gave us an art preview!

In other words:
Our favor can be bought. With blog pictures. And you want our favor to grow, favorite intern. Rumor is, something might happen to your unfavored colleague...

vagrant-poet wrote:

I say metal!

METAL! \m/


\m/ @ \m/

Urizen wrote:
vagrant-poet wrote:

I say metal!

METAL! \m/


\m/ @ \m/

Effin aye! \m/

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