Habits and Roleplaying

So you’re interested in Habits? Go ahead, I try to share something that’s hopefully of real interest – though the style of presentation is merely a list of things how I’m (or better – how we are) used to run a gaming round.

Let me give you a short idea how gaming works for me. In general rpg day looks very much like this:

  • Sharing a car to our destination, usually I am picked up or pick up a few of the other gamers on my way to our gaming place. We do have a few places, so we can switch according to our needs. Especially with summer upcoming, we tend to play a lot at Roman’s place, favoring his garden for pure enjoyment as long as it’s warm enough to stay outside.
  • When we start around noon, we usually have a shared lunch that gets us into sharing what happend in the last week(s) since we last met. We have excellent cooks in our gaming group and it’s always something to remember.
  • In case we’ve players that missed one or a few sessions, a short update almost ever takes place before our actual preparation.
  • Once we’re done with eating, the DM prepares his laptop and in case it’s me, I start with a memorable tune, a time ago I used (for years) Apocalyptice – Path, nowadays I use Rage & Lingua Mortis – Alive but dead. For me this is the personal starter – it gets my brain to the fantastic level – imagination starts. For my players it’s the sign to slowly get their things done and get into the “right” mood. And I think for a few of them (at least) this works.
  • In the initial phase we always try to deal with all rule-issues. This is an approach to minimize the possibility of discussions during the game. While hardly 100% avoidable – we can deal pretty well with 95% of questions before the game.
  • The initial phase often is used to focus on the feedback from the last game. Often we try to improve our descriptions, try to come back to a level of basic respect where you listen until someone ends his sentence, and other basic things. Sometimes this is used to educate everyone in house-rules (rpgblog2 had a nice article on house rules – but I guess you know house-rules, don’t you?) or general approaches in combat, spells or other things necessary for the general enjoyment.
  • Once we’re done with the not-so-gaming stuff, we usually start with a complete summary of the last session. This is accomplished by the players and most often helps to come back into character quickly.
  • Then actual gameplay starts, the dungeon master gives a brief overview on the situation if needed and we’re inmidst of the action. During the whole game we’ve background music, which is adding to a very dense atmosphere (mostly at least). Gnomestew has  (a while ago) given a few useful hints – maybe you want to have a look. Fear the Boot has one, too.
  • Usually we’ve a lot of water and a few fruit juices at our table or the floor where we’re playing. I think when it comes to “unhealthy” stuff, we mainly deal with chocolate and nuts – every now and then chips, snips and stuff find their way as well.
  • Depending on our lunch, especially if we did not share lunch together, we tend to have a break after a few hours and order some food or fetch some from one of the various dealers around. Time ago we had sandwich-toast with cheese (or cheese & ham)… This changes but I think is a vital break more often than not.
  • We end the game with a feedback round. I tend to initiate this by playing the above mentioned song (alive but dead) and we have every player tell after the game what he liked and especially what he did not like. That’s a basic tool for improvement and has had a lot of impact in our past. The feedback is usually closed by the dungeon master with his own on the day. Constructive criticism is very appreciated and hardly ever in the wrong place.

So now you see, actually our gaming is more a summary of a few habits with the occassional creative action inbetween :). I think the re-occurance of sound, actions and everything else you can achieve – is a basic tool to get the most out of your gaming session. The art of gaming is improved by the availability of some pillars which you can rely on – a few more mysterious themes to make them feel “on guard”, a relaxing one to have them for a safe rest. I for my part am a fan of using these things.

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