A Broken Hammer, A Dull Sword
General tips for roleplaying and for a campaign I run.
- Asking pointed questions about what’s going on is perfectly reasonable. I may give a vague answer or direct you to take actions to figure it out, however.
- If you’re not sure what you’re allowed to do in a given situation, try to think first about what you want to do, and we can get to the how.
D&D 5 has created a mechanic called Inspiration: the DM gives it as a reward for good roleplaying and generally making the game interesting for everyone. In-game, it improves the chances for success on a given die-roll. It costs you nothing, so I recommend trying to get it as often as you can. Situations where I’m likely to give inspiration follow.
Describing attacks with flavor
I attack that orc next to me.
This statement brings the energy of the game down and drains our ability to immerse. Something like this would be better:
Noticing a gap in the foul orc’s leather armor, Malacanth lunges past the monster’s blade and plants his own in the gap.
Using elements of the environment is encouraged:
[The wizard] Simon isn’t prepared to face the troll head-on. He grabs a handful of sand from his feet and flings it into his opponent’s eyes as he shifts away to a safe distance.
Playing your character
In character creation, you took on a set of characteristics that help to describe your character. For example, Sikram has a love of alcohol. If the party goes to a tavern and he gets drunk, I’m inclined to grant Markis’ character inspiration.
Taking risks, doing the unexpected
Players often get into a habit of doing what’s safe and following the plot as it’s given. The game is more interesting if players take risks or face extraordinary odds. For example, if you need a document secured in a safe, one route you might take is to walk into the owner’s house and threaten violence if he doesn’t open the safe. You could also hire a prostitute to sleep with him and threaten to expose his deeds to the whole town.