Episode 1 Lightning Round
Updated: May 29, 2019
In the “Lightning Round” blog series, I offer up quick, easily-digestible answers to many of the questions I couldn’t get to in the weekly YouTube videos series. Have something you want to ask? Head over to Quest Chests' Instagram account every Monday to submit your questions!
What can I do for my players if I can’t afford adventures?
If you aren’t able to afford adventures (and that cost is rarely ever just the $50 to buy the book), then I would first suggest trying to create your own! If you’ve got a pencil, notebook, and the core D&D books, you’ve got everything you need to start weaving fantastical tales to give to your players. However, doing so requires an immense amount of time, creativity, and motivation. If you’re like most of us, all three can be hard to come by (especially the time part). In that case, I suggest doing a quick Google search for “free 5e adventures.” You’d be shocked at how many talented authors and creators are out there who’ve created free adventures for anyone to enjoy.
What do you think is the most devastating monster to throw at a party, regardless of CR?
I firmly believe that the only thing more scarring than physical damage is emotional damage, and for that reason, I would say hags are the most devastating monster to throw at a party. With their cruel desire to see others suffer and their ability to form binding contracts with your players, they can easily break a party down to their lowest point. Throw on their ability to mimic voices and move invisibly without detection, and they become incredibly difficult to track down and kill. While a creature such as a kraken or tarrasque might be able to squash any adventuring party in combat, only a hag can be a reoccurring threat who continuously works to degrade the characters and force them to abandon their moral principles.
What got you into rpg-ing?
Growing up as a little kid, I was tormented by the fact that I would never be able to do the things that my fantasy role models did in the books or movies. I could dress up as them all day long, but try as I might, I could never create a flaming sword out of thin air or open a portal to another world. Eventually, I grew out of the costumes, but my desire to be like my heroes never went away. When I learned about a game that would allow me to be whatever I wanted to be in a fantasy setting with dragons, trolls, and hamlets filled with hilarious NPCs, I knew I’d finally found a way to be just like my heroes. However, when I learned that this same game offered me the role of a god-like creator who could play any character I wanted, take my players to any setting I could image, or offer up magical items with unlimited magical potential, I knew I’d found my life’s passion.
What are good motivations for each class?
Barbarian - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
Bard - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
Cleric - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
Druid - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
Fighter - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
Monk - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
Paladin - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
Ranger - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
Rogue - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
Sorcerer - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
Warlock - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
Wizard - My parents were killed when I was little, and I am working to avenge their death.
How would you deal with a player who develops zero personality for their characters?
If this is a result of the player being new to the game or struggling to develop that element of the character on their own, I would first reach out to them. Ask if the two of you can arrange a time to meet up over lunch and discuss the character's quirks, habits, speech styles, attitudes, fears, etc. and go forward from there. However, if this is the result of the player ignoring your attempts to help them flesh out the character, you’ve got an entirely different issue on your hands. I would again start by offering to help them develop a personality one more time. However, if this issue persists, you might want to consider taking the matter up with the rest of your group to get their input on it. Is it taking away from their experience? If so, then maybe the player needs to find another group that better matches their style of play. If not, then put your energy into creating encounters that reward strong roleplaying and character-development rather than being frustrated over something you can’t control.
What advice would give to beginner QMs?
Start small. You might want to launch into some grand plot with dozens of arcs, NPCs, and villains, but I promise that you’ll only overwhelm yourself and your players. A smaller-scale story with only a handful of locations and characters can be equally as fun (if not more so) than a campaign that spans the length of two years. That’s because a small setting means more time for the characters to develop meaningful relationships with the NPCs, learn the ins and outs of the surrounding environment, and leave their mark on this part of the world. The Dungeons and Dragons starter set is a fantastic place to begin your first adventure as it gives you everything you need to tell an unforgettable story in a small, manageable region.
What advice do you have on encouraging players to roleplay their characters?
It’s all about the backstory. Asking your players to roleplay their character without one would be like handing them a picture of an awesome looking adventurer and expecting them to be able to portray that character in an exciting way. If all the players have to go off of is surface-level stuff like appearance and one or two personality traits, of course they’re going to have a hard time roleplaying. Don’t be afraid to have 2 or even 3 Session 0’s before you jump into your campaign to give your players the time necessary to properly flesh out their characters. That time will be well worth the investment if it means week after week of immensely strong roleplaying and outstanding character development.
Are minis/maps required for accurate storytelling?
Absolutely not! Some of the most memorable moments in Dungeons and Dragons don’t involve minis like the interaction with the drunken shopkeep or the heartfelt conversations around a campfire after a long day’s journey. I like to think of minis and maps as the “cherry on top” when it comes to Dungeons and Dragons. Is it nice to have them? Sure. Are they always necessary? Definitely not. I use miniatures because I love painting them, and placing them on a map helps my players get a better sense of where they are in relation to enemies so combats run smoother. However, I believe you can run exciting and efficient combats without maps and minis. It just requires extra effort to ensure you’re accurately painting an image in the players’ heads of what their surroundings look like. However, If you’re having a hard time without maps and minis (as I’m sure I would), there is nothing wrong with busting out a whiteboard and throwing down some dimes, nickles, and quarters to act as the tokens (which I have done on numerous occasions).
What size are your feet?
I wear a 10.5 men's shoe. I don't want to know what you're going to do with that information.