Tabletop Roleplaying: Getting your players to care

If you’re new to roleplaying or just curious, take a look at my tabletop roleplaying 101 post before reading this one. Tabletop roleplaying works best when everyone at the table is fully invested in the world that the characters you’re playing exist in. Everyone at the table should be fully bought in to the idea of all of you roleplaying together. Here’s a few tips on achieving this and, in doing so, getting your players to care.

Tabletop Roleplaying 101

So… You, or someone you know, has expressed interest in participating in some form of tabletop roleplaying. What is tabletop roleplaying? Tabletop roleplaying is a form of interactive storytelling. We’ve been telling each other stories sitting around a campfire for as long as anyone can remember. Tabletop roleplaying games are an extension of this. At their core, these games are all about people connecting with each other, creating shared experiences through play and discovering themselves by becoming someone else.

Get me out of here!

I like to play games. And to no one’s suprise, I guess I’m really into escape rooms. What are escape rooms, you ask? Borrowing elements from point-and-click adventure games, live-action role-playing, interactive theatre, treasure hunts, movies, and TV shows, an escape room is “a live-action team-based game where players discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to accomplish a specific goal (usually escaping from the room) in a limited amount of time”.

"That's never happened before" syndrome

A speedrun is a play-through of a video game performed to complete it as quickly as possible. Games Done Quick is an organization that runs bi-yearly speedrun events where hundreds of people gather to speedrun games for a good cause. I’ve enjoyed watching GDQ speedruns for a few years now but up until recently I had never tried speedrunning. Over the holidays, I played through the physics-based “astronaut doing astronauty things” game Heavenly Bodies.

I'm not going to forget The Forgotten City

Each day I take off work is a pleasure, but each passing day off increases the sense of dread I feel about having to go back to work. No matter how much I love my job, like most people, I would rather be spending time with family and friends or working on hobbies that tend to be a little more creatively fulfilling. The passage of time is inevitable. Life’s short and no one can escape death.

Games I played in 2021

Despite getting sucked into Hunt Showdown in a big way this year, I spent less time playing games than I usually do. Still, I enjoyed diving into other worlds with the Oculus Quest 2, quick resuming games on my Xbox Series X (purchased in desperation after years of wanting to upgrade my PC but not being able to due to shortages) and playing games on the freshly built monster PC I decided to buy anyway.

Getting high on Siralim Ultimate

Imagine if Pokemon, Final Fantasy and an assortment of your favorite opioids had a baby. That’s Siralim Ultimate. It’s a game about building teams of creatures to fight other teams of creatures. And that’s it. That’s the whole thing. Why is it so compelling? You choose a specialization (Monk, Cabalist, Necromancer, etc.), each of which gives you access to a certain set of skills to complement your team of creatures.

You're a Rift Wizard, Harry!

Rift Wizard is a traditional roguelike (a turn-based procedurally generated dungeon crawler) that doubles down on the fantasy of being a wizard with a hefty leather-bound spell book at your fingertips, a legion of minions under your control and mastery over ALL of the elements. Who wouldn’t want that? A lot of video game marketing tells you that you’ll be able to become a Really Cool Mage™ if you play Our Really Cool Magic Game™… but they’re lying to you.

Writing... It's a Process 🎧

On and off, since early 2017, I’ve been writing about the video games I play. I’ve always loved video games and writing so it seemed like a good idea to write about video games for fun. I got into the habit of writing concise reviews for most of the video games I played. I would play through a game from start to finish, pick out the juiciest parts of the experience, write about it in about 200 words and post the review to Steam.

A Political Video Game: Suzerain 🎧

Suzerain is a text-based role-playing game where you play as President Anton Rayne leading the fictional country of Sordland in a political drama driven by conversations with your cabinet members and other significant people. The decisions you make will determine the future of Sordland and of its people, how will you lead? Suzerain is a narrative-driven game. Playing the game involves reading a lot of dialog, news articles, biographies of people and more.

The PC master race is over: the Xbox Series X won

I spent a lot of money purchasing an Xbox Series X. I’m encouraged to rationalize my purchases to make myself feel less bad about spending money on luxury instead hiding it away for a rainy day when I’m older and more broken than I am today. As always, I write honestly but, given the circumstances, take anything I say here with a grain of salt. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that I was introduced to video games at a young age.

Social Deduction through Text Chat in Untrusted 🎧

I’ve been lucky during these uncertain times to have been able to keep in touch with my close friends and forge new relationships through the internet. I’ve been in lockdown for most of this past year and because I live alone, I’ve been doing a lot more text chatting than before in a mildly successful attempt to stay sane. I have a love-hate relationship with text chatting. It makes it really easy to keep in touch with the people you care about.

Time to Die in Risk of Rain 2 🎧

Time always moves forward whether you like it or not. In the blink of an eye, the present becomes the past and the future becomes the present. Every moment spent standing still is a moment not spent moving forward. We’ve all been standing still for far too long, until we can move around again, let me tell you about a game where you won’t be able to stop moving. Risk of Rain 2 is a game that forces you to come to terms with the passage of time.

Beware the God Killer in Yoku's Island Express 🎧

Time stood still as a new kind of old evil ravages the world as we know it, freezing us in time and space, while we clutch our crosses in fear. Sadly, God is dead and we killed him. In a time of unprecedented irrationality, ignorance and stupidity, it’s been difficult for me to stay sane in these trying times. It may or may not be too late for our world. Only time will tell.

Piloting and Tinkering in Ring Runner 🎧

Nowadays, I lower my expectations as low as they can possibly go before playing a new video game. Maybe I’ve been disappointed one too many times or maybe I’m a pessimist. Either way, because I set the bar so low, when an amazing game falls into my lap, it gives me energy. In the short time I’ve spent with it, I’ve fallen in love with Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages.

Good games I played in 2020 🎧

2020 was definitely a year, but 2021 is just around the corner. I haven’t had the opportunity to do much else other than play games this year which is a silver lining that I don’t want to take for granted. I’ve never before had the time to play as many good games as I have this year. Without further ado, here are my favourite games I’ve played this year in no particular order (You can read my 2019 GOTY list here).

Valve, Steam and You

If you’re a PC gamer in 2020 then chances are you use Steam as one of your platforms of choice to purchase PC games. You might not know that Valve, the people behind Steam and many beloved game series such as Half Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead, Counter Strike, and more, have been taking a 30% cut off of every game sold on their platform for a little over a decade.

Ready, Set, VR? 🎧

Virtual reality. Everyone should get a chance to put a headset on because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Modern VR headsets have been available for more than half a decade and yet not many people own one or have had the luxury of trying one. I was, and unfortunately I still am, an early adopter of VR. I owned an HTC Vive headset a couple years ago, I sold it.

Power Fantasies, Environments in LoG 2

The world around us is mysterious, magnificent and beautiful. It’s a living breathing ecosystem with an internal logic of its own. Mother Nature, and Father Concrete, represent the interwoven complexity held within the environments that we live in and explore. In the real world, the environments we inhabit can be quite uninteresting, but anything is possible in a video game. I’ve been playing Legend of Grimrock 2 recently. I’m having a wonderful time, because the environment is more than just a place where gameplay happens, it IS the gameplay.

My favorite games of the past, present and future

Hello fellow human. I’ve been quite busy this week, I’ve been focusing a lot of my free time on modding, making changes to an existing game, of a newly released game which I’ve been pouring a lot of time into given how good it is (I’ll mention it later on). Today will be a little less formal (that’s just a nicer way of me saying that it’ll be a little more half-assed than usual).

Hunt, Showdown, Repeat 🎧

You are a bounty hunter dredging through demon-infested Louisiana swamps in an alternate timeline of our 1895 but with some anachronisms thrown in. You need to find, then kill a demonic monster and, finally, leave the swamp as quickly as you can. Problem is… You’re not alone. You better hope to God that you brought the right weapons and that you’re not caught off guard by other bounty hunters. One mistake and not only will you be going home empty handed; you’ll be returning to your friends and family in a coffin.

A Gamer's Guide to: Cheating in Single-Player Games

Welcome to my second “A Gamer’s Guide to” blog post (check out my previous one on online multiplayer video games). I’ll be explaining how you can cheat in single-player games on PC. If you’re feeling like a rebel then take a seat and prepare to bask in the glow of infinite health, infinite currency and infinity itself. Feel free to use the techniques that I describe below at your own risk, I don’t advise cheating in any game that is a live service, is online in any way, has leaderboards or has micro-transactions.

A Gamer's Guide to: Online Multiplayer

Welcome to my first “A Gamer’s Guide to…”. This series of articles will cover a wide range of topics of interest to gamers from the perspective of a video game programmer. I know a little about what goes into making a video game. I gained a wide breadth of knowledge of every part of a video game including game engines, physics, gameplay, audio, AI, C++ (shiver) and more in my studies.

You can always reload, until you can't

Most games don’t matter. The actions you play out within most games don’t have any long term impact on you as a player. Some narrative games imply that the choices you make have an impact on the world but given that the world is imaginary, does it really matter? Some RPGs force you into making decisions that change the world or your characters but… You can always press F8 and reload.

My Game of the Year List for 2019

I love video games. I’ve loved them almost my entire life. I loved them enough to make making them my job. I’m not working in video game development anymore but I still enjoy playing games and pondering over them. Here’s a list of the video games I played in 2019 which I enjoyed the most (in no particular order). Trials Rising ¶ Here’s my video review of Trials Rising which I wrote and recorded earlier this year during my extended break from employment (don’t expect any more reviews to come where that came from).

Warhammer 40k - a Blast from the Past

I recently dove head first into the world of Warhammer 40k. A dark and edgy tabletop game born in the 80s played with many miniature models of science fiction soldiers, aliens, etc. If you’ve heard of space orks (generic fantasy orcs thrust forty thousand years into the future) who paint their ships red because it makes them go faster (their belief makes it so) or about an immortal Emperor sending genetically modified soldiers all over the universe to defeat the forces of Chaos then that’s Warhammer 40k.

Influencing the odds inside and outside of Blood Bowl 2

“Blood Bowl 2 smashes Warhammer and American football together, in an explosive cocktail of turn-based strategy, humour and brutality, adapted from Games Workshop’s famous board game.” I’d be hard pressed to come up with a better brief description of what Blood Bowl is. In Blood Bowl, you take on the role of a coach leading and managing a team playing an extremely violent mockery of American football. During a match, two teams try to carry one ball from one end of the pitch to the other but the similarities between football and Blood Bowl end there.

The website, Mortal Kombat 11 and microtransactions

I’m currently working on my website (the one you’re currently on, I should probably put a “work-in-progress” sign up…). Work has been going well so far. I had done most of the ‘setting everything up’ for the site a year and a half ago before I was employed by Framestore VR. I’ve recently begun working on the project again, and the work has been going according to plan. I was expecting to spend the whole day working on on the website yesterday however Mortal Kombat 11’s story mode and juicy gameplay got in the way.