DnD Hot Takes #1.

Dungeons and Dragons is a big game and it inspires some very thought provoking questions. I planned to do a live Q&A stream for the people who had questions about the Hi Adventure campaign and my general DnD opinions but I realized a post like this would be more useful!

I’ll start with my general opinions on DnD. I have a feeling this is what most people are here for (judging by our twitter and email responses). I’m sure I’ll regret sharing some of these opinions in the future…


General DnD Thoughts.

Q. How do you feel about metagaming?

A. I’m generally okay with metagaming. For me, I find that it comes down to the intent behind it. If the players are metagaming to gain some huge unfair advantage then I remind them to keep it within reason. If they’re discussing things and it seems as if they’re taking actions in the interest of the narrative, then I overlook it. I place a lot of value in DM-Player trust. If I can’t trust my players to keep things fun and fair, I can’t expect them to trust me with the same task!

Q. How do you track experience?

A. We use milestone experience. In the home campaign, I tried tracking experience but the group of players changed every week (it’s a very casual table). The difference in experience began to grow too big and I decided to normalize the levels.

When a player makes a character, I ask them to create a milestone. It can be finding a lost city, defeating their arch-nemesis, destroying a cursed item or even saving their kidnapped sister. I’ve found that when the level milestones are directly connected to the player’s backstories, all the players become instantly invested in the backstory quests. They know, at the very least, there is potential to gain a level.

Q. Do you fudge your rolls?

A. No. With that said, I don’t have a big philosophical reason behind it. I roll in the open and commonly announce the DC before the players roll. This raises the stakes and adds a lot of weight behind each roll they make.

If I over-tune an encounter, rather than adjust the HP or fudge rolls, I often just make the creatures a little bit dumber. They might start attacking bad targets or start pursuing side objectives which gives the party an opening to counter attack.

Q. What is your opinion on critical fumbles?

A. I don’t use them. I tend to run a narrative heavy game and I feel like it has too big an effect on the pacing of the gameplay. Paradoxically, my players prefer to have narrative control over the wild hijinks they get themselves into.

I can see the value in using fumbles in a loose game and if your table enjoys it then I think you’ve made the right decision to include them! Discuss it with your players. Play DnD to have fun!

Q. What are the homebrew travel rules you use?

A. The rules were designed to be very simple and lightweight!

I prepare a list of facts and assign each one to a skill proficiency (nature, history, arcana, perception, etc). When the players decide to travel somewhere, I ask them to pick one skill each and roll. This represents what the players are “focusing” on while they travel. If they roll high they learn the fact and if they roll low they don’t.

Try to keep the facts relevant to what the players are currently doing. If they’re heading towards an Orc camp, they could find chimera tracks alongside the Orc tracks. Now they know that the Orcs have subjugated a chimera. They can choose to act on that information or not when they arrive and change their approach to the dungeon.

Q. You got X and Y rule wrong in episode Z!

A. I probably did. If you’re listening to the podcast and notice that we forgot a rule or made a mistake, you’re probably totally right. When recording, we try to keep the game moving for the sake of entertainment and time (our first episode has a big one that we address at the top of the second episode).

In our home campaign, I do stop and look up the correct ruling when I’m confident I can find it quickly. If I think the rule is too obscure or I’m unsure where it would be found, I make a quick ruling at the table. I do check with the players to make sure everything sounds fair and we resolve the action. Sometimes, preserving the momentum of the table is more important than doing everything RAW.

DnD as a Story Telling Tool.

I guess that leaves the questions specific to Hi Adventure and our current campaign! Now that we are in the middle of our second quest, I think it’s time we finally address some of these deep questions!

Q. Who is the Man in Disguise? He comes up a lot!

A. A character hidden somewhere within the lore of the Hi Adventure comics and podcast. I’ve left tons of clues throughout our posts for those interested in puzzles. Whether or not we will ever find his identity is up to you and the rest of the rookies!

Q. Will you play X game?

A. I’ve personally played various ttrpg’s including a lot of PBTA hacks (I love Dungeon World). While the podcast will be 98.99% Dungeons and Dragons, we may play other games on youtube or other platforms.

Q. Have you seen X podcast? I think you’d enjoy it!

A. I’ve enjoyed The Adventure Zone, Friends at the Table, Bombarded and Dungeons and Daddies. There’s just so much great content floating around out there that it’s hard to keep up with everything!

I think it’s pretty obvious that our campaign is heavily influenced by pop culture. If I had to name one thing that has had the largest influence on our game it would have to be World of Warcraft. It was my first exposure to a big fantasy setting and formed a lot of my early opinions on the genre.

Q. Is there a live stream where we can watch the game?

A. The podcast is the final product. There isn’t a live stream available but we are planning to release more video content once the studio is ready!

Q. I plan to record my own actual play podcast. What equipment should I buy?

A. I recommend a mixer and a set of cheap dynamic microphones.  We use a UMC404HD and a set of XM5800 microphones. It is a low budget solution but it records pretty good audio. Some groups use a single condenser microphone in the center of the table but that captures a lot of background noise. If each player has their own microphone, you can edit each track separately. We do plan to upgrade our own equipment soon!

The recording space is just as important as the equipment! Try to find a room with low reverb. You can treat your room with moving blankets. We are currently recording the podcast in my living room but we will have a more consistent space soon. It is currently under construction.

Q. Happy Birthday!

A. Thank you! This year has been a blast!

Q. Can we send you X? Do you have an address? Do you have a patreon?

A. We do have a PO box address but we aren’t prepared to accept any packages or shipments. Dice seem to be a popular offering and Dice Hobo Duran could really use a set but currently we have no practical way to accept them! We really appreciate the offers!

We are brainstorming ideas for cool rewards but we do not currently have a patreon. If you’re looking for a way to support the comics, podcast or our other content, please share it with your friends! We’d be eternally grateful!

I tried to compile and answer the most common questions we’ve received from our twitter, reddit and gmail accounts. If there’s interest, I can answer future questions in a similar manner. I may have Bryan, Taylor and Duran get in on all of this fun!

Conclusion.

If you have a question or you have a message you want read during the podcast, feel free to hit us up on our twitter and instagram accounts, @hiadventurecast.

We are still collecting homebrew magic item ideas, so if you have a cool concept that you’d like to see in the game, shoot us a tweet using the #hiadventurecast hashtag!

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