Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Relationships in Dungeons and Dragons Part 1

This is an interesting and vague topic for a blog post. And, I’m sure if I really wanted too, I could let this topic spill out across the blog until it was novel length. That’s how in depth one could get with this topic. It would work as both a psychological and sociological study and would be a beautiful topic when it comes to the development of fictional characters and worlds and how all of that works in tandem with the Dungeon Master’s world. And, I think I lost where I was going with this topic already.

I don't know these people, but yeah, that's pretty much what our gaming space looks like.

These people in the doctor’s office are giving me a headache. They’re talking to one another right over top of my head, and they’re across the room from one another. This is making me stabby… very very stabby.

I probably shouldn’t be talking about that in a public forum, but the absolute discourtesy these people are showing for those around them is disgusting.

Things are sort of quiet now. So, we can get back to the topic at hand. Any Dungeons and Dragons setting, even if it’s set in our modern world, is a fictional setting. All of the people that make up its populace are fictional (yes, even if Abraham Lincoln or some other historical figure is featured in it, they are fictional as well). This is because the world exists solely in the Dungeon Master’s mind and once or twice a week that world exists in the minds of his players. The relationships there are based on fictional events and fictional lives and… I don’t know where I’m going with this.

Either way… a relationship between a player character and an NPC is based on the way both act and react as well as the way the dice rolls. Say a rogue is trying to convince a king that he wasn’t responsible for the theft of the crown jewels, and even takes it so far as to blame the theft on somebody close to the king. This is a tense relationship moment (and would be one where it would be heavy on the roll-playing) and the result of the encounter would fall to the dice. The rogue’s bluff skill versus the king’s sense motive: they would roll a d20 and add their skill modifier to the roll and the highest would win. That’s a mechanical way of determining things.

Another way to see how that relationship works would be through pure role-playing. The rogue’s player would have to put on a convincing enough song and dance to get the king (the Dungeon Master) to go along with what the rogue is saying.

And, I'll blame this one on the royal vizier.

We actually had an incident like this in our last game session. A drow sorcerer was trying to convince a troop of drow soldiers that he was a priestess and that they should submit to him and let him and his friends pass. He had the bluff and disguise skill to pull it off, but he was kind of stuttering in the role-play. (The player’s new to D&D so I kind of expected it, though he did better than I did my first time trying to outwit somebody.) He didn’t pick up on the fact that drow women have no respect for males of any race, including their own. They’re a matriarchal society, and the priestesses are belligerent when it comes to ordering males around.

When he picked up on that it was kind of awesome. I enjoyed seeing that look of triumph on his face when the drow guards bowed before him and split the column in two to let him and the party pass.

Kneel before me in terror, infidel!!!

And, there’s more to cover than that, but I’ve reached the limit of what I feel is appropriate to put into a blog post. So, to be continued…



Here's part two for your viewing pleasure.

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