The Resurgence of Tabletop Gaming and How to Hook Tabletop Gamers On RPGs

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This article is a contributed post.

Many Roleplayers will disagree that tabletop games and roleplaying games have experienced resurgence – after all, that can’t be the case if the industry never died down, now could it? But there’s no denying that tabletop games took a hit when console games overtook the market. Paul and Joao of Spellbound Games in Glasgow, the industry’s been kept alive mainly because of the social aspect of tabletop gaming, and because of the little niches that roleplaying games cater to.

Roleplaying games had long been cast into the shadows of pop culture and the media, but new trends have dictated their resurgence as a popular hobby. Strangely enough, much of this has to do with the mobile gaming industry – which is often touted to bring about the death of console gaming. As they say, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Gaming Realms, the company responsible for the games featured on entertainment hub Total Gold, has noted that games account for more than 50% of smartphone usage. Hundreds of thousands of apps are available on the mobile gaming markets, and some of them cater to the very same niches as tabletop games. Even Wizards of the Coast has tapped into the mobile market and released “Magic 2014”, a simulation of one of the oldest tabletop games known to man. Other games like “Knights of Pen and Paper” have broken down the tabletop gaming system for those more versed in console and mobile gaming as well.

Let’s not forget how HBO’s award-winning series “A Game of Thrones” has also emerged with its own board game, drawing fans of the series to begin discovering the wonderful world of tabletop RPGs. The industry is more alive than ever, which brings us to the question:

“How do I bring tabletop gamers into my RPG game?”

As Paul and Joao noted, the social aspect is a major selling point for the industry, and while it may witness surges of interest and periods of decline, RPGs will always have its own steadily growing loyal fanbase. Surprisingly, many of these people who are now loyal fans of their own tabletop games started out as tabletop gamers as well.

If you know anyone who seems to have suddenly become interested in playing tabletop games thanks to the new GOT board game, then welcome them with open arms. Spread the love of RPGs and try to introduce them to other games that interest you. Chances are, if RPGs just aren’t for them, their interest will wane quickly enough, but if you spark a new passion in them, it’s just one more player sitting around your table.

-by Corey Archer

Time As A Resource

alarmclock-512When we talk about good adventures (and heck, even good characters), we often refer to “resource management.”  A good “difficult” encounter forces players to expend many of their resources in the form of spells, potions, hit points, gold, and other “tricks” that don’t renew until a long rest (think Bardic Inspiration or Rage). A good group of characters makes optimum use of their resources, possibly saving that big trick for later, instead of just using it at the first opportunity.

I think we can all agree that, in that list of “resources” characters have, time should be included. The problem with time as a resource is that time is sort of abstract, especially in an RPG. Much like weather and seasons, there is often no tracking of time within the game unless there is a compelling reason to do so. By and large, I think that’s a good thing. Often time of day is a bit of minutiae that is ok to forget about. But other times, we need something concrete for players to help them visualize the amount of time they have available to them in order to complete a task. Otherwise, you have the problem of the “five minute workday.” Continue reading

Intermediate Miniature Conversion: Pinning

Ragnaros Reaper Mini Dragonman ConversionLast week, I went over a simple weapon swap for a miniature. This is a great way to get your feet wet in miniature modification, but eventually you’re going to want to do something more drastic to your miniatures. One of my D&D Adventurer’s League characters is a Dragonborn Barbarian, and I didn’t like any of the Dragon/Reptilian miniatures that Reaper had on offer. Fortunately, they have a Dragonman Conversion Kit. For this project, I’ll be using Ragnaros as my base figure, swapping out the head, and pinning a tail onto it. Buckle in kids, this could get messy. Continue reading

Simple Miniature Conversion: Swapping Out Weapons

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Disclaimers: I did not paint this miniature. Mine will not have white hair. Click for source.

Last week, I posted a few pictures on Twitter of a simple miniature conversion I did.
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I wanted to write a short article on how I did it, because weapon changes are some of the simplest mini mods you can do, and a great starting point if you want to get into miniature conversion.
Before you get started though, you’re likely going to have to deal with one thing: you’re not defacing, damaging, or ruining your mini, you’re personalizing it. The first time you modify a miniature, you’re going to get all nervous about messing it up – similar to the first time you painted a mini, except paint can be stripped off – now anything you do to the mini is more or less irreversible. Get over it. You can patch up any mistakes, or paint around the mistake, or heaven forbid, buy another one. In fact, maybe just buy two the first time around so you feel a little better about cutting up the miniature. Continue reading

Level Up! Episode 5-1

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We’re back and better than ever!

Before you click “listen,” I wanted to give a big shout out and THANK YOU to @alton who graciously offered to edit the podcast for me because I had zero time this past weekend. You can check out his podcast, Recounting Encounters where the hosts discuss the current season of D&D Adventurer’s League Encounters every week.
Continue reading

Defiance in Phlan Delve Terrain: The Goblin Lair

DSC_0047 - CopyEvery year that I DM for Gencon, it seems like I don’t get the adventures in time to prepare top notch terrain for my tables. It’s either something I already have lying around, or something I cobble together last minute. However, this year I was given a very early preview of the maps that would be used in the Gencon Delve adventure. Not one to waste an opportunity, I got right to work on making really cool terrain pieces for the tables I would be judging. This is the third of three pieces I made.

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t played Defiance in Phlan yet, but plan to, read no further until you have!)

Oh, and as always, click any picture to embiggify.

Continue reading

Defiance in Phlan Delve Terrain: The Crypt

DSC_0040 (1024x680) (3)Every year that I DM for Gencon, it seems like I don’t get the adventures in time to prepare top notch terrain for my tables. It’s either something I already have lying around, or something I cobble together last minute. However, this year I was given a very early preview of the maps that would be used in the Gencon Delve adventure. Not one to waste an opportunity, I got right to work on making really cool terrain pieces for the tables I would be judging. This is the second of three pieces I made.

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t played Defiance in Phlan yet, but plan to, read no further until you have!)

Oh, and as always, click any picture to embiggify.

Continue reading

Defiance in Phlan Delve Terrain: The Prison

DSC_0035Every year that I DM for Gencon, it seems like I don’t get the adventures in time to prepare top notch terrain for my tables. It’s either something I already have lying around, or something I cobble together last minute. However, this year I was given a very early preview of the maps that would be used in the Gencon Delve adventure. Not one to waste an opportunity, I got right to work on making really cool terrain pieces for the tables I would be judging. This is the first of three pieces I made. I know, I know… there are FIVE tracks in the delve, but I am only one person. And I have kids. And a job. Even though sometimes I wish D&D was my job… but I digress. You’re really here for the pictures, so I suppose I should oblige.

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t played Defiance in Phlan yet, but plan to, read no further until you have!)

Oh, and as always, click any picture to embiggify.

Continue reading

Hoard of the Dragon Queen Episode 1 Random Encounter Sheets

In this season’s Hoard of the Dragon Queen D&D Encounters adventure, there’s a “wandering monster” table in Episode 1. As a DM, it’s a pain to flip back and forth between the different spells and monsters on top of navigating the adventure itself. So I made some cheat sheets for myself that combine the monsters from the different encounters. Now (for the random encounters, anyways) I have everything I need on one sheet.

I don’t think there are really any spoilers here, but the following is really for D&D Encounters DMs only. Click “read more” if that applies to you.

Continue reading

Hero Kids Christmas Adventure!

hero-kidsA new Hero Kids adventure written by me was posted to Drive Thru RPG today. It is Christmas themed, but maybe not in the sense you’re thinking. It goes back to some of the Norse and Germanic traditions surrounding Christmas, including the Yuletide and Odin.

If you haven’t had the chance to get Hero Kids, now is a great time. You can introduce your kids to role playing on Christmas day, and their first adventure can be holiday themed! PLUS, if you order the adventure before December 26, email me (linky at top right – the red icon with an envelope) and I will send you a BONUS pdf with an adventure epilogue and three consumable magic items for your young adventurers. What are you waiting for??