Honey-Mead for the DM’s Soul #4

Greetings Dungeon Masters’,


               Roleplaying. Some groups do it diligently, while others prefer to just explain what their characters are doing, rather than actually acting and speaking AS their characters. Which is better? It’s a very loaded question, as its answer is largely based on opinions. Some players believe that if you are not Roleplaying your characters, you are not really playing the game. Others will argue that it is more important to explain what you want to talk about and roll to see how well you do. Today on Honey-Mead for the DM’s Soul, we will delve into this dungeon of a topic and explore every room, looting all the things!


               Let’s first identify the different types of play that are associated in the Dungeons and Dragons game, shall we? We have the Roleplaying / Story-telling savvy groups who pay very little attention to the game mechanics of combat or rules. They focus on developing their characters, becoming immersed in a rich and vibrant world created out of the Dungeon Master’s mind, illustrated through pages of description and long hours of complex improv acting sessions. On the complete other side of the spectrum there is the mighty Power Gamers, who couldn’t care less whether or not they are in a world of wonder or in a 6x6 square room in a dungeon, as all they care about is the battle and growth of power in their characters. They strive to acquire vast amounts of experience, gold, and most of all, magical items. Times between combat are brief and usually can be summed up in just a few sentences.


               In between these two extremes is where most gaming groups lie, nestled in some intriguing and intuitive Roleplaying with battles for glory and power sprinkled for flavor. There is no one true choice of “This one is better than that because” or “That one is bad because” as there are so many factors that are accounted for when doing an evaluation of a group because, as I said in the beginning, the majority of the decisions about a group is based purely off of opinions. Most can agree that one type of play may have advantage over another in certain aspects, but they also have disadvantages in others. One could say that groups that focus more on Roleplaying will be slower to get things done, or drag on through quests. This is true for the most part. In my experience, Roleplaying does take quite a bit longer to do things, generally resulting in a slower progression through a campaign, where a Power Gamer group will quickly complete quests and tasks to maximize experience. At the same time though, I found that a Roleplaying group gets more out of the quests, and they are generally more memorable. They sacrifice experience and growth for memories of grand tales and adventure descriptions.


               It is really up to you when it comes to deciding which side of the spectrum you choose to lean more towards, and in turn your game will be different depending on where you go. Both types of play can be a lot of fun, as they both provide action and amazing stories, whether it is a debate with the King or a battle with an ancient Storm Giant. I have played both and been the Dungeon Master for both, and when it comes to choosing, talk to your group. See what they have to say in regards to how much Roleplaying they feel comfortable doing. In the end, their choice now will depict how much fun they will have.


Until next time, Farewell!


Tim Swain

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