337 Beyond Your Table

Implementing something new into your home group’s role-playing game may be different than incorporating it into a game somewhere else.


Dropping April 15, pay your taxes!*

*yes we know the deadline got pushed, smarty pants!


Sean and Brett: First off, big thanks for the Podcast and the community you’ve built, and the rigor and hard work that goes into keeping a regular cadence of shows and fresh topics. It’s helped many of us stay connected to others who share common interests during a challenging year in isolation. The show has become my go-to Sunday soundtrack during a long walk or run, and Sean’s Saturday morning forum feels a lot like Saturday morning cartoons used to feel. I always look forward to both, and I believe I speak for many BSers in sharing our gratitude for these channels and for cultivating such an engaged and interesting community.

All this dovetails into your “Beyond Your Table” topic from your most recent Podcast. Everyone knows virtual role playing has been rising, growing leaps and bounds this last year especially, with platforms such as Roll20 and Foundry and others … along with Wizards of the Coast putting their full marketing weight behind online tools like D&D Beyond and Twitch, etc. Everyone knows all this and yada yada.

My question for you: Have either of you experienced anything beyond an apples to apples recreation of the live role playing experience virtually in this last year, as in, one GM and a table full of players, with the GM largely doing all they’re tasked with doing in a live setting?

I’m not necessarily talking about moving tokens around a virtual tabletop or those types of innovations (fog of war, sound effects, interactive character sheets, etc.). I’m talking about a wholesale reinvention of role playing experience, taking full advantage of the remote nature of things.

For example, what if there were two GMs, one to handle the physical setting and NPCs, and a second to handle how characters may interpret their surroundings (perception and all those tricky or problematic areas), or all that my come into a PC’s mind, then left to the players to decide whether to share it or not, based on their PC’s personality traits.

As an example, it could play out like this: A second GM, working independently of the main GM, sends a direct message to a player that would say, for example, “For a brief moment, you caught a glimpse of your travel companion’s eyes, and they were as black as onyx.” That information is that player’s alone, and they may act on it or not, but it’s solely theirs and free of any larger agenda the main GM may have in place.

I’ve never seen or experienced this type of dynamic, where the physical setting is managed independently from the mental one, but would be curious whether you have, or any other situations where the virtual game experience deconstructed the role playing game experience to such a degree. I’m sure there are many rulesets that do just that, but wondering if you’ve seen or experienced such a thing in your long and distinguished journey through the hobby.

Cheers and Beers - Beerleaguer

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My single criticism. When rattling off silly questions “what’s the right way, how should I do this, how does Brett do this”. I think the last questions is different than the first two. A lot of this very forum is advice and “how do you do X”, not looking for a right answer, just looking for fresh ideas.



Welcome to the forums @Beerleaguer !

Interesting question - I can say from my side of things when I run a game on line it’s the same game as I would run in person. Only differences are things like virtual dice and virtual maps. I don’t often use tokens, it’s theatre of the mind in person and on line for me.

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Hmm, oh, gee, what could possibly have me eager to listen to this episode? Could it be… Satan? (Well, according to the 80s, yes, but that’s a different topic).

There comes a point in a game’s design where it has to function without its creator(s) and that’s when you learn if the game’s solid. Not because it worked exactly as you wanted it to as if you were there holding everyone’s hand, but it worked despite you not being there. Grammatical interpretation alone is one of the key reasons, but it mainly comes down to people doing whatever the fuck they want with your game and still feel like your game. It’s why Pathfinder 1st Edition was also known as D&D 3.75 because it still tasted like D&D 3.5 but with hot sauce. Or like a day-old doughnut, depending on who you ask.

No one runs the same game in the same way. Hell, I don’t even run my own games as written because I adapt to suit any number of reasons. But those adaptations are based on the core principles built into the game and that’s where games, adventures, supplements, and other products aim. Not dead centre, just anywhere on the target. The more precise it needs to be in order to function at a basic level, the harder it is to implement.

See what I did there? I basically said the same thing @Fafhrd and @sean did on this episode, but in my own words. Same thing. Except mine was done with a lot more fucking class, ya shitheads. Crapper out. :sunglasses:


I never claimed to have any actual class - I’m still a Lvl 0 PC :confounded:

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