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Episode 345 – free association
by Dan Repperger

* (0:59) “Shnotes” and other words that annoy us.

* (3:42) Chad introduces us to Rory’s Story Cubes, and we try some RP experiments with them.  We discuss the value of random words and images in helping to break creative block or get out of ruts.

* (25:59) Alternate ways of creating the same (or similar) story aids for your game.

* (28:36) Using free association to create character-to-character links, NPCs, plot encounters, magic items, etc.

* (40:08) The potential drawbacks of the story cubes or other inspirational aids.

Hosts: Chad, Dan, Pat, Wayne

Comments (12)

PhilOfCalthJuly 10th, 2014 at 5:56 am

I read the show notes. Sometimes I’m looking for certain advice, and I want to find the right episodes.

clintmemoJuly 10th, 2014 at 8:14 am

I read the show notes every week, just to get a idea of what the episode is about.

KeithJuly 10th, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Yay I got credit! thanks chad!

Zach LortonJuly 10th, 2014 at 11:30 pm

I ran an improv workshop at Fear The Con 7, and one of the games we played was called Blind Line. I asked everyone to write down quotes on pieces of paper — famous quotes from literature, from movies or television, bits of advice a parent or teacher might give, advertising slogans, etc. — then we mixed them up. During the scene, a player would occasionally pick up a random piece of paper, read the line, and then justify why they said what they did. The line would alter the reality of the scene in some way.

Later in the workshop, we played a Jason Morningstar game called News Hole. During one of the last scenes, one of the players read a quote from one of those pieces of paper, and it allowed me to add another dynamic to the outcome through my character. Stuff like that, little random things that can be thrown into the game from time to time, can really help present opportunities to the players. Like Dan and Wayne demonstrated, one item being rolled could mean one thing to one person, something entirely different to someone else. Where you take it is up to you.

Good coverage of this in this episode. Another reason why some principles of improv can be used in roleplaying.

Jon ManessJuly 11th, 2014 at 12:18 pm

So, just finished listening to this episode, and damn if it didn’t seem familiar!

Just last weekend, my wife, myself, and a few friends were talking about words and phrases we just can’t stand, and “BOGO” was one of the big ones. Might I add “low hanging fruit” to the list?

Also, I have been working on a contest for a gaming con I am part of in January that is a sort of “Iron GM” type thing, and I as going to incorporate Rory’s Story Cubes in it.

Stop reading my mind and stealing my thoughts! lol

DanJuly 11th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Jon, we have a satellite that does scary things. Scary. Things.

JMCampbellAugust 2nd, 2014 at 8:38 am

So, I dtarted running the D&D starter set module last night. After selecting their pregen characters.

To get the game going i told them they had already been adventuring together. “What happened on your last adventure?” Had them roll on the Rory’s app and told them to take the top two dice and tell me what the adventure was and some things that happened along the way. (I don’t like the app because you can only roll 9 dice, not 2 or 3, and the dice don’t roll too well.)

What they came up with: They were looking for a lost city. The first night someone stole the wizard’s clothes. They found the thief hanging from a cliff. He was hired to steal his stuff but then the hirer turned on him. They showed the thief mercy and continued on their way.

Because it was kind of funny, it informed what style of game I should run. It helped them loosen up a little bit and showed that I was still going to give them a degree of agency despite running D&D and not running my usual “hippy dippy story game BS.” (When we can’t play our usual game, I’ll usually run Monster of the Week or some other indie-ish one shot game.)

Because the Starter Set module is in four parts, I think I’ll revisit it at the start of each week as an ice breaker and to find out what happened in the lost city. But I’m taking the actual dice next time.

JMCampbellAugust 2nd, 2014 at 8:42 am

So, I dtarted running the D&D starter set module last night. After selecting their pregen characters.

To get the game going i told them they had already been adventuring together. “What happened on your last adventure?” Had them roll on the Rory’s app and told them to take the top two dice and tell me what the adventure was and some things that happened along the way. (I don’t like the app because you can only roll 9 dice, not 2 or 3, and the dice don’t roll too well.)

What they came up with: They were looking for a lost city. The first night someone stole the wizard’s clothes. They found the thief hanging from a cliff. He was hired to steal his stuff but then the hirer turned on him. They showed the thief mercy and continued on their way.

Because it was kind of funny, it informed what style of game I should run. It helped them loosen up a little bit and showed that I was still going to give them a degree of agency despite running D&D and not running my usual “hippy dippy story game BS.” (When we can’t play our usual game, I’ll usually run Monster of the Week or some other indie-ish one shot game.)

Because the Starter Set module is in four parts, I think I’ll revisit it at the start of each week as an ice breaker and to find out what happened in the lost city. But I’m taking the actual dice next time.

So thanks for the idea. Up to now I’ve just used the dice to tell bed time stories to my daughter. I’ve definitely thought of using them in a game, but haven’t been sure how to do it.

IronJellyAugust 12th, 2014 at 11:14 am

As IronJelly on the forums and a lot of other forums, I also dislike the use of “jelly” in place of jealous. I keep thinking people are talking to me. It made me happy to hear I’m not the only one who hates that.

Pike (Jorma)August 20th, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Dan do you guys do product reviews much? My wife makes scale male bag (dice bags) and like for you guys to check them out. You might have seen one because as I remember we made one for Wayne. Please let me know and thank you.

DanAugust 21st, 2014 at 4:34 pm

We’re not a product-oriented show, but I don’t mind taking a look at something if you want to send it our way!

Pike (Jorma)August 21st, 2014 at 6:06 pm

I didn’t think you guys was so when I hear this episode I was little shock. I’ll send you a message how send things to you. Unless Wayne show you his, if he still has it.

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