Player Heroes

    Gameplay at The Tabletop Adventure    

The Tabletop Adventure has its own methodology in place for running games. This includes things like character creation, house rules, and also establishing an understanding of expectations.

Some of our approaches are specific to whether or not the session in question is an Event, a Standard session, or a Therapeutic session.

Topics to be covered will be:

  • House Rules (This will also contain an explanation of the 'type of game I run' and my 'DM style')
     

  • Expectations of you, the player, and myself as the DM.
     

  • Session 0

    • Establishing and understanding boundaries

    • Character Creation (including what you can work on prior to session 0)​
       

  • Overview of how the game will progress [In progress of being written]

    • Explanation of session timeframe​

    • Examples as needed for some common situations that might occur
       

  • Stance on disruption and/or toxic behavior
     

  • Policy on handling leaving the game early (or being made to leave). Also what to expect if a problem occurs with the Dungeon Master and the game stops abruptly or cannot start.

    House Rules   

I want to run games with everyone and have everyone feel welcome at my table. Below you'll find a laundry list of rules that are intended to help with setting expectations. I want to run a fun and engaging story, I'm sure you want to have a great time as well. However, these things need to be said so that we don't have unnecessary confusion or frustrations.

Some of the rules will be intended for in-person sessions and won't be exactly applicable for a digital session. If you have any questions or concerns then please reach out to me!

Dwarf Tinkerer

I have the following non-mechanic house rules in place:

  • Comfort = Fun. There will be some elements of roleplay, setting, and encounters that will make one or many people at the group uncomfortable. I will do my best to accommodate these requests and we will have a system in place if something unaccounted for makes anyone feel uncomfortable. Any attempt to deliberately use these elements against another player is not welcome at this table.
     

  • We’re in this together. It’s okay for the characters to disagree with one another but ultimately they must maintain the attitude of caring about the mental and physical well-being of their party members.
     

  • Romance is behind the veil. It’s okay for there to be amorous situations in the game but they will not be focused on at any length. Rape and any similar lack of consent situation will not be presented, nor welcome, at the table.
     

  • Be in character until you’re not. You’re welcome to dial up your roleplay as much as you’d like (accents, cosplay, mannerisms, etc.) and you’re also okay to just speak comfortably. While at the table you are considered to be ‘In Character.’ If you, as a player, want to speak out of character then you will need to declare this ahead of time. There will be social clues that you can use or you can simply preface your question/comment with an, “out of character,” before you state it. It will be assumed that after a pause, or if the social clue is no longer being used, that you are once again back in character (or you can also say you’re good and back in character now too).
     

  • Focus with advantage. I will be providing several fidget devices to use at the table and I encourage you to bring along your own so long as they are mostly in-audible (clickers, as an example, would not be welcome). If you need more stimulation to properly focus then I encourage you to speak with me ahead of time to work something out that’ll be good for you, enable you to focus on the game even when it’s not your turn, and not distract the other players.
     

  • Currency. I do not use Electrum in the game to help simplify math and avoid unnecessary complexity. I will occasionally use rare coins that may be worth more (such as dirty or clean platinum) along with misprinted coins or other things that might have a higher value than normal.
     

  • Electronics. You may keep your phone with you but I ask that you keep it off of the table and out of your hand (within reason). Please set your phone to vibrate unless you need to be alerted to an important message or call. Laptops are not allowed at the table unless you are volunteering as a session scribe and the rest of the table is comfortable with having it present.
     

  • Eye for an eye. It is strongly encouraged to play the game creatively but this also creates logic loopholes based on the description of spells or magical items that can be exploited. For some situations I will need to deny a creative approach that could be deemed as “game breaking” under the pretense of, ‘if you can do it this way then that means in this world many of your enemies now have this as an option themselves’. I do encourage creativity though and will try and work with you to do the cool thing! Just promise to work with me when a situation dictates that I need to say no.
     

  • Time. You are welcome to show up 10 minutes early for the session and are encouraged to socialize with anyone else that is present but I ask that you allow me to focus on setting up for the game during this time. The first 15 minutes of gameplay are dedicated to work on either Session 0 content, character creation content, downtime content, and (if applicable) level-up content. The last 10 minutes of gameplay will be dedicated to wrapping the session up. Departure is expected to be completed within 10 minutes after wrapping up the session.
     

  • RAW or RAI? (Rules as Written or Rules as Interpreted) Like many others, I follow a blend of these guidelines and understand that the people that wrote the books are human. However, I also implement house rules to modify these rules to enable the style of gameplay that works best at my table and they will be discussed below. If clarity is needed on a rule we can quickly discuss it during the game but I reserve the right to make a ruling if it requires any length of time to research for the sake of enabling the game to move forward quickly.

Battle Golem

I have the following mechanic house rules in place. The descriptions will be from the player perspective but these rules are here to empower both players and enemies alike and create additional excitement and options within the game:

  • Advantageous Flanking. Advantage can be leveraged if the target creature has already been attacked once by another creature/player (either in the same round or the previous round). This does not stack with other abilities or mechanics that grant Advantage. Instead, if a player already has Advantage (as a result of flanking or a spell/skill effect) that player will get a single point increase to their critical threat range. This effect does not stack with the exception of “Pack Tactics” which will stack twice. The Dungeon Master will track and assist with clarification during combat.
    Example:

    • The fighter attacks an ogre. The ogre has not yet been attacked and so he does not get advantage.

    • The Rogue, not stealthed, attacks the same ogre with her light crossbow. She has advantage because the fighter attacked the ogre before she attacked. She gets to roll her backstab damage if she hits.

    • The Barbarian attacks the same ogre and declares that she is using Reckless attack. Since she already has advantage by the creature being attacked already, she instead gets an increased threat range for using this ability (she will land a critical hit on a natural roll of 19 or 20 instead of just 20).

Note: Players are not getting additional critical threat range simply by “mobbing” and focusing down a single target. Only in instances where a skill or spell specifically would give advantage, when advantage is already present, is the increased threat range coming into play.

  • Massive Damage. If a player (or creature) takes damage past 0 then they are at the risk of suffering failed death saving throws as they fall unconscious. If the damage they take, before falling unconscious, goes into the negatives and that negative amount meets or exceeds their constitution score then as they fall unconscious they will have a failure in their death saving throw (cumulative).
    Examples:

    • Wren, the wizard, has 13 HP remaining and a constitution score of 12. Wren gets shot by an enemy ranger and takes 21 points of damage. This puts Wren at -8 HP and they fall unconscious with no additional effects and the normal mechanics are applicable.

    • O’kile, the rogue, has 5 HP remaining and a constitution score of 13. O’kile gets hit by a stone thrown by a hill giant and it’s a critical hit. O’kile takes 32 points of damage and puts them at -27 HP. As a result, they have 2 failed death saving throws (one at -13 and another at -26) as they fall unconscious. O’kile is now at a high risk of death with only one failure remaining.

    • In the same instance above the critical hit does 47 points of damage. This puts them at -42 HP. As a result, they get 3 failed death saving throws (one at -13, another at -26 and the third at -39) and suffer instant death as a result of massive damage.
       

  • Cleave/Pierce. If the player downs their target with a melee attack the player can choose to “spill over” damage to another creature within 5ft of the target creature (directly behind for Piercing and adjacent for Bludgeoning/Slashing) and within range of the player. The original attack roll to hit is used to determine if it would hit the new creature and if so the left-over damage from the previous creature is applied to the new target. This does not apply for ranged, magic or spell-like effects.
     

  • Critical Saves and Fails for spells and spell-like abilities. There is the existing rule for handling critical success or failure for melee and ranged attacks. However, there is no such rule for spells or spell-like abilities. This rule adds critical effects to them.

    • If the spell or spell-like ability is single-target against the target’s AC it will follow the normal Critical success/failure rules and double the dice damage upon a critical success or completely miss (or hit the wrong target!) upon a critical failure.

    • If the spell or spell-like ability requires a saving throw it will be an inverse ruling. If the target critically saves they will completely avoid all damage and bad effects. However, if they critically fail the dice damage will be doubled.

Note: This does not apply to skill checks.

  • Healing Spells. At certain levels players with access to healing spells may gain the ability to add a modifier to their healing spell based on their ‘spellcasting ability modifier’. Rather than applying your spell casting ability modifier to a single healing spell you will be able to apply it to each die used for the healing spell instead. This adds value to scaling up healing spells into higher spell slots and creates more versatility for a healer.
    Example:

Alinso, the Cleric, cast ‘Cure Wounds’ as a 3rd level spell with a wisdom modifier of +3. At 3rd level they get to roll 3d8+9 for their spell (a +3 for each of the dice).

  • Curses! Cursed items, and cursed effects, are a lot of fun and add a lot of enjoyability to the game. However, they are rather easy to get around with all of the mechanics in play (and pretty easy to get removed too). I treat curses in a similar way as how I treat traps. There is a DC associated with detecting a curse when you cast identify (or use a similar skill) and the closer you are to the DC the more 'insight' you'll have on whether or not this item is cursed. Beating the DC provides a strong confirmation of a curse being present and beating the DC by a margin might get you more info on what the curse is.
    In addition to detecting the curse a DC is also applied to removing the curse. Remove Curse is a base 3rd level spell and essentially what this means is that some curses will either need to be cast at a higher level spell slot or a DC needs to be met or passed if cast at a lower level.
    Example:

Dinnae, the gnome fighter, has contracted lycanthropy while battling werewolves in a nearby farmstead. She does not want this curse and chooses not to embrace it. While pursuing a cure she is presented with a few options, seek a boon from a deity who will help in exchange for an offering/support or find a powerful mage capable of casting 7th level spells to help cure the ailment. A failed attempt at removing the curse could cause Dinnae to lose herself and transform suddenly!​

  Expectations  

I'll start off by reiterating some expectations that were in the House Rules above.

  • We’re in this together. It’s okay for the characters to disagree with one another but ultimately they must maintain the attitude of caring about the mental and physical well-being of their party members.

  • Comfort = Fun. There will be some elements of roleplay, setting, and encounters that will make one or many people at the group uncomfortable. I will do my best to accommodate these requests and we will have a system in place if something unaccounted for makes anyone feel uncomfortable. Any attempt to deliberately use these elements against another player is not welcome at this table.

  • Time. You are welcome to show up 10 minutes early for the session and are encouraged to socialize with anyone else that is present but I ask that you allow me to focus on setting up for the game during this time. The first 15 minutes of gameplay are dedicated to work on either Session 0 content, character creation content, downtime content, and (if applicable) level-up content. The last 10 minutes of gameplay will be dedicated to wrapping the session up. Departure is expected to be completed within 10 minutes after wrapping up the session.

    • Expanding on this item. When you sign up you will be invited to look over a combination of classes and races to consider for your character and also a few 'light' homework items to prepare for Session 0. Please make an effort to complete these. If you show up entirely unprepared we will make a quick decision together so that game can get started. You will feel a lot more prepared and comfortable with the session if you review what is requested ahead of time.​
       

  • RAW or RAI? (Rules as Written or Rules as Interpreted) Like many others, I follow a blend of these guidelines and understand that the people that wrote the books are human. However, I also implement house rules to modify these rules to enable the style of gameplay that works best at my table and they will be discussed below. If clarity is needed on a rule we can quickly discuss it during the game but I reserve the right to make a ruling if it requires any length of time to research for the sake of enabling the game to move forward quickly.

  • Be Polite. I also expect you to choose kindness and consideration for your fellow players (and myself) at all times. Your characters are allowed to have disagreements, you can be flustered when something happens, there is more than one way to approach a problem.
    Nobody likes to have someone else yell at them or deliberately coach them on what to do. Mind your voice and try to mind your body language as well. Give everyone a chance to fail equally. We'll have fun, I promise.

  • Be respectful if things go wrong Out of Character. Sometimes things happen that are outside of our control and it can cause a momentary disruption to the game. I will manage sudden and drastic shifts appropriately if someone needs to excuse themselves from the session for whatever reason.

Draconic Cloak

A lot of my expectations, as you can tell, are essentially boiled down to being considerate, being patient, and being kind. I promise to reciprocate these expectations back to you and will also promise to bring my best possible game master experience to bear every single session.

  Session 0  

Session 0 is the 'get together before the first gameplay session' designed to help the party establish themselves, their characters, the setting of the game, tone of the game, and other similar things.

At The Tabletop Adventure we use Session 0 to accomplish the following:

  • Choose your Race & Class Combination

  • Choose your character background

  • Finish up your character sheet

  • Establish how your character and the other characters know one another.

  • Provide a quick overview of the setting (if needed).

  • Answer any quick questions before jumping in.

Character building is elaborated further on two sub-pages.

The first would be for absolute beginners who might be intimidated by all the options. I've curated the list for you to help provide some of the easiest options available for character creation (and play). [Character Creation - Basic]

 

The full list of race and class options that I am supporting for my sessions can be found here. [Character Creation - Complete]

Player Heroes

Making a new character is loads of fun but can be extremely daunting to new players. Even a seasoned player can spend hours reviewing character race and class options with practiced familiarity as they work on their character sheet.

At The Tabletop Adventure I've taken the liberty of streamlining this process to help get people focused on getting started and playing the game quickly. I've created a slightly better array of stats than the standard array that is used for all character sheets and the players (you!) will just need to pick whatever race and class combination you find interesting. After that, you'll pick a background (which gives you a few more character sheet perks, some gold, and a backstory to toy with) and then think about your character name and appearance. That's it!

Don't fret about which race and class combo is 'the best'. Every single one of them is viable and you should focus instead on what sounds fun. If I end up having a table of 6 players who are all playing Goliath Warlocks then that's just fine. I don't need a well-balanced party to create and run an enjoyable session.

One thing that I do want you to keep in mind though is around the idea/concept of fantasy racism. In many settings (including D&D) races are depicted in ways that can feel 'locked' into being evil, good, better, or lesser. In my setting the heritage that your character hails from will not really turn an eye and it's common to see Orcs, Half-orcs, Half-elves, Elves, Humans, Halflings, Tabaxi, (etc...) going about their lives together.

There are evil individuals present amongst all of the races and are capable of villainous deeds (large and small). Large-scale evil is usually associated with monstrous characteristics (creatures, not humanoids), the fervor of evil and cruel deities and those who seek favor with them, and also tensions between large groups of civilizations that are at odds with one another.

As an example. Orcs and Half-orcs can be found in most cities on Kymoria. However, there are still large clans of orcs that are blood-thirsty and evil. Those orc clans worship deities and practices that create and fuel this culture amongst them and their rituals help to 'cull' the 'weak' amongst them. These rituals can include things like having powerful dweomers cast to ingest the spirit of their deity which helps to strengthen the evil traits they revere and diminish empathy.

What this means is classical fantasy racism is not expected, or needed, in this adventure. You can play a Drow Elf and enjoy your friendship openly with your Aasimar ally and have a nice meal served by a Half-Elf and Lizardfolk couple. While adventuring you'll be aware of the markings of those who openly profess their following (and will often times have to deal with those aforementioned villains who are more subtle, but no less dangerous, as well).

What does this mean for racial characteristics?

Don't worry, I'll still lean into the fact that Orcs are big and tend to value physical strength and hardiness over wit, and that dwarves are stubborn and bearded and tend to think about clan over self, and that elves are more whimsical and aloof in general. What I won't be doing is making every single orc a brainless buffoon, and I won't be deliberately highlighting their physical features as 'monstrous characteristics'.

This is a fantasy world of our own making. Why make it oppressive and crappy like the real thing? With that said, you may encounter the occasional bigot (cause they exist too) and Kymoria is absolutely not a utopia by any stretch of the imagination. Things are hard, many locations are ruled by those that have the power/money/influence to rule and as a result people are just trying to survive and that can lead to shady decision-making.

Circling back to character creation. This page is lengthy and you'll see a LOT of options (I curated this list and there are over 4000 combinations before you add backgrounds into the mix!). I just want to remind you if you're new to not get flustered.

You could show up at game and just ask for a random character and I could give you one within a few minutes. Otherwise, just select a race that looks appealing to you, a class that sounds fun, and a background that sounds fun. After that, scroll down to the 'wrap up' section to pick your name and fine tune the remaining tidbits.

  Disruptions & Toxic Behavior  

These firm stances are here so that I am enabled to help protect myself and other people at the session.

You are 100% allowed to advocate for yourself, have concerns, feel emotions, have opinions, and feel safe enough for any of those to show. When I talk about disruptions and toxic behaviors I am not telling you that you're not allowed to be an 'inconvenience'.

What I am emphasizing is that you are considerate, thoughtful, and respectful towards everyone else at the session. You are not watching a show/movie on the side, you aren't actively having side conversations whenever it's not your turn, you aren't being inconsiderate and rude towards others by interrupting them and talking over them.

I will help out if you are being disruptive and ask that you work with me whenever that might happen.

In regard to toxic behavior... there are simply too many nuances to really list out. Essentially, if you make myself or others feel very uncomfortable or unsafe and you are unwilling to stop after being informed that this is occurring then you will be removed from the session. I will extend the benefit of the doubt for unintentional mistakes. However, those benefits are finite and require a conscious effort on your part to try and acknowledge and respect what occurred.

There is a zero tolerance policy for verbally assaulting or gaslighting myself or other players at the session. There is also a zero tolerance policy for trying to solicit your (or other) services, sabotage the session, and/or try to hold a discourse out of character about non-session related topics).

Out-of-character commentary happens and we can roll with this. When I make the comment about holding a discourse about non-session related topics I mean pursuing any topics that are not related to the session we are running with the intention of having a conversation or the intention of getting others' attention onto what you are focusing on (and is not the session at hand).

If you are removed from a session for disruptive or toxic behavior I reserve the right to not only not offer a refund for the services in question but also the right to block you from scheduling any further sessions.

  Policy around sessions ending early  

I don't want this to happen, you don't want this to happen... nobody wants this to happen.

However, personal wishes can only go so far in the face of life. Inclement weather can cause problems and sometimes services that I (or you) depend on to connect to the session are down and it's outside of our control to influence. Personal health issues can crop up as well. Life just doesn't care about our agendas.

With the above said I'll try and be as clear as I can be on how to handle sessions ending early (or needing to be canceled by myself before they start).

First, you are welcome to step away from a session for any reason and at any moment during the session itself. I do not need to have a reason at the time (during the session) but would appreciate being told you need to step away and whether or not you'll be able to rejoin before that session concludes. Stepping away in this manner will not entitle you to a refund or reschedule.

If there is an emergency of any kind on your side that causes you to step away then I strongly encourage you to drop what you're doing and focus on that. Please email me as soon as you can afterwards to explain what happened and we'll discuss if a reschedule can occur or not.

If issues during the session (with other players or myself) cause you to leave the session because you feel unsafe or the session is causing you serious duress then please email me as soon as possible for us to discuss the matter and what, if any, actions can be taken.

If I am unavailable for any reason (I do not start the session, I need to end it prematurely for my own reasons, my internet cuts out and I am unable to host/lead the session, etc.) then I will offer a refund or reschedule to those who were impacted.