@Christina: Dear DM, if a bunch of cocky, evil player characters decide to go on a killing spree in town, what can you recommend as the most amusing (or amusingly cruel) tool in your cabinet of DM tricks for some “attitude adjustment” while still allowing them to continue breathing? Having the elite city guard beat them up like the punks they are might get old quickly. (Unless some stay in jail is part of the scenario, of course.)
My experience has been that the best way to pull players back in line with this kind of behavior is not with jail, (that just turns the authorities into bad guys and gives them someone else to fight) but instead with a perfectly reasonable response by everyone around them of fear and avoidance. A D&D character is likely going to be tougher than the average guard, and like you say, even if they aren’t, that kind of game gets old fast. But… if the townsfolk all see the party as monsters and run away any time one of them comes around, pretty soon your party will be desperate to have someone, anyone, treat them like a normal person. The best part of this treatment is that while it becomes increasingly discomforting to the players the longer it goes on, it is endlessly entertaining to the DM.
@TSED: Dear DM, what is your favourite kind of cereal? Why?
Always with the truly insightful questions!
Currently my favorite cereal is the Kirkland’s brand of “raisin bran”. The flakes are big and crunchy, and stay that way for a long time in my soy milk, and the cereal is sweetened with molasses, which is delicious.
@Alan: Dear DM, I feel that the great unwashed aren’t paying us roleplayers enough respect. How can we take over the world and institute brainwashing programs to ensure compliance in roleplaying related activity.
Um, apparently you haven’t been reading the newsletter. We’ve had this planet zipped up for the better part of a decade. I kinda thought you already knew. That’s why all very short people have been required for years to carry a pouch of gold coins and gemstones on them as treasure in case they get killed. Really Alan, where have you been?
@ Layne: Dear DM, where can I find an infinite supply of money so that I can spend all of my time roleplaying and still have all of my needs (and wants) fulfilled. I used to say that my back-up retirement plan was to commit some crime that had a long stay in minimum security prison (free room and board!!) and didn’t curtail my internet rights (gotta keep up with my webcomics), but now that role-playing is banned in prison, that plan is starting to fall apart. I need to come up with another plan because it doesn’t look like my 401k will be bouncing back any time soon.
Gamer retirement communities. Get in on the ground floor, this is a fantastic idea and investors are gonna really be competing to give me their money! You have to be able to prove that you’re a real gamer to get in, (there’s a quiz… what do hit points represent, what’s the best brand of cheese flavored snack… etc…) and there will be separate wings of the facility to reduce friction amongst players of different games. We’re still trying to solve the “sword-armed guests vs. clipboard-armed nurses,” but we have a high degree of confidence in a workable answer.
I’m keeping the investor packages low at a mere $100,000.00 per share to accommodate the high rate of interest, but you better move soon. Just think, you’re one check away from a lifelong dream of limitless gaming, macaroni castles, and pudding every Tuesday!
@Moginheden: Dear DM, I have a D&D group I participate in… but we don’t meet very often, and when we do, it’s common for half our people to be too busy so they can’t make it. Given that I’m neither the DM, (I’m still too new to D&D to take that on) nor the owner of the house we meet at, (and my place has no parking so we can’t meet here) what is the protocol to get the group together more often?
My city has a disturbing lack of stores that stock polyhedral dice. How can I remedy this? What are some good online sources of dice, and can I get any that won’t cost me an insane amount in shipping to send to Alberta, Canada?
The easiest solution to the attendance problem is minions. Have each player make up a minion for their character that only shows up when another player is out. To specifically address your issue though, if you want to meet more often than everyone else you out of luck, unless you want to belong to more than one gaming group. (Also a perfectly acceptable solution.) If the only problem is venue either ask if anyone is willing to offer up their place to meet at or suggest an outside place like a game store or gaming club.
If you’re looking for a way to push better participation on the current players… your abilities are limited. By all means talk to them and (reasonably) explain how their fickle attendance affects everyone else’s enjoyment, but acknowledge that gaming is just entertainment, and has to come second in most folks’ lives. It might be better for the sake of the game to replace these people with others who can make a more consistent commitment.
As for the dice, Amazon carries Chessex dice, and has a very good rate on their “pound o’ dice” deal. I’d really recommend it as an excellent way to stock your house for gaming. (The pound o’ dice is about 100 dice, sells for just under $20.00, and standard shipping is around $4.00.) All my dice are Chessex, and I would always look to them first for new dice.