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Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) 1 year, 6 months ago

Poll: Would you watch a GB DnD campaign run by a member of the community? (233 votes)

I would watch 55%
I would not watch 33%
Abby 32%
Ben 25%
Brad 21%
Jeff 23%
Geoff Bacular 26%
Dan 22%
Vinny 41%
Jason 22%
Jan 17%
Rorie 21%

The poll is multiple choice, choose all you feel would be applicable!

I'm a huge DnD fan who never gets to play wnough and never has enough great DnD content to consume. I often spend my spare time writing out campaigns in a notebook. It has always been sad that the GB crew was never able to really pull it together on that stuff. They did a couple of fun streams but it was led by arguably the least equipped to DM in the office. The wonderful Matt Rorie, who I get the sense is always so busy dancing in clubs on Thanksgiving or handling the torrents of GB support issues, doesnt seem to have time to prepare for a campaign.

Its a fair amount of work to learn a tabletop system like DnD, learn an adventure, and then go through it guiding a bunch of new or returning players.

I was wondering if a segment like this would work better if an experienced DM from the community took the reigns and did some sort of remote game through something like roll20.

I think honestly the DM role is the challenging part of a segment like that, because an experienced DM can grease the rest of the common friction points, especially with very easy systems like roll20.

Also, who would you like to see in the GB DnD special if they did one? This is another sticky issue because I generally don't recommend more than at most 6 players and I feel like I want everyone to get to play.

And with that I'm really curious what sort of GB themed adventure I can come up with, I think its time to put pen to paper! Cheers!

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#1 Posted by Captain_Insano (3500 posts) -

I don't think a GB specific one would work. Austin has/had his podcast "Friends at the Table"(?) which was an RPG one. I listen/watch Critical Role for a cool DnD campaign.

If I had to, I think Vinny, if he had time, would be a cool DM. Bakalar, Alex, Abby and the chaos of Dan would be a good group. But I don't think any time for it exists.

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#2 Posted by TheHT (15839 posts) -

Sure. No Alex on that poll though huh. I see how it is.

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#3 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@theht: I knew I was missing someone and would definitely put Alex in the feature personally, thanks lol

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#4 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@captain_insano: You dont think it would work ogistically or as quality content?

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#5 Posted by bigdaddy81 (383 posts) -

Nah. As much as I wish otherwise, D&D and Giant Bomb just don't mix.

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#6 Posted by ottoman673 (1269 posts) -

Only if by "member of the community" you mean Austin Walker.

Otherwise no.

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#7 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@bigdaddy81: Why do you think that? The only time they've tried they had a first time DM that I don't think would fit the role even if he was prepared. That's a huge setback in the way of a quality DnD campaign. A good DM makes a world of difference especially with new players, because they make it super easy to grasp the basics and learn more as they go.

They also went with Pathfinder which is one of the most complex and at times poorly written ruleset, in terms of understanding mechanics. If they did something like 5e it would make things a lot easier and I think fit the crew better. If people think grasping the mechanics is what would get in the way of a good DnD feature on the site I think they greatly underestimate even Dan, and overestimate the complexity of the task. Within a session almost all of my new players have become pretty comfortable with the ruleset at hand and start role playing and getting into a playstyle they like. Its easy to get started IF you have a good guide in your first experience.

@ottoman673: That would be great but I suspect he has enough on his plate. That said there has to be a good DM with the charisma to run something like that on the site. But maybe there are weird logistical issues with someone outside of a crew member or friend of the site doing it.

If only GB had that Penny Arcade cred, they could get a proper Wizards dude to run it lol

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#8 Edited by ottoman673 (1269 posts) -

@opusofthemagnum: I guess I'd just like to see a season of Friends at the Table with the GB East crew.

That'd be a good way to do something like this.

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#9 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@ottoman673: do they rotate folks around on there? I've only listened to some of the early stuff so I'm not familiar with how it is operated. I'd be super down with that, even if I don't always love Austin's style on his DMing

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#10 Edited by bigdaddy81 (383 posts) -

@opusofthemagnum: If I'm remembering right, they did try a 5e game some time after the Pathfinder one and it was a bit of a disaster. But as for why I wouldn't be interested in watching GB play D&D:

Jeff: he has already expressed his disinterest in playing.

Brad: he just never seemed that enthusiastic about playing and I found him a little dull.

Ben and Jason: no idea, but my gut tells me Jason would be alright.

Rorie: he seems to have too much on his plate to learn all the rules.

Bakalar: honestly, I'm just not a fan.

Alex and Abby: I think they would genuinely be enjoyable to watch.

Vinny: bit of a wild card, this one. He does understand the entertainment value of collaborative storytelling, but he also likes to break shit and would probably drive the DM crazy. Some people would find that enjoyable. I would not.

Dan: not made for D&D. At all. Can wrangle his head around playing a wrestling persona, but can't do the same for a tabletop rpg. I think this kind of game is just beyond him.

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#11 Edited by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@bigdaddy81: I really do think you underestimate most of them. I think you are right about 5e but I also remember the issue being the DM.

I can pretty much guarantee I could sit any of the GB crew members interested in DnD (and Dan) and have them understanding the basics, getting into it, etc in a single session.

Dan actually would be a perfect fit for DnD because of wrestling I think. I'd probably use that to help explain it to him and build him a character that played into that interest and experience, basically giving him a chance to create wrestling moments but against goblins and shit. Learning a tabletop ruleset or even grasping the basic concept is much harder without a good intro which I know he hasnt had.

Ya role a die and see what happens. Most of it is just getting to the point where you are open to just expressing what your character is going to do.

Vinny could easily be tamed by putting him in a certain role, probably a cleric, an older and more experienced character who forms the head of the party. Or just Dan's character's older brother always trying to keep him from doing the people's elbow on random townfolks and inciting pitchfork mobs over his atrocious and bizarre habits.

I also think a less rule heavy DM style with a more confident guiding hand would help. Little things like knowing what your players need to role and simply telling them "role dx y or z because blank" helps smooth out the frustrating early elements of play, just encouraging them to do things rather than ask if they can, and to focus more on using imagination to describe an action rather than looking for a skill to achieve a result I think would help some of the members a ton.

I've run all sorts of players through DnD. A lot of them seem like terrible fits to an outside perspective but end up very much enjoying and succeeding in the spirit of the experience. Dan's love of playing characters would make him a great DnD player once he was introduced to the basics, especially with a simpler melee character with some wrestling flavor thrown in.

Do you play and or DM? Curious because your attitude towards it seems to suggest either a lack of experience or a more rigid engagement with the systems. 5e is suuuuuper easy to pick up, especially if you skip character creation (I usually build characters for new players based on their choice of class and race and any other input they have, retaining tge feeling of individuality without overwhelming them with a choose your own adventure style process of 2 hours; and if you loosen up from the rules and focus on the storytelling.

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#12 Edited by ninnanuam (582 posts) -

Roleplaying takes a lot of buy in from players, to be their best they need to be truly collaborative. I cant think of many things worse than listening to half assed P&P. Its also a lot of work so if it doesn't result in views I think it'd be a bit pointless for them.

Out of all of them only Vinny has made it apparent he plays and enjoys them. I think Abby could go along for the ride but would lose interest as soon as it wasn't funny or trying to be funny (forget about crunch or simulation). I don't think any of the WC crew would be up for anything ongoing.

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#13 Posted by bigdaddy81 (383 posts) -

@opusofthemagnum: I play a little, but mostly DM. And to be fair, I am utterly terrible. But I enjoy it, as do my players, so it's all good.

We do play 5e (though we all cut our teeth on 4e) and I agree that it's super easy to learn for the most part. I typically don't find that adhering to rules gets in the way of storytelling and 5e gives a lot of leeway on how to interpret and enforce its rules.

But it still might be a little too much for the GB crew to learn and become invested in. They usually have a lot of other stuff going on and I don't think they would really get into playing it outside of creating content for the site.

It would probably be better to recommend a more rules-light system such as FATE or Dungeon World. Or the slightly more complex Cypher system, which I'm currently running. But ultimately, I do not share your optimism on this becoming a thing on this site.

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#14 Posted by Nulix (62 posts) -

I think GBeast could do it well. Vinny as dungeonmaster would be great

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#15 Posted by draltor (18 posts) -

Confusing question. The poll is to choose the party members and someone from the outside would be the DM? I agree that this would be the only way it might work. But, the last time was a disaster. Dan, Vinny and Rorie made it unwatchable. Without those three, I don't know how you would get enough people to do it. Maybe Jan, Abby and Ben?

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#16 Posted by EthanielRain (1564 posts) -

I'd give it a chance but I thought it was pretty bad when they did it last time, so...probably not.

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#17 Posted by Christoffer (2374 posts) -

Of course I would watch it if it was any good. I'd watch anything if it's good. But I think roleplay videos/podcasts only works when everyone gets really involved in bringing the world and the characters to life and to make the most of the story and the events. And I don't think that's the style around here. The GB staff would start out strong but lose interest quickly. And it's really sad to watch an enthusiastic DM monologuing to a group of bored and half asleep players.

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#18 Edited by ArbitraryWater (15698 posts) -

I remember the 5e stream they did a couple years ago being sort of a trainwreck. I’m not convinced that P&P RPGs are in any way a good fit for them beyond the one-shot, rules-lite stuff that GBeast has done on their holiday beastcasts.

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#19 Posted by FLStyle (6634 posts) -

Nah, that's what I've got Critical Role for.

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#20 Posted by BisonHero (11576 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: It was maximum train wreck. If most of the players don't know the rules, you need a pretty experienced DM who knows the vibe of the edition really well, knows which players to try to teach and which players to just give up on and basically do all their rolls for them, and the DM really needs to know the kind of campaign they're trying to run and how to improvise when players deviate from it. Sadly, Rorie was not up to this task.

Not to mention Dan was trying to be an atypical grappling based character, which would be admirable if he had put any effort into understanding what that would mean within the context of D&D, but he didn't, so Dan would say "I put him in a sharpshooter" and Rorie would say "I'll count that as a short sword attack" and it was all just kind of depressing.

Once a year Fiasco from GB East is about all I expect from GB in terms of roleplaying. Austin + Abby roleplaying improv is a combo I look forward to.

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#21 Posted by DrFlapjack (373 posts) -

Vinny for sure, anyone else... not really. They already tried it once and is had issues. The Adventure Zone was my intro to D&D and that's all I needed.

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#22 Posted by super2j (2136 posts) -

@captain_insano: I wonder about that. When they finish Sunshine, could it not fit roughly in that spot? I never played DND, so I can't say for how long set up is, but once they get going, a 2 hour episode a week for a couple months sounds like something I can see them do.

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#23 Posted by Redhotchilimist (2961 posts) -

The Pathfinder thing went so bad. I think they might do alright with another game like the Christmas thing the GBEAST crew does, and Abby, Vinny, Bakalar and Alex could maybe have a good time. But not Jeff, certainly not Dan, and I don't think Brad, Rorie or Jason are/would be very funny about it. It's just not in the cards, even with a community member as DM.

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#24 Edited by ArbitraryWater (15698 posts) -

@bisonhero: Yeah, as someone who runs a 5e group with (mostly) neophytes, it's incredibly important to have a solid grasp of the rules when your players are still learning, if only so you don't have to destroy the pacing by looking things up every five minutes. 5th Edition gives you a lot of leeway and lets you fudge things like crazy (which I really appreciate) but if you don't have that foundation it turns into the blind leading the blind pretty quickly. Or, it turns into the way the McElroys eventually handled D&D, where you ignore half the rules, fudge pretty much everything, and accidentally make spellcasting super broken since no one is keeping track of slots or spells known. (Seriously, I love The Adventure Zone, but by the second arc it was abundantly clear that the kind of actual play podcast they wanted to make was not at all suited for the ruleset they were using. Glad that they seem to be moving onto more rules-lite stuff with their new arcs.)

Weirdly enough, there's a character class in Pathfinder who would mechanically fit the kind of character Dan wants to play (which, as far as I can tell, is always "Heel Wrestler.") The Brawler is basically a scrappier, more flexible monk without any of the mysticism. Of course, being that it's a late-era Pathfinder class, it's also dense on rules crunch and built around a pretty high level of system mastery (seriously, their signature ability is to temporarily give themselves access to any combat feats they are qualified for, which seems like a lot of fun if you have a list handy but an absolute nightmare if you aren't already versed in the morass that is Pathfinder feats) which are about the least Dan things I can think of. Also I think Dan's hyper-competitive, spotlight-grabbing nature makes him uniquely unsuited to the kind of collaborative storytelling that is ostensibly the point of good roleplaying.

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#25 Posted by Retris (424 posts) -

I'd love to see them play a roleplaying campaign but no edition of D&D is good for podcasts/videos, and 3rd and 5th edition are less than mediocre as roleplaying games.

If they're going to do a campaign, why not run something like the Drama System which is basically improv since Abby already has experience with that? They could even use the playset that is about crimes and wrestling so Dan could play his version of Ric Flair.

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#26 Edited by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@draltor: The dynamic of a group of inexperienced players is largely set by how the DM handles them from what I've seen. With a good DM I think what was previously a wreck could work out quite well.

And it cant have been that confusing, because you got it right ;) but I couldn't figure out a smooth way of making it clear from the start what the rules of the poll were honestly so i just hoped folks would read the post and figure it out lol

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#27 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: There's nothing wrong with ignoring the rules and honestly I think Adventure Zone would be a great example of how to handle the GB crew: just let them play and act as the DM to use the rules to do interesting things with what they want to do rather tha expecting the players to use the rules.

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#28 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@retris: Don't you dare talk mess about 3rd Edition!

My issue with super rule light stuff is that it lacks the bit of focus and guidance that rules provide and at that point why not just make up a story together? I'm a 3.5 kinda guy though so I like rules, I like dozens of skill checks, etc.

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#29 Posted by htr10 (1048 posts) -


I came into this thread just to see if someone posted what I thought was the “right answer”. You didn’t let me down.

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#30 Edited by MrWakka (322 posts) -

I think the first go was OK. The second time with Dan was a complete mess.

The ruleset was not a problem, Dan seems to struggle with the concept the most and he was in the simplest form of D&D (5e) they've yet made.

I think the second go round might have worked were it not for Dan, he just didn't get it, and just wanted to play a heel not understanding the role of the party in a cooperative game. The moment party PvP actions were allowed in a group of novice players I knew it was over. Internal party conflict can be a great dynamic, but when half of it involves someone who can grasp the idea of kayfabe, but not out of character knowledge, yeah, no dice.

That said I don't think Dan is unteachable, but I don't think a live stream is the way you do it. That and he also honestly would need to want to learn, but I don't think he does. Listening to him go on about D&D on the beastcast this week reminded me a lot of old Dan and I'm not sure if hes acting it up or not, if he wasn't I'm flabbergasted as to where the disconnect is for him.

If there was a new game I'd want a new DM, it isn't that I don't like Rorie, but I don't think he did well last time. My crew would be Vinny, Abby, Alex, and maybe Jeff B. I might even suggest Dan as the DM, he could probably tell a pretty wild story/campaign, assuming he could be bothered to learn.

I think Abby would probably be earnest, Vinny experienced enough to take on a leadership role, Jeff B I think would offer a bit of a counter point to some of Vinny's unpredictability, and Alex would be like our very own Xan (A very pessimistic elf in Baldur's Gate.) Dan might like the role of telling and creating stories more than playing in them, just so long as he understands he isn't playing AGAINST the players, but with them.

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#31 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2050 posts) -

I would watch something if it was a genuine Ernest attempt and interest in playing dnd . Anything like that 5e game they did and no way count me out.

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#32 Posted by Retris (424 posts) -

@opusofthemagnum: I'm not saying liking 3rd Edition makes you a bad person, but it's an objectively bad ruleset that was designed purposefully to be a bad game that only people who min-max to a munchkiny level have fun with. It's not really even a worth of discussion since the actual designers of the game have said so. Without 3rd Edition we wouldn't have concepts such as Ivory Tower Game Design, Trap Feats or Caster Supremacy in roleplaying games. I repeat, I don't think you're a bad person if you like to min-max, it's just that I don't think any of the Duders would have fun with it.

Also, D&D tends to give much less guidance or focus than most modern rules light games. Just look at something like Fate (although it's really rules medium), the aspect system completely dictates the flow of play and works really well on informing the players what their characters should be doing. Or the Drama System that I mentioned before, it has a very rigid flow of play that is based around setting scenes like a television show and every scene needs character motivation.

The other reason I mentioned Drama System is that the Beast Crew has already played Fiasco and the Drama System is very similar to it, except it is less about failure and is designed around longer games.

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#33 Posted by eladren (348 posts) -

As long as we somehow rope Dave and Ian into it...

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#34 Edited by NeverGameOver (902 posts) -

I would definitely watch but I can't imagine this ever happening. If I had to pick the ideal grouping, it would be Vinny, Abby, Ben, Bradley and Jeff Bakalar. Alex, Dan, and Jeff G. all have zero interest so I think including them any of them would be counterproductive. Jeff Bakalar would be the kind of openminded first timer that you want.

Also, everyone who is talking about how they "tried" and it was a train wreck, they've actually tried twice. The first time they tried was back in 2013 with Vinny, Drew, Brad, Dave, and Ian. That remains one of the best pieces of content on this entire site. The second time they were derailed by Mr. Ryckert.

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#35 Edited by ArbitraryWater (15698 posts) -

@opusofthemagnum: I’m all in favor of house-ruling and fudging when mechanics or rules don’t fit with your group. I guess my thing is that once you’re ignoring large swaths of core mechanics, maybe you should consider switching to something that fits the kind of game you’re playing a little better. I fully acknowledge that I’m being pedantic, and that people can apply the rules of their “make believe, but with dice rolls” however they wish. However, it definitely seems like the world of RPGs is wide and varied enough for a group to find something that works especially well for them without ignoring half of what differentiates any given rule set from another.

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#36 Posted by TheHT (15839 posts) -

Dan: not made for D&D. At all. Can wrangle his head around playing a wrestling persona, but can't do the same for a tabletop rpg. I think this kind of game is just beyond him.

I think Dan would be great with the right DM that could punish him for like 80% of the bullshit he'd try to pull, but know when to let that 20% through to great effect.

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#37 Posted by MrWakka (322 posts) -

@theht: Getting 'punished' 80% of the time doesn't sound fun.

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#38 Edited by Qrowdyy (366 posts) -

I think you'd need a DM who could lay down the law and not be swayed by player opinion. Set the tone, curb the excess, and get everyone thinking on the right track. Once everyone is on the same page after the first few hours the DM could loosen up a little and allow some shenanigans.

I'm not sure any of the GB staff can be the stern authority figure that would be needed though(at least for the early parts of the campaign).

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#39 Edited by littlegirl (38 posts) -

Personally I think everyone would have more fun if they were playing using a different system. Nothing against D&D but it does require a lot of prep and knowledge of rules and it's not fun for the viewers if half of the stream is spent asking about how certain mechanics work. Something like Blades in the Dark or a game based on Apocalypse World would work pretty well with the GB crew I think, since the players could focus more on doing what they want and the GM's job is to figure the interesting consequences of their actions.

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#40 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@retris: I've never min maxed I just design campaigns around a ruleset and tweak things here and there. I'm a detail kinda guy so I like that 3.5 requires players to actually be good at things. None of my players had a bad time with 3.5e games, its a fun system even if it can be exploited. Easy solution: don't do that.

I am not sure I'm doing my best to explain why I don't love the super rule light stuff, I just prefer having a more structures system underneath, more of an ultimate realization of an RPG rather than just telling tales. While I think GB did have some fun with their holiday game, its not the same sort of thing as DnD and tbat's what I'm talking about. I also don't know how long they could keep up for a feature with something like that, I think the mechanics and progression of DnD 5e would fit them pretty well.

You just don't seem to personally like DnD rulesets so I get why you wouldn't want to see it but 3.5 and 5 are plenty popular and successful, plenty of people have fun with the systems and yeah they make then their own because literally the point is being able to do whatever ya want.

Also the only ones ignoring large portions of mechanics are the inexperienced DMs. I'm not saying whoever were to run this theoretical campaign should ignore all the rules but a few house rules are always fun. Mine usually involve more interesting failures and things that require extra engagement from players.

@qrowdyy: Definitely. I just don't think anyone at the site knows DnD of any edition well enough to run an adventure much less a campaign. Even Ian who back in the say seemed to know his DnD stuff didnt seem like an experienced DM but more of a player and IMO didn't do a great job. I think as long as the DM remains in control, understands the mechanics of each character, and is aware of pacing it would be a really good feature. Someone just needs to do all of the time consuming prep work.

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#41 Edited by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@littlegirl: Honestly with a good DM that shouldn't be a problem. 5e is incredibly easy to teach, just tell your player what sort of character they are, let em know what sort of spells they have, what their skillset is like, and have them explain what they want to do. After a session they will see how you use the mechanics to achieve it and they start doing it themselves. The DM has to be proactive about that and avoid the trap of just asking what skill the player wants to roll for. For the players initially the mechanics are very simple especially out of combat and its really easy for the DM to guide them into the right mindset. I've taught a lot of people through play and they all figured it out after a couple of hlurs: say what you want to do and let the DM figure out what you should roll and then eventually learn wht you roll well in so you can actively use those skills or feats or what have you to do cool stuff.

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#42 Posted by jkz (4286 posts) -

I don't think the crew they have now is made for it. The best shot was that Vinny/Dave/Ian/Drew/Brad group, and even they only managed 3 episodes (Rorie maybe wasn't the ideal DM though, and Pathfinder's likely a little dense for their purposes). Imagine the GBE crew would get distracted 10 minutes in, and I don't think the GBW guys would have the interest. Really too bad they couldn't manage it when they did have a good crew for it though.

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#43 Edited by JohnyMyko (1870 posts) -

I kinda liked the ones they did, because it wasn't too serious not too deep and it was adjusted to their personalities and for how much they care about that kinda of stuff. If it gets too serious and too rigid on it's rules it just becomes boring to watch to non D&D fans (or for me, at least). Some of the crazy stuff Vinny did on the first one would probably never be acceptable on a "real" D&D game and that would ruin most of the fun. Also, I think it wouldn't be as fun and laid-back if the DM is someone they don't know or aren't close friends with.

Either way, I think there once was a time, place and crew to do that on Giant Bomb, but not anymore. If done on East they'll probably try to turn it into a goofy improv bit and scream a lot and on West I don't think they would be that much into it if it's too strict.

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#44 Posted by Blastr85 (36 posts) -

I like the idea but if Dan is playing I would probably get frustrated and never watch more than the first episode.

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#45 Posted by TheHT (15839 posts) -

@mrwakka said:

@theht: Getting 'punished' 80% of the time doesn't sound fun.

Not like punish punish. More like "oh you want to pull some bullshit? here, have some playful misfortune."

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#46 Posted by Sahalarious (770 posts) -

I think about a lot of what Dan says, and it takes me time to reconcile. I have never been more on the same page as him as I am about D&D though. The idea of the improv nature of D&D has always bothered the shit out of me. Knowing that this huge following is ultimately a bunch of dudes playing make believe is a real hard sell. There are so many videogames out there that I can't conceptualize why anyone would do this. I like to think of myself as open minded, maybe the father in law ruined D&D for me, but for who I am now it all seems insane and boring and frustrating.

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#49 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2050 posts) -

@gtb08: the simple and short answer is that in DnD there are no limits. In video games there's are littarly millions of limits. Creating a character and story in something like Skyrim lets say pales in comparison to DnD.

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#50 Posted by Jaqen_HGhar (1368 posts) -

I would watch everyone but Dan on something like this. Because of his (probably made up) inability to understand something so simple as collaborative storytelling he would make it all miserable. Jeff Gerstmann doesn't seem to be into it at all, but I think he would be pretty good at it. Too bad they didn't get something regular going the brief time Austin was hired. I listen to Friends at the Table every week, and a GB roleplay series run by him would be so good. Not sure about DnD though, would prefer some of the systems they run on FatT instead.

@gtb08: This is such a sad take to see. I can understand people not being into it, but being unable to understand the fact that making a fun story together with friends can be enjoyable just baffles me. And the whole "bunch of dudes playing make believe is a hard sell" coming from someone who play videogames is kinda funny.