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RPG 2019 Resolutions: New Year, New Game, New You?

A new year brings new resolutions and why should gaming life be any different? Whether you're a player or GM, these ideas can improve your games.

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Picture sourced from Pixabay.

Try a New RPG

It's easy to get stuck in ruts. Mixing things up can breathe new life into a group. Even if you don't like the game, it might stir new ideas for your regular campaign. It's especially easy to work in a new game during periods when a key person might have to miss their regular game. Instead of canceling because they're crucial to a current plot point, run a one-shot of something completely different.

If you normally play D&D consider something like Shadowrun or Tales from the Loop or the new Star Trek RPG. If Savage Worlds is your normal jam, think about Harlem Unbound. If you love Worlds of Darkness games, Blue Rose might be a great change of pace – or a superhero game like Masks or Sentinels of the Multiverse RPG.

Expand Your Voice

You don't have to be Matthew Mercer or Laura Bailey to widen your range of character or NPC voices. You can do a lot with simple changes like speeding up or slowing down the pace of your normal speaking voice or lowering your voice to a deeper timber. Practice a more squeaky tone or a nasally one.

If you want to learn how to do an accent, YouTube videos can be your voice teacher. Simply search for “how to do a [insert nationality] accent,” and you'll find a wealth of options, though some accents have far more lessons than others. You don't have to be Meryl Streep perfect. Just a hint of a different accent will make the character or NPC stand out.

Even adding a speech habit like punctuating each sentence with a rapidly said, “Know what I mean?” will convey personality. Just limit verbal tics like that to NPCs they won't deal with often so it doesn't get on everyone's nerves.

Do the Opposite

If you both play and GM, but tend to lean heavily into one moreso than the other, mix it up a bit. Playing can improve your GMing because it makes you more aware of respecting player agency as well as countering other bad GM habits. If you mostly play, occasionally GMing will curtail bad player habits. The shift in perspective can do wonders.

Add Sound to the Mix

Engaging the senses can improve the game experience, and sound is an easy way to do it. Some GMs put together a playlist of thematic music to do that.

If you want to up your game, so to speak, use sound effects, and today's technology provides many options. Apps like MyNoise have options like “RPG Battlefield” and “Circuit Bender.”

YouTube has a lot of sound effect options like “potion shop sounds”, “old wizard library ambiance”, and “D&D ambiance horseback traveling.” I've made a Pinterest board of the sound effects I use the most for easy access. The first time I used “tavern party” as the characters entered The Yawning Portal Tavern, my players actually sat up straighter, excited by the immersion.

For serious sound effects, Syrinscape sells official D&D, Starfinder, Call of C'thulhu and Pathfinder sound packs for adventures like Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, Masks of Nyarlathotep and Curse of the Crimson Throne so you have creature sounds, weather, explosion noises and more. Syrinscape also sells sound packs by theme like space sounds, aliens, wagon travel, high sea battles and more.

What gaming resolution are you making?

This article was contributed by Beth Rimmels (brimmels) as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. If you enjoy the daily news and articles from EN World, please consider contributing to our Patreon!!
 
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Beth Rimmels

Comments

Ramaster

Villager
Great article!

I've started playing the D&D spotify playlist on the background during my Pathfinder games. At first I was worried that it would be obtrusive, but since it's mostly videogame and ambient music it has been a great enhancement to immersion.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
My 2019 Resolutions are:

1) Introduce my Pathfinder diehards to a 5e campaign (which is starting this week)
2) Start the second half, and conclusion, of my 5e group's Forgotten Realms campaign I started 3 years ago (and never picked back up)
3) Put Pathfinder 2nd edition through its paces when it is released in August

Those are ones I've promised to various people, and really all the space in my life I have for gaming resolutions right now. :)
 
To re-read the DMG. I recall being rather impressed with it when I first read it through, but have barely used it since (like every DMG to date, it has almost entirely been referenced for treasure tables and magic items). So I want to remind myself of what else is in there.

I also would like to re-read the middle chapters of the PHB (the ones on running the game, skipping the character management stuff and spells). But that's less urgent.

I'd also quite like to get some more gaming in, but that's very unlikely to happen - the combination of not having a group, not knowing any local gamers, and having no free time is pretty devastating.
 

jhilahd

Explorer
Good stuff.

Mine is a bit different. I'm the primary GM of our group and my biggest issue is gaming A.D.D. There are so many wonderful games and my brain is electrified with story ideas and the "I wanna try this system" a good deal of the time.
But this year I intend to stay focused(as much as possible) with the two games of D&D I run and keep any additional game systems (oneshots/mini-campaigns) down to 1. Use the resources I have (PHB, DMG, MM and such) more than looking for other things to play.
Which is hard considering I picked up the new L5R, Runequest, Pulp Cthulhu, Call of Cthulhu 7e and Forbidden Lands in the last few months, plus the kickstarters I have coming my way in the few months ahead.
/sob

Must... fight... urge... ,old chum.
 

lyle.spade

Explorer
To re-read the DMG. I recall being rather impressed with it when I first read it through, but have barely used it since (like every DMG to date, it has almost entirely been referenced for treasure tables and magic items). So I want to remind myself of what else is in there.

I also would like to re-read the middle chapters of the PHB (the ones on running the game, skipping the character management stuff and spells). But that's less urgent.

I'd also quite like to get some more gaming in, but that's very unlikely to happen - the combination of not having a group, not knowing any local gamers, and having no free time is pretty devastating.
Those are all excellent goals. The DMG is a goldmine, and I think it's easy to gloss over the story and game management advice in it and the PHB.
 

Gradine

Archivist
I'm still working my party through my "HotDQ in Eberron" campaign, but I'm thinking my next campaign is either going to Blades in the Dark or Numenera: Destiny
 

SMHWorlds

Registered User
Publish two games and a fan zine
Play more Indie games
finish at least 3 adventures for publishing
 

isidorus

Explorer
1.) Create my Map for my fantasy world with Wonderdraft
2.) Play or GM Conan 2D20-Face to Face of PBP
3.) Play Judge Dredd-Face to Face of PBP
4.) See if I want to use Pathfinder 2 when it comes out
 

Shasarak

Villager
I never thought of doing a resolution for Roleplaying.

Hmm: 1) start back up my Starfinder campaign before,
2) picking up Pathfinder the 2nd and
3) finding time for some more Fighting Fantasy.
 

jnsmtnr

Villager
For me is putting together a new party, since I lost touch with my previous one. Still pondering about what game to choose:
1) Savage Worlds
2) Witcher RPG
3) Things from the Flood
 

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