Heather Dunn (Virginia Tech) wroteon Jul 23, 2007 at 7:14 PM.
In the games that my friends and I[we have a mainly females group, commonly DMed by a girl] we have had a nice combination of exploration, action, and puzzle. Maybe my DM was just awesome, but we had a very well rounded game. I enjoyed that there were slow times between towns when we were on long quests where the characters could interact with each and we were encouraged to really role play with the other players- relationships and partnerships were formed beyond the simple group due to such downtime, and made it more feasible to explore dungeons and interact during battletime. Certain skills that are forgotten to most[tumble, intimdate, persuade, mobility, serenade] became well-used, and our DM allowed us extra proficiencies if we used our downtime to practice our skills or meditate.

A strong combination of dice and real roleplay will make a game oodles better, especially when characters are simply using the dice to add umph to certain actions.

Also, let little fun things work- I have a character that combined the use of a healing potion and a gem to give herself a dazzling sapphire studded forehead after nearly getting eaten but some monster or another, and later used her forge weapon skill to create a replacement finger after a gelatinous cube ate her pinky. And what game would be complete without a man smoting god who favours transmorgrifcation into newts or other small critters?

Heather Dunn (Virginia Tech) replied to your poston Jul 29, 2007 at 9:29 AM.
Our DM tried to take one session and turn it into a neverending quest. It started as just something simple, we wanted shiny objects, and from there we took off. The adventures were not arbitrary, either, she fixed a storyline with different possibilities and really did her DM homework[maps, NPC action, and tons of details]. By using our previous adventures as backwork, months into our games we would reencounter NPCs that we owed, or owed us, or had heard of us. Some people couldn't play often, and they became in and out yet still integrated characters[somehow she accomodated the extra people in the summer and helped us create backstory to our absence].

Our DM wasn't a nitpicker, either. She allowed the characters to combine skills to work together if we knew one alone couldn't do it. I had a character lose a finger- we combined her skill as a weaponsmith[with penalties for missing a finger] with the healer's skill of a cleric and a rogue craft skill to create a working metal finger[we gave up two days travel and had to roll a lot]. She was very lenient when we first learned how to play, but eventually she thought of not only serious, but humourous accidents to go with low rolls. We created certain attack rolls for the random hurling objects *cough*halflings*cough* or other items that may need to be projectiles.

We didn't just try to save the poor farmer's sheep, or kill dragons[or sometimes get electrocuted by them]- we entered competitions and trials, stole from the rich and seduced the handsome, and had several strange puzzles to solve. We had a magic deck of cards[I missed that session, but it started a new quest] and made deals with Frost giants. One guy in our group used his booty to buy a brothel.

Mostly, we didn't allow conventional gaming to stop us from having fun. If it was something we really wanted to do, we found a way to do it, though sometimes the dice beat us. We also took some days off from work and had 12 hour snack/gaming sessions.

May I suggest looking at some D&D manuals that are off the wall? There are lots of little known ones, and some can help make a game more playable. Aside from it being funny and kinky, the Book of Erotic Fantasy is great.

Lea-Andra Carlton (Barrie, ON) wroteon Jul 24, 2007 at 3:12 PM.
For myself. I really like long running games where you can advance your character. I enjoy planning the character from the beginning and have it go the way you plan or finding things later to use to your advantage (feats, prestiege class etc). Killing stuff to gain experience is fun. Our DM had a very well laid out storyline with problem solving. We had random encounters in the beginning, but not anymore. It's all working out the problem.

It's really awesome that way I think.

Emily Munro (UCSC) replied to your poston Jul 29, 2007 at 3:51 PM.
No Problem Daniel,

My favorite NPC ever was a Tiny White dragon with the personality of a really stubborn, greedy, spoiled three year old. We had to negotiate with it to return it to the goblin tribe that worshiped it. We did successfully get it to come with us (she decided she liked our cleric, our good cleric, who's god later objected to her saving an evil creature), but our monk ended up beating it unconscious and stuffing it in a sack it was so annoying.

My favorite villain: a halfling necromancer that came after our wizard's family.

His name was Willember Thickpuddle. He wanted to be called "The Dark One", we called him Willy. He also had a serious Napoleonic complex.

I think the thing that made these memorable was their absurdity. No one is going to forget arguing with a toddler dragon who could freeze you where you stand and throws temper tantrums. The halfling necromancer was funny too, until he started creating some major undead.It was fun to piss him off though. What made these characters come to life was good acting on the part of our DM, and real thought into how the NPCs would react to the characters.

We've done several puzzles, but nothing really memorable, although there was one, from the published adventure Gorgoland's Gauntlet, a trapped staircase, our rogue stepped on the wrong step and appeared to be consumed by a wall of flame. In actuality he was transported to a holding cell until the group was done with the gauntlet and then returned with his head completely shaved (this is specified in the trap, but was all the more memorable because he had made a big deal about his character's hair).

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any more questions that come to mind, I'm happy to respond to them.