Dried Nuts and Crossbow Bolts

Here’s another post for my players (and for anyone who is interested in stuff like this).  Some of my players don’t have the 20 years of background that I do with hanging around a table, so they don’t know exactly what’s expected of them.  To make things easier ahead of time, I plan to write a few nuts-and-bolts posts like this to help them.  This one is about what to bring to the table.

Stuff for writing. Since this is a pen-and-paper game, mostly, you’ll need implements of writing and a surface upon which to write.  I highly recommend pencils and at least one notebook (more, if you’re into organizing).  A laptop computer might work, but they might take up too much space and might be time-consuming.  At my table, you’re allowed to try it for a session or two, to see if it’s a help or a hindrance (we have wireless internet, so a laptop might be useful in other ways, too – but no random surfing allowed!).  Either way, it’s a necessity that you be able to mark up your character sheet somehow to record changes in your character’s state, hit points, equipment, etc.  Also, it is highly encouraged that you take notes on what is happening or has happened in the storyline.  I’d rather not have to remind you all constantly of where we are in the plot.  I’m not going to force you to make maps, though.  I’ll help you out with that.

Books. If you’ve got ’em, bring ’em.  If you don’t, don’t worry.  I have the essentials and a few add-on type sourcebooks that we can all share.  If there’s a particular piece of data that you plan to utilize that is only found in one particular book, you might want to bring it.  If you found something online that you want to use, print it out (it’s easier to pass around than a laptop).

Dice. Most gamers have a set.  There is one set of community dice at my house, so having your own is not really a necessity.  If you want your own, there are game stores all over town that can help you out for a relatively good price (there’s even one right in my neighborhood), and you can get them in colors to suit your personal style.  My personal set – that no one is allowed to touch but me and my superstitious fingers – is a lovely speckled blue on blue, my girlfriend’s is a pearlescent pink with gold numbers.  The community set is a simple dark blue-purple.  And I’ve gotten off-track… where was I?

Ah yes, Minis. You don’t need one.  (“Minis” refers to miniature figurines that can be used as tokens on the game mat.)  If you want to get one for your character at some point, you are more than welcome to do so.  For starters, we’ll be using guitar picks as our minis.  I’ll be providing those, so don’t worry your head about it.

Snacks! We’re going to be sitting around for about four to five hours, so you might need something to nosh.  Presumably, everyone will have eaten a decent meal beforehand, but it’s understood that humans require fuel to operate.   We have water, and can be persuaded to part with a few diet sodas, but we’re not wealthy enough to feed four extra people.  What kinds of snacks?  Small, portable things work best.  Anything drippy or gooey or crumbly is probably a bad idea (gets on the game mat and then the tokens and dice get sicky).  Cookies, fruit, cheese snacks, nuts, popcorn – good choices.  Please no alcoholic beverages.  We’ll carve some room in the ‘fridge if you want to bring sodas and such.

Your best acting chops. You can leave your embarrassment at the door, it won’t be necessary.  Since part of this game is role-playing, you might be called on to act out certain scenes (verbally, anyway).  Think of it as a group storytelling exercise.  It might feel funny at first, but we’re going to ease into it.  And I love to try on my funny voices, so you’ll be hard-pressed to be more embarrassing than me.

I think that’s it.  I should note that this apartment is home to a small dog, so if you have allergies, you might want to take a Zyrtec beforehand.  He’s fairly hypo-allergenic – Hilary has mild allergies and isn’t bothered by him – but better safe than sorry, especially if you’re not used to him.

If any veteran players out there in the blogoshpere have any additions that might be helpful for my beloved newbs, I’d definitely appreciate them in the comments.  Thanks, all!

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4 Responses to “Dried Nuts and Crossbow Bolts”

  1. Thanks for commenting on my blog. The gift at the shop was 2 “Basic” Box sets, 1 “Expert” box set (original dice and crayons included) and a binder of the original character and adventure sheets. It was awesome.

  2. That’s awesome, Tom! I vaguely recall those sets from my childhood. My memory is fuzzy, but I don’t believe the D&D I played when I was 8 was anything like what I play now (or anything like what Gygax intended).

  3. Other things to bring:

    Pencils: It’s worth mentioning to the rookies that pencils are the necessary writing implement. There’s not enough room on a character sheet to survive 5 hours of pen scratches. There’s barely enough paper width to survive 5 hours of erasure. You should make an NPC based on Andy Bell.

    Butt-pillows: Being 6’3″ and 170 lbs soaking wet in combat boots after a big meal probably makes me the scrawniest member of the party, but if anyone else had an extraordinarily sharp pelvic bone and no padding beneath it, some extra layers always help.

    Stuff I haven’t used since elementary school: Ok, so it’s not even close to being necessary to bring to the game, but I thought it worth mentioning that I’m thinking about buying a compass and protractor for the first time in about 20 years. I like to map, and it fits both characters I may be playing.

    Your towel: obviously.

  4. Thank you, Kureigu. You are absolutely right.

    I should have specifically stipulated pencils as being the preferred writing implement. Pens can be used, but your shit will be all fucked up after one session and you’ll either have to copy the whole character sheet by hand or reprint it (and I’ll charge you for the toner if you use my printer).

    And butt-pillows is a damn good idea, too. The folding chairs and makeshift sitting implements we’re providing aren’t always very comfy. Several hours might make one’s butt achy, especially if one is prone to boniness.

    And thank you. I was wondering if we were going to have a mapper. We have large graph paper here, so I was just going to map between games and provide it to the players. But if you like to map, you can do it. You can even use our large-size graph paper.

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