Sunday 27 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 27 - Essential Tools for Good Gaming

I love topics like this! It reminds me of Day 30 last year, which reminded me of Day 22 the year before, and my own post earlier that year about preparing the gaming space. This is different detail but the same theme, and turns out to be one I enjoy.

Essential tools for gaming: core rulebook for the game you're playing. Equipment as listed in rulebook (eg dice, cards). Character sheets. Comfy places to sit. People to play with.

(I know comfy places to sit don't sound like bare essentials, but anyone who's ever tried to sit for a couple of hours where it isn't comfy will understand, and having hips that like to sllide out at awkward times and fibromyalgia makes it absolutely essential for me).

For good gaming?

The core rulebook and any supplements being used should have a good reference format, making them easy to use quickly without interrupting game flow. Similarly, the character sheets should be clear to read (flashback to Day 26 in the first year).

Comfy places to sit: cushion piles to share with friends, big comfy sofas or armchairs, a snuggly corner. I'm not fussy. I need to fidget a lot.

People aren't really tools (not the ones essential to good gaming, anyway), but are worth mentioning, because for good gaming you want to be playing people on a similar wavelength to you - people you can communicate with well and who want similar things from the experience, or people you get on with well enough out of the game it doesn't matter so much.

Of my "essential" list, I've left dice to last, because dice are actual tools. They aren't essential to gaming, but most games make use of them, and I love dice.

I like to have multiple sets of dice. This makes Husbit laugh because in Deadlands I generally carefully seek out each of my d4-d12 sets at the start of each session - and then only use one of the sets all night!

Deadlands dice
Exalted dice

For Exalted, though, I do use my different colours. It started in Aberrant, where I liked to use red d10's for mega-attributes, purple for atttributes and blue for abilities (and orange for mischief). I've taken it a step further in Exalted: no mischief or mega-attributes, but the red get used for damage, white or pink for stunts and specialities, turquoise and green for equipment bonuses... It's unimportant, but I enjoy seeing where my successes occur: "Huh, no successes on my own, but with my suit's amplified sound system I managed to hear the whispering". 

Other tools? These days, I like a notebook to write up the game as we play. I knew people who could do that in the past and never understood how they managed to write all game without getting distracted from playing, but now I get it. I enjoy chronicling our games.

I've got a shiny dice tray and pretty dice bags and my folder for rolling on, but none of those are essential for good gaming.

I met Husbit on a coach on a trip up to Warhammer World. It was a coach so the seats weren't comfortable. None of my friends were on the trip: it was mostly the younger crowd from my local GW store, with me being dragged along to show off they had multiple girls, so I didn't really know any of the other people on the coach taking up people from my local and his, and while we had dice they were all d6's, and it was D&D he was running from a few seats behind me. With no rulebooks or character sheets.

The only things essential for good gaming are interested people and some imagination.


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.


  1. "while we had dice they were all d6's, and it was D&D he was running from a few seats behind me. With no rulebooks or character sheets."
    Pretty sure we didn't bother with dice either ;)

    1. I realised it was ambiguously worded. We didn't use dice, because the only ones we had were the wrong type, but the fact we were going to a gaming thing meant there were dice ;-)