Roleplaying Notes

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Roleplaying Style

SyFaeRûn is a medium roleplaying campaign. What that means (as opposed to, say, a heavy roleplaying campaign like SyDarkSun) is that while roleplaying is expected, it is not required. If you make some attempt to act in-character, and don't run around wreaking havoc on the game in ways that make no sense for your character, that's sufficient. The DM is not going to insist that you colorfully narrate every attack or create involved backstories for your characters. It also means that not a lot of inter-party secrets and infighting are expected; characters are generally expected to be on the same team, and to share information as necessary. That does not mean that you can't or shouldn't keep some secrets from your fellow characters, or that some inter-party bickering or plotting isn't allowed. It's just not usually expected.

However, though in-depth roleplaying is not required, it is strongly encouraged, and will be rewarded (in addition to the inherent fun involved in fleshing out and delving into your character). Adding character portraits, backstories, family and contacts information, character journals, secrets, plots, and the like for your character will greatly enhance not only your enjoyment, but everyone else's as well (most certainly including the DM). Following are some tips and information on how to do that.

Rewards

As I'm still new to 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, I'm still working out just what rewards players can earn for developing their characters. At minimum, good roleplaying (especially if it disadvantages your character in some way) will be rewarded with Inspiration points. 

Character Creation

Party Bonds

5e has the best character creation rules your DM has seen in D&D. Follow the character creation guidelines in the Basic Rules, and you'll end up with a well-fleshed-out, roleplayable character. However, there is one additional step I'd like players to take in character creation: Party bonds. It’s not required, but it will help with good roleplaying and party cohesion.

Creating a party bond is simple: Choose or randomly determine another character in the party, and choose or roll a bond with that character. You may use the table below, or come up with an option of your own. This is in addition to the bond associated with your Background. If your character doesn't already have a bond with another party member, feel free to create one now, though you may wish to discuss this with the other player.

Twenty Sample Character Bonds

Below is a sample of potential bonds that tie characters together. You may choose from this list or roll 1d20 to determine randomly.

  1. Is a sibling of
  2. Was saved by
  3. Served with
  4. Protected by
  5. Adventured with
  6. Is a friendly rival of
  7. Childhood friend of
  8. Is magically bound to
  9. Survived with
  10. Escaped with
  11. Apprentice of
  12. Acolyte of
  13. Idolizes
  14. Drinking buddies with
  15. Business associate with
  16. Lost a bet to
  17. Is indebted to
  18. Was trained by
  19. Dueling partner of
  20. On the run with

Once you know who your character is bound to and the general nature of the bond, you can discuss the details of that bond with the other player. Perhaps instead of just being siblings, you're actually twins. Perhaps the bet the warrior lost to the wizard has forced the warrior to travel with the wizard for one year. Perhaps the barbarian is an apprentice to the ranger's mastery of nature. The DM can suggest how to better tie your bond to the details of the story, so you may wish to consult with him before finalizing the details.

Tips

  • There has long been confusion about the function and role of hit points in D&D. Someone called “EmperorPonders” has done a better job at explaining it than your DM has ever seen before. I encourage you to read “You are (probably) doing it wrong” to get a much better idea of what happens when your character takes damage. In essence, hit points beyond a basic minimum (say, 6) represent stamina and fortitude, not your physical body. So for characters (and many monsters) with more than one hit die, what happens in combat is not that swords and arrows strike deeply into their bodies, but that their defenses get worn down. Only once that has happened is a killing blow possible. 
  • First Edition AD&D had Level Names that I've always been fond of. Feel free to adopt them for your character, to add a bit of color to leveling up.
Level Cleric Fighter Thief Magic-User
1 Acolyte Veteran Rogue (Apprentice) Prestidigitator
2 Adept Warrior Footpad Evoker
3 Priest Swordsman Cutpurse Conjurer
4 Curate Hero Robber Theurgist
5 Prefect Swashbuckler Burglar Thaumaturgist
6 Canon Myrmidon Filcher Magician
7 Lama Champion Sharper Enchanter
8 PATRIARCH Superhero Magsman Warlock
9 High Priest LORD THIEF Sorcerer
10       Necromancer
11       WIZARD

Fiction

There are tons of good books, movies, etc. that can inform great roleplaying. Here is a short list of those I consider essential. 

Roleplaying Notes

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