How to create a better Dungeons and Dragons RPG Experience

Quests and Chaos is a Digital streaming channel, featuring Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Cthuhlu, Carbon 2185 and Board Games of all types.   We stream 4 days a week on twitch, with additional content created just for Youtube.  You can see all of our back episodes and content at https://Youtube.com/QuestsChaos  We started the channel is 2018 after being inspired by Felicia Day and her journey with Geek and Sundry and Critical Role growth as a media company.

Warren, Beau, James, and Aaron get ready for Chaos Agents

Over the last year of streaming, we noticed a number of behaviors we want to address in order to create a positive experience for our players at the table and our viewers.

We’ve implemented many of our streaming rules to our home games and found that we are getting much more out of our games. The first step in changing anything, is knowing what to change.

So without Further Ado, here are the 10 tips for making a your gaming table a more enjoyable place to play.

1) Be engaged
The story is unfolding around you, and there might be important information to discover. Even when your character is not involved, it’s important to be engaged in what’s happening.  If you look bored, the audience can see it.

In your home game if you’re bored and on your phone, the other players and DM can see it and feel it. Give others the same level of attention you want during your role play time.

Note taking helps to remember things.  Sometimes you actually do need to know the name of the bard in that one town at that one bar.  A notebook is a great addition to your play area but please be aware of your posture.  If you bury your head in your notebook all we see is the top of your head.  Even in your home game, if you are only taking notes your not participating.

2) Let everyone contribute & be polite
Be aware others might be waiting for you to finish, so try and bring others into the conversation. This is a shared story, and everyone should have their chance to contribute.  Look for non-verbal clues from your fellow players looking for a way into a conversation.  For those looking to add something, let others finish before, jumping in.

3) Do not interrupt.
Please do not interrupt other players or the DM.  It’s important that the DM and the characters get their time to speak and finish their thoughts. In addition, it is hard for the audience to hear anything if there is cross talk. If you are not involved in the scene, please do not have side conversations.

In your home game there is no “audience” but there are still others at the table who want to hear what is going on.

4) Know where your character is.
If your character is not in a scene, please do not interrupt. If you have a reason to enter into the scene then come up with a creative way to join that stays in character.  It’s impolite to the other players and confusing for podcast listeners. If your character is doing something away from the other characters, you might not even be able to join another conversion.

5) Stay in Character
Stay in character as much as possible, including describing actions in your character’s voice.   This helps the audience (especially on the podcast version) keep track of who is who. A joke out of game is fine, as long as it’s not constantly pulling away from the story.  If you are doing a voice, stay in that voice.   The podcast audience has to keep track of four or five characters by voice alone.  Don’t give them another 4 or 5 voices to keep track of.

In our home game it helps keep everyone at the table immersed in the experience.  If we start joking out of game we never push our story forward.

6) Descriptions:
Please describe what you are doing in narrative form.   Instead of saying, “I cast firebolt”, say, “I conjure fiery energy in my hands and hurl a bolt of fire at the enemy.”  When we get a few rounds in to combat, this can be reduced greatly.  To “firebolt to the face!” or what have you.

It’s not necessary to act and describe how we see this world in a home game, but honestly that is why we play games to be someone else in an alternate world.  Get creative.

How would we describe this for the podcast listeners?

7) Be prepared.
Come to the table with all of your materials. Please unpack before the stream and pack up after the stream.  The microphones are sensitive.  The audience cannot hear the DM when you are moving and packing dice and other items.

There are no microphones in our home game but time is limited.  When players show up late and spend time looking for dice and pencils while the rest of us have been ready to play, it cuts down on everyone’s time at the table.

8) No food and potentially no drink.
Slurping and chewing loudly is distracting.  Again, those noises are very noticeable on stream and it interrupts the story.  For a home game, this might be irritating to your fellow players.  For a stream, it’s awful.

Off stream, I’ve had quite a few players handbooks and other items ruined by spilled food and drink.  Eating junk food is just as much a part of the DnD experience as dice and maps but we have to remember to keep it clean.

9) Try not to cover the money maker.  Hands in front of your face are really distracting for the audience. It can reduce the clarity of your voice.  Audio is the most important thing to a stream.

Not as important in the home game but everyone should be able to hear what you are saying.

10) Enunciate and do not mumble.
In General, speak clearly and do not mumble.  When creating a character, please consider their voice, and if they are to have any annoying affectations or flaws, it might turn off the audience.

This has been a point of conflict and we’ve had characters leave in order to keep the party balance.  On stream you think about what is good for the game table and the viewers.  At home we think about party balance and the cross over between what it means to be a good player and character.

SHOW SPECIFIC NOTES

We then get into some very specific streaming guidelines we have for Quests and Chaos.  Evey one one loves bonus guidelines.

11) The show open and close are important.
Please let the DM get through all of the messaging.  People and companies are kind enough to sponsor us.  Let’s respect the messaging process and thank the sponsors who contribute.

12) You are on camera almost the entire stream.
Just be aware of that.  Don’t chew your nails, pick your nose, or do other things you don’t want to the world to see.

13) We will take a break halfway through.
But if you need to use the bathroom, feel free to get up and move off camera.  Just don’t make a big deal of it.

14) Wardrobe
Please refrain from wearing copyright names and logos unless you have express written permission from the content creator for all forms of distribution.  Please refrain from wearing tight patterns or stripes. The cameras have a hard time resolving these patterns.

15) Please be in your seat 10 min prior to the start of the show.  We need to check audio and video framing before we begin.

Those are the 15 guidelines we have for streaming at Quests and Chaos.   What rules or guidelines do you have at your gaming table?

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