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Nonprofit-LiveWe are professional game masters who have been using Dungeons and Dragons in therapy groups for the past six years. We just launched a nonprofit called Game to Grow. Ask us anything!

Oct 24th 2017 by gametogrow • 24 Questions • 183 Points

Hi Reddit! We are Adam Johns and Adam Davis. Since 2011 we’ve been running therapeutic groups using Dungeons and Dragons and other games to help teens and adolescents build confidence, relieve anxiety, and develop social skills. Many of our participants struggle with autism-related challenges, and we’ve found that games of all kinds, but especially Dungeons and Dragons, can help them build much-needed skills. We’ve used our training in psychology, education, family therapy, and drama therapy to design in-game encounters to specifically help build real-world skills.

We’ve spoken about our work at conventions around the country, and we’ve been featured in Kotaku, Geek and Sundry, the BBC, and we’ve appeared on the official Dungeons and Dragons podcast. Most recently we appeared on the Penny Arcade C-Team Table Talk.

We just launched the non-profit Game to Grow along with a crowdfunder in order to expand our work and spread it around the world. Donations to our Generosity campaign go directly to helping us launch more groups to serve even more kids and teens with lagging social skill development!

A game in every home! Ask us anything! (And proof)

1st Edit: Thank you for all of the great questions! We're going to take a quick coffee break but keep the questions coming in and we'll get to them as soon as we can.

2nd Edit: We're back and answering questions. We'll probably have to stop around 3:00 PST so that we can plan our groups for this evening, but we'll get to as many questions as we can before we stop.

Final Edit: We've got to head out to plan our groups, but thank you everyone for all the great questions! Especially thank you for all of your generous donations to the crowdfunder! You help make this work possible and are helping us to get services out to the many people who need them. I'm sorry if we weren't able to answer your question, but please feel free to email us at contact at gametogrow.org if you have any questions that we didn't get to! May all your hits be crits!

Q:

Well I'll get the obvious question out of the way first. What edition do you play, and why that one in particular?

A:

Davis here. Great question! We play mostly 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. We've found that is has enough rules to provide the structure needed for our players to feel safe and secure in the boundaries of the game, while still providing enough openness to be able to modify and ignore the rules when necessary. We've also played other games and incorporated other mechanics, but D&D 5e has been the game we've used the most. We also grew up playing earlier editions, so it's something we've loved for a long time.


Q:

I've played since the days of THACO, and imo 5th is the most accessible the game has ever been. Good choice.

Next question I guess then, minis or no minis?

A:

Davis again - It depends! Most of the time when we use the battle grid (which we don't always do), we use dice to represent both the players and the enemies. We have a set of d6s we use and number them off. We have MAX five players per group, so we have blue d6s from 1-5 for players, and red d6s to represent enemies. Sometimes larger enemies will have d8s, or sometimes larger dice for huge creatures. Dice are great for tactics on a battle grid, without being so literal that we can't use our imaginations, or add extra stuff if we need to be flexible.


Q:

To both of y'all: what's an instance that really stood out to you where a player's behavior noticeably changed over the course of a session, i.e. They really started thinking outside the box or were able to progress in a therapeutic sense?

Also for Adam: living on the west coast, how hard is it to keep the true faith of the greatest NBA team in all the land, the San Antonio Spurs?

A:

Johns here. Adam Davis just jumped up and ran around the room in excitement at your question. I'll let him answer the Spurs part of the question.

I think one of the best moments where I felt like I saw growth in a single session, was with a client who was really struggling with ADHD and impulsivity. He made a character and said directly, "My character struggles with impulsivity.

Him and the rest of the adventuring party were all brand new to each other and were only a couple of sessions into the game. While going through a dungeon they came across a room with a large troll of legend; who was captured and imprisoned. On the other side of the room was a large steel door with no handle, and on the wall were three unlabeled switches.

We designed the room with the idea that the players would need to talk with the troll (who would likely lie to them) and figure out which two switches would let him go, and which one would then open the the sealed door. However, once I introduced the puzzle the impulsive player said, "I run across the room and pull all three levers at once!"

No one had ever done that before. In an instant I had to decide if I should change the puzzle or I could let the group (and this player) learn from some mistakes. The troll ran across the room and grabbed the impulsive character, ready to eat him in one bite. Then I put down the DM screen and turned the remaining players, who were looking pretty angry at the choices of their teammate. I let them know that they could make a choice here. It wasn't the player who pulled those switches, it was the character. They would need to decide what their characters would do in response to that choice. They could leave their friend to get eaten by the massive troll, running into the next room while the troll was distracted. Or they could try to help, and risk that they too could be eaten. They talked it over and decided that their characters would stick around. Eventually the group of characters worked together re-imprisoned the troll and save their impulsive teammate.

At the end of that session we did our check out. The impulsive player said, "My character knows that she is impulsive, and that she needs help from the other characters to try and tone it down a little." Another player even said, "I'm really glad that they made that choice, because I also struggle with impulsivity, and it is hard. But that is why we're here."

Of course that player was still impulsive, but it drastically changed the way that he approached the game and the way that he continued to check and balance himself using the other players.


Q:

Hot damn thank you guys for what you do.

A:

Davis here, re: the Spurs. Sometimes it's hard to watch games since I run groups in the evenings, but my faith doesn't waiver! I'm from San Antonio, so I've been rocking the black and silver for years. Nice catch!


Q:

Hey guys, thanks for the good work and thanks for doing an AMA!

Most important question: What version of D&D? Second most important question: How do you feel about onions? Third most important question: How did you come up with the idea to use tabletop games for adolescent therapy?

A:

Johns here -- We use 5th edition D&D, as we've found it to be both very versatile and easily accessible to new players.

I like onions, but they make me very sad. Not because of syn-propanethial-S-oxide, but because it seems like no one really appreciates their layers.

We started using tabletop games while we were in grad school working for another company. They had tabletop games for social skill development, but they were more like a drop in group than an intentionally facilitated experience. Adam Davis was originally running that group along with an improv skills group and his co-facilitator left. He found out my deep dark secret that I was a huge geek, and invited me to come get paid to play D&D with him.

We would go plan out the improv group and Davis would pull from his knowledge and background in Drama Therapy when we realized that D&D was basically sit down Improv. So we started to design in game scenarios that we knew would work on the specific areas of growth that our clients were looking for. We were not prepared for just how amazing it would be at addressing those challenges, nor for the path it would lead us down.


Q:

What are your favourite classes? Or are you forever DMs like me?

A:

Davis here. I've always loved playing rogues. I grew up as a kid who was bullied for being overweight and sought refuge in playing characters who have dexterity and charisma. I played those characters in order to help myself see myself as someone I liked and wanted to be. It helped boost my confidence back then, and I still love those characters to this day. I still prefer snipers in most video games, and like smooth talking my way out of combat encounters.

We don't get to play as much as we used to, since we're running 5 weekly groups for our participants, but that tends to be where I end up. I'm playing a dwarf barbarian in a game right now, and it's fun to try something new, but I'lll always love my rogue monk 3.5 character I played a few years back.


Q:

What kind of advice do you give to your first time players? i know for me i have always wanted to get into the game but haven't felt like i would know the protocol for it. I don't want to upset somebody by doing/saying something wrong or at the wrong time.

A:

Davis here:

We have lots of first time players in our groups, and we have lots of tools to help them get started. The best advice I have is to not try to understand everything before you play for the first time. We teach our new players as we go, because there are so many rules to DnD, and we'd spend way too much time answering specific questions that don't ultimately matter. We use pre-made characters, and I'd suggest you get a pre-made character for your first session as well. I'd recommend you look up a local game store that offers Adventurer's League, which is the organized play through Wizards of the Coast. I'd go for a session to check it out, and let the game master know you're a first time player. If they're worth their salt (and most AL GMs are), they'll help you get involved.

Don't worry about upsetting people. There really isn't much you could do that is "wrong" in the first place You might not understand the rules, but you shouldn't be expected to on your first session! If you want to do something in game, ask your game master what it would take to do it. They'll help guide you.


Q:

What sort of conditions do you find this kind of therapy to be the most beneficial for?

A:

Davis here. Over the years, our main populations have been high-functioning autism, anxiety, depression, and ADHD. We haven't seen as many clients with PTSD or trauma histories, but we believe the model would also be very beneficial for those populations as well.

Our groups have mostly been focused on middle-school or high-school aged youth, mostly because this is a time when young people are identified as needing support—largely from teachers and parents. There is no reason they wouldn't be as beneficial for adults also struggling with similar challenges, and our hope is that expanding with Game to Grow will let us reach more people with those challenges, but also help us expand into helping with other challenges as well. We'd love to work in hospice, in treatment and correctional facilities, etc! I like to call our work "sit down drama therapy."


Q:

Check out Matt colville on YouTube. His wealth of experience and easy going manner soothes the anxieties of new players and DMs alike.

A:

Johns here. NOOO! You already stole my favorite one! I am totally a fan of The Adventure Zone. Someday I want to convince those guys to have us on as some ridiculous NPC guests.

I don't get as much time as I'd like to follow other pocasts or streamers. I still haven't watched much Critical Role, and I hear that I should. I've started to watch the C-Team, which I find pretty fun. I've also listened to a little of Friends at the Table. I also always go to the live Acquisitions Inc games at PAX West every year.

Ultimately, I'd say that it is actually really hard to get a good idea of what playing is like by watching or listening to streams. Especially the ones designed for entertainment value. I love those, but there is a different experience when you're playing or GMing than when you're watching something. I'd say that your best bet would be to sit in on a game at a local game shop, or start playing an intro campaign with some patient friends. Ultimately, your own inside jokes and experiences will always be more rewarding and will stick with you longer.

PS -- You solved my "ask a question including The Adventure Zone" Puzzle!


Q:

Thanks for this AMA, It came at the best time possible. A friend and I are trying to start using D&D for therapy purposes in México and your work has been an inspiration.

What do you take into account when designing a session? (Even story wise)

What kind of considerations are taken during character creation?

What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Thanks again, keep up the great work and spreading the love.

A:

Johns here. That is spectacular that you're starting a group in Mexico. Definitely shoot us an email and let us know how things progress.

When we're designing a session we think largely about three things. First what the group needs, do they need a combat, a social challenge, a puzzle, or possibly just a chance to roleplay with each other's characters? Second, we think about the specific goals of each individual. Largely our players are struggling through some very similar challenges. So many of our interventions work for everyone in the group at the same time, but sometimes there are specific challenges that we need to address or highlight for an individual. Lastly, we look at story line. We want the story to make sense from piece to piece and generally have a start, conflict, and resolution.

We use pre-made characters for our players who are new to D&D to help them get started playing right away. We do ask questions to help them select the character from the list of pre-made characters, and then a few more questions to help them build a little bit of background. We like to ask, "Is your character from a big city or a small town?" Followed by, "What is the city/town that you're from well known for?" Then, importantly, "You left your town or city to become an adventurer, what caused you to leave?" This gives a great chance to think about your character and motivation in a couple of very quick answers, as well as give the GM a chance to understand how well you handle both open ended questions and close ended decision making.

African or European Swallow?


Q:

Thank you so much!, we will keep you updated for sure.

A:

Johns here. I suppose one of my favorite moments was actually one that we rarely tell the story of. I'll make an attempt at it here:

I was working with a player both in groups and individual therapy. This client struggled with a lot of anxiety and had a lot of difficulty roleplaying in character. He really wanted everything that his character said to be perfect and sound exactly how he wanted it to sound, and so he often became frozen with anxiety and fear that it wouldn't turn out how he wanted when given the opportunity to speak as his character.

He was playing a military leader character, who was rallying an army to fight against his previous military command, who had been corrupted. What I wanted him to do was to map out his speech and then give the speech to the room as if he was his character rallying those troops. However, that was a little too much for him. Instead, the group as a whole helped him create a few important points to his speech and we wrote them on the board. Then I acted as his character. He described how I should stand, what my voice should sound like, and what kind of cadence I should have in my speech. Then I read out the lines that he had constructed and described the armies reactions. They cheered him on through his character.

It was a tense moment that felt especially uplifting and I could see him really appreciating the opportunity to picture his character and all of the strength of presence that he really struggles to have in his life. It was especially amazing to have the whole group on board and supporting this player as he helps to rally their armor to their cause.

That player has since gotten a lot more comfortable roleplaying as his characters, but I think that was a great turning point for him and it always really stuck with me.


Q:

Which group does better in your D&D sessions: patients with autism-related confidence/anxiety/social skills issues, or patients with non-autism-related confidence/anxiety/social skills issues?

Related question: which of those groups gains more from the D&D sessions?

Another related question: is the answer any different when you use other kinds of games than D&D?

A:

Johns here. These questions are super interesting. I'm not sure that there is a great distinction in effectiveness between the two groups. One thing that our model does really well is open up flexibility and build frustration tolerance for many players that struggle with those ideas. These are both skills that individuals with autism related challenges struggle with greatly. However, the game also provides opportunities for open ended play and creative problem solving, which I'd say both groups really struggle with. I think that the thing that makes role-playing games so effective is that their clear and outlined structure makes it very approachable for those on the autism spectrum, but the opportunity for playing a character and telling stories makes it very appealing for all players, old and young.

Ultimately the advantage, especially in how we facilitate the groups, is that you can approach the games with extremely different levels of social skill or challenge and still both contribute to the game and group, and have a great time that encourages you to continue to want to be social. We can have one player who can barely speak up at all from lack of social confidence, and another one who won't stop talking. Our group gives them both a chance to work on important skills, from very different directions, at the same time.

I will say that some of that is slightly different with other games. When we pick board and card games for our groups we need to keep in mind what kind of specific challenges each player may have with the game. Some players on the spectrum do not do well with competition heavy games, or games that demand significant flexibility. I wouldn't say that they benefit less from gaming, but the games that you pick need to be more intentionally selected.


Q:

When running DnD as therapy, are there particular formats (e.g., one-shot adventures or longer campaigns) and adventure types (e.g., mysteries, quests, or open world) that you tend to gravitate towards or find most effective?

A:

Davis here. Our games are all longer campaigns, most of which are quests. Our therapeutic model is largely built on the relationship a player has with their character, and their reciprocal challenges/strengths, so a longer series is better to build this relationship to the point of therapeutic potential. We incorporate a lot of drama and narrative therapy, so the story elements need to be compelling. A quest tends to have the most hooks, and because our sessions are only 90 minutes long, we have to have a certain amount of focus on specific plot outcomes to move the story forward. We're not fully railroading our players, but we do have a pretty good idea of what specific plot points the characters are aiming at.

That being said, we do a fair amount of collaborative world-building with our players, and let them do some exploring in it, but most often with a specific goal or outcome planned for the session.


Q:

Hi! I saw y'all last year at PAX south and I love this idea! I'm about to graduate as a masters level social worker and love the idea of play therapy with older kids!

My question is do you streamline any of the rules for younger players or keep them mostly the same? If you do change them what sort of modifications do you use :)

A:

Johns here. Our youngest group was with a group of 9 and 10 year olds. We started the group playing Monty Cook's No Thank You Evil, which is a great game for kids to get introduced into the format. It worked great, but we found that the kids very quickly needed some more robust rules. We had one player who, before the quarter was over, had figured out exactly how to manipulate the system to get the best possible outcomes.

We have since just played 5e with that group, and they've taken to it very well. There are definitely more complex parts to 5e, but I have to say that I've been surprised at how well younger kids can pick it up and understand the necessary parts. It does help a lot that they have premade character sheets, so we can always point to where a skill is or where their attack or ability description is written down.

I think if I was going to run a much younger game (like 6 or 7 years old) then I would want a more streamlined system or might use No Thank You Evil. Otherwise I'd recommend simply using the normal rules, but be prepared to explain where things are, or roll simple checks instead of more complicated ones. Like a strength check instead of an athletics check.


Q:

What are the most fun quests you've DM'd?

A:

Davis here. We've told a few stories in other threads, but in general, the most fun I have is when we create the world together with our players. We'll create a map of the area together, passing around a piece of paper and taking turns adding geographic features. Then we'll name things one letter at a time. This let us create a dynamic world together that has some great hooks for their interest.

Once we created a map that had a "retirement home for the magically abled." The party went there to find the fabled sorceress Ravidova, but ended up just meeting a bunch of old wizards to play bingo with. Later on they discovered that one of those wizards, Binor, who they thought was just a kooky old man, was actually a powerful wizard who had defeated the ancient evil spider god Hämähäkki. The party needed to save him when he was kidnapped, then eventually used his help to prevent Hämähäkki's return.

The next adventure began at Binor and Ravidova's wedding, which was attacked by Githyanki assassins. A little collaborative world-building hook can go a long way!


Q:

Ever have to deal with a player wanting to be an evil character? If so how do you deal with them?

A:

Davis here. We often have players that want to be "evil." I've never particularly liked the alignment system anyway, so I normally respond by saying "what are you hoping to get out of your game by being 'evil?'" If they want to wander the countryside indiscriminately killing civilians, I let them know that despite alignment, they must be heroes who are on a team with other heroes, and heroes don't indiscriminately kill innocent people. If players want to be "assassins" or some other more "dark" backstory, I'm alright with that, as long as they agree that their goal is to work on a team of heroes in spite of their dark past. I guide them toward examples of characters who sometimes do hard things for the right reason, or sometimes characters like Han Solo (WHO SHOT FIRST).

I also encourage them to go on journeys of redemption. I've had many players play necromancers, assassins, lone thieves, etc., and that's the right character for them to play to get therapeutic benefit. I then guide their characters (and thus the player) on a redemptive journey of mutual growth.


Q:

I also don't like the allaignment system, for only sith speak in absolutes. Thank you very much for your eloquently worded and thorough response.

If you had a particularly troublesome player (with a semi troubled past), one that does odd almost idiotic things in character, such as pick a fight with prison guards (while a prisoner), or push another player out of a boat into monster infested waters for a petty reason, and you've tried talking to them about consequences and not being a sporadic jerk, but seem to fall on deaf ears, how would you, as a DM, react?

A:

I tell my players that nothing happens in the game without me verifying it. Players sometimes try to attack each other, or steal from each other, and I don't allow it, aside from possibly very rare scenarios. I often do allow for consequences of actions. A player who picks a fight with a guard will be attacked. I won't go into initiative for combat, but may have him stabbed or hit with a rod of shocking grasp (basically a cattle-prod). Sometimes I'll give consequences of reckless behavior like: "You stay in prison for 5 years. We're going to fast forward to your release date." Killing a character they don't care about doesn't provide any sort of meaningful punishment for behaviors, and it certainly won't prompt new better behaviors. Often players are engaging in those behaviors out of a need to feel powerful. They're trying to control the narrative of the game, and this may be a signal that there need to be other ways to help them feel powerful. Maybe they need a more challenging combat, where they can feel impressive? Maybe they need a sycophantic NPC that absolutely adores them and everything they do? Try some things like that to aim at the origin of their behaviors, not the behaviors themselves.


Q:

Hey, guys, thanks for sharing.

As DMs with an ulterior motive, i.e. therapeutic goals, how do you balance story vs. therapy? Do you start with a story arc and then fit specific goals for each client into that narrative or do you start with your therapeutic goals as waypoints and design the story to hit those markers?

Then, how do you connect the dots for your clients? Do you follow up each game session with a debriefing to connect it to their real life needs or do you interrupt the game to show those connections or do you just let the client ruminate over how the game went and find that application intuitively?

What do you do when the PCs derail your plot? If a plot point is connected to a therapeutic goal or life skill, but the PCs go off the rails, do you guide them back to that point or just go with the flow and reintroduce that goal in a later session?

I guess my main question is how to balance the desired outcomes with the open-ended freedom of play. Does the game provide random teachable moments for building life skills or does the curriculum set the agenda for the game?

Thanks again.

A:

Johns here. Ultimately, there is a definitely balancing act that we're playing between those two ideas. If the game isn't fun or starts getting a little too therapeutically heavy handed many of our players will start resisting. Most of them have had social challenges for a long time before coming to our group, and have been in therapy most of their lives. They can smell therapy from a mile away and will lean back on their heels if there is too much of it.

Most of the time our methods for planning the groups are to come up with some challenges that can be come about in an open ended way. An example of this might be that they need to find an expert on an ancient culture in order to find the ruins where the big bad guy has set up shop. I originally planned for the expert to be at the library, but the players decide instead that they want to go wandering around the town. I can move my NPC or completely redesign him as the general store shopkeeper who is an amateur anthropologist in his spare time so that my players can find the right direction.

We definitely have some players that want to go off the rails from the story line. Often we'll let this happen, or us it as an opportunity to understand what the player wants out of the game. If they aren't interested in the story that we've provided, perhaps that means that we haven't figured out what this player or character would be motivated by. Maybe we set a sizable gold reward as motivation, but what this player really wants is interacting with strange creatures. In that case maybe we can give them both, and change our story to be about a society of Xorn living on the material plane that need their help.* It is about thinking about the players and what it is that they are really trying to get out of the game.

*PS This is an amazing idea that I just came up with as an example but I totally want to use it in a game now.


Q:

Hey! I run a nonprofit called Gamers United Foundation, and I would love to integrate something very similar into our program. I'm a HUGE fan of DnD and I love the entire idea behind your nonprofit.

Is there any tips and suggestions you'd give to setting things up? I know we are pretty far away from each other but would you be interested in collaborating? Or I'd love to help if possible!

A:

Johns here. Your organization looks awesome! We would love to figure out a way to collaborate in the future. We're still in process with our 501(c)(3) application, but you should feel free to shoot us an email at contact at gametogrow.org and we'll see if we can find a way to best collaborate. At the very least we'd love to help you get in touch with other similar resources.

Thank you for contributing in such an impactful way to the message that games can be good for you!


Q:

What ate you Education backgrounds?

A:

Johns here. I have a Masters in Couple and Family Therapy from Antioch University Seattle. I am also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Kirkland (greater Seattle area). In private practice I specialize in seeing Geeks and Gamers in therapy.

Adam Davis has his Masters in Education with a focus and specialty in Drama Therapy also from Antioch University Seattle. He was a teacher in the Seattle Public School District and has been a freelance Drama teacher for many years. He is, also, currently working with the Atlantic Street Center in Seattle to help develop curriculum for the CORE Gaming Program, originally created by Wilder Heath. CORE is using video games to help develop DBT skills in kids and teens around the Seattle area.


Q:

why this field of work? at the end of the day, do you feel like you’ve made a positive impact?

A:

Johns here. This is a great question. Ultimately I don't know that I chose this field of work as much as it chose me (oh man, that sounds so stupidly corny when I write it down). What I mean is that I started playing RPGs when I was around 8 or 9. I did not ever see it as a career or a possible job skill. Even when I was playing in college while pursuing a degree in Psychology I never really saw it as much more than a hobby. In Grad school I lucked into a group where we started using these games with a difficult population, and it wasn't until that moment that I realized that I could do something with it.

I never could have imagined that I would be spending my evenings playing D&D to help people. There are days when it is hard or when running a nonprofit is less than rewarding, but the days that it isn't make all of the difference. I know that our groups make a big difference in the lives of our players. I can watch them walk away from the game with excitement, watch them exchange phone numbers with each other, and see them telling stories of their many adventures together.

I can't say that I've made a positive impact on the world as a whole yet, but I'll keep at it. Ask me again in 10 years. ;)


Q:

Hi,

please don't take my question personal or think it's meant to attack you.

But I'm wondering what differentiates your project from a scam? (Okay ... non-profit kinda answers itself) How does paying for your services create a different experience than what Hobbyists do all around the world?

What does a "patient"/"customer" (which one is the more correct?) get that he couldn't from playing with Game Masters without your degrees?

While gametogrow.org looks nice and I can absolutely get behind the idea, I feel it doesn't really explain what you do outside of just being a "friendly, neighborhood GM which you pay to play".

A:

Davis here. We don't take it personally. It's a great question, and you're not the first to ask it.

We're not shy about the fact that RPGs have the inherent potential to benefit everyone. Any good supportive game master can help their players grow. What we provide is one step further. Adam Johns answered nicely in a previous thread:

it is just like going to therapy vs having a good friend. I can get a lot of benefit out of having a conversation with my good friends, and I get some of those same benefits when I go and speak with a therapist. What the therapist gives me that my good friend might not are the moments where they thoughtfully guide me to an insight, or offer me a contradiction that helps me grow in a very targeted and direct way. That is what we do in our games, as well..


Q:

Hey, guys! This is incredible work, and I've always been a big supporter that D&D can be wonderfully therapeutic.

But as a GM, I like to create high-risk games where death, or loss, or sadness can be possible. Is there an easy way to balance this with the safe space mentality, or are the games you run extremely lighthearted?

A:

Davis here. We do a fair amount of both, because a good game needs both. Some players aren't ready to experience the more complex or rich plot elements of sadness and loss. They're focusing more on teamwork and collaboration. Their positive outcomes are more tied to the positive benefits of working alongside others towards a common goal.

We do, depending on the players, incorporate serious themes, including death, loss, and sadness, into the campaigns. The trick is to balance them against lighthearted content. The book Hamlet's Hitpoints provides some great insights into how to track the story beats.

Even if the group deals with tough themes or issues, it should still always be safe. Safe doesn't mean free from challenge, it means free from judgment, criticism, and personal attacks.


Q:

Are you a tits or an ass man?

A:

Choice between titans or assassins? Tough choice, but as Titan is not a real class, I think I'll go assassins. Poisons are just too good.