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Ten tips for bringing your RPGs on your Adventures

Over the years we have run a few games whilst out in the “wilderness” (well, outside the house at least!) and thought we would share the top ten tips so you can have a go yourself.

1) Check your equipment – this won’t be like playing at home where you can steal the dice from Monopoly, use your housemate’s printer or run to the local shop for pencils. Make sure you have all you need before you got and that it is all packed together for easy access on the trip; you don’t want to be searching your bag for hours looking for the only pencil sharpener. Also try to take sturdy and reliable stuff, not pencils that snap easily or pens that run out quickly, but also don’t take your prize possessions as they are likely to get damaged or lost. A set of brightly coloured dice will be easier to find on the tent floor than the limited edition dragon bone ones, so again, choose your equipment wisely.

2) Limit your books – RPG books can be big, heavy and expensive! You don’t want to fill your backpack with source books, carry them half way up a mountain only to have them destroyed the moment the rain starts. You will also likely be limited for space, even if not camping, you may only have a small table in the pub or hostel social room so you don’t want to be spreading out volume after volume. Try to pick a system that only requires one book, and preferably paperback, so Dungeons and Dragons 4ed is out and Savage worlds explorers edition is in! If there are sections in books will need, try to print out the pages you will need or the stats for your NPCs to reduce the amount you have to carry. Of course if you have access to a tablet PC or E-reader then ignore this entirely and take your full collection, you jammy swine!

3) Quick Start Rules – these are an excellent choice for gaming in the wild! The a short documents released by the company as an introduction to their games, and usually come with all you need to play a game including rules, an adventure and ready-made characters. They are usually short enough to print out without cleaning out your cartridge (provided you skip advertising pages and select black and white etc.), there are literally hundreds to choose from and best of all … they are almost all free! Check out the huge selection at www.drivethrurpg.com, any one of these would be a great way of getting some gaming into your adventure.

4) Character Sheets – character creation can take time and you may not have the best conditions for the players to be doing a lot of writing nor have all the books you need. It is a good idea to get these written out before hand, whether the GM makes them or the players roll their own. Also make sure they are clear as they may have to be read in low light conditions, and if you are feeling super-cautious then take back-up copies as the risk of sheets getting destroyed increase when you leave the house.

5) Make sure you have space – having an events tent with a table and chairs is great but not essential, you can play an RPG with a lot less room. Just make sure before you start that you can all hear each other and all have some way of reaching the dice, as well as a dry place to put books when not in use. If you are in a public place, be respectful of the people around you, don’t let your books take over someone else’s table, or wake the entire campsite with every natural twenty!

6) Make sure you have light – this is one for the campers, take a torch, take another torch, and take a set of spare batteries for them! When it goes dark these will become essential for any RPG action, forget them at your peril, we did once and will never do it again!

7) Storing books and sheets – if you are out of the comfort of your own home or local gaming store then your possessions are at risk. Wind can blow sheets away, rain can destroy books and things can be left in hotel rooms, pubs and anywhere else you stop to do your gaming so try to keep them all together in something waterproof. Folders, backpacks and plastic wallets are great, as are carrier bags and bin liners, anything that can hold it all and protect it from the elements.

8) Think of something new – it may be a struggle to get everyone in the mood to play an RPG, especially if it is a game you are currently playing and could be easily be picked up when you get back to civilization. Do something new and different, even if it is a part of a long running campaign, make an occasion of it to get people interested and enthusiastic. Have the characters go to a new town, planet etc. or take part in a festival or other one-off event. Maybe it would work better if you created a bespoke game specifically for the adventure (more on that when we get to #10!).

9) Include everybody – make sure everyone there has a character so they can join the game, if you are unsure of the exact numbers, take a few pre-generated characters so no-one gets left out. Also bear in mind whether or not everyone who will be there has played the system you have picked, or indeed any RPGs. Be prepared to talk through the rules with these players and try to keep the game simple to let them get used to role-playing. Also, as with all games, be mindful of people’s attitudes towards things like violence and the occult when planning your games, you don’t want to give anyone nightmares or cause offence.

10) Include your adventure in your game - this is for those who truly embrace the Ding-IRL spirit, run the game based on your adventures! How cool would it be to have the PC’s in the game you are running climb the same mountain you did, only this time it is overrun with centaurs? Or have them play paranormal investigators looking for evidence of the urban legend surrounding the standing stones you visited? Will there visit go the same as yours or will there be a sinister twist? This is how to truly Ding-IRL and level up in real life, send us your photos, stories, games and other tales of high adventure and have them shown on Ding-IRL so that can all celebrate your awesomeness! You can get more of our advice on how to do this with our “Ten tips for bringing your Adventures into your RPGs”.