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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Phillips

Finally another blog post…

Updated: Nov 6, 2022

Six handmade paper standees for Dungeons and Dragons in front of a stone wall that is actually an ancient giant made as a pipet with an old paper bag

Hello readers, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog but here’s my effort to get back on the dragon. That’ll be an animal handling skill check… with disadvantage.

We are creative people, players and Dungeon Masters alike. The degree of creativity to which we may escape, well… that’s what this blog is about.

A few sessions back, the party came across an ancient stone giant named Gaarauk, who had laid down ages ago after the loss of his soulmate. He’s been there so long, he’s fused with the mountain and when his heart finally beats it’s last, he will lay eternally across from his slain partner. He also happened to know where the secret entrance to the mountain is and is an eyewitness to forgotten history. I knew our Zoom session would be filled with roleplayed questions and answers with an extremely slow-talking, narcoleptic giant so I decided to lean into my creative side for this session.

I found an old paper lunch bag, crinkled it all up and gave it a mouth with extra supports on the inside to add in some facial expressions and viola! A little paint and I had a puppet to go with the voice I came up with. I usually have a second camera in my Zoom games that I can focus on the standees at different angles or on a map that I can use a pointer with but this time, I focused it low with some set dressing and good old Gaarauk, ready to bring forth the exposition. Once they woke the giant, I stuck on some eyes I had prepared and… Surprise! The players had no idea this was coming. It lasted most of the session, they took every chance to get more information out of the molasses-voiced sleepy, sad giant.

Leaning into the creative impulse to liven up the game brings so much laughter and enjoyment. It’s not a session I’ll soon forget and one that may not have happened if we were playing an in-person game. The puppet worked because I was able to frame the scene to fit the screen, the giant loomed large over the character standees but around a tabletop, I don’t think it would have elicited the same reaction. After the game was done, I didn’t break down the scene right away. Instead I rolled with the creative impulse and wrote a poem, figuring Gaarauk would have taken up poetry in his waning years. I recorded some atmospheric music, added in some sound effects and once again puppeted the giant reading his poem, The Giant’s Lament on video. I figured the YouTube video would get some views from the players but when I recently checked, it had almost a hundred views. Some people probably clicked it thinking it was a tribute to NY football…

When you have supportive fellow creatives at the table, physical or virtual, we can encourage each other to pursue creativity wherever it leads. That’s one of the most compelling and rewarding parts of playing D&D. I’m looking forward to what comes next, as a collaborative storytelling experience, it is a venture into the unknown - so light up the torch of creativity (there's always one in the party without darkvision!) and be adventurous!

Roll on, friends.

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