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bigbluepaw

Actionable Roleplaying Tips: Preparing to Homebase

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Alright folks. Ready for the second post in the series? Well, here it comes.

If you need a quick reminder about the series, here’s a recap from the first post.

How do I take some actionable steps to prepare to roleplay?

Sharing the my answers to that question is the purpose of this four-part post series. I’m not suggesting this is the best course of action for everyone. All I know is that it worked for me. It gave me something actionable. It got me started. I’m having a blast playing these characters. So if that helps you or another reader, the purpose of these posts is fulfilled.

Caught up? Awesome. Here are the past posts if you want to catch up and future posts for a little preview.

Now, let’s get into specifics.

What do I mean by homebase-ing?

Yeah. I know. It’s not a word.

Anyway, a great way to start roleplaying is to do a little preparation for the activities when your group is back near your home base. The home base most likely is in some kind of village, town or city. But more specifically, it might eventually be a guildhall. Heck, it might one day be a stronghold, a bastion of hope in the wilderness. But I digress. Your home base is wherever you head once you are done adventuring, or least take a break.

While there, you will likely end up heading to some standard destinations. The tavern is a pretty popular spot. There, you’ll likely find a barkeep, a waitress maybe, likely some other patrons. The Inn is another popular spot. You’ll find the Innkeep there along with other folks like travelers and the like.

So if we know we’re likely to encounter these nonplayer characters and be in these environments, then we can prepare a few distinctive yet simple interactions in just a few minutes. Let’s do that.

Tavern-ing

Yes. I know. Another non-word. Sorry.

Regardless, let’s talk about taverns. Alcoholic drink is always a favorite adventuring pastime. But what specifically does your character order? Maybe your character snootily orders the finest aged wine? Maybe your character can’t order their clan’s famous ale, but they sure can boast nonstop about it. Maybe your character only hits the hard stuff? You could make up a crazy drink with unusual ingredients. These are typically high fantasy environments.
Next up, think of some evocative way to drink it. Maybe your character quaffs their drink quickly with foam all over their face. Maybe they smell it, sip it and gargle it in their mouth. Regardless, there are ways to do something distinctive here.

What else do you do in a tavern? Games perhaps? If your character has a gaming set, put it to use! Invite some of the locals to play or maybe join in an ongoing game. Know the game, like maybe Dragonchess, by doing a quick internet search. Take two minutes to read up on it. Maybe you have a unique piece? Compliment other player’s moves. Add flourishes to your own. Get some side bets in place.

Inn-ing

My apologies. This is becoming a bad habit.

Anyway, what’s the text thing up? The party will need a place to rest. You’ll be heading to an Inn or something similar soon enough. There you’ll find an Innkeep and other guests. This environment is usually pretty ripe for roleplaying opportunities. Plus, you can see them coming from a mile away.

So what do you do? Well, is there a distinctive way to enter the place? Remember, your group is likely decked out as adventurers, which can be unusual and sometimes unliked. If you’re a noble, make some kind of commentary on the state of the Inn. Were you a hermit? Then perhaps you make comments about civilization’s unnecessary excesses. Add a little flavored reaction. Remember, you know you’ll be there. Express some character.

What else? Engage the Innkeep. Ask some questions. Maybe you can glean some background information on your adventure. Maybe they’ll give you a hook. Who knows? The same goes for the other guests. Perhaps there will be travelers from a faraway place. Discover something about the fantasy world through them. Maybe even invite one of them along.

Routine-ing

OK. Yes. I am doing that on purpose. That one was completely avoidable.

What’s the last thing your character would like do at the base-of-homeness… er… homebase? Well, they likely will have some kind of normal routine. And that is a great opportunity to roleplay and engage some NPCs. Here are some ideas.

  • If you have a martial character, don’t just go practice, but go find an NPC to spar.
  • Have a learned character? Head to a library and talk up the local librarian or researcher about a topic of interest to you.
  • Are you a pious character? Go to the local shrine and get philosophical, perhaps comparing and contrasting the dogma of your deity. Maybe the prosthelytize to the masses. Given the wide variety of Faerunian deities, the sermon isn’t likely to be innocent. Tymora favors bold action. Sune advocates for boisterous love. Azuth promotes the use of magic. Faiths and Pantheons is pretty exhaustive in terms of dogmas and rites.
  • Got a bard? Have them perform in the street for a crowd. Just research a few limericks online and twist them to your own purposes.

There are lots of opportunities here. Just think what your character likely did on a day-to-day basis before they became an adventurer. They’d like continue those practices, right?

For clarity, here are a couple of examples.

Dimble’s Mischeviousness

Dimble ‘Badger’ Nyx is a Forest Gnome Wizard from the High Forest. He’s upbeat. He’s insatiably curious. He’s a prankster. He lacks social awareness, saying the first thing he thinks of. Yet, he is a dedicated friend to his companions.

So what does Dimble do while he’s homebase-ing? Well, some research into wizard spells goes a long way. Here’s what I prepared for my first few sessions.

  • Use prestidigitation to remove the alcohol from my drink and challenge an NPC to a drinking contest.
  • Pick out the most obnoxious drunk in the tavern. Use prestidigitation to turn his shadow pink.
  • Use prestidigitation to make horn noises when the party enters an Inn, saying loudly “WE’RE HERE!”


Each of these preparations have instigated some unusual scenarios in our campaign. They took maybe 15 minutes to prepare.

Glaivemaster Ash’s Stories

Glaivemaster Ash is a longstanding veteran of a mercenary company. He’s an follower of the Red Knight, an exarch of military strategy that preaches wisdom in battle over brute force. He’s serious but acts as a fatherly figure to his companions.

So what does this old coot do while homebase-ing? Well, there’s quite a few things.

  • He insists on taking his companion’s weapons and other arms to sharpen them, oil them and otherwise keep them in top shape. It’s an old habit from his mercenary days.
  • Being a veteran, Glaivemaster Ash has more than enough stories to share. He’ll ramble on, telling them to anyone. These short stories include:
  • There once was a loudmouthed noble knight who insisted on being the first into battle. If he died, our patron would have visited vengeance upon us. So, we gave him the battlefield map... only turned upside down. He was soon in the back ranks, safe and secure like we wanted. Everyone won, except that young knight.
  • We once had a completely ineffective commander who loudly laid out his battle strategy for our entire company. It was quickly clear it was going to get us all killed. We may… or may not… have slipped a little sleeping potion in his drink that night. The next day, using different tactics, the battle raged all around his tent while he snored away inside. When he awoke, after we had won, we proudly proclaimed his brilliance at war, stating that he gave us the way to win. He beamed and returned to his tent. But at least we survived.

These stories took a little longer to develop, but I simply did an internet search on funny or crazy war stories. There is a lot of fodder out there you can take and turn into something relevant for your world.

Actionable Takeaways

Alright, so what can you do in about 15-20 minutes to get ready? Here are my thoughts.

  • Go back to your character’s personality. Silly? Serious? Keep that as context.
  • Figure out what they’d do in a tavern. What would they order to drink? How would they drink it? What are one or two other unusual things they might do? Pranks? Sing bawdy songs? Challenge NPCs to an armwrestling match?
  • Figure out what they’d do in a inn. What are three interesting questions your character can ask the Innkeep? What are three more questions you would ask a stranger?
  • Figure out what they’d do as their routine. What did your character do before becoming an adventurer? What habits would carry over? What would they miss from their prior lives? Write down three of these routines.

More Advice

Got some tips and tricks? Sound off with them here. Thanks!

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Updated May 19th, 2017 at 21:38 by bigbluepaw

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Comments

  1. dulux-oz's Avatar
    A nice 2nd-part, perfectly complementing your 1st - again, Bravo!
  2. MarianDz's Avatar
    Perfect!
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