Staying Fresh, Init Outside Combat, Music, and RP
Hola awesome Patrons!

Thank you for your February support. It's very much appreciated. Last month Musings went out 12 times, including on Valentine's Day. I escaped the wrath of my wife on that one by queuing it up a bit in advance. Whew. :)

Awhile ago I asked you for your GMing questions and tip requests. Some I dealt with directly on Patreon. Others have been answered in Musings.

And recently, I tried an experiment with James Introcaso to answer the few remaining ones.

James runs the Tabletop Babble podcast. I tried podcasting solo but it involves too much time for me, alas. It's the post-production work that I can't squeeze in between writing Musings, creating stuff, and answering emails.

So I asked James if I could be a guest co-host on his podcast and bring some cool questions with me. He said sure! 

And we invited Ruty Rutenburg from Maze Arcana as a guest to form a kind of three GM panel.

Here are the questions we tackled:

Mark Ariesen: How do you keep things fresh for your players year-in-year out, when they have seen it all and done it all?

Andy Fundinger: How do you use initiative outside of combat? My group and those I've played in mostly do group discussions and then a quick, "Is anyone doing anything else?" but I'm curious if you have comments on rolled initiative for non-combat, perhaps to disperse/diffuse group-leader effects.

Nigel Guest:  I read and hear a lot of DMs who vouch by the impact music and thematic soundscapes has on their gaming, encouraging a more immersive environment. Having never utilised a soundscape I am intrigued as to how various DMs/GMs utilise this feature and whether they consider the use worth investing the time and effort in.

Richard Grilley: How do you help a game table distinguish players from characters? It is great when the brawny footballer can do a high pitch voice with a twist of Scottish accent for his female halfling. But how can we add flavor, know when a PC is talking etc. when a player  can't/isn't comfortable talking like a 6 INT with his 1/2 orc barbarian?

James has posted the podcast online so you can get our collective answers: 

I felt this worked quite well. It saves James from having to come up with content for his show. It helped me answer your questions and saved me the post-production work. And it was fun doing it.

Best part is I think James and Ruty had awesome answers for you.

So let's do this again!

What GMing questions or tip requests do you have? I'll answer via Patreon, Musings, or a future Tabletop Babble episode.