Review: The Kobold Guide to Roleplaying



And Now for Something a Little Different…

Campaign Two of Playing Games with Strangers is taking a turn into the Tales of the Valiant system by Kobold Press. This change has nudged us into the Kobold Press Creator Program, unlocking a sneak peek at content that’s gearing up for release. This means you’re in for some reviews from us, kicking off with our first glance at The Kobold Guide to Roleplaying. This treasure trove is packed with 21 essays from some of the TTRPG realm’s most brilliant minds and personalities.

At the heart of the guide, as the title straightforwardly suggests, is the art of roleplaying—a facet of TTRPGs that players either dive into with gusto or approach with a hint of dread.

Launching with a bang, “Shamed Out, Loved In” by Gail Simone (the mastermind behind DC Comics’ Birds of Prey) directly speaks to those of us who might shy away from roleplaying, saying, “someone, somewhere, maybe with good intentions (but often not), is going to tell you that play-acting is for babies, imagination is for losers.” From this starting point, Simone reaches out to the roleplaying aficionados, urging them to lend a hand to the newcomers. Because, when these newbies find their footing, it’s magic for everyone at the table.

Ginny Di, a YouTube creator and cosplayer, tackles playing a charismatic character when you yourself might not feel all that charismatic. Bryan Camp, the brain behind the Crescent City series, sheds light on how a botched roll can be a golden opportunity for roleplaying, enriching both player character development and the narrative fabric of the game sessions.

One essay that really hit home for me is “Beyond the Talky-Talky Bits” by Luke Hart from The DM Lair YouTube channel. Hart breaks down what “roleplaying” truly encompasses—it’s not just about vocalizing as your character but also embodying their actions. This insight struck a chord with me as I’m currently wrestling with a character’s voice—pondering its authenticity, my ability to sustain it, and whether it’ll come off as just plain silly.

Considering Playing Games with Strangers is more than just a home game among friends, we can’t overlook character actions, especially since our audience can’t see what we’re up to. This nudges us towards more descriptive gameplay, paving the way for richer roleplay and a more engaging podcast for our listeners.

While I’d love to dive into each essay, time and space conspire against me. In closing, The Kobold Guide to Roleplaying is a gem for anyone involved in TTRPGs, regardless of their experience level. It’s brimming with insight, advice, and encouragement. Plus, who knows? It might just lead you to a new favorite author or YouTube channel that’ll elevate your game. And that’s a win in my book.

To pick up your copy, visit the Kobold Press website.