News and Updates

How to Have a Banner Year in Tabletop Roleplaying

When I saw that today’s RPGaDay prompt was “banner”, the first thing that popped into my head was this:

“You know what I got for Christmas this year? It was a banner f%@$in’ year at the old Bender family. I got a carton of cigarettes. The old man grabbed me and said ‘Hey. Smoke up Johnny.'”

John Bender (Judd Nelson), The Breakfast Club

While I’d love to do an examination of The Breakfast Club as an example of both adventuring party and game group dynamics, I feel I used up my goodwill for broadly interpreting a prompt when I used “stack” to talk about Unsolved Mysteries. So I’ll keep things to a dull roar here and talk about the expression “a banner year”.

2020 is clearly not a banner year for most people. Conventions cancelled, releases delayed, a lot of people not able to meet face-to-face for regular home sessions. We’ll just skip over this part. So forget that I mentioned it.

When I have run long campaigns, I have asked players what would constitute a banner year for their characters. What would it look like, for them to accomplish everything they wanted? Tell me what they’re personal “happily ever after” is. Then I can plan out some character arcs, and we can work together to get them there.

Because some of the campaigns I’ve run have turned into group therapy sessions, I have sometimes asked players the same question about themselves. What do you want from your life, and how does being in this campaign help you to get that? Tell me about your ideal banner year.

Whether we’re having a banner year or not, we’re all in this hobby for a reason. It might be creative expression. It could be for friendship. Most of us, especially this year, need some escapism that isn’t passively binge-watching something on Netflix, Disney+, or HBO Max. It doesn’t have to give us our best year ever. All it has to do is give us some good moments, now and then.

Get Updates by Email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new releases, products in development, and other news and updated from Dancing Lights Press by email.

How to Have a Banner Year in Tabletop Roleplaying

RPGaDay is an annual event held each August. It asks tabletop gamers to use provided daily prompts to express something fun, interesting, and positive about the hobby. David F. Chapman (Autocratik), the award-winning game designer, created it.

About Dancing Lights Press

Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional  roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.