A Group of Friends
To get started, you’ll need at least one other person to play; this is a cooperative storytelling game and thus you’ll need someone else to bounce ideas off and interact with. We recommend trying to get a group of three to five to form your gaming group.
Time and Place
Every time your gaming group gathers to play, we call that a session (but you can call them whatever you’d like). Typically sessions last anywhere between 3 to 5 hours, this may vary depending on the availability and playing preferences of your group.
If your group lives near each other, it’s common to meet up at one of the group members’ residences. However, if where you live isn’t a good or safe place to play, you can always meet up at other locations. We’ve seen groups be highly creative regarding where they play, from coffee shops, local game stores, the park, to private rooms in the library. If your group is separated or meeting locally isn’t possible, online play is totally an option as well.
With online play, you utilize your webcams and microphones and an interface of sorts to facilitate your game. Many will use Google Hangouts, Discord and/or Skype to set up a conference call, so that you can see everyone at the virtual table. Then you can utilize virtual tabletop setups like Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Astral to provide visual tools such as dice rollers, maps, and character sheet information (some of these also have video/audio conference features).
If your group can’t find a time to meet, have no matching schedules or are in wildly different time zones, a great option to play would be play-by-post: a fully text-based solution. There are several programs such as RPGCrossing, MythWeavers, GamersPlane and RPOL (we’ve even heard groups use Discord as a central text-based system). How it works is much like a forum; the players make rolls and declarations, then after a set period, the narrator makes a post, reacting to the events and continuing the story. It’s important to maintain a consistent schedule in checking and updating, otherwise it’s easy to forget and have the group fall apart.
Dice to Roll With
Dice come in various shapes and sizes and it’s easy to get confused telling them apart, or extremely excited to collect them all. In Drifter, we use a 20-sided die, sometimes, this is referred to as a “d20” with the number distinguishing how many faces the die have.
We recommend that everyone have their own dice, however it’s not necessary. When your character needs to perform a skill or action where the outcome can have an impact on the narrative direction, you will be asked to roll a d20. Typically, the higher the result, the better. Once you’ve rolled, you’ll have ways to modify the result of the roll.
If you don’t have access to 20-sided dice, check out the Dice Alternatives section, where we provide you with a variety of alternative dice mechanics from using six-sided dice to a deck of cards.
Each player will have their own character sheet and use it to record all the essential information about your character, including their character name, background, traits, gear, abilities, ingredients, and other things that may be tracked over the course of a campaign.
Character sheets are available on our website (link coming soon), but sometimes a sheet of paper and pencil is all you’ve got. Some people prefer using a computer (be it an app or spreadsheet) to track all the information. We don’t have a bias one way or another as both are perfectly good options.
There are a few things that you need to keep track of in Drifter, including Health, Intervention Points, and your Energy Pool. Although you don’t need a token for everything, we highly recommend having something physical to track Energy and Intervention Points as these see frequent adjustments as you play. This makes bookkeeping easier and helps to improve the flow as you play.
For tracking your Energy Pool, we like to use glass or plastic beads and for Intervention Points, we prefer to use coins. If you don’t have these specific objects, you can substitute and use nearly anything, from pieces of paper, keys, pins, and even small treats (just be sure you don’t eat them all).
Scratch Paper or Notepad
Sometimes you need to draw a map, take notes, sketch a creature, illustrate a puzzle, or catalog the adventures of the party. It’s always helpful to have some paper handy. As presentation tools, some narrators prefer to use graph paper, or whiteboards. These are great tool for drawing up the combat board or showing relative environmental distances (and whiteboards being easy to erase is also handy).