Another wedding arc? Didn’t we just do that? No wonder Wizard is so upset by these nefarious nuptials! As a mage specializing in the School of Dramaturgy, she demands more originality from her Handbook storylines. Plus, ya know… Thief is already taken. And Sorcerer is her cousin. And it’s not as if Sorcerer and Wizard are on the best of terms in the first place.

While Wizard and Paladin see about rescuing their respective partymates, what do you say the rest of us talk about dramatic speeches? We’ve already discussed how  monologuing ought to happen outside of initiative, but let’s push it one step further. Let’s consider those moments when you get cued for the big speech. After all, there are few moments better suited to speechifying than the phrase, “Speak now or forever hold your peace.” In my experience, however, the problem is that these moments are just a little too tempting.

Consider an obnoxious Perception check. You know that kind. “Crap! That’s only a 12.” And immediately the next dude pipes up: “I look at the thing as well! That’s a 17!” And so the potentially dramatic moment is drowned in an impromptu auction: I got a 23! I rolled a 19! Eleven! Three! Sold to the near-sighted gnome! These moments elicit GM face-palm, but not just because they flirt with the metagame. They also run roughshod over narrative momentum, drawing a group out of the scene as everyone gets their say.

Now let’s bring it back to today’s Unhallowed Rite and Wizard’s speech. If she were to deliver a cool one-liner (“She’s taken.”) and then roll initiative, everything is groovy. If she were to drop a few well-chosen lines on the crowd (“Stop this farce! There are coercive magics at work here, and no ceremony so misbegotten could hold against the countercharm. I cast love as a free action! And then I cast fireball as my actual action!”) then we’re still operating in dramatically-appropriate territory. If Paladin pipes up however (“And you, Sorcerer! I Thought you had a thing for Barbarian!”), followed by Fighter from the peanut gallery (“Plus goblins can’t be witnesses. They aren’t real people.”), followed by commentary from every other member of the Heroes and Anti-Party parties, we’ve descended into the Realm of Farce.

Don’t get me wrong here: Farce can be a nice place to visit. Chances are that a literally-everyone-in-the-party-objects scenario would be a lot of fun at the right table. But when you turn a “speak now” moment into a minutes-long affair, you lose that sense of urgency that accompanies an imminent demon-summoning. The same holds true for unnecessarily long solo speeches, sucking all the air out of a pregnant moment. My point is that, when it’s time to take the spotlight, you should absolutely step up and say your piece. Just remember that it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, and that you aren’t saving anybody if you’re still talking when Devil’s Night rolls around.

Question of the day! Have you ever encountered overlong dialogue in your gaming career? Is it worth it to try and rein that mess in, bringing the scene to a swifter close? Or should a GM just shut up and be happy if their players are trying to RP at all? Sound off with your own finest action movie one-liners and after battle toasts down in the comments!


ARE YOU AN IMPATIENT GAMER? If so, you should check out the “Henchman” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. For just one buck a month, you can get each and every Handbook of Heroes comic a day earlier than the rest of your party members. That’s bragging rights right there!