Dozens and Dragons

Parrot Therapy

A handout and facilitation guide for role playing, team building, and world building



  1. Introduction
  2. Handout
  3. Facilitator’s Guide
    1. Part I: Me
      1. Traits, bonds, ideals, and flaws
      2. ALT-lignment
        1. Framework 1
        2. Framework 2
      3. Rumors!
    2. Part II: Team
      1. What’s Your Name
      2. Team dynamics
    3. Part III: World
    4. Wrap Up
  4. Afterward
  5. Resources
  6. Changelog


A while back my players decided they wanted to have a sort of Session Zero every month or so. So when they requested a “workshop session” recently, I wasn’t too surprised, because it was right on schedule.

The part that did surprise me was the in-game mechanic they decided they wanted for this session.

They had just met a (literal) parrothead aarakockra bard playing Jimmy Buffet covers in a tavern, and they really liked him, and they decided that they wanted him to be the one to facilitate the in-game “group therapy session.”

I don’t why they thought that a birdman singing about margaritas and hamburgers would be qualified to do such a thing, but hey. If they’re excited about it then I’m excited about it.

The content that follows can be downloaded at Parrot Therapy on


Here is Jimbly Chaffingdish’s Parrotkockra Guide to Group Therapy for Remedial Adventurers, the handout I plan to give my players, written in Jimbly’s own hand.


loading zine…

This zine was created in the truly astounding Electric Zine Maker by alienmelon, and rendered for the web with Jeremy Oduber’s js-zine.

Again, this handout can be downloaded at Parrot Therapy on as a single PDF or as a foldable zine.

Facilitator’s Guide

Jimbly Chaffingdish’s Parrotkockra Guide to Group Therapy for Remedial Adventurers

The world is large and you are small. You may be wondering how you fit in!

Well before you can know that, you must first know yourself.

In this session, we will be guiding you through a “funnel” of progressive scope in which you focus on 1) shaping your own personal identity, then 2) on your role in your party and also your party’s direction, and then finally 3) we will begin to shape the very world itself!


  1. Part I: Me
    1. Traits, bonds, ideals, and flaws
    2. Rumors!
  2. Part II: Team
    1. Team dynamics
    2. What’s Your Name
  3. Part III: World

Part I: Me

Now is the time to learn about yourself!

Turn to page 3 of your handout.

We’re going to go over three things here:

  1. Traits, bonds, ideals, and flaws
  2. ALT-lignment: alternatives to the traditional way of thinking about alignment
  3. Rumors

Traits, bonds, ideals, and flaws

You’ve known yourself for a little while by now.

You may feel yourself quite the established consciousness, but this is also an ideal time to return to the basic building blocks of who you are.

We will now consider your personality traits, ideal, bond, and flaw.

  1. Personality trait: A quirk of personality.

    How you interact with otherst and with the world. Are you shy? Bold?

  2. Ideal: A single defining core belief.

    What is at the core of your motiviation. This is usually a single concept like “might” or “respect.”

  3. Bond: What are you bound to?

    What is your destiny, burden, obligation, duty? Your haunted past?

  4. Flaw: What’s going to get you in trouble?

ACTIVITY: You can now update or change your personality trait, ideal, bond, and flaw.

Think about what you know about your character and the situations they have been in. How did they respond? What motivates them? Are they here for fame and glory, or to help others? Would they ever back down from a fight? Under what conditions would they surrender or flee from an encounter? When the chips are down, would they sacrifice for the good of the team, or is it every person for themself? Are you prone to act first and think later, or being careful and deliberate?

If those questions aren’t interesting to you, create a conflict of your own. Think of two opposing, conflicting concpets, and decide how your character would act given the choice between x and y.

Note: If this is too much of a blank page for you, you can see some suggestions here: List of All Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds & Flaws

Fill out the appropriate part of the worksheet on the inside front cover of your handout.


Here are a couple frameworks that are alternatives to the traditional way of thinking about alignment.

Draw these on a whiteboard and have your players plot their characters.

Framework 1

Put yourself on this chart.

I Think I Will….

                solve problems
on accident <-----------------> on purpose
               create problems

Solving problems vs. creating problems correlates loosely to good vs. evil.

On accident vs. on purpose does the same to chaos vs. law.

Framework 2

Same exercise, different chart.

What’s Important To Me?

    Might  <-----------------> Rules
Individuals          |          Society

Others is good, Me is evil. Might is chaos, Society is law.


By now you are heroes of some renown. People have heard of you. They notice you. You’re kind of a big deal.

ACTIVITY: Come up with three rumors that common townspeople might have heard about you:

  1. One that is true.
  2. One that is not true.
  3. One that we don’t know whether it is true or not.

Fill out the appropriate part of the worksheet on the inside front cover of your handout.

Part II: Team

Now that you have all spent some time thinking about yourselves as individuals, it is time to figure out how you all work together.

Turn to page 4 of your handout.

What’s Your Name

It is high time your group decided on a name for itself.

What is your team name?

ACTIVITY: Come up with a team name.

Team dynamics

Think back to the traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws you just heard your teammates share.

Who are you idealogical allies? Who complements your weaknesses?

Who do you need to keep an eye on? Who do you rely on to keep you in check? Who do you trust? Who do you distrust?

Who will you follow into battle? Who needs your help and direction?

Who are the Doers in your group? Who are the Thinkers?

Does your group have a leader? A moral compass? A strategist? A people person?

Note: When I had my players do this part, we shared a white board, and every player had a token for their character. They organically positioned their tokens close to some other tokens, and farther away from others. When I drew lines connecting the tokens and asked them to label the axes, they were able to start describing in what ways they were attracted to and/or repelled by other characters.

Part III: World

Turn to page 5 of your handout.

Now we will shape the world!!

We will do this by building a world palette.

There are two columns:

  1. Yes/Add
  2. No/Ban

Take a minute to add 2 - 3 items in the columns in your workbook. Anything you think of is fine. You don’t need to have an item in both columns.

A YES should be something we may not expect to see/encounter in the world, but that you would like to.

A NO should be something we would reasonably expect to see in the world, but that you don’t want to to encounter.

ACTIVITY: Everybody take turns sharing one item, either a Yes or a No. These get added to the Facilitator’s Whiteboard. (Facilitator, get ready to write stuff down!) If everybody goes once during a round, then start again. If anybody ever chooses not to go, then stop. Wrap-up: Discuss and negotiate. Everybody should feel happy with the palette.

It is now the dungeon master’s (and in part, the players’) responsibility to incorporate YESs into the game if they can. NOs are not permitted to appear in the game.

NOTE: this exercise is lifted wholesale from Ben Robbins’s most excellent world building game, Microscope.

Wrap Up

Have everybody go around the table and share 1 - 2 things that they found valuable, interesting, or useful.


After running this session, I asked my players what they liked best about it, and what they said was this:

Regarding the handout, we did almost nothing with the handout. We quickly transitioned to sharing a Google Slides document and doing all our collaborative work there.



v0.2.0 - 2020-09-10



v0.1.0 - 2020-09-03

Initial post

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