23 Questions

I’m a little slow on the uptake on this theme that’s passing through the RPG blogosphere from Zak. Here are the questions and my answers:

1. Single invention most proud of?

The social class system in my RPG.

2. Last time I DMed?

Last Friday. I’ll do it again today after work.

3. Last time I played?

Last Saturday. I wish I could get together with my Pathfinder group tomorrow, but other plans are in the way.

4. Pitch for an adventure I haven’t run.

Crown Prince Auroon has been kidnapped by parties unknown. The characters, being trusted advisors to King Renthick, have been asked to track down the kidnappers and rescue the crown prince and return him safely to the king.

Alternate: Crown Prince Auroon died in battle against an enemy army. King Renthick, being a powerful magician, used the last wish from his item to have his son return to him. Auroon returns to the kindgom as a risen Lich due to the wish, and destroys most of the king’s palace. Where do the characters come in? Oh. They’re being held in the dungeon below where the king is escaping. He races into the chamber just ahead of the Lich Prince and opens a secret door. The king offers his pardon if the PCs protect him through the dungeon passages under the castle and into the wilderness beyond.

5. What do I do while I wait for players to do things?

Create NPCs or creatures for them to encounter.

6. Do I eat while I play?

Not usually. I tend to go purely with Monster energy drinks or Mountain Dew to sustain me through a session.

7. Is DM physically exhausting?

Nope. It’s a rush. It’s a high. It’s exhilerating to me. I love doing it.

8. Do my players make my serious setting,  not serious?

My players go with the flow of the game that I’m portraying, but it’s usually serious.

9. Last thing I remember my character did when I played.

Doing over 100 points of damage on a critical hit against a normal ogre. We’d been fighting ogre barbarians, which were rather tough. We came across a band of “regular” ogres and didn’t realize that they weren’t barbarians. I went all out on my attack, rolled a critical, rolled really high on damage and one-shotted the ogre. It was a good feeling!

10. What do I do with goblins?

I aggrivate my players with them by putting the goblins in a tactically superior situation and forcing the players to fight on the goblin’s terms.

11. Last non-rpg setting converted for a game.

Battle Circle by Piers Anthony. I created Hero System templates for them back when 4th edition Hero was the big thing. Yeah. It’s been that long.

12.What’s the funniest table moment you can remember right now?

A fellow character’s kensai almost gutted herself with a fumble and went on to slay half the enemy. At one point, the leader of the bad guys asked, “Why did she cut herself open before the fight?” Without hesitation, I replied, “To make it a fair fight.” The rest of the bad guys dropped their weaopns immediately and surrendered. We all had a great laugh about that.

13. What was the last game book you looked at–aside from things you referenced in a game–why were you looking at it?

GURPS 4e Main Book: I was looking for examples for expert (aka: knowledge in other games) skill checks.

14. Who’s your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?

I know this is a contentious topic amongst many role players, but my favorite has always been Larry Elmore.

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?

Yes. Quite often. Not just for the safety of their characters, but also for the outcome of good over evil.

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn’t write? (If ever)

I’ve run Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil by Monte Cook three times. It was a hoot all three times with slightly different flavors to each of the games.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?

Large table with a white matte finish and an overhead projector for displaying maps, monster images, things the characters see, etc. The table needs to be large enough that the projected light from above doesn’t shine on the player’s area.

18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?

AD&D 1e and GURPS 4e. I love both of them to death, but they are so totally different. AD&D has a “skeleton rule set” and allows the GM to make up the rest as needed. GURPS 4e has rules for pretty much everything. Both have their pros and cons.

19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?

I come back to AD&D and GURPS. One is so free-form and smooth and flowing, but it requires a good GM to be a good game. GURPS is very structured, but has enough rules in existence that you can do pretty much anything you want with it. You still need a good GM for GURPS, but it’s not as vital as with AD&D. I do my best to balance the massive rule set of GURPS and the smooth storytelling of AD&D in my games.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?

Engaged. No Warcraft on the laptop while at the table. No texting with friends while at the table. Either you’re here to play, or you’re not.

21. What’s a real life experience you’ve translated into game terms?

My fighting experience from years in the SCA has really helped me create a balanced, fair and (mostly) realistic combat system for my RPG.

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn’t?

A cartography guide for role playing. Things from creating worlds to nations to cities to villages to buildings to dungeons to caverns and more.

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn’t play? How do those conversations go?

Everyone. I’m not ashamed of my hobby one little bit. I’ll tell everyone that I’m a role player. It can be a long conversation, and I won’t go into all of it here. I usually have to define what role playing is, what players are, what the GM is, etc. Most people don’t ask about Satanic rituals anymore. I’m glad that “fad” has passed.