Saturday, January 21, 2012

GM Questionnaire

Zak S of Playing D&D With Pornstars (one of the best role playing blogs on the internet--if you're not reading it you should be) asked some questions for GMs. Here are my responses.

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
Either a were-centaur, or the Sword of Vegetation.

2. When was the last time you GMed?
A month and a half ago? Within the last two months anyway.

3. When was the last time you played?
Sometime in the last three months.

4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven't run but would like to.
Shared city/country a la Thieves World with different GMs running the same characters in different campaigns. Either that or Toypocalypse meets Hollowpoint at the North Pole.

5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
Review any notes I have or figure out what's going to happen next.

6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
Nothing really. I drink copious amounts of Mt. Dew though.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
Yes.

8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?
Trying to use "Cast Light" as an offensive weapon by focusing it on someone's eyes.

9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
Neither. Mostly they play it the way I intended.
10. What do you do with goblins?
They're nasty and brutish with a low level cunning.

11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
The Mask of Manza Sha'et Based on a picture of a jade mask discovered at The Pyramid of the Sun temple in Mexico City.

12. What's the funniest table moment you can remember right now?I was running a game of Hollowpoint. My players did the completely unexpected and neatly side stepped my deadly trap. It was so awesome it was funny. Before that the funniest were several moments during David Hill's Kicking Historical Asses (designed to give you the feel of playing in the world of Army of Darkness) that were genuinely laugh out loud funny, including one during character creation when we realized that the two members of the party were a tall, skinny black guy who likes to go to SCA events on the weekend is paired up with the auto work he just laid off who is a biker guy with a shaved head, tribal tattoos, a love of karaoke, and the words "Peace" and "Love" tattooed on the knuckles of his hands.

13. What was the last game book you looked at--aside from things you referenced in a game--why were you looking at it?
7th Sea GM guide. I was looking up the rules for Mass Combat to make sure I remembered them right when explaining them to someone else.

14. Who's your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
I don't have one. It really depends on the game, because some illustrators are great for some subjects and not for others.

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
I never tried to make them afraid.

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn't write? (If ever)
I've never run an adventure I didn't come up with on my own.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
Large table, lots of room for books, pens, dice, etc. Decent light, but not too bright. The most memorable game I've ever played was D&D 3.5 around a campfire.

18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
7th Sea and the various OSR clones. In 7th Sea you play swashbuckling heroes who can take on dozens of bad guys and not get touched. In the various OSR clones your character could easily die in the first session if things go wrong. On the other hand they are more alike than they would first seem, because they're both about going out and adventuring.

My other answer would be Vornheim and Argyle and Crew, because how much more disparate can you get than a somewhat gonzo, very weird, fantasy city and an rpg about sock puppets? Then I realized that one of the reasons I like both of them is that they're both part of the indie movement in rpg publishing and both do a great job of it.

19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
Fantasy novels and historical events. I love to read just about anything and I have a deep and abiding passion for history. One of my favorite things to do is take ideas from a book I've read and implement them in a game (my first GM session ever was based on a Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser short story). I also like taking historical things and asking "what if".

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
Someone willing to put themselves into the game. I don't want to be out there trying to coax the player along (and I'm not talking about helping a new player get adjusted). I also want players who are willing to think outside the box when coming up with solutions to problems.

21. What's a real life experience you've translated into game terms?
I don't think I've ever had a real life experience that I've consequently used in a game. The closest I've come is when I mis-heard something on a podcast and then created a magic item around it. Someone said something about "all sorts of vegetation" and I misheard that as "A sword of vegetation".

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn't?
An equivalent to Vornheim but for wilderness adventures.

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn't play? How do those conversations go?
My wife. At first she just gave me that look that said "I have no idea what you're saying but I'll listen." Lately she's actually participated more and even lurked at some G+ Hangouts where we did some gaming. She's expressed some interest in actually playing. I'm amused that the first rpg book she ever looked at was Vornheim.


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