Friday, January 20, 2012

A Day Late and a Peso Short

More like a few days late, actually - I claim a noob mulligan.

Zak has questions. I have answers.

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?

The ring of trollish regeneration - it allowed the character wearing it to regenerate but turned the character into a troll.

2. When was the last time you GMed?

Last month - our Flashing Blades campaign.

3. When was the last time you played?

Wednesday - also Flashing Blades.

4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven't run but would like to.

In the palace of the khan of Khiva lies Almace, the sword of the Archbishop Turpin. To return the legendary sword to France would earn the gratitude of both the king and the pope, but discovery in the city of Khiva means a horrible death to any infidel . . .

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

Struggle to keep in peals of maniacal laughter.

6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?

Whatever's lying around the table, which is why I make sure there're vegetables.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?

Only when I'm doing it right.

8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?

Fighting a bravo, a lackey, and a trollop over my character's gambling winnings. My character managed to down the bravo with a dirty trick, then proceeded to nearly have his ass kicked by the trollop.

9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?

I think my players take my setting a tad more seriously than I do. I like subtle whimsy, like the Swiss guard who only speaks German yet seems to understand every language spoken around him.

10. What do you do with goblins?

Goblins are Jawas.

Only they'll steal your baby out of its crib instead of your droid from the shed.

11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?

Aside from my entire setting, which is 17th century Europe? The last thing I added to my campaign was stats for petards - the Renaissance version of the shaped-charge - and foussages - the Renaissance version of the improvised explosive device.

Clearly I feel a need to yell, 'BOOM!' coming on.

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

One of the adventurers, a King's Musketeer, was trying to get some play from a Genoese lady-in-waiting, but he found her flirting with an officer from another regiment. She started egging the two characters into a duel. The other two players were giving the Musketeer's player a metric buttload of grief - 'She's so playing you. Don't be a fool." -  in and out of character. It sounded just like a bunch of friends at a bar on a Saturday night.

I should mention that the resulting duel ended with the adventurers exiled from Paris.

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

The Nocturnals sourcebook for Mutants and Masterminds, just 'cause it's so cool.

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

Living? Dan Brereton. Deceased? N.C Wyeth. Honorable mention? Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier.

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

One of the adventurers in our game is among the best swordsmen in France. I have only a handful of non-player characters in the setting who can hang with him in a duel.

But the first time a bravo pulled a pistol on him, the player's eyes widened and he sat back in his chair. His character may be Heaven's gift to fencing, but he ain't bullet-proof.

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

Vault of the Drow - it's Dark Shadows crossed with Kingmaker. I love the politics of Erelhei-Cinlu, so the drow were constantly trying to manipulate the adventurers into helping them destroy their rivals.

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

I want to backpack or paddle to some remote patch of wilderness and bust out a roleplaying game around the campfire, then pack or paddle a little further the next day and do it again.

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

A few days ago I was thinking about an Arthurian horror game using Pendragon and Call of Cthulhu.

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

Clark Ashton Smith is probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think of swashbuckling adventure, but for my campaign I drew inspiration from the Averoigne stories for the remote province of Auvergne. I wanted the Auvergne of my setting to be like Appalachia, a place out of time with the rest of France, more medieval than modern, inhospitable and disturbing.

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

My ideal player is The Brain: 'Gee, Brain, whaddya wanna do tonight?" "The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!'

The adventure is what you do. So go do something. Preferably something cool.

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

What real life experiences haven't I used in game? My campaigns tend to be full of descriptions of places I've been, people I've known, and things I've done.

Perhaps the mose prevalent experiences are those I've racked up from years of backpacking, paddling, caving, and scuba diving. I've been fortunate enough to live, work, and play in some really beautiful, natural places, so I can draw from a lot of memories when describing the landscapes of my settings.

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

A time-space distortion device that would give our whole group more free time to play.

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

My kids. Right now 'the role game' is something Daddy does with his friends, and it involves the book with the Musketeers on the cover and the bag of cool dice.

Teach your children well, they say.


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

    My ideal player is The Brain: 'Gee, Brain, whaddya wanna do tonight?" "The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!'

    The adventure is what you do. So go do something. Preferably something cool."
    I am so stealing this!


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