Thursday, January 19, 2012

Zak's 23 Questions

Here are my answers to Zak's 23 Questions:

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
Not so much a invention as an adaptation of the original Barbarian rules by Gary that I adapted for Castles & Crusades.

2. When was the last time you GMed?
Last Saturday (January 14, 2011)

3. When was the last time you played?
Umm... sometime last year, I played in Dan Proctor's Stonehell campaign, before the party became too big so I broke off with half the players to run a Fairy-Tale version of Arduin.

4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven't run but would like to.
Your crack team of explorers is the first to return to Earth after the Shadow Years centuries ago, but your ship was destroyed in orbit and now you must salvage your lives, let alone your mission, with what you can find amid the ruins of Gamma World!

5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
Roll dice, look at notes, and grin evilly...

6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
Lots of stuff... often chips and other finger food snacks, but thanks to our current host, we've had pulled pork sandwiches, hamburgers, and pizza... and my turn next the group will be treated to the fine baked pasta dish of my wife's culinary arts.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
Often, as I get into the parts of the various NPCs and jump and move around in my seat (or even walk around the table speaking to specific PCs face to face) to emphasize activity. At least, I usually do, though the older I get, the less I move around...

8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?
My cleric, Cormac MacArt, tried to convert all the party members to the worship of Crom.

9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
My Serious Settings often go to hell, yes, often starting with characters named "Scrotty McBoogerbutt" and descending from there into, well, something else altogether. I try not to do "serious" much any more, but damned fool that I am, I cannot resist it... Rarely have I experienced players trying to take things the other way.

10. What do you do with goblins?
Goblins tend to be sword fodder, and little more. Rarely have I ran a campaign where the players cared to even bother capturing a goblin, let alone speaking to one, as they feel that even the lowliest PC can take out goblins left and right. Someday, though, someday...

11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
I used some real-world catacomb maps as game maps.

12. What's the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
The time that we were using the old Dragon Magazine critical hit tables and the poor PC rolled the "roll three times" result and took out the other three members of the party. Even the players all laughed at that one!

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 1st Edition Hawkmoon and Stormbringer rules from Chaosium... I was considering running a campaign using the rules and my own home-made campaign setting where Law and Chaos were in balance...

14. Who's your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
Angus McBride (Color), Erol Otus (B&W).

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
I once had a player piss his pants. Seriously. And it wasn't because he'd been drinkng alcohol, either...

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn't write? (If ever)
I ran a memorial Greyhawk game for Gary a couple years ago where we started out in the Moathouse in T1. That went very well.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
A largish room with enough space to fit: an "executive style" oval table for seven (wide enough to fit a Megamat and character sheets) with soft rolling chairs; a secondary table for miniatures behind the DM; a tertiary table for snacks and drinks; a series of shelves for rules and more miniatures; and an easel for drawing stuff for common reference.

18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
Encounter Critical and Dangerous Journeys: Mythus.

19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
Blood and guts writings of Robert Adam's Horseclans series and the easy-reading archetypal writings of David Edding's Belgariad.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
One who takes playing seriously, even though the game might not be serious at all. That is, when we are together to game, we are gaming, not just hanging out. Sure, there will be tales of past games and other table talk, but when we game, we game, dammit.

21. What's a real life experience you've translated into game terms?
My year spend in Europe, where I was able to see all sorts of castles and ruins and ancient and medieval cities and such. I try to inject a real Old World flavor into my fantasy games; it is truly very different from the American style world that I and most of my players live in, and thus conceive the rest of the world to possess.

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn't?
Eh, this one's a bit too personal and too the bone for me to deal with, thanks.

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn't play? How do those conversations go?
I speak with my wife about the games, usually the same evening or day after (she does not play with other groups for various reasons, but I have run solo games for her before). Often she points out ideas and concepts I missed. My games are quite often better for her input.