#RPGaDay2018 questions 15-17

15) Describe a tricky RPG experience that you enjoyed?


Back when we were young, foolish, and had friends, we played a number of Amber Diceless Throne Wars. One ran by the LintKing really had some of the best scenes, but I was very, very proud of my role as Princess Krrsed. I was just trying to hold my own between the two best ADRPG players I knew, and I think I did okay.


At one point, the first in Psyche was trying to groom my not-very-bright Princess to attack the other, by giving me a pair of dark glasses that instead of drowning out the sun highlighted items with psychic ability. He did it, saying, “Now, these are special glasses. You want to attack whatever shows up the brightest.”


And then he realised I was staring in his direction.


I wasn’t bright, but I was 1.5 rank in Warfare, and I think 1st rank in Strength.


As a GM, one of my favourite bits was also a Throne War where the person who was first in Warfare, seeing their enemy walking the Pattern, said, “I throw my dagger at—WAIT!” realizing the potential effect of bleeding all over it.


Good times.


16) Describe your plans for your next game.


Eek, next game or next session?


I’m running a fun family AD&D game that’s kind of a 1st edition / 5th edition blend. The next session they actually get into some dungeoneering in the labs of a mad scientist with a corrupted artifact. I can’t wait until they get into the greenhouse.


The next game I’m planning on running? I’m re-doing a successful LARP from AmberCon NorthWest to be less system-dependent, so maybe Big Bad Con 2019 I can run it. It’s based on the auction of horrible and precious things, kind of like the Key in Sandman, but everyone has something they want, and something they can give, and none of it is pleasant. I mean, it’s soul destroying fun.


The next game I’m more likely to run locally? I’m finally putting together that horror portal game I’ve been promising myself. It will not be Waxworks 2. It will probably have a series of puzzles.


17) How do you prepare for a one-shot.


This was an alternate question.


I think the important thing about a one-shot is giving players something to do. I have my world, and I know what things are likely to happen, but if they don’t have reasons to be there, why do it? I like providing inter-character hooks, good explanation of background events that could inspire them, and I try to design something cool for them to conquer and feel adventurous at the end.

#RPGaDay2018 numbers 13-14

13) Describe how your play has evolved.


I prefer to think of this question as inspirational rather than merely presumptuous. See, I’m doing so much GM-led games, and I’m really, really, really trying to intuit more GM-less games… because even when I have a GM-less game, I generally find it better having some kind of facilitator who is super-confident of the rules. Why not call that facilitator the GM? I mean, all I tend to do is kind of herd the PCs (player cats!) in a direction they want to go anyway, and resolve things the way we all agree it should be done, right? We’re all in it for the “Oooh!” and the “Hah!” moments that are enjoyed together, afterall. (Not saying you can’t have “oooh!” and “hah!” moments on your own, but wash your hands before and after and keep the door to your room closed, please.)


14) How far from human do you enjoy getting the chance to be in an RPG?

(alternate question)


Recently there was a discussion elsestream about what things you share with your characters, and honestly? I think humanity (not necessarily being human) is one of the things I prefer to keep in my characters. Sometimes it’s fun to find the path to that humanity — my half-spider girl Jinx-Jobina wasn’t quite sure why you didn’t eat your babies, but it was important to her to try to understand it. As for actual being human or not, well, depends on the game’s framework: from personal experience, centaurs and dungeons are a bad mix. So are giraffes.


#RPGaDay2018 numbers 6-12

6) How can players make a world seem real?


By having an innate sense of direction in the world, and knowing the way things work in it. If the players can all point in a direction to say where something is without a map, you know they have their bearings in the place and are sharing that same sense of space. If players feel comfortable playing a scene with NPCs they’re hosting, and almost no input from the GM, they may have the world in their head, and under their fingernails.


7) How can a GM make the stakes important?


Technically. I mean, the obvious way is to change a difficulty number or something, but I prefer something a lot more organic: by driving the characters to care about something or someone. Since partial-retirement from the ADRPG scene, I run a lot less parties of sociopaths. I’m a sadist – I want to find where your buttons are… but I’m not cruel. I don’t necessarily want to punch them.


8) How can we get more people playing?


Invite them. And make sure our invitations are specific, and oriented towards making everyone feel as welcome as we can… which means getting out of our comfort zone a lot of times – trying to see how exclusive our groups might feel and breaking it down so that old legends and assumptions are replaced with new.


9) How has a game surprised you?


I was really pleased at the way Dogs in the Vineyard taught me to make failure a part of a character, literally, by assigning dice as consequences to some actions. I kind of adopt that for a lot of places.


10) How has gaming changed you?


As I’ve never not been a gamer, that’s hard to tell. I like to think it means I’m willing to keep somewhat more of an open mind because I have heard some stories, man.


11) Wildest character name?


Sjilana. Or M8k. I have nothing on the way Gorto the World King makes names, though.


12) Wildest character concept?


Nightlife game, “Weird Thing,” was a blue muppety creature who had an antagonistic relationship with bananas.

#RPGaDay2018 numbers 1-5

1) What do you love about RPGs?


So presumptuous. I might even loathe RPGs. Oh, wait, this is #RPGaDay2018. If I’m answering, I can be presumed to at least share the hobby. (I don’t share well. “It’s mine! Mine, I say! Go away! I’m hoarding it!” Except, like, the exact opposite. “The first one’s free…”)




I love that they’re like the perfect use of so much down time. They’re tools to learn how to interact with the world (any world, really, depending on your knowledge of hidden rules) and for empathy towards others. They’re opportunities to laugh with friends, and to make heroic choices. It’s a chance to be larger than life, or to be smaller and yet still significant.


2) What do you look for in an RPG?


Unfortunately, like all art, it’s a “I know it when I see it,” situation. Sometimes I have someone in mind for an RPG, like “Familiars of Terra” sounds like a game my little Jaguar will love. Sometimes I just want to see the new hotness or support a creator. Sometimes it’s for reference for my own game(s).


To add, “to play?” on to this question, I’m looking for something that doesn’t have a huge entry barrier, and that someone is willing to teach me through if I don’t know it. Also, something that sounds like fun and is in my genre venns. “To run?” it has to have either a mechanic or a world that really grabs me as interesting and something I need to interact with someone else to really ferret out.


3) What gives a game `staying power’?


There’s a line down the middle of this page, and on one side it has iconic games, genre-defining, and well-played. On the other side are games that just were so much fun “that one time,” or sound like they’re going to be ultra-cool.


4) Most memorable NPC?


This is really sad that I can’t remember the name of the NPC Pikabu had a crush on…which suggests he wasn’t memorable, but is more that I lived that crush in Pikabu’s head so hard that she blushes even thinking about it. Which didn’t mean she didn’t melt the bottom of his elevator with a laser rifle array, because there’s crushes and then there’s mission. (He was the head of some kind of business empire in Aeon/Trinity way back when.)


Ones that I’ve run? Trahern. I mean, I have so many options here, but while he isn’t a heart character, Trahern prevails in being this oddly hopeful cynic, whose foreseen future has not deviated no matter what decisions he’s made, and yet he loves so honestly and purely, even knowing his eyes will be burned out and his powers taken away someday. (Amber DRPG)


5) Favourite recurring NPC?


I move a lot of my discarded game PCs to NPCs in places just to keep their story going which might count? I can tell you my partner’s most hated recurring NPC: King Arthur. ‘Cause that guy just KEEPS SHOWING UP all the time, in all the books. [laugh] Maybe a favourite is likely a type, more than a person: I like the type of NPC who seems to know everything except the one simple thing the PCs think of… and has to scramble to refigure things.