Tuesday, 30 August 2016

#RPGaDay 2016 30: At the table

#RPGaDay 2016

30: Describe the ideal game room if the budget were unlimited

Okay, I would love a table like this updated every week. And then we would still improv away from it.

A screen would be good for showing people things, but always on would be distracting.

Again, this is the kind of extra I think could be nice but really isn’t a big deal to how I play.

Or, obviously, a holodeck.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder has died. A moment of thanks for all the characters he gave us.

#RPGaDay 2016 29: Where it will take you

#RPGaDay 2016

29: You can game anywhere on Earth, where would you choose?

This weekend: New Orleans. (Damn my not being at The Grand Masquerade. Boo.)

Generally: indoors with a comfortable chair and access to WiFi and snacks. It’s about the people, not the places.

Gamer retreats (either for comfort and groupiness or for atmosphere as well) can get lots of good gaming done, or can equally not help all that much at all. Outside gaming in particular often adds distractions. This ain’t a LARP.

Sure, playing somewhere really out there could be fun - a Doctor Who game on the TARDIS set - but in the end it’s just set dressing for the Theatre of the Mind. Heavy.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

#RPGaDay 2016 28: You've never seen...?

#RPGaDay 2016

28: Thing you’d be most surprised a friend had not seen or read?

Star Wars.

Star Wars has both the lowest bar of any geek media universe (one movie, and as of December you have two basic options for which one) and the highest profile, not coincidentally. The radio series about celebrities doing things they’ve missed or avoided before is called I’ve Never Seen Star Wars for a reason.

For reading, I guess The Hobbit. Lord Of The Rings takes time and effort - The Hobbit takes a couple hours. (Hence the joke that if you don’t have time to watch one of the films, just read the book.)

Not played would seem more relevant than not seen or read. So probably D&D, because it’s omnipresent. Even though its omnipresence and age made me personally avoid it for decades, up until 3rd edition, I still knew it well enough that I could have played it (at least as a Fighter) from about age twelve.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

#RPGaDay 2016 27: Unusual places to play

#RPGaDay 2016

27: Most unusual circumstance or location in which you’ve gamed.

Discussing an ongoing game rather than actually playing it, but in a cab on the way back from hospital to confirm I’d broken my arm on the way to a session.

Location-wise, the impromptu WFRP adventure (complete with character generation) I ran on the coach back from the Nationals is the longest game I ever GMed... geographically.

Friday, 26 August 2016

How showrunning is like GMing

John Rogers, who has done both, talks to Rob Wieland about dungeons, dragons, thieves, Librarians and relationship charts.

(Obviously producing TV shows is not a hobby for him, but RPGs are a hobby that goes with it.)

And through a link when Rob posted this on RPG.net, a Dark*Matter AP from Mr. Rogers in 2002.

#RPGaDay 2016 26: What hobbies go well with RPGs?

#RPGaDay 2016

26: What hobbies go well with RPGs?

Reading, obviously, because RPGs mostly require a fair bit of recreational reading and often encourage reading setting material and attached fiction as well as rules sections.

Everything else that we often see connected to RPGs (other types of games, writing, art, acting, improv, consuming geek media, collecting collectables) is secondary. If I’m playing a board or card game there’s a good chance it means an RPG session fell through at the last minute.

Being able to come up with the right kind of stuff to fill a session on the fly gets easier with familiarity, and some knowledge of the ins and outs of both game and narrative structures helps.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Troublesome Character Types

Okay, answering the last RPGaDay question with three words wasn’t very content-rich. True, and (I think) funny, but I guess I can unpick it a little.

There are certain character types that are red flags for attracting disruptive players. Special Snowflakes for attention hogs, loners for those who want to go off and have solo adventures in the middle of a session, Chaotic Malkavians for those who want to act out when hey get bored, evil characters in basically good parties for those who want to kill other PCs when they get bored. The list goes on.

But none of this is the fault of the character type.

I’ve seen a loner PC whose player actively avoided the entire campaign, and a loner PC whose player came up with reasons to stick around and whose solo activities were kept short and to the point - in the same campaign.

It’s the difference between Wolverine in Wolverine and Wolverine in The X-Men - the archetypal brooding loner PC who cares about the team’s agenda and goals and (some of) its members as well as having personal plot hooks.

Heck, I have a Malkavian in my current Vampire: The Masquerade game, because I knew I could trust the player.

Likewise, I could list good points for characters - fitting the setting, offering some interesting hooks, having a reason to be at the table (even if the game isn’t about a party per se, we’re still gathering at the table) - but they all boil down to things I think a good player will do.

#RPGaDay 2016 25: What makes a good character?

#RPGaDay 2016

25: What makes a good character?

A good player.

BAM!
(I considered a President Obama GIF but I'm so much more of a Ben.)

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

#RPGaDay 2016 24: What is the game you are most likely to give to others?

#RPGaDay 2016

24: What is the game you are most likely to give to others?

Adventure! as two people I know who I have given it to as a leaving gift can attest.

I should note that they were already gamers and members of my groups, so this isn’t an introductory gift to potential gamers, in case that was the intent. I dunno what I’d do there.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

#RPGaDay 2016 23: Worst Luck stories

#RPGaDay 2016

23: Share one of your best “Worst Luck” stories.

Sometimes the 1s just keep coming. I once canned a game for this, as it had no mechanic to buy off the frankly alarming number of botches someone was rolling.

If you can bring it in-game, do so. Which is why an episode of The Watch House that was going to be about something else became about a capricious boggart dropping a luck-stealing curse on the group.

Monday, 22 August 2016

#RPGaDay 2016 22: "Random" game events

#RPGaDay 2016

22: Supposedly random game events that keep happening?

This could easily become a rant about dice pools giving me Advantage instead of any actual success at what I wanted to do in the FFG Star Wars system. Let’s just say I would like a different result spread.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

#RPGaDay 2016 21: Funniest misinterpretation of a rule in your group?

#RPGaDay 2016

21: Funniest misinterpretation of a rule in your group?

Going outside RPGs to wargaming, and going back twenty-five years, the first time (possibly the only time) RM played BattleTech and we started to wonder why his lightly armoured Whitworth was shrugging off so much damage. The game uses a standard mech sheet, and the armour and damage tracks are represented by dots. And he was counting the lightly crossed out unarmoured dots rather than the blank armoured ones.

Still, good to learn this all together a year or so before Vampire: The Masquerade came out.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

#RPGaDay 2016 20: Challenging system?

#RPGaDay 2016

20: Most challenging but rewarding system you have learned?

I don’t really want a system to challenge me. If a system keeps hogging my attention I’m liable to use something less obtrusive instead.

I’ll make an exception for games designed with specific purposes in mind. Leverage maybe? It’s about telling an entertaining crime story rather than simulating crime, so the authorial distance of encouraging players to put their characters in trouble for later payoffs (and getting them out with player narrated Flashbacks) isn’t interfering with regular player to character identification. It’s still more moving parts than many players like to deal with though.

Friday, 19 August 2016

#RPGaDay 2016 19: Best way to learn a new game?

#RPGaDay 2016

19: Best way to learn a new game?

At the table.

(Obviously depending on the GM and other players teaching it.)

Second best is sitting down and reading the book.