Monday, 30 January 2012

DM Questionnaire

So, finally getting around to this...

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
Captain Krawkin. A combination of several real people's annoying habits, along with a few traditional "villainous" characteristics, has lead to a character that the players are actively paranoid of. That's players, not characters - for some reason, he's got right under their skin, despite originally being a one-use bad guy. My girlfriend actually gets angry when she talks about him to other gamers.

That's got to be worth something, man.

2. When was the last time you GMed?
Yesterday morning, while we had breakfast.

3. When was the last time you played?
Ooooft, a good few months ago now. There was a somewhat-muddled oneshot that a friend tried to run, but properly played last in Dangerous Brian's Edarnia Campaign.

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

We were somewhere around Junktown, on the edge of the Ashlands, outside Hive Primus, when the drugs began to take hold.

Nothing would make me happier than running a game of Black Crusade based on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
Listen. I like to remain flexible and keep my plots pretty fluid, and more often than not, you can spot the way that players want a plot to go by listening to how they plan their way around it - crappy plots get barrelled through, interesting ones get double-planned, backups made, etc.

6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
Frequently, fruit. Grapes, raspberries, anyhting bite-sized. When running for large groups, it's sweets, crisps, dip, and an alcoholic/caffinated beverage.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
No. I can find it stressful, depending on who I'm running for, but never exhausting.

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

Arresting another PC. It was the first time I'd played a properly "Good" character, and I'd just witnessed said PC steal from another PC (and get headbutted into submission for his troubles). So, the perfectly average teenage guardsman, stranded on some god-forsaken island after a shipwreck, confronted with an Elf, feared and hated in setting, decided to slap manacles on the son of a bitch.

9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
Man, I run 40k. Playing it serious is nowhere near as much fun as making it ridiculous. However, I have thrown a few serious moments into the game, and they've been taken very well. By the same extension, I treat other people's settings as something I can learn from - so, when someone runs their homebrew, I try to take it seriously, reading through all the available setting material. Although, I can run a light-hearted character in such games - I just like to make sure they fit the setting.

10. What do you do with goblins?
Depends on the game. In Delraith, Goblins are the repressed underclass of Humanoids - they're not dumb, just weak, and act as traders, adventurers, and intermediaries with the more "barbaric" savage humanoids.

In other games, they're the "comic relief" ala Pathfinder - tiny, cannibalistic pissheads, who loot, pillage and generally be dicks because it's what they do.

11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
Several layouts of modern office buildings for a Shadowrun one-shot I've been planning. I'll get them posted up here at some point...

12. What's the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
During a friend's campaign, we had utterly, utterly screwed the pooch during a Shadowrun-style criminal venture. We probably owed our "boss" several million by the time we finished, and we needed a plan. The GM described the horrible torture we faced as his pet NPC began knocking us unconscious with a single blow. I had two grenades left from the run. This guy was (literally) built with vehicle armour. I tried to pull the pins on my grenades, scream "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!", and make him eat them.

I rolled a natural 1 on my attack roll.

The GM ruled I swallowed the grenades, and blew the entire top half of my torso off.

Good times, man, good times.

13. What was the last game book you looked at--aside from things you referenced in a game--why were you looking at it?
Labyrinth Lord. I wanted some inspiration to actually get around to running the Kobold Ascension Campaign, as I now seem to have players who want to play as Kobolds!

14. Who's your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
Tony DiTerlizzi. This guy drew some of the most inspirational Monster Manual entries I've ever seen, and single-handedly defined how most people see the entire Planescape setting. Plus,even his non-gaming stuff is ripe for filching ideas from, and he's also a pretty swell guy.

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
Yep. I have figured out how to make them jumpy when I need them to be...

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn't write? (If ever)
I tend to run my own. The last time I did was at the start of our Rogue Trader campaign, and I ditched it pretty quickly in.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
... again, depends on the game. For RT, it's in bed on a Saturday morning with the missus. 
For D&D, it'd be a huuuuuuge table with as much Hirst Arts scenery as I could make, and minis sculpted to each player's expectations. Preferably from the guys at Reaper Minis - they might be expensive, but damn, they're pretty.

For Risus-Planescape? The pub. Any pub. It's how it has to go down. Preferably Waxy O'Connors on a quite night.

For Necromunda, well, it's this crazy motherfucking thing.

18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
Old-School D&D and Unknown Armies. From Generic Euro-Fantasy Throwaway Fun to PostModern esoteric craziness.

19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
Pulp Action Serials and Transhuman Sci-Fi, like Alastair Reynolds, end up informing my 40k games all too much.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
People who are more interested in having fun than making the perfect character build. Who want to make a good story, rather than murder everyone in sight. Who want to spend time with their friends, rather than play a wargame. Roleplayers, not rollplayers.

21. What's a real life experience you've translated into game terms?
My knowledge of science, writing, and transhumanism translate well into 40k terms. My abuse of tropes and story elements is... near legendary. For a direct real-life experience, it would have to be using an angry and abusive customer's mannerisms into an odious NPC. Even with a new context, everyone thoguht this guy was a dick.

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn't?
Setting-neutral Planescape books. But, I'm working on them myself, so...

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn't play? How do those conversations go?
A few people in work. They look relatively interested, and it's becoming apparent that they are interested, just not actively playing.

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