18 January, 2012

My GM Questionnaire

I am filling out my GM questionnaire. I did not use number 2 pencil.

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
This is kind of a tough one, right off the bat, because I'm thinking back through all my games since 1988. The ones earlier.. didn't invent much. I suppose it would be the giant mega-roomscalator from hell. Sort of like an escalator, but made of small rooms that tilt and climb. You end up going through a door each time a room stops tilting, to go into the next room. Each time you open a door, a new monster is waiting there for you. That's where Hannibal contracted tiger-lycanthropy.

2. When was the last time you GMed?
Monday night, 16 January, 2012. My players were Zak Smith, Jason Kielbasa, Roger Burgess and Cameron McGowan.

3. When was the last time you played?
Last night, 17 January, 2012. I played in Chris Kutalik's Hill Cantons.

4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven't run but would like to.
Planescape's Sigil is Oliver Twist's London, with Oliver Reed from 1968, and the players have to find and recover an artifact in the city before the band of thieves do it.

5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
They wait for me more than I wait for them. This is known as a Bad Thing. When I do wait for them, I cook up funky turns for them.

6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
I always used to eat Igor's Piroshkis with extra cheese on top. They stopped making them, and all you can get now are those damn little hot pocket abominations. Thus, I no longer eat while gamemastering.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
Unfortunately, I find everything physically exhausting, since I have fibromyalgia. GMing actually helps me forget the pain for a while, which is pretty damn sweet.

8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?
Father Jack, upon realising the party was being charged by two Nehwonian Ghuls inside a golden Melnibonean war barge, grabbed two big fluffy satin pillows and threw them at the ghuls' feet in an attempt to trip them. Party fumbles ensued.

9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
So far, players have injected precisely the right balance of jocularity. One slip and it's off with your heads.

10. What do you do with goblins?
Personally, I roast them slowly while basting with a mix of hearty yet piquant spices. In my games, it is more varied. So far in my OD&D Greyhawk game they all wear red caps, dyed in human blood. Some of them look like Pathfinder goblins, and some others they've met look like Labyrinth goblins. Minus David Bowie and The Codpiece of Doom. They are cheery and dumb, and have proven rather amusing to talk with. They tend to have Stoogesque arguments among themselves. In my Castle Nicodemus game so far, they look like the goblins from the Rankin/Bass Hobbit. Only a statue of one, or perhaps a victim of petrifaction, has been found as yet.

11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
I can't say the last thing, because that would be telling. Previous things = 60s TV show The Prisoner, The King of Elfland's Daughter by Dunsany, Cher.

12. What's the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
A new player (character named Jack) joined the party by seeing members of the group appear out of nothing as they exited a Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion. He maintained they were demons. One of the party (character named Tom) embarked on a 20 minute debate, roleplaying in character, trying to convince Jack that, in fact, he, Jack himself was the demon. By the time Tom was done, Jack pretty much believed he was actually a demon, and had sworn an oath to Tom on a dagger made out of spinal column.

13. What was the last game book you looked at--aside from things you referenced in a game--why were you looking at it?
Planescape - The Planewalker's Handbook. I was reading it just because it's interesting.

14. Who's your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
I can't decide between Simon Bisley and Rodney Matthews.

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
It has before, back in my face-to-face days. It was very rewarding.

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn't write? (If ever)
I ran Dyson's Goblin Gulch in my Labyrinth Lord Eberron game. Excellent.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
Big round table, easy to control lighting for spookability, computer handy for music, sounds, visual aids, and references like Wikipedia.

18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
1st Ed. AD&D and The Window.

19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
Coop's Devil Girls and The Wind in The Willows.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
Someone intelligent with a good sense of humor.

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

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn't?
Not really. Many I want are out of print, however.

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn't play? How do those conversations go?
My wife. She's interested in what I have to say, and sometimes gives me ideas, but remains adamant that it's "not her thing."


Thanks Zak, for getting me motivated to at least write something this morning.
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