23 Questions

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To go along with the Reverb Gamers thing Atlas is doing, here are my answers to the GM Questionnaire from another blog. I couldn’t pass up a list with such as perfect number of questions.

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
Assuming “invention” is defined broadly enough to include game mechanics, I’d have to go with Yum Yums, though gorilla gangsters are a very close second. Going with the “some kind of sciency thing” definition, I’ll pick Doc Science!’s roller-skating-powered time machine that I’ve used in a couple of Roller Girls Vs. games.

2. When was the last time you GMed?
I think it was at Archon back in October, but I’m not really sure. There might have been a session of the M-Force game that I was running since then, but I don’t remember for sure.

3. When was the last time you played?
About 2 weeks ago. Star Wars.

4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven’t run but would like to.
The Scientific Adventures of Jesus and Pals: Jesus Christ, Teddy Roosevelt, Emo Hitler, and other as-yet-unspecified historical characters travel through time solving problems with SCIENCE!

5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?

6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
Usually Starburst, since that’s what I use as Yum Yums.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
Not really physically exhausting, but a really good game leaves me a little tired. Unfortunately, those are rarer than I’d like. If my voice is almost gone at the end of a convention, it’s usually a sign that the games there were good ones.

8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?
One of my characters summoned the ghost of Hitler to find out some information about hell (because, hey, you’ve got to summon somebody you know is in Hell) in a recent game. He then used a magic bullet to send him back to hell. He probably could have done some kind of unsummoning or exorcism ritual instead, but who doesn’t want to shoot Hitler?

9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
Depends on the group. When we first published QAGS, the fact the rulebook is fun to read and has a lot of jokes got it tagged as a “humor” game, so we had a lot of people show up expecting to play TOON or something, which got really annoying if we were running a more serious game. As we’ve released more and more “serious” supplements, the problem has lessened.

10. What do you do with goblins?
Nothing recently (in Clan War, I always liked magic mud goblins–you basically set them on fire and hope they run into the enemy lines instead of the friendly ones), but I’ve got some plans for them in the 2nd Edition of M-Force.

11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
Either roller derby or hobos. I’ve worked on the hobo game most recently, but I think Roller Girls Vs. is the one I’ve actually GMed most recently.

12. What’s the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
If you mean “table moment” as in “funny result from a table,” I don’t really have an answer because I rarely use tables when running a game. If you mean “funniest moment at the table,” one of the funniest things I can think of off off the top of my head is The Professor fighting The Skipper in a mecha suit made from bamboo and coconuts in a Gilligan’s Island conspiracy game about 12 years ago. There are lots of others, but that one requires the least explanation.

13. What was the last game book you looked at–aside from things you referenced in a game–why were you looking at it?
All-Stars: Vice Squad. I was doing the layout for it.

14. Who’s your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
Depends on the project, but Jeffrey Johnson and Gary Bedell are the two people I want to see art from in just about anything I’m work on. For people I haven’t worked with personally, Larry Elmore’s always been my favorite gaming artist and there are a lot of non-gaming artists whose work would be great in the right game.

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
Nothing I’ve run recently, but I think I’ve pulled it off in the past.

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn’t write? (If ever)
It’s been so long since I ran something I didn’t write that I can’t remember.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
Big comfy couches/chairs with a table in the middle to roll dice and keep your character sheets and crap on.

18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
Laser Ponies and Clan War.

19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
Robert Rodriguez and Terry Gilliam.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
Someone with a well-thought out character who’s there to tell a good story and have fun.

21. What’s a real life experience you’ve translated into game terms?
Can’t think of anything specific, but I often based locations and GMCs an places and people I know.

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn’t?
Hobomancer, but hopefully it will be out in about a month. There’s also a book about game magic that I’ve been wanting to write for years now about getting rid of flash-bang magic without magic becoming completely useless. I think I’ve finally started to wrap my head around the details, so it might be my next big project after the M-Force revamp.

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn’t play? How do those conversations go?
Other than telling people it’s game night or describing projects I’m working on, I usually try to spare my non-gaming friends from RPG talk.

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