#RPGADAY2016 All At Once

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I’m going to do all of this year’s #RPGADAY questions real-quick like.

1) Real dice, dice app, diceless, how do you prefer to “roll”?

Don’t care. If I’m sitting around a table, I’ll usually go with real dice. If rolling dice is a pain in the ass, I’m fine with an app.

2) Best game session since August 2015? 

I think this was in the past year, but I’m not 100% sure (it was close enough, though). A group of my Patreon supporters took me up on my offer to GM a game for them over the system of tubes and we had a very enjoyable M-Force game. More than the game itself, it was great because it was one of those situations where people you’ve previously only known online turn out to be exactly the kind of people you hoped they were when you meet them in person (or via video chat, in this case). Other than that, I haven’t played much in the past year. Since I live in the armpit of the Midwest and the few gamers around here mostly play D&D (which I’m usually not willing to drive a half hour for), I mainly game at conventions. The only one I’ve made it to in the past year as Archon, and I was on booth and panel duty all weekend there.

3) Character moment you are proudest of?


  • Driving through Hell with Johnny Cash, Demon Hunter in the Bluesmobile with Gabriel’s Horn blasting, A samurai car surfing on the back, and Geronimo’s skull as a hood ornament so we could meet Stagger Lee at the crossroads and take his hat.
  • Gratuitously adding a magic bullet to an exorcism ritual just so I could say I shot Hitler’s ghost.

Both of these happened in the same game. There was also an inter-dimensional train that William Faulkner took over driving when Jesus went to rescue Elvis.

4) Most impressive thing another’s character did?

In a game I ran in college, one of the characters morphed into the main villain of the campaign. During the finale, the player role-played the character. When he casually (and unexpectedly) ordered the execution of another PCs’ sister, the reaction from the other players made the rest of the session more intense and made the whole campaign work better.

5) What story does your group tell about your character? 

No clue. We play so many different games and have been playing for so long that there are too many possibilities for one to really stick out.

6) Most amazing thing a game group did for their community? 

I can’t think of anything that I’d consider “amazing” unless you mean in the clickbait headline sense. I’ve mostly just seen normal community service stuff. But Gamers For Humanity was/is (haven’t heard from them in a while and not sure if they’re still around) the hardest working game-related community service group I’ve run into. Some of Drivethru’s charity bundles have raised a lot of money for good causes as well.

7) What aspect of RPGs has the biggest effect on you?

Since I write games, I guess the creative aspect.

8) Hardcover, softcover, or digital? What is your preference? 

I hated and feared the idea of digital books at first, but being able to (1) sell books without paying for printing or shipping; and (b) carry all of Hex’s products around on my tablet (at some point we got to the point where our entire product line was too heavy to lug around at a con) has given me an appreciation for digital. That said, our products still don’t feel completely real until I’ve got the physical book in my hands. For books I buy, it depends. If it’s a throwaway read or a game book I’m just buying for a single game, digital is fine, but there are some things (like books by favorite authors or things I’ll want to go back to again and again) that I want a hard copy of for the shelf.

9) Beyond the game, what’s involved in an ideal session?

People you want to talk to and be around when you’re not playing a game. I’m also a big fan of the “good food and beer and games” format.

10) Largest in-game surprise you have experienced? 

When we played the proof-of-concept game for Hobomancer and realized that there could be a lot more to it than the throwaway goofy idea we had in mind at first.

11) Which gamer most affected the way you play? 

A whole bunch of people, but since Leighton Connor and I have been trying to work out what we want out of games and how to communicate that to other people for nearly 20 years now, I think he gets top billing.

12) What game is your group most likely to play next? Why? 

If we can schedule it, I want to try a Cinemechanix game over Skype or something with the Hex crew, probably the He-Man style cartoon game I’m using for the samples of play in the rulebook. Officially it’s playtesting.

13) What makes a successful campaign?

Shared expectations about what the game is supposed to be and the ability to act like grown-ups when there are problems.

14) Your dream team of people you used to game with?

Depends on the game, but the core Hex Games crew are at the top of the list for almost anything.

15) Your best source of inspiration for RPGs?

I rarely read and issue of Fortean Times without coming up with at least a couple game ideas.

16) Historical person you’d like in your group? What game? 

I’d kind of like to play Hobomancer with William S. Burroughs.

17) What fictional character would best fit in your group? 

Wash from Firefly. Or any Alan Tudyk character, really.

18) What innovation could RPGs benefit most from? 

Not sure if it counts as an innovation, but the changes to the way stories are told in TV and movies (television with seasonal story arcs or planned series arcs, cinematic universes, that kind of thing). I think a lot of the techniques can be incredibly useful in RPGs.D

19) Best way to learn a new game?

Play it.

20) Most challenging but rewarding system you have learned?

I can’t think of a single system that was actually challenging to learn where the payoff was worth it. Most systems that are that complicated have goals that are diametrically opposed to my own. There are a lot of systems that are way more complicated than they need to be (TOON and It Came From The Late, Late, Late Show come to mind), but most are just annoyingly over-complicated, not challenging to learn.

21) Funniest misinterpretation of a rule in your group? 

Not really “in my group,” but my brother played a game or two of D&D when we were kids and one time he thought that he could use his cleric’s “Turn Undead” ability to come back to life after being killed.

22) Supposedly random game events that keep recurring?

Back when we used to use the Central Casting books to generate character backgrounds, it was way too common for two or three characters to end up with the same really weird background hooks (and everybody ended up with a goddamn pet).

23) Share one of your best “worst luck” stories.

The most recent I remember is spending like 10 rounds in a Star Wars game trying to get the bad guy’s last hit point.

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

QAGS. I’ve got boxes and boxes of it.

25) What makes for a good character? 

A good character fits the premise of the game and the game world and has some hooks that make the game more interesting without sidetracking things or changing the focus.

26) What hobbies go well with RPGs? 

Well, I don’t really recommend doing anything at the same time, since it’s kind of hard to roll dice while you’re skydiving or whatever. If you’re not playing a game at the moment, do whatever the hell you want. If the question is trying to ask what hobbies compliment RPGs, reading and anything that involves experiencing stories–reading fiction, reading comics, watching movies/TV/plays, playing Zork, whatever–can help make RPGs more fun.

27) Most unusual circumstance or location in which you’ve played a game?

For location, we once piled into a car and drove randomly around town for the “Highway to Hell” adventure from the original Mummy. Circumstance-wise, in 2010 we got an extra night of gaming for one of our “Hex Cons” (where all the Hex people meet up in one place to spend the weekend playing games) when we got stuck in Nashville due to flooding.

Also, when I was a kid we always played D&D on Boy Scout camping trips. You don’t really appreciate how heavy the D&D rulebooks are until you lug a backpack full of them for about ten miles.

28) Thing you’d be most surprised a friend had not seen or read.

Sorry, but I’ve never understood why geeks get shocked and offended when they find out somebody hasn’t seen or read the same pop culture thing they’ve seen or read. It seems really dumb.

29) You can game anywhere on Earth. Where would you choose? 

I guess there could be an argument for playing a particular game in a particular place, like playing a Harry Potter game at the Disney Harry Potter park or something, but for the most part the location of the venue doesn’t matter as long as it’s comfortable and has whatever you need for the game. If the question is “where would you like to spend a weekend with friends, some of it gaming,” we’ve discussed doing a Hex Con in New Orleans if we can ever work out the details.

30) Describe the ideal game room if the budget were unlimited.

Plenty of shelving for all the books, games, and other pieces and parts, a table for board and card games, and a lounge-type area with comfortable chairs and couches for games where you don’t need to keep track of boards or minis or whatever. Maybe a separate table for miniatures gaming as well, but that could be cut for space since I don’t play miniatures games that often anymore. I’d also want a big dry-erase board on the wall, a computer setup with a screen projector and good speaker system and other multi-media type stuff, and a kitchenette (or at least a beer fridge and microwave). Since the budget is unlimited, there also needs to be plenty of wall space for art, because that’s where a big chunk of the imaginary cash is going.

31) Best advice you were ever given for your game of choice. 

Kind of a weird question since I wrote my game of choice. If I took 90% of the advice I’ve gotten about it, it would no longer be my game of choice. I guess that means the best advice I’ve had is “don’t take advice from other people,” which I’m sure somebody’s told me at some point.

Help me free up more time to work on my next game of choice by supporting me on Patreon!

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