Thursday, February 25, 2010

Game Table Interview: GM JP

If I ever gamed with GM JP, I don't remember the game. I remember running into him during one of the Twilight 2000 runs of GM Bobby, but the rest is all fuzzy.

I do remember that we seemed to share a fascination for games like Delta Green, and the results of this interview certainly show that his interests in gaming run parallel to my own in some areas. Take a look:

What was the first RPG you remember playing?
Ah! That would have to be TSR’s Dungeon and Dragons Basic Set, the good ole red box.

What was it about the hobby that made you want to continue playing?
I enjoy how rpgs allow you to participate in a story, to be in the midst of deciding how the direction and ending will come about. To be able to interact with other characters and the surroundings put before you, where the limit is only your imagination.

What was it about the hobby that made you want to run RPGs?
I’d have to say its in being able to try to run and tell a good story. The reward is where you see that your friends really enjoyed in participating as well as conveying their character’s roles and actions.

What 3 novels have most inspired the games you run?
  • Declare by Tim Powers
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
  • Salem’s Lot by Stephen King (no, not for the vampires but his writing skill in trying to evoke terror and fear --- I believe thats what a gm needs to master if he runs a horror/terror rpg).
What 3 TV shows have most inspired the games you run?
  • BBC’s Spooks
  • NYPD Blue
  • Jim Henson’s The Story Teller
What 3 movies have most inspired the games you run?
  • Ronin
  • Dog Soldiers
  • Legend
What is your favorite published RPG of all time?
I’d definitely say Chameleon Eclectic’s Millennium’s End but I’d also count in Game Workshop’s 1st edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.

Millenium's End was the first system that I encountered with a unique way of resolving armed conflict:
  1. it didn't use the standard ablative system, (i.e. hit points);
  2. damage done by weapons to characters translates to almost real world effects;
  3. combat for firearms, armed and unarmed HTH utilizes body maps together with a hit template which lets players know if a hit was successful and at the same time the location of the hit made.
With one roll in combat (say using firearms), you get the result if your hit was successful or not, where exactly it hit, and from the damage of the firearm (hyrdro-shock) what would this potentially result in. A damage table will give impairment levels (i.e. penalties to skills of either physical, mental or both depending what was exactly hit), determine if bones were broken, determine if a critical area was hit (i.e. neck, heart abdomen), establish blood loss (the rate of which will determine how long you have before dying) and shock effects. And yes, all effects ARE cumulative.

This all translates to quite a realistic combat system; it may sound daunting at first, but after maybe 2-3 sessions of getting your feet wet, it's all a snap - with casual references being made to the impairment and damage table.

And all this came out in the early 90's, when at best you only had the general abalative combat system of most systems back then. (There were some exceptions to the ablative mechanisms in the 80s and 90s -- BTRC's first version of TimeLords comes to mind, along with the original combat system for R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk RPG: Friday Night Firefight. -- Blogger-Editor Ka-Blog)

It was a new idea that worked well -- slick and fun. It's just too bad that Charles Ryan the designer and author closed the company Chameleon Eclectic.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay came out around 87-88 I believe

Back then, this puppy was fresh to my gaming group where the standard fantasy staple was D&D and AD&D.

The world was nicely done -- it conveyed an Earth similar to the medieval-renaissance era. Perhaps due to the fashion styles, architecture and technology of the time, it had a similarity of sorts once you read the regions (ex Tilea was a version to our Italy or Estalia was Spain and the Empire was the Holy-Roman empire whose seat was in Germany) even the names of the people and locales lent an air of our real world - in short, it conveyed familiarity without actually being the Europe of our reality.

Mechanics-wise it was (and still is in my opinion) a simple system but didnt gloss over outher nuissances players would enjoy. for instance combat is percentile based and from the one roll you can also glean the hit location (if you roll a "50" and it hits, you read the roll backwards to get the location in this case "05"). Skill base resolutions were also the same.

It was simple and it was sweet; I say this because it was the first game i ever GMed. It wasn't so rules heavy that you'd probably have some measure of memorizing certain points, or so table heavy that you'd have to be constantly flipping pages. You basically just had to understand the order of things and you were off!  As a GM that was a load off my shoulders, allowing me to conentrate more on the story and trying to evoke the feel of the scene at the moment.

It was the late 80's and you had an RPG which was a foray into gothic-fantasy of grim and perilous adventure; what's not to like?

My recommendation: try the first edition first before the others. I've stuck to my copy ever since.

What is your favorite published game supplement or adventure of all time?
Man, there are about a dozen I could name right now but if you’re asking just one then it would be, hands down, Pagan Publishing’s Delta Green.

What RPG have you always wanted to play, but never got a chance to?
The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen RPG where you gotta tell a good tale on the wager of cheese, did I get that right?

What upcoming RPG releases are you looking forward to seeing?

Well,  so far, there’s...
  • Pagan Publishing’s Targets of Opportunity which is basically further material on the Delta Green milleu as well as some articles and scenarios;
  • Mouse Guard by Archaia Entertainment, I know its based on a comic, but its also an acclaimed comic with a good story, the reviews I’ve read about it say a lot of good things (mechanics wise) about the system (its supposed to be loosely based on Burning wheel);
  • Eclipse Phase by Catalyst Labs, I’ve read a good review about this game which is basically horror/science fiction but I’d definitely like to try this out as a player.

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