Monday, January 23, 2012

Answering Zak's GM Questionnaire

Zak S of Playing D&D With Pornstars asked some questions for GMs. Here are my answers.

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?

As a GM, it was a complete ship and crew for an exploration vessel in the Fading Suns RPG. I had a ready set of NPCs they could interact with as they were shuttled between planets.

2. When was the last time you GMed?

Last year, a one-shot Fading Suns game.

3. When was the last time you played?

Last Friday, in a homebrew setting and system known as Isle.

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

Trapped in a once-proud city besieged by the walking plague of undead, suffering with dwindling food and water stores, adventurers are called to find a way out to the mountains several leagues to the east through the long-sealed labyrinth of catacombs and tunnels beneath the city.

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

Listen carefully to make sure they focus and don't misinterpret what I've told them.

6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?

Chips Ahoy! Sugus, Mentos.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?

Yes.

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

A first level mage in my short-lived "Shadows Over Karameikos" play-by-post game kept insisting being the point man in the party and often explored by himself -- and managed to survive an Ogre, stirges, a kobold ambush, and fire beetles through gutsy moves and sheer luck.

9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?

Depends on the players. I don't always run a regular group -- but my last regular group tended to roll with the mood I was going for.

10. What do you do with goblins?

Play them stupid in the early levels, then suddenly grant them tactics and organization due to a strong and intelligent leader.

11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?

That would be the work I did on the Pio Familia, from the Hinirang shared world short story setting, and the crucifixion which I converted into the dominant religious background for Zan Lazario.

12. What's the funniest table moment you can remember right now?

When one of my PCs in a Call of Cthulhu game left the party, intending to contact the players once he'd found his contact -- then turned back almost immediately after realizing he didn't have a cellphone, nor did anyone else in 1920s London.

13. What was the last game book you looked at--aside from things you referenced in a game--why were you looking at it?

Am reading through Glorantha: Second Age as per my prior post.

14. Who's your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?

It really depends on the RPG. Holloway was perfect for Paranoia, and for gritty yet slighly humorous depictions of adventurers in D&D. I love Whelan's work on book covers, and would like to see his stuff on an RPG corebook. I loved 4th Edition Champions and Hero because of the George Perez covers.

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?

A long time ago, it used to. Not so sure now. The games I ran then were Fading Suns and Call of Cthulhu.

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn't write? (If ever)

Masks of Nyarlathotep. Both times I ran it.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?

In a dedicated game room, with a game table. Projector for any maps, sound system for mood music, slide out cupholders for drinks.

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

Creeks & Crawdads and Vampire: the Masquerade.

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

Literary Theory and Gamist Philosophy.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?

Smart, witty, willing to have fun, good at roleplaying, good at understanding rules.

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

There's a lot of malls really close together in Mandaluyong (a part of Metro Manila) and I ran a superhero slugfest through one of them.

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn't?

A setting sourcebook for all the Filipino superheroes that ever existed.

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn't play? How do those conversations go?

Not really. Only talk to non-gamers when I'm trying to convert them.

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That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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