Monday, August 31, 2015

RPGaDay2015: The End

Favorite non-RPG thing to come out of RPGing

I'm going to go with the consensus and say all the people in my life who might not be there without gaming.  Doing a quick eyeball of my Facebook friends list, less than 10% of it is composed of people I didn't meet via gaming or the SCA (which I would never have found and joined without gaming), including my wife (and, by extension, my son). Thanks Gary, thanks Dave.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

RPGaDay2015: Day Thirty

Favorite RPG playing celebrity

John Rogers.  Dude makes awesome TV shows ("Jackie Chan Adventures", "Leverage", "The Librarians").  He's a straight-up, card-carrying, proud member of the gamer nerd tribe.  He also writes funnybooks (the Blue Beetle relaunch for DC and IDW's awesome D&D comic) and occasional RPG stuff (the Feywild for D&D 4e, Crimeworld for FATE, and the forward for Feng Shui 2).

I first became aware of him on ENWorld, where he posted a long-running Dark Matter D20 actual-play called "Drunk Southern Girls With Guns."  At some point along the way, someone asked him if he was the same John Rogers that was writing "Blue Beetle," which revealed his secret identity.  Yes kids, the dude was posting on a gaming board about his personal campaign, not because he was trying to sell something, but because it's his hobby and he liked hanging out and talking about it with other hobbyists.

Dude's legitimately one of our own.

Honorable mention goes to Kurtis J. Wiebe, author of the awesome "Rat Queens" comics.  If you haven't read the Queens and you've felt a lack of foul-mouthed R-rated D&D-inspired adventure with a kickass all-female cast, then you need to catch up.  It's awesome.  Mr. Wiebe is also a gamer; he used to post on RPGnet back in the day and is currently podcasting a foul-mouthed R-rated Star Wars: Edge of the Empire game.

One more day to go.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

RPGaDay 2015: Day Twenty Nine

Favorite RPG blog/website

Well, obviously this one, right?

Actually, I'm going to go off-script here and pay tribute not to a blog or a website, but to my first online home: the Red October BBS.

Back in 1992, if you wanted to get online, you used a modem and a land line to dial in to a bulletin board.  Despite having a career in IT now, at the time I was anything but a computer guy.  That changed when my girlfriend moved in with me and brought her IBM PC-AT, which was equipped with a modem.  The first BBS I logged onto was the legendary Illuminati Online, but after about twenty minute of looking around (and accruing long-distance charges), I couldn't figure out how to navigate it.  My next attempt was another Austin-based BBS, Red October, which Adventurer's Club Magazine said was the electronic home of Hero Games.

RO was a lot easier to make sense of.  The community was friendly and operated by rules of civility I now realize were hardly the norm.  Of course, the best thing was the line-up of regular posters: a veritable cornucopia of Hero writers, editors, and high-profile fans:  Aaron Allston, Allen Varney, Scott Bennie, Bruce Harlick, Wayne Shaw, even occasional visits by George MacDonald.  Later on, such luminaries as Sean Patrick Fannon, Steve Long, Steve Kenson, and Mark Arsenault became regulars.

Did I mention this was a friendly community?  I really can't stress that enough.  Folks were happy to discuss rules minutia, campaign ideas, and just shoot the breeze.  In order to keep my phone bill from killing me, I learned to use Silly Little Mail Reader and PKZIP/UNZIP to log in, grab my mail, and access it offline.  With that sense of accomplishment, I began my first forays into using word processing and spreadsheet software.  Those skills snowballed into greater knowledge and are directly responsible for my career.

But mostly, it was about talking games, particularly HERO Games. It saw the earliest "publication" of Scott Bennie's Gestalt Earth setting.  It hosted an early Fantasy Hero version of Sean Patrick Fannon's Shaintar. It was just the best community for me to find.  There are connections and friendships I made there almost 25 years ago that remain to this day.

Of course, it couldn't survive.  AOL succeed RO as the home of the online community, and AOL was surpassed by mailing lists and dedicated web forae.  I've been a part of each incarnation along the way, but none quite match Red October.

Friday, August 28, 2015

RPGaDay2015: Day Twenty Eight

Favorite game you no longer play

Probably Champions/HERO System. It's the game I've played more than any other.  It's been part of a host of terrific memories.  Almost my entire gaming career and style can be viewed through my relationship to that one game line. I still keep touch with the community, but it's not in the top three for any genre I'd run today.

Until it is.  Because I do go through phases, and it's entirely possible I'll give the old girl a try again.  But if I do, I'm far more inclined to use 4th edition than the current incarnation.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

RPGaDay 2015: Day Twenty Seven

So far today, I've had to jump start my wife's car at a gas station near our house, saw a dead horse by the side of the road on my morning commute, and had a dental "deep cleaning."  How's your day?

Anyway, on to the show...

Favorite Idea for Merging Two Games into One

I have no idea.  Seriously.  That's just not my thing.  I've adapted rules to genres/settings they weren't designed for (a Harn hack for Pendragon, and using Feng Shui to run "Keep on the Borderlands" or "Heroes of the New Wave"), but I'm not one to mash two entire games together.  Boring, but true.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

RPGaDay 2015: Day Twenty Six

Favorite Inspiration For Your Game

Well, it kind of depends on the genre, doesn't it?  I mean, when I'm doing a wuxia game, mainlining Power Metal videos is probably counter-intuitive, right?  Pair the inspiration with the need, says I.

Okay, that's kind of a flippant answer, but I do have a better one for the genre I do best.

When it comes to my Supers games, for many years my primary inspiration has been animated superhero shows.


While watching "Batman: the Animated Series" on a daily basis during a period of unemployment in the mid-90s, something just clicked.  Even though I'd been running successful supers games for over a decade by that point, it was like discovering an entirely new language.  I developed what I call my "Champions: the Animated Series" approach to playing the game.  Studying the show and it's successors ("The Adventures of Superman," and my beloved "JLA"), I learned the ins and outs of how they stripped characters down to their iconic core and used that to tell stories.

Since then, pretty much every supers game I run is an animated series or movie in my head.  It's how I visualize the action, it's how I describe things.  It's my GMing vocabulary.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

RPGaDay2015: Day Twenty Five

Huh. I think I'm going to get through this.

Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic

Working from the premise that something doesn't have to be new to be revolutionary, I'm going to say Points-Based Character Creation.  The whole Hero/GURPS unholy union and their many, many spawn.

Honorable mention to Skill-Based Rules Systems.  That was a mighty big eye-opener for me, back in the day.