Wednesday, 8 February 2012

23 Stoopid Answers to 23 Sensible Questions

(JOESKY Tax content at bottom of post for those who don't fancy reading a bunch of egoblogging wordswordswords.)

In accordance with my informal policy of leaving no passing bandwagon unmolested, and because I need to type something to get my fingers limbered up, I hereby present my answers in brief to the open interview questionnaire posed by that odd arty bloke with the eyebrow-raising resume. Thus spaketh the Zak:

Repost and answer. Or, if you don't have a blog, answer in the comments. Or be a big rebel and do neither.

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
I don't invent. I steal, file off the serial numbers, and exploit to the hilt. Original ideas are things that happen to other people.
I am quietly pleased with the Chambers of Devouring Night though. I've had to institute a Jeff-style XPloration bonus just to get people to set foot in them, the cowards.

2. When was the last time you GMed?

Sunday 22th Jan. GCX playtest. I learned many valuable lessons in 'theory != practise' and 'the wastepaper basket is your best friend' that day.

"Why did you think I meant critique when I said critique? Don't you know that's code for 'massage my ego subcreature'?"

3. When was the last time you played?

An RPG? September 2011.
Any fantasy game? Sunday 29th Jan.

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

Spelljammer Ulysses 31 using a Terminal Space/Mazes+Minotaurs mash-up system.

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

Scribble notes. Smile enigmatically. Roll dice for the noise they make.

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

Wine gums or hard candy. I'm a bit of a stickler for no crumbly foods (and no glasses!) at the table. Children get food on their books, adults should not. Especially not my books. I will use a cigar trimmer to take fingers in payment!

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?

Mentally draining, yes. Hell on the vocal chords, yes. Physically exhausting, no.

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

Pass. It's been entirely too long since I've played in a truly memorable game. We had fun a lot of fun with moral dilemmas in an L5R game a few years back...

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

Everything turns into Nextwave or Metalocalypse in the grubby hands of my players. Everything. Nothing is sacred; everything is there to be mocked, then stolen or destroyed.

10. What do you do with goblins?

Nothing! Any rumours you have heard to the contrary are scurrilous calumnies on my good character. Srsly? Generally they turn into a vicious version of Froud's "Labyrinth" goblins, or possibly L5R's bakemono: funny right up until their clownish antics turn nasty and start downing PCs.

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

A lot of the gadgets and gimmicks from issues 1-24 of "Transmetropolitan" (yes, people still read that).

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

In-game: Possibly the First Annual Vaults Spontaneous Mook Convention. You know the situation, it was that one time that *every* WM roll came up a 1 (memo to self: check Eye of Sauron d6 for excessive evilness). Halfway through a pretty standard fight more creatures turned up.
"Uh oh!"
The fight continued. Check for racket: more monsters.
"Fight on!"
Check again (#=1) And more...
(#=1) and more...
(#=1) and more...
Eventually the party clear the area, settle down to bind their wounds and loot the dead. I tick off the turn and note it's time for another WM check. *clatter, clatter* "Hey, guess what lads..."
"Don't care. Routing. Dump the swag. Leave the dying. Devil take the hindmost!"
They hared it back to the surface like rats out of a drainpipe. First time I've used the pursuit rules in a while...

Meta/Tabletalk: The Manifestation of the OmniFred. It was deemed by the usual decision-making process (hubbub and half-heard drunken inferences) that individuality was merely an illusion, and that all people and objects were actually aspects of Fred. Our apprehension of the inherent Fredness of all things lasted the rest of the evening. It got very weird. Thankfully no pianos required shifting.

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

Chaosium/GW "Stormbringer". I was looking at it coz that's what was propped on my printer.

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

John f***ing Blanche and his scritchy, mad, fever-dream art.

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

No. Only my arousal.

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

It was a TSR adventure we played back in the day. I vaguely remember it being some "But thou must..." Dragonlance railroad. The players - trained in the school of hard knocks (and sly shankings) that is WFRP - said "screw the plot" and instead set about harvesting wandering monsters for their skin and organ resale value (weasel fur, fire beetle glowpods, Vilstrak gullet gems, etc). Fine by me; I'd only read a couple of pages ahead anyway. IIRC it all went TPK when they decided to raid a Roc's nest to steal the eggs.

And that is why you do not play Dragonlance ever! after immersing yourself in wildlife documentaries for an extended period.

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

Semi-circle of sofas with a large low table in the middle. Side table for refreshments. Good lighting. Instrumental background music turned low. No TV. Phones set to silent/emergency only, thank you.

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

K.A.Pendragon and HoL. One is a serious-minded evocation of myth and literature; other is like someone made the inside of my nasty bogmonkey head into a game.

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

Terry Gilliam films, HMHB, 2000AD, Cinnabar, Gear World

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
People who don't take themselves too seriously. We're adults playing Lets Pretend with our toy soldiers FFS! Punctuality (the courtesy of princes), attention to the matter at hand, and not being a rowdy attention hog are also appreciated. People bothering to learn the rules seems to be a hopeless pipe dream though...

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

My fear of centipedes.  Although I've yet to introduce my players to the recurring nightmare of having one hatch out through your eye...

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

The Concordance of Riskail by Netherwerks - the only role-playing product transmitted back to the Toxic Era by a surrealism-loving insectile hivemind. I would buy it SO HARD! And so would all other right-thinking people.

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

Lisa (Mrs Chris). Her geekery is Errol Flynn films, baking and arts-&-crafts, she's only ever played Heroquest, and she doesn't read extruded genre product. She understands the appeal of creating emergent improvised adventure stories, but has no desire to partake. All this - combined with a patient, understanding nature and a dry sense of humour - makes her a fantastic 'outside the bubble' sounding board for ideas.



Spell: Deliquescent Transition (Wiz2)
Caster's body, clothing and held items melt into a varicoloured fleshy ooze. In this form the caster may squeeze through any non-air/watertight space at 1/2 normal speed. Yes, they can climb walls and ventilation pipes. 1 Round to dissolve flesh, 1 round to travel, 1 to reform. While in ooze form caster is AC 9[10], no Dex bonus.
Additional complication: encountered dungeon oozes think the caster has a purty mouth.

(yeah, like a potion of gaseous form, only less so.)


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