Reverb Gamers Day 20

January 20, 2012 at 9:35 am (Reverb Gamers) ()

What was the most memorable character death you’ve ever experienced?

I know I have had characters die but none of them really stick out in my mind as epic deaths that meant much to me or the game. I did have a player who’s character died in one of my games that was memorable. He had a gnome rouge and the party was fighting off a mad druid and his sentient tree companion. The party was getting beaten and thrown around by the tree’s roots and things did not look good. My friend’s rouge had managed to climb up in the tree, taking a lot of damage on the way, and jumped down out of the tree onto the back of the druid. That was the final blow needed to end the druid but in the next round my friend’s rouge got hit with a branch and killed. Two rounds later the tree was hacked to pieces by the party’s half-orc and dragonborn and they decided to build a funeral fire for their fallen comrade with it’s branches.

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Reverb Gamers Day 19

January 19, 2012 at 8:59 am (Reverb Gamers) ()

What’s the weirdest character you’ve ever played?

The weirdest character would have to have been the five armed alien I played in the game I talked about earlier this month where I played with a kid. It was some kind of insect with a large head with it’s arms sticking out all around. I played it a bit off kilter as I imagined that a being who’s perspective was constantly changing would have a fairly ephemeral grasp on reality.

How did you end up with him/her/it?

There were six options and five players and I chose last. It was a choice between the alien or a fairly bog standard human. Seeing as everyone else was an alien I figured what the hell and took the thing with five arms. It just seemed to fit!

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Reverb Gamers Day 18

January 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm (Reverb Gamers) ()

Have you ever “cheated” on a die roll/random chance outcome, or looked up a quest solution on a fan site?

In a boardgame or RPG, never. I know some DMs will fudge rolls but thats not for me. I roll all my dice out on the table and let them fall as they may. Part of the fun is not knowing and letting the dice decide.

I did however buy the walkthrough for Riven when it was out. There were things in there that broke my brain but I was so far into the story I had to know how it ended. I feel no regret about that decision at all. Those guys are too damn smart for me.

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Reverb Gamers Day 17

January 17, 2012 at 9:33 am (Reverb Gamers) ()

What was the best reward you’ve ever gotten in a game?

I don’t really remember all that well. Things in games aren’t really why I play. I think the coolest thing was collecting the bits of the Rod of Seven Parts becouse each part told a bit more of the story behind it. The only problem was we never got to finish it.

How much do you need tangible rewards (loot, leveling, etc.) to enjoy a game?

As long as there is awesome story I could care less about mechanical rewards.

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Reverb Gamers Day 16

January 17, 2012 at 9:25 am (Reverb Gamers) ()

Who was the most memorable foe you’ve ever come up against in a game?

The most memorable villain any of my characters ever fought was a half-demon pirate by the name of Baltin. Baltin showed up several times before we finally defeated him and he actually helped us save the world once. The thing that made Baltin great was that he started off small and grew with us and each of us had a reason to want him dead by the end of the campaign.

How did you beat him/her/it? Or did you?

We ended up shattering Baltin in two with a feather from the First Angel’s wing. We couldn’t kill him as he had wedged himself in a crack of reality and if he died all hell would be unleashed. Breaking apart his human and demon halves kept him pinned between reality and what was outside, sealing the rift. All in all it was pretty epic.

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Reverb Gamers Day 15

January 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm (Reverb Gamers) ()

People often talk about the divide between what happens “in game” and “in real life.” Do you maintain that divide in your own play, or do you tend to take what happens to your character personally? Why?

Really? Blackleaf? We are going there? Ok, if you care as much about your character in any game, video game, roleplaying game, anything, as you would a friend or a family member or even a part of yourself, STOP PLAYING GAMES!!!!!

No really, stop now and get into therapy. That is all. Now, everyone get back to gaming.

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Railroading for Fun and Profit: Part 2

January 14, 2012 at 10:59 pm (Games)

How to railroad effectively?

The key to railroading is communication. Your players are smart, fun loving people and they want to have fun in your game, they are not mind readers. If what you have prepared for the game is straightforward adventure, tell them that.

Make sure when choosing or planning your adventure that the session ahead has things that will interest each of your players. When those elements come up, give that player solid eye contact, remind them of the things in their character’s past that make this element important. If the player is not picking up on your clues, outright tell them what you were hoping their reaction would be and get a quick response as to why they didn’t bite. Doing this regularly will help your players understand to expect it in the future.

If the adventure makes it possible for the party to find a vital clue or item to complete the adventure, make sure you change that. If getting the McGuffin is based on a skill check don’t make failure mean that they don’t get the item but rather, they get it and something bad happens as well. Most modules will have in them an ample supply of things that can go wrong in any given room, steal from there. Have a trap go off, have a monster attack, make them sacrifice an item they treasure to get hold of the McGuffin, make that failure matter but don’t make it stop the adventure.

What not to do when you are railroading?

The most obvious bad habit of railroading GMs is to just keep blocking your players for no good reason until they go in the direction you want. This is where communication can help you a lot. If your players are headed off in a direction you aren’t prepared for step out of the game for a while and ask them why they are headed in that direction. If they are going that way to achieve some character goal that might be a whole adventure you should ask them if they will wait to pursue that in another session so that you have time to make that thing awesome. If they are going in that direction because they think that the clues you gave them are leading that way you should consider if you can put the rest of what you had planned in that direction. It might not be possible to do that so you may want to put a more obvious clue where they are headed, back to where you planned your adventure or just be honest with them that they got the wrong impression and point them in the right direction. Do not, do not, do not, let them explore the wrong direction and keep giving them nothing! All that will do is frustrate them and you.

When shouldn’t I railroad?

There are plenty of games out there where railroading is a terrible idea. Even in games where railroading is a viable option it may not be the right option for your group. If your game is running smoothly and your players are having fun the way you are running the game, Do Not Railroad! I can’t say this strongly enough. If what you are doing works, ignore all of this and keep being awesome. If you are looking for a new way to help focus your games and you try this and your group hates it, Do Not Railroad! Don’t keep pushing in a direction your players aren’t having fun in. Don’t railroad if it doesn’t sound like fun to you either. Remember even though you are the GM this is a game for you too, and life is too short for bad games.

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Reverb Gamers Day 14

January 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm (Reverb Gamers) ()

What kinds of adventures do you enjoy most?

If we are talking preprinted adventures I like a dungeon crawl most of all. If we are talking about game systems I prefer more story driven systems.

What do you think that says about you?

I like games that do what they do well. I don’t like to try shoehorning a system into a play style it doesn’t support. There are a lot of good games out there that tell a wide variety of stories, stick to the kinds of stories your game tells best.

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Reverb Gamers Day 13

January 13, 2012 at 10:45 am (Reverb Gamers) ()

Who’s the best GM/storyteller/party leader you’ve ever had?

This is tough, I’ve had a lot of really good GMs over the years. Some of the best have been people I played with at cons. Most of them I don’t even remember their names (this has nothing to do with how memorable they were and everything to do with how bad I am at remembering names). I would like to give a shout out to Jeff Collyer who ran a fantastic game of Primetime Adventures about four years ago now.

What made him/her so great?

Two things make GMs great to me. Presenting an engaging situation, and building on and up the awesome things players do. It doesn’t matter if you are using a preplanned adventure or making it up as you go along. Any GM who can pull those two things off has me hooked. There are lots of things that play into being able to pull that off and every GM has their own style to it.

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Reverb Gamers Day 12

January 12, 2012 at 9:12 am (Reverb Gamers) ()

Do prefer collaborative or competitive games?

This totally depends on if we are talking board/card games or roleplaying games. If I’m playing a board or card game I usually want a competitive game. There are a few cooperative games out there that I would like to try, I’m just not sure if I would enjoy them. When we are talking RPGs however I always prefer collaborative games. Even when the characters we are playing are fighting with each other, the game isn’t fun for me unless we are all working together to make a fun story.

What do you think that says about you?

I’m not sure if it says anything about me really. I like what I like and I try not to judge what other people like. I think it says something about my design style that I am trying to write a competitive RPG right now even though I don’t really enjoy that sort of play. I’m trying to fill it with enough things I do enjoy to make it what I want.

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