Wednesday, January 18, 2012

GM Questionnaire

From Zac at Playing D&D with Porn Stars.  Best D&D blog for several years running.

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

The abandoned underground parkade, filled with old departments store mannequins from when the store that used to be above it went out of business.  A modern-day terracotta army and a very creepy place. 

2. When was the last time you GMed?

A couple of months ago.

3. When was the last time you played?

A couple of months ago.

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

Characters stuck in a hostile country in the middle of a war with very little in the way of supplies or equipment.  Must escape to a safer location while pursued by powerful enemies. 

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

Ask them "What are you going to do? Check my notes."

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

We used to break for dinner, but now we play on Skype, so I don't eat much.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?


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

Talked my way into a guarded fortress to steal a magical gem doohickey instead of sneaking in through the sewers like the adventure called for.

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

Of course - it's the nature of smart people.

10. What do you do with goblins?

Tribal equivalent of hyaenas - dangerous in groups or if you are sick or injured.  Lots of mutations and horrible magic.  Closer to Warhammer.

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

A map of the american southwest.

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

The group making a decision and saying "That's the plan."  and one character wailing "That isn't a plan.  There is NO PLAN. The plan is that there is NO PLAN".

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

The Victoriana rule book.  I've been reading a lot of Steampunk lately, and a lot of Victorian-era fiction, so I wanted to check it out.

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

John Buscema.  Frank Frazetta.

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

Concerned for the physical safety of their character, yes, genuinely scared, no.

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

Ravenloft in elementary school.  We went way off-script of the game and had a ton of fun.

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

The big table that we use for board games at my buddies house.  Looks out over an amazing lake and glacier.  If I need inspiration, I just look out the window.

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

Munchkin and the Black Dog line for Vampire the Masquerade.

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

Viking Mythology and Star Trek

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

One who has read the rules, is interested in their character and the game world, and who follows Wil Wheaton's rule.

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

Hiking/climbing on glaciers, camping in the wilderness, living near wild animals.

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

TMNT rpg done by somebody who is actually capable of organizing and designing a playable RPG.  So, not Kevin Siembieda.

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

Occasionally I talk about games with my wife.  She doesn't play, but she used to host gaming sessions a lot, so she knows what it's about.  Mostly it's just funny stories about the people playing the game, though, not stories about the game itself.


  1. #4 sounds like Twilight: 2000! Interesting game if you haven't tried it.

    I think #10 is a brilliant question, and that's a great answer.

    #20: Is reading/knowing the rules really that important? Of those three things, I rank them in the reverse order. I can explain the rules... I can't teach you not to be a dick, or to care about your character. Or at least, I'm not interested in trying.

    All in all... great answers!

  2. I haven't tried Twilight 2000, so now I must. Guess I have a mission for gaming in the near future.

    As for 20, I train people for a living. So I get to answer enough questions about how things work while I'm at work. So the last thing I want to do in my spare time is teach people how the game works.

    I don't need players to be totally aware of all parts of all rulebooks, but I want them to show enough interest to at least read the books and learn a bit about how the mechanics work. That's just basic courtesy.

    That being said, I'd agree with you that priority-wise, they are in reverse order. Better to not be a dick - that at least gives a baseline to work with.