The latest trend sweeping the D&D Blogosphere is to answer the GM Questionnaire. It was posted on Wednesday by Zak S at the website Playing D&D With Porn Stars. He’s asking people to post their answers in the comments section of his website or to post them on your own blog and share the link. Today I’ve decided to join in the fun and share my answers to Zak’s 23 Questions. I encourage you to answer the questions yourself and either leave the responses in the comment below or visit Playing D&D With Porn Stars and post your answers there.
Please note that the Playing D&D With Porn Stars website does contain some material that may not be suitable for all readers. There’s also a good chance that if you try to visit this website from a work or school computer that it will be forbidden (at least it was for me).
1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
The single gaming invention I’m most proud of is this blog. However, I don’t really think that’s what the questions asking.
Although we likely weren’t the first to come up with the idea of two-hit minions, we certainly did a lot to refine them and then spread the word to the 4e D&D gaming community. So even though we didn’t invent them, I’m certainly proud of our part in making them popular.
2. When was the last time you GMed?
I GM every week at D&D Encounters, so Wednesday which was two days ago.
3. When was the last time you played?
I play every Sunday, but as luck would have it I got to play and DM at D&D Encounters this week so in this case the last time I played was Wednesday, two days ago.
4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven’t run but would like to.
The heroes are sent to retake a fortress that fell to invaders, but just as they gain control the fortress is attacked and now they have to defend the keep that they just took over themselves.
5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
Pay attention to what’s going on in the game. This is my #1 pet peeve in gaming. Just because it’s not my turn doesn’t mean I can tune out.
6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
Chips. Ketchup flavoured Lay’s or good old Classic plain Lay’s chips.
7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
Sometimes. When I’m creating the adventure from scratch the prep work can certainly be exhausting. However, once I’m at the table running a game it’s all down hill and sometimes it seems to run itself.
8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?
I have a level 18 Dragonborn Warlord who has focused on enhancing his Dragonbreath racial power. Getting to use the blast 6 breath weapon six times during one encounter was pretty awesome and certainly interesting (to me).
9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
I think the mood and the seriousness or silliness of any game really depends on the players themselves. No matter how serious a setting is, players that want to joke around will find the silly side of it. I don’t remember any circumstances where a silly setting was made serious. If they start silly they usually remain silly.
10. What do you do with goblins?
Throw as many of them at the PCs as they can handle (and then some). When we used to play 3.5e D&D I liked to give Goblins advanced levels in Fighter, Rogue, Barbarian and Monk. The players never knew if these Goblins were the level 1 versions out of the Monster Manual or beefed up combat champions. They only underestimated Goblins once. After that they always treated them with caution.
11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
My office building. In fact we’re running an article about it next week for this month’s blog carnival.
12. What’s the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
As the PCs were about to board a train the Cleric decided to cast a divination to see if they’d have a safe trip. I made a secret roll for the results and it was the worst possible outcome. Although nothing bad was going to happen the Cleric was convinced the train would crash. He unintentionally started a riot and people ran screaming from the train station. To this day whenever the PCs need to board the lightning rail they ask the Cleric if it’s safe to which he promptly gives them the finger.
My FLGS just started carrying old D&D adventures (I mean really old adventures). This Wednesday night before D&D Encounters I was looking at A1-4, Scourge of the Slave Lords collection. I’ve never played this adventure but many of my friends swear it’s one of the all-time greats. As much as I wanted it I wasn’t about to pay $50 for such a beat up copy.
14. Who’s your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
I’d have to say no.
16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn’t write? (If ever)
Running the first Lair Assault (Forge of the Dawn Titan) in the fall was certainly a high pint for me as I rarely run adventures from modules any more.
17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
I don’t see much room for improvement on my existing game room. Check it out for yourself.
18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
One of the simplest games I enjoy is Zombie Dice from Steve Jackson games. It’s about as basic a game as you can get. On the other end of the spectrum is the Dresden Files. More so than most role-playing games I’ve tried, the Dresden Files is what you make it.
19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
My games often draw a lot of influence from comic books. The stories are full of larger than life characters doing remarkable things. On the flip side I enjoy watching a lot of gritty, cop shows in which the officers struggle to make sense of tragic and often unthinkable crimes.
20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
I want players that are imaginative and easy-going. They have to take the game seriously but recognize that it’s still just a game. I want players who respect the other gamers at the table.
21. What’s a real life experience you’ve translated into game terms?
So many to choose from… I often look at real life through my “Gamers Goggles” so it’s hard to pick just one. It’s not any one huge thing as much as many little things. A good example is the Battle for the Remote Skill Challenge, inspired by a real conflict that took place in my living room.
22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn’t?
If I could think of one I’d try to invent it myself.
23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn’t play? How do those conversations go?
I’m always telling my wife stories about my D&D games or writing for Dungeon’s Master. She usually nods politely but I can see the eyes glazing over. I’ve learned over the years to preface these conversations with “I know you won’t care, but in my D&D game last weekend…” This gives her a heads-up that she can turn off her brain while I yammer on for a few minutes. However, in most cases she does listen and will laugh if it was a funny story. After all I’m not about to bore her with things like “let me tell you about my character.”
Be sure to check out the answers that some of the other bloggers have posted on their websites. Here are links to just a handful of other respondents.
1d30 | Alex Schroeder: RPG | Cobblestone Chaos | Dungeons & Donuts | I’d Rather Be Killing Monsters | The Polyhedral Dicebag | Red Moose Games | Rolang’s Creeping Doom | The Chronicles of Canth | The Savage AfterWorld | The Sky Full of Dust | Wrath of Zombie’s Blog