Finally time to fire up the ol’ digital typewriter and get this baby back on the map. Let’s start the new year with a bang! The first post of 2012 follows a topic that was too intriguing to pass up: a questionnaire geared towards GMs. Props where props are due, it originated from the popular DM blog Playing D&D With Porn Stars. Zak S asks 23 questions that all GMs will most likely be compelled to answer. I heard about it from Ameron over at Dungeon’s Master, myself. Alright, let’s get into this bad boy.
1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
As a DM, I’m always coming up with new ways to torment my players. A couple years ago, I was having a tough time with my game. I’d given out too many magical items! How’d I fix it? A giant octopus that when defeated had one final burst attack: a sticky film that ate away all magical properties of anything it touched. Devious, yes, but the game was a bit broken, so I had to do something~
2. When was the last time you GMed?
That would have to be 16 days ago. We play D&D about twice a month.
3. When was the last time you played?
Oh man… 8 months ago? I wish it were a more frequent occurrence, but no one else here wants to GM.
4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven’t run but would like to.
An ancient and terrifying creature of immense size and power has returned and begun taking its vengeance on the world for sealing it away all those millenia ago, and it’s up to the party to find out how to stop it before it destroys the world.
5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
I try to speed up gameplay as much as possible. For some reason, my players never know enough about their own freakin’ characters or powers and I end up having to spend a good deal of time just explaining how things work. All in a session’s work, I guess.
6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
McDonald’s delivery has become a bit of a ritual for us. Yep, they deliver in Korea. My meal of choice is a large-size double quarter pounder with cheese value meal and a 4-piece Mcnugget.
7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
No, not unless you count the fatigue I have due to frustration at player ineptitude.
8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?
In a BESM game we were playing, there were two main parties that played in the same world with the GM on different days. At one point, we were all thrown into jail, and my party decided to make a run for it when we had the chance. One of the guards got in the way, so I grabbed a random weapon left over from the other party and unintentionally blew a hole in the guard.
9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
They do a great job going with the flow of the story. They’re serious whenever we’re about to get into an encounter or whenever they’re exploring new places. They’re a little shell-shocked after all of the surprises they’ve run into (heh heh heh). At the same time, we take every opportunity to laugh at each other. I have to be very careful with my choice of words.
10. What do you do with goblins?
Goblins are weak sauce. I like to use Asmor’s Random Encounter Generator to get an idea of the variety of monsters I can pair up. It’s hard to have a balance of interesting encounters. Fighting the same things over and over gets tiring. As far as goblins go, the last one I used was an NPC.
11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
Disney’s Aladdin. I used some of the characters as inspiration for the latest group of NPCs the party ran into.
12. What’s the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
Two of the party members were investigating the wreckage of an assault on the underground lair of a necromancer. There was an intersection at one point, and they did a quick sweep of each of the next rooms before returning to the central chamber. One of the rooms had a set of bunks in it and a mage wight (a kind of zombie wizard) was lying dormant in a bed. They checked this room last, and the mage wight awoke as soon as they returned to the middle chamber. As soon as I said, “Something from the last room makes a high-pitched screeching sound! Roll initiative,” one of the players shouts, “Oh, I freakin’ knew it! We should’ve checked the bunks!”
13. What was the last game book you looked at–aside from things you referenced in a game–why were you looking at it?
A Knight in Shadowghast Manor adventure from Dungeon Magazine #197. I changed names and the setting a bit, but I used it as the final adventure for a story arc involving a knave of a paladin who had been seeking to reclaim the shadow magic powers of his ancestors.
14. Who’s your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
I like Wayne Reynolds. He did the art for the 4e covers and a lot of the inside stuff, too. Other than that, I’d have to go with Mike Krahulik.
15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
Nervous, upset, and frustrated? Yes. Afraid for their characters? Double yes. I’ve scared them a couple times with surprise monsters and theatrics. The more you get into the game, the more you enjoy it, right?
16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn’t write? (If ever)
I write all of the adventures I use for our home games.
17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
A closed room with no cell reception, a nice octagonal table to play at, and some climate control with a few windows would be nice. Living in Korea leaves me with little options, so I take what I can get.
18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
When I get the chance, I love playing the Yu-gi-oh trading card game. The strategies are limitless and nearly every card has the potential to make a devastating combination. I also love watching American football. That’s some disparity.
19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
Dreams are responsible for a lot of the strange things I end up doing with the game. I have fairly vivid dreams and I like to incorporate as many zany and adventurous tidbits from them as I can. Although I know it’s fairly common, I like to pull ideas for quests and NPCs from movies. I’m a big fan of movies, and there are a multitude of interesting movie personas that can easily be converted to D&D characters.
20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
I like players who are cooperative, competitive, and focused on the task at hand. I give hidden bonuses to rolls when players are following along with the game. I put hours into making this shit and I want to be able to enjoy watching it come to life.
21. What’s a real life experience you’ve translated into game terms?
I often choose a different facet of my own personality to portray the most important NPCs in our game. For example, the party recently encountered a poorly misunderstood necromancer who was trying to cure a horrifying disease. He is also from another country and had a thick accident. I’ve been a stranger in a strange land more than once. It was easy to act like I had no idea what was going on.
22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn’t?
I wish there was something that made it easier to play conventional D&D over the internet. RPtools is a great program, but it requires a lot of data input and preparation that I just don’t have the time to do.
23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn’t play? How do those conversations go?
All the important people in my life plays games of some sort, and we love RPGs. If I have to divide table top RPGs our of the mix, I like to tell my wife stories of what’s going on in our game. I do my best to make it entertaining. I know when I’m failing because her eyes will glaze over in a matter of seconds.
And that’s all she wrote! I’m working on some great additions to the site including more random posts about awesome things. Thanks for reading!