Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Another Round of Random Questions

So every few months it seems some of those RPG-a-day things go around on G+. While these kind of questions are mildly useful for introspection, they are more useful as such if done collectively, so I answered all the questions I could find here...

1. Forthcoming game you're most looking forward to:
Break!! looks like it is going to be fun. Though, I've got enough games to play right now, and my players are pretty set in their ways. Still, Battle Princess is a class concept that needs to be hijacked into my games.
2. Kickstarter game you're most pleased you backed
I'm really pleased by the early drafts of Autarch's The Sinister Stone of Sakkara. I'm also really looking forward to Conan finally shipping (if only because it's the most money I've ever laid out for a single kickstarter).
3. Favorite new game of the last 12 months
The 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons is surprisingly awesome and getting a lot of traction with all the various tables I play at.
4. Most surprising game
Not much has surprised me lately (I feel like Lamentations of the Flame Princess has inured me to most kinds of surprises), but 5th edition kindof surprised me by being so good.
5. Most recent RPG purchase
Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures, which I am very pleased with so far.
6. Most recent RPG played
5th edition D&D, and more 5th edition D&D.
7.  Favorite free RPG
Pathfinder. Technically you have to pay for the products, but the rules are all released online for free under the Open Gaming License, so the only reason to pay for Pathfinder is the setting, and there is nothing all that interesting in said setting. Therefore, Pathfinder is a free product...as far as I'm concerned at least.
8. Favorite appearance of RPGs in the media
The play Hickorydickory by Marisa Wegrzyn, which involves lots of blood, strange manipulations of time and contemplations of (im)mortality, and characters playing D&D on stage. Of course, I might be biased since one of my players starred in a recent production of it.
9. Favorite media you wish was an RPG
For years I've been wanting to see a D&D-style RPG based on the English Country House genre (novels by the Brontes, Du Maurier, Wharton, Austen, Trollope, etc. or shows like Downton Abbey). Less high-fantasy spell-slinging and more giving the bad guy "a good thrashing with your cane" outside of a club because he impugned the honor of your sister/daughter/cousin/love interest. Lots of quietly adventuresome heroines, dark brooding gentlemen, politically aggressive clergy, and war and mystery as a backdrop to plots that really all center around someone getting married.
10. Favorite RPG publisher
Lamentations of the Flame Princess, hands down.
11. Favorite RPG writer
I continue to be surprised and impressed by the likes of Zak S. and Rafael Chandler. There is a lot of great stuff coming out of the DIY D&D scene and small publishers...it's hard for the big publishers with their styeleguides to compete with the unfettered creativity of these folks.
12. Favorite RPG illustration
For all that I like my games to be filled with blood and filth and despair, I love the wistful, creepy-cute style of Tony DiTerlizzi. I have especially always liked his depiction of Tieflings in the Planescape boxed set and more recently his Portrait of a Young Tiefling. In fact, the one thing that pisses me off the most about 4th and 5th edition D&D is the crappy, crappy very non-DiTerlizzi Tiefling art.
This kobold by DiTerlizzi is up there too. 
13. Favorite RPG Podcast
I hate podcasts...disembodied voices freak me out (and occasionally trigger my seizures). If you want to tell me about your cool game ideas, do it in writing.
14. Favorite RPG accessory
Currently, the "Playbooks" from Beyond the Wall. I love the idea of tying D&D character stats to their (potentially randomly generated) backstory, and making their early interactions with the other PCs also affect their stats is even better.
15. Longest campaign played
4 years seems to be my max for a single campaign, and I have a four-way tie for games running that duration.
16. Longest game session played
An epic 12-hour session with one hundred players and eight DMs after my PC managed to piss off the entire Lexington Kentucky RPGA by collaborating with the DMs to play a agent provocateur, infiltrate multiple adventuring parties, and assassinate dozens of other PCs. My 7th-level v3.0 Bard managed to kill 24 more PCs in that session before finally being caught and strung up by the angry mob of player characters.
17. Favorite fantasy RPG
Dungeons and Dragons (with heavy doses of stealing from other games).
18. Favorite SF RPG
I do not actually like SciFi games. I have never found one that I enjoyed (including computer RPGs), though I've played a little bit of several of them. I do not particularly like SciFi novels either...
19. Favorite supers RPG
Ditto as for SciFi. I am a strictly Fantasy geek...I like movies and TV shows about Super-Heroes and Science Fiction, but have never enjoyed reading books or playing games set in those genres.
20. Favorite horror RPG
Masque of the Red Death. Call of Cthulhu and LotFP have some good horror elements, but I'm much more attached to traditional Gothic-style horror (which might go along with my desire for a Country House RPG, since there is a lot of bleed-over between those two genres of writing).
21. Favorite RPG setting
Historical Earth. Reality is so weird, it's hard to improve upon.
22. Perfect gaming environment
Any quiet place with several comfortable couches, plenty of power strips to plugin laptops, a coffee-table to roll some dice on, a couple of lamps (no bright overhead light), as little background noise as possible, and ready access to Thai takeout. Definitely not a large table with mats, and maps, and miniatures and other crap that will distract me from my imagination.
23. Perfect game for me
Something with lots of complex character building options as collaborative process between the players, but with light-weight, quick base mechanics once the game actually starts. Some strange Frankenstein's monster blend of Burning Wheel/Beyond the Wall character creation, 5e D&D combat, and old school GMing.
24. Favorite house rule
If you chuck a PC at negative hit points into a body of water and let them bleed out there, they will come back as one of The Drowned. Otherwise, if you die you are dead and have to hope someone is willing to sell their soul to Dormin to get you back.
This originated as part of a shared world-building exercise combining Dawn of Worlds and Pathfinder, but was such a cool idea that I have used it in every Pathfinder game I have played since. I am working on adapting the Drowned racial mechanics to other D&D editions.
25. Favorite revolutionary game mechanic
Right now...Advantage/Disadvantage in D&D.
26. Favorite inspiration for your game
My players. Especially if I can get multiple groups of PCs operating in the same setting simultaneously so I can play their crazy ideas off against each other.
27. Favorite idea for merging two games into one.
Burning Wheel's Character Burner adapted for Pathfinder.
28. Favorite game you no longer play
Big Eyes, Small Mouth. If only because I cannot think of any game that I like that I no longer play.
29. Favorite RPG website/blog
I hate to play favorites with the community, but judging strictly by the number of things I've saved and flagged as usable some top ones include: DND with PornstarsCritical Hits, The Sign of the Frothing Mug,and WWCD
30. Favorite RPG playing celebrity
I couldn't care less...
31. Favorite non-RPG thing to come out of RPGing
My wife.
32. Worst game you ever played
Houses of the Blooded
33. Interesting rule embedded within otherwise baleful game
Flexible dice choice in Ysgarth. This was an annoying D&D knock-off, but it let the player choose which dice to roll in any situation: if the max damage for a weapon was 12, you could choose to roll 1d12, 2d6, 3d4, 4d3, 1d8+1d4, or any other dice combination that adds up to a max of 12...thus giving the player control over the probability curve of the results (more dice raises the minimum and average results at the expense of decreasing the probability of the maximum occurring).
34. Game you never played but you knew it sucked just looking at it
Dogs in the Vineyard -- Mormon vigilantes? Seriously?
35. Game you most wish didn't suck
Amber DRPG
36. Game about which you have the most mixed feelings
Pathfinder: Some wonderful adventures and interesting character options, but the world/background fluff is mind-numbingly boring, and some of the "improvements" over D&D 3.5 actually make it even slower to play...
37. Old game most in need of an upgrade
Kult
38. Game you can run with the least prep
AD&D 2nd Edition
39. Game with awful art (and who you wish you could hire to fix that)
D&D 5e. Tony DiTerlizzi and Zak Smith.
40. Best houserule you've seen in action and now use in your own games.
The perennial OSR-wide favorite: Shield's Shall be Splintered.
41. Game you've most changed your thoughts/feelings about
D&D. I used to get caught up in all kinds of edition wars: 3rd is better than 4th, but AD&D was better than 3rd, blah, blah, blah. It turns out they all play basically the same, are universally interchangeable (with only minimal thought necessary), and they all have bits and pieces of rules that can be stolen to make the other editions better.
42.  Game you'd use to run just about any setting if you had to
D&D (any edition). I've adapted it to games about everything from High Fantasy LotR nonsense to the Manhattan Project...
43. Game that haunts you and you're not sure why
Tunnels & Trolls
44. Best Star Wars game?
Dungeons and Dragons.
45. Game that's good in theory but you're kind of on the fence about it to be honest
Basic D&D and its various clones. There seems to be a lot of love for this game, and it has some excellent ideas that can be ported to AD&D, but I could never get over the race-as-class thing. OD&D (LBBs + Greyhawk) let me play a dwarven cleric or an elf that picks locks, why would any legitimate successor take away those options?