Wednesday, January 18, 2012

23 Questions With Barking Alien

This questionaire comes from a young fellow named Zak. Zak writes...

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
Tough one. Maybe the whole Applause/Star Power and A-B-Cs/Sunny Days thing from my Muppets RPG.

I also really like how I organize my gaming material for a campaign into one big, heavily illustrated loose-leaf notebook.

2. When was the last time you GMed?

This past Sunday, late afternoon/evening.

3. When was the last time you played?

Sometime last month I think.

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

Sci-Fi heroes transplanted into the bodies of specially designed robots try to repair the space/time continuum using fresh fruit and a small cup of Greek yogurt.

I haven't worked out the details.

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

As a player I take notes or draw.
As a GM I make jokes or odd noises or roll dice to freak the players out.

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

Pretezels are a favorite.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?

It can be. Luckily I have some kind of crazy, mutant power of endurance and stamina related to my insomnia. Even when physically tired I am rarely mentally tired. I can easily game at full bore for 10-12 hours.

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

Marriage proposal to another PC in Erin Palette's L5R campaign as a means of consolidating power for my clan and the two PCs involved.

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

I have serious settings, non-serious settings and comedy-drama settings. We play the ones we are in the mood for when we are in the mood for them.

10. What do you do with goblins?

A lot of things. Depends on the campaign.

Primarily, in my main D&D-But-Not campaign universe, they are sort of a cross between forcibly relocated Native Americans and the goblins of Labyrinth.

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

An explanation of 'Shield Volcanos' and the geography of some of the larger ones located on the Hawaiian islands as the setting for a supervillain's base in Champions.

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

I wouldn't know where to begin. I occaisionally run a Muppets RPG, remember?

This past Saturday, Sweetums opened his mouth to show that the Weapons Grade Grape Pop Rocks had turned his tongue purple...which resulted in him accidentally firing on all of the PCs and NPCs with what amounted to a gatling gun style release of candy coated shrapnel.

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

What was the last RPG manual I looked at that I was not using for a game at the time?

Men in Black RPG by West End Games. Last night. On the can. I like to read RPG books in the bathroom. Helps me think.

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

Depends on the game. Supers should be drawn by comic book professionals, D-MAC or anyone who gets what comic books look like. For fantasy I prefer DiTerlizzi, Froud, Arthur Rackham and those who have a similar feel. For Sci-Fi it really varies depending on the setting or subgenre. I really don't like the art in most popular RPGs. Not enough diversity.

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

It has. I've made people panic and even cry a little in D&D, Traveller and Ghostbusters.

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

Don't remember. The last time I did that I was about 17. I am 42. That was a long time ago. Even then, I probably modified it. Castle Ravenloft maybe?

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

6-8 people around a table with some chairs and snacks. Maybe I don't get the question. What else do you need?

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

Champions and Faery's Tale Deluxe. I love FTD, which is so simple it makes we wonder why I enjoy Champions so much. Champions is so crunchy that a this point I should just despise it but I don't. It is one of my favorite games.

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

That's harder. Most of my influences share some commonalities, though they are very different from each other. I don't see any of them as so different they are incompatible.

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

A quick thinker willing to get immersed in the setting or genre. One who thinks about what their character would or could do and not what the rules/stats/etc. say they can do. Someone with a sense of humor.

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

My travels to various states in the US and my visits to Canada and England. I try to make sure the players aren't stuck in one spot for their whole campaign. Thanks to my seeing different types of cities and terrains I think my descriptions of different places feel different from each other.

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

Yes. Dozens. Most notably, I wish there was a new Star Trek RPG. I also wish Hunter Planet was revamped and rereleased. Heck, just a decent Sci-Fi/Space Opera game that isn't based on D20 would rock my socks!

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

There is but it's not a full on or in depth discussion of gaming itself. They appreciate my passion for it and I am glad they let me share my excitement but I know it's not their thing.


Thanks Zak and everyone who stopped by. We love getting your cards and letters so keep'em coming. Remember, Barking Alien is for anyone and everyone with a little moxie and a big imagination!

See you next time,

Barking Alien

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