Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Side Trek - Appendix N

I thought I would take a moment and share my Appendix N with you all. I think it's especially interesting to do since after 30+ years in the hobby I'm constently intrigued by how different my playstyle can be from other gamers in my age group (40 - *shudder*).

I never really experienced power gaming, being a 'Monty Haul' GM, rules lawyers or any of the standard ailments the plagued many a campaign over the hobby's early years. I mostly learned about these terms from Dragon Magazine and through speaking with other players and gamemasters. I suppose since my approach and perception may have been slightly unusual from the get-go, my gaming style simply developed down different lines. To illustrate this, I've decided to post my list of major campaign and gaming influences. Please keep in mind that while this list holds true for any game I run, I tend to run Science Fiction and Superheroes more then anything else. These elements are listed in no particular order:

P.T. Barnum
Legion of Super Heroes Comics - Especially those of the Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen Era
Green Lantern - Silver Age and Current
Teen Titans - Especially the Marv Wolfman/George Perez Era
Star Trek - Especially the Original Series and Movies
Japanese Anime and Manga of the Late 1970's to Mid 1990's
Jim Henson & The Muppets - Including Dark Crystal and Labyrinth
Rock & Roll Music of the Late 1960's to Early 1980's
Star Wars - Original Trilogy
Douglas Adams
Terry Pratchett
E. E. "Doc" Smith
Larry Niven - Especially the Draco's Tavern Stories
Monty Python
Naoyuki Katoh - Japanese Painter, Illustrator and the artist for Japan's Classic Traveller
Mel Brooks
Robin Williams
Wayne Barlowe
Ben 10 - Especially the Original Series and the designs of Dave Johnson
L. Frank Baum

We are all the sum of an unimaginable number of influences, exposed as we are to things that previous generations could only dream about. The internet and cable television, just to name but two sources, give us access to virtually any piece of visual art, music or written information in a matter a seconds. That said, some things get stuck on the fly paper of our brains and never escape. It is these things we hold most dear and return to most often to find our inspirations.

It is also interesting to note how many of the people I've named above are personal heroes of mine and that I've had the utter privelage to speak to them at length at one time or another. I feel very lucky for the opportunity.

Barking Alien


  1. Interesting that you list Baum as an influence. A few months ago, I was thinking of the similarities between Star Trek and Oz.

  2. The names and elements listed influence not only my Star Trek games but all the creative endeavours I undertake. They are the things that, whether I'm thinking about them or not at the time, definitely play a part in my 'doing things the way I do them'.

    Hmm...similarities between Star Trek and Oz...I'll have to think about that a bit.

    Barking Alien

  3. "P.T. Barum" lol. Does that mean there're Siamese twins in all your games? :)

    Do your campaigns have humorous overtones, because I see a lot of comedy sources on your list? I'm just curious about the tone of the games you run.

    Doc Smith's on my list too (along with M.M.) as if you couldn't guess.

  4. A sense of humor is, IMHO, the A-Number-One trait every good GM and player should have.

    While the tone of the vast majority of my adventures and campaigns is serious, my delivery is fast and light hearted. Nothing frightens a player like a GM who chuckles after they describe what they want to do and says, "Oh that's too bad. I really liked your character...".

    P.T. Barum is there for showmanship. I'm not a referee (or at least not only a referee) but an entertainer. I need the players focused on my game and as such I employ voices, props, artwork, sound effects, weird faces, hand gestures and anything and everything I can to immerse them in the moment.

    Barking Alien

  5. I take a running leap at the links between Oz and Star Trek in my latest blog. Check it out!