Friday, August 31, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - After Thoughts

The RPGaDay Challenge for 2018 is over and I thought I'd share some general musings about it and the experience of doing it. 

I noted a few times this past month that the questions this year were better overall than those of recent, previous years. Why? What makes a question better or worse?

It is my opinion that the questions in a challenge such as this should be challenging to the person answering them. That challenge should come from the nature of the question, the subject matter, and how they relate to the individual's own experiences. 

They should not relate to how the question is worded. So many questions from this particular challenge have vague, ambiguous, or simply poorly placed wording. 

I should want to think about how best to answer the question. I shouldn't have to think about what the question is asking. 

How would you define your RPG play and/or GMing style? Is a good question.

It let's you decide to answer it as either a player, a GM, or both, and directs it to the individual posters particular approach to RPGs. We learn something about the person answering the question, which in turn makes the reader think about their own style.

How does your style effect play? Is a terrible question.

What does it even mean? How does my style effect my own play? Play in general, for the whole group? My style in doing what exactly? How I play? How I GM? What is the question trying to ask?

Some of the questions this year focused on how gaming influenced you, the responder, or how you were influenced by other gamers.

This is great. More like this would be awesome. They are not always the easiest questions to answer in a single, reasonably sized post, but I would have have one like this then be asked for the dozenth time...

What art/music/movies inspire your game?

Ugh. That is such a boring question as worded. It implies we all play a single game, 'your game'-singular, and it limits the possible sources of inspiration. I'd much rather see something like...

What entertainment source gives you the most gaming ideas outside of the games themselves?

Yes, it's a tad wordy, but it covers more area and allows for a wider variety of answers covering a wider range of gamers. 

At least I think so. 

There were a few times when, while answering a later question, I had to give second thoughts to what I had stated in an earlier one. The most outstanding example of this is that my gaming ambition for next year (Day 26) made me want to change my statements on my plans for my next game (Day 16). 

Of my three potential new gaming ideas, only the Wild West idea really does what I said I wanted to do for next year. In truth, I have a ton of ideas far more esoteric than those, ideas that meet my gaming ambition for 2019, but they are definitely more peculiar and therefore harder to sell to a potential group. 

The great eternal paradox of my personal gaming tastes.

Last thought...

I feel like I could have written a lot more for some of the answers. The problem is I wouldn't know where or when to stop. Take the Day 28 post for example. I could have named another dozen people and it probably wouldn't even have scratched the surface of identifying all those who've inspired and improved my gaming with their humor, skill, and wisdom at the table. 

I had to end the posts somewhere and I'm not sure I did so in the perfect places all the time. A minor regret but one I will try to remedy in next year's challenge.

Well that, as they say, is that. 

On to September...

Barking Alien

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 31

This is it, the grand finale! The big finish!

I've noticed over the years that the summer months are a period of extreme slow down for me when it comes to blogging. 

I tend to game a lot during the summer but I can't seem to muster the focus or drive to post as often as I'd like. I am not sure why. It could be that my attention is directed more toward the games I'm running and not toward talking about them. That is to say, time I could be using to write on the blog about my last session could be better used developing material for the next session. 

As August is the month wherein I celebrate my gaming anniversary (specifically August 25th), I am more motivated to post during this month. But what to post about exactly? I need an inspiration, a catalyst of some kind to shake off the habit of not posting I've grown accustomed to over the prior two or three months.

That's where the RPGaDay Challenge comes in.

It gets me to think about gaming again in a different way, a way that involves wanting to put down my thoughts and share them with others who are sharing theirs.

I give the Challenge are hard time, with snarky and sarcastic comments about the nature or wording of the questions but I do enjoy it. If I really didn't like it or think it had merit I wouldn't make jokes but rather just not bother with it at all. 

This year's questions were, generally speaking, much better than those of the past couple of years. I am glad this was the case and hope the trend continues. 

Well that's it. I guess I will see you all again next year for RPGaDay Challenge 2019!

More of Barking Alien's regular weirdness coming really soon!

Take care,

Barking Alien

Thursday, August 30, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 30

Brace yourselves...

Something I learned playing my character?

As I've noted many times before, in the 41 years I've been playing RPGs I've probably only had a dozen or so characters. I've primarily been a GM. When I say 'primarily' we're seriously talking 95% Gamemastering to 5% playing as a Player. Actually, that 5% seems a tad generous.

Sadly, although there are positive reasons as to why I started Gamemastering, my focus on it over playing stems from what I learned playing my character(s) fairly early in my years in the hobby. 

My time as a player wasn't always wonderful in the early days. 

OK, let me be sucked. Being a player in Dungeons and Dragons games run by other people taught me never to do that again. And yet I have, so perhaps I never learned anything at all. 

No, no, that's not right. Let's focus on the positive. 

I learned to be bold, take risks, and think fast. 

I learned that if you complicate your actions the GM had more material to use against you. I like to think I mastered the art of keeping things simple, concise, and straightforward.

I learned to concentrate on what I wanted the outcome to be and then I would figure out which skills, abilities, powers or whatever could be used toward accomplishing my goal. 

This is something I am always trying to convey and teach to new players. Don't look at your character sheet, scan your abilities, and see what you can do. That's foolish. It makes your brain freeze up. If you don't see any powers you can use in a given situation, most people lament 'there's nothing my character can do here.'

Frell that noise. Make the GM work to figure out how to rule on your action instead of making your action fit his or her narrow view of how things should work. 

I learned to play my character's personality and thought process even if it isn't the most 'beneficial' or 'efficient' thing to do in the moment. Unless I was playing a moron I wasn't going to purposely do something stupid but I learned it was more fun and interesting to not be so perfect all the time. 

A major pet peeve I have with a lot of modern players. Few players are willing to see their PC as anything less that a perfect, always prepared, 100% badass all the time. Rarely do I see people get surprised, feel astonished or frightened, or have PCs take in the wonder of the world around them. 

I also learned - though I knew this from the start really - to be aware of the other players, the other PCs, and the GM. I played my character but always with an unspoken acknowledgment that I was only one of the players in the game. I never created the lone-wolf guy who doesn't work with a team for example, because, ya'know, I wasn't at the table by myself. I always wanted to learn about the other PCs stories and help them solve mysteries in their backgrounds. I investigated and explored the settings because the GM had worked hard to create a setting to explore and investigate. 

I guess the most important thing I learned as a player was what my personal preferences are. I now try to make games that would be campaigns I myself would want to play in. That can backfire too of course. What I think players want to see, what I want to see, isn't necessarily what the average player desires. 

I gotta be true to me though.

Barking Alien

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 29

First, a Happy Birthday to my good friend Joe Cangelosi, who was mentioned in yesterday's post. 

Now, speaking of friends...

Sometimes I feel like I wouldn't have any friends if it wasn't for gaming.

Of course that's not true but I will say that I definitely met the majority of my current collection of good buddies, my girlfriend, and most of my close associates thanks to our mutual love of RPGs. 

I only know my good friend Carl because we met online in a Google Hangouts group only to later discover we lived within relatively easy face-to-face distance. Now I am friends with a fairly extensive group of people thanks to that Google group but I actually get to see Carl in person. 

One of my best buddies is Dave, one of several Daves I've mentioned on this blog in the past, but this particular Dave is a fellow I met when he dropped into the second or third session of a game I was running at my FLGS. That was over five years ago, probably more like eight, and we talk about a lot more than gaming. 

My point is, when people share a common interest, there is no guarantee that they'll end up friends. Friends are a deeper thing than just a gaming buddy. Friend require more of a commitment on the part of two individuals to make the relationship and connection work and become something you want to come back to again and again. 

Still...friendships forged through gaming seem to be pretty solid and last a long time. I vaguely remember someone describing it as similar to the connection people form when serving together during military actions. Well, I don't know if I'd go that far but I get the gist and I can't argue with it. 

In summary, I have a lot of friendships I've made because of RPGs. The best ones have continued and become stronger not because of RPGs but because of friendship. 

Barking Alien

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 28

I've been feeling a bit frustrated since posting my Day 26 entry on Sunday. 

It's not the post itself that is getting to me - not exactly - but rather a combination of it's subject matter and some of the responses to a recent post I made on my Barking Alien Gaming Group Facebook Page.

The nature of the latter was that I advocated starting a campaign with flawed and/or less experienced and powerful characters compared to what we (my players and I) are used to doing. My thinking was and is that the campaign will last longer if you start small and build upward and outward.

This was met with mixed reactions, though most of my fellow gamers agreed with me. Some even wrote me or call me to discuss the subject. 

One particular fellow, a member of one of my in-person groups, disagreed on the basis of the fact that our games don't always last long enough and we only play once a month.

That is to say, since we only play once a month, and we tend to play campaigns that last  about a year at most, he has a desire to start off a little more capable and powerful just in case we never get to that point.

I can understand that to some extent. If you're someone who feels that game 'gets good' at 5th or 6th level and the games you've been in only get from 1st to about 4th before the GM ends the story and feels like switching to something else, sure, I can grok the idea of starting at 3rd so you and your PC get to see what being 6th is like.


One of the reasons this particular GM (me) grows weary of campaigns is because we start out with really tough, really 'effective' characters who are difficult to challenge and almost universally act like they've been there and done that. Basically, the fact that we start so good and get really powerful after a while is the thing that makes the game end. 

If we actually started with flawed, imperfect characters who were challenged with staying alive, we'd get to know those characters better, build a fondness for them, and the campaign would actually last longer. 



Answering this question by naming a single individual would leave out so many people it's nearly impossible to choose one. 

I'm really not sure I can. I've learned so much from so many players and gamemasters over the years. I've had the luck, the pleasure, and unparalleled opportunity to game with some of the most skilled and talented people you can imagine. That's aside from them being dear friends.

I'll go with some of my earliest memories...

I am grateful to a 7 year old boy by the name of Tom Zizzo, who taught me to play Basic Dungeons & Dragons 41 years ago,

I am grateful to Dave Pollack, who a year later made me the Dungeonmaster for himself and our mutual friends. I am further grateful to Dave for being a good friend for many years, a damn fine player, and someone willing to play a truly Lawful Good character and do it right.

I am grateful to one Martin Lederman, a close friend growing up and one of the funniest guys I've ever known. I thank him for playing a character that was three dimensional, flawed yet powerful, and for going halfsies with me on Villains and Vigilantes.

How can I forget Joseph 'The Animal' Cangelosi. I can't. We've been friends since 2nd. We've re-kindled our friendship and it's awesome. I thank him for showing as much enthusiasm for my purchase of FASA Star Trek as I did, beginning my over 35 year obsession with running games in that universe.

There are so many more people I could mention. Dozens. A hundred? Maybe.

In the past I have done 'Player Profiles' posts focusing on friends I've gamed with who I've felt deserve special recognition. I've really only done three of them as of this writing. I am inspired by this question to make doing more of those a priority. 

How about you? Are there any gaming gurus or playing pals special to you?

Barking Alien

Monday, August 27, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 27

I have but one answer to this question...

...because, frankly, I don't watch or listen to these very often. Definitely not regularly. 

The only time I check out streams or actual play videos, podcasts or whatever is when there is a new game I'm interested in and I either want to get a handle on it before it comes out or it came out and I need help understanding some of the mechanics.

The exception to this is The Pod of Many Casts

Partly because some of the guys in it are friends of mine who game at my table (and I at theirs) and partly because of the comedic aspect of the series, I find this one a little different and fun to have on while I'm working on various projects or reading or what-have-you. 

Give it a listen and enjoy.

That's it.

See ya tomorrow!

Barking Alien

A big Happy Birthday shout out to my puppy Sketch who is one year old today!

It's been a tricky six months but I couldn't have rescued a sweeter, cuter dog. He spends half his time playing and the other half cuddling. I love you buddy!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 26

I've been thinking long and hard on this question, well before today's posting date. 

It's a simple enough question and yet my answer has not only changed several times, it may not mesh with some of my previous answers from questions earlier in the month. 

I know what I want for next year but not how to achieve it.

I want what I used to have, what I used to be capable of. 

I want a campaign with a good number of players - say 6 to 8 - that explores an open ended, challenging world/setting.

When I say 'explores' what I mean is:
  • Players are encouraged to delve into their characters' thoughts, feelings, and backstories
  • Their characters are encouraged to interact with and investigate the setting itself
  • The PCs are welcome to pursue their own agendas in conjunction with their fellow PCs and the situations presented (the 'Adventures' if you will).

In addition and of paramount importance to me, is the concept that the PCs are not superior to the common folk of the setting to an extreme degree. By this I mean I don't want to run Superheroes or a game in which the PCs are all the best of the best, incredibly capable, action movie star level individuals from the get go. 

I'd love - LOVE - to see people start small and build once again. I find myself missing that one old school element of the PCs being relatively ordinary folks in a fantastic world faced with extraordinary situations. A game in which a Farmer might someday slay a Dragon or a run-of-the-mill Starship Mechanic may eventually save the universe. 

The campaign ideas I discussed in the Day 16 entry may or may not lend themselves to these ideas easily. 

The Orville definitely features the captain and crew of a exploratory starship that aren't the best of the best their fleet has to offer. At the same time, the structure of such a show and setting means PCs are limited in their ability to forge their own path. 

A Wild West setting, especially one with just a touch of the supernatural, fits the bill rather nicely. Player Characters would be adventurers living on a dangerous frontier with civilization as they know it and opportunities for wealth and glory just beyond the horizon. 

Giant Robots? Well...super fun but not really how I would run that or how that would work with what I am talking about here.

Since Science Fiction remains where my heart truly lies, I'd love to get back to a grand, starfaring, space epic but perhaps not Traveller. I feel like I have visited that universe enough to hold me over for a while. 

What are my obstacles in achieving my goal?

First, my groups. Each is different, and all great people and gamers, but they don't really share this outlook on gaming. They want to start awesome and who can blame them? Who doesn't want to be awesome? My pal Dave said (more than once) that if we played more often he wouldn't mind starting off 'smaller' but he doesn't want to have to wait a year before his character is a mover and shaker who kicks ass. Since we tend to play roughly once a month, I get where he's coming from. Kinda.

See, I get tired of our campaigns after a while when we start at a higher power level. Before long I lose interest and it becomes harder to challenge the PCs. OK not really, you can always find ways, but it just seems less satisfying to me. Personally I feel that if we started lower, the campaigns would last longer.

Second, a lot of it is me. I have become too impatient and yet too easy on the players. I've lost some of my touch over the years. I'm very disappointed in myself. I am still a good GM I think, but I used to be great. To run the kind of game I want to run next year, the kind I am describing here, I would need to be great again. I don't know that I know how to get my mojo back.

So in conclusion, what I want next year is the perfect campaign, with the perfect group of players, that i will GM perfectly. 

What could go wrong?

Barking Alien

Saturday, August 25, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 25

In case you didn't know, August 25th is a very special day for me. It commemorates the first time I ever played Dungeons and Dragons back in 1977, introducing me to the wonderful world of RPGs. I have now been gaming for 41 years. Wow. 

Looking ahead to 42 years and beyond...

The game that had the biggest impact on me in the last year is definitely Star Trek Adventures by Modiphius Entertainment. 

.As someone who has run a great many RPG sessions in the Star Trek universe over the past three decades plus, I pretty know what I want out of a Star Trek Role Playing Game.

When Modiphius' Star Trek RPG was announced I was initially very excited. A new Star Trek game! How awesome! It has been so long (or at least it felt like so long) since there had been an official RPG that the mere fact was was being published was enough to get the juices flowing once again, in spite of my feelings over the dismal J.J. Abrams films. 

This new game would ignore that continuity in favor of a Next Generation focus, while covering all the various main canon eras. Hurrah! 

I was invited into the playtest and also asked to submit a pitch for a adventure to be included in one of their future products. I was super-jazzed...and then I read the playtest rules. My heart sank as I found the Modiphius game not to my liking. In truth, I found it very difficult to comprehend. It lacked many of the details I would expect a Star Trek game to have, while adding over-complicated rules for some aspects of the game. 

Needless to say I lost interest and enthusiasm for the playtest and submitting material. I would stick with the Last Unicorn Game*, still my favorite version of tabletop Star Trek RPGing and one of my favorite games of all time. 

Then the oddest thing happened...

Some months after the game was released, my friend Keith, who GMs our Wednesday night Google Hangouts game, decided to give the game a trial run.

He ran several sessions over Hangouts with a handful of players including myself. One fellow had played the game before and when we (both the other players and Keith) ran into a question or a snag, this guy was able to help us out. 

Once I'd played the game I suddenly understood many of the mechanics that had confused me in the playtest. I also grasped that this game took a somewhat different approach to Star Trek than its predecessors had. I quickly started liking it, then loving it. 

I bought the PDF of the Core Rulebook and gave them game a thorough read. Once I felt I had a solid lock on the system, I converted the Star Trek campaign I was running with Dan's Group - Star Trek: Prosperity - over to Star Trek Adventures with the promise that I would switch back to LUG Star Trek if we didn't like this version better. 

As it turned out, Star Trek Adventures was perfect for the group and the campaign. It was amazing how much smoother things ran. Everyone in the group felt Star Trek Adventures' mechanics were a bit simpler and more intuitive. It also has some crunch in all the right places, adding more depth to the combat and action scenes than I expected.

We are still running Star Trek: Prosperity (not in its third year) and Star Trek Adventures is definitely working for us. For a game I initially did not like at all, I am very impressed by how the final product turned out. It really challenged my preconceptions regarding the balance between simplicity and crunch and even how I view my favorite setting in relation to gaming. 

Barking Alien

*Last Unicorn Games' ICON System Star Trek Role Playing Game is still my favorite Star Trek game. Why? Well, it's not so much for the rules but the feel that the rules convey. To put it more clearly, if I want a relaxed, fast paced Star Trek experience I will go with Star Trek Adventures every time. For a more in-depth, heavy role playing, simulation of people living in the Star Trek universe type of game, LUG Star Trek's greater range of options and more detailed mechanics are my preference. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 24


So many.

Really, it's hard to know where to start. 

You'll notice that my answer to the previous question had me listing a dozen or so games that are not D&D, Pathfinder, Numenera, nor any of the more popular generic systems like Fate or Savage Worlds.

It does my heart good to know that Modiphius Entertainment is doing well with things like Tales from the Loop, Star Trek Adventures, and others. I am happy to see so many Kickstarters for really neat RPG concepts get funded, such as Golden Sky Stories' supplement Twilight Tales and Derek Elhmann's Oddity High

I like RPGs. Lots of RPGs. Lots of RPGs that are different from each other. I've compared it in the past to eating your favorite food three meals a day, every day, on and on and on. I love Sushi and Burritos but I could eat either Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for the rest of my life. 

I want to see more games in general get greater recognition. I want to see blogs other than mine discuss Mekton. I think games for kids like No Thank You Evil and Faery's Tale Deluxe deserve a lot more attention. Who is discussing Masks, Mutants and Masterminds, or Villains and Vigilantes regularly?

Do a Google Search for 'Dungeons and Dragons Blog' and see what you get.

Now do one for Star Trek RPG Blog, Champions Blog, or Pendragon Blog. You'll find some stuff surely, but the number drops considerably. 

Bottom line, I think a great many games deserve greater recognition. I think part of the fun of this hobby is trying different games in different genres and seeing what the differences are. It's an amazing thing to be able to spend a year fighting super villains and defeating a cosmic menace and then the next trying to survival a post-apocalyptic wasteland.or on a far off alien planet. See if you can come out on top of a Games of Thrones and then take a break to enjoy the cream pies and anvils of Toon. 

So many games deserve a second look. Give a few you haven't looked at before or in a while a chance. Boring old D&D will still be there when you get back. 

Barking Alien

Thursday, August 23, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 23

Hang on...

By play I'm going to assume you mean Gamemaster.

Sadly, there are very few GMs in my gaming circles interested in and willing to run the games I want to play in and fewer still who run them well. 

Now before anyone gets a burr in their boots, I am not saying that there aren't a lot of very talented GMs around my way. In fact I know a few really great ones. Unfortunately for me personally, most of these guys don't have much of an inclination to run the games I wish I could play in. Those that do, well, the execution is kind of hit and miss.

I'd love to play Star Trek as a player again. I love Star Trek, I love running it and I definitely like playing it. Star Wars, oh man, that would also be a ton of fun. Giant Robots! Damn. I haven't played in a Mecha game in so long I barely remember when the last time was. 

Ars Magica with a Folklore flair, Faery's Tale Deluxe, Golden Sky Stories, Ghostbusters, Hunter Planet, Men in Black, Paranoia, Gold and Silver Age Superheroes (especially pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths DC Comics), Teenagers from Outer Space, Toon, or even classic Traveller...if I don't run these they don't get ran. 

Now I'm depressed.

Which game do I hope to play again?

Anything but the same old thing.

Barking Alien

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 22

Are we still on systems? Geez...

Non-dice system don't really appeal to me.

With a few exceptions they almost seem less intuitive and more cumbersome than game mechanics using dice. 

It's not that I've never gone diceless but usually when I have I've also gone system-less for the most part. If I'm freewheeling it in some kind of interactive story exercise sense then I'm going to go full improv and not worry about rules. Of course, that isn't really playing a game is it.

And there in lies the great paradox; I don't want the rules to get in the way of my friends and I telling a cool story but I definitely want there to be rules and dice or else its just anarchy. It's role playing but it isn't really a game.

OK, to answer the question I would say I really like Golden Sky Stories. It works really well even though there isn't a dice system and the mechanics aid in giving it that Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki feel. 

I also really like Castle Falkenstein but to be honest I liked it more for its setting and presentation. I wish it had more traditional mechanics. 

I've always wanted to like a dice and playing card combo, such as you see in some indie Wild West games but they rarely work perfectly or get the feel just right.

Barking Alien

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 21

This I can answer...

...though I am not sure I can make it interesting.

Something that appeals to you is all about personal preference. I mean, there may be reasons why you like something but the bottom line is you like it because you do.

So, if I tell you I tend to like Dice Pools a lot, what does that mean? Truth is I am not sure why I like them or what I like about them exactly, only that many of my favorite games tend to use some version of a Dice Pool.

It's not always the same Dice Pool mechanic either. Sometimes it's add up the total of the dice you roll and beat a number (Star Wars D6), other times it's only count the highest number or add the highest number to the PC's Skill (Last Unicorn's Star Trek), or it could be roll a bunch of dice and count how many of them are successes.

I suppose I find all other these easy, quick, and have enough variation and versatility to use for long term campaigning. 

Have you learned anything? Anything about me? Did I reveal some great insight I'm not aware of? 

Not that I am aware of. Moving on...

Barking Alien

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 20

Some of the questions for this week are focused on rules and mechanics and therefore do not interest me overly much. I will answer as best as I can but I simply don't get really excited about such things on average.

To me, rules are a necessary evil. Don't get me wrong; I do feel they are indeed necessary and I'm not advocating a completely freeform, lawless style of gaming. RPGs are games after all and games need rules. At the same time, it is my personal opinion and preference that rules serve to reinforce some element of the setting, genre, feel, and atmosphere of the game you're running but otherwise stay the heck out of the way.

I don't want to 'see' the rules too much. I want them to fade into the background as much as possible, except when they do something neat that makes me [or one of my players] say, "That's a clever way of handling that."

To that end...

I don't know that I have a game mechanic that 'inspires' my play.

I am not even entirely sure I know what that means. How would that work exactly? I feel inspired to create a character or scenario because the rules work a certain way?

Eww. Gross. I think I'm gonna be sick.

I really like the rules in Star Wars D6. I think the whole 'Wild Die', or Force Die as we call it, is a great idea. Coupled with the Force Points and Dice Pool it makes the action fast and exciting, whie still remaining fairly simple.

It doesn't exactly inspire me to play Star Wars though...I get inspired to play Star Wars and then I grab Star Wars D6 to run it because I like the way the system handles the setting. 

The closet thing I can think of might be the magic system in Ars Magica. If I am feeling a Medieval Fantasy/Folklore vibe coming on I will read that game and its system and perhaps get some ideas for running a new campaign with it. But...I would have to feel that inclination first, before grabbing my Ars Magica book, so once again it isn't any mechanics that inspire play but rather ideas that lend themselves to certain mechanics and vice versa. 

That's all I have one this one. My brain just doesn't work this way.

Barking Alien

Saturday, August 18, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 18 & 19


Questions like this, which pop up regularly in these sorts of challenges, never fail to amuse me. 

It is largely the wording. What art inspires your game? What music? For 'my game'. As if I have but one. As if there is one sort of art or music or but one source to find them. I know, or at least I'm fairly sure, that's not what they mean but it does seem to be very narrow way of asking about a subject with very wide ranging answers. 

I have no one source of artwork or one style of art as I do not have one type of game. When running Traveller I tend to use more 'photo-realistic' art than I do when running Star Trek or Star Wars for example. With the latter two I can get away with more stylized illustrations compared to what I am inspired by when it comes to the Hard Science Fiction setting of Traveller's Third Galactic Imperium. 

I am a visual person, and an artist myself. Images tell a story and more over convey a feel and an atmosphere. I am all about that. The art must match the genre, setting, and story and vice versa.

The same is true of music. I do have a confession that may sound weird - I am not often inspired by music for my games. I mean, I like music and there have certainly been times where the right music in the background adds to the flavor of the game but generally speaking it's not a tool I use very often. 

I wish I had more to say on these subjects but I feel I have spoken about this many time before. How about you? What art and music inspires and enhances your game (singular - Tee hee hee).

Barking Alien

Friday, August 17, 2018

RPGaDay Challenge 2018 - Day 17

Oh dear. This is embarrassing.

I have been extremely fortunate to have received quite a number of compliments regarding my gaming over the years.

This is certainly a source of pride for me but also very difficult for me to reconcile with my generally low sense of self esteem. For a very long time I felt as if what I was doing was nothing special or worse, I was some sort of charlatan getting praise for showmanship and cheap parlor tricks, no matter how many people praised my gamemastering or how loudly. 

I don't know what the best compliment I have ever received was.

Once, at Gen Con, I was voted best player in a Villains and Vigilantes game and won a gift certificate. At another convention where I GMed, I tied with another fellow for best GM and then won an additional award for going above and beyond to make the whole show more enjoyable when weather conditions crippled the expected turn out. I've been on TV talking about how awesome RPGs are two or three times. Friends have requested I run a game for them for their birthdays. 

A lot of people who have been in games I've ran still talk about those games 20+ years later.

I don't have a greatest compliment but I do now allow myself to truly think and feel that I am a great gamer. 

That's all the praise I need. 

Barking Alien