A bit late, but here’s my take on the second week of questions for RPG a Day 2018.
Day 8: How can we get more people playing?
As gamers, we should make the hobby more appealing. Some major things like fighting ‘gatekeeping’ whenever possible, and not acting like a weirdo are big helps. Being open to people who aren’t like you is a big thing, and goes a long way toward making the hobby better for everyone. It doesn’t need to be just for 13 year old white kids from small town America. It’s a great hobby for everyone.
If you have the ability to get together with folks to play boardgames, a fairly popular activity these days, perhaps you can introduce one-shot RPGs as an alternative, but keep it light and easy. If folks really like it, bring them into the hobby in steps.
Day 9: How has a game surprised you?
As a player, I spend most of my time in utter bafflement, and everything is a surprise.
As a GM…it’s much the same. What players focus on, how they push the story, what conclusions they reach? It’s nothing but surprise.
Day 10: How has gaming changed you?
I’m sure it won’t be an uncommon sentiment, but gaming helped me get over, or at least learn to work with, my bajillion social anxieties. It also helped me to organize my thoughts, and to embrace chaos. I met people from different backgrounds with very different interests and knowledge. Gaming helped me to look at things from other people’s perspective and have empathy.
Day 11: Wildest character name?
I don’t really have anything for this. The closest thing I can think of was when I played The Man With No Name in a very strange game of Over the Edge.
Day 12: Wildest Character Concept?
I’ve played a few games that were designed to make you play some wild concepts (Tribe 8, Everway, Over the Edge, etc.). But I think one of the weirder concepts I worked on was for a sadly short lived Ars Magica game. I was thinking about how much of a bad rep Necromancers had, so I started working on a Necromancer who was a nice guy. He had a story of tragic love and obsession, and he was on a quest to conquer death. Sure, he used reanimated dead to do manual labor, and his lab smelled like a grave, but he was a good guy and he was just trying to help people.
Day 13: Describe how your play has evolved.
It’s been ages since I ran a game, and longer since I played in one. Generally, I started trying to be more proactive and tried to start taking more of a hand in pushing the story, as opposed to just following it. In running the game, I tried to let players do more to direct the story. The longer I’ve lived with the hobby the more I’ve found my enjoyment in the cooperative elements of telling stories. I want games where players and GMs are both active in creating, not games where the GM dictates and the players react.
Day 14: Describe a failure that became amazing.
The one I always go to with this was when a grog played by my brother in an Ars Magica game was pulled in to shoot a griffin. He was just a grog (like a red shirt on Star Trek), but my brother had played him a bunch and he’d developed something of a reputation within the local area as being a great archer. And he was. So, he drew back his bow, aimed, took the shot and…wiff! Without missing a beat, he turned to the party and said, matter of fact, “Can’t be hit.” and walked away. Everyone else, including the magi present, accepted that as truth and went about finding a new plan.
So, that was week 2. More to come.