Here’s my wrap-up of week Three.
Day 15: Describe a tricky RPG experience that you enjoyed.
I was in a Castle Falkenstein game (when that game was still brand new), and our characters had all somehow gotten invited some some crazy ball or event of some kind. The GM decided to run the event as a ‘LARP’ or live-action game, where we all mingled around a house and dealt with NPCs and what have you. It was very different from any gaming I’d done to that point, and LARPing is still not something I’m into. But the session was very cool.
The thing with playing RPGs is that you need trust. You’re all doing something that can look very silly, that involves letting go and opening up to other people, and that’s hard. It’s one reason I’ve always resisted playing/running RPGs in public (during operating hours at a store, for example). It’s difficult enough to do this when you’re all sitting around a table, with gaming paraphernalia laying about. Standing up, walking around, and doing what equates to 20% gaming/80% improv acting…That’s really, really tough for an introvert like myself. Yet, it was a safe environment and with my regular group. Not the kind of thing I’d always want to do, but effective in this case.
Day 16: Describe your plans for your next game.
To have one? I have a one-shot Western I want to run for some new-to-RPGs folk. And I would like to run Tales from the Loop. And a million other things. I’ve been trying to break myself out of my funk, break back into the hobby. However, overcoming inertia is difficult and finding reasons why it just doesn’t work this week, or this month, or in the next couple of months is much easier. Heck, the Western one-shot was something I started working on a year ago. I should be able to just run it. It wouldn’t take much work, other than figuring out schedules. Yet, here I sit.
Day 17: Describe the best compliment you’ve received while gaming.
The best compliment I’ve received is someone who’s been a player in one of my games telling the story of something that happened in that game. It means they cared, they paid attention, and it became a real story, something to live on beyond the moment it happened. A few times, I’ve heard someone regale someone else with some deed or moment of a game I ran, and it was a true thrill. The most thrilling thing for me as GM is to have players actively involved, interested, and pushing to story along with their actions. As a player, the best thing is knowing and feeling that my actions make a difference.
Day 18: What art inspires your game?
What art doesn’t? Frazetta has been one of the biggest inspirations in my writing. But for my gaming, if I had to pick one (and I don’t, thank goodness), I might go with Michael Whelan. He sure has a ton of great stuff, and a wide variety. I’ve started at some of his paintings for hours, trying to come up with good stories and ways to capture ideas for my players. This is such a broad topic, though. Games with good or evocative art are the ones that stay with me. I’ve had campaigns spawned from one particular image in a book.
Day 19: What music enhances your game?
This depends completely on the game. I’ve got a library of soundtracks/scores to fit various styles. I’ve got a bunch of 20s tunes to back a Call of Cthulhu game. Sounds of nature. Tibetan chant. Norse Fusion. There are a lot of options. The next game I plan on running is a Western, and I’ll probably use some Spaghetti Western scores. I used to love making playlists for games, when I was running them with frequency. Something a GM did in one of the last games I played in, was create a ‘theme song’ for the campaign. He’d play this one tune every week to signify that small talk and what have you was over, and it was time to start the session in earnest. It’s something I want to do in future campaigns. Find that one piece of music that sets up the theme or mood and start every session off with it.
Day 20: Which game mechanic inspires your play the most?
I always like when something, usually in character creation, inspires a new way of looking at things. I remember Unknown Armies’s for example. Rage, Noble, & Fear. What would drive you to true rage? What would make you stand up? And what would paralyze you with true terror? It was an interesting way to look at a new character, give me a handle on how to play them.
Day 21: Which dice mechanic appeals to you?
Whatever’s simple. Nothing too complicated, nothing to ‘crunchy.’ Beyond that, it doesn’t make a lot of difference to me. I’ve always liked Basic Role-Playing, because at its core, it’s intuitive and easy to understand, it’s malleable, and gives enough structure that a new player can stand on it without being consumed by it. While these days, I prefer even simpler and more streamlined rules, it’s still a nice one to start folks off with.
And that’s week three. It got broken up by a vacation I took, but still had some good stuff to think about.