1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
I’m new at the DIYing in this sense – I have an anime plot complication table coming up that I think is pretty flavor-country.
2. When was the last time you GMed?
Via Google+, just before Christmas.
3. When was the last time you played?
In person (including video) about 4 years ago, sadly. I’m playing a play by post game ran by NOD Stater now.
4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven’t run but would like to.
Group of 1st level or 0 level guys find the magic item laden corpse of a 20th level Type 3 Demigod type. Whatever killed him is headed toward their village.
5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
In slow/exploration situations, purple-prose it up with more details about what is going on; in combat or dangerous situations, have something fun but not fatal happen to someone.
6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
Two of my players always have big cookies, so next time I’m totally getting one. Sugary things.
7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
Yes, and mentally, but in the “totally wired and can’t sleep afterwards” way.
8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?
It’s been a long while. Oh wait, I played a rock guy who was incapable of swimming (Earthdawn), we spent a lot of time working out how to improvise a snorkel/diving bell in order for him to explore a submerged cave dungeon entrance with the more able (but less rock) party members. It felt really dangerous but awesomely adventure!
9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
I find that letting the level of serious remain extremely protean gives the best balance of seriousness when required/desired and fun table lols. I think Joss Whedon said something like “you don’t have to be sombre to be serious”.
10. What do you do with goblins?
On the surface, very much like you do – Labyrinth. In the background, all of my goblinoid races are experiments by the dark-primordial-bad-gods to recreate humanity, but lack the ability to understand particular social concepts; in the case of Goblins, it’s orderly society, so goblins betray each-other, abandon settlements, have no laws except cunning/force-of-arms and projects and mutate themselves to keep expanding their society, with no idea of consequence.
11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
I’m making an issue of a Japanese mobile phone gaming magazine into what I call a “J-Pop” D&D setting over at my blog now. I do a lot of this – I have some notes for a setting based on the Blue Planet BBC nature documentaries hanging around for example.
12. What’s the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
In my last game, one of the players decided he’d be a halfling, and wanted a name recalling Bilbo Baggins. He went for “Ango Vaggins”, with seemingly no idea that it might recall the great and noble vagina to others around the table. At least not until he introduced his character. During the game, one of the PCs shared the Frazetta pic of Bilbo fighting a wolf (Ango was doing this at the time in-game) with an added thought bubble coming from the wolf that said “I got me a taste for vaggins”.
13. What was the last game book you looked at–aside from things you referenced in a game–why were you looking at it?
If we’re assuming “aside from things referenced in a game” doesn’t include preparation for later games, it was Isle of the Unknowm, which will be a place my PCs can reach from inside my current campaign should they choose.
14. Who’s your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
As a young man I enjoyed the muscular vignettey work of Ron Simmons. I like diagrammatic stuff these days – someone should get this lady working on a gamebook: http://hchom.com/2011/11/05/skyrim-week-2/
15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
I don’t think so. It makes them genuinely other things, but I think afraid is hard. Especially if you’re discounting things like Spider Monster vs. Arachnophobe, which is kind of cheap.
16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn’t write? (If ever)
The Sphinx scene from White Plume Mountain, in which the players basically fell in love with the bedraggled moggie and conspired with her to “Please Kill Master” was good times. The beginning of Age of Worms (the second Paizo adventure path) is great too, particularly the first adventure (the Whispering Cairn).
17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
The same country as your players.
18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
I like Dogs in the Vineyard (and some stuff like it) and the Mayfair James Bond RPG.
19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
Secret Wars and The Shepherd’s Calendar?
20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
I like players who invest in the basic goals and freedoms of the game. Players who want to risk their lives for treasure in D&D, or do heroic things whilst soap-opera-ing in Marvel – players who only do one thing regardless of it being contrary to the game everyone else is playing are dull. I can put up with a lot for a player who will lead the group in a pro-active sort of direction.
21. What’s a real life experience you’ve translated into game terms?
In my salad (slaad) days I once populated an entire Vampire city with loose analogues of people I went to school with, it made the politics surprisingly rich. Please note: I was no longer in school at the time.
22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn’t?
Something that can scan a pdf for hex descriptions and keywords and then dump the data out into a rogue-like video game.
23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn’t play? How do those conversations go?
I work in video game development, and there’s a lot of crossover of ideas and idea generation – however, most people glaze-over when I try to explain that the only appeal of World of Warcraft is to make me want to play a tabletop RPG.