Here are my answers for #RPGaDay 2016
for the first ten days of the month.
Unless otherwise specified, I am limiting answers to "after GenCon 2015".
1. Real Dice, Dice App, Diceless: How do you prefer to roll?
Real dice for mechanics involving dice, though I will play some card based games, and I'll use apps occasionally.
2. Best game session since August 2015?
If this does not include August 2015, then Brendan Conway's Masks game at the 2015 Metatopia, followed by Dreamation 2016's Fall of Magic and Fellowship. If it does include August 2015, then I add GenCon 2015 sessions: Morgan Ellis's SW FAE, Clockwork: Dominion's "In for a Penny", the Luther Arkwright game where Josh and I played John Steed and Emma Peel, Scott Acker's run of Don't Rest Your Head's "The Bad Man", and Todd Furler's Unknown Armies game "Luciano Fernandez, Demon Hunter".
3. Character moment you are proudest of?
Ask me tomorrow and you will get a different answer. Today: In "Highland Spirits" for Clockwork: Dominion on Saturday morning at GenCon, when the PCs were giving a sidhe lord gifts that had meaning and story, I pondered my character's possessions, listed on the sheet. This was a con artist, with calling cards in several names, male and female. I decided that would be the gift and said, in character: I have been all these people.
It wasn't until today that I realized how very appropriate that is for a roleplaying game at GenCon.
4. Most impressive thing another's character did?
This is the hardest of the first 8. So many good gamers! I'm going with two:
At Dreamation, in Fellowship, Tony Lower-Basch was playing The Halfling, and Michael McDowell was playing The Heir, whose people had ancestral memories in their minds going back many generations. Players create bonds between PCs by answering preset questions.
For the Halfling, this was: I once told a lie so good Delphine _still_ thinks it's true: Halflings are just the first step down. There are quartrlings and eighthlings. You'll never see them although they live in your cities.
And the Heir's player immediately responded, as if stunned by the realization: And I don't remember them so it must be true!
Thursday at GenCon 2016, one player in the Clockwork: Dominion scenario "Witch Hunt", a black man, demonstrated how to play a bigot, prejudiced against folks with inhuman features and powers, sure, but more prejudiced against a half-Indian half-British man, in such a way that:
*No one was made to feel inappropriately uncomfortable. (Appropriate discomfort is, well, appropriate.)
*No direct ethnic slurs were used.
*Indeed, nothing intended to insult anyone in character was said; rather, sincere statements intended by the character to be complimentary were made.
*The character never acted against the group.
*The player did not, IMO, hog the limelight, but made sure to hand it off / pass it around.
*The player did not bring the plot to a halt. In character banter did slow things down a bit, but that was all of us having fun, so far as I could tell.
*The player acted to move things along. Granted, this was not always in the optimal direction from a tactical or strategic point of view, but he was good about allowing the character to be reined in and redirected.
*And, with all that, it was always very clear that this was a racist man, and that the character's unfortunate attitudes were not endorsed by any of us, including his player.
This is a very tricky thing to pull off. Real world issues and learning experiences aside, although these are not irrelevant, I need to remember this the next time I play a character whose prejudices are a substantial part of what he is, and I need to remember this as an interesting option when playing a Slytherin.
5. What story does your group tell about your character?
... I have no idea. I do a fair bit of the gming.
6. Most amazing thing a gaming group did for their community?
Double Exposure may not technically be a gaming group, but it has raised the bar in outreach and making conventions as accessible and safe as possible.
7. What aspect of RPGs has had the biggest effect on you?
The community: being able to trade ideas and learn, as a gm, as a player, as a writer, as an editor, as a member of a varied community. Apart from local groups, this probably started with Alarums & Excursions, edited by Lee Gold.
8.Hardcover, softcover, or digital? What is your preference?
Softback and sturdy, with digital loaded simultaneously. I do like lays flat binding.
9. Beyond the game, what's involved in an ideal session?
Being on the same page as the other gamers. This allows for flexibility and improvisation, but also for building on what each other does. A comfortable gaming space, but not so comfortable folks doze. Food is optional, but liquid is not. A meal after the game or other post game decompression activity can be good. Wrapping to a good resolution or cliffhanger. Respect. Remembering details, but not being stuck on them.
10. Largest in-game surprise you have experienced?
As a player:
A. In Aviatrix's Eternal Lies game, there were two (and these are non-spoilery, being specific to her game): Discovering my PC had a sister (sort of) and that the sister was (possibly) the actual Chosen One, and learning the my PC was not (any longer) in her own body, but rather, in a body built of the stuff of dreams. For all practical purposes it was real, just not the body she'd been in for the last several years.
B. In the Dreamation run of Witch, a violent standoff being broken by another PC committing the murder I'd half expected my PC to commit. It worked much better that way. Possibly also misunderstanding a player's goal with a scene, but I'm not sure there. My PC wasn't in that scene (and didn't belong in it).
C. The motivation of the villain in the GenCon Clockwork: Dominion game of "Witch Hunt".
D. How utterly delightful Dread: Gremlins with the "British servants in a mansion, just four years before WWI" setting is.
As a GM:
A. When playtesting Gumshoe One-2-One, the person who played private investigator Dexter Raymond was full of surprises. Dex was the world's nicest private eye, serving tea to everyone, and losening a witness's tongue by pretending to be a new neighbor coming by with a casserole. Dex also used his culinary skills as a weapon when needed, spilling hot coffee on someone who took a swing at him. (This turned out to be based on a misunderstanding, and the two were reconciled.) He then set a Nazi spy on USA fascists who might have been the guy's allies. This was the big one I didn't see coming. Finally, he did a fine Yojimbo end game, setting two fairly despicable groups on each other while he beat a strategic withdrawal.
B. In the 1894 leg of Dracula Dossier, the players essentially started creating my future Conspyramid / Vampyramid. Mrs. Beatrice Campbell, aka Mrs. Pat, went to Carmilla and pointed out that the vampire had just lost a lieutenant, and hence had an opening in her organization, while the Rt. Hon. Sebastian Wimsey decided to reform Edom from within. Sure, becoming a vampire was icky, but there were other ways of becoming immortal, and Surely None of Those had Unfortunate Side Effects, right? Or, as the player put it, I can use Sebastian as a major villain when we get to the modern setting.
C. In the 1940 leg of Dracula Dossier, Hedy Lamarr decided to plant a beacon in Castle Dracula, which is in an interdimensional space. The pilot, who had mythos knowledge, was able to help her out. I saw no reason to block that, but I sure didn't see it coming.