Sunday, August 30, 2015

RPG-A-DAY 2015 Day 31: Favorite Non-RPG Thing To Come From Gaming...You Folks


Playing RPGs in junior high and high school introduced me to several strangers who became my closest friends. Even now, decades later, we still stay in touch and hang out. When I got back into gaming and began this blog, I again met many strangers who became good friends. When I attend game conventions and run sessions of Thundarr, Mutant Future, Cryptworld, or whatever, I have several players who have become "regulars" who seek out my games to play and hang out with me for a few hours. Again, these folks have become friends as well. I would say that, through RPGing, I have made many, many friends over the years -- folks I never would have met or gotten to know without the "social glue" of sitting down at a table and tossing dice. So what's my "favorite non-RPG thing to come out of gaming"? It would be you folks.

OK, enough shmaltz. Let's go kill some orcs.

RPG-A-DAY 2015 Day 30: Favorite Gaming Celebrity..."Wil"


I found it amusing that this was even a category, until I began to realize just how many celebrities are now flying their "geek flag" high. Steven Colbert is a well-known Tolkien fiend and he has made it known that he loves tabletop gaming. Robin Williams was also a well-known gamer and collector (and he even named his daughter "Zelda" after the classic series). And, of course, Vin Diesel's penchant for D&D is well-documented. But I suppose my favorite gaming celebrity would be the one who brought his love of gaming into the mainstream...Wil Wheaton.

Yup, Wil has turned his love of gaming into a cottage industry. His web series Tabletop is wrapping up Season 3 with a Season 4 just announced. His new series Titansgrave spawned a new RPG and setting that he co-created and co-wrote. Wil's presence at gaming and pop culture conventions across the country is virtually assured, as he can be seen shopping, gaming, and generally geeking out just like everyone else gathered.

Wil's also my favorite gaming celebrity for one other important reason... He and I geeked out over Thundarr the Barbarian back at Gen Con 2012. Anyone with a working knowledge of Thundarr trivia is aces in my book!

RPG-A-DAY 2015 Day 29: Favorite RPG Website/Blog...Google+


Hmmm...this one is tough because my website/blog feed is huge. My "Other Blogs You Gotta Check Out" over there in the right-hand column has 130 entries at last count, and this doesn't even include the various RPG forums I frequent. Honestly, I love each site I visit, and it's hard to single out any one of them as my favorite. However, there is one site I visit several times a day that has become my de facto "favorite" as far as RPG news and conversations....Google+
Google+ appears to have become a global gathering place for gamers and RPGers worldwide. Whenever I visit, I can always count on finding an interesting conversation taking place about a gaming issue I'm interested in. Breaking news of interest is always popping up in my feed. Reviews of old games and announcements of new ones are usually popping up, and -- of course -- every blogger I follow also has a G+ presence, including yours truly. G+ has become my Daily Worldwide Gaming Resource, and I'll bet it's the same for most of you too.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

RPG-A-DAY 2015 Day 28: Favorite Game I No Longer Play...Tales From The Floating Vagabond


The game I no longer play is also one I only played once -- and that I would dearly love to play again. The game is Avalon Hill's Tales From The Floating Vagabond.

I bought the game from my FLGS back in the 90s when I first saw it on the shelf. I was already a big fan of Spider Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon series, so a comedy RPG that takes place in a wild, weird sci-fi bar setting was one I immediately latched onto. The trouble was that my home game group had zero interest in the game or the setting. Plus it was an Avalon Hill RPG, and a previous bad experience with Lords of Creation soured them on anything from AH that wasn't a wargame. So the game sat on my gameshelf, unplayed.

A year later, I attended Origins Game Fair down in Columbus and I stumbled into a game of Tales From the Floating Vagabond being run. I recall playing a singing cowboy ("Tex Warbler") with The Roy Rogers Shtick -- I could make amazing trick shots, but I could never actually shoot another person. We also had a smooth-talking cyborg janitor, a fast-talking mop salesman, and "Buck Naked" -- a time-travelling nudist. The Bartender (i.e., "GM") ran us through a fast and furious madcap romp that had us breaking into Area 51 to steal a technological artifact to stop the horrific "Genghis Prawn" -- a world-conquering shrimp (yes, the despot of the game was the actual size of an actual shrimp). It was "Monty Python: The RPG". It was funny and weird and crazy and madcap. I had a great time. And...that was it. Although my home group enjoyed my recap of the game I played, they never became interested in the game.

Yes, I'm aware of the upcoming second edition of "Tales..." and -- one day -- I hope I get to play it again!

RPG-A-DAY 2015 Day 27: Two Games Into One...Gonzo Western


Interesting question. I do enjoy games that combine two genres into a brand new category of game. For example:

Horror + Western = Deadlands
Victorian + Sci Fi = Space 1899
Sci Fi + Fantasy = Spelljammer

All good stuff. 

But one of my favorite genres (if it can be described as such) would be Gonzo. "Gonzo" is defined as "crazy, madcap, anarchistic". In other words, games that have a more comedic bent to them. I've even written at length about my love affair with gonzo games. I love games that have a gonzo attitude about them. Paranoia is my "gonzo sci fi" game of choice. Stuper Powers! is my "gonzo supers" game of choice. Ghostbusters would be my "gonzo horror" game of choice. There seems to be a "gonzo" version of pretty much every genre of RPG, except one -- The Gonzo Western.

There are a ton of "gonzo westerns" to illustrate my intent. Just off the top of my head, there's Support Your Local Sheriff/Gunfighter, The Three Amigos, Evil Roy Slade, The Villain, A Million Ways to Die in the West, The Shakiest Gun in the West, Maverick, and They Call Me Trinity/They Still Call Me Trinity.

And, of course, Blazing Saddles.

So the two game genres I'd love to see combined would be the gritty old west action of Boot Hill with the zany antics of Blazing Saddles. I even have a title for it:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

RPG-A-DAY 2015 Day 26: Favorite Inspiration For Your Game...


I play so many different games in so many different genres, that's it's impossible for me to narrow down my "gaming muse" to just one. So here is a pictorial list of what media inspires me when I'm playing or writing up an adventure:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

RPG-A-DAY 2015 Day 25: Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic...Pacesetter Action Table


There have been a lot of revolutionary game mechanics introduced to RPGs over the years: dice pools, player-directed narrative, THAC0, etc. But my favorite revolutionary game mechanic would have to be this little table:

When I first began playing Pacesetter's Timemaster and Chill back in the 1980s, I thought the Action Table was amazing. Rather than thumbing through a rulebook for every situation, everything you could do in the game could be determined by using one all-encompassing table. Skill checks, hand-to-hand melee, ranged combat, fear checks, ability checks, everything was determined using the Action Table. And since all Pacesetter games used the same Action Table, every game they produced was inter-compatible. So you could have space rebels from Star Ace time-travelling with Time Corps agents from Timemaster to fight The Unknown from Chill. (It was GURPS before GURPS.) I'm also fairly certain other table-based RPGs (TSR's Marvel Superheroes, for example) were inspired by the original Pacesetter Action Table system as well. And with new Pacesetter RPGs like Rotworld, Majus, and Cryptworld, the Action Table continues to run many of my games to this day.