On Mondays I post interviews with friends about all kinds of gaming topics, usually about an early gaming experience with a particular game or a setting that someone is passionate about.
If you have any comments, please feel free to post them in the comments of the interview’s blog post.
Here they are, from most recent down to the first:
“I don’t think playing a thief was spectacularly different from playing a fighter or magic user in the game, but this was a game and character that stood out from any of the other games and characters I had played on my brother’s Nintendo. It was a character type that rewarded preparation, planning, puzzling things out, caution, and a bold move at just the right moment – a manifestation of my personality type like I hadn’t experienced in a game before.”
“When the new fatima, Deborah, rose from Joan’s ashes Mo started dancing around the room chanting “Debor-AH, Debor-AH!” until we almost got kicked out of our hotel. The other players didn’t chant so much, but (other than Josh) were all in tears.”
“Differences, shmifferences. The goals are very similar, but, yes, the roads there are pretty far apart. These are groups of folks with great, differing design aesthetics who come from some of the same principles and end up with vastly different games.”
“When I was working on the 3rd edition of Dragonlance I had a local group of players who were of varying degrees of familiar with the setting. Amanda Valentine was in the group and early on decided just to play a fighter since it would let her just get on with playing the game and not worry about spells and other things. As it happens, her character Katja developed into one of the campaign’s most heroic and fleshed-out PCs. She grappled a blue dragon and forced it down to the ground, breaking its neck, with some lucky dice rolls. It was kind of a shock to the whole table.”
“My prior character, along with another at the table, had died in an unceremonious fall through a pit trap, INTO WATER, and they both died instantly, so this new cleric was “found” with the other new character as the original troupe made their way deeper into the dungeon. I had a whole story in my head about how he got there, who he was before he was stuck there, why he was a cleric, everything. Two sessions later, in an attempt to be heroic (he was Lawful, naturally) and save one of his rescuers from a Hobgoblin (not as scary as the Stirges we’d just encountered, by way capable of killing the hell out of any of us), he took a fatal blow – just one! – and was a goner.”
“Mainly, we did sprawling, picturesque travel/adventure yarns in the vein of Jack Vance meets Conan meets Indiana Jones, which is really where all that crazy material points you, I think. The characters rose from petty mercenaries to princes, warlords, and inter-dimensional explorers. I always love a good dungeon crawl, but dungeon games weren’t like the books I was reading. Talislanta gave us that sweeping, alien kind of adventure fantasy that I loved in A Princess of Mars or The Demon Princes.”
“I love that Greyhawk is the home to High Fantasy in all of its colors and flavors. I like that the Great Kingdom is decayed and awful. I like that there are places called Rel Mord, the Scarlett Brotherhood, and Ket. I like that there is a fantasy democracy called the Yeomanry. Greyhawk in the original boxed set is such a rich tapestry of what this game could be if you don’t go the Forgotten Realms route.”
“There is an assumption of realism throughout, even though the gloss is space fantasy. This realism extends to space travel, which is relativistic until the hand-wavey FTL kicks in (and even that is reined in by hard and fascinating limits). It also extends to planet and system design and fighting, on every scale from the shoving match to cracking planets in half. You can compare this approach to, say, 1976′s Metamorphasis Alpha, just to see the gulf in design approaches. Traveller doesn’t always succeed but at least it tries. It is serious.”
“But the Psionics Handbook really inspires me fictionally. The way it’s written makes my mind wander in fruitful ways!
So I often go back to the Psionics Handbook as my guide for how to inspire.”
“Now, though, on the eve of 2013, I’m thinking differently. You don’t make change with guns anymore. You make change with communication.”
“The biggest thing I learned that’s broadly applicable to gaming in general, I think, is that that getting validation for ideas is as important as having cool ideas in the first place. There was nothing worse than spending a ton of time on an awesome post and seeing it sit there with no replies. The positive lesson for me was to find things to celebrate in others contributions, which improved everyone’s experiences.”