#RPGaDay 13 to 16

Another few days, another batch of answers for this year’s RPGaDay!

13) What makes a successful campaign?

These questions don’t get easier, do they? I think that a successful campaign requires respect for each participant, and a willingness to go and make the game fun for everyone. I’ve always held to the belief that everyone in an RPG is a participant with one real goal: to make the game fun for everyone else. It doesn’t matter if you’re the GM or a Player, if you focus on making the game fun both in and out of character, then you’re doing it right.

I can go into more detail on this, but here’s the gist:

  • You’re part of a team of people who gather together to play through a game that’s meant to be fun for everyone
  • Being respectful is the bare minimum expectation for human interaction
  • As a participant, you are soley responsible for taking actions in or out of game that can build upon, or destroy the fun aspect of a game
  • Don’t be that guy who ruins it for everyone

14) Your dream team of people you used to game with

Dream team, huh? I think this is best answered within a context of what game we’re playing. Certain players I’ve had the honor of running for have been excellent in some games while lukewarm in others.

For the sake of this question, I’ll go for Legend of the Five Rings, my go-to for most days.

My dream team would be:

  • Silver Countess – My wife, who has been gaming in Rokugan for so long that she’s developed a sublimely nuanced understanding of Rokugani culture, magical theory and arts as to be able to set up elaborate schemes.
  • Hikkikomori – A long time player in my games whose quick wit and stunning audacity allows him to skirt the edge of dishonor and get stuff done without getting caught. A master at managing multiple falsehoods and misdirections.
  • Paulo Lapa – Another player from my Lion Clan game who knows Rokguan intimately as he was a player of the Card Game from the beginning. A student of Sun-Tzu and practitioner of martial arts, he brings another fresh perspective to the game.
  • Gelo Adrao – I’ve only run for Gelo once, but stories of his portrayal of the Mantis are Legendary. He’s relatively new to Rokugan but he’s got the vibe and cunning down pat and will make for a great addition to the rest of the team.
  • Mahar Mangahas – I’ve only run for Mahar in three games (two of which are L5R) and the man is a social monster in the truest sense of the word. His characters have a way of drawing the spotlight on themselves, and will be a great way to set the bar for the rest to participate for great in-character moments

I have no idea when or how I’ll be able to set this up, but if I ever do, I will need a video of this because it will be awesome.

I might even make it a Crane Clan game to redeem my failed campaign.

Man this is a tough question. I’ll probably assemble a different set of Avengers, ahem, players for a different game. Probably in another blog post.

15) Best source of inspiration for RPGs

My best source of inspiration for RPGs would be music. Whether they’re soundtracks or individual songs, music helps me get into the mood very quickly, and I often find myself pegging certain songs for certain moments in my games.

A prime example of this would be the “Ending Song” of my Lion Clan game where the adventures took place over the different seasons of the year:

Or this one, which was the music for a scene where a shugenja manages to lift the curse on a corrupted race of demihumans and restored them to their former pure glory.

16) Historical person you’d like in your group and what game?

Honestly I’m pulling blanks for this one. Does Leslie Nielsen count as “historical?” because he would be an absolute hoot to play with, I imagine. I’d run D&D just for the hell of it.

RPGaDay2016 #11 & 12

Powering on through with the relatively more frequent posting of articles, here we are with answers to RPGaDay2016’s day 11 and 12 questions.

#11 Which gamer of your acquaintance has had the most significant effect on your gaming?

This is a tough one. I’d like to think that as a GM you get to learn a lot about the hobby just by running for new people. Each player, from someone totally new to the hobby to the oldest veteran, brings something to the table that a GM has to learn, accept and play off from.

That said, I think the person that most influenced me to be better was the GM who killed my first D&D character in four minutes of starting a session. I was already a fledgeling GM then, and it was my first time trying the game.

My newly minted Cleric’s death was due to me playing to the character’s nature. He stopped to heal a wounded stranger in a city under attack. Suddenly a gang of levitating half-orc vampire monks with great swords rounded the corner and killed him.

I set aside my characters sheet and spent a good amount of time processing what I had just experienced. It felt wrong, and I resolved to be better than that.

#12 What game is your group likely to play next? Why that game?

At this point I’m not sure what game we’ll play next. I want to run a few games, but with my attention shot while running at home (and running after my nearly 2 year old son) it’s difficult to even fathom running something anywhere near the level of coherence that I’d be satisfied with.

That said, I’ve got a couple of games that I’ve got coming down the pipe thanks to kickstarter. Among them are Conan, Coriolis and Zweihander. I might not be able to game just yet, but give it a few years and I’ll be sitting on a hoard of games that will take a while to play through!

#RPGaDay 2016 Days 3 to 10

WOW I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! Alright, RL has me laid low for the past few days but I started #RPGaDay this year and I sure as heck will finish it. Let’s get to work.

#3 Character moment you are most proud of?

As a GM I don’t really have a lot of Character moments. That said there was one particular game where I was playing for once. It was in a World of Darkness game set in the crime-infested Thai city of Roanapur from the Black Lagoon anime. I played a corrupt cop who was on the take from the Triad.

I won’t go into too much detail about the plot, but the encounter involved me going up against a Mage. My character didn’t know exactly what they were, but he assumed that they were some sort of psychic or something. So when he had a chance, he offered the said Mage a ride to their next destination in his car.

My character feigned engine trouble, and got out to pop open the hood, holding it up with his hand rather than propping up the safety pole. He then asked the Mage knew anything about engines. Annoyed, the Mage got out and leaned over to take a look.

And that’s when the hood of the car came down. Repeatedly. Until the Mage was unconscious (and burned in a few places from the heat of various engine parts.)

The look on my GM at a mortal taking out a Mage with such a crude method was priceless.

#4 Most impressive thing another’s character did?

Here’s a question I can get behind. My favourite moment that someone else’s character had pulled off is when my wife, Silver Countess was able to dismantle my entire Mage: the Awakening session in ten minutes of play.

Granted she and the other players were plenty motivated to take down a villain that had their True Names, so they found a way to circumvent a mansion’s security staff, defines systems, and guard dogs to haul the villain to the Consilium to face justice at the hands of Boston’s Heirarch all within ten minutes of learning about the villain’s location.

It was so well done that I stopped, congratulated them and admitted that I had no other plans left for the session and needed a short break to compose myself.

#5 What story does your group tell about your character?

My group would likely want to talk about one particular NPC that they encountered during my Lion Clan only Legend of the Five Rings Campaign, Never a Dull Blade.

Shigure was the Matron of the Three Leaves Merchant House, a large and influential family of traders that worked in the Ikoma Family. Her son, however was a depraved individual who had led a mob of peasants to attack, and violate a Lion Samurai-ko, which was the opening session for the campaign.

While the team was able to deal with her son, Shigure was a cagey old woman with a longer view of revenge, and she spent the entire season tormenting the players in ways that they couldn’t predict, or defend against. She was not a direct opponent, but every time the team ran into an unforeseen difficulty that was tied to her, you could see them all itching for a chance to end this vengeful old lady.

#6 Most amazing thing a game group did for their community?

I want to commend the Makati gamers who banded together to put up a quick gaming event to drum up charity funds to help those stricken by a typhoon. It was a prototype that in turn inspired the idea of making a monthly RPG mini-convention that has been happening ever since.

#7 What aspect of RPGs has had the biggest effect on you?

I suppose the answer here is that it taught me that you really can “fake it till you make it.” Being able to portray a vast number of roles involving authority, assertiveness, cunning and brilliance has taught me to embody some of these roles. And while I’m still limited by my own abilities, being able to pull off the confidence needed to make it work in front of client goes a long way in my line of work… which is Advertising.

#8 Hardcover, softcover or digital? What is your preference?

I would dearly love hardcovers, as there’s a certain prestige to having these on hand in the Philippines. But in the context of economic realities, digital is really the way to go if you want anything beyond the more commercially available D&D.

#9 Beyond the game, what’s involved in an ideal session?

My best sessions involved a lot of talk and discussion outside of the table. Players laid out their plans, talked about their motivations and threw their theories on what the villains have in mind. It keeps interest in the game alive, and gives me more insight to the players characters that I can then use in turn.

#10 Biggest in-game surprise?

The biggest in-game surprise I’ve managed to pull off on my players is in the same L5R campaign, Never a Dull Blade. In summary, there was this massive battle involving two of the biggest military clans in the game, the Lion, and the Unicorn.

In the climax of the encounter involved a fight between the Lion and Unicorn Champions, the leaders of each faction in an honourable duel. As the player characters watched, the two leaders face off against each other…

And their Champion was struck from behind with an arrow. Before the Unicorn Champion ran him through.

This was huge because the players were expecting this to be the same as in Canon, but I figured this was the best way to hammer home the fact that they were no longer in canon territory, and that metagaming of any sort is going to be useless. Also given that they were the honourable Lion Clan, the idea that they would be betrayed by one of their number was nigh unthinkable.

The team was able to rally to a victory, but that left them knowing full well that even if they’d won the battle, the future of their Clan was suddenly in jeopardy.

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 2: Best Game Session Since Aug 2015

Huh, this is a tough one.

I’ve not really been running a steady campaign since my son was born, except for my somewhat-on-hiatus Exalted 3rd Edition game. That said, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to run quite a few one-shots over the past few months thanks to the Gamers & GMs Mini Conventions that we’ve been able to set up.

That said I think that one of the best games I’ve had this year was in playtesting the upcoming new edition of BADASS, the RPG I’d put out a few years back. In many ways it was a stress test to see if the rules still held up all this time, and if it could still be fun. Turns out it was incredibly fun and the group had to stop several times from laughing at each other’s antics.

Since it was a playtest, it was good in the way that I was able to get real feedback that I was able to use to improve the game beyond the usual, “It was good!” that doesn’t really help, even if it feels good to hear.

That said, keep an eye out for BADASS, as I’m about to announce a crowdfunding campaign for it to finance internal artwork and layout for the game. I want to be able to release the game as a Pay What You Want product, but it has to look every  bit as polished as I can possibly make it.

#RPGaDay2016 Day 1

Hey everyone, I’m back for a third year of doing the #RPGaDay thing. Today’s question is: “Real dice, dice app, diceless, how do you prefer to roll?”

I guess I’m pretty old school in that I’ve always felt much better rolling real dice. It also has a bit of exoticism to it here, as gaming dice was very hard to come by in the Philippines until very recently. As such, every die that wasn’t a d6 was rare and prized by older gamers such as myself.

These days I pack a dice rolling app on my phone if only for emergencies. I very rarely use one, but if there’s a dire need for it, I’m willing to go for it.

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