With my daughters moving into apartments for student teaching, Gen Con online, fall semester at Taylor University starting early, and a pandemic, I knew I wouldn’t have time to respond to #RPGaDAY2020 every day, so instead I am posting my responses here all at once. Another year of introspection and pondering through these amazing lists of random prompts. Sorry if the randomness throws you off. Just relax and enjoy my stream of consciousness regarding my RPG hobby.
In the BEGINNING, my first few years of my fledgling RPG hobby begin with (in order) Villains & Vigilantes, AD&D 1e, DragonRaid, Star Frontiers, Paranoia, Price of Freedom, GURPS Autoduel, Palladium Fantasy, Champions, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness.
After an RPG hiatus, I returned to the hobby but there had been a CHANGE in my interests. I wasn’t interested in game systems, rules, and mechanics as much as I was storytelling. And I continue to lean more and more toward more rules lite systems with lots of storytelling and player interaction.
A THREAD throughout my gaming hobby has been friendship. I have met so many amazing people via the RPG hobby, and a majority of those meetings have resulted in long-term friendships. Some of those RPG related meetings have become my best friends for decades. We have watched each other’s families grow, careers change, and been there for each other in difficult times.
I have this VISION someday of me in a retirement home listening to 80s rock music and playing RPGs and boardgames.
Like many of us, I must pay TRIBUTE to Gary Gygax for starting this amazing RPG hobby and giving me decades of memories and strong friendships.
Twice, I have taken my roleplaying hobby on camping trips. It is a unique experience rolling dice in a FOREST, much different then sitting around the table at your house. I really need to do this again sometime, it has been way too long.
I have a COUPLE in my current gaming group that just got engaged. You know who you are. Congratulations! I am so excited for the two of you.
My RPG hobby has had a little SHADE thrown over it at times, it has not always been wonderful. I choose not to dwell on those times, but will discuss them in small groups when it is appropriate.
My RPG characters tend toward the LIGHT as I prefer to play heroic and chivalrous characters. So many superheros, paladins, knights, clerics, law enforcement, war heroes, rebel fighters, etc.
I so desperately WANT this pandemic to be over so I can game again face-to-face with my friends and family.
I always have a STACK of RPG books, character sheets, reference books, dice, and other hobby related items stacked on my desk in my home office.
My MESSAGE to those considering trying the RPG hobby…DO IT! Try it out. Think of it like a live action video game or an interactive movie. Don’t be afraid of the rules, the dice, or the history people have with the hobby. Just relax and have a fun time.
With all that has been happening in the world and my life, I could use some REST. Normally I would say being wth my gaming group is restful, but my mind is all a jumble these days and creative energy is hard to come by. I am currently taking a hiatus from my RPG campaigns for a couple months to get the school year started and to unwind a bit.
For me, a BANNER gaming day has my gaming group at my house. We enjoy a meal together and talk. Then we clean up the meal and set up the table for an evening of roleplaying, full of laughter and adventure.
In a shadowbox FRAME on my wall I have the Judges’ Spotlight ENnie Award my students and I won for our Call of Cthulhu RPG scenario, Refractions of Glasston.
When I am at my best as a game master, I am a very DRAMATIC storyteller. I really enjoy getting into the non-player characters, describing the scene in detail, and weaving an impromptu tale that reacts to the responses of my players.
My COMFORT in RPGs is as the storyteller. I much prefer to be the gamemaster than I do a player.
I MEET so many amazing people through my gaming hobby: working a booth at Gen Con, students hearing that I am a gamer and coming to chat with me, classes I teach in game studies, and via conversations started by the D&D patches I have on my backpack.
The TOWER in the AD&D Dungeon Module L1 The Secret of Bone Hill is one of my most run locations ever. I have used the L1 as a sandbox numerous times to start campaigns and variants of that TOWER map for many an impromptu one shot.
My guess is this is the same for most of you who are game masters, your players love to INVESTIGATE so many random directions that you did not expect. I am constantly having to determine on the fly what is in some random barrel, cabinet, car trunk, abandoned building, etc that I had expected just to be part of the background description. Keeps me thinking on my feet.
I had to decide not to PUSH myself this fall. As much as I want to be gaming with my friends (online or in person), it was just becoming to much to balance with start of the semester and daughters moving to campus. I had to put my RPG hobby on hiatus for two months to focus on life.
The RPG most on the EDGE of what I might enjoy running or playing is Good Society: A Jane Austen Role-Playing Game. We haven’t tried it yet as there just has not been the right timing. My family really enjoy Jane Austen movies, so we were willing to give this a try someday.
Serious gaming is ok, but I have to admit I like it when the HUMOUR starts flowing and the game falls apart in laughter. Whether it is a bad pun that just fits the moment perfectly, the results of a roll that are hilariously bad, or just good old roleplaying and storytelling that lends itself to humor. Gaming to me is about having fun, so I am find with humour in even my most serious campaigns.
“Do you pull the LEVER?” So many memorable gaming moments have begun with that statement in RPGs.
When I think of STRANGE, one RPG comes instantly to mind. Not because it is that weird (well ok, it is slightly) but that word and all my fond memories of playing it go together. That RPG is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Some Strangeness. Still have that book and would love to get it to the table again with modern gamers. I used to play that so much back in highschool and early college, then the game has sat since then. How strange.
If I could ask a FAVOUR of all your game masters and storytellers. Pick a simple RPG and run a one shot or two for non gamers at your church, local library, after school program, Lion’s Club, park picnic table, etc. Introduce the hobby to people who have never tried it before. I have done that a few times now and loved it every time!
Is this pandemic CLOSE to being over? I am ready to go back to gaming with my friends face-to-face.
Back in high school, I once ran a solo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness adventure while taking a RIDE with a friend in the back of a pick up truck with a camper top. We played on the way to and from our camping trip. It was bumpy as all get out and crazy to keep the dice steady but we had fun.
Sometimes I wish there was a PORTAL like in the Saturday Morning D&D Cartoon that could whisk me away to the fantasy and sci worlds I have gamed in over the decades.
So much of my EXPERIENCE playing and running RPGs has made me a better person. Math, organization, confidence, research, leadership, notetaking, patience, speach, improvisation, sharing, creativity, and more!