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#RPGaDay 9-12

Oh, I missed a couple of days! Sorry about that!

9: Beyond the game, what makes an ideal session?

Everyone shows up, preferably on time, and everyone contributes to the social part of the session, whether it’s bringing food/drink, setting up, cleaning up, or whatever. If it’s held at a local shop, everyone makes a modest purchase to support the store owner, and throws away their trash.

10: Largest in-game Surprise?

I ran an evil campaign during D&D Encounters (Web of the Spider Queen) in which, in the penultimate session, two of the PCs, who had been plotting together through the whole season, murdered a few of the other PCs, trapping the maguffin in the Abyss. The maguffin was supposed to be recovered and used to stop Lolth in the final session. It was a close, bloody fight complicated by the fact that things from the Abyss were trying to kill the PCs while the party member betrayed them. One of the PCs, dying, picked up the maguffin and threw it towards the closing Abyss portal, but rolled poorly and missed.

The player who had orchestrated this betrayal (with my blessing!) could see in my eyes that I had no idea what to do if they succeeded in trapping the maguffin. They were pretty far off the plot rails for Encounters anyway.

Finally, I shrugged and said “nah, you know what? Good job, team Drow. I’ll figure something out for next week. The amulet bounces off the portal and clinks to the floor just as the portal closes.”

11: Which gamer most affected how you play?

The cheater. We had a player in organized play who cheated. He’s notorious for it locally. I had multiple phone calls to Wizards of the Coast, who did nothing. He found out he was about to be kicked out of the group (the latest in a long string of games he would be booted from), and stopped coming.

12: What game is your group likely to play next, and why?

My weekly online group is likely to play Fall of Magic on Roll20 for a few weeks. We have a lot of schedule and personal stuff going on, so a system with a bit more flexibility seems like it’ll be a good fit for a while.

#RPGaDay 8: Book format

The question of the day is: Hardcover, Softcover, or Digital?

If I’m going to play the game at a table, I prefer a softcover “trade” sized book (typically 6×9), like the Dungeon World book. That’s the easiest format for me to flip through and reference on the spot.2016-08-08 16.31.10

If I’m reading and keeping the book because I love the designer, the system, or something about it in particular, I’d like hardcover. This is how I ended up with the Chuubo’s tome on my bookshelf, right next to the Burning Wheel tome. I haven’t played either game and when I do play Chuubo’s, I’m more likely to leave this on the shelf and bring the ebook to the table.

No matter what, I desperately prefer to have an ebook/PDF version of the book in addition to the print version. I travel to cons and am not interested in carrying a 30-lb book with me. I look stuff up when I’m at my desk and don’t want to trek downstairs to find the book. For all I know, I’ll move back into an RV and go vagabonding again, in which case I’d definitely need ebooks if I want to keep gaming.

I also very much prefer game books that are under 200 pages. Funny thing. If you don’t have a zillion rules for how to commit violence against each other, you can get away with a lot fewer pages.

#RPGaDay 7: Biggest Effect on My Life

I’d have to say socially, RPGs are a huge impact in my life. I am an extrovert and would probably always make friends no matter where I go. But RPGs have brought me into contact with some of the smartest people I know, and I’m grateful for those friendships and connections. Make-believe and role-playing games have also been a steady constant since I was a child, and they have utterly shaped how I grew up and the social bonds I’ve formed.

Plus, without them I’d never have met and fallen in love with my husband.

#RPGaDay 6: Most Amazing Thing a Game Group Did for Their Community

I used to run D&D organized play games at my local stores (LFR, Encounters, D&D Next, and Adventurers League). I started at one store, and moved to another when it opened up close to my work.

We had this one kid, Alexander, who was super nerdy, but dedicated. It was rare for him to miss a Wednesday night game. He was in his late teens, and worked at the Disney Store. He was a bona-fide nerd, through and through. Gentle, funny, and he always came to the games. 

When he started playing with us, Alexander struggled with the math. I don’t know if this was a lifelong challenge for him. I just know that after I asked for a roll, I would need to give him more than a few seconds to add it up in his head. He’d get it right, but it took a while.

We were patient, the GMs. We were patient because we knew Alexander wasn’t dicking around or cheating or anything. He just had a math problem.

The last time I gamed with him, he was adding numbers pretty much as fast as anyone at the table. I was on my way out as coordinator– he took over coordinating the organized play for that store a few months later.

He was also a cosplayer, known locally for his steampunk Boba Fett costume.

He died in January from a previously-unknown brain defect. He was 25 years old and had spent the previous day sledding with his family.

His mother arranged a memorial for him at the local game store, and everyone went. They came in costume and grieved with his mother (also a cosplayer) and family. At the end of the night, they crossed light sabers in an honor guard as the gamers carried his Boba Fett armor out to his mom’s car.

#RPGaDay 5: The Stories They Tell

This is still part of the “Grinding Ice” campaign, the one with Hrothgar and the unconscious Ice King, right?

I mentioned that my character, Nayala, had kind of an identity problem, right? She was a shapeshifter who had originally thought she was an eladrin. (For the record: I like secret identities. I’m a superhero.)

Anyway, she had only recently made the realization that she was not, in fact, from the Feywild. And that, biologically speaking, she was rather alien from everyone and everything she knows. This was unfortunate, and gave her something of a crisis.

Some time after KOing the Ice King, we’re hanging out in Sigil. Hrothgar’s got some kind of flirtation going with the Lady of Pain– and you do not want to flirt with the Lady of Pain! And I’m off to learn about, well, people. What’s all that about, anyway? And if I’m not an eladrin, what am I?

I fall in with some Sensates. They, uh, are very sensual. I make a date to come back “after dark” to learn more about their sect.

Later, I confide in my friends that “I… I don’t know what you people do, but I don’t think my people mate that way.”

“What do you mean?”

“With the… and the… and do you really need the hooks?”

There are very carefully schooled blank looks as Nayala’s friends all nod sagely (and Stephanie’s friends are all cracking up). “Hooks, you say…. I see.”

“Hooks” have now shown up as an innuendo in every single campaign my weekly gamers have played since then, including Space Race, Moving Forward, Owl Hoot Trail, and our new Fate campaign (we made it to session 2 before the first hook reference).

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