RPGaDay: Gaming advice

Welcome to the last day of RPGaDay, hosted by BrigadeCon, where we answer: What is the best piece of advice you were ever given for your game of choice?

RPGaDay 2016

I read one piece of advice early in the hobby which I’ve applied to most of my games. I found this advice  in the first rpg system I ever owned: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness by Erick Wujcik.


In the book, they describe how the GM role is like being a director for a movie with a significant change. You have an unlimited budget. You want Leslie Jones and Bruce Lee to show up in your game then bingo, you have them. You want a special effect of an immense volcano which will spew out armies of demons? You describe that in your game. You want the antagonists to steal a five-story bank vault using a dragon? You ask yourself, how many dragons will you need and then when the protagonists are in the bank vault for their own heist, you start playing with their sense of gravity.

Knowing that my budget was unlimited, I unleashed some far fetched and strange things in my game. When I babysat kids at as teen, I ran TMNT and 2 kids were playing mutant poodle body builders. I recall a scene where the army was trying to capture then and tanks were sent. The mutant poodles jumped on those tanks and started punching holes and dents. In a movie, this could prove expensive but not in a rpg. I love that aspect of rpg where you can let your imagination go wild.

As a side note, I met Kevin Eastman this year and got him to sign my TMNT & Other Strangeness book. I have many strong feelings with that game as it formed my core of GMing. I was doing it while going to babysit. If you are considering babysitting, I highly recommend you bring a game and offer to run it for the kids. You can practice your craft. Also, kids can have fun and you’ll probably get repeat business. I did as kids wanted to tell more stories with their characters.

What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten or given for any game? How do you apply it for other games?

RPGaDay: Ideal game room

Welcome to the penultimate RPGaDay, hosted by BrigadeCon. Today’s question is: Describe the ideal game room if your budget were unlimited.

RPGaDay 2016

With unlimited budget, I can easily go wild with my ultimate game room. I’ll definitely go into the fanciful. This game room will be to give an eclectic gamer like I a wide experience.

The game room will have a library with every book and game product for all the games that ever was and ever will. I will have them in various formats. I’ll have the original physical format, the digital format, and a format which makes the book either easy for reference or to learn depending which the original lacks. This library will be constantly organized with a GPS system to direct you to the right play to get the game you wish to play.

The size of the gaming space would be fully and utterly malleable. You could fit a small group to having a huge convention within the space. Additionally, the space could be modified to fit the group’s taste and needs. If you are holding a convention and a group wishes a private space for their game then the location can provide it. The group requires accessibility tools then the location generates it. All the needs of groups would be provided.

The space would an inclusive space but won’t include everyone. Those who hate or wish to discriminate folks or even bully then won’t be invited. The hater will be excluded. This is meant to be a place to play games and have fun. A place where if there’s a game you enjoy, you will find it. On the slim chance that the game you wish to play has no one who wants to play then you will get highly advanced artificial intelligences to play with you. Mind you, the game will will try to bring you to a group to play the game you want. How does it it do that?

This ideal game room will occupy all points in time in a simultaneous and individualistic way. When you enter the room, it will bring you to the temporal point where others who wish to play. You can play as long as you like and when you get out, no time has passed for you since you are brought to the same time as you left. What about your own personal time? The room moves very fast in space to be able to occupy everywhere so everyone’s personal time is slowed to a standstill. Thus you are practically immortal while within the room. And due to the timing to play games, you may play with your past or future self.

That would be my ideal and fanciful game room. What is yours? Is yours more grounded in the current reality? Will it allow you to play ALL THE GAMES?



RPGaDay: Location, location, location!

Today, on day 29 of RPGaDay, hosted by BrigadeCon, we look at locations: If you could host a game anywhere on Earth, where would that be?

RPGaDay 2016

My first instinct is wherever my friends are. They are a fun group and we can have fun times. Now, let’s make them mobile and move them to anywhere on Earth.

There’s a popular Canadian line from a TV show known as The Friendly Giant which says “Look up! Look way up!” but for my location, you’d have to reverse that. You’d have to look down but not underground rather under the surface of the water. You’d have to look in the ocean for one of those underwater locations with a large mirror in the back where you can see the ocean life.

I enjoy underwater life. As a youth, I was fascinated with Jacques Cousteau and his undersea adventures. I loved looked at the undersea pictures. As I grew older, I still maintained this attraction to undersea life. One of my favourite anime is Nadia: Secret of Blue Water which involves Atlantis, Captain Nemo and his Nautillus. For rpgs, I’ve run and enjoyed Terra Incognita where you follow the NAGS (National Archaeological Geographical and Submarine) Society where they travel underwater to various locations to resolve issues of the secret world.


I’m still fascinated with Atlantis. In fact, I have notes for a Terra Incognita campaign where Atlantis and their descendants are involved. I would love to run such a campaign in the a large chamber with a glass ceiling and windows with a Geek Chic table. Maybe one day but for now it shall be a dream.

Where would you host a game? What game would you play?

RPGaDay: Friendly surprises

This is day 28 of RPGaDay, hosted by BrigadeCon, and the question is: What film or novel would you be most surprised that a friend had not seen or read?

RPGaDay 2016

Honestly, I can’t think of a film or novel which I’d be surprised one of my friends hadn’t seen or read. We have a variety of tastes which coincide in certain aspects. I don’t feel any of the stuff which I enjoy is required reading or watching.

My favourite TV series if Babylon 5 and I know it has a cult following. For a over 20 year old show, I know it isn’t as well known as Star Trek, Doctor Who, or Star Wars. When my friend’s boyfriend stated he has a bunch of pirated science fiction TV shows on a computer and wanted to be tested on his collection, I said “Babylon 5” and he said that’s unfortunately not one he has. I found it hilarious based on his earlier proud claim. If I have a friend who hasn’t seen Babylon 5 and I feel they may be interested, I’d recommend they watch it.

For rpgs, I may have some recommended reading or watching in a game we play. This is to help get the feel and theme of the game. I don’t believe someone is required to watch or read a product to enjoy it. Honestly, if there is a game IP which I’m passionate about and I can’t convey it to other players, I’d feel defeated. I wish to show my passion for an IP and make my friends interested in it and enjoy it. I wish they go see or read the movie, tv series, or novel after we’ve played the game.

How do you treat IPs for your games? Do you have required reading or viewing for your games?

RPGaDay: Unusual locations to play

Today, on day 27 of RPGaDay, we answer: Describe the most unusual circumstance or location in which you have gamed. RPGaDay is hosted by BrigadeCon this year.

RPGaDay 2016

The strangest location I’ve ever played a game was on a stage in front of an audience. When did this happen? In April 2016 during Capital Gaming Expo.

I was contact by the organizers of the event to be co-GM to a celebrity. One of my friends, Jason Pitre, was an organizer of the convention and suggested me as a good candidate. The celebrity GM was the legendary Ed Greenwood, the creator of the Forgotten Realms. He was going to run an adventure for lucky group of donors through Skype. The need an assistant who knew the rules of the game system, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition, and would be able to take over as GM if there was technical difficulties.

I found it fascinating experience. I had met and spoken to Ed before either randomly or through interviews for the Tome Show Book Club. I never actually played with him before. Also, I was on the stage with others which was interesting experience to have.

We got a small crowd in the audience. I answered rules questions from players. We even had one player who never played a rpg before and was a fan of Ed Greenwood’s books. Most players had never played AD&D 2nd and I gave them a quick overview. The game didn’t require a detailed lesson of the game. Ed likes to run his game light and this event was just 2 hour long.

Luckily, there were no technical difficulties with the Skype connection. Ed managed to run a wonderful game and kept the action flowing. It was fascinating seeing him work. Due to the short time slot, the adventure had to be linear and one of the players was great of jumping and leading the party on this adventure.

What wonderful and unusual times have you gamed before?

RPGaDay: Hobbies match

On day 26 of RPGaDay, hosted by BrigadeCon, the question was: What hobbies go well with RPGs?

RPGaDay 2016

As rpgs are a creative pursuit, they go well with other creative hobbies. You can gain alot for your rpg by consuming and creating media of various types.

When you spend time reading, you get ideas and inspiration for your game. You get to witness characters and see story structure. Story structure is important in rpgs and every genre has their own twists on structure. Additionally, you will get to read the tropes for the genre you play. If you are like me, you enjoy a variety of genres and wish to try different games. I find it worthwhile to try reading a variety of genres and material. It helps widen your breadth of knowledge to bring into a game.

Another media which helps with rpgs are movies and TV shows. You will get a different thing from a movie compared to a TV show. Most movies are done in 2 hours and you get a complete story. This gives you ideas on how to structure a one-shot or convention scenario. For TV series, as they usually have recurring characters, you get structure for doing campaigns which can either be episodic or with a continuing story through the campaign.

Writing is a great hobby which mixes well in rpgs. You get to develop characters for use in your games. You can details events which happened. You can even add to your setting with historical titbits. If you enjoy poetry, you can write songs, poems, or prophesies which add culture to your games. For contemporary games, you can delve into journalistic writing to help provide hooks.

Drawing and cartography are useful creative hobbies in rpgs. They can help provide handouts for the group. Other crafts can help you create stuff to give to your group as inspiration.

If you are a foodie, you can find meals which evokes cultures in your rpg setting. You’d be able to organize feasts for your group and get them in the proper atmosphere. Another hobby to help atmosphere is music. Listening to music can be very relaxing and inspire your games.

In conclusion, rpgs covers a wide area. Almost any hobby can be found some way to help your games, however minor.

What hobbies do you have? How does it help your games?

RPGaDay: Good characterisation

It is day 25 of RPGaDay, hosted by BrigadeCon and the question is: What makes for a good character?

RPGaDay 2016

In media like novels, film, tv shows, and other prepared performances, you get the ability to form a character which you control how it will be presented throughout the story. While working on the character, you will make changes to that character through the editing process. Once the product is complete, your character is set and thus it easier to make a good character. You don’t have such for a role-playing game.

In a rpg, you are performing and developing your character as you play. You can establish a basic framework of the character at the start which will change as you play. This is a good thing. Most RPGs are all about change. You have a set parameters of your character and you modify it as you play and/or you change the game environment by your decisions. With that in mind, a good character is one which helps to bring about this change.

Now, you don’t want all sorts of game. If you bring entropic change then you will have a chaotic mess in the end. While destructive action can be fun in one shots, you will find it difficult to sustain it in the long term play. The game Fiasco engages in fun destructive play as your characters makes poor life choices and events spiral out of control. The game is designed to being one-shots. Posthuman Pathways is another fun one-shot where you de-construct a character from have four distinct traits and you lose one. In my experience from Posthuman Pathways, you start with decent characters and end up with despicable alien characters. I have played a game where my character was a jerk at the start and ended up being a strangely decent character.

In long term play, you wish a character which builds to the story. A good character will wish to form relationships with other characters. You will want to form goals to accomplish over the immediate goal of survival. You character might wish to change the environment by building something or altering the status quo. A good character will have character development  which can be gaining power as most rpgs do it or personality development.

You can have an editing process in your rpgs. I do it in my game. If someone tries a character and a mechanical choice doesn’t work how they felt it should, we will change the character. For ex: Erica was playing Medrash, a dragonborn runepriest of Bahamut. The runepriest fits best for support characters and as Erica was playing Medrash, she wasn’t enjoying the mechanical role. She was trying to do stuff with Medrash which the game was fighter her. Erica is very enthusiastic player who enjoys actions and damaging stuff. She needed a character which encourages that. We talked about the core stuff which Erica liked to keep of Medrash. She wanted to stay a dragonborn and divinely attached to Bahamut. She wanted to stay in plate armour. This left her with paladin and blackguard. Due to her aggressive site, she chose blackguard. We remade her character with those rules and we describe Medrash as a paladin with rage issues.

Thus, a good character develops over time. You will starts with a rough concept and as you play, you will shape them. In the end, you will have a great character with stories to share with your group.

What do you do to help develop a good character?