Thursday, February 23, 2012

[Reverb Gamers 2012 Master List] Question #11

Atlas Games' "Reverb Gamers" group has published a list of questions. It is available from the Atlas Games site (http://www.atlas-games.com/pdf_storage/ReverbGamers2012MasterList.pdf).I am going to answer them, one at a time.

REVERB GAMERS 2012, #11: Have you ever played a character that was morally gray, or actually
evil? Why or why not? If yes, did you enjoy it?

Yes, yes, and more yes. I like playing morally gray and evil characters, although I don't play evil all that often. These types of character are fun. It is great to get out of the "I am a selfless hero" mold and I don't like playing Dudley Do-Right very often.

To understand you need to think about comic book characters. Who do you like better Batman or Superman? I really like Batman. He is my favorite comic book character. He is interesting. He is nuanced. He is not a Boy Scout like Superman. I am not a fan of the Man of Steel.

Truly good and truly evil characters are hard to play. Morally gray characters mimic real life and are comfortable and easy to play. There is usually a touch of gray to the characters I make when I can get away with it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

[Reverb Gamers 2012 Master List] Question #10

Atlas Games' "Reverb Gamers" group has published a list of questions. It is available from the Atlas Games site (http://www.atlas-games.com/pdf_storage/ReverbGamers2012MasterList.pdf).I am going to answer them, one at a time.


REVERB GAMERS 2012, #10: Have you ever played a character originally from a book/TV/movie?
How did the character change from the original as you played? If not, who would you most like to
play?


I admit that I am not a huge fan of playing characters from other sources like movies, books, etc. I have played characters that are modeled after famous characters, but never actually played one. I am not sure that I could play such a character appropriately.


That being said, if I were going to play any famous character I would play Harry Dresden or Sherlock Holmes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

[GenghisCon XXXIII] My Savage Genghis

How do I condense thirty-six hours of gaming into one single blog post? I am not sure if I can do so in a way that does justice to the sheer awesomeness of the weekend. Twenty-eight of those hours were spent playing Savage Worlds. I loved it!

I played:
-Slipstream
-Deadlands
-Ravaged Earth
-Realms of Cthulhu
-Clint Black's Horrors of War
-RunePunk
-Necessary Evil

Every game was unique and very fun. The GMs were awesome. I got to meet some great people like Clint Black of Pinnacle Entertainment, Eloy Lasanta of Third Eye Games, and Sean Preston of Reality Blurs. They are all three amazing guys. The Rocky Mountain Savages are also awesome. The Savage Worlds players in the Denver area are some of the best roleplayers I have ever known.

It was LEGENDARY!

I can't wait until Tacticon in September.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

[Reverb Gamers 2012 Master List] Question #9

Atlas Games' "Reverb Gamers" group has published a list of questions. It is available from the Atlas Games site (http://www.atlas-games.com/pdf_storage/ReverbGamers2012MasterList.pdf).I am going to answer them, one at a time.

REVERB GAMERS 2012, #9: Have you ever played a character of the opposite sex. Why or why not?
If yes, how did the other players react?

Yes. I have done it at conventions and once at a Pathfinder Society game when I was playing a pregenerated character. I may have done it once or twice in home games, but can't recall any instances.

I admit that I am not a big fan of playing the opposite sex at the gaming table. Most of the time I see guys trying (and usually failing) to play female characters. (I rarely see females playing males.) The reason why I say trying and failing is that most of the time when a male tries to play a female the character ends up being a caricature of the female gender. It has been my experience that male roleplayers who like playing female characters do so not because it fits the character, but because they want to bring adolescent sexual stereotypes into the game.

There are some players who are successful at playing the opposite sex. I have seen people do it well. They are in the minority, however. This is one of those areas where I feel that doing it well is important. If you can't play the opposite gender appropriately don't play it at all.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

[Reverb Gamers 2012 Master List] Question #8

Atlas Games' "Reverb Gamers" group has published a list of questions. It is available from the Atlas Games site (http://www.atlas-games.com/pdf_storage/ReverbGamers2012MasterList.pdf).I am going to answer them, one at a time.


REVERB GAMERS 2012, #8: What's the one gaming accessory (lucky dice, soundtrack, etc.) you just
can't do without? Why?

I don't have any specific totems which I must have at the gaming table. I need books, dice, pencils, pens, paper, printouts of character sheets, and friends. But those are always going to be there and are necessary for the game to happen, but there aren't any special ones which I need.

I guess I am just not very superstitious.

I do prefer mechanical pencils to the standard #2 wooden pencil, but the reason is because it is inconvenient to have to sharpen pencils all the time. I also like to carry loose-leaf notebook paper with me, or a spiral notebook. It is handy to have paper for making notes during the game or for blue-noting the GM.

I want to mention something that I like to keep away from the table.

I don't like using electronics at the table. I like paper character sheets and hard-copy books. I only use real polyhedral dice. I find electronic gizmos to be way too distracting from the game for most people who use them, myself included. They get in the way of the game rather than enhance it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

[Reverb Gamers 2012 Master List] Question #7

Atlas Games' "Reverb Gamers" group has published a list of questions. It is available from the Atlas Games site (http://www.atlas-games.com/pdf_storage/ReverbGamers2012MasterList.pdf).I am going to answer them, one at a time.


REVERB GAMERS 2012, #7: How do you pick names for your characters?


I always want something evocative. Something that sums up the character's personality in one or two words for me. For human characters I usually try for something period-sounding and a little unusual. For non-human characters I now tend to use Internet name generators for the species in question.


This is perhaps the most boring question so far. I almost wish I had a longer answer...

[GenghisCon XXXIII] I will spare you the overused Shatner line

T-minus five days and counting until GenghisCon XXXIII starts. That's right kiddies, it is almost time to pack the bags and warm up the dice for 36 hours (9 - 4 hour slots) of almost non-stop roleplaying. Caffeine and sleep deprivation here I come. W00t!

This will be the fourth Denver gaming convention which I have attended, and I love them more and more each time I attend one. These are not the first Cons which I have ever attended. There were a few small Cons in college. But Genghis is the largest. (No, I have not yet been to the RPG promised land of GenCon, Indy. Which is sad for me. I will go some year. I promise.)

This time I am doing things a bit differently. Normally I would be playing more than a little bit of Pathfinder RPG. Not this time. Since I want to start saving PF for my every Wednesday night game (I will run out of things to play if I don't), I have avoided signing up for any PF slots. This means I am going to miss the specially written Venture-Captain special being prepared by JP Chapleau (http://chapleau.us/), who is the Pathfinder Society Venture-Captain for Colorado. I am a bit bummed about this because it is a one-shot which will not be repeated, but I have made arrangements which I cannot change (playtesting DCCRPG with the DCC Expendables FTW). In place of PF, I have signed up for 2 sessions of DCCRPG (one being the private Expendables game), and 7 (Yes. Count 'em. Seven.) sessions of Savage Worlds. It is going to be (as Barney Stinson from "How I Met Your Mother" says), wait for it, LEGENDARY. I can't wait. It is going to be so cool.

I have to add in one more piece of ultra-coolness. I am in 3 slots which are hosted by special guests. I am in two slots run by Sean Preston from Reality Blurs (http://realityblurs.com/) and one run by Clint Black from Pinnacle Entertainment. Like I said before LEGEND-wait for it-DARY. That is right! I am playing in two games run by the guy that wrote Realms of Cthulhu and Agents of Oblivion.

Twenty-eight hours of Savage Worlds. RunePunk, Slipstream, Realms of Cthulhu (run by Sean Preston), Deadlands, and more.

Thursday can't get here fast enough.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

[Reverb Gamers 2012 Master List] Question #6 - Part 2

Atlas Games' "Reverb Gamers" group has published a list of questions. It is available from the Atlas Games site (http://www.atlas-games.com/pdf_storage/ReverbGamers2012MasterList.pdf).I am going to answer them, one at a time.

REVERB GAMERS 2012, #6: Describe your all-time favorite character to play. What was it about
him/her/it that you enjoyed so much?

This question begs for a long and descriptive answer, so it will be presented in two parts.

In part one I described the first adventure of Gareth the one-handed thief. This was the adventure in which he lost his hand. Go read it at: http://dougkeester.blogspot.com/2012/02/reverb-gamers-2012-master-list-question_08.html.

Here is part two.

After that first rollicking adventure with Gareth had ended, I was chatting with the GM (an amazingly cool guy named Harley Stroh who writes and edits for Goodman Games). He was going to be running another playtest session later that day and said that I should play Gareth again. I readily agreed.

I had no idea what I was getting into.

When I sat down at the table for that session I was told that Gareth would be the focus of the adventure. It took place a few years after the events of the previous game. He had been given a task to take the big book of evilness, which he had acquired in the first adventure, to a specific location called "The Black Gate" on some remote island. So, the game started with me hiring the rest of the group to take me and the book to said gate on said island.

When we arrived at the island all hell broke loose. We got attacked by natives almost right off the boat. While we were fighting them the island was actively trying to swallow the book. Gareth had managed to activate some sort of charm which caused several vines to come to life. They grabbed the book and started to drag it into a chasm which was opening up on the island. As soon as he was able, Gareth jumped off the cliff after the book. Amazingly he didn't die. Nor did he die when the vines took the book into the stronghold of some giants at the bottom of the chasm. Fighting giants is not a hobby which I would suggest any adventurer take up, especially in a game as deadly as DCCRPG. However, Gareth managed to survive. He really shouldn't have.

I played Gareth like a driven maniac in the second adventure. He was obsessed with the book and was going to stop at nothing to get it back and complete his quest.

If only the rest of the party hadn't stopped him. At the end the party escaped from the giants with the book through a bit of guile, a bit of luck, judicious use of swords and other weapons, and finally a huge teleportation spell. The spell took us to the gate. Whereupon the party had fulfilled its contract and hastily captured Gareth and the book before he could use the book on the gate and bring forth the Armageddon.

The first session was huge fun, but the second session was the most amazing four hours of roleplaying in which I have ever participated. The vibe at the table was awesome. It was part theater and part group storytelling. I got into Gareth more deeply than I have ever gotten into any character before. The story took on a life of its own as we played it. It was simply wonderful.

In the end you might say it was the story, not the character that made the experience memorable. I will counter that the story and that character are inextricably linked. I relive that story through Gareth's eyes, not the eyes of a gamer roleplaying a PC. He came alive for me. He and the story live in my mind almost as if I had lived the events myself.

Here is my write-up for the adventures on Goodman's forums. The thread includes write-ups from other players who were at the table. http://www.goodman-games.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=7900

I hope that every gamer has an experience that deep and that personal at least once in their gaming career. I know that I am going to try to have another one like it.

[Reverb Gamers 2012 Master List] Question #6 - Part 1

Atlas Games' "Reverb Gamers" group has published a list of questions. It is available from the Atlas Games site (http://www.atlas-games.com/pdf_storage/ReverbGamers2012MasterList.pdf).I am going to answer them, one at a time.

REVERB GAMERS 2012, #6: Describe your all-time favorite character to play. What was it about
him/her/it that you enjoyed so much?

This question begs for a long and descriptive answer, so it will be presented in two parts. Here is part one.

Hands down my all-time favorite is also the one I remember the best. That would be Gareth the one-handed Thief. I played him in two playtest adventures for Goodman Games' DCC RPG (http://www.goodman-games.com/dccrpg.html) at a local Con (GenghisCon). He was a blast to play. First off, he was Chaotic Evil. Anything in the Evil alignment category can be difficult to play. You can't just be a bastardly prick to everyone and call your character evil. You have to be self centered to, or past, the point of being self obsessed. You have to be willing to sacrifice anything, even the other PCs to get what you want. You need to be willing to use and abuse all of the characters in the game to achieve your goals.

Playing an evil character is a signal to the GM that you intend to make the game be all about you.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. It can make for some great stories. (In this case it did, and quite well in fact.) It can also really destroy a gaming session, or even a gaming group. DCCRPG encourages colorful characters. The description of the game from Goodman himself starts off with the line: "You're no hero." Gareth was colorful and fun to play. He was motivated by profit, personal profit. Thus, he followed a group of adventurers into a ruined temple to a dark, elder god. His hope was to use them to clear out any traps and monsters without revealing himself, but that plan quickly changed when the adventurers encountered a bunch of animated skeletons. He realized that there is definitely safety in numbers. Things didn't really get interesting for Gareth until he found the book. It was some sort of evil tome which the followers of said dark, elder god used in their rituals. It also happened to have a gilded cover which was jewel encrusted. After meeting some deformed and homicidal crusaders that had been living in the ruined temple for a century (they had sacked the temple in order to destroy this dark god and had become trapped) he decided to open the book. That didn't go well. The book retaliated and tried to suck Gareth into a dark abyss. Obviously that was not going to save him (and the other adventurers if necessary) from the homicidal cultists. The group eventually achieved its goal, to get the three jewels which were fabled to be in the depths of the ruins, but the crusaders weren't going to let them out alive. (Retrieving the jewels is how Gareth lost most of his left hand and became the one-handed thief.)

The highlight of the adventure, however, was the end battle. It was 24 cultists against 4 adventurers. 6-on-1 might be doable (probably not) in a system like Pathfinder, but is definitely not doable in a deadly system like DCCRPG. Seeing that he was probably going to die, and seeing no other way out, Gareth used what Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons called  "The last refuge of a scoundrel." For the first time in his life he prayed. However, he prayed not to the god of the monstrous crusaders. No. He prayed to the dark, elder god of the temple. A god that had been all but forgotten, without followers for a century. Using the powers of this evil deity he was able to vanquish the leader of the crusaders which allowed the rest of the adventurers to kill his followers. Thus was the group able to escape the ruins and profit from the adventure.

That was an amazingly fun and awesome adventure and Gareth turned out to be a very worthwhile PC. However, that was just part one.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

[Reverb Gamers 2012 Master List] Question #5

Atlas Games' "Reverb Gamers" group has published a list of questions. It is available from the Atlas Games site (http://www.atlas-games.com/pdf_storage/ReverbGamers2012MasterList.pdf).I am going to answer them, one at a time.


REVERB GAMERS 2012, #5: Have you ever introduced a child to gaming, or played a game with a
young person? How is gaming with kids different than gaming with adults?


I often end up gaming with teenagers when I play Pathfinder Society. Does that count? Didn't think so. I really don't game with kids all that often and I have no kids of my own, so this is not a good question for me.

I will say that the times when I have been at the table with children have been fun. They seem to be a bit more free with their imaginations. I will say that it does require adults at the table to "tone it down" with certain things. Some jokes and character concepts are considered inappropriate for kids, especially in this day and age. So, those should be avoided lest the parent sitting next to the kid at the gaming table get angry. It is important to keep things civil and PG or G rated. Other than watching what is said and acted out at the table, kids are fun to game with.

Monday, February 6, 2012

[General RPG] Reviewing the Reviewer

It turns out that there is good stuff on YouTube. Who knew?

Just kidding folks.

I recently found a guy who does some good reviews of RPGs. He was linked off of the Pinnacle Entertainment Group web site because he reviewed a Savage Worlds product. I found that he reviews many of them, as well as random other stuff.

I like his reviews. Please check him out. His name is Kurt Wiegel. His show is called "Game Geeks." There is an episode list at the show's website http://gamegeeksrpg.com/episodes.html.

[Reverb Gamers 2012 Master List] Question #4

Atlas Games' "Reverb Gamers" group has published a list of questions. It is available from the Atlas Games site (http://www.atlas-games.com/pdf_storage/ReverbGamers2012MasterList.pdf).I am going to answer them, one at a time

 REVERB GAMERS 2012, #4: Are you a "closet gamer?" Have you ever hidden the fact that you're a
gamer from your co-workers, friends, family, or significant other? Why or why not? How did they react
if they found out?

 I am out and proud of it! I have never seen a reason to hide it.

My parents and brother don't really understand. They always thought I would "grow out of it." (Even though they all love card games, some board games, and even some video games. Yes, my mom loves Nintendo games.) I never have "grown out of it," and hope I never do. When I was in college I surrounded myself with gamers. We were a "family of freaks" and prided ourselves in "scaring the straights." We were kooky, oddball outcasts and we reveled in it. We took pride in being weird and different.

I grew up playing games. They are something that have gone with me everywhere I go. They are a big part of my life. I even married a gamer girl. (Let me tell you, marrying a gamer is the ultimate win!)

I am sure that some people think I am strange. Not all of my coworkers share my hobby or understand it, but they don't seem taken aback by it. I get a strange look every so often. I do fall into the trap of sometimes having to explain that when I say "gamer" I don't mean "video gamer." It is nice that the prevalence of video games has made being a gamer more accepted. It seems that being a tabletop RPG gamer still has a bit of a stigma, however. Video games won't necessarily get you strange looks, but mentioning "D&D" can.

When it all comes down to it, I don't really care if people accept that about me or not. I am what I am, and I am not going to hide it. I love my hobby. I live my hobby. I love being a gamer. I am not going to be "in your face" about it, but I see no reason not to be outspoken about it either.

[Magic: The Gathering] Mmmmm... New Card Smell...

When I was in college I was part of a large group of gamers, The "Chess and Games Club." There were like 30-40 of us active in the group at any given time. This was in the late 1990's. White Wolf was huge and so was this little card game called Magic.

To give avid M:tG players an idea, I started playing with Fifth Edition.

After graduating I didn't play much until I moved to Colorado. My friends and I played a bit with some of the new sets. like "Champions of Kamigawa." Then I stopped playing. I promised myself that I wouldn't play anymore. I thought that I had better things to do with my money... like buying more RPGs.

I really enjoyed the game, but was giving up the "paper crack" (as some people call it). I was even successful for several years.

Then a new guy started at work. We went out to lunch a couple of times last week. On one occasion, we had wings at this really great local wing shop. During that outing I found out that he is a competitive Magic player. We talked in-depth about Magic; strategies, how it has changed over the years, cards that we thought were cool, etc.

That was Wednesday...

On Friday I bought some cards...

Magic: the Gathering is an addiction that will never die. This is both a positive and a negative. It is positive because the game is fun. It is a social activity that requires getting out of the house. This makes it a good addiction to have. It is negative in that the cards can get expensive quickly and you can find yourself spending way too much to support yourself playing the game. Regardless, I can't believe how much I missed breaking open the booster packs and having my nostrils inundated with the smell of new cards. It was exciting flipping through the cards to see what coolness random fate had given me in my boosters.

I bought two "Intro Decks." In the old days we called them "Pre-constructed Decks." Each one came with a booster pack. I can't wait to play these decks. I might even try attending the "Friday Night Magic" events at my closest FLGS. I even downloaded the trial version of the current M:tG video game on my PS3. I am even planning on buying more cards.

The addiction is back. Laugh if you will. (I might if our positions were reversed, so I don't blame you.) I honestly thought I was done with this game, but I have been reminded just how much fun the game really is. I am going to enjoy it for all it is worth.