Here’s Another 23 Questions Answered, Zak

GM Questionnaire

This is in response to Zak’s posting from yesterday.

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?

 My Wrath of Zombie game for Savage Worlds.  I’ve gotten quite a bit of good feed back on it and more than 2,000 downloads.  I can’t have fucked up that badly.

 2. When was the last time you GMed?

 GMed on Sunday 01/15/12 and going to again on 01/22/12.  Running a google + game w/ my friends inMontana.  I run a game every two weeks at least.

3. When was the last time you played?

 I played in a game for 6 months last year before it kinda lost steam and before that it had been 10 years.


4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven’t run but would like to.

 Due to some strange curse the cries of babies are fatal to those who hear it and the PC’s need to figure out how this happened and how to stop it.


5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?

 Take a piss, grab a beer, eat some food.  I also listen to what they are talking about ready to throw in a piece of info in case they missed it.


6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?

 I have players who bring really unhealthy snacks, and I might have a nibble or two, but generally I have carrot sticks, Iced Tea, and beer.


7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?

Not really, more mentally exhausted when I’m finished, but there is also a strong sense of elation to an awesome session as well.


8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?

In the game I am running my PC just got done killing a medusa and to blow off steam one decided to get completely sloshed.  I was excited because I got to use Jeff’s Carousing rules.  My player blacked out and woke up next to the Magistrate of Saltmarsh, a scrawny hook-nosed stern looking man.  I had planned to have his weird dementia come out later, but this was an excellent opportunity.

I had used Vornheim to generate his strangeness and came up with the fact that he creates wax effigies of his dead loved ones and dresses them up with love and care. So that is what my player woke up to…


9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?

 I think a healthy mix of the two.  If you take something too seriously it stops being fun.


10. What do you do with goblins?

 From an upcoming project:

The Goblin is always a staple in my campaigns since I first started role-playing.  I’ve loved Goblins since I read Goblins in the Castle when I was little.  They are terrifying, mischievous, with a culture beyond our comprehension.  Not because it is so vastly alien or complex, but just because it doesn’t make any damned sense.

Noisms makes a very good point about how Goblins should be portrayed in fantasy settings.  I know that Paizo did some awesome stuff with Goblins in their Classic Monsters Revisited book.

I’ve never really just treated Goblins as part of the Orc family.  Here’s how I handle it:

As long as there has been civilization there have been naughty children.  Legend speaks of children so disobedient and unruly that their parents offered them up to the Witch of the Woods hoping that the token of a bad child would grant her blessing in the future for a more obedient offspring.

The Witch of the Woods came in the shadows of the night and snatched up these children and took them deep within the forests.  There she encouraged the children’s terrible behavior, teaching them new ways of naughtiness, disobedience, and cruelty.  With each act the child took it changed them, warped their exterior to match the terrible nature within until they were mutated into what is now known as the Goblin.

While Goblin’s are not physically fierce foes it is their cruelty, complete unpredictability, and lack of care and respect for life, even their own, that frightens people and keeps them living in fear of Goblin attacks.


11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?

 The player I mentioned above is attempting to fashion a crossbow version of Sex Machine’s cock piece mini-gun.


12. What’s the funniest table moment you can remember right now?

I was running a Star Wars Legacy game and I convinced my girlfriend to play (no small feat mind you).  The group were all playing scoundrels on the fringes of the galaxy and my g/f was a Jedi out to experience the galaxy and the Force.

They were in a cantina and my g/f decided to hit on a guy at the bar.  They were talking and having fun when one of my other players says he is going to cock block her.  He walks up and scares the guy off.  Angie got so mad she used the Jedi Mind Trick (rolled a 20) for him to fuck a Barabel.  He went up talked and I had him roll a Charisma check to see how the creature reacted.  He rolled a 20.

He was hurt so bad he spend a week in a bacta tank and his crew lost respect for him.  Awesome.


13. What was the last game book you looked at–aside from things you referenced in a game–why were you looking at it?

I reread Vornheim and also just read Dungeon Alphabet, both damned fine books for any GM.

14. Who’s your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?

I really dig Wayne Reynolds, Brom, Russ Nicholson, and Frank Frazetta.  I pull a bit of inspiration from these artists.


15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?

I do at times..  They’ll see the mad glint in my eyes and know that I’m scheming something…  From just the way I make the atmosphere to having them eat a muffin that is crammed full of molars to eating at woman’s house and lifting the tray lid to see a small child who’s legs have been sliced up..  realizing what you are eating..  Yeah..  they fear me.


16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn’t write? (If ever)

I generally don’t run modules..  However I did just run Tower of the Stargazer and had a blast.


17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?

 I would like a large open space with a round table for everyone to play at.  Wouldn’t mind some bay windows and a bar.


18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?

I’d have to go with Dread and Pathfinder.


19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?

 Being an Atheist/socialist and not really digging strong divine presences in my game (demons and devils are fucking cool though) mixed with a love for the strange, weird, and macabre and OSRR.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?

 One who can let go of the “rules” and just have some fucking fun.


21. What’s a real life experience you’ve translated into game terms?

 11 years ago I almost died from a gastro-intestinal ulcer (too much Aspirin is bad).  I lost three pints of blood (came pouring out my ass in case you were curious).  I had to get a blood transfusion and spend 4 days in ICU..  I can describe the effects of massive blood loss rather well now.

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn’t?

 I’d really dig a kick ass dungeon building kit book that is simple and awesome like Vornheim.


23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn’t play? How do those conversations go?

 I’m pretty open about my geekyness!  I hide nothing.  However I bounce ideas off my girlfriend and sometimes guilt her into playing a session or two with us (she only cries a little bit).  She listens to my ideas and offers her own clever take which helps me see shit differently.


23a.  My girlfriend will play for me, but it is not something that she would seek out and enjoy on her own.  She is a very strong closet nerd and that is something I have to be wary about.  We’ll be playing or watching a “nerd” movie and she’ll be into it and I’ll point that out, not mocking but with excitement and glee, and she’ll clam up about it.  The other thing that happens is if I DON’T point it out she’ll get frustrated, “Didn’t you hear what I said?  I made a Star Wars reference for you.”

I WISH she was more into gaming, but obviously I wouldn’t change her.  She is really clever and can come up with some really cool shit when playing.

I think that is one of the many reasons we BOTH like the Big Bang Theory so much.  Our relationship, in some ways, has similarities with Penny and Leonard (although Angie is not vapid or simple minded, she’s getting her PhD in Toxicology for fuck sake).  However she isn’t into the nerd stuff that much and I only have a flimsy grasp on all the science jargen.


About wrathofzombie

I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn. View all posts by wrathofzombie

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