Hardcover, softcover, digital, what’s your preference?
I’m a huge fan of electronic books — portable, carry on multiple devices, searchable, easy to store. But sadly electronic RPGs have not always kept up with modern technology — large format RPGs with multiple columns are very poor for iPads and useless for my Kindle. I’m not at all satisfied with my Feng Shui 2 pdf since it’s not printer-friendly and not tablet friendly either. Some publishers are getting it — Kevin Crawford’s recent releases of Sine Nomine titles have included epub, and a lot of small press publishing is in digest format which is well suited to the tablet (e.g. LotFP).
The main value of electronic books are getting hold of OOP copies. These days I’m going back to hard copies, a lot of PoD. Right now I’m waiting for a softcover copy of Courtney Campbell’s Perdition (with illustrations by Russ Nicholson, woo!).
What aspect of RPGs has had the biggest effect on you?
Aside from all the friends I’ve made — more numerous and diverse and for longer than any other hobby — the thing RPGs have helped with is social confidence. This in turn has helped leadership and facilitation skills. There’s a reason why role-playing is used in business and leadership training. It puts you in a challenging situation, with identifiable win or lose conditions, but without the risk. I’ve used it as facilitator, interviewer, and trainee.
Being a player helps you learn active listening, lateral thinking, and social skills that you otherwise wouldn’t try out because the stakes are too high. Being a GM encourages you to think about the stakes of a situation, the consequences of success or failure, and even long-term scenario planning.
Of course you can get those skills elsewhere, but if you think about it roleplaying exercises a huge range of creative muscles. In fact that’s true of games generally. Games make great martial arts warm-ups, teaching a whole lot of complementary skills whilst making you sweat.
Role-playing is good for you, and games are good for you.
Most amazing thing a game group did for their community?
We lost one friend to cancer back when we were all in our mid-20s. So my friends organised the Gold Team games, which were a set of semi-competitive rpgs (a tournament I suppose) where we paid for entry, and the proceeds were donated to the charity.
We lost another friend much more recently. She’d been at the heart of our wider gaming family since the start. In her memory one of my friends ran a total of 100k over several races to raise money for mental health charities.
The activities for charity are very nice, but it’s my friends that are amazing.