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.
what story does your group tell about your character?
We were playing fairly high-level D&D in a homebrew setting of the GM’s, generally travelling between neighbouring kingdoms. When we settled in one place — let’s call it Fielfland — my PC decided he liked the look of the King’s daughter after blagging his way into a state ball. But she was promised to a royal from a neighbouring country called Gullivier, and she had every intention of going through it for the sake of the economic union. So what my PC did was go around the Fielfland countryside stirring up anti-Gullivierian sentiments while also claiming that fair Fielfland would be better to break away from its neighbours, who wrought terrible taxes and behaved just as they liked to Fielfland’s dismay (not really true, but it worked).
What I wanted to do was position my PC as an advisor at court, but instead the King, seeing the will of the people, chose to abdicate. Then the people immediately suggested I should marry the Princess. I also discovered that the kingdom was nearly bankrupt. It was a pretty masterful move by the GM.
So instead the whole party fled. But for months after my character was pursued through the kingdoms with posters from one Sir Ewan, one of Fielfland’s younger nobles. The best thing was that the players mocked up one of the posters for me:
Yeah, you couldn’t make it up
Most impressive thing another’s character did?
I’m not impressed by other people’s characters, I’m impressed by the players.
There’s one story I heard about a guy playing a 24 hour zombie outbreak LARP who got attacked in the shower. The GM timed out and gave him the option to get dressed a bit before resuming as a zombie; he said no thanks, and just shambled about in a shower curtain with his bum out. That’s commitment.