RPGaDay: Electric Boogaloo

Look, we’re all adults here. You know I’m bad at sticking to these post-a-day schedules, I know I’m bad at it. Let’s not dwell. Let’s just enjoy the post.

What art inspires your game?

When I got into the hobby in 1980, I was living in the northern town (now city) of Fort McMurray. The only bits of gaming I could get ahold of in the first few years were the blue box Dungeons & Dragons set, the “pink box” Basic D&D box set with the Erol Otus cover, and the Dragon Magazines that the public library brought in as part of their periodicals collection. I loved that early art, especially the Erol Otus work. He had a “cartoony but dangerous” style (that’s how I described it to a friend at the time) that really appealed to me. But I also became a fan of much of the art that graced the cover and interior of Dragon Magazine. Cover artists back then would submit actual paintings, and you could tell from the quality of the work on display. Yes, there was the usual chain mail bikini art, but actually far less than people assume. Much of the art I saw in the magazine was much more interesting than that (though of course 12-year-old me also found the chainmail bikinis interesting, if impractical).

I still find that art inspiring, and I often grab a shelf box of my old Dragon Magazines down and thumb through the pages when I’m looking for some adventure or character inspiration.

What music enhances your game?

I’ve used music on and off in the last several years at my gaming sessions. While I do feel it can be a great addition at the table, it wasn’t always practical for me as the only thing I had to play it on was an older laptop. Since I was also trying to read PDFs of my session material, I sometimes had issues.

Currently, however, I’m taking a friend’s tablet for a spin in preparation of buying one for myself. I’ve found it extremely useful for music playback at the table, especially in combination with Spotify. If you search Spotify for D&D or Dungeons & Dragons, you can find any number of playlists to suit your game. And if you’re more into sci-fi or modern fantasy, you can still find plenty of great playlists to suit your needs, or even build your own. I was able to run a good playlist of music in the back ground of my last D&D game, and I found it helped everyone focus on the game a bit better, always a plus.

Which game mechanic inspires your play the most?

I answered this one on Monday over at The Rat Hole, so I am shamelessly plugging the site. Besides my articles, Dave writes some great reviews that you should definitely check out.

Which dice mechanic appeals to you?

I love dice, so it’s very hard for me to give a single answer. In general, though, I love when the dice mechanics enhance some aspect of the game, instead of just being the thing you have to stop role-playing to do. For instance, D&D 5e’s advantage/disadvantage mechanic is a simple enhancement that fits wonderfully with the existing base mechanic of the game. It allows a way for the DM to apply a reward or penalty to the situation without giving the player another bonus to track.

On a different track, the mechanics in Star Trek Adventures enhance the feeling of playing a character on a Star Trek show. They allow the player to lean heavily on either their innate talent or their Starfleet training to get a task done, and the momentum reward system supports the dice mechanic in a fluid way. Definitely worth checking out, even if you aren’t a huge Star Trek fan.

Which non-dice system appeals to you?

My favourite non-dice mechanic is still the playing cards from the original Deadlands RPG. The choice to use playing cards and poker chips in a weird west role-playing game was genius. And the fact that you used them not only for character creation but for running combat, with poker chips as in-game bonuses and experience points? Genius upon genius. I haven’t found another mechanic that so perfectly fit the game it supported than that one. It’s one of the reasons I will always play Deadlands if given the chance.

That’s it for today. Will I post a regular post tomorrow? Only the Shadow knows…!

Comments? Questions? Amusing Anecdotes?

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