1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
There have been a raft of interesting little things that have appeared in my games over the years - cool artifacts, compelling NPCs, recurring locales. In the grand scheme, though, I'd be hard pressed to pick out a single one that makes me especially proud. Settings are another matter, though. I am still proud of the world building that I have done for my all of the games that I have run. But what makes me most proud with a capital "p" is my evolution as a game master. I've long considered myself to be a pretty good GM. But since I have been interacting with the RPG community at large (GenCon, Gamedays, and the OSR), I feel that I have really achieved a consistency of performance and comfort with improvisation that would amaze my younger self. I'm proud of being confident enough in my own GM skills to feel like I can offer useful tips to others. I'm also proud of the fact that a few people have actually learned something from me. That gives me the warm tinglies.
2. When was the last time you GMed?
I ran Gurps on December 17th. We have a game of BtVS:RPG scheduled for this upcoming Saturday.
3. When was the last time you played?
November 19th was a rare game of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: RPG where I was an actual player.
4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven’t run but would like to.
The player characters are apparently regular people who are thrown together and forced to survive during a magical apocalypse.
5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
I listen to what the players are talking about and write down ideas of how I to riff off of what they are doing. After that, I jot down more ideas.
6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
We almost always eat Thai food (it's the best food close to where we play). There are invariably chips, salsa, and evil brownies. If we're lucky, Pad Thai cookies.
7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
Not really, but I do feel a tremendous release after a session. The pre-session hours are still a little stressful and during the session I'm running on all cylinders. After, I just want to chill.
8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?
In our last BtVS:RPG game, my character traveled back in time 24 hours (or was it 12?) and immediately called himself on the phone. That conversation was one of my best memories as a player, ever.
9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
Not terribly seriously. My Knights of the Astral Sea game is supposed to be serious, yet one PC is a psionic cat and another is a flying monkey.
10. What do you do with goblins?
The last time they showed up in Knights, they represented an iconic D&D-fantasy humanoid monster (it was the first D&D-like world that the party had visited). In Buffy, I turned the entire party into goblins (a la Gurps Goblins) for a very funny episode.
11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
Oddly enough, the whole Chairman Meow subplot in our Knights game was inspired by Kung Fu Panda 2. I also ran an episode of Buffy that was lifted from Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
12. What’s the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
Gaptooth and the inflatable sword. Actually, the entirety of our recent Old School Hack sessions.
13. What was the last game book you looked at–aside from things you referenced in a game–why were you looking at it?
Just purchases Cosmic Patrol and I'm also enjoying the heck out of Trey Causey's Weird Adventures. I read game books because I hope to one day use them or find some interesting nugget that I can use. But I'll be some games just because I love the setting or genre.
14. Who’s your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
Otus for Basic D&D nostalgia, Tramp for AD&D nostalgia, Ian Miller for Warhammer nostalgia, Wayne Reynolds for not-so-medieval D&D, and Tim Bradstreet for World of Darkness.
15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
Alas, not that I can remember.
16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn’t write? (If ever)
I ran S. John. Ross' A Kringle In Time twice and had a blast in both instances.
17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
At my own home, with the family out of town, with lots of good food and good drinks. I have a great dining room table and it's nice to have all my crap handy. But it is not a common set-up, given that I live out of easy public transportation range and my young kids make regular games at my house impossible.
18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
Microscope and Gurps 4e.
19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
OSR Bloggers for their immense storehouse of nuts-and-bolts advice and their passion for the hobby. Indie/Story Game luminaries for really pushing the craft in interesting directions and giving me lots of new techniques to experiment with.
20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
Friends or potential friends who are committed to the shared experience of having a great time.
21. What’s a real life experience you’ve translated into game terms?
My brief time at Burning Man '98 still manages to work its way into my games, though not always in ways that my players can detect.
22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn’t?
I have this fantasy version of Old School Hack in my head that captures that old-school Moldvay/Cook D&D feel and yet plays like Old School Hack. I'm talking Otus art, quirky writing, and ability to advance to higher levels and manage strongholds.
23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn’t play? How do those conversations go?
My co-workers don't play P&P RPGs, but they play CRPGs and it's not to great a leap for them. Beyond that, though, I'll talk to anybody about games if it brings something to the conversation. D&D is mainstream enough that I rarely have anybody that reacts poorly. That being said, I have not been able to recruit non-gamers to play with us in a while.