What’s Doctor StrangeRoll you may ask? Why, it’s my gaming blog! Yes, in addition to writing and publishing novels, I play tabletop role-playing games (and sometimes other tabletop games and video games). This blog is about writing, but I see no reason not to redirect you to Doctor StrangeRoll if you’re curious about what I play.
My games tend to not be particularly theatrical, so the compliments I get are probably a little more low-key than you get watching some of the more popular live-play videos. Plus, as long as everyone is laughing and engaged, I don’t need specific compliments to know I’m doing well, so just a “good game” or a fist bump after a particularly cool encounter is enough for me.
There’s two ways to answer this: my “next game” being the next time we get together to play and the “next game” being the next adventure campaign I’m going to run.
The next time we get together to play, the plan was to continue our Tomb of Annihilation campaign. We’re only about eight sessions in, so there’s still a lot to discover and no one has died yet, despite it’s meat-grindery reputation (some of which could be attributed to differences in play style; I don’t particularly enjoy adversarial games). However, due to a player absence, the plan has changed, and we’ll once again play the Barbican Bastards in our Blades in the Dark game.
If you want to know about the next campaign I’m going to run, well, that’s too far off for me to have anything set in stone. I’ll probably take a break after Tomb of Annihilation so we can all play some Blades in the Dark (so I can actually play instead of GM). I might be in the mood to run sci-fi after that (maybe Star Wars D6) or a series of short, one – two session games using some of the new RPGs I’ve acquired. Heck, maybe by then Western RPG will be out and we’ll get some cattle rustling action going. Maybe Pulp Cthuhlu or Masks of Nyarlathotep (unlikely since most of my group is not enthused about Call of Cthulhu).
I’m not sure what’s meant by “a tricky RPG experience.” Is it one where the scenario was loaded with puzzles and “gotchas!” that require more player skill than character abilities? It is one where you later found out the GM was a horrible person, but you enjoyed the game at the time? Is it one where you generally expect the game itself to be a total train wreck and you hate the system, but the GM manages to pull off an amazing game regardless?
… I just don’t know.
I have no answer for this one. This is not something I’ve ever experienced as a player. As a GM, I don’t feel my “failures” with regards to rolls or whatnot are really failures so much as they are moments for the players to really shine. My only real failures as a GM are when I go away from a session thinking “I could have done X differently” or “I really dropped the ball on that one.”
Back when I started, playing D&D meant little more than going through dungeons, killing monsters and taking their stuff. Sure, we played all the standard modules over time, but still, they were little more than choose-your-own killing order. Eventually, we started paying attention to the story and actually interacting with NPCs as more than just vending machines for selling our loot.
These days, when I write adventures for my group, I try to make sure there’s at least as many social encounters and skill challenges (not to be confused with the skill challenge mechanic from D&D 4E) as there are combat encounters. I’m certainly more than willing to roll with the group when they decide to use clever tactics and their characters skills to avoid a combat (or spend time planning a way to totally obliterate the encounter at little risk to themselves).
I normally don’t go for wild concepts. Sure, I’ve played a misanthrope halfilng druid, or sex-crazed sharpshooter criminal, but nothing too out there. The wildest concept I’ve ever had at my table, though? It was when I was running D&D 4E and one player floated an idea for a replacement character should his PC die that made me decide to try to keep him alive no matter what: A Vampire Pixie Paladin.
I’m sure there are all sorts of meta-game reasons why that’s awesome, but as I have a visceral reaction to vampires (they’re parasitic monsters and thus shall they ever be treated as such in anything I write), I just didn’t even want to deal with that level of cheese.
The wildest character name I’ve ever come up with that wasn’t a joke name (like Gristle McThornbody the dwarf or Wond-R-Boy for Paranoia) is my Tycherosy Hound for Blades in the Dark: Uxorious Gethsemane-Prince, the Crimson Crow, a member of the Barbican Bastards… who is currently resting after being stabbed repeatedly during our last heist. At least he lived.
Gaming has been a part of my life for so long, I’m not sure I can accurately guess what things would be like without it. I started playing D&D in 1982 when I was 8 years old. All of my friends I met through gaming or gaming conventions. I’m writing fiction because of gaming. It’s been part of the constant background of my life for so long, I don’t think I would recognize a life without gaming.
Over on my gaming blog, Doctor StrangeRoll, I’ve been participating in the fifth annual RPG-a-Day celebration.
Starting tomorrow, I’ll have those posted here, too. In the meantime, you can get caught up over at Doctor StrangeRoll:
Week One: WHAT…
… do you love about RPGs?
… do you look for in an RPG?
… gives a game “staying power?”
Most Memorable NPC?
Favorite Recurring NPC?
The Ballad of Twilight Dungeon
- @OrcsUnlimited As far as I know, mine was built by humans. #rpgchat https://t.co/9rA37ND1T4 9 hours ago
- Greedy Andromeda! First Perseus, now the Milky Way's sibling! twitter.com/BadAstronomer/… 13 hours ago
- @Serok42 It's tempting since I have nothing on a imminent deadline (just stuff I need to try to have finished by...… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 13 hours ago
- Also, when the bookcases are up, we can finally finish hanging the rest of the art. Then the interior will be well and truly FINISHED. 13 hours ago
- Once the bookcases are up, then dozens of boxes in the garage can be emptied. Once the boxes are gone, the shelves… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 13 hours ago
- I was so close to staying home today so I could build all that Ikea furniture we just bought. Those bookcases won't assemble themselves! 13 hours ago
- @IndianaGeeking @AuthorSavannahG Both ENWorld and RPG.net have forums dedicated to helping freelanc… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 13 hours ago