04 October 2016

Owen KC Stephens's 100 Questions For Your Group: Questions 31-40

Questions 1–10
Questions 11–20

Questions 21–30

The next 10 questions posted by Owen.

#31. Name a movie you don’t like that you think would be fun to play through as a roleplaying game sessions. Name a movie you love you think wouldn’t be fun as an rpg session.


Hard one. I don't recall much movies that I didn't like (not that they weren't, more like I don't recall them) that I'd feel to be material for great sessions...

A movie I love that wouldn't be a fun session? I'd go with Flesh And Blood. Paul Verhoeven, Rutger Hauer, and Jessica Jason Leigh. Rape (and the woman later falling for her rapist) is a crucial plot point... Though it could be cut out, and certain plot points changed for a decent session.

#32. If you had to choose, on a specific night, between a satisfying conclusion to a storyline, or a major advancement of the rule-supported effectiveness of your character, which would you be more likely to select? What factors could alter that situation?

Gah, the choices, the choices... It would really dependent on the game and character played, the style of the game... But if the game was really absorbing me with its story, then satisfying conclusion to the story... Though in the past I tried to build the characters in the way were their advancement was strongly related to the storyline.

#33. What’s something that happens in genre fiction a lot that never (or almost never) happens in a roleplaying game, and you’d like to experience in an rpg.

There are things that don't happen in roleplaying games? (besides those that omitted because they are not particularly thrilling in real live and assumed to take place in the background)

#34. What’s something that happens a lot in roleplaying games, that you would rather not experience again (for whatever reason, and don’t feel you must explain).

Having a dark-side to your character that arbitrarily grows on a failed roll instead of voluntary choices of the character (such as Wraith's Shadow, though my particular issue is with the Psionic Urge in Fading Suns where I played a dedicated psychic who went a long way to avoid increasing urge and temptations to call upon its powers just to have it increase in a few critical moments by merely rolling a 20 on d20... I think it was the only time I threw a tantrum during a game).

#35. What is a specific event that occurred in an RPG session that at first you didn’t think you’d enjoy, but you did. Discuss why it exceeded your expectations.

Being infected with a bioengineered disease that slowly hardened skin and other soft tissues... It took months to get rid off. By mastering psychic path of body functions control (think Prana Bindu but more powerful).

#36. Discuss a game session you were looking forward to that you did not enjoy. Discuss why you didn’t enjoy it, and what you think could have been handled differently to make it more fun.

A few sessions being continuation of previous sessions where I had plans to solve the crisis presented earlier, with those plans being invalidated by either new context, actions of other players, or my own inability to follow with the plans. The primary issue was me being too optimistic, and promising myself too much, and ignoring possible input from others.

#37. How much backstory do you normally give your characters (PCs or major NPCs)? Why? How would you feel about being asked to produce a different amount (both more, and less)?

Not a lot usually. Most of my characters had some basic background with majority of their story written by the game events. My longest played character (nine years, I think) started the game as "a filthy rich dilettante playboy cavalier, a bastard of an al-Malik count with patent of nobility but no actual title". When a group of new players joined the campaign after two or three years, he was already a celebrity in-game (and Imperial Propaganda poster boy, *sigh* that was annoying) and even became sort of celebrity out of game among the players... All thanks to his achievements (overblown by propaganda and both player characters and NPCs repeating stories about him, not always accurately).

I had another character in Legend Of Five Rings who had a complex family history (being a whole minor clan, destroyed by a rival clan). It even included clan creation legend.

Most of my characters are closer to the former than the later, however. I can try to provide more background if needed but it might rely on being pressed by GMs depending upon time scale we operate in (the exact status of the former character's parents wasn't clarified until the GM threatened me to make decision without my input but we were operating on a very long scale, planning sessions in weeks in advance and the story lines in months in advance). Also, in other cases where I am less invested into character I might be unmoved by that threat.

#38. Is there a kind of story element you’d love to see in a game you are currently playing you feel that game’s rules don’t handle well? Do you have an idea for rules to handle it?


I am currently playing Dresden Files game using Fate rules... It's all about negotiation with GM and very story-oriented. I don't think there is a story element that could not be introduced due to rules limitations.

The other game I play is 5th edition of D&D and I wield a sword that belonged to imperial family of long gone empire and, according to the sword itself I am a descendant of the imperial family... The 5th edition rules could handle ancestral weapons that develop new qualities and abilities better. I might write some in the future. Maybe even use DM's Guild to publish them? Hmmm... *scribble-scribble*

There is a potential story element that is handled poorly by 5th edition, namely long term consequences, injuries, and afflictions, but I wouldn't say that I'd actually love to see them in game.

#39. Is there a kind of story element you feel is caused by the rules of a game you are currently playing that you’d rather have less of, or avoid entirely? Do you have ideas how to avoid that rules element in that game system?

Well, the current GMs I am playing with are rather strongly in the favor of "Not letting the rules come in the way of the story" game philosophy so it's not really an issue as far as I can tell. Even the one who just started GMing and was initially rather rule strict is coming to our side (it's not like she is attracted to this philosophy by having her GM powers less limited by rules, nope, it must be something else).

There might be some minor glitches due to exercise of existing rules but nothing really problematic...

#40. Discuss what kinds of themes a roleplaying game can have. What are some of your favorite themes? Which themes do you dislike, or are bored with?

What kind of themes can roleplaying game have? Absolutely any, at least as they are presented interestingly. Some might be harder to be made interesting, some might be easier. Some might be near impossible to be truly interesting. A right GM and a right group combination might even make a tea party-themed session interesting. Actually we might have done that in Fading Suns, thanks to number of plot lines converging in the right place and right time and the personal interest we had vested in certain NPCs and PCs present.

What themes I dislike? Moving mundane people to magical worlds, with certain exceptions (you are really a third generation prince of Amber). Making all the worlds part of single meta-universe. I like many crossover and multiworld settings, but I don't like trying to force all settings and multi-settings into a single interconnected setting. I want clusters of worlds, genres, themes, to be separate from each other (aside of Amber, but it should be its own world with many elements copied from other worlds, and not a hub connecting other games).

What themes I am bored with? The "chosen one" and the world-shattering prophecies, they were a big part of Aphalon game, whose new reiteration is our 5th edition D&D game. Thankfully, the new Aphalon game takes place after a big event that undid the fate and prophecy and changed the rules governing the world.

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