For May, we have another neat challenge for tabletop role-playing game enthusiasts, the #MayRPGQ2018 challenge from Brie Sheldon. It has questions for the even days of the month.
May 2: How do you introduce yourself?
To other gamers, I usually mention my long-time online handles, dating back 20 years: Anemone, Evil Anemone, Méchante Anémone, and variations thereof. If I know we have gamer friends in common, I mention them. And to publishers, I mention that I have written for Atlas Games, Evil Hat Productions, Generic Games, Vigilance Press, and ZombieSmith, and that I am project manager for the Fate line at Evil Hat (plus awesome new responsibilities I’ll talk about later this month.) I do have gamer business cards I use at conventions!
May 4: What are game themes you enjoy?
I will try almost anything for a one-off, but for campaign play I love games where player characters are heroes (including flawed heroes, reluctant heroes, fledgling heroes, etc.), and face moral dilemmas, sacrifice, and great peril.
I also like twists on tropes and genre renewal. For example, I am completely exhausted of “vanilla” pseudo-European fantasy vaguely emulating Tolkien, but I am very interested in less familiar fantasy settings, especially if they draw from non-European inspirations. Similarly, I’m not much into four-colour superheroes, but I do love twists on the genre.
May 6: Who do you like playing games with?
When I was young, I used to look for gamers based on specific games; I’d read the “players wanted” signs at game stores, and later sift through Yahoo Groups and Meetup. Eventually I realized that this often got me shit players.
My husband and I decided to work the other way around: find nice people we could be friends with, and see if we could get them to game with us. This has been fantastically successful and we now have more wonderful friends who are wonderful gamers than anyone has a right to. (Coordinating schedules is still a challenge, though!)
What makes a good, fun player in my view: they’re interested in trying new things, they enjoy a good story, they want other people’s characters to shine too, they build on other people’s ideas, and they place civility above “winning.”
May 8: What games have you worked on informally, formally, or semi-formally?
Formally: I was a contributor for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple (Evil Hat Productions, 2008), Unknown Armies 3rd edition (Atlas Games, 2016), for War of Ashes: Shieldbash (ZombieSmith, 2014), and the upcoming supplement for Monster of the Week (Generic Games, 2018); I was the primary author on War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus (Evil Hat Productions, 2015); I wrote a couple of entries for Vigilance Press’s upcoming Secrets of Shenzhou, and primary author for their Tianxia Rules Companion (nearly complete, it’s exciting!)
I am also in the credits for project management, proofreading, translation, etc. for many products from Evil Hat Productions, including Greedy Dragons, Young Centurions, Fate Horror Toolkit, Uprising: Dystopian Universe RPG, Dresden Files Accelerated, and several that are currently in production.
Semi-formally: I have playtester credit for such games as the Knights of the Dinner Table Card Game, Diceland, Og: Unearthed Edition, Mutant City Blues, Do: Fate of the Flying Temple, Monster of the Week, Over the Edge 3rd edition, Dresden Files Co-op Game, The Watch, and many more.
Informally: a fantasy heartbreaker a friend and I wrote in the 1980s, I don’t remember what we called it. Never came close to publication.
May 10: What games do you dream about making, but haven’t quite got there yet?
I dream of creating the scifi game that will become a reference and a point of comparison for all other science fiction role-playing games. Dreaming is easy…
May 12: What mechanics make you feel excited and ready to play?
I like mechanics that:
- provide for more than a pass/fail result on dice rolls;
- allow for extra effort;
- give incentives to accept risk or failure;
- encourage dramatic personal plots for the PCs;
- reward relationships with other characters, especially other PCs;
- create moral dilemmas.
May 14: Where do you get inspiration for characters, settings, or design?
I like to immerse myself in the genre whenever I’m playing, GMing, or writing a new game. I read the sources, watch related movies, make a music playlist, and even cook dishes related to the setting.
May 16: In what environment do you most enjoy playing, and why?
I prefer a spacious private space, a big table with everyone around, adjacent to a cooking or food prep area because we usually have a potluck meal. I like good lighting, not too much noise, and not too many onlookers or phone interruptions.