1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
I think my general ability to fuse the Outdoor Survival map with some of the material from the Judges Guild’s Ready Ref Sheets, while not an “invention” per se, is nonetheless something I am proud of. In the words of Tim Gunn, I “made it work.”
2. When was the last time you Gmed?
On MLK day – last Monday.
3. When was the last time you played?
Probably sometime in 1979-1980.
4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven’t run but would like to.
Characters encounter, and must joust with (in OD&D terms), a castle ruled by chaotic Amazons.
5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
Get the next stage ready and neaten my tables and notes.
6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
Nothing, I do not have time.
7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
Yes, my voice gets hoarse.
8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?
Being confused by a monster I created.
9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
No, but they still try to keep a sense of humor.
10. What do you do with goblins?
Give them interesting motivations and an ecology.
11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
A castle in France I visited. The story behind its construction, and the destruction of another castle nearby, made me see how it could be used in a game. I also have started to use real people I know, or knew, as models for NPCs.
12. What’s the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
A player crying when his character died at the hands of another player’s character. Horrifying in 8th grade. Hilarious now.
13. What was the last game book you looked at–aside from things you referenced in a game–why were you looking at it?
The new Isle of the Unknown adventure – to see if there were ideas I could steal.
14. Who’s your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
Hannes Bok and Peter Mullen come to mind. I have a fondness for all the pre-1980 D&D art.
15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
I would hope it would have its moments.
16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn’t write? (If ever)
I loved running the City State of the Invincible Overlord (back in the day) and I loved running Vornheim (recently).
17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
My dining/living room – with no cell phones allowed – would be fine.
18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
Megatraveller and Swords & Wizardry. Aside from genre differences, the first is a total railroad set up, the second is very sandboxy. One is complex, the other pretty simple.
19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
Real occultism and real European history, as well as experiences and personalities drawn from own life seem like disparate influences. I think the work of James Branch Cabell and Jack Katz’s The First Kingdom are pretty disparate too.
20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
Someone smart and able to concentrate. Someone who wants to play and enjoys it.
21. What’s a real life experience you’ve translated into game terms?
It a combination of knowing people and using what I see as their motivations to inform NPCs in general.
22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn’t?
Others have suggested this, but I would love a coffee table sized “art book” reprinting the early TSR adventures.
23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn’t play? How do those conversations go?
Most of my non-gamer friends know that I am doing this now. They are tend to either tolerant or mildly interested.