Friday Five

While I’m writing posts based on prompts, I might as well put another Friday Five in.

1) What’s the weather like where you are right now?
We’re currently on day 3 of a week-long heat wave, with temperatures around 32 Celcius.

2) Has your weather been seasonally appropriate lately, or has it been unusual?
It’s been much hotter than before. I mean, it’s August, so we’re in top summer weather season, so if it gets hot it’s now — but it is much hotter than previous years.

3) Have you noticed any trends in the weather near you over the past few years?
I recalled that when I was young, it was a really important event if temperatures would hit 30 Celcius somewhere. It just never really happened. And now, we’re in the second heatwave this year, and everyone is like: “At least the temperatures are 32, instead of the 38 we had earlier this year!” It’s kinda frightening to see how fast we got used to temperatures that are basically abnormally high.

4) Are you worried about climate change?
Yes. I worry about it a lot, but ultimately that doesn’t really change anything. It seems like we lack the collective will to do something about it.

5) Are you doing anything to combat climate change?
We drive a hybrid car, and with our jobs now being fully remote, we work from home and hardly drive anyway. We have solar panels on our roof. We heat (and cool) our house with a heat pump instead of gas. Our electricity comes from wind turbines, and the gas that we used is “compensated” (whatever that may mean, but it’s better than nothing). We try to save energy. We use a bank that does not invest in polluting industries.
But all of that doesn’t really change anything — it’s a myth that we are individually responsible for climate change. The concept of “carbon footprint” was thought up by BP as a way to deflect attention from the way they are pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

RPG-a-Day #12

12 – Why did you start RPGing?
I’ve already answered this, but basically: a friend from school told me that I should play in his campaign. And I didn’t understand the type of game at all, but I did understand that it had something to do with fantasy — and I loved fantasy. (Still do, but I used to love fantasy back then too.)
I think the reason I jumped on it, is that I did not have any friends that I really did things together with. Playing RPGs filled that hole. And still it’s something I do with friends that I would otherwise have more superficial connections with.

RPG-a-Day #11

11 – If you could live in a game setting, where would it be?
Most game settings would not make for great places to live. Imagine the Forgotten Realms: you’d have smallish pockets of civilisation with all kinds of monsters and scheming wizards around every corner once you leave the cities or villages. If you are an NPC, then you try to make a living in that hellscape — and any party of PCs would be able to basically kill you and take all your stuff without any real consequence for them!
There are very few settings that treat the inhabitants with any dignity. One of the few that does, is Monster Care Squad. The setting is a post-capitalist anarcho-syndicalist society, and I think it would be very nice to live in.

RPG-a-Day #10

10 – When did/will you start Gamemastering?
Later in my first week of playing RPGs. I think I made a remark that GMing seemed like a lot of fun, and I immediately was lent the books of Oog Des Meesters (the Dutch translation of the German RPG ‘Das Schwarze Auge’) to read and design a scenario for. Rolemaster was deemed too complex for a novice GM, and they might have been right.
A few days later, so it must have been at the tail end of that week, I ran my scenario for the group. It was… not good… but the rest of the group were really gentle about it and engaged with my nonsense seriously, so I felt pretty good at the time about my first time GMing.

RPG-a-Day #9

9 – What is the 2nd RPG you bought?
The first I bought was probably the revised 1st edition Middle-Earth Role Playing Game (“MERP”) by Iron Crown Enterprises, the boxed set. I still have it.
The second one I bought is probably the Judge Dredd RPG, the one by Games Workshop when they still were doing things that were not Warhammer. I also bought the Companion, and I still have photocopies of several scenarios that were published in the White Dwarf (back when it was not exclusively Warhammer).

I think I played it exactly once. I still have it, so there’s still a chance I’ll play it again…

RPG-a-Day #8

8 – Who introduced you to RPGs?
Bart G. was a friend from school — we were in the same after school homework program. He had mentioned RPGs, but I didn’t really understand what it was about. So when the fall vacation came up, he basically told me to keep the whole week free and to be at his house (at the other end of the city!) at a certain time that Saturday.
I think it was 45 minutes by bicycle door-to-door, and he was the only one in the group I knew. And we played every single day that week, and that was that…

RPG-a-Day #7

7 – System Sunday: Describe a cool part of a system that you love.
Apocalypse World Engine: The rules only kick in when specific conditions are met, and tell you exactly how the situation changes. They get out of the way at all other times.
The One Ring: The Hope/Shadow mechanic is really cool. By spending a point of Hope, you get a (sometimes) hefty bonus to a roll, but when you succumb to the lure of the dark, you get Shadow. When your Hope dips below your Shadow, you get a bout of Shadow-madness. It perfectly models how Sam and Frodo got through the blighted lands of Mordor.
Ryuutama: The magic spells available to the PCs do not have a particular utility that is immediately apparent. It is up to the players to get creative with them, and that’s a lot of fun.

RPG-a-Day #6

6 – How would you get more people playing RPGs?
I actually don’t think that is something to strive for. Most people are not interested, and that is OK. There is not something dependent on the total number of RPG players that we must achieve — it’s totally fine for RPGs to be a niche hobby.
That being said, there are many people who are interested in trying it out, who do not have the opportunity to do so — and that is a shame! Imagine that there is something out there that would be a favourite hobby of yours — and because no-one can show you how it’s done, you never get to experience it. So I never make it a secret that I play RPGs, and that I author scenarios. Sometimes people express an interest (recent media portrayals help!) and then I always offer to run something for them.
The RPG group of my former colleagues (now two jobs ago) that I started in spring 2020 in that way is still going strong.

RPG-a-Day #4

4 – Where would you host a first game?
These days, all of my gaming is with geographically dispersed people. So the first game will probably be online. If it’s in a work context, then we will use whatever video conferencing platform they use. In all other cases, I use Discord — it’s not perfect, but it works good enough, and it has the advantage that it also includes an asynchronous chat for things like scheduling. For dice rolls and character sheets, we’ll use Roll20. It has a ton of support, and I have a top-tier subscription so I can do all kinds of fancy stuff with macros.
I think that, for a first game, a virtual tabletop is actually superior. Yes, rolling dice is a lot of fun, but the character sheets automate so much of the various rules procedures that a player can just dive in. They just click on the skill they want to do, and don’t need to roll, add, subtract and compare. The rules should just fade into the background, and automated character sheets help with that.