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Subject: RPG Geek of the Week #1: Dave Bernazzani (wavemotion) rss

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Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
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The long standing tradition on BGG comes to RPG Geek!

RPG Geek of the Week Wiki

In what can only be described as an egotistical maneuver of biblical proportions, I am pleased to announce myself as the first RPG Geek of the Week! (chirp... chirp... *taps mic* ... is this thing on?!)

The RPG Geek of the Week is allowed to pick from one of these three microbadges (I'm sporting all three for the intro but will select one as the one I keep):

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And here is a brief introduction for the RPG Geek of the Week:

Dave is one of the volunteer admin crew on RPG Geek and helps run the RPG Geek Consortium (a mailing list where thorny issues are discussed regarding the categorization of RPGs in our community database). I've found Dave good natured, enthusiastic and quite dependable (oh brother!).

With that, here is Dave's intro post:

Quote:
Thanks Dave! I'm super pumped to represent the first RPG Geek of the Week.

I was born a Moon-child - in the year of 1969 and my earliest memories involve boardgames. As a kid I played all the classics - Monopoly, Checkers, Backgammon. Later I was into Electronic Battleship and Stop Thief - the electronic games were SO cool. As I grew up it was a progression of card games (mostly traditional - Cribbage and Rummy games remain favorites today) and Chess. In 1979 or 80 I was given the the basic Dungeons & Dragons red book. As a 10 year old with an active imagination - this was like throwing high-grade fuel on a spark. I went nuts! Loved playing - though I hardly think we played by the correct rules...

We played for almost a year when we decided to switch to a science fiction game. At the time, there weren't a ton of choices. The most obvious system out there was STAR FRONTIERS by TSR. And we just ate it up!

In 1983 we began to modify the STAR FRONTIERS rules more and more... and soon we had so many house rules that we decided to branch off and write our own game called STRIKE FORCE which was heavily inspired by STAR FRONTIERS.

STRIKE FORCE saw 8 major revisions. Those early copies were hand written... later done on typewriter and in the late 1980s were done on WordStar word processor. The last edition was released in the early 2000s - and is as complete as I care to make it. We've spent thousands of hours playing in the Science Fiction world of STRIKE FORCE. Some of my most fond memories are with my friends at the gaming table hooting and hollering over our adventures.

These days I dabble in variety of systems - D&D 3.5, 4.0, Mutants & Masterminds, True20, etc. I've recently gotten into smaller indie-press games and am always looking for great RPGs to play with my friends. I can honestly say that RPG Geek hasn't been too good for the family budget! I look forward to making even more great memories with friends at the the table!

Here are a few pictures of me - one of the earliest shows that I was into sci-fi space adventures at an early age!




And now some questions to start things off.

1. What got you started in role-playing?
2. I heard you designed and developed an RPG. Is that true?
3. Have you ever LARPed?
4. Role-playing or Roleplaying?
5. Do you think I'm handsome?
6. Do you think talking to yourself is a sign of impending mental collapse?

Please jump in and ask Dave questions, provide some good natured ribbing or just chime in with a woot!. The RPG Geek of the Week concept can only fly with your participation!

-Dave
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Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
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wavemotion wrote:
And now some questions to start things off.

Thanks Dave!

Quote:
1. What got you started in role-playing?
My childhood friend got the Dungeons & Dragons boxed set for his birthday back in the summer of 79. I remember reading the rules with him... not really understanding how it all worked (it was a totally foreign concept) and trying to play one of the pre-packaged adventures. Actually I'm not even sure it was a prepackaged adventure - it might have just been a random dungeon. We had a blast even if we didn't really know what we were doing (and likely got the rules quite wrong). It didn't matter... we could BE heroes!

Quote:
2. I heard you designed and developed an RPG. Is that true?
Yes. Strike Force (9th Edition) was designed in 1983 and went through a large number of revisions up through the end of the 1990s when we finally stopped playing. It remains my longest-standing campaign.

Quote:
3. Have you ever LARPed?
No... but I would. I used to poke fun at the LARPers but the more podcasts I listen to and people I talk to I'm definitely interested.

Quote:
4. Role-Playing or Roleplaying?
I prefer Role-Playing but don't have hangups either way.

Quote:
5. Do you think I'm handsome?
That's borderline creepy.

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6. Do you think talking to yourself is a sign of impending mental collapse?
Um... maybe. Why do you ask?

-Dave
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Joe Huber

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OK, Dave, on the off chance you'd like to have questions from someone other than Dave...

* RPGs have clearly been occupying much of your time of late. Are you still playing boardgames much? Or have you shifted entirely to RPGs?

* What do you find RPGs provide for you that boardgames don't? And what do you miss from boardgames when playing RPGs?

* Do you find that RPGs take more of a time commitment than boardgames?

* Is Jenn a RPGer?

* What RPGs are you planning to play at Unity Games?
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Old & Chaotic Evil Bob
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Congrats to Dave


what am I saying


question: how did you become the head of the RPGG team ?
related question: what was Aldie thinking ?
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Emile de Maat
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Hi Dave,

Congatulations on becoming RPG Geek's first Geek of the Week! It's wel deserved

Some questions to keep you going:

First, on your role-playing preferences:
1) How much 'crunch' do you prefer in your games?
2) In what settings have you played/gamemastered? Is there a setting (or genre of settings) you prefer?
3) Do you have certain archetypes of characters that you prefer to play?

And some more background on you:
A) What do you do for a living? Does your line of work attract a lot of gamers, or are most of your colleges not interested in games?
B) Could you tell us something more about Chicken Parmesan and the role it plays in your life?
C) Do you follow any religion? Does that impact the way you play RPGs?

- Emile
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Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
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huber wrote:
* RPGs have clearly been occupying much of your time of late. Are you still playing boardgames much? Or have you shifted entirely to RPGs?

No. Not as much. Some of this has to do with life issues which got in the way in 2009 so my attendance at my own board game group (South Shore Gamers) has been ... lax to say the least. But I still try to get to the all-day events and such. Crokinole is still my all-time favorite game (I guess not technically a boardgame... and certainly not an RPG!). Santa did bring me Agricola so I'm hopeful to play that soon. But where I have a choice and time, I generally prefer to play RPGs as I extract more enjoyment per hour of play. Let's say maximum enjoyment per hour is 1-enjoy. Boardgames provide 0.79-enjoy. RPGs provide 0.92-enjoy. Crokinole is closer to 0.96-enjoy. I'll leave it to you to guess what my 1-enjoy activity is.

Quote:
* What do you find RPGs provide for you that boardgames don't? And what do you miss from boardgames when playing RPGs?

With traditional RPGs (i.e. the ones I tend to play long-term) I feel a sense of continuation and history that I don't get when playing boardgames. When a boardgame is finished, it goes back in the box. A few chuckles later as we recall how something unfolded but that's rare. With RPGs, we have stories and situations that are so memorable as to be entrenched in our memories to relive for those that played years and years later. This history as the group builds up a fictional story and adventures together is not easily recreated in boardgames.

What I miss is the variety of players. It's not easy to put together a role-playing group and it's not something (due to time commitments mostly) to be able to get to a lot of different groups. I have one of the best RPG groups on the planet - but it's still nice to see other styles of play. Plus I'm a bit of a social recluse - boardgames get me introduced to people and acclimated more quickly.


Quote:
* Do you find that RPGs take more of a time commitment than boardgames?

Much more time, yes. But it's time well spent! An RPG session really needs to be at least 4 hours long, IMO, to be immersive. Often longer to really ramp up and play. Boardgames (and cardgames) give a bit quicker bang-for-the-buck if you only have a short time to play.

Quote:
* Is Jenn a RPGer?

No. She played once... a sci-fi game where she was really feeling out of place. It just wasn't her cup of tea. When she found out that if she died, she could leave she was being extra heroic! But the other players stepped up to protect her which only got her more frustrated! I've tried to introduce the Catholic School-Girl RPG to Jenn but it's a hard sell

Quote:
* What RPGs are you planning to play at Unity Games?

None. I'm planing on playing boardgames all day! And cribbage/crokinole if those count.

-Dave
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Step right up and get your inaugural RPGGW commemorative microbadges, here!

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Don't crowd, there are plenty to go around!

Congrats, Dave!
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Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
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stargate wrote:
question: how did you become the head of the RPGG team ?

I'm not the head of anything that I know of! Not even of our household. Heck, I'm even behind our two cats in that department (witnessed by the fact that kitty #1 is sitting on my office comfy chair and I'm on a hard wooden chair from the turn of the century built for a smaller man than I).

Aldie and Daniel laid down months and months of hard work (which followed years of planning by Aldie and Derk) for RPG Geek (and really Geekdo - with all the potential subdomains). When the group planning took place as we moved into a closed beta period there was a bit of... um... chaos. The data structure was mostly sound but it fell apart in some places. We had no strong guidelines for data entry. I mostly watched as everyone was running around peddling their bikes hard but not really getting too far. So I put together the Guide to Data Entry which, when you look at the early versions (and there were non-wiki versions that I distributed via email) was pretty weak but at least it was some written direction. I know that as the guide got stronger it seemed that I was the person people were asking questions of. I'm not one to shy away from making decisions, so as long as Aldie and Derk didn't slap my buttocks I was willing to make decisions and update the guide. It got to the point where Aldie would call me on a daily basis to discuss any important changes or fixes we needed for the next day's activities. This went on for months as we ran though closed beta, open beta and eventual soft-launch at the end of August 2009.

Quote:
related question: what was Aldie thinking ?

The only excuse I can provide for Aldie was that he was working 20 hours a day for months trying to put this together. People do strange things when sleep-deprived

-Dave
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Bruce McGeorge
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Woot! Congrats Dave!

Ever been to GenCon? Any plans to attend in the future?
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Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
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Purple wrote:
1) How much 'crunch' do you prefer in your games?

Well... I grew up on Basic Dungeons & Dragons in the early 80s and my RPG of choice currently is Dungeons & Dragons (3.5 Edition) so I guess I'm fairly crunchy. Not to the point of wanting to do table lookups for everything - even within crunchy systems I tend to play loose and have no problem "simplifying" rules as needed (or making rulings on the fly rather than look it up to keep the pace to my liking - which is semi-fast).

Quote:
2) In what settings have you played/gamemastered? Is there a setting (or genre of settings) you prefer?

I'm currently playing Expedition to Castle Ravenloft as I missed Ravenloft in the early days. I'm having a blast! Very atmospheric. My favorite published campaign of all-time is Ptolus: Monte Cook's City by the Spire which I think is brilliant (they should re-release for 4e, IMO). My homebrew campaign for my own Strike Force is probably the longest and most memorable.

I prefer fantasy and sci-fi but am really branching out these days to cover film noir, pulp, post-apocalyptic and even social/romance.

Quote:
3) Do you have certain archetypes of characters that you prefer to play?

Sadly, I'm a better GM than a player so my player characters tend to be a little stiff and "down the middle of the plate". i.e. I tend not to have too much unusual going on with them... I guess because I create so many NPCs?! I almost never play spell-casters (and when I GM a fantasy campaign, it's usually low-magic/rare-magic anyway).

Quote:
A) What do you do for a living? Does your line of work attract a lot of gamers, or are most of your colleges not interested in games?

I'm a software engineer recently promoted to Director of Software Engineering for a small biomedical company. We design and test software for infusion pumps, heart monitors, hearing testers, etc. There are several gamers at work - and we've had a couple of roleplayers over the years which is great! At least I don't have to hide my hobby

Quote:
B) Could you tell us something more about Chicken Parmesan and the role it plays in your life?

The food of the gods. I'm a bit set in my ways - when Jenn and I go out to eat I get the same thing almost invariably. I don't even look at the menu anymore (though I do try to be patient as Jenn is far more adventurous than I am ... food-wise)

And Jenn makes GREAT 'parm!

Quote:
C) Do you follow any religion? Does that impact the way you play RPGs?

I make it a point to not discuss religion publicly but I'm not one to shy away from a question so... I grew up Catholic and drifted away from the Church. I have a strong belief that there is something greater than me (let's hope so!) and that I'm a good worker bee in community known as the universe. I'm not overly fond, personally, of organized religion.

-Dave
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Phil Alberg
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Congrats, Dave!!

1. What was the most memorable thing that has ever happened to one of your characters during an RPG session?

B. Have any CBMs (Classic Bernazzani Moments) ever occurred during an RPG session?

iii. How many times have you killed off Old Bob's character (either as DM or as a party member)?

d10-4 All else being equal, would you rather DM or role-play?

%. What would it take to get you to dress up in costume for the next UG event?


That's a great picture of you and Jenn! I look forward to seeing you both soon.

Enjoy your week!!!

meeple
...who got dragged into this thread because I still stalk stargate...
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Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
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brumcg wrote:
Ever been to GenCon? Any plans to attend in the future?

I've not been and really want to go. I have an irrational fear of flying (long before 911). I know it's irrational but it's a fear none-the-less. I may talk to a doctor someday about it.

I have a limited vacation time - I go to a wonderful Bed & Breakfast gaming retreat during the year and Alan Moon's Gathering of Friends for the past decade so that doesn't leave a lot of extra time with the occasional day off here and there. But someday I will go!

I do plan on trying to attend one or two of the local conventions that have RPGs going this year. One of which is just down the street (literally 5 minutes away).

-Dave
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Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
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Spielfreak wrote:
1. What was the most memorable thing that has ever happened to one of your characters during an RPG session?

I think it had to be the time I was playing Strike Force (sci-fi) and stuck in a small cave and was being eaten alive by a swarm of little rat-like creatures and this was certainly the end for me (after a series of bad decisions... I was prepared for it). In a last ditch effort I pulled out a thermo-detonator and rolled it a couple feet away and detonated it inside the cave. It collapsed the cave and took my left arm off as well as crushed and pinned my body under a pile of rocks. I died as did every one of the hundreds of rat-like creatures but my friends uncovered me and shot me up with a stimdose (a mixture of adreneline and a health-recovery drug) and I shot up like a bullet... dusted myself off and walked away from the smoldering debris. One of my comrades started to dig to find my arm for possible re-attachment. As I walked away I said, "don't bother... I shoot with my right hand anyway". Good times!

Quote:
B. Have any CBMs (Classic Bernazzani Moments) ever occurred during an RPG session?

Those almost always occur with Jenn around and she avoids us like the plague (well... she does make us brownies and cookies when we play but mostly sits upstairs and chuckles whenever one of us yells "Mercy... you wan't mercy? I'M CHAOTIC NEUTRAL!!!"

Quote:
iii. How many times have you killed off Old Bob's character (either as DM or as a party member)?

Heh... yesterday we played B2: The Keep on the Borderlands and I killed Bob's thief twice in the same adventure!

Quote:
d10-4 All else being equal, would you rather DM or role-play?

I prefer to DM as I think I make a better DM than player. But I'm fine with either - playing certainly takes less prep-time!

Quote:
%. What would it take to get you to dress up in costume for the next UG event?

You mean beyond the time I came dressed as Richard Dawson?!



-Dave
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Michael Bachelor
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What is your gaming guilty pleasure? Something you like that gets very little love?

What RPG game/System out there has you intrigued that you have just not been able to try?


Congratulations - From now on I will have to put on the Patrick Stewart voice and refer to you as "Number one"....
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Brian Leet
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1. Have you ever tried any role playing with unusual (not dice or cards) action resolution systems? Such as live action, jenga, etc. How did it go?

2. Did you take your adventures outside as a kid, for a form of early LARP?

3. Have you ever had to remove a gamer from a group you DM? Related: how do you deal with rules disputes?
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Samuel Sol
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Here we go baby

Congratulations Dave.

1. What's the system you really want to try now? And why?
2. Do you sleep? Do you have an omnicisent view of RPGG?
3. Do you like to crate a mood in your games? And how do you do it?
4. Have you played RPG in strange places? Which ones?
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Congrats Dave! What a surprise to see you as the first RPG Geek of the Week!

The first two post of the thread are a little bit irritating... but well, it has to start in some way

Now to the questioning... I will pick a bit at your SF background

- How many Doctor Who stories have you seen/heard/read?

- Do you know 'Raumpatrouille Orion'?

- What is your favorite SF author and the favorite SF story?
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Shanya Almafeta
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drewdane wrote:
Step right up and get your inaugural RPGGW commemorative microbadges, here!

mbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmbmb

Don't crowd, there are plenty to go around!

Congrats, Dave!


I had mine before it was cool. ^_^;
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Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
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mbtigger wrote:
What is your gaming guilty pleasure? Something you like that gets very little love?

You know... I stumbled on this question. I typed up a few responses and ditched them. In the end I'm going to say Reiner Knizia's Lord of the Rings boardgame. I will play this anytime, anywhere. I think the reason I like it is that it has some elements of role-playing that suit me really well. I get into the game ... it's much more than just flipping over cards vs. "the game system" and min-maxing your hand. Sure it can be played that way and I would imagine it would be about as appealing as a pitcher of warm spit. But I don't play it that way.

Quote:
What RPG game/System out there has you intrigued that you have just not been able to try?

Do you want the short list or long?! I've got over 70 RPGs now and a collection of 300+ books (print and owned PDFs). I've only played about 15 of them. I'm eager to try Dogs in the Vineyard (from my reading of the book, I'm really pumped!). Also Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (as a natural extension of my love for D&D 3.5). And The Burning Wheel (Revised Edition) is high on the list.

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Congratulations - From now on I will have to put on the Patrick Stewart voice and refer to you as "Number one"....

I'll my best to grow a beard from one episode to the next!

-Dave
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Eric M. Aldrich I
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wavemotion wrote:
Purple wrote:

Quote:
A) What do you do for a living? Does your line of work attract a lot of gamers, or are most of your colleges not interested in games?

I'm a software engineer recently promoted to Director of Software Engineering for a small biomedical company. We design and test software for infusion pumps, heart monitors, hearing testers, etc. There are several gamers at work - and we've had a couple of roleplayers over the years which is great! At least I don't have to hide my hobby

-Dave


Congrats!.

Given what you do and the amount of time it takes to do what you do here, where do you find the time and how does your wife put up with it?

(I ask because I could use the advice [ouch!] Yes, dear.... )
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Lowell Francis
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Congratulations!

1. We're about the same age, so I'd be curious about how you see the dynamics of your rpg table as you've grown older? Much change or about the same?

2. What is the rpg scene like out in MA/Boston?

3. How much homebrew/adaptation of other system materials do you do for your 3.X games?

4. Can anyone thank you enough for the work you've put in so far? (the correct answer is no.)
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Chris Tannhauser
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Great to have you behind the screen!

And now, off the top of my head:

1. Why can't I have the big gun?

2. How could I miss that 10-foot leap? I can do it in real life, right here in the kitchen!

3. Inertial compensators or death by velocity poisoning?

Enjoy the hell out of your week!
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Congrats Dave!!

Like edige23, we are about the same age, so I was wondering:

1) Do you feel that your RPGing has gotten more... sophisticated as you've gotten older? What I mean is, I began playing at ~8 years old, so I feel like my RPGing has gotten more sophisticated as time has gone by, so much so that sometimes I try to get really goofy and fantastical sometimes, to liven it up and make it less staunchy.

2) Do you prefer old school styles to new ones, and why? (Not that they don't both have merits)

3) I'll bite the bullet and ask... How do you feel about minitures in your RPGs?

And the most important question:

4) You wanna come up to Ithaca (or I could come down to MA) and play Dogs in the Vineyard? I just bought it and it's on its way, but I don't think my regular group will want to play....
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Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
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PghArch wrote:
1. Have you ever tried any role playing with unusual (not dice or cards) action resolution systems? Such as live action, jenga, etc. How did it go?

I've done a tiny bit of Sherpa which used a stopwatch as a randomizer ... though it really just replicates a d10 (using the 1/100 digit from starting and stopping the stopwatch after a few seconds). But I'm a huge fan of dice so I'm not too keen on letting them go! I train all my dice... leaving them on 1's so that when I pick them up to roll, they are far less likely to roll a 1 (anyone who wants to pump statistics at me to tell me it doesn't make a squat of difference doesn't understand the power of dice!).

Quote:
2. Did you take your adventures outside as a kid, for a form of early LARP?

Oh sure... Cowboys and Indians (or whatever PC term I'm supposed to use now...) when I was really little. Cops and Robbers... Moon Monsters (don't ask). After Star Wars came out (1977) it was mostly about Star Wars and clashing sticks in the back yard as we had pretend (and real!) adventures.

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3. Have you ever had to remove a gamer from a group you DM?

No. I have had to ask someone to leave my boardgame group once. It was very painful experience - we played in a public place too which made it even more difficult. I did have a player leave my RPG group back in 2003 which bummed me out. He said he was taking it a bit too seriously and the XP thing was making him too competitive. I felt like I hadn't done as good job as a DM to fulfilling his needs as a player. It's all about fun for every player at the table.

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Related: how do you deal with rules disputes?

DM Dave is hard but fair. In our group, we have 4 DMs (out of 8 of us who role-play) and what the DM says, goes. Disputes only last until the DM makes a ruling - at which time we all smile, pick up our dice and adventure on.

-Dave
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Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
United States
Plainville
Massachusetts
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I wish to provide legendary service to the RPG community to help grow our hobby and enrich the lives of gamers everywhere.
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yohanleafheart wrote:
1. What's the system you really want to try now? And why?

As mentioned previously... Dogs... and Burning Wheel are likely my top two only because they both read so well and the systems look buttery-smooth!

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2. Do you sleep? Do you have an omniscient view of RPGG?

Yes. No.

I'm a very regimented person. I go to bed at the same time. I get up at the same time. Weekends not withstanding. I prioritize my day and RPGG is pretty high up on the list.

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3. Do you like to crate a mood in your games? And how do you do it?

I do. I like sound effects during play where appopriate. I like puzzles that are tangible (made out of wood or some other contraption... I but tons of trinkets at yard sales to use during play). I try to provide pictures of all creatures being played. I sometimes run images on a screen for mood during play. Witness our all-day D&D session from 2009:



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4. Have you played RPG in strange places? Which ones?

Yeah! We used to play in my friends basement. It only had one light... a bilge pump that made strange noises and was a little damp. We played up on a concrete shelf that had boxes (Christmas storage I think) and we made a little fort behind it. We had to crawl in and it was only like 3 feet high so we had to lay down and crouch... 3 or 4 of us could barely fit in there with a lantern and we would play for hours!

-Dave
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