Intentional Characters – Interview with Jill

Join me as I have a wonderful conversation with a fellow gamer about her experiences with gaming, making characters with intent to better yourself, pirate monkey goblins and the Library of Alexandria.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/414475/1695760-intentional-characters-interview-with-jill.js?player=small

I would love to hear from you! If you have any comments, questions or would like to be interviewed on the show, please email me at naturalgeekery@gmail.com

You can also find me on Twitter – @NaturalGeekery and @Coyoteguy

Intro and Outro Music – Nomadic Sunset by Alexander Nakarada
Thank you, Alexander, for providing some awesome free music!

Episode 2 – Gencontastic

GenCon, for me, is an amazing place and it’s coming up next week.  In honor of this I’ve made it the focus for this episode.  I go through a brief history to get a perspective of how far the convention has come and then tell two stories that occurred to me at GenCon.  One is from my very first GenCon and the second occurred just a few years ago.

Continue reading “Episode 2 – Gencontastic”

The Announcement: Episode 1 of the Brand New Natural Geekery Podcast

As teased last week, here is the announcement I’ve been waiting to reveal.  I’m joining the ranks and launching my own ship into the great podcast sea!

I am incredibly excited about this and I hope you enjoy it. I have a lot of plans in place and this will be receiving all of my attention in the weeks and months to come.

Subscriptions will be working in the next few weeks and when they do it should be available on all the major directories, including Apple and Google podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, IHeartRadio and Tunein/Alexa.

If you like this I encourage you to share on social media and spread the word. It will help a great deal. Feel free to leave a comment here, on the podcast page or on my email – naturalgeekery@gmail.com

Look for Episode 2 next Tuesday, July 23rd!

There and Back Again

It’s been a little quiet around here lately.  My apologies for that.  My time away was necessitated by a change in my employment.  The transition from old to new office space ended up taking many more “spoons” then I had planned.  Then, the following two months were pretty hectic and tiring in the new job as I had transitioned during the busiest and, some would say, worst time to do so.  However,  they say still waters run deep.  Although things were quiet here they were NOT quiet inside my head and with my thoughts about my goals for what I wanted to have happen here.

The time away gave me chance to think and re-assess a few things.  I managed to begin putting some creative pieces together and those pieces were part of a project which, at one point, had been planned for this space .  I just thought they would be further “down the road.”  Suddenly, I realized that “further down the road” was actually much more possible then I had, at first, realized.  The universe, always conspiring to prove me wrong in my hesitations, saw fit to gift me with some much needed equipment to confirm things.  This sealed the deal and made me more excited, adding fuel to my scheming.

Long story short?  Yes, I’ve been pretty busy over the last few months but I’ll be having an announcement next week.  The blog will be here and I have every intention in moving forward with the random map, the occasional advice/commentary post, etc.   If anything, this space will be getting a nice level up.

I’m excited to introduce the next phase on Tuesday evening, July 16th.  It will be here and on Twitter.  Thanks for coming along with me this far and I’m hoping that you will continue to join me in the next leg of the journey!

 

Roll for Self-Doubt

This isn’t an easy post to write but in order to jump start my writing on this blog again, I feel it’s important.  The new year has been tough for me and this blog.  No posts and, even worse, little inspiration to write them.  I’ve been struggling with something and I finally thought it would be best to just get it out in the open in hopes that exposing the blockage will remove it.

I’ve been involved in the hobby since the early 1980’s.  I’ve talked about it in past posts and have a bit more to say in the future as well.  I started the blog because I feel I have some knowledge from my experiences and wanted to share.  I followed my instincts and thought I had a good plan.

Continue reading “Roll for Self-Doubt”

Extra Life Birthday

Just a quick announcement and then I promise we will get back to the gaming.

For my birthday this year I will be celebrating by running a 24 hour Extra Life marathon of gaming.   I was unable to make the main event on November 3rd but I decided, at the time, I would figure out a date before the end of the year.   What I’ve decided is it will be this weekend (a few days before my birthday to be exact) on Saturday/Sunday, December 8th/9th.  My start time for the 8th is scheduled for 9:00AM EST.

What is this all about?

Extra Life is a wonderful charity which allows gamers to do what they do best while supporting children’s hospitals all over the country.  This takes the form of a 24 hour fundraising gaming marathon.   It’s simple, really.  Like a dance marathon for charity or a charity race,  I play games and try not to fall asleep while you cheer me on and show your support by donating at my charity page.

I’ll be playing for my local children’s hospital, Riley Hospital for Children and my goal for this year is $500.

This will be my 3rd year doing the event and this time, barring any tech issues, I’ll be streaming the entire, embarrassing day on Twitch.  I’ll be taking breaks for food (maybe) and, due to health reasons, taking a few hours for sleep.  However, don’t worry, any time taken will be made up to equal a full 24 hours!   I’ll be playing a mix of video games including Skyrim, Kynnseed, X-Com and whatever I can get to work for the stream.  I’m even considering doing a bit of RP on the channel as well but I’m not sure how well that will work.

If you have a second this Saturday/Sunday and want to say hello stop over at the Twitch stream anytime during the marathon.  I will also be posting on Twitter throughout the event so feel free to reply there and be sure to retweet me to get the word out.  If you’d like to help me celebrate my birthday and have a few dollars to spare, please head over to the charity page and donate what you can.

I will hopefully see you there!

My Charity Page for the marathon

Extra Life Webpage

 

The Rare Treasure of RPGs – The Horror Game

I think the hardest role playing game to run is a scary one.  It’s Halloween and it has me thinking all sorts of dark and spooky thoughts which have evolved into pondering about role playing games and how difficult it can be to evoke and maintain a proper feeling of fear at the game table.  So many other genres fit well into the role playing mold but what is it about horror that eludes us?  We will be excited and thrilled and happy after a game session of thrilling heroics but how often after a game session are you a bit unsettled as you head home?

My first horror game was Pacesetter’s Chill.  I have fond memories of that game but around the table it turned into a just another group of adventures going to kill a monster.   I’m sure a large part of it was due to my, and my group’s, inexperience at storytelling at the time.  The next step was Call of Cthulhu and though I did not own the game, I played in a small campaign run by a friend.  It was good but I never felt scared or unnerved after a game.   It was not until many years had passed that a friend ran a one shot Call of Cthulhu game that reset the bar for me.  I think it was his emphasis on setting the scene.  He had envisioned some truly startling scenes to unfold and he happily brought them out, regaling us with vivid, lurid descriptions.  One by one our characters folded into insanity or fruitless attempts at defending ourselves against Lovecraftian horrors.  It did not end well and while walking out to my car that evening I noticed that I was on edge and a bit spooked.

It was delicious.

Unfortunately, as a player, this was a singular occurrence for me.   Most of the other horror games I’ve been a part of have all, eventually, turned into the RPG version of the angry mob with pitchforks.  The desperate players confront the Evil Bad Thing and fight it off with whatever weapons are available.  Though it may look different depending on the genre it really is no different than any other big boss battle.

What makes a good horror RPG session different?

Some key points I feel are important:

  • Everyone should agree to the spirit of the game.

I think it stems back to my previous post about the contracts around the table.  Everyone needs to be on board regarding what KIND of game they are getting ready to play.  Everyone playing should understand death and insanity will come more easily, that control and power they take for granted in other games will not be present.  Much like walking into a haunted house, you have to be willing to give up control and allow yourself to be scared.  Most importantly, everyone needs to understand that reaching a solid level of scary is difficult to do around a RPG table.  The odds of success will increase with everyone’s involvement.

  • Limit the Distractions

Put away the cellphones and the off-topic banter about the latest Netflix series.  Keep the out of character wisecracks to a minimum.  Focus on the game and the story that is coming out of it.

A GM might want to invent a game mechanic that penalizes anyone who breaks the rule.  Even better, the other players should be the ones who assign the penalties which the GM enforces.  A player says something to break the spooky mood?  The GM can assign a bit more “nasty” to the game.  Or, perhaps, the player’s character receives a doom point which takes away one success at the GM’s discretion?  The best version of this is something that builds up slowly over the game and gets used near the climax of the story.

  • Embrace Death and Misfortune

As a player in a horror game it’s going to be better if you realize that your character will most likely die a gruesome death.  If you embrace this aspect you can actually help the GM and the other players of the game build up the mounting apprehension of the game if the time comes.  Go out with screaming style and it will notch up the atmosphere around the table.

GM hint – Don’t hesitate to take a character out at any time. Be merciless.  However, remember that the players have come here to play the game, not sit around eating snacks after a gory death scene while the rest of the table plays on.  Have back-up characters or things for the players to do after their first character meets an untimely end.  Maybe running other NPC’s?  Monsters?  Don’t let a player who has given their all to increase the drama be out of the game for the rest of the night.

Also, remember as a GM, there are worse fates than dying!

  • Hit the Senses

Enough emphasis cannot be placed on this one.  Though it’s always important with role playing games it is doubly so with a good horror game.  You need to lay on the descriptions.  Not only tell your players what the creepy, abandoned sanitarium looks like but tell them what it smells like, what it feels like when they touch a wall or a door.  What is the lighting like?

Reverse it on them as well.  When they encounter some sort of viscous,  mucus-like fluid they are expecting to hear what it feels like.  Hit them with what it sounds like, what it smells like.  Why go for all this florid descriptions?  It’s because receiving sensory input can steer emotional reactions within the brain.  Try this out with a fun experiment.  Think of it as a writing exercise.  What does fear smell like to you?  What does dread taste like?

What did you come up with?  Take those and use them in your game next time and see what kind of reaction you get.    Pull from your real experiences and things that scare you.  There is a good chance that if it unsettles you then it will definitely get to your players as well.

Pull no punches.

Happy Halloween!

——–

References:

The Science of Fright: Why We Love to Be Scared

Emotions and Our Senses