There’s this “12 RPGs for the 12th Month” thing that’s going on G+ right now, where there’s twelve writing prompts about games, one for every two days in December. This co-incidentally winds up ending on December 24th, and feels a bit 12 Days of Christmas-y without dropping the word “Christmas” in anywhere.1
It’s a bit like the #RPGaDAY thing that happens in August. Writing prompts about gaming. Paul Mitchner started the thing with a graphic. Below I’ve written them out (and cleaned up the prompts a touch) for use of cutting and pasting into future writings.
Twelve RPG Prompts for Twelfth Month
- You’re running an RPG to introduce new players to the hobby this month. Which game and genre do you choose, and why?
- Which genre tropes that come up in an RPG game of your choice do you love and never get tired of? Why do you love them?
- You’re building a fantasy setting for the RPG of your choice. Which ingredients do you put in? Which standard fantasy elements would you choose to leave out?
- Tell me about your character in an RPG you’re currently playing or have played this year.
- You’re running a historical or alt-historical game. What place and time in history do you choose? Are you including fantastical elements of any sort, and, if so, what?
- Do you follow any particular RPG authors? Which RPG authors have works you admire and what are the stand-out pieces of work?
- Is there an RPG genre which you sort of like but gives you serious mental blocks? What do you like about it? What are the mental blocks?
- Talk about your typical approach to prepare to run a RPG. Is there a particular method you generally follow? What use do you make of published setting or adventure material, if any?
- You’re planning to run some science fiction , in a setting of your choise. Is there any particular technology you want to include because the possibilities intrigue you? Is there any standard piece of future technology you’d rather leave out?
- Moblie phones and the internet in an RPG setting in the modern day world (perhaps with fantastic elements): discuss. What possibilities do they open up? What, if any, issues come with them when it comes to RPG scenarios?
- Talk about a particular stand-out positive experience of playing (rather than running) an RPG in 2017. What was it? What was so good about it?
- Name a game, setting, or adventure you haven’t run or played before but really want to try out in 2018. What particularly is appealing about it?
I probably will not answer all of these as I am usually the one running the games and not playing a protagonist in them — questions 4 and 11 are specifically addressing non-GM players of games. I’ve only been in a few games where I was a player in a few one-shots at NewMexiCon and PortMaineCon. Beyond that, I’m always on the other side of the GM screen, so to speak.2
With this, here’s my response for the first prompt.
You’re running an RPG to introduce new players to the hobby this month. Which game and genre do you choose, and why?
I’ve actually done this before! See, back in the Tucson RPG Guild, we had a couple come to one of our open game days. One half of the couple hadn’t played any sort of roleplaying game before and they decided to get in on the game I was running: Primetime Adventures.3 Kat loved the game. It wasn’t until the fourth or fifth game I discovered this was her first time playing a roleplaying game.
I feel Primetime Adventures is great for first-timers because of two main reasons.
First, the game has few rules and the character sheet is so small. There’s not much mechanically between you and the game, so it’s not intimidating. You don’t need to break out one of the 460-page core rulebooks for Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars RPGs. It’s not scary.
Secondly, the game is all about creating a story and does so, quickly. Here’s a conflict point: we just look at one number on your character’s sheet, decide if there’s anything else you’re bringing into the conflict, and resolve by flipping cards over. A huge battle in a ruined cathedral on a damned planet between your Ultramarines and a pack of ravenous Tyranids? It’s over in a flash and we see how your characters react instead of multiple rolls of dice to wear down the opposition.
Heck, even creating your character and the setting (show) feels like play, because it is play.
Here at home, the girls are into mythology and the Percy Jackson series. “You know, we could play a game where you’re all demigods in modern-day America,” I said. Surprised, the youngest remarked, “There’s a game like that?” Yes, it’s Primetime Adventures. Adaptable to nearly any genre, so let’s play what you want to see. Zombie apocalypse? Sure. Victorian-era romance? Yep. Tragic vampires doing political machinations? Yeah.
- And also, let’s not forget that the 12 Days of Christmas actually start on Christmas Day, running through Three Kings Day/Epiphany. [↩]
- I don’t use GM screens. I’m there at the table, on equal footing with the players. [↩]
- This was the “Cops in Batman’s Gotham City” game I’ve written about many times. [↩]