Saturday, August 4, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 - DAY 4: Most Memorable NPC?

Day Four of #RPGaDAY2018 brings us the first question of "NPCs WEEKEND" - "Most memorable NPC".

Before I get to the answer, I'd like to thank T R Knight for supplying today's question. Remember when I first put the call out for questions, taking questions we'd had before a "remixing" them into new ones? Well, T R Knight has taken the question from the 3rd August 2016 - "Character moment you're proudest of..." and come back with today's question.

I asked T R Knight a few questions about his time in gaming...

Would you like to introduce yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

“Let me Explain, no there is too much. Let me sum up.” (quote from the movie The Princess Bride). I work at Taylor University as the Director of Academic Technology/Associate CIO and adjunct professor (teaching courses in Game Studies and Writing & Editing for Gaming) at Taylor University. I’m caregiver for my wife who has Multiple Sclerosis, father of twin daughters, gardener, cook, Christian, and long-time gamer. Oh, and I am also a freelance editor and proofreader in the game industry. What that entails is me spending hours staring at text on my screen, making grammatical, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, translation, formatting, layout, style, voice, and flow corrections. I also build indexes, write copy text, update style guides, compare documents, manage finances, read contracts, agree to NDAs, communicate with publishers, and constantly work to build and strengthen relationships. If that does not inform you enough, you can check out my blog

How did you first get into tabletop roleplaying?

During high school, I rode the bus until my senior year. So many memories, not all of them wonderful, but there is one that I am thankful for. While riding home on the bus one afternoon, I noticed that the guy sitting in front of me was looking at a book with wonderful drawings of comic book heroes and he was taking notes. I was very intrigued, as I was a huge fan of the Super Friends cartoon and read a comic book here and there when I could afford one from the local Hook’s drug store. I leaned over the back of the seat and asked what kind of comic book he was reading. He turned around with a beaming smile and said it wasn’t a comic book but a new game he had found recently. He handed me the book, Villains and Vigilantes, and began to excitedly tell me about this superhero game. I was overwhelmed and confused. He was so excited and babbled on about characteristics, randomly rolling super powers, weaknesses, and something he called polyhedradice. I was like, whoa . . . slow down. Is this a board game of some kind? He just kept smiling and said it wasn’t but it was played at a table, with dice and paper, and your imagination. He asked if I would like to play it with him sometime. I barely knew him other than riding on the bus together, but he handed me the book and told me to read it. Why would this guy I don’t know at all trust me with his book and want to play a game with me? From the moment I started reading the book I was hooked and after one play session I knew tabletop roleplaying was my new passion. 

What inspired you to take the leap from being a player/GM to what you do now?

Not sure I was inspired as much as in the right place at the right time. I had developed a friendship with Angus Abranson over the year so when he left Cubicle 7 to start Chronicle City, he asked me if I would give him a hand setting up the website and storefront, and assisting with community development. I was passionate about games and wanted to help my friend, so I said sure. While assisting Angus with Chronicle City, he had a proofreader leave a project so he needed someone to complete the project quickly to keep it on schedule. He offered me the opportunity to proofread my first rpg which was Interface Zero 2.0 by Gun Metal Games and Chronicle City. I really enjoyed the project and Angus was please so he then followed up with Mindjammer 2.0 from Mindjammer Press and Chronicle City. These two challenging projects awakened a passion to help others with their creative endeavors, thus began my life as a freelance editor and proofreader in the game industry. Since then I have moved into editing board games and short fiction as well, loving my work as a freelancer. 

What makes a game instantly appealing for you?

Storytelling potential. It might be the theme, an IP, or the way the game system opens up opportunities, but ultimately I am attracted to rpgs that encourage the telling of tales. Building a story with friends, sharing the events of a growing narration, challenging our perceptions of the world around us, and building relationships with my fellow gamers are what I seek. A game upon seeing it or hearing about it that suddenly generates creative story ideas in my mind will grab my attention instantly. If the mere thought of the game makes me want to tell stories in that world appeals to me. 

What is your favourite game of all time, and why?

I might play many other RPGs and tabletop games, but Dungeons & Dragons will always be my favorite game. I started with first edition AD&D and now mostly play the new fifth edition. Through V&V as an introduction, and AD&D as my core roleplaying game experience, my understanding of games and their impact on my life expanded dramatically. Playing AD&D over the years has built some of my strongest and life long friendships. It was also while playing AD&D that I first took on the responsiblity as a game master. My years of roleplaying and being a game master have developed many skills and talents that have been so useful in life. I gained confidence in public speaking, my ability to improvise has grown, I learned to take detailed and organized notes, leading others has become natural, and I developed the ability to describe events, actions, places, and things in vivid details to help others visualize. Even though I enjoy D&D 5e (and many other RPGs), I will still return to AD&D 1e occasionally because of the nostalgia and memories that it brings back to my friends and I. 

What are you working on at the moment, and where can we find it?

I keep really busy as a freelance editor and proofreader. My most recently published projects include rpgs that were nominated for ENnie Awards including Down Darker Trails and Reign of Terror by Chaosium, Seven Worlds campaign by Intellistories, and City of Mist by Sons of Oak Studio. Most recently I have been working on a comprehensive index for Wraith: The Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition and numerous board game edits for Stronghold Games and Greenbrier Games. You can find links to all my published works on my blog

What do you have planned for the future?

I have quite a few projects already on the upcoming freelancing schedule including more indexes with Onyx Path, numerous board games edits with Stronghold Games, and some other projects I cannot discuss yet. This Spring semester I will again be teaching Writing & Editing for Gaming at Taylor University. I am also hoping to make some further forays into writing for RPGs and not just editing. 

Why do you take part in RPGaDAY?

RPGaDAY provides two wonderful opportunities each year. First, it allows those of us who participate to share our hobby with others and open a conversation about a hobby we are so passionate about. Second, it strengthens the gaming community as we share with each other and learn more about our fellow gamers. Gaming to me is about storytelling and building relationships and RPGaDAY allows us to do both. 


Thank you for the great interview, and for supplying us with a great question this year... 

I guess I'd better answer it. Most memorable NPC? 

It'd probably be from our FFG Star Wars game, but it'd be a close run thing between the lumbering and self-centred Lumsk - a Trandoshan who served as arms dealer and all round pain in the ass who sometimes helped us out of sticky situations (if the money was good) or would sell you to the Hutts or slavers if their money was better. He was played a bit like Arnie in Red Heat, or other 80's action movies. The other cool NPC we kept running into was a Rodian called Daraka who was our tech expert and slicer. He was captured by the Empire and given AJ^6 cyborg enhancements, but we rescued him and his knowledge of the Empire was almost as huge as his love of cheetos... yes, in our game, cheetos existed (or at least a Star Wars universe equivalent). He'd cover everything with orange powder...

That was a fun game. Did enjoy that Star Wars game. No wonder we're going back to playing Star Wars again soon once our Tales from the Loop game concludes!

Thanks again to T R Knight for the interview and today's question.

Until tomorrow, stay multi-classy!!

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