Category Archives: Advice

RPGaDay 2016- Day 11, Which Gamer most affected the way I play?


I’ve realised, as I write these that I’m writing about Call of Cthulhu ALOT. It’s not even my favourite game really, that’s D&D, but it is the game I get the most out of and when you have a good game of Call of Cthulhu, I don’t think it can be bettered.

I think the reason that so many Call of Cthulhu games have had such a profound effect on me is that it was the first game I played that I realised could be played just for the character and story rather than the murdering and looting of monsters and that’s all down to the first Keeper I played for, a man by the name of Chris LeCourt.

Chris was a friend of a friend, met at a gaming club and someone I got to know due to a mutual love of gaming in general. Soon after a few friends and I formed a gaming group with Chris and embarked on our first session of Call of Cthulhu.

That first session was just one of the prewritten adventures in the core book (4th edition I think) and we were a group of investigators, naive to the mythos (although i’d been reading Lovecraft for a number of years by this point) working for an investigative company named The Ark Foundation. Regular players in my games will note that I still use that group in my Cthulhu games to this day.

Anyway, we played in a dark room  lit by candlelight, the first time i’d seen the environment manipulated by a Keeper to try to build atmosphere and it totally worked for me. I was drawn into my character, a photographer if I recall correctly, and did my best to react to the situations thrown at us with as much realism as possible.

Near the conclusion of the adventure, as we tried to form a circle of protection to trap an invisible creature, I failed a sanity check and my character was reduced to a jibbering mess in the corner of the room. I took this to heart and started to just rock back and forth in my chair muttering ‘this is not happening’ over and over. It’s a bit cliche but you really could cut the tension in the room with a knife.

I’ve long sought to emulate this in my own games of Cthulhu, from the name of the organisation that my Investigators always work for, to the candle lit rooms, even down to running that same adventure as an introduction for my own players years later. Chris opened my eyes to a different way of playing, a different type of story telling and for that i’ll be eternally grateful.

RPGaDay 2016 Day 7- What aspect of RPGs has had the biggest effect on me?


I’ve been a roleplayer for most of my life, well over 2 decades and before that I played wargames and before that I watched Dungeons and Dragons the cartoon. Even before I know what roleplaying was I was roleplaying, running around the school yard pretending to be Hank the Ranger, or a Transformer or a Thundercat.

I can’t think of an aspect of my life that hasn’t, in some way, been influenced by roleplaying, whether it’s writing this blog, the books I read, the TV shows and movies I enjoy, hell even the friends I have. Ask my wife and she’d probably say that the part thats had the biggest impact is the sheer amount of stuff released (and that I seem to be compelled to buy). Through it all though, the same aspect of roleplaying has had the biggest impact on me and it is the very thing that drew me to the hobby in the first place, storytelling.

Way back, before I knew RPGs were a thing, I played Heroquest, a GW game produced by MB Games and in that I played a mage and that mage developed into a character as the story of the campaign developed. Later, a friend introduced me to Dragonlance and it was those stories that made me want to create my own.

The storytelling of RPG’s lets me live and and experience in worlds beyond ours, worlds where the impossible is an everyday occurrence and where I feel what it’s like to be someone else. In the same way as actors like to step into the shoes of the character, be they hero or villain, I like to do the same, to explore what it’s like be someone else and do things that I would never normally consider doing, even if they were possible.

Not all of those things are heroic or good, but within a safe space, with my friends, we can explore the stories of the various heroes and villains of a world and collaboratively tell their story. Playing a villain can be a very cathartic experience, taking frustrations harmlessly and helping to build the greater story of the campaign and, more so, an effective, memorable villain makes the story, if you don’t believe me just watch Game of Thrones.

I still read, still watch films and TV, play computer games and more and in all cases my favourite thing is the story, how characters and events evolve and expand to become a cohesive whole within the context of their setting. Everything is about the story for me, from the things I choose to watch to the things I choose to do, above all, it’s the story that matters and that comes from Roleplaying.

RPGaDAY Day 6- Most Amazing Thing a Gaming Group did for their Community


It’s not my group but this one is very simple, it’s Gaming vs Cancer. Taking place in Southampton, on the south coast of England, every November Gaming vs Cancer runs tournaments for a variety of games including-

  • X-Wing Miniatures Game
  • Heroclix
  • Netrunner
  • Magic the Gathering

The prize pools for the tournaments are excellent with prizes being offered for winners, in raffles and as door prizes with many players walking away with something. All of the profits go to charity and the events themselves are reportedly a whole lot of fun (I haven’t been, my first is this November) and have a great atmosphere.

Thats all I need to ay today, Gaming vs Cancer is the best thing gamers I know for their community. Check it out here if you are local to the area and want to support a great cause.

RPGaDay 2016- Day 3, Character Moment you are Proudest of?


This is a hard question, i’ve been roleplaying for almost 25 years and i’ve had hundreds of characters in that time in dozens of different games and systems. It’s even harder because, despite all that, i actually DM way more than I play and so my proud character moments tend to be few and far between.

My proudest is probably the death of one of my more beloved characters, a wizard by the name of Sam and that was back in 3rd ed D&D. It was at the end of an extended campaign, one that ran for probably 2 and a half years at uni with session twice a week, sessions that regularly lasted 12 hours.

The campaign spanned my homebrew world, Ravenloft, Planescape and back and ended with a grand incursion of Tanar’ri into the world through a rift caused by the the Altraloth Bubonix. The only way to seal the rift was through personal sacrifice, one of the players needed to sacrifice their soul to hold the rift closed and save the world.

The party didn’t shirk from this responsibility, even the evil members, they’d travelled long and far to get back home, they’d lost friends and allies, killed friends and allies and sacrificed everything for the chance to live (and maybe rule) in their home plane again and they would not give it up without a fight. Several argued that it should be them, that they should be the one to make the great sacrifice but, in the end Sam took that choice from them.

Sam was a twice dead wizard, killed and reincarnated twice, as a pixie, though he’d never let you know it, he never wore that form. He’d been dead before, he’d held his dead friends and he’d been to the Abyss and fought Demon Princes and he knew this incursion would mean for his world.

Most importantly, Sam could not, would not, let any more of his friends die while it was in his power to stop it and, as a level 22 wizard with epic level spells at his disposal, it was within his power. Sam stopped time while the other argue, he stopped time and teleported himself into the rift, sacrificing himself and his power to save the world.

A lot of people would argue that a DM PC shouldn’t have this final great moment, but Sam was more than a DM PC, he was MY character, he’d been with the party since level 5 (when my former monk contracted vampirism and left the party) and he’d been through a lot. Sam was much more than a DM PC, he wasn’t a plot device to drive the story forward, he wasn’t their to make up numbers (the party was regularly 7 players and me), he was there because I wanted to play the game and my players had no problem with that.