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100 Questions for your RPG Group: 61-70

After a break for the holidays, 100 Questions is back! We’re a good deal more than halfway through the list, so let’s see if we can get these released in a timely manner now?

These questions are designed not to lead anyone to the “one true path to roleplaying,” nor even to find and excise undesirable group members. Instead, they are tools of conversation. Hopefully they’ll help members of an RPG group discuss some philosophy, some game theory, and some silly stuff.

These are best handled in person, while feeling casual, likely with beer and pizza (or the age & culturally appropriate equivalent).

61-70: Gamer Superstitions

Roleplaying games vary widely, from rule- and math-heavy tactical exercises, to story-based activities designed to work with a group all working together, but a surprising number of “gamer superstitions” are common in a wide range of groups. It can be worth examining what these are, why people observe them, and how serious such observances are.

  1. Do you play along with ideas of gamer superstition for fun, despite not believing them, or secretly believe such things without publicly acknowledging them? Are there any you take so seriously having others dismiss them is hurtful or worrying to you?
  1. Do you believe in lucky dice? Or a lucky die-rolling method, or chant that accompanies important roles?
  1. Within the bounds of normal personal space and courtesy, do you care who touches your dice? Does a stranger touching the, annoy or worry you? Do you believe rubbing them on a game designer or GM increases their luck?
  1. Do you feel your luck, or the general luck of your dice, is impacted by loaning your dice to other people who need them? Or borrowing dice when yours aren’t available?
  1. Do you have any rituals regarding your gaming materials? Do you believe a custom figure helps your character succeed? Do you place dice in order from least to most sides, sit them with a desired result showing when they are not in use? Do you think hand-written character sheets have more mojo than computer-generated or e-sheets? Do you pre-roll your dice before making actual game-relevant rolls, to see which dice are doing well, or try to pre-remove any undesired result?
  1. Do you feel a character, or a campaign, or an adventure can be cursed? That some unknown force actually makes some element of the game impact randomly determined elements of the game?
  1. Do you believe your typical results of randomized elements of tabletop or electronic games is better or worse than average? Do you think that such a history, if accurate, is a predictor of future results that are statistically anomalous? Do you think such a predictor, if it exists, should be considered when determining the balance or appropriateness of game options you select?
  1. Are their events outside your control you believe influences your luck or success in a game? Do you feel there is music that makes a character more likely to succeed, or that playing on a holiday or birthday gives you an edge unexplained by statistics?
  1. Do you feel the way one character dies impacts the fate of the next one beyond decisions made by players and GM? Do you think a character dying heroically in game blesses your next character, or giving up and abandoning a character curses your next one? Are there any ways to avoid these positive or negative influences, if you believe in them?
  1. Regardless of your own beliefs, are there any game superstitions of others you enjoy watching? Are there any that annoy you, or negatively impact your ability to enjoy a game?

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100 Questions: 51-60 Player Character Context

These questions are designed not to lead anyone to the “one true path to roleplaying,” nor even to find and excise undesirables. Instead, they are tools of conversation. Hopefully they’ll help members of an RPG group discuss some philosophy, some game theory, and some silly shit.

These are best handled in person, while feeling casual, likely with beer and pizza (or the age & culturally appropriate equivalent).

51-60 Player Character Context

Characters are often described in terms of appearance, or role in the group, or background. And that’s all good! But fictional characters are in a way a form of personal art, and art can sometimes use some less literal descriptions and less direct context.

  1. If your character was going to be played by an actor/actress in a good live-action movie, who would that be? What if it was a television show? What if it was a terrible, cheesy movie?
  1. If you character had a representative icon that was a single object and a single colored border, what would that object and border be?
  1. If your character had a theme song or soundtrack, what would it be?
  1. What did your character want to be when growing up, other than what the character is now? Why didn’t that happen?
  1. Where does your character feel safest? Why do they ever leave that place?
  1. What is your character’s favorite food, flavor combination, or scent? What is their least favorite? If they don’t eat or smell, pick one sense they do have and describe their favorite artistic sensation for that sense.
  1. What does your character wear to formal events, or would if forced to if they’ve never been to one?
  1. What is one vice your character is tempted by but doesn’t indulge in? What is one vice they find distasteful?
  1. What would be the perfect pet for your character, or object that fills a pet-like role? What is the worst possible pet?
  1. What would have to happen for your character to stop engaging in the primary activity the campaign is assumed to be based around? (Why would they stop adventuring for a typical d20 fantasy rpg? Why would they stop struggling to survive in zombie survival horror? Why would they hang up the mask and cape for a superhero game?)

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100 Questions 41-50: The Play Environment

100 Questions for Your RPG Group

These questions not are designed to lead anyone to the “one true path of roleplaying,” nor even to find and excise undesirables. Instead, they are tools of conversation. Hopefully they’ll help members of an RPG group discuss some philosophy, some game theory, and some silly shit.

These are best handled in person, while feeling casual, likely with beer and pizza (or the age & culturally appropriate equivalent).

41-50: The Play Environment

One player’s cool atmospheric prop is another player’s annoying obstacle. It’s worth finding out what a group’s members do and don’t like in terms of a real-world environment to play in.

41. Have you ever played an RPG sessions where the GM wore a cape (as is often represented on TV shows that include an rpg-ing character)? Has your GM ever worn anything distinctive during a game? would you enjoy a GM wearing something distinctive, or would you just think it’s silly and distracting?

42. What’s your favorite furniture arrangement for rpg playing? Do you like a big table with dinning chairs, or prefer sofas and a coffee table? Does your preference vary based on the game system or type of encounter?

43. Do you roll your dice in a dice tray? Using a dice tower? Do you need a lot of space for your dice? If playing a diceless game or one with cards, do those need special space?

44. Do you enjoy using a playmat and miniatures for your RPG sessions? Does it depend on the game system?  Do you use them only during fights, or in any type of encounter? Do you like 3D terrain? Do you have a preference between printed maps and blank maps a GM can draw on?

45. Have you ever used mood lighting in an rpg sessions? Did you enjoy it? What kind of mood lighting do you think might enhance a horror-themed rpg encounter? Exploration-themed? Combat? Diplomacy?

46. Do you enjoy music during an rpg session? Does the type of music and rpg session need to match? What kind of music do you think would enhance an rpg campaign you are currently playing? What music that you otherwise enjoy would you not like to have playing during an rpg session?

47. Have you played an rpg session enhanced with soundboards or sound effects? Did you enjoy it? What do you think might make sound effects better for an rpg session? What would make them less fun?

48. Have you played in an rpg session with other efforts to set a tone in the environment beyond miniatures, lights, and sounds? Can you imagine an rpg session be enhanced by other props, or scents, or other theatrics? What would you like to try during an rpg session that you’ve never experienced?

49. Do you mind when people not playing the game watch an rpg session? If you don’t mind, what might make you prefer to not have a guest? If you do mind, what could a guest do to alleviate your concerns?

50. Does it matter to you if you have a regular place to play rpgs? Or is any reasonable play space fine, even if the same campaign has to hop from locale to locale?

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100 RPG Questions 31-40; Story Beats

100 Questions for Your RPG Group

These questions are designed not to lead anyone to the “one true path to roleplaying,” nor even to find and excise undesirables. Instead, they are tools of conversation. Hopefully they’ll help members of an RPG group discuss some philosophy, some game theory, and some silly shit.

These are best handled in person, while feeling casual, likely with beer and pizza (or the age & culturally appropriate equivalent).

31-40: Story Beats

Some people want just enough story in an RPG to help them to decide which door to kick down and which humanoids they get to kill without remorse. Other people are specifically into RPGS for the story, and everything else is an at-best secondary concern.

These questions aren’t about that range of opinions.

Instead these are designed to help suss out, within the amount of story a group wants, what story elements are the most satisfying, and which ones are played out or undesirable.

31. Name a movie you don’t like that you think would be fun to play through as a roleplaying game sessions. Name a movie you love you think wouldn’t be fun as an rpg session.

32. If you had to choose, on a specific night, between a satisfying conclusion to a storyline, or a major advancement of the rule-supported effectiveness of your character, which would you be more likely to select? What factors could alter that situation?

33. What’s something that happens in genre fiction a lot that never (or almost never) happens in a roleplaying game, and you’d like to experience in an rpg.

34. What’s something that happens a lot in roleplaying games, that you would rather not experience again (for whatever reason, and don’t feel you must explain).

35. What is a specific event that occurred in an RPG session that at first you didn’t think you’d enjoy, but you did. Discuss why it exceeded your expectations.

36. Discuss a game session you were looking forward to that you did not enjoy. Discuss why you didn’t enjoy it, and what you think could have been handled differently to make it more fun.

37. How much backstory do you normally give your characters (PCs or major NPCs)? Why? How would you feel about being asked to produce a different amount (both more, and less)?

38. Is there a kind of story element you’d love to see in a game you are currently playing you feel that game’s rules don’t handle well? Do you have an idea for rules to handle it?

39. Is there a kind of story element you feel is caused by the rules of a game you are currently playing that you’d rather have less of, or avoid entirely? Do you have ideas how to avoid that rules element in that game system?

40. Discuss what kinds of themes a roleplaying game can have. What are some of your favorite themes? Which themes do you dislike, or are bored with?

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100 Questions for Your RPG Group; 21-30

100 Questions for Your RPG Group

These questions are designed not to lead anyone to the “one true path to roleplaying,” nor even to find and excise undesirables. Instead, they are tools of conversation. Hopefully they’ll help members of an RPG group discuss some philosophy, some game theory, and some silly shit.

These are best handled in person, while feeling casual, likely with beer and pizza (or the age & culturally appropriate equivalent).

21-30 Players

What player’s find fun, unfun, reasonable, and totally out of line can be crucial components of a good rpg session.

  1. Do players have a responsibility to the GM or other players to help them have fun?
  2. If you knew an action your character was about to take would upset the GM or another player (not an NPC or PC, but the actual people at the table), and not taking that action would be out of character, would you still have your character act that way? Would you discuss the action with the people you thought it would upset, either before of after taking it.
  3. If you like the idea of a campaign of evil characters, discuss reasons players in general might not enjoy such a game. If you dislike the idea of a campaign of evil characters, discuss reasons players in general might find such a game fun.
  4. Paper or plastic? Now defend the answer as a heroic champion of all that is good and right. Now answer as a conniving scoundrel. Now answer as a master scholar. Now answer as a violent antisocial psychopath. Explain why you answered as you did in those personas.
  5. If a player consistently and definitely has worse luck than any other player or the GM, and that makes the game less fun for them, should the GM or other players make any special rules to compensate for that player’s unluck?
  6. If you knew another player was cheating, and it didn’t seem to impact the enjoyment anyone else was having, how would you handle that?
  7. If you knew the GM was altering die rolls or NPC statistics, how would you handle that?
  8. If you found the out-of-character actions of another player was making the game not enjoyable for you, how would you handle that? What if it was the GM? How would you like other players or the GM to handle the situation if you are the one making a game unfun for someone else?
  9. If you found a character concept or the actions of another player’s character was making the game not enjoyable for you, how would you handle that? What if it was the GM and an NPC? How would you like other players or the GM to handle the situation if your character is the one making a game unfun for someone else?
  10. Name one gaming-related pet peeve of yours that you admit is unreasonable.

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100 Questions for Your RPG Group; 11-20

100 Questions for Your RPG Group

These questions are designed not to lead anyone to the “one true path to roleplaying,” nor even to find and excise undesirables. Instead, they are tools of conversation. Hopefully they’ll help members of an RPG group discuss some philosophy, some game theory, and some silly shit.

These are best handled in person, while feeling casual, likely with beer and pizza (or the age & culturally appropriate equivalent).

11-20 Hidden Genre Preferences

It’s easy to talk about our favorite movies and television programs, but there’s some useful information in other things we like as well.

  1. What is your favorite Saturday Morning Cartoon? What is your favorite animation you don’t consider a Saturday Morning Cartoon?
  2. What is your favorite commercial?
  3. What is your favorite book cover (fiction or nonfiction)?
  4. What is your favorite toy?
  5. What is your favorite television show or movie that you think is objectively bad?
  6. What is your favorite book series with 6 or more books in it?
  7. What is your favorite story (book, TV, movie, or otherwise) that you hate the ending to? What ending would you have preferred?
  8. What story (book, TV, movie, or otherwise) did you love when you were younger, but have since come to dislike? Why do you think your opinion changed?
  9. What RPG that you hate the rules for do you most love the setting of?
  10. What RPG that you hate the setting of do you most love the rules for?

More questions next week!

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100 Questions for Your RPG Group; 1-10

100 Questions for Your RPG Group

These questions are designed not to lead anyone to the “one true path to roleplaying,” nor even to find and excise undesirables. Instead, they are tools of conversation. Hopefully they’ll help members of an RPG group discuss some philosophy, some game theory, and some silly shit.

These are best handled in person, while feeling casual, likely with beer and pizza (or the age & culturally appropriate equivalent).

1-10; GMing

#1. Would you prefer a GM be entirely beholden to the game rules and die rolls, or secretly make changes if it leads to a more interesting, or more dramatic, or more fulfilling game session?

#2. Give one concrete example of when a GM fudging die rolls or rules might lead to a more interesting, or more dramatic, or more fulfilling game session?

#3. Does it make a difference to your preference if the GM is entirely open about making changes? What if the GM can hide any change so you never even suspect it?

#4. Do you consider altering NPC attitudes or personalities from their originally planned starting points, or changing the plot of a future game session based on interesting ideas that come up in play, to be GM fudging, or just normal GM activities, or both?

#5. Should a GM be able to veto the color of a PC’s eyes? Or is that none of the GM’s business?

#6. Is the GM a player in an RPG session?

#7. Should the GM roll dice in secret, roll dice in public view, or roll dice with varying secrecy as appropriate to the nature of the roll?

#8. Is being the GM a chore, or a privilege?

#9. How much of the success of an RPG session is determined by the quality and actions of the GM? Would you prefer an awesome RPG ruleset with an awesome adventure and awesome other players run by a mediocre GM; or a mediocre RPG ruleset with a mediocre adventure and mediocre other players under an awesome GM?

#10. What is your pet peeve about GMs, expressed in a way that makes it generic and impossible to connect to any one specific GM?

More questions soon!

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