Apr 022012

How would your life be different if you’d never gotten into gaming?

Impossible to say for sure, since the butterfly effect and chaos theory render any choice either earth-shattering or inconsequential.

But it’s probably safe to say that it would be more boring, probably a bit more anti-social, and certainly without a wonderful bunch of friends bonded over polyhedral dice, character sheets and sheer panic on account of inbound rakshasas/tyranids/and whatever adversaries met and overcome during the years.

Apr 012012

What lessons have you taken from gaming that you can apply to your real life?

The biggest takeaway is the ability to adapt, to react on the spot unfazed.

Countless unexpected situations have taught me to wing it on almost any subject with a reasonably high degree of conviction. This comes in, obviously, very useful when dealing with almost any topic at work.

After a complex campaign of crisscrossing plotlines and way too many NPCs to keep track of ensure that ordinary multitasking requirements are not that complex.

Portrayal of hundreds of characters of very variable intellect, goals and dispositions pretty much dictates that imagination and sense of humour have developed during the courses of conversations by and with imaginary people.

Collaboration against insurmountable odds, everyday probabilities and above all, a knack for coming up with plans is a second nature after years as a player.

Mar 062012

If you game enough, you’re bound to run into someone being an ass. What’s the most asinine thing someone’s done in a game with you? How did you react? Did that experience change the way you game?


Almost gave up on the entire campaign (Spelljammer, done using a system cobbled together from Torg and Warhammer) after a severe derailing by a couple of players who decided that short term fun (taking down everybody else on a commercial ship) is better than a decent start to a long string of adventures.

Killed the whole party by introducing a timely elven naval party. Or would have, if one of the players hadn’t been holding an “escape” card (from Torg, for those keeping the score at home), rendering the whole encounter to a thing to be reminisced about.

Sadly, the campaign didn’t last much longer.

And the main instigator of the incident didn’t get invited to the next one.

Mar 052012

Ropecon logo

Have you ever been to a game convention? What was it like to be surrounded by so many other gamers? If not, would you like to go to one? Why or why not?


Multiple times in Ropecon, the biggest finnish role-playing convention.

It’s been a variable set – sometimes there’s plenty of friends and plenty to see, sometimes it’s worth just a couple of presentations and a brief dip into the dealers’ room.

The most awesome guest of honour’s been Kenneth Hite in 2006 – his take on the industry left a lasting impression on two things. It’s hard to make money, but it’s easy to publish something groundbreaking.

Mar 042012

Temple of Elemental Evil cover

Have you ever experienced Total Party Kill (TPK), or been close to it? What effect did that have on you personally? On your group of players? Have you ever used retroactive continuity (retcon) to save yourself? Why or why not?

Certainly. Been on both receiving and giving end of the TPK-stick.

On the receiving side, the only things to do are to improve tactics (if self-inflicted) and to complain (if it’s due to GM indifference or maliciousness).

On the giving side, to talk with the players about what went wrong.

I’m pretty sure that I retconned a big fight in Temple of Elemental Evil back in the day, but the details are very hazy.

Mar 012012

What was the most memorable character death you’ve ever experienced? What makes it stick with you?

That would be Thalaric the barbarian, double-whammied by wizardry after blowing an initiative roll.

The first opposing magic-user disintegrated him, the fireball cast by the second blew the dust all over the ruins of Castle Greyhawk.

Feb 282012

What’s the weirdest character you’ve ever played? How did you end up with him/her/it?

That’d be Hangman, a hanged man with the power of a summoning a psychic noose – not a very effective participant in the first foray into the genre of superheroics.

The idea was sound, but the character wasn’t that realizable in GURPS.

Feb 282012


Have you ever “cheated” on a die roll/random chance outcome, or looked up a quest solution on a fan site? Why or why not? If yes, was it worth it?

As a game master, plenty of times.

As a player, never (to my best knowledge).

As a game master, fudging is oftentimes necessary to keep the story flowing, prevent the characters from dying too early and all in all massaging the adventure towards an arbitrarily improved resolution.

(Missed out on this entry in the series accidentally, it is retroactively pushed to a correct date to appear in proper place in the archives.)

Feb 272012

What was the best reward you’ve ever gotten in a game? What made it so great? How much do you need tangible rewards (loot, leveling, etc.) to enjoy a game?

I can’t recall. Something interesting and with multiple uses (not just another plus in to-hit or damage).

All in all loot means less than a good story. Or a good fight.

Feb 162012

Beyond the Veil cover

Who was the most memorable foe you’ve ever come up against in a game? How did you beat him/her/it? Or did you?

As a singular enemy, I’ve faced, probably the one that needed several attempts and changes of tactics was Storamere the dragon, the nemesis from Monte Cook’s Beyond the Veil.

The greatest enemy I’ve run against the players was Satimus the dark angel in Rod of Seraillian.

Feb 152012


People often talk about the divide between what happens “in game” and “in real life.” Do you maintain that divide in your own play, or do you tend to take what happens to your character personally? Why?

While I like getting into character as much as the next guy, it’s just a game. And while the events might be worthy of a long discussion on the subway ride back to town or be brought up in the group’s christmas party, it’s still a game.

Feb 142012

Masks of Nyarlathotep cover

What kinds of adventures do you enjoy most? Dungeon crawls, mysteries, freeform roleplaying, or something else? What do you think that says about you?

I like good adventures. No amount of awesome props can save a boring plot, and a few good details can easily evolve an otherwise forgettable dungeon crawl into something truly memorable.

But even more than individual adventures I like campaigns.

Campaigns that have continuity and imagination. Where there’s always extra layers to the onion of storytelling, and characters are more than just the sum of their abilities.

Feb 142012

Enemy Within

Who’s the best GM/storyteller/party leader you’ve ever had? What made him/her so great?

That’d be Mr. Kurvi, whose take on the Warhammer’s classic Enemy Within campaign mixes in additional content from a shelf-ful of sources, effectively rendering the game to a sandbox as opposed to a tightly plotted railroad.

Feb 142012

World of Warcraft

Do prefer collaborative or competitive games? What do you think that says about you?


Role-playing games always contain a subjective element, hence it is better not to engage in intra-party competition.

But there’s always room for a little bit of conflict.

Which probably says that I’m a diplomatic snipe.

Feb 132012

Nucky Thompson as acted by Steve Buscemi

Have you ever played a character that was morally gray, or actually evil? Why or why not? If yes, did you enjoy it?

Several times.

In all cases the character had a good (or at least justifiable) reason for his ruthlessness, this was not evil for evil’s sake.

Sticking to “good only” is boring, predictable and unrealistic – exploring the depths of the setting and the troupe with morally ambiguous individuals brings in a lot of extra spice to the campaign. Within the limits of the campaign, obviously. It’s up to the GM to set the boundaries of acceptable behaviour in his game.

Feb 132012

Indiana Jones

Have you ever played a character originally from a book/TV/movie? How did the character change from the original as you played? If not, who would you most like to play?

I haven’t actually.

All the characters are original.

And I don’t really have a clear idea who would be the optimal one for re-interpretation purposes. At least with Indiana Jones there wouldn’t be any shortage of source material.

Feb 072012

Inigo Montoya shirt

How do you pick names for your characters?

By thinking up something appropriate for the campaign, at least moderately cool-sounding, and avoiding the worst clichés.

Sometimes only two of the factors are in place: e.g. Dixie Lynch, the surprisingly lucky gunman of the haunted west, embodied all what the name implied.

The impressively post-modern, yet irrevocably geeky t-shirt is available from Thinkgeek.