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RPG» Forums » Site Related » RPGGeek News

Subject: RPG Geek of the Week #83: Martin Ralya (Martin Ralya) rss

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Maurice Tousignant
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It's Sunday, which means it's finally time for me to stop typing about myself and introduce the next Geek of the Week.

Let me present a man with more credentials then I will ever have, someone for whom the GotW is just another notch on the broadsword:

Martin Ralya
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Martin Ralya wrote:
Bio:

I was born in the south of France in 1977, and moved to New York City when I was two. I moved to Michigan for college, got married at 18 (baaaad idea!), and stayed there until 2004 (with a few months back in NYC; long story). In 2004, now divorced, I moved to Utah; I've been here ever since. Utah's been good to me: I met my wife, Alysia, here in 2005, we got married in 2006, and we had our daughter, Lark, in 2009.

I've been playing games for as long as I can remember, but I didn't get into RPGs until I was 10, in 1987. For reasons I can't fathom, I saw the Lords of Creation boxed set at a Barnes & Noble in New York and had to have it. Neither I nor my parents really new what it was, but it looked cool!

I fumbled around with that for a year or two before being introduced to red box D&D by a friend -- and man was that an amazing, door-opening experience. As soon as I had some Christmas money to spend, I went out looking for it -- only to find that it wasn't in print any more. I picked up the AD&D 2e PHB, DMG, Monstrous Compendium, and the Time of the Dragon boxed set, instead, and I've been gaming ever since.

I've always spent more time as a GM than as a player. When I first started, most of my friends didn't know each other (different schools, etc.), so I GMed solo for one person at a time. It wasn't until high school that I met many more people who loved gaming and started playing in groups.

Having always loved writing, I decided to try my hand at freelancing for the RPG industry back in 2004. That led to starting my own GMing blog, Treasure Tables, in 2005; it ran until 2007. In 2008, I asked some folks I knew through TT if they'd like to start a team GMing blog, and they all said yes; Gnome Stew was founded that year, and is still going strong.

In 2009, after seeing Jonathan Jacobs (now of Nevermet Press) take Open Game Table, Volume 1 from concept to published reality, I thought to myself, "Well, shit -- if he can do it, so can I!" So I started Engine Publishing, which published its first book, Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters, in 2010 and its second, Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game, about a month ago. Both books were written by the authors of Gnome Stew.

That's my gaming life, and a bit of my actual life, in a nutshell!


My questions to Martin:

d10-1 Gnome Stew got a Silver Ennie this year. What are you guys going to do to make it a gold next year?


d10-2 What actually made you give up on your personal blog and decide to do a group effort?

d10-3 Why the hate for acid spouting cyber-breasts?

d10-4 Somewhat going back to a question that you asked me. What's so good about CODA Trek? Why might I like it better then FASA Trek?

d10-5 I noticed that 98% or so of your collection is rated. Have you actually read/played them all?

Poll: I know Martin would never lie to his fans, so I must have messed one of these up, which is it?
Which of these is false?
I once unintentionally flashed the entire lobby of a hotel, as well as a wedding party, while at GenCon. I had forgotten my swim trunks and decided to go swimming in boxers...which had no button on their closure.
I was born with six toes on my left foot. Number six was snipped off shortly thereafter; now it's just a stub. It makes it kind of annoying to buy shoes, and I wish I either a) still had it or b) at least had it in a little jar somewhere.
When I moved back to NYC in 2000, I didn't know what to do with myself -- so I entered training to become a Jesuit priest. When I, and they, realized that I was just a foul-mouthed atheist, albeit a genuinely confused one, I was kicked out.
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Poll created by GilvanBlight


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Jan
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Congratulations!

here are my usual questions.

- What's you're favorite monster?
- What's you're favorite beer or other drink?
- Wich boardgames do you prefer?
- What's you're favorite meal?
- Will you congratulate you're BGG and VGG counterpart and ask him/her some questions?
- What was the most strange character you've ever created?
- How far did you get in the Dungeon of Doom?
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Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
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Yay Martin! One of the really great guys in the hobby!

My usual lineup of questions...

d10-1 If you had to spend forever and a day on a remote island (well stocked with food, shelter, pencil, paper, dice and 3-5 friends) what one reading (non-game) book would you take with you and why?

d10-2 If you had to spend forever and a day on a remote island (well stocked with food, shelter, pencil, paper, dice and 3-5 friends) what one RPG book would you take with you and why?

d10-3 If you had to spend forever and a day on a remote island (well stocked with food, shelter, pencil, paper, dice and 3-5 friends) what one game (non RPG) would you take with you and why?

d10-4 If you could play an RPG with any one fellow RPG Geek regular, who would it be and why?

d10-5 If you could play an RPG with any famous person (dead or alive... but not an RPG Geek regular), who would it be and why?

d10-6 If you were trapped at a convention and dying to play but all they had were pre-1989 RPGs (i.e. before AD&D 2e), what RPG would you play?

Enjoy your week!

-Dave
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Congratulations Martin!
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Savage Josh
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Congratulations Martin!

Now, my gauntlet of questions.

1) Pick one: Star Wars, Star Trek, or Battlestar Galactica? Why?
2) What do you like the least about your favorite RPG?
3) Do you like your Call of Cthulhu with a bit of pulp?
4) What are your thoughts on PDF game books?
5) What is the best RPG supplement you've ever read/used?
6) What's your favorite magazine? Why?
7) What do you think is the most important development in the RPG industry?
8) Any settings that you find very existing and interesting, but your group gives them a huge thumbs down?
9) Any games that you feel should have been better received? Why? Speculating, why do you think the product was less popular than you thing it should have been?
10) Any settings that you just can't get behind? Why?
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Congratulations Martin!!

Some questions:

d10-1 What is your favourite role playing game?
d10-2 What is your favourite dice?
d10-3 What is your favourite book?
d10-4 And film?
d10-5 Chose one: Sword, Axe or bow?
d10-6 A genre you have never tried and you would like to?



Enjoy your week
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Talindra Puestaluna
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CONGRATS MARTIN!!!!
Enjoy your week!!! laugh
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Eric M. Aldrich I
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Congrats! I'll have a question or two to add later.
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Congrats Martin

and thank you for last weeks database submissions thumbsup

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Congratulations Martin! Have a great and well-deserved week!
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Congrats Martin!

I'm a huge fan of the Stew; this is very well deserved
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Martin Ralya
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Thank you for selecting me, Maurice -- this is an honor, and a fun one!

GilvanBlight wrote:
Let me present a man with more credentials then I will ever have, someone for whom the GotW is just another notch on the broadsword:


It's more than that! Just ask my wife, who has had to listen to me talk about it for the past few days. whistle

GilvanBlight wrote:
d10-1 Gnome Stew got a Silver Ennie this year. What are you guys going to do to make it a gold next year?


Our focus this year is going to be on reaching a wider audience. We have great fans and readers, and a pretty good "ground game" for getting out the vote (we won the silver last year, too), but for the ENnies we just plain need more voters. This year will likely see a Gnome Stew redesign, some advertising, and possibly a different approaching to publicity. Nothing's firmed up yet, though.

And of course there's no way to guarantee another nomination -- we don't take being nominated for granted. We also don't worry too much about doing things specifically for the ENnies; we focus on creating GMing content we're proud of, and count on our fans to do the rest.

The nice thing about working on reaching a wider audience is that it really has nothing to do with the ENnies -- we want to help as many GMs as possible, and boosting our ENnies chances is just gravy.

GilvanBlight wrote:
d10-2 What actually made you give up on your personal blog and decide to do a group effort?


Burnout. I made the slightly crazy decision to post 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and it was too much; it stopped being fun and started being work that didn't pay very well.

Lots of readers suggested ways to keep from burning out if I decided to return to blogging, which was great, and the suggestion that stuck with me was starting a team blog. That was one of the best decisions I've ever made -- working on the Stew with these guys has been fantastic.

I probably wouldn't have started Engine Publishing without Gnome Stew, and our books wouldn't be as good without this team of authors and designers behind them. It's also opened doors for me, most notably my current job (which I love); my work on the Stew played a big role in getting me that job.

GilvanBlight wrote:
d10-3 Why the hate for acid spouting cyber-breasts?


The acid, mostly...

Seriously, though, it's because they have nothing to do with Shadowrun. Put them in a list of cyberware that includes things like spurs and implanted monofilament whips and so forth, and they stick out like a sore thumb. It's childish and dumb, and Shadowrun isn't either of those things.

GilvanBlight wrote:
d10-4 Somewhat going back to a question that you asked me. What's so good about CODA Trek? Why might I like it better then FASA Trek?


There's quite a bit of overlap with your response, mainly because the best part is that the end product -- the game sessions -- feels like Star Trek.

Under the hood, it's a great system. It's light without being too light, and the mechanics are fun to interact with, drive and dovetail with roleplaying, and don't get in the way of the game. I like lighter systems that aren't too light, and which don't require a huge prep time investment from me as the GM, and CODA is both of those things in spades.

It's also a fantastic learning tool. The books teach you how to run and play a Trek game that feels like Trek, and I've learned more about GMing from the Narrator's Guide than from any other gaming book.

GilvanBlight wrote:
d10-5 I noticed that 98% or so of your collection is rated. Have you actually read/played them all?


Nope, though I've read and/or played a large chunk of my collection. I view ratings as a journey, not a destination. The books I haven't read, I've partially read or skimmed enough to feel comfortable rating them.

If I dig into a book I'd previously skimmed and read the whole thing, that could change my rating; so could using it in play. I've adjusted my boardgame ratings over the years, and I expect to do the same with my RPG ratings.

Unlike boardgames, which I won't rate until I've played them, it's not that hard to tell how good an RPG book is from a thorough skim or a read-through. With a boardgame, how it looks on paper and how it plays can be totally different; in my experience, that happens a lot less often with RPGs.
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Thank you!

Barad_the_dwarf wrote:
- What's you're favorite monster?


The gelatinous cube. I have one sitting on my desk that has minis representing my first and favorite D&D characters inside it. They don't make any sense, but I've always loved them.

Barad_the_dwarf wrote:
- What's you're favorite beer or other drink?


Asahi is my favorite beer; Heineken when I can't find it (which is much too often!). My favorite mixed drink is rum and coke, and I like all sorts of rum.

Barad_the_dwarf wrote:
- Wich boardgames do you prefer?


Dominion and Pandemic are my two all-time favorites, and the ones I've played the most (though some party games come close in terms of times played).

I love Dominion even though I suck at it; it scratches so many CCG itches without being a CCG. Pandemic is my favorite co-op, although it's actually been awhile since we've played it. Defenders of the Realm is creeping up the charts, and my group likes co-ops in general, so I could see Pandemic staying on the shelf for awhile.

In general, I prefer Euros to ATs, wargames, and CCGs, although I've played a ton of BattleTech, Magic, Jyhad/V:TES, and other non-Euros. I don't judge any game by it's time; if it's fun, it's fun.

Barad_the_dwarf wrote:
- What's you're favorite meal?


In the abstract, a giant hamburger with all the trimmings, a Kosher dill pickle spear, and fries with sea salt and barbecue sauce for dipping.

Specifically, my current all-time favorite meal is a diner breakfast of pancakes, sausage, and eggs that I had in northern Vermont earlier this year. That's going to be a hard one to top.

Fun question!

Barad_the_dwarf wrote:
- Will you congratulate you're BGG and VGG counterpart and ask him/her some questions?


That's an excellent idea! I most certainly will.

Barad_the_dwarf wrote:
- What was the most strange character you've ever created?


Probably Hwang-se Li, the Bygone I created for a Mage: The Ascension campaign in college. He was a martial artist who had conquered death from old age (IE, ageless but could still be killed), but I created martial arts maneuvers that sounded like Mage spells for him, and in a year of play none of the other players guessed that he wasn't a mage. He turned out to be one of my favorite characters to play, as well as one of the odder ones.

Barad_the_dwarf wrote:
- How far did you get in the Dungeon of Doom?


I haven't played it yet, and I'm ashamed to say that I probably won't. blush Right now I'm mired in freelance work and getting books ready to mail out, and I just don't have time. If my schedule clears, I'd love to give it a try.
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Congrats Martin!

d10-1What is your favourite colour when playing a boardgame?
d10-2Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?
d10-3Do you play an instrument? If yes, which one and for how long already?
d10-4Having fun?
d10-5What would have been your name if your parents didn't name you Martin?
d10-6What is your favourite snack?
d10-7 What is your favourite day of the week?
d10-8What is your favourite time of day?
d10-9 What character would you be in a Star Trek setting?

Enjoy your week!
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Martin Ralya
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Thank you for the congrats -- and thank you as well to everyone who has congratulated me. This is a very cool experience.

Bazin wrote:
1) Pick one: Star Wars, Star Trek, or Battlestar Galactica? Why?


Star Wars, although I love all three. I was too young to see A New Hope when it came out in the theater, and left the theater terrified before finishing Empire, but I did see Jedi when it came out -- and despite those circumstances, Star Wars has always grabbed me for reasons that I've found hard to articulate. Thirty years later, it still does.

Reading The Making of Star Wars (fantastic book), I can now articulate why, at least in part: Because the universe Lucas created feels real, rough, and lived-in. I also love the aliens (especially jawas, Yoda, the rancor, and sand people), the characters (especially Yoda and Han Solo), the way the first three films convey the wider universe, how seriously the actors took the movies -- while still obviously having fun making them -- and how much craft, and love, was poured into them, particularly New Hope and Empire.

Last year, my wife and I made me a jawa costume, as close to screen-accurate as possible without breaking the budget. Here's the story and lots of photos.

I try not to think about the prequels too much. angry

Bazin wrote:
2) What do you like the least about your favorite RPG?


My favorite RPG is CODA Star Trek; the thing I like least about it is incredibly minor: The playable races and starships are scattered throughout several books, which sometimes makes them hard to find.

Bazin wrote:
3) Do you like your Call of Cthulhu with a bit of pulp?


I prefer purist CoC, but only slightly; I like pulp CoC a lot, as well. I'll happily play or GM either, and have had some great gaming experiences with both.

Bazin wrote:
4) What are your thoughts on PDF game books?


I don't own a tablet, so I rarely use PDFs; I much prefer printed books. As a publisher, though, I recognize that my tastes don't match everyone else's, so I make sure that Engine Publishing produces PDFs that people who love PDFs will love -- DRM-free, fully bookmarked and hyperlinked, and designed to be used as PDFs.

I also believe that every physical book should come with a PDF copy, so Engine Publishing does that as well.

(Sorry if this came off like PR -- my feelings about PDFs are directly connected to being a publisher!)

Bazin wrote:
5) What is the best RPG supplement you've ever read/used?


The old grey box Forgotten Realms campaign setting. I've used it more than almost any other supplement in my collection, and that's been true for two decades -- if I'm running FR, I'm using it.

It gets so many things right, but what I love best is that you can flip to just about any page and base a whole campaign on what you find there. Everything in the box is useful, flavorful, and interesting -- and it has heart.

Bazin wrote:
6) What's your favorite magazine? Why?


Right now, Game Informer -- which is funny, because GI used to be one of the shittiest magazines in existence. I like their coverage, the fact that they're obviously fans, and being introduced to games I never would have found out about on my own.

Bazin wrote:
7) What do you think is the most important development in the RPG industry?


Jesus, talk about a hard question!

I'd have to go with the Open Game License. Eleven years on, the entire industry looks different because of the OGL. Excellent companies like Green Ronin and Paizo are thriving because of it, tons of new publishers -- some good, some terrible -- entered the market, and along with them came the PDF revolution and an expanded pool of freelancer talent.

I have no evidence of this, but I believe a lot more people are out there producing and working on and publishing gaming products than at any time in the past, and that all comes back to the OGL and the way it allowed startup publishers to enter the market like never before.

Even though I don't publish OGL material, without the OGL it's unlikely that I would have started Engine Publishing.

Bazin wrote:
8) Any settings that you find very existing and interesting, but your group gives them a huge thumbs down?


Burning Empires. My group would rather bathe in acid than ever play this again, and although the setting was only part of it I can't see them liking the setting even if it were divorced from the system.

Bazin wrote:
9) Any games that you feel should have been better received? Why? Speculating, why do you think the product was less popular than you thing it should have been?


This is a head-scratcher, too; I dig it! I'll go with Birthright, which I've never played but have read a lot of (and would love, love, love to play).

I think it's relative unpopularity was due to several factors: the empire-building aspect being too different from vanilla D&D for a lot of groups; the world, which isn't based on an established IP and which looks -- at first glance -- to be pretty generic; and the hard-to-pronounce names.

Bazin wrote:
10) Any settings that you just can't get behind? Why?


Ravenloftgargled dicks. I tried to get into it, but it just felt cheesy and campy, everyone hated the PCs, and I didn't like that it shoehorned my D&D game into horror. I know that's what it was supposed to do (the last part, not the first part), but it just didn't work for me.
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Not sure why I went out of order here..

wavemotion wrote:
Yay Martin! One of the really great guys in the hobby!


Thank you very much, Dave! That means a lot.

wavemotion wrote:
d10-1 If you had to spend forever and a day on a remote island (well stocked with food, shelter, pencil, paper, dice and 3-5 friends) what one reading (non-game) book would you take with you and why?


Interesting Times, by Terry Pratchett. It's my all-time favorite book (Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon is a very close second), I love Rincewind and the barbarians, and I've read it many times; Interesting Times is Rincewind at his most Rincewind-y. I don't think I'll ever get tired of it.

Terry signed my copy a few years ago, and also wrote "Stercus, stercus, stercus!"

wavemotion wrote:
d10-2 If you had to spend forever and a day on a remote island (well stocked with food, shelter, pencil, paper, dice and 3-5 friends) what one RPG book would you take with you and why?


Burning Wheel Gold. This is a fantastic tool for building games, and includes enough raw material for a lifetime of gaming. The fact that it doesn't have a horde of supplements and settings would actually make it easier to use on a desert island, because I wouldn't feel like I was missing a bunch of books.

wavemotion wrote:
d10-3 If you had to spend forever and a day on a remote island (well stocked with food, shelter, pencil, paper, dice and 3-5 friends) what one game (non RPG) would you take with you and why?


Assuming I can include all the expansions -- which, after all, are in the same box -- then I'd take Dominion. There are so many ways to combine those cards that I'd be able to play for years and it would still feel (relatively) fresh.

If expansions can't be included, then Wizard. I think a couple of my new acquisitions (like Biblios, Rowboat, Haggis, and Filipino Fruit Market) will give it a run for its money, but Wizard has been my favorite card game for over a decade.

wavemotion wrote:
d10-4 If you could play an RPG with any one fellow RPG Geek regular, who would it be and why?


Dave Chalker
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I know Dave primarily online, and we've met a couple of times at GenCon, but we've never actually gotten to sit down and game together. His blog, Critical Hits just won the gold ENnie for Best Blog, too!

wavemotion wrote:
d10-5 If you could play an RPG with any famous person (dead or alive... but not an RPG Geek regular), who would it be and why?


Gary Gygax. I've always had a tremendous respect for Gary, but I only met him once, and then only briefly (he signed my D&D 3.0 PHB at GenCon 2000). He seemed like a wonderful person, and the hobby he fathered has given me a tremendous amount of joy for many, many years.

wavemotion wrote:
d10-6 If you were trapped at a convention and dying to play but all they had were pre-1989 RPGs (i.e. before AD&D 2e), what RPG would you play?


That's an easy one! Call of Cthulhu, hands-down. It's one of my favorite RPGs, and I rarely get a chance to play; that convention would be heaven.
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Martin Ralya
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I need to eat lunch, go grocery shopping, and do some freelance work, but I'll be back to answer all the questions I haven't answered yet!

I've also just gone back in and edited my posts to link to items that come up, whenever they seemed relevant. I'll include links going forward.

Thank you all again for the congrats and for the questions -- this has already been a lot of fun, and it's only Sunday.
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Congrats Martin on being Geek of the Week

A few of my usual questions;

d10-1 Bucket of dice or minimal dice?

d10-2 Is there an RPG related story that always makes you laugh?

d10-3 What is your most used RPG book?

d10-4 What is your most prized RPG possession?

d10-5 If you could visit any RPG world for real which would it be?
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Martin Ralya
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R'lyeh
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Thank you!

hammerman wrote:
d10-1 What is your favourite role playing game?


CODA Star Trek. It's taken me a long time to figure out exactly what I like in an RPG, but this one nails it.

hammerman wrote:
d10-2 What is your favourite dice?


I've always had a soft spot for the d12, the most unloved die, but overall it's the d6. So many games I love use them, and they have such a nice even curve in terms of results. Most of the dice I own that have real sentimental value are d6s, too.

hammerman wrote:
d10-3 What is your favourite book?


Terry Pratchett's Interesting Times. His best Discworld novel, and easily one of his best books overall.

hammerman wrote:
d10-4 And film?


Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira. I saw this in the theater when it came to the U.S. in 1989, and it's stuck with me ever since. It narrowly edges out The Empire Strikes Back and Princess Bride.

hammerman wrote:
d10-5 Chose one: Sword, Axe or bow?


Sword, Simple and versatile. I'm looking at a replica of Anduril right now; it hangs over my desk.

hammerman wrote:
d10-6 A genre you have never tried and you would like to?


Hmm. That's a tough one -- I've played almost every genre I can think of. I haven't tried a romance game, though -- something like Blue Rose is what I'm thinking of here. I doubt it would be my most favoritest genre, but it would interesting to try.
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Thank you very much!

Narl wrote:
d10-1What is your favourite colour when playing a boardgame?


Yellow, because then I can make pee jokes. cool

Narl wrote:
d10-2Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?


Autumn, but I can't imagine living somewhere that didn't have four pretty distinct seasons. Even Utah is pushing it -- way too much summer, way too little spring and fall.

Narl wrote:
d10-3Do you play an instrument? If yes, which one and for how long already?


Nope. I love music, but I hate making it. I'm also mostly tone deaf.

Narl wrote:
d10-4Having fun?


I fully support having fun.

Narl wrote:
d10-5What would have been your name if your parents didn't name you Martin?


If I'd been a girl, I was going to be Natalie. I actually don't know if they had a second-choice boy's name in mind.

Narl wrote:
d10-6What is your favourite snack?


Gummi bears. Black Forest or Haribo for preference.

Narl wrote:
d10-7 What is your favourite day of the week?


Saturday, because it's gaming night!

Narl wrote:
d10-8What is your favourite time of day?


Nighttime. I'm a night owl, and I do some of my best work late at night. I also like how peaceful it is, especially with the lights of the Salt Lake Valley shining outside my office window.

Narl wrote:
d10-9 What character would you be in a Star Trek setting?


If I got to choose, I'd be Picard -- the perfect man. But if I was just magically there, and it was who I was most like, it would be a lot less flattering.

Okay, this is actually a really hard question! Okay, it took some time, but: Reginald "Broccoli" Barclay. Not a perfect fit, but a better fit than I'd like in some ways.
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Martin Ralya
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Thank you!

Ugavine wrote:
d10-1 Bucket of dice or minimal dice?


Bucket, of course! I have around 1,400 dice in a little wooden chest, and around 80 in my dice bag.

Ugavine wrote:
d10-2 Is there an RPG related story that always makes you laugh?


The story of the dread gazebo, which I first read in Knights of the Dinner Table. Paraphrasing here: The Knights are in a park, and they come across a gazebo. Bob (I think) doesn't know what a gazebo is, and assumes it's a horrible monster. They unload everything they've got, but arrows don't seem to hurt it...

There's also one panel from a Zogonia strip where a giant tick has drained most of Domato's blood, and they decide to squeeze the tick to get it all back in; his head turns into a giant blood balloon, and just thinking about the visual gets me every time.

Ugavine wrote:
d10-3 What is your most used RPG book?


In terms of raw time spent using it, the AD&D 2e Player's Handbook (AD&D 2e). I ran and played AD&D for around 11 years, longer than any other game.

Ugavine wrote:
d10-4 What is your most prized RPG possession?


My copy of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, the old grey box.

Ugavine wrote:
d10-5 If you could visit any RPG world for real which would it be?


Easy: the Forgotten Realms! No game world has ever fired my imagination as much as the Realms does.
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Rhiannon D
Australia
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Congratulations! I confess your name isn't one I've really noticed (I am still pretty new here) but your bio is interesting and you have an amazing list of gaming accomplishments. I've also added Gnome Stew to my bookmarked pages.

Martin Ralya wrote:

Hmm. That's a tough one -- I've played almost every genre I can think of. I haven't tried a romance game, though -- something like Blue Rose is what I'm thinking of here. I doubt it would be my most favoritest genre, but it would interesting to try.


I'm not sure I'd call Blue Rose a romance game - it is billed as 'romantic fantasy', but to me the 'fantasy' is still very much the core of the game, and the descriptor marks it off from high, epic, grim, dark or comic fantasy sub-genres. Kudos for wanting to try it. I was given Blue Rose as a gift, and have yet to run it. My regular gaming group isn't that interested.

onto my questions. you get more questions than last week's GOTW because my brain is almost back to full alertness.

d10-1 If you could only give people one piece of GMing advice, what would it be?
d10-2 What is the most rewarding part of blogging about gaming? What gives you the greatest buzz?
d10-3 It sounds as if you've been to quite a few conventions. Best convention story? Have you been to any outside the States?
d10-4 Favorite Dominion expansion?
d10-5 I notice you are also a fan of Natalie Merchant. Favorite song or album?
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Jaime Lawrence
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regency_rhi wrote:

d10-5 I notice you are also a fan of Natalie Merchant. Favorite song or album?


I didn't know you were a fan of NM, Rhi...

Hi Martin! Congratulations!

Tell me things about you!

1) You die and are reincarnated as a 13 year old's D&D character: What's your highest stat?
2) How has the internet changed roleplaying for you?
3) Is your daughter named for the bird, because she was a bit of a laugh or for something else entirely?

Have a great week!
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regency_rhi wrote:
Congratulations! I confess your name isn't one I've really noticed (I am still pretty new here) but your bio is interesting and you have an amazing list of gaming accomplishments. I've also added Gnome Stew to my bookmarked pages.


Thank you!

I'm Marginally Internet Famous (TM) -- not being noticed is the norm, not the exception! Thanks for bookmarking the Stew! I hope you enjoy it.

(Trying an approach I saw the current VGG GotW take here, should make for less screen real estate/response.)

d10-1 If you could only give people one piece of GMing advice, what would it be?

You're going to fuck up a lot, and that's okay.

GMing is part art, part craft, and part science; with so many parts, everyone makes mistakes. And it's just a game, usually with friends; the consequences of making a mistake are rarely going to be that high.

Making mistakes is also a great way to learn -- painful, but very helpful. I make fewer mistakes now than when I was starting out, but I still make a lot of mistakes.

d10-2 What is the most rewarding part of blogging about gaming? What gives you the greatest buzz?

Knowing that people actually use my work to have more fun at the gaming table, or save themselves prep time, or gain confidence in their GMing skills, or to otherwise get more out of the hobby.

d10-3 It sounds as if you've been to quite a few conventions. Best convention story? Have you been to any outside the States?

I've been to three different gaming cons over the years: ConnCon, a regional convention in Connecticut (my first, several times); BurCon, a convention held in a dorm at the University of Michigan, where I went to college (once); and GenCon, 11 times starting in 1997. So the majority of my con experience is with GenCon. I've never been to a con outside the U.S.; I'd love to go to Essen sometime.

In one of GenCon's final years in Milwaukee, my group got hosed by the hotel registration system. We'd been among the first to register, but the organizers literally did registrations from the back of the list. We wound up in a shitty college dorm room a long ways from the convention center.

There were a lot of us, so I wound up sleeping in the closet. On the second night, after a day spent gaming, running around, and consuming spicy picante beef ramen, convention sausages, and frosted animal crackers, I woke up in the middle of the night in my closet, ran to the bathroom, and was violently ill. I've never eaten any of those foods again, nor slept in another closet -- and yet, despite the high number of stupid decisions there, this is one of my favorite GenCon memories.

d10-4 Favorite Dominion expansion?

I haven't picked up Prosperity or Cornucopia yet, but of the ones I have it's Seaside by a mile. I love the action-duration cards, and Seaside just does neat things with the game overall.

d10-5 I notice you are also a fan of Natalie Merchant. Favorite song or album?

Favorite album is Tigerlily. Favorite song is My Beloved Wife, although Wonder, San Andreas Fault, Space Oddity, Life is Sweet, and Adventures of Isabel are all rated 5 stars in my iTunes library.
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Jordi Boscà de Vasconcelos
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Congratulations Martin!

Martin Ralya wrote:
So I started Engine Publishing, which published its first book, Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters, in 2010 and its second, Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game, about a month ago. Both books were written by the authors of Gnome Stew.


surprise I've got Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game in my wishlist!

Have a great week!
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