Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Many Apologies

Many apologies to fans and interviewees alike.

I have lots of work that has curtailed my blogging time. It is unfortunate but this otyugh's gotta earn the cash.

I hope to post some new interviews soon.

In the meantime, I appreciate your patience.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

[Interview #15] Anim5, The Gutter Skypes and IDDFOS

Anim5 started the podcast International Detective Dragons from Outer Space (IDDFOS) in 2006 and joined Mark Kinney to create The Gutter Skypes in 2008. There are over 200 episodes between the two podcasts.

Anim's speaking style is quite engaging, I really like it when he does in-character voices. Both these podcasts are personal favorites, so get to it. Lots of good stuff there.

Anim5 went to the 2007 Gen Con as a picture placard. Can't honestly say that's ever been done before or since. Well done!

Now, on with the interview!

Otyugh Talk: Do you read the rules for games you play or do you learn the rules from playing with the group?

Anim5: I read the rules in every case, but come closer to learning them during actual play. Even when I took on GM'ing "Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies" despite considerably MORE effort and study of the book, it was running through the mechanics in real time with the group that brought me closer to understanding how they worked. ( I'll repeat here though . . . figuring out the rules for S7S by trying to gathering them all up from all over that text was like tweezering buckshot out of a baboon's backside.)

[Ed. The Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies is available from Evil Hat. The S7S Gutter Skype episodes are numbers 20, 22, 24-25, 27-30, 32, 35 and 37, and are well worth the listen.]

OT: What two genres would you like to see in a genre-mash game?

A5: I would like to see a mash up of the "Ghostbusters" style game - and reality TV... as broadcast in the afterlife to a viewer base of . . well . . the dead. A game like that would have NPC's being the ghost hunters and the Players as ghosts who have to keep them from getting anything like definitive proof . . ( Damaging equipment, draining batteries, causing fainting spells etc. . . ) and running away from The Cameras of the living. :D

[Ed. Very cool!]

OT: Otyugh crushes Rust Monster. Then what happens?

A5: Lizard poisons Spock.

Thanks for the interview, Anim!

Stay tuned for more interviews! Until next time......

Thursday, July 31, 2014

[Interview #14] Margaret Weis, Best Selling Author and Game Designer


I'd been playing RPGs for 6 years at this point. I'd read The Hobbit and LOTR, the Wizard of Earthsea and the other books in that trilogy, and more.

A book titled Dragons of Autumn Twilight came out, written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Neither I nor any of my gaming friends recognized either name. We all knew Gygax and Arneson and the other folks at TSR but these two? Who the heck were they?

But we all read it and played the modules through and through, and then read every single book that came after it. The Dragonlance setting was born and has generated tons of novels and game supplements and game play.

30 years later, Margaret Weis has no problem being recognized.

She's got over 50 best selling fantasy and science fiction novels to her credit.

She owns Margaret Weis Productions, which has published a series of licensed movie and tv franchise RPGs: Serenity (2005), Battlestar Galactica (2007), Supernatural (2009), Leverage (2010), Smallville (2010), Marvel Heroic (2012), and, coming full circle, Firefly (2014).

Every time I read the MWP website, I am compelled to throw money at them (yes, I've got nearly all their games and participated in the Firefly Pre-Order).

Margaret was kind enough to sit down with Otyugh Talk to answer some questions.....

On with the interview!

Otyugh Talk: Do you have a favorite game convention that you go to where you can just game?

Margaret Weis: Gary Con is a small convention in Lake Geneva, WI where I can play games with my friends. We also have a yearly TSR reunion with old friends.

[Ed. You can find info on Gary Con here. And cool beans that at least one convention isn't a "I'm at work" convention]

OT: What is your favorite fantasy game and why?

MW: Hah! My own, Margaret Weis Productions, of course. Why? Because we publish Firefly, we have an awesome staff of freelancers and our rules make game-play fun!

OT: What would a Sword of Otyugh Slaying +2 look like?

MW: Mmmm. You got me on this one.

[Ed. Stumped! That's a first here at Otyught Talk]

Thank you, Margaret, for answering.

More interviews to come! Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

[Interview #13] Judd Karlman, Son of Kryos & The Githyanki Diaspora blog

Judd Karlman is the second of the Sons of Kryos interviewed for Otyugh Talk. And he also writes the Githyanki Diaspora blog.

He's appeared on other podcasts, like The Canon Puncture Show with Rich Rogers and Canon Puncture's This Imaginary Life.

Judd wrote and published The Dictionary of Mu, a supplement for Ron Edwards' Sorcerer, that's been described as "Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom meets Robert Howard's Conan meets the Bible." I picked up my copy a while ago and for such a slim volume, it's filled with quality.

I argued with Judd a while ago about fudging die rolls. He said on one of the Sons of Kryos podcasts that if you are fudging rolls, then the system you are using isn't working for you (he said it much better). He knew it was a controversial statement when he said it and when I had the opportunity, I emailed him about it. And then I started thinking about it and I've come full circle: now I roll in the open and my players take the dice as they fall.

And yes, that leads to some very nervous situations....

That, to me, is the mark of a good gaming podcaster, one that makes you think about how you are playing your game.

I was glad that Judd took the time to answer some questions.

On with the interview!

Otyugh Talk: As a fan of the Sons of Kryos, do you have any plans to get the gang back together and re-boot the podcast?

Judd Karlman: Thank you, I'm flattered that anyone remembers our show.

When we first started the show, Jeff and I knew that we could keep the show going for as long as we continued to game regularly, Storn joined and strengthened that with his own broad gaming experience.

Right now, none of us are gaming like we used to, our lives are just in very different places. That said, who knows?! Life is long and strange, gaming isn't going anywhere and Ithaca has a strong pull on all of us - never say never.

OT: You're in a game shop and you pick up a new game that says "this game will change gaming forever" on the back cover. What should that game include in order to change gaming forever?

JK: In order to change gaming forever, before anything else, it has to inspire me to play it. It has to fill me with a burning desire to get home from a long day of work and gather my friends to play or set aside a precious weekend night to dedicate to pursuing this game.

That isn't easy.

[Ed. I have noted that "game changer" is often bandied about in all industries]

OT: How would you incorporate an Otyugh into The Dictionary of Mu?

JK: Demons in the Dictionary of Mu are a part of the history of Marr'd. Maybe the original denizens of the dying planet are the Otyugh? Who knows!

Oghma, son of Ogham might write it up like this:

Otyugh: Foul creatures who kill the unwary making their lairs in piles of human offal. See also, Politicians.

[Ed. Now to find a nice pen to write that in my copy.....]

Thanks, Judd!

More interviews to come.....

Thursday, July 24, 2014

[Interview #12] Glenn Moore, Gamer

I've known and gamed with Glenn for nearly a decade.

Mark Woodside brought him into our game group and he joined our coterie of GMs (yes, his initials, don't think I've missed that) running such games settings as Marine Fighter Pilots during the Vietnam War, Classic Star Trek, Fringeworthy, and Abram's Star Trek reboot.

Three things I can tell you about Glenn:
  • He's the guy responsible for bringing Savage Worlds to the table. Yay!
  • He's the gun-bunny of the game group.
  • Finally, there's always one: he is, without fail, the guy at the table who is going to roll snake-eyes. Often rolling poorly repeatedly. 
In addition to being a good friend and excellent gamer, he's also got a bunch of good stories, including gaming stories (If you ever run into Glenn at a game convention, ask him about "I wack the priest").

Glenn kindly answered questions for Otyugh Talk:

Otyugh Talk: Have you ever played a character out of type and how did that go?

Glenn Moore: Well. I've played a gay psionicist in a Savage Worlds Fringeworthy game and a black cop in "Witchcraft". Both allowed me license explore character behaviors which would have been out of type for other characters.

[Ed. Fringeworthy by Tri Tac Games (a Savage Worlds version is in the works) and Witchcraft by Eden Studios (available free on Drivethru RPG)]

OT: What game renewed your faith in gaming?

GM: Savage Worlds. I had been at a place where I was not looking forward to gaming due to one of the players being a subject matter expert with the current system. I hunted for another system this player knew nothing of with which I could run my games. SW was not my first system, but it has been with me since I discovered it in 2005.

[Ed. As I mentioned above, Glenn introduced Savage Worlds to our game group and it's now our system of choice]

OT: What would be your "elevator pitch" for an Otyugh-themed adventure?

GM: Gentle Ben meets The Expendables, where an Otyugh is convinced to assist a rag-tag group of freedom-fighters for hire to assist in the overthrow of a despot and earns the love of a child in the process.

I'm interested.

[Ed. You have to run this now, Glenn]

Thanks for the interview, Glenn.

More to come so bookmark (CTRL+D) this blog.....

Saturday, July 19, 2014

[Interview #11] Mark Kinney, All Games Considered and The Gutter Skypes

Mark Kinney is a longtime podcaster. Nearly a decade, if I recall correctly.

He's the front-man of the 2009 Ennie Best Gold Award Podcast and 2010 Ennie Best Silver Award Podcast All Games Considered. Over 180 episodes is quite a feat, when many of my favorite podcasts have podfaded over the years.

I don't remember if I listened to him on AGC first or the Actual Play podcast The Rolemonkeys first. It really doesn't matter. If you missed The Rolemonkeys, you missed a great podcast, though there are two websites dedicated to them (1, 2), with a few episodes still there. I am missing a bunch of them, like the Vegas After Midnight session(s), but I'm pleased that I have some of them still on my computer.

Those first two podcasts lead me to others of his: another Actual Play podcast called The Byzantine Game (3 episodes, which he mentions in his interview below, and a short project page), his audio fiction (alas, no longer available), his sit-around-and-drink-beer-and-riff-on-geek-stuff I Wish I Had This Show in Real Life (6 episodes), his watch movies and comment Dice! Camera! Action! (1 episode) and his zombie-inspired Podcast of the Dead (3 episodes).

Besides his successful AGC podcast, his other long-running podcast is another Actual Play group called The Gutter Skypes. With over 130 episodes, they play a whole bunch of good games, games that have inspired me. Yes, they play RPGs over Skype and record it. Another hearty recommendation.

Mark was kind enough to sit down with us and answer some questions.

Onto the interview!

Otyugh Talk: What scenes in games are you completely done with and is that because you've already seen the best or worse example of it?

Mark Kinney: I've started to tire of the travel scene. I made a couple of attempts to do an "agents of King Arthur sent to investigate rumored evil in the Byzantine Empire" game (as once suggested in Ken Hite's excellent Suppressed Transmission column back in the old days of Pyramid) and I'd intended the voyage there to be an opportunity to gather allies. Instead, things would bog down halfway there, and neither attempt really ended up working. Next time, if there is one, I'll likely come up with specific scenes and hand wave the rest.

[Ed. I, too, recommend Suppressed Transmission by Kenneth Hite. First published in Pyramid magazine, then compiled into two books published by Steve Jackson Games. It's available in PDF format here and here for the low, low price of $8 each!]

OT: What game is the dirty little secret that you love to play?

MK: I've usually been pretty open with my gaming, but I suppose if pressed, I'd always wanted to make a game of Kult work.

OT: What's your favorite monster, after the Otyugh?

MK: I remember, back in the olden days, seeing that cover of the Fiend Folio with the Githyanki on the cover, and it fascinates me to this day.

[Ed. Githyanki are a favorite, as was the Fiend Folio – that full page illustration of the Grell was very cool]

Thanks for talking with me, Mark. Good luck on AGC's 2014 Ennie Nomination!

Remember: Otyugh Talk is the only gaming interview blog with interviews with 3 Marks and 2 Tims!

And more interviews to come! (Will it be with another Mark? A Tim? Perhaps an Ed? Who knows!?!?! so stay tuned!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

[Interview #10] Erik Tenkar, Tenkar's Tavern blog

Tenkar's Tavern is one of the OSR blogs and has been around since 2008.

Erik Tenkar writes the blog and, over the past couple of years, has posted on average over three times a day. That's a feat for a gaming blog.

And his stuff is good. Like making OSR monsters unique and a useless magic item. I was, however, disappointed with no Otyugh mention in dungeon potty tricks, but I don't hold grudges.

Check out Tenkar's Tavern, you won't regret it.

And now, on with the interview with Erik!

Otyugh Talk: Have you ever GMed a game where you gave each PC everything they wanted and more problems for the PCs came from it?

Erik Tenkar: Never happened. The closer I've come to giving PCs what they truly wanted, they've always found they've wanted more. It's like a never ending trip around the hamster wheel.

OT: What original tools do you use at the table when you play with your group?

ET: These days, 100% of my gaming is via G+ Hangouts / Roll20, so much of my tools are those new fangled "virtual" tools. So really, there isn't much in the way of "original tools" that I introduce to my gaming sessions, unless it's silly accents. The accents probably annoy more than they entertain, but there you have it ;)

[Ed. my group uses G+ hangouts and Roll20 and they work really well together.]

OT: We have original and Neo Otyughs. What other forms of Otyughs would you make?

ET: I'd probably add Neon Otyughs and Pastel Otyughs - just think of the color combinations :)

[Ed. The dreaded Pastel Otyugh will have to appear in one of my games now]

Erik, thank you for taking the time with Otyugh Talk.

More interviews to come.....