30. Favorite RPG playing celebrity.
31. Favorite non-RPG thing to come out of RPGing.
I'm torn between two answers, so I'll give them both. The first is the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. It started shortly after I discovered D&D, and while I was still young enough to watch cartoons without it being considered weird (remember, this was in the dark times before The Simpsons). I watched it every Saturday religiously. A few years ago, I picked up the DVDs, and it actually holds up surprisingly well. The other strong contender is Dark Dungeons. Part of that is my weird fascination with Jack Chick, but having a Chick tract about gaming kind of made it seem like the hobby had arrived. It's sort of a twisted version of a song getting a Weird Al parody.
Bonus Question: Weirdest non-RPG thing to come out of RPGing.
When I was 10 or 11, these showed up in my local grocery store:
I don't remember the box with the red dragons here, just the yellow one and a red one with, I think, a dracolich on it. The candy was basically Smarties shaped like little wizards and fighters and possibly monsters. The really cool thing was that on the back of each box there was a card that either described a character class or a monster. Even though it was basically all stuff that was in the rulebooks I already had, I made sure to get a box with a different back every time in hopes of getting a complete set (without actually knowing how many a complete set contained). I'd cut the backs off the boxes and keep them with my dice and Monster Cards. I'm don't remember what I ended up doing with them.
I'm going to do two questions today and then finish up the last two on Monday.
28. Favorite Game You No Longer Play
I'm going to assume that "game" here refers to specific game worlds rather than systems or genres, since the main differences between Deadlands and the weird west games I run using QAGS (or for that matter, the weird west Boot Hill games I ran before Deadlands was released) are matters of world design. Using that definition, I miss the massive multi-year campaigns that my gaming group played in college (one of which I GMed). For published games, I guess I'll go with TORG. It's one of the few games I've played that managed to do a multi-genre world that didn't seem dumb.
29. Favorite RPG website/blog
This one, of course. For blogs written by other people, I don't really have a favorite, but here are the five I read most regularly:
Favorite idea for merging two games into one.
M-Force meets World of Darkness. It's not just that M-Force is about monster hunters and World of Darkness is about monsters, it's that in a lot of ways M-Force is a response to some of the convoluted assumptions of most modern supernatural games, especially the idea that monsters could be lurking literally everywhere without humans catching on. Probably the dumbest thing in most of those sorts of games is that the people who find out about the weird stuff in the world (often by seeing people they know personally becoming victims of supernatural forces) inevitably decide to keep it a secret. Doing so goes against both human nature (visit any "true believer" site about ghosts or monsters or conspiracies if you don't believe me) and basic common sense (by keeping the monsters a secret, you're entering into a conspiracy with the monsters that's more likely to benefit them than you).
Anyway, the idea behind the M-Force/World of Darkness game was that a group of M-Forcers would somehow get transported to the World of Darkness and proceed to completely destroy it, in part because they would do sensible things ("As you saw on live TV yesterday, when we drug Congressman Jones out into the sunlight, he immediately burst into flames. Combined with the hidden camera video of him drinking blood and other evidence, we feel confident in our assertions that he is a vampire.") and in part because, compared to their M-Force counterparts, vampires and werewolves in the World of Darkness or incredibly easy to kill. The idea of a bunch of action heroes gleefully destroying hordes of angsty vampires is just beautiful. We finally got to play the game after years of tossing around the idea, and it was a lot of fun even though we didn't actually get around to staking a vampire on the floor of Congress.
Before I get into today's question, I've got a new article up on HubPages called "Five RPG Characters To Watch Out For," the topic of which should be obvious from the title. Give it a read, take the poll, comment, share it, like it, Tweet it, etc.
26. Favorite inspiration for your game.
I get inspiration from a lot of places. At DieCon this year, I ran a game where the characters were all alternate versions of Rob Lowe from those Direct TV commercials, I wrote an adventure (Waxman's Warriors) inspired by Jack Chick tracts, and the most successful game I've worked on (Hobomancer) probably wouldn't have happened if Leighton, Carter, and I hadn't all just read John Hodgman's first book. There are a few creators (Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Joss Whedon, Robert Anton Wilson, Tim Powers, and lots of others) whose influence is present in a lot of the stuff I do, but the single biggest influence for me is probably Fortean Times magazine and a bunch of websites and blogs that cover similar subject matter.
If you're not familiar with FT, I kind of think of it as Weekly World News for smart people. The magazine covers all sorts of weird stuff, from UFOs to conspiracy theories to crytozoology, mythology, folklore, and magic, all from a perspective that's neither wide-eyed "true believer" credulity or dogmatic skeptical disbelief. The baseline tone is along the lines of "this might be real or it might not, but isn't it damned interesting?" A lot of their coverage focuses more on the psychological, historical, and societal factors that may contribute to a weird belief than whether the belief itself is true or false. It's all in keeping with the philosophy of Charles Fort, who inspired the name of both the magazine and the way of thinking it embraces. I rarely read an issue without finding something that would be cool in a game.
The next two questions are short answers, which means I'll actually be up to date on the meme again.
24. Favorite House Rule
The only house rule that I have these days is that anyone who quotes Monty Python out of context loses Yum Yums. We've all seen it, and you're no John Cleese.
Long, long ago some of the groups I gamed with used the Central Casting books to roll up backgrounds for our characters in a lot of games. Sometimes they resulted in characters who were unplayably "interesting," but usually they added a few neat twists.
25. Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic
I'm not sure that I'd classify any game mechanic as "revolutionary." Most of the mechanics that thought they were revolutionary never really caught on and most of the mechanical concepts that have stuck around were the result of a steady process of incremental improvement. The only thing that might qualify is the introduction of bennie points, but even that was basically an afterthought at first and only changed how games are play after years of improvement on the idea.
Since it's kind of related, I will mention the best game mechanic I've seen recently. It's for the Zombie Survival board game. The inside of the box top has a picture of a zombie with a circle around its head. When you attack a zombie, you roll a certain number of dice (based on what weapon you're carrying) in the box top. If any of them land in the circle you get a head shot. Unfortunately, the rest of the game is tedious resource management and severely broken in places, but the zombie killing mechanic is neat.