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RPG» Forums » Site Related » RPGGeek News

Subject: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (bobcatt) Abbott rss

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Doug Foley
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I am posting early because I will be out of town next week and I dont want to forget. For info on the Geek of the Month: RPG_Geek_of_the_Week

Our next geek is Chris:

Chris Abbott
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I first met Chris on the Boardgame Geek Feel the Love thread. He was also one of the responders during the campaign to keep the RPG Geek of the Week (month) alive. An Old school RPG fan (as old as me... HORAY!) This is what he had to say about himself:


"Inside every Technologist is a Luddite struggling to get out." Despite an early, unrealistic daydream of being involved in illustration, I've ended up in Manufacturing for most of my working life. Frankly, I'd rather be making bespoke wooden furnishings using hand-tools.

My RPG experience was kicked off by a random encounter in 1980 with someone who has become a great friend of nearly 4d10 years (and counting). I'll freely admit that many weeks of high school consisted of much more character generation and mapping than "real" homework. The circle of friends forged during those first days remained largely intact even as the Parental Units inflicted a series of residential relocations. Fortunately, new acquaintances were easily made via the gaming table. I joined a small group of like-minded idealists who forayed into adventure design with minimal commercial success. We started a regular gaming club in a public space in the midst of the Satanic Panic. Fate dropped a dream job at "Games-A-Lot" into my lap for a spell and life was good, if slightly chaotic. RPG sessions continued until the mid 90s when the last of our merry band had either married or moved away. With a distinct lack of foresight, I boxed everything up and (nearly) forgot about it.

After a long hiatus, a confluence of unconnected events re-opened the gateway to adventure again. Good counsel had urged me to revisit joyful activities of yesteryear. While we had remained in contact since high school, chance placed me in physical proximity to the aforementioned "great friend", and an inspired conversation saw me pitching polyhedrons once more. Infrequent con games barely sated my re-kindled interest so I went poking around the Internet to find that, rather than succumbing to the ubiquitous computer, RPGs had exploded while my attention was elsewhere. I felt like a kid in a candy store.

I dug through my stored possessions, but the realization that a sizable chunk of my original gaming paraphernalia had "evaporated" over the intervening years came as quite a blow. I have since spent more than a little time and discretionary funds rebuilding my original content and adding those items which I never had the cash or opportunity to obtain back in the day. To date I have run a couple of my own one-shot adventures at cons, and am now bouncing around more scenario concepts than I can effectively pursue; there's too much old & new information to absorb. RPG Geek has become my social media haven and the interactions here continually stoke my imagination.


Which one is NOT true?:
Poll
Two truths and a lie:
I stalked William Shatner for 5 hours at a high risk of serious disciplinary action.
I missed the chance to visit my family's ancestral castle because of Eccles cakes.
I shovelled a couple of tonnes of coal into a steam locomotive that was pulling Santa Claus.
      24 answers
Poll created by irishman



And I get the honor of asking the first question:

Which past RPG character of yours, do you remember with the most fondness?
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Alex Bokser
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congrats, Chris! Enjoy your week month in the spotlight! thumbsup
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congrats Chris! Have a fun and fruitful month of gaming!
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Doug Hook
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congratulations Chris!
Hope you have a wizard of a week!
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Mark Wilson
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congrats Chris!

My question for you:

I hear you've written for Alarums & Excursions. What types of material have you written, and what's your favorite aspect of the A&E Zine?
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Mike Holcomb
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congratulations, Chris! Enjoy your special month.

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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congrats Chris,

d10-1 What is your favourite colour when playing a boardgame?
d10-2 Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?
d10-3 Do you play an instrument? If yes, which one and for how long already?
d10-4 Having fun?
d10-5 What would have been your name if it wasn't the name you have?
d10-6 What is your favourite snack?
d10-7 What is your favourite day of the week?
d10-8 What is your favourite time of day?
d10-9 What character would you be in a Star Trek setting?
d10-1d10-0 What makes you "tick" (inspires you, why do you get up in the morning)?
d10-1d10-1 What is your life-long dream?
d10-1d10-2 What is your favourite RPG race/class?
d10-1d10-3 If you could go back in time - where and when would you go?
d10-1d10-4 Could you enlighten us about your avatar?
d10-1d10-5 Where does your username come from?
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Art Gorski
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congratulations! And thanks for being active in the community. It's nice to see you get the recognition.

Have you done/did you do/do you do any SF gaming?
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Jeff G
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congrats Chris!

Do you collect dice or have any really cool ones?

Enjoy your month!
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Chris Abbott
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irishman wrote:
And I get the honor of asking the first question:

Which past RPG character of yours, do you remember with the most fondness?

Thanks very much, Doug! I'm feeling a bit giddy from being passed the mantle of GotM.

My fondest memory of a PC would be that of my 1st ed AD&D Dwarven fighter, Roltar.
He worked his way up to 7th level in a tough but fair campaign run by
Brian Misiaszek
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waaaaaay back in the early 1980s.

An even hand with the magic, a reasonable amount of combat, and a plethora of puzzles kept our party engaged for over a year and a half. This campaign became the benchmark for all subsequent adventures.

{edit} I recall equipping Roltar with the primary weapons of scimitar and javelin rather than more traditional choices, in all likelihood because of the weapon-type-vs-armour-type matrix of 1st edition. Probably my earliest ‘serious’ attempt at optimisation. {/edit}
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Chris Abbott
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mawilson4 wrote:
Congrats Chris!

My question for you:

I hear you've written for Alarums & Excursions. What types of material have you written, and what's your favorite aspect of the A&E Zine?

Thank you, Mark.

I have written a few pages for A&E; far fewer than I had hoped to produce to date. My intent is to use the 'zine to collect both my current thoughts and reminiscences of early gaming into a searchable (hopefully coherent) format, to help me understand where I've been and where I want to go. I have (partially) documented the two con sessions I've run since returning to RPGs (Top Secret/S.I.), recounted a small number of tabletop gaming sessions, offered my (often dated) opinions on the monthly 'theme' topics, and solicited advice on my plans for an episodic game setting which will involve the PCs and NPCs in the manner of an 80s TV series.

My favourite aspects are a) the candid & valuable feedback that the other 'zine authors provide, and b) the seemingly unending variety of new ideas & approaches that are revealed each month. These, coupled with the (positive) pressure to have some content ready before each deadline, make participation exceptionally rewarding.
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congrats, Chris! Well deserved.

Chris actually pulled me back into gaming, too. So it’s his fault. I’m very glad he did.

My question for the Geek of the Month:

When are you going to get those minis painted?

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Chris Abbott
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Narl wrote:
Congrats Chris,

d10-1 What is your favourite colour when playing a boardgame?
d10-2 Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?
d10-3 Do you play an instrument? If yes, which one and for how long already?
d10-4 Having fun?
d10-5 What would have been your name if it wasn't the name you have?
d10-6 What is your favourite snack?
d10-7 What is your favourite day of the week?
d10-8 What is your favourite time of day?
d10-9 What character would you be in a Star Trek setting?
d10-1d10-0 What makes you "tick" (inspires you, why do you get up in the morning)?
d10-1d10-1 What is your life-long dream?
d10-1d10-2 What is your favourite RPG race/class?
d10-1d10-3 If you could go back in time - where and when would you go?
d10-1d10-4 Could you enlighten us about your avatar?
d10-1d10-5 Where does your username come from?


Holy smokes, Narl, if I'd known there was going to be a test...
d10-1 I'd pick Blue the majority of the time. If that's already gone, I'd go with Green. (this wasn't the start of a Python skit, was it?)
d10-2 Autumn by far. There's a delightful quality to the sunlight that I don't perceive at other times of the year.
d10-3 I took guitar lessons for a year or so and, while enjoying myself, realised that I wasn't very good at it. When your cat leaves the room as you start playing...
d10-4 Lots of fun. Getting back into gaming has proved an excellent tonic. I've re-connected with a few old friends and made many new ones.
d10-5 I have no idea. The thought has never crossed my mind. I'll be up all night wondering, now.
d10-6 Oatmeal cookies that are just soft enough to bend a little before they break.
d10-7 Sunday. With luck, everything that needed doing is done by lunchtime so I can relax a bit and indulge in a book or a movie while in the comfy chair with my cat.
d10-8 23:15
d10-9 Tough call. Reg Barclay?
d10-1d10-0 I'll own up to it being simply the need to discharge my obligations. It wasn't always like that, though.
d10-1d10-1 To create something worthy of preservation.
d10-1d10-2 Fantasy? Dwarven Fighter. SciFi? Human Scout. Pulp? Gadgeteer.
d10-1d10-3 15-1/2 years ago, to prevent a car accident near my office.
d10-1d10-4 My spirit animal I needed an image to match my username.
d10-1d10-5 Before the Internet was born, and certain systems limited the length of User IDs, I used an anagram generator to mix up the letters of my name; this was the best combination.
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Chris Abbott
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agorski wrote:
Congratulations! And thanks for being active in the community. It's nice to see you get the recognition.

Have you done/did you do/do you do any SF gaming?

Thank you for the kind words, Art.

I played many sessions of Classic Traveller with
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as our GM back in the old days.
Always a treat with the regular group but also great for one-on-one adventures.

Two or three sessions of Gamma World at the very beginning of my RPG exposure, but I didn't enjoy the premise. I'd be far more inclined to play Metamorphosis Alpha, given the chance.

I've played the Dust:Tactics skirmish game, and BattleTech, along with the Battlestar Galactica & X-Wing miniature combat games.

One session of Paranoia at a local con; a bit too silly for my tastes (Science Farce?).

FFG's Star Wars:Age of Rebellion with
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as the GM, which unfortunately stalled after a few sessions.
This became a promising story once we got the hang of the narrative dice.
I remain guardedly optimistic that we can return to the table for this.
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bulldog93 wrote:
Congrats Chris!

Do you collect dice or have any really cool ones?

Enjoy your month!

Thank you, Jeff.

I don't collect dice per se, but I have been known to buy them for no apparent reason. I've given away a few sets to new players, though. There were a couple of younger newbies at the office who were surprised I'd heard of Dungeons & Dragons, and my cousin's son took up the game recently.

I no longer have my pastel-coloured, friable originals from 1980

The coolest ones I own would be the pair of genuine Traveller d6s, plus the oddball d5, d7, d9 (and so on) intermediate dice for DCC.
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congratulations!
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tpm1ca wrote:
Congrats, Chris! Well deserved.

Chris actually pulled me back into gaming, too. So it’s his fault. I’m very glad he did.

My question for the Geek of the Month:

When are you going to get those minis painted?


The miniatures backlog is, indeed, exceedingly high.

Create empty spot in main basement -> move crapstack(TM) from workshop to empty spot -> install exhaust vent in window frame -> setup paintbooth -> discover paint has dried up -> buy new paint -> prime figures with spray can -> fail to find brushes -> buy new brushes -> paint figures... I'm (still) halfway through step 1.

I can't even blame you for model railways, woodworking, whiskeys, or X-Wing 2.0.
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Peter Robben
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congrats Chris, enjoy your month!
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (Bobcat) Abbot
Congratulations, Chris, enjoy your month!
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Re: Geek of the Month #427 - Chris (bobcatt) Abbot
Congrats, Chris!

How do you design adventures?
(How) do you playtest them?

Dream big: What three to five games/ campaign ideas would you love to run or play?
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jasri wrote:
Congrats, Chris!

How do you design adventures?
(How) do you playtest them?

Vielen Dank, Jonas!

This will have to be a two-part answer, so first off...

When I started GMing, I would borrow ideas from movies and books (fiction) and adjust them to more closely fit what was going on in my campaign. This was a hit-and-miss approach, depending on whether or not the players had seen or read the material I was sourcing the ideas from. For instance, the group didn’t relate to concepts from Zelazny’s “Nine Princes in Amber” novels because I was the only one of us who had read them. Elements from “The Dark Crystal” and “Pale Rider” (for example) worked out well in our fantasy and western-themed games respectively because both the players and I saw those movies at similar times.

Lately, I prefer that an adventure has some tie-in to the real world, even if that relationship is a (tiny) bit tenuous or speculative. For my two most recent one-shots, I started with a (bogus) headline from a news article, and a vintage brochure from an exhibition. Drawing the core concept from a historic source seems to add enough hints of realism to more easily and fully engage the players' interest.

The headline that caught my eye was a fairly recent one which stated that a WWII German U-Boat had been discovered in the Great Lakes. Reading through the story’s details and checking a few basic facts proved that this was impossible. However, it set off a chain of "What-if?" questions in my head, leading me to look into the USA’s policies and activities prior to their entry into WWII. My goal was to run an espionage tale set in the mid 1980s, and I was able to tie my research into the mix by fancifully linking aspects of Ronald Reagan’s upcoming Presidential election back to the untimely (and possibly suspicious) death of his father plus the (possibly nefarious) actions of certain government agencies in the 40s. I set the adventure in an actual location that was familiar to most of the players, making my descriptions easier for them to visualise.

The brochure I found was for the 1939 World's Fair in NY. This time I wanted a pulp detective/weird science theme. I knew that Nikola Tesla was trying to interest various nations in his amazing designs before WWII. Officially, he had only one country that was willing to fund his research by then, but my "What-if?" questions for this situation supposed that the US government secretly funded a full scale, operational prototype of his "Death Ray" device, and used the expense account of the World's Fair to pay for the construction costs. The Fair's centrepiece buildings (the Trylon and Perisphere) already looked (sort of) like parts of Tesla's giant weapon system. Tests were to be conducted to verify the range and destructive power during any electrical storms to mask its operation from the public. But the "bad guys" (the ultra-secret "Brotherhood" from the Agent 13 novels) found out about the device, and plotted to kidnap Tesla & steal its core components after using it to cripple US Naval bases within the weapon's area of effect (note 1). Fortunately, the players' pre-gen scientist, reporter, ex-gang member, and private eye characters (who all had really good reasons to be at the Fair) saved the day! Because this exhibition was so well documented, I obtained copies of period maps, photos, video(!), and promotional items to hand out/show during the adventure.

I don’t get to playtest my ideas before I run a session because I rarely get to participate in RPGs these days; table time is play time! The best I can do is work through any potential combat scenes (on paper) between the pre-generated PCs and the NPCs to dial-in the difficultly level. Even back in the old days, sessions were too close together in the campaigns to allow trying things out beforehand. The only official playtesting I was involved in was before releasing the Fantasy Factory AD&D module we wrote, and the preparations for two modules that never made it to print. Those were fairly extensive sessions, with two separate groups of players running through from end to end.

(note 1) I imagine that my Google searches pertaining to the various US military base's coordinates and capabilities has caused my name to be red-flagged in one or more government databases. I did it to save the world, honest!
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jasri wrote:
Congrats, Chris!

Dream big: What three to five games/ campaign ideas would you love to run or play?

Und zweitens...

I'm finding this part of your question particularly difficult to answer, Jonas, but I'll give it a shot.

1 Skyrealms of Jorune (2e) This was a game of great promise, according to all of the advertisements in the early 80s Dragon magazine. Evocative artwork for their far-out presentation of an alien world captured my attention immediately, but I couldn't spare the cash to buy even the basic boxed set. Thanks to a few lucky breaks over the last two years, I now own most of the printed matter for this system and I can almost make sense of it. Getting into the head-space of the designers and regular fanzine contributors in order to properly convey the sense of wonder and surrealism would be a daunting task. Just absorbing the source material would take months, but I’m still intent on running something in this setting.

2 The Morrow Project (3e) I played and (mostly) enjoyed Twilight:2000 years ago, but I couldn't escape the overall sense of a bleak spiral to a dismal end as the remaining infrastructure collapsed and took the starving, bedraggled masses with it. On the other hand, The Morrow Project offered a more hopeful prospect for a post-apocalyptic world by attempting to establish sustainable living conditions and re-educate the survivors; the focus wasn't solely on combat. There's gobs of detail in the rules & plenty of commercial adventures available, and it can still scratch the simulationist, squad-level tactics itch should the occasion arise. This was another system that I couldn't afford to purchase when I was younger, nor could I find anyone locally who owned/played it; a perfect bucket-list candidate. The beginning scenario for the players is half assembled in my head.

3 Traveller (possibly using GURPS 3e, but more likely Classic GDW) I have a nagging desire to run an extended campaign involving reasonably accurate commodity trade, corporate machinations, industrial espionage, political intrigue, and mercenary unit activities at the hectic fringe of the Third Imperium - “There’s cash in chaos!”. The depth and breadth of the setting are adequate to support all of these facets, while task resolution and combat are (generally) streamlined enough to not impede the mechanics of game play. Choosing to do this would demand extensive re-familiarisation with the existing materials, plus a serious commitment of hours to develop & manage the various faction timelines and personnel for the group to interact with. The (hopefully ambitious) players could set their own success criteria, aiming as high as they'd like to go.

4 Savage Worlds (SWADE) I'm eager to try out the (newest) Savage Worlds rules, but I simply cannot decide which setting I should use. Flash Gordon is right up there in terms of desirable choices, but there are sooooo many other available options that are (almost) equally appealing - like an old-fashioned Western or Desperate Pirates or Angst-ridden Superheroes. To maximise play time vs prep time, I'd want a decent commercial setting that will encourage and reward larger-than-life, cinematic actions. (I have not played any version of SW so far, I've only read through the various books)

5 Coriolis: the Third Horizon - I've had a number of discussions with local gamer
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who is amassing the rules and has successfully run an enhanced, introductory adventure. The premise is intriguing and the scope of play seems fairly broad. It's not a theme or setting that I'm used to seeing and therefore grown complacent with; it's a tantalising new twist on an old premise. Interactions will take on fresh aspects and connotations. This would (more than likely) be highly enjoyable for me as a player.
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I see this as a staggeringly large and currently unattainable wish-list. For the foreseeable future, I lack sufficient time to devote to any of these threads (certainly from a GM's perspective) to do them the justice they deserve. I've let myself get way behind IRL, but I'm making slow progress getting back to where I want to be.
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Quaid
United States
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There are great things afoot.
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Congratulations, Chris!

These are awesome:
Poll
Two truths and a lie:
I stalked William Shatner for 5 hours at a high risk of serious disciplinary action.
I missed the chance to visit my family's ancestral castle because of Eccles cakes.
I shovelled a couple of tonnes of coal into a steam locomotive that was pulling Santa Claus.
      24 answers
Poll created by irishman

I had a hard time choosing.
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Jonas (he/him)
Germany
Bovenden
Niedersachsen
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so many plans...
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N.K.Jemisin's "The Fifth Season" is awesome and fantastic.
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Thanks for the detailed replies, Chris! Great way to learn more about you!
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Trevor Marshall
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Chris:

On Coriolis... I’m really keen to GM more of it. We’ll find a way to make it happen. The others are interesting choices too. We’v Certainly talked a lot about Jorune and The Morrow Project. I should try to put together a one shot of TMP for BunkerCon...

-Trevor
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