1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
Hard to say. I like ad-libbing random encounters together into some kind of coherent concept that actually adds a cool layer of interest to the overall "story" of the adventure. It's fun when something random turns into a persistent, important feature of the campaign.
2. When was the last time you GMed?
3. When was the last time you played?
About a month or two ago.
4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven't run but would like to.
Running the original Top Secret module Sprechenhaltestelle episodically, set in the late '50s, with the flavor of an Ian Fleming novel.
5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
Figure out what the next random encounter may be, and how it ties into what is currently happening in the game.
6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
Usually something salty, like chips or nuts, to balance the beer.
7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
No. It can be mentally exhausting if I run a game two days in a row, though.
8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?
I got to play a old NPC cleric from my game as a PC in a friend's game... and disintegrated the side of a ship, sinking it, changing the whole flavor of the planned encounter. (The bad guys on the ship who survived ended up using magic to breathe water and marched across the lake bed to the shore, where the climatic battle then took place.)
9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
Kind of both, really. Everybody plays to stay alive and they take that seriously, but it doesn't keep people from being silly and cracking up all the time.
10. What do you do with goblins?
Try to give different tribes a bit of flavor, but mostly just low-level mooks with a faerie slant that are sometimes good for a laugh.
11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
I used some ideas from Neal Stephenson's Anathem to add some unique flavor into my Gamma World game. (It had to do with the language of the Ancients being a kind of continuously morphing cypher.)
12. What's the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
Geez, I am cracking up every session. I don't know... I guess I will have to think about some classic moment.
13. What was the last game book you looked at--aside from things you referenced in a game--why were you looking at it?
Gary Gygax's Living Fantasy. It is in the restroom for casual browsing.
14. Who's your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
Depends on the game in question, but for simplicity sake, David Trampier. (Erol Otus being a close second.) I like a lot of the modern "old-school" type artists as well.
15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
Afraid for their PCs lives? Yes, all the time. Afraid in a creeped out way? Maybe a little back in our Call of Cthulhu days. (I remember a friend being so shocked once he yelled "Gah!" and kicked the table, knocking over everybody's drinks.)
16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn't write? (If ever.)
Since I liberally use adventures I didn't write, this happens all the time... usually being whatever it is we are currently playing. But, I usually change quite a bit of the module, so if I only consider (recent) adventures that I changed almost nothing, I would say Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. It was pretty fun when the summoning of the apocalyptic dark god came down to a single dice roll.
17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
Comfy, warm basement room with all the amenities. Big oak table with velvet surface, perhaps, for dice rolling. Good stereo system. No windows, though. I am too easily distracted by the world at large.
18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
I am not sure how to answer this one. I have different RPGs of various genres, but they don't feel all that disparate to me. I guess I don't hang onto anything that is not really my style.
19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
Most of my ideas some from just looking around me at the world at thinking about how I could add that level of detail into my games interestingly. As to "disparate" influence, I don't know, maybe details from outsider literature (Burroughs, Ballard, etc.) or stuff from Hermetic Qabbalism and the occult.
20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
Someone open-minded to all the different aspects of the game. Mostly with a sense of exploration and adventure.
21. What's a real life experience you've translated into game terms?
I do think the game needs a sense of mundane detail in order for the heroics to have contrast and meaning. So, I keep tabs on things like encumbrance and provisions and what-not.
22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn't?
A book like the original AD&D Rogue's Gallery, but for 3.5e. Basically, all the classes statted and geared out for levels 1–20, and then maybe an appendix of unique NPCs for quick and easy use.
23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn't play? How do those conversations go?
My girlfriend. She gets a kick out of the weird stories.