Who is Tobie?

So I am sure some of you are probably wondering, "Who is Tobie anyway and why does he deserve to have a blog all about the games he ran?"

The easy answer:  He's a gamer who loves to run games.  He doesn't think anyone needs to "deserve" to do this.  He just wants to.

And frankly, most of those who visit the site probably are those who had a game under him anyway.  So yeah, feel free to hop to a different blog if this isn't your cup of tea.  I don't mind.  I prefer coffee anyway.

But for those who do love gaming as well, here's some information you probably would really want to know about me.

Games I love?
For the longest time, I was a major White Wolf Gaming Studios whore.
To be frank, I did have my own goth phase with my fake fangs and my white-faced make up.  Yes, I also at one point in time have piercings, black nail polish and a tendency to think Dungeons and Dragons was the worst role-playing game ever compared to my immaculate Vampire the Masquerade.  But those years are long gone and I've really learned to appreciate a lot of other games as well.

But I cannot deny, White Wolf Gaming Studios is still my primary favorite gaming publisher.    Among their games, I would have to state the following as my top five:
1) Changeling: the Dreaming
2) Changeling the Lost
3) Wraith: The Oblivion
4) Vampire: The Dark Ages (yes, more than Masquerade)
5) New World of Darkness (main book, with players being humans)

A quick list of what other games I love would include:
John Wick's Houses of the Blooded
Chameleon Eclectic's Psychosis
EOS Press' Weapons of the Gods
Steve Jackson's In Nomine
Kult
DC Heroes (MEGS system)
Margaret Weiss Productions' Serenity (Based on the Josh Whedon awesome show!)
Method in Madness' Children of Fire

Games I still run?
Practically all of the above, and more.  To be honest, it might be safer to ask me if I can run it for your group than to ask for a list here.

And yes, I would not mind running a d20 game.  I will need to study the rules again though.

And yes, I wore a GOWN.  The game was played at a mall.
So yeah, this was in public.
I also have run LARP games.  And at a time, was being groomed to be an Official Storyteller for LARP group of White Wolf, but that didn't go well after... creative differences with the guy who was supposedly a more mature player.  (He walked around the city with two katans and a pair of White Bengal Tigers?  Seriously?!?!)  That was so much a disaster, I decided to start running my own LARPs. There were a few that worked out, thankfully, and none of them even needed the Rock, Paper, Scissors system that Mind's Eye Theater used.  So I guess that worked out okay.   I'd prefer table top over LARP though.  Just easier to manage for me.

What makes your games different?
At the risk of sounding like a pompous ass, I will say this:  With my background in theater, my love for film making and my interest in writing, I kind of found a way to combine all three with my addiction to table top gaming.  So the end result is a game which at times can catch some players by surprise in how it makes them "feel what their characters are feeling" and have them even experience emotions that their characters are going through.  Sometimes, I do dim the lights.  Sometimes, I do use incense or try to add props and curtains and the like to make the game more immersible.  But my biggest tools are my voice and my use of background music (usually from movie scores and rarely actual songs with lyrics or sound effects) combined with very In Character portrayals of interactions and movie scene timing instances (CUT AWAYs to other character scenes, or abrupt jumps to another player to give them mini-cliffhangers within a session, etc).

I do, however, do not see my gaming style as "the best" for any particular genre.  I just believe that my gaming style works for players who are willing to experience a game that way.  

My games tend to be rules-lite, regardless of what is being played, because I value more the player characters having the chance to be as "alive" as possible.  I also have no fears about power creep.  While many gamers caution Storytellers and Dungeon Masters alike of having players get too powerful too quickly or having a magical item that imbalances the group, I welcome such challenges.  I've had games where some are plain weak humans and others are godlike beings, all in a single story, and made it work.  My partner rOckY teases me that my games feel like Dr. Who episodes, which sounds very flattering.  And as strange as it sounds, I have had people who come to literally sit-in and listen to a game unfold.  They claim they don't have to play.  They just want to "watch" the game since they can imagine it like a movie as it happens.

I personally think at times my friends are just being too nice to me.

Getting the awkwardness out early, "Are you gay?"
Officially, I am bisexual.  But considering how the world sees anything non-straight as gay, I'd gladly accept the label gay as well.  Why is this in this post?  Because I don't want any players who are uncomfortable with homosexuality to find out about me only during or after a game session.  The last thing I want is to be the cause of real (rather than game-induced) stress to one of my players, and I fully understand the world does still have people who aren't comfortable with non-heterosexuals yet.  Given how role-playing games can be very revealing of one's personal psyche,  and how playing a character requires a person to trust the rest in the group not to make fun of him and see him as being stupid or silly, I feel there's nothing wrong with full disclosure of my gender label up front.

Not to mention, I'm out and proud, so why hide it?


How much dice do you own?
At least fifty ten-sided dice.  Around two sets of the polyhedral sets (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20).  A bunch of d6s and even strange dice like a set that goes 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64.

Since this is in reference to gaming, I also have a Rider-Waite Tarot deck for Psychosis and Falkenstein games, and once used Vampire The Jyhad (eventually renamed to Vampire The Eternal Struggle) cards to create our own version of a Vampire The Masquerade game back when we heard of the game but didn't have our own book yet.  For the system, we adopted Palladium's Robotech rpg system (so yeah, can you imagine Potence for example having "Thrown Manhole Cover" as a power at 50% and "Fast Hands" as a Celerity power at 75%  Crazy times, those days!)

Any game you would never want to play?
Hmmm not really.
But there are kinds of gamers I don't like playing with.

To be specific, I don't like gamers who care more about the rules than having a fun time as a group.  Just as I don't like gamers who care only about their OWN fun and not the groups'.  Role-playing games is always a group activity so if you can't enjoy it together, best you find another group you can with instead.

Would you run ____ for me and my friends?
I'd love to.  The question is mapping out when and where.
For that, best contact me directly or through facebook.
As to what my email address is, tobito UNDER SCORE abad AT yahoo should work.
Just be sure to clearly put in the subject "TAG gaming" or something to that effect.

And yes, I have run games for kids.
And I have run games for parents as well.
There's something nice about seeing how much they love gaming afterwards.  And the realization they can enjoy it with their kids, without needing to buy a new computer console, internet connection or what have you.

I do travel to run games for others.  I have run games at Strategicon in Los Angeles (if I recall correctly, they were during Memorial Day weekend) and I have driven around the city to give games for others.  Lately, however, given my workload during the day, I prefer to run games in rOckY and my Sietch Creare (as we call our place) because after the game, I can just plop myself down on the bed and sleep if I am that tired.

Maximum number of players?
I prefer games with three players, tops.  But yes, I have run games with as many as sixteen players.  My personal favorite record, however, is a game which had four table-top players, around five extra players who would contact the four in between game sessions with information about the game anonymously, and four more players who were overseas and sending the four key players clues, tips and strange messages related to the game.  Now THAT was really a unique experience.


Houserules?
Of course there are.  Crossing over all games, standard house rules include:
1) Stay in character as much as possible.  Keep all interactions with one another in-game so it feels more immersive.
2) Don't be an jerk.  You can be an anti-hero.  You can be the PC that causes the others to distrust you.  That's all fine and fun.  But don't be a jerk who ruins the fun for everyone else.
3) Before every chronicle, I talk to the players and ask if there are topics that are taboo.  Prior to doing this practice, I once ran a game for a group and during a particular intense sequence where a character was being raped by a Sabbat vampire, the player exploded and ran off from the table.  Turns out she had experienced something similar in the past and didn't want to feel that again.  So now I make sure I note what topics a group should "not have" in a game.  This becomes more important with games like World of Darkness which tends to explore mature themes.


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