I always find it informative to hear how other game-masters prepare and view RPGs. In this post I introduce one of the dxContent mini/module mini/map contest judges.
I'd like you to meet Denny Edwards, another long-time gaming friend, DM and player. Denny has a fantastic grasp on plot twists, mystery and suspense. He creates villains you really hate (I'll get you General Gnaw!), and NPCs you really love (Rest in peace "Decoder"). Below are Denny's responses to my "get to know the judge" questions.
dxContent: As a game master and/or player, what level of importance do you place on maps and why?
Denny: If a picture is worth a thousand words, a map is worth a thousand encounters. In the RPG games I’ve played in or ran over the years, maps have always been a staple. Clearly not all gaming situations call for a map, but more times than not a visual representation of where things are in relation to each other helps provide a better (and hopefully a shared) understanding of what’s going on. Personally I have a preference that significant combat encounters take place on a gridded map with miniatures or other counters. I’ve found that a lot of time is saved if you don’t have to ask or explain where something is at and a map solves the problem handily. If nothing else, even a small map and a pencil make for a much better game. Finally, it has been my experience that maps encourage exploration and curiosity; players always want to know what’s beyond the edges of the map or what the strange rune etched into the floor is for.
dxContent: How many years have you played RPG games?
Denny: 28 years
dxContent: How many years have you played 3.5 / Pathfinder?
Denny: 9 years
dxContent: Minis are a "must" for your style of RPG play - Yes or No?
Denny: Yes; minis or counters
dxContent: Your game master notes (or player notes if you don't gm) are best described as...?
Denny: Organized and cross-referenced
dxContent: Do you prefer ready-made modules or home-spun material or a mix?
dxContent: As a gm (or player if you don’t GM) do you prefer published campaign settings or home-grown settings?
dxContent: Favorite role to play in a RPG (stealth, magic, melee-master, etc)?
dxContent: Would you rather play, game master or do both?