What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
Immortal Figures: Gods of Olympus

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Amazing Adventures Kickstarter Final Call!

Ok folks,

I haven't gone on and on about this Kickstarter -- I try to avoid that kind of thing.  However, for those that might be interested, Amazing Adventures is down to the last 24 hours. 

What is it?  It's a Pulp RPG which is basically done in the Castles & Crusades framework.  It runs fast and easy just like C&C and is completely compatible with it.  More importantly, it works REALLY well.

There are pledge levels that run as low as $25 if you are just looking at the core rulebook (hardcover).  At $45 you can get both the core rulebook and the monster book (both in hardcover) or at $50, the core rule book and and companion book which promises to be just as big.  The campaign is just over $6000 away (from the time of writing) to change the companion from a softback to a hardback.

However, it is the $99 level which promises to deliver the best bang for your buck.  All three books plus a set of Amazing Adventure Record sheets and stretch goals which include:

  • 2 Player's books which essentially condensed versions of the rulebook that include all the character creation / class stuff to play.
  • An extra copy of the Amazing Adventures core rule book in digest (perfect bound softcover) format.
  • An 'Book of Shadows' digest book which includes all the spells and psionic material from the core book.
  • We are presently less that $250 away from getting the Temple of the Red God 'trilogy' of modules.  Originally published as a single module, this includes the second and third modules in the story (note that this stretch goal reward is open to $45 and up).
Decent value... a great game... what more could you ask for?  But hurry, time is running out.

You can find the Kickstarter HERE.

M

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Achievement Unlocked: Attended Gen Con!


I got back from my first trip to Gen Con just over a month ago and between recovering from that and the Montreal Comic Con I attended a week and a half ago, I am both poor and impoverished.  You know what?  I wouldn't change a thing. My significant other and I are looking at doing it again next near and, with some of the lessons we both learned, aim to have an even better time next year.

There were a lot of highlights for me and there are MANY reasons why some people go back year after year.  Naturally, the games were fun and the workshops I did were pretty cool.  One of my 'regrets' was booking to much of my time to doing various events and workshops.  Some of these things went into the early evening which, frankly deprived me of some great off-grid gaming.  Lesson One learned -- keep my evenings free.  I also went top heavy on some of the workshops in part because some of the events I wanted to do ended up filling up very quickly when tickets for events opened up.  With over 12,000 events before registration started, I was not fully prepared for all my selections beforehand.   Sure, it sounds obvious, but the problem really stemmed from trying to organizing certain events with the people we were traveling to Gen Con with.  So, Lesson Two learned -- 'reserve stuff' in advance and focus on KEY events only.  Those you don't get in on, well tough ... having open spaces in your schedule is not a problem as you can always get 'generic tickets' to do other things even up to and during the convention itself.


Frankly, the biggest thing for me was meeting up with some people that I've had corresponded online and perhaps spoken on the phone a few times over the past few years.  Meeting up with some friends is, for me, the best thing about this thing and I have to say that the venue and city was fantastic.  Very friendly and open to having thousands of people descend upon their fair city.



So, what exactly did I do down there?  There were certainly a lot of things but some highlights (in no particular order) were:

Playing through True Dungeon.  I had fun with that and my friends and I did the 'puzzle oriented' one.  I think the combat oriented one might have been more fun but it was cool nonetheless.  It wasn't a perfect experience -- you don't always get to pick who your adventuring companions so unless you have enough friends who have bought tickets to go through the event, you will be meeting some new folks.  My only criticism would be the cost of the event itself.  It seems a bit steep but you do get to keep a bunch of tokens which could be used at your gaming table.



Workshops.  As mentioned, I did a few.  I did a Scalemail bag (mostly finished), a chainmail workshop (not even close to being done), some leather bracers, and I participated in a foam weapon workshop to fill up some time.  I liked most of the workshops but the I figured the foam weapon would be something more than just a 'foam club'.  The Scalemail just needs to be finished up but the other bit of chainmail I was doing will be for a larger project.  The wife also did the leather item and foam weapon workshop with me and did some chainmail in a different workshop for a stuffed monkey.  As it turns out, she REALLY likes doing chainmail and I may get her some more for her to do.  Or maybe I'll get here to finish up my chain.  ;)


The Meatgrinder.  In previous years, this was the Tower of Gygax and I had a BLAST.  I ended up playing three characters during the session and my first character ended up with the distinction of being the 'quickest kill'.  When I came in, the game had already started and I was given a Half-Orc barbarian-like Fighter.  Can't remember the level but it was probably between 2nd and 4th..  At any rate, I came in... move towards an offensive Kobold and yelled at it like a good barbarian should.  That caught it's attention and the attention of another 13 or so of his friends.  Then I realized all of them had bows.  Then I realized I had no armor on.  11 of 14 hit.  The character effectively lasted a single round.  One word: FANTASTIC!  My subsequent characters were thieves.  They did a lot better.  ;)


Speed Paint Contest.  I love painting but I recognize that I could be 'faster' at it.  I figured the best way to practice was to participate in one of these.  Technically speaking, I probably finished last since part of the base wasn't painted.  The figure itself wasn't finished but the base coating was pretty much done.  I guess it wasn't so bad after 45 minutes.  I only had one gripe about this competition though -- we were all supposed to be on an equal footing.  Same miniature... paints... and brushes.  I did one of the last speed paint competitions of the weekend and, not realizing that the brushes on the table were the ones we were going to use, I was dismayed at the terrible condition of the brushes at my spot at the table.  A previous painter did quite a bit of 'work' on the brushes making them very difficult to work with.  Honestly, I wasted time trying to 'fix' the bristles and bring them to a workable point for my work.  Stupid rookie mistake I guess but hardly fair IMO.  I'm not saying that better brushes would have won the day for me but that time was precious minutes lost.  The other thing I admit that I am less than accustomed to is mixing some of my paints.  I got accustomed to having so many colors and shades at my disposal with the Citadel paint line that I seldom mix much.  This also happened to be the first time I worked with Reaper paints too.  I did like their paints but the consistency did through me off at first.  Good experience though and it's an exercise I aim to repeat.



Hanging out with TLG.  An informal meeting of the Castles & Crusades Society and the Knights of the Crusade was held at a local pub.  It was a fantastic way to end Saturday and share a few drinks with the Trolls at Gen Con this year!  A necessary disclaimer: I got the following pic from the Jason Vey's page but I was the one behind the camera.  You can see some of my stuff in the background behind the crew on the ground.  That's my swag bag, and my red foam weapon lying there as I did my best to take a decent pic of Steve, Tyler, Todd, Tim, and Jason.  :)



Aside from all that, I had supper with my friend John from Brave Halfling Publishing who came up to Indianapolis just to get together with me and Marisol.  After years of emails and phone conversations, it was finally great to see John in person.

Besides gaming, it's about the people and friends you meet and get together with.  Our hobby is a social thing after all.

M

Reference Games

This is something of a follow-up from a recent post -- you can read it HERE.  It occurred to me that, while there will be material and different games that I will never be run, I do refer to these books on and off again.  I suppose this could compound the problem if trying to cut down in size for one's own gaming collection but, it's an important consideration nonetheless.

I've already mentioned that I play Castles & Crusades.  Actually, I've made that admission numerous times on my blog.  I have run classic AD&D modules in it and I have taken and used everything from rules, to monsters, and items and spells time and time again.  I also have used specific supplements for my C&C game -- most noteworthy being the historical reference supplements that TSR put out for AD&D Second Edition (the green splat books).  I have also sourced other material such as the Empire of the Petal Throne and various bits from Role Aids and Judges Guild stuff.  Just tons of it really.

I use a lot of this material and take other bits of it in consideration when I do something connected to Swords & Wizardry as well since, for me, it's sort of a no-frills baseline.  On the other hand, I don't do anything at all with the DCC RPG.  I have it because it's just cool.  ;)

Beyond all this stuff, and by extension, Amazing Adventures (currently running as a Kickstarter right now for the new printing and additional books over HERE), is also great resource material for my favorite 'go-to' FRPG.  Lots of great stuff and this game has the best rules for Firearms compatible for C&C (and other D&D type games) that I have seen.  That said, I doubt I'll have my part of adventurers encounter an Nazi soldier firing an MP-40 at them any time in the near future.  Or... maybe I will... I mean if some of those classic TSR adventures has laser guns, why the hell not!  ;)

Beyond that, I have other games with 'support material'.

I have a couple of generic d6 RPG books and I use Star Wars d6 by WEG as my support / reference for it.  For Call of Cthulhu, I have Chaosium's Basic Core Book as well as a previous edition of Stormbringer and Rolemaster.  I have Cortex Core and the original Serenity RPG and the Hackers Guide (for Cortex Plus) along with the Marvel Supers RPG they put out.  I have a bunch of Savage Worlds stuff which includes some Beasts and Barbarians stuff to go along with the Fantasy, Horror, and Supers companion.

Frankly far too much stuff the more I look and I think some of this support material could stand to be thinned in the near future too.  However, it does justify owning a heck of a lot more than a handful of books.  Or maybe I just love excusing my collecting habit.  ;)

M

Monday, September 22, 2014

Amazing Adventures Q&A

With a week left in the campaign, the Amazing Adventures Kickstarter has already met it's funding goal and funds are still being amassed to grow the line through a variety of stretch goals.  Now, Amazing Adventures isn't a new game but it is one that is getting a bit more of a polish with expanded content and a couple other support books to go along with it.  You can read my original review of it, HERE.  I thought it was a well put together book and game and had high hopes for it as a fan.  With the campaign still-ongoing, the writer of the game, Jason Vey was able to take some time and answer a few questions and the game and fundraising campaign.


ME: Amazing Adventures isn't a new game but many people may still not know what it is. Could you sum up for the readers what it is and why they might want to check it out?

JASON: Amazing Adventures is an RPG that's designed to emulate any kind of pulp gaming you want. Whether it's Lovecraftian Horror, Chandleresque hard-boiled noir, Howardian adventure, or the cases of Doc Savage or the Shadow. Whether you're into lost temples, the shadows of the city, Asian secret societies, or lost temples in the jungle, Amazing Adventures can handle it. It's a toolkit game that's set up for you to play in the world of your favorite gritty literary pulp or the high action lighthearted Saturday Morning Serials of the 50s. It's very open, fast-playing and fun. I think the biggest selling point of the game is its flexibility in genre. Pulp encompasses so many types of storytelling, and with the right group of players, AA can handle it all and do it easy.

ME: This game was originally released a couple of years back but this was far from being your fist project. Can you tell us a bit about Elf Lair Games and some of the work you've done in the industry before Amazing Adventures?

JASON: Elf Lair Games was kind of a lark. Spellcraft & Swordplay came about sort of by accident--I was trying to do some scholarship around the original D&D rules and before I knew it I had a game half-written. I decided to finish it and throw it out there on lulu and it's actually gained some followers and has sold pretty well, all things considered. I actually started in the industry writing for Palladium books and my first full gaming book was a sourcebook for Nightbane called Shadows of Light. After that I moved on to write for Eden Studios and have done three sourcebooks for All Flesh Must Be Eaten as well as contributed to a few other publications. I've written for Misfit Studios, Iron Crown, Cubicle 7 (contributing writer to a Doctor Who sourcebook), and a few other small press companies before Troll Lord. My first work for TLG was actually an adventure module for StarSIEGE called "Another Fine Mess." Since then I've done everything for AA, and was a contributor to the Castle Keeper's Guide for C&C.

ME: Having worked on and played various game systems, were there any influences on Amazing Adventures that you would like to share?

JASON: Honestly, it was just my love of pulp and Castles and Crusades that got it started. Most of Amazing Adventures came out of my house rules for my home C&C game at the time. I did end up drawing some open content from the Conan RPG and from an older d20 game called Forbidden Kingdoms, which so far as I'm aware was the first pulp d20 effort and was pretty cool at the time, too.

ME: Amazing Adventures is a level-based which focuses on character archetypes as opposed to skill-based game. Given the overall ease and success in running this sort of game in a system such as Savage Worlds, what would you characterize as advantages of gaming with Amazing Adventures as opposed to one of the other games available?

JASON: First of all, I will NEVER, EVER claim to be in competition with Savage Worlds. I love Savage Worlds and Shane Hensley is an amazing guy. There is room for a lot of games in our industry, so I'm never out to compare or challenge Savage Worlds with Amazing Adventures. I wouldn't say you should pick mine instead of someone else's. Why not play both? But what makes Amazing Adventures work is the SIEGE engine. The way the SIEGE engine scales, it's incremental like a point buy game, only it does the point buy for you. What I mean is, in a lot of class and level systems you hit, say, level four, and suddenly get a ton of new powers you never had before. In the SIEGE engine, you get a little something every level, so it feels more like a natural growth of a character. When you do get new abilities, it actually feels like a new short story from your favorite pulp character where they can do something you haven't seen them do before. Not to mention, the SIEGE engine is a clean system that gets the hell out of your way and lets you get on with telling great stories. 

ME: Amazing Adventures largely builds upon Castles & Crusades and the Siege Engine mechanic. What would you say to some that just look at Amazing Adventures and think it's a non-Fantasy variant of C&C with the serial numbers filed off?

JASON: I didn't file the serial numbers off. Amazing Adventures IS a pulp variant of Castles & Crusades without elves, dwarves and the like. In fact, it has been designed for maximum compatibility with C&C, and the new printing will be that way even more so.

ME: With Amazing Adventures being similar to C&C which, in turn, is similar to classic D&D and other derivatives, it makes it a great an easy platform to play and convert some classic TSR-era modules. Are there any favorites that you've heard people using, that you've used yourself, or would want to in the near future?

JASON: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks is so pulp it's not even funny. You were talking about filing off the serial numbers--in a lot of pulp stories, you've got a hero in a dungeon crawl, just with guns. Ravenloft (the original I6) is another one that would work great as a Gothic horror module with AA. How about Temple of the Frog? How cool is the idea of battling that cult with your two-fisted action heroes? Yeah, a lot of classic D&D modules work really well with pulp. The key is in how you present it. If you tell your characters they're fighting orcs, it kills the mood. But if you describe them as slimy, foul-smelling degenerate beast-men with watery yellow eyes and prominent tusks, that's setting a mood. 

ME: For those of us who may have already invested in the first printing of the game, what is the appeal to doing so again with the second printing? There was talk about new and expanded content in the book beyond errata and clarifications. Can you give us an idea of what new stuff readers can expect from this?

JASON: I've done a complete cover-to-cover re-edit and revision of the game. A few character classes have gotten a facelift--the Pugilist is the most altered, along the lines of what the Trolls did with the Barbarian and Illusionist in C&C. Classes like the Gadgeteer that may have been a bit confusing have been clarified. The bestiary has been reduced, but the monsters were replaced with a rogue's gallery of various kinds of human enemies from Thule cultists to mob enforcers, and a few iconic monsters like vampires, mummies, zombies and werewolves have been kept. The GM section has been expanded overall, with a lot more information on how to use the rules, how to run pulp games and general GMing tips. Thanks to our first stretch goal, there will be a whole section on designing and using secret societies in your game, along with a bunch of sample secret societies from the Hellfire Club to the Illuminati. I've also created some NPCs and so-called "iconic" characters for the game. The second print is going to have an overall and pretty noticeable facelift that I think people will really dig. 

ME: There are a couple other books listed as rewards in the Kickstarter – a Manual of Monsters and a Companion book. The Manual of Monsters is described at collecting various creatures found in the Monsters & Treasure and Classic Monsters books for C&C which are 'slightly altered' as well as some new ones. With the kind of overlap that we might be seeing for fans of C&C, were there any concerns in making this it's own separate book as opposed to just adding a Bestiary section in the Companion book?

JASON: Well we've pulled the bestiary from Amazing Adventures, as I said, and are adding a TON of monsters from other sources, some of which have never been collected together in one place. I've picked only those monsters that are suited to pulp and we're giving them minor tweaks for the genre. I was aware, however, that there might be concerns about this, and that's why I'm including over two dozen brand new monsters that you have never seen in any other C&C book. Can you still use your other C&C monster books? Totally--please do! But we want AA to have its own identity and that's why we're collecting the monsters we are, and I'm adding all those new ones so you get something new for your purchase. 

ME: On the subject of the Companion book, could you give us an idea of the sort of material players and gamemasters could expect to find within it?

JASON: The kitchen sink. That sounds funny but really...new character classes. Mystic locales. Live action rules. Expanded vehicle rules with more vehicles. More guns, equipment and gear. Ways to think outside the box with existing classes like using the Gadgeteer to play a supers game. New, Lovecraftian-style magic that's tied to sanity. Rules for sub-genres of pulp from Steampunk to weird west to horror to planetary romance to modern pulp to sword and sorcery and more. I am hoping the companion will help set Amazing Adventures up as a lot of people's "go to" game. 

ME: The campaign quickly hit its primary funding goal of bringing this new printing to a hardcover format and there are a couple of other stretch goals promising to bring two more books in hardcover format should they be met. One of these is a monster book and the other is a companion book which expands the game further. Unfortunately the campaign has appears to have stalled with $9000 to go until the third book hits the hardcover goal. Additional incentive goals don't seem to be yielding as much success as it could. Do you have any thoughts or concerns about this that you would like to share?

JASON: I'm really not sure what the reason for the stall is. If I did, I'd do whatever it took (within my power) to get it un-stuck and make that $21K level happen. I SO appreciate all the support we've gotten so far, but yeah, it's a bummer in some ways. I sincerely hope it picks up in the last week or so, because hitting that final stretch goal would really be a dream come true for me. I'd be able to look at my career as a game designer and say, "Man, that one time, I really was successful with an effort."

ME: The fundraising campaign has various pledge levels with the most popular one being the $99 pledge which gets copies of the Core Rule Book, Monster Manual, and Companion along with Character Reference Sheets and whatever stretch goals are also met. So far, these include a digest copy of the core book, 2 player books, and the Spell book. About an equal number of backers are spread out on the lower pledge levels which only include one or two of the main books. With a week to go, do you think you'll be able to sway some of those backers to upgrading their pledges? What do you think it will take to make that happen?

JASON: Honestly, I have no idea. Again, if I knew how to get more folks to pledge and folks at lower levels to up their pledges, I'd do it in a New York minute. But Kickstarter is a mystery. You never can predict what's going to be successful and what's not. By many benchmarks, the AA kickstarter has been successful. It'll likely at least hit the hardcover bestiary level. Still, it would be nice to see it take its place among TLG's other more successful KS efforts. This is only the second one that's happened for one of my books (the first being Eden Studios' Band of Zombies).

ME: Having designed and run the game, have you had a chance to be just a player in Amazing Adventures? What would be your favorite character class from the lot listed in the core book?

JASON: I have, during my playtest. When I write a game I rarely run my own playtest sessions. I prefer to play and have someone else in my group run. The reason is, I know how it's all supposed to work so I'm more prone to overlook and miss mistakes, where if someone else is running it, they will stop and say, "Hey, dude, this doesn't make sense. How is it supposed to work?" and I know something needs to be clarified or fixed. As for my favorite character, one of the iconics in the group, Natalya "The Fox" Abramova, was my playtest character. She's a multiclassed Mentalist/Hooligan who is an up-and-coming Hollywood Starlet who moonlights as a high-class cat burglar. 

ME: While Amazing Adventures is essentially a 'love-letter' to the Pulp genre, Pulp covers a lot of ground and the game seems flexible enough to meet most needs. Is there a particular sub-genre of Pulp that you particular like or find inspiration with? An author or particular book or movie? Something else?

JASON: Robert E. Howard has been one of my favorite writers ever since I was about 12. I love everything of his, from his Conan Yarns to Solomon Kane, El Borak, Kull, Dark Agnes, his Western stories, and all his work. I also adore Edgar Rice Burroughs and planetary romance in general. Of course, Star Wars, which is very much pulp translated to the screen--my earliest memory at the age of 3 years old was seeing Star Wars in the theater, so I've been poised for geekdom my whole life.
ME: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to the readers?

JASON: Just that I really hope you'll buy in and support the Kickstarter. I have had nothing but positive feedback about the game, it's got a pretty vocal group of fans, and I'm looking to keep expanding it and building on the support for the game in the future. I am very proud of Amazing Adventures and consider it the best thing I've done in the 14 or 15 years I've been writing in the industry. I really think you'll find it worth the price to support the Kickstarter. Thank you for taking the time to read, and for those who have already supported by pledging or just sharing the link (http://bit.ly/amazingrpg) I can't express my gratitude enough.


So there you have it.  If you are the least bit curious, I highly recommend checking out the Kickstarter Campaign HERE for more information and to pledge.

Thanks for reading!

M

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Too Much Game?

No... not too much gaming.  Rather too many games.

Over the years, I have acquired much in terms of gaming.  Like many of my fellow geeks and gamers, I am a collector at heart.  I love pen and paper RPGs and have ever since I started playing AD&D back in the day. This was years before d20, the OGL, and the SRD did a lot of damage and killed off or forced many a gaming system away from sight and I found myself fascinated with other systems and, any time I tried something or was playing a bit of another game, I picked up the core books at the very least.

There were times that the collection grew... and other times were it shrank but my fascination with various systems remained.

Over the past couple of years, I've sold a lot but still have shelves of gaming material that I was determined to keep.  As I try and cull the collection, opportunities to pick up new or older interesting things keep on happening.

One thing is clear though, given where I am in my life and the few instances of spare time which I devote to a few hobbies and past times, I will never be able to play all that I have and nor do I have the inclination to.

I arbitrarily decided that I need no more than 12 systems on my shelf (make that shelves).

Sounds simple enough right?  A top 12 list with the theoretical notion that I can have / run a different game each month in a given year.

Actually it isn't and I don't have a list yet.  I've found a way to 'broaden' my list somewhat too thanks to the exception.

Example:  Castles & Crusades is on the list but I quickly made the rationale that other versions of D&D and even a couple of retro-clones and even Amazing Adventures can be lumped together in a D&D-type category to support C&C since I tend to use that stuff pretty interchangeably (or can if I wanted to).

So, that's a lot of stuff.

Then there are all the other games I have.  Some don't take up much shelf space since it may only be comprised of a book or two but I have many that qualify.  Some stuff is pretty damn cool even if I will never play or run that particular game.

Take Rolemaster for instance.  I have had exactly one opportunity to play about 15-20 years back and it was a fantastic experience and I had a lot of fun.  I haven't played since but I came across the Avalon Hill Deluxe Box Set about 5 years ago (second hand) and picked it up without hesitation.  I'm fairly certain I will never have an opportunity like that again (though you never know) and I'm certain I won't run it.  However, I like it.  I've looked through the books in the set countless times and I am fond of the original system (the Basic system that powers Call of Cthulhu and other Chaosium games) which is part of the reason I hold on to it I suppose.

Despite the nightmarish character creation stuff, I have a copy of Rifts (Ultimate), the newer Robotech books, and the TMNT game books by Palladium.  I've played this stuff on and off though I expect I won't be playing them again.

Middle Earth Role Playing is probably the worst offender.  It was one of the first games outside of AD&D / D&D that I played.  I got a box set and traded it a few years later.  When Role Master Express came out, I tracked down a copies of some of the old MERP books again but they remain unplayed.

Generally speaking, I have stopped buying new games but I still managed to pick up a few titles at Gen Con because... well... it was Gen Con.  ;)

I'm still thinking about trying to create a top 12 list.  If it gets created, it may even push me to do another large culling from my gaming collection.  But a top 12 is hard.

Would any of you have a similar issue in creating this kind of list?

M

Monday, September 1, 2014

#RPGaDAY -- Catch Up (Days 25-31)


And here's the last of it.  There's a reason why I've avoided monthly challenges and it's largely to do with that fact that I don't have the time and energy to blog every day.  Or rather, if I did, I would need to learn to be a LOT more concise in my posts.  Thanks for reading and following nonetheless.  ;)

25. Favorite RPG no one else wants to play
26. Coolest Character Sheet
27. Game you'd like to see a new / improved edition of
28. Scariest game you've played
29. Most memorable encounter
30. Rarest RPG owned
31. Favorite RPG of all time

Hmm... looking at these questions gives me the impression that I've answered some of this stuff before.  Sure, the questions are EXACTLY the same but still.  My favorite RPG that no one else wants to play would be Call of Cthulhu which is the same answer I gave on question 6 which was phrased as 'Favorite RPG never get to play'.  It's hard to run a successful CoC game since a lot of it has to do with atmosphere for the experience itself.  I really hope to finally run a game (since I never will play this game) later this year when I get the new books.

Coolest character sheet would be *my* character sheet at any given time.  Because it's mine and it's where I record my character.  ;)

On a more serious note, a game that I would like to see a new or improved edition of... This one is a tough one.  Just got it with Dungeons & Dragons.  I guess I would have to say some sort of improved / streamlined (lighter) version of Role Master.  I never played Role Master proper but I was introduced to Middle Earth Roleplaying which was a bit like Role Master Light.  Still plenty of tables but less than the standard RM game from what I understand.  A few years ago, there was something called Role Master Express.  It reminded me of MERP and I rather miss RMX which was discontinued a few years back.

Scariest game of all time?  Running my first public / store demo game I think.  Actual game play... I don't run scary games and I was fascinated and loved every minute of the CoC games I did play a couple decades ago.

The Rarest RPG owned.  Hmm.  As far as games themselves, I don't think I have anything that rare.  I have come across an interesting item now and then for sure.  I guess my second printing of the Deities & Demigods hardcover (complete with Cthulhu and Melnibonean mythos) would fit the bill for rarest item of value.

Lastly, my favorite RPG of all time would be the same sort of answers I gave for favorite system and system likely to be playing in 20 years time.  It will be D&D in one form or another or a variant like C&C.