A Conversation With…Jason Corley

Today we are joined by Jason Corley. Jason is a regular co-host on Pulp Gamer Out Of Character and an rpg enthusiast.

Hi Jason. Welcome to Go Forth And Game. Thanks for joining us today.

Let’s get started by finding out a little about you.

I’m a lawyer who lives in Tucson, Arizona. I’m a co-host of Pulp Gamer’s Out Of Character podcast, an occasional freelancer and a long-time gamer.

Well let’s get right to the questions.

What is your current ‘hot’ games and why are they hot?

FATE is the hot game for me right now. The Dresden Files version of it really explained things in a clear way. I was interested in FATE ever since Spirit of the Century, but the stunts there sort of overshadowed the Aspects system, in my view, and I never really got a hold of it. I’m currently running a FATE game set in the 1889 Paris of the sadly-defunct pulp game Forbidden Kingdoms.  It’s a combination of adventure and horror, good stuff.  I even slimmed down the Dresden Files rules significantly to make the core of FATE really shine through. It’s knocked me out with how good it is, and how quickly I can use it to make cool conflicts to motivate the players and characters.

I am currently running FATE games – Spirit of the Century and Diaspora – in my game groups. I really enjoy aspects and the compel/invocation mechanic and the character generation of those two games.

Why do you play games?

Because they’re fun and creative, and I want to be a fun and creative person.  I think that’s about it.

What is your take on the whole GNS/Big Model thing?

It’s got some good ideas. For example, the idea that everything that happens in roleplaying is subsumed in the social interactions between the players is really good and not something I’d thought about before.  I also agree that there is such a thing as a “creative agenda”, that means the aesthetic preferences of the player, primarily expressed through play.  You’d have to be a dope or have your eyes closed not to agree that that exists. I think the GNS grouping of those creative agendas is fundamentally unsound, and the remainder of the theory, which relies on that to make value judgments about the customization of games by players, is complete nonsense and has been thoroughly discredited.

You’re known as the best GM in Tuscon, why?

Well, science has proven it to be so, and you can’t argue with science, right?

In all seriousness, I had just gotten done running a really good game and I was psyched about how well it had gone. I decided to invent it as a fun bit of trash-talk to spur both myself and others into improving their play. By saying you’re the best at something, you imply that improvement is possible.  It’s worked really well so far. Others have said they want to unseat me, and I try to improve myself to stay ahead of them. As I often say, “Even Michael Jordan had to practice basketball a lot.”

What makes a great player?

A great player actively listens to what everyone is saying and doing.  Active listening is what psychologists call the technique of listening to what someone says, and repeating it back in your own words. In a roleplayer’s case, you repeat it back in your character’s own words, or sometimes actions. If the GM says, “A red dragon lurks on the hoard,” the actively listening player says, “By the gods, this sinister beast has a pile of gold and jewels such as I’ve never seen!”  Which is saying exactly the same thing (especially the connection of the words “lurk” and “sinister”) that the GM just said, but reinforcing it.  An active listener is supporting what others at the table are doing, not just passively accepting it.

A great player also has a clear goal in mind for their participation in the game, beyond “to have fun”. Of course everyone wants to have fun. But if they have a goal like “I’m going to learn this system” or “I’m going to practice bantering with Tom” or “I’m going to see if I can get a good technique from this GM” when they sit down for a session, they will be a lot more alert and energetic.

Your idea of coming to a game with a goal is an interesting one. I’m going to try that with the next couple of games.

What out of print game would you like to see reprinted?

I’m not the kind of guy who wishes that there were reprints of things I already own – after all, I already own them. And if I don’t own it in some form, I usually don’t know enough about a game to make any kind of evaluation about it. But if I had to pick one, I would say Al-Qadim, the Arabian Nights adventures and supplements for AD&D.  Curvy swords, poofy pants and vests with no shirt, what’s not to like?

Oh, you mentioned that you are an ‘occasional freelancer’, I know you wrote something for Alpha Omega.  Tell us about that.

I wrote a short story for them, “One Ten Thousandth”, which is now available to buy: http://www.alphaomegathegame.com/index.php/permalink/one_ten_thousandth_now_available/
I’ve been doing some editing work on upcoming products, and I have a more extensive project that hasn’t been announced yet. Should be fun.

You can hear from Jason in most every episode of Pulp Gamer Out Of Character. He also recently was a guest host on The Game’s The Thing. And check out Jason’s story for Alpha Omega and keep an eye out for his name on future works.

Fantastic. Thanks for the interview Jason.