For this #nerdy9th
post, I'd like to talk about the great intersection of two of my nerd loves.
Guest casting in games.
What do Jose Ferrer, Lauren Bacall, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Sidney Poitier and James Mason have in common? They have all had 'guest star' roles in virtually every RPG campaign I've ever run.
Greenstreet as been a Nero Wolfe knock-off, a sly wizard, a mayor and a hapless scientist in space. Bacall has been an elven queen, a changeling serial killer and a power-armored mercenary, etc.
Guest casting is something I love doing and I rarely tell the players about ahead of time. I have just enough impersonation skill (which is to say not much) to give them a hint of the character in my head, sometimes they pick up on it, sometimes they don't. Either way is fine for me. I guest cast for me, more than the players.
But having a stable of actors in my head does make it easier to improvise NPCs on the fly. Do I need practical, scary, British and cold? Terence Stamp comes to mind, and I can play him on the fly. Do I need breezy, smart and sardonic with a side of urbane style? Myrna Loy.
You'd think it would get old for the players or for me, but somehow it never has. And it's one of my best GMing tricks for getting into an NPC and making them come alive with their own speech patterns and mannerisms.
I know the players usually go insane
with an urge to kill my Vincent Price in full Three Musketeers Cardinal Richelieu mode. And Orson Welles as the doomed king never fails to make them try to help
, even though they know, on some level, that said king is going to end up part of a tragedy.
So yeah. Part shortcut, part homage, all mine. My cast of thousands from classic Hollywood, making gaming more fun for my players and for me.