Today I tried a variant in my LARP running style...Basically running the LARP as a live action tabletop session. Normally I'd set up an ecosystem of play, and let the players make deals with one another, or throw twists into the session to keep everyone on their toes; but this time I basically split the group into two halves, with one group running PCs who ran through a linear quest of 8 scenes while the other half played NPCs for them... then after lunch switched everyone around.
For a group of a dozen players, this worked well and I'll certainly do it again.
I don't think the game should regularly shift to this format, but for one off special events, it makes a nice change of pace.
This really depends on what the game is trying to say. Based on the way the question is worded, it's safe to assume we aren't discussing a monotheistic setting.
The presence of clerics, paladins, divine and infernal magic users also plays a part in how gods might work in a game.
I always liked the idea of gods who gain power from the belief of their followers...the more followers, the more power the god has...but the more followers a god has, the more an individual follower needs to do in order to gain their deity's notice.
So, let's say every doubling of follwers increases a god's power level by a degree.
1 follower = lvl 1
2 followers = lvl 2
4 followers = lvl 3
8 followers = lvl 4
1024 followers = lvl 11
2048 followers = lvl 12
Gods form pantheons because a follower's belief in a pantheon counts as a half measure for all allied deities. They fight within pantheons for the biggest share of follower power, pantheons fight each other for the same reason but at a much larger scale.
Gods cannot fight each other except through their followers. They grant miracles to their mortals to advance their faithful and expand their influence, they need to grant these miracles sparingly, because they need the divine energy of the faithful to remain relevnt to their flock. A miracle used today migh mean that a miracle can't be used tomorrow when another god's seizmic disruption threatens to kill a large percentage of one's flock.
God's are in it for the long game, and as long as they've still got a single follower, they might be capable of becoming a powerful force in the future. This could be detailed far more, and there are numerous games I could write about this concept.
22. Describe Milk Demons for me. What do they do, what are their names, what do they taste like?
Milk Demons are a subclass of imps. Where imps are typically affiliated with the major elements, Milk Demons are one of the many impling forms related to non-elemental forms of matter. In most cases, Milk Demons are named for the effects they apply to milk when they die immersed in dairy. So there's Yoghurt, Edam, Gouda, and Haloumi, among others. If it weren't for Milk Demons, these dairy byproducts would not be possible, which is a carefully guarded secret among dairy farmers across the world.
It is rumoured that there are obscure forms of Milk Demons which turn into the most exquisite desserts if they are boiled alive in milk, but any truth to that rumour has never been confirmed.
21. Most unexpected spell that helped you get past the walls of the Fortress of See.
The fireballs were definitely useful as we approached the fortress and confronted the Guardians of the Sacred City, the levitation spells would have been useful to get over the walls but the nega-psychoc barriers prevented almost every form of magic from working. The only spell that did seem to work was that odd little Chance Minutiae spell that Devali concocted a few years ago. We left it running for a few hours just beside the wall, returning to the spot only to find that the thaumivorous nature of the spell actually ate away chunks of the wall, leaving enough opening for us to crawl through the wall and into the fortress.
20. Describe a mechanic you would put into your Science Fiction Heartbreaker.
Oh, maybe you mean a game mechanism...
There are a lot of ideas that have already been incorporated into science fiction games over the years. But most of them are generally ignored during the course of play...so I guess the question is what I'd make sure appeared in a heartbreaker, and what the definition of a heartbreaker is. One of the many definitions of a heartbreaker is the kind of game that basically replicates an existing game, but renames a variety of elements and adds one or two specific twists to the game mechanisms to claim the game as "original". The whole of the OSR is basically heartbreakers.
What are we trying to emulate with this game? What type of science fiction?
If we have multiple races, I'd want to make sure they were alien and exotic to each other. Roleplaying to me is about getting into alternate thought patterns to explore ideas outside your regular identity and paradigm. I like the idea of paths of enlightenment in the Sabbat books from Vampire: the Masquerade. They are designed to be ways that control behaviour outside a humanistic paradigm. Some have similarity to humanity, many are very different. So I'd throw a few paths like this into the game, requiring non-humans to follow one of them as a reflection of their different mind-set. Maybe a single path per alien race, but probably a few related paths for each alien race (and a few similar paths for humans to choose from).
For truly different racial perspectives, I'd limit in-game speech to a word or two between characters at most. Only those who share ideals and agendas would have enough commonality in their thought patterns to meaningfully communicate with each other.
19. What single change would you make to a popular D&D setting and why?
My gut reaction to this one is to change the mechanisms of play rather than change the settings. I want to change the way spell slots work, and simply run with a magic energy pool that is drained by casting spells and recharged according to your chosen style of magical pursuit... but that's not what the question is asking.
My second rection is to change any one (or more) of the settings, and completely remove humans from it. I like what Dark Sun did to elves in the setting, I love the diversity of new races available in Planescape, I never really got into Eberron (because I had a falling out with the regular gaming group that I was a part of at the time when it was big, and never really got into a new regular group until it had somewhat subsided), but I'd love to have pushed any of these settings the next step further...making them a bit more exotic by simply pulling out the humans...either by a massive catastrophic spell effect or plague that wiped them out over a matter of days then playing with the resultant aftermath, by filling an alternate race into the niches typically held by humans, or by logically working through how the setting might have developed if humans were never there in the first place.
Perhaps humans are inextricably linked to the prime material plane, they can handle brief forays into planar regions, but gradually become weakened if they don't have a physical anchor (which gradually rots away as a sacrificial anode to prevent their own soul from being destroyed by the lack of prime energy in the realms of Planescape). Perhaps they need to wear cumbersome suits like those old diving suits if they want to survive for more than a few minutes away from the prime material... astral projection might work too, but that has it's own issues.
Humans are too prevalent...I understand why, it's generally because they function as a narrative anchor for the setting. A guage by which to measure the other levels of strangeness in the settings, but I think we've moved beyond the need for that in every single setting.
18. The wizard has researched a new spell named “Chance Minutia.” What does the spell do?
Chance Minutiae is the micro-transaction bitcoin engine of the magic world. Most wizards don't notice it, it just ticks away in the backgrounds, gathering momentum slowly while magical effects unfold around it. It doesn't seem to do anything useful at all to those capable of sensing magic (or those who cast detect magic around it), and for that reason it's generally ignored. Every time a magical effect fails in the vicinity of the spell, the magic energy is still released... this spell simply absorbs a tiny a ount of the excess magic energy and funnels it to a storage cell amulet. The more common effect of the spell (and the effect for which it was named) relies on those magics that manipulate probability in it's vicinity. Every time a magical effect distorts probability (by increasing or decreasing a die result by a minor amount), this spell absorbs some of the probability flux energy. Not enough to make a successful action associated with the spell fail, and if a magical effect has been used to make an opponent's action fail, this won't draw enough flux energy to make it succeed again. It just syphons a point off the top.
In areas where spells of this nature are being regularly cast, Chance Minutiae might syphon a single point of probability flux energy every half hour or so (Roll a d6 every ten minutes, on a 6 a point of energy is gained...in a wizard school it might increase to one roll every five minutes, in a generally non magical area it might only be one roll every half hour). At the end of the spell's duration, the wizard casting the spell may modify the die roll of a single action by the total number of flux energy points accumulated by the spell while it has been operating.