“kafka” answered in the June 2010 issue:
In the past and present games, I emphasize that my games are about Role Playing not Roll Playing.
In the past, I used to photocopy relevant pages of some sanctimonious tome or do an elaborate write-up in terms of a character's background in which, I asked players to memorize. In a campaign, I would reward them with Brownie Points (a la MT) for good role playing.
Recently, I have taken to more of a role playing approach, in which I use the Mongoose Life Events tables and rather than randomize them, I ask players to choose 5 major life events and that this will be used a modifier of up to +6** in any task roll (if it can be made relevant to the Task that they are trying to accomplish) in any given play session (either defined as an adventure or particular game night - depending upon the stability of the group).
I have also have encouraged players to verbalize their skill sets and I in turn verbalize the difficulty level. I have also used props ranging from puzzles with an electronic egg timer to an attempt to speak quickly in character whilst an egg timer counts down from 10sec, 20sec 30sec forcing good players to think on their feet. Or else get blown up or worse fate.
**The modifier is entirely determined by me (the Referee) and after the modifier is “used up” then a sliding scale is applied. Therefore, I have ruled the Life Event only warrants a +3 modifier the next time it is used in a particular play session is +2 then +1 then negating.
“Travis” answered in the July 2010 issue:
I encourage my players to do two things: 1) keep a log of their perspective of the action we encounter in each session' somewhat like a diary. This they can reflect on as we begin each subsequent session to build on and develop their character. 2) I begin each session by asking all of the players 3-5 questions about their character’s past. These range from: “What is your mother’s maiden name?” to “What was your college physics professor’s name? ... Was he tough or easy?” “What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?” Story is important, and the characters, like people, act based on their past experiences.