Phil Nicholls blogs at Tales of a GM, where he writes about narrative gaming, faster prep and more story. He is currently running a HeroQuest Glorantha campaign in a home-brew setting. Phil has written for Johnn Four’s Roleplaying Tips newsletter and has a selection of self-published pdfs.

This essay is taken from the archives at Tales of a GM.


The idea for this post came from the article Six People I Want to Play Dungeons & Dragons With, by Sean at Power Score. So, which six people would I want to roleplay with? In the spirit of creating a dream RPG group, I shall not include any of my current Players, great as they are. Instead, let us imagine I could choose anyone in the world.


Dream GM, Robin D Laws

If this is to be my dream RPG group, then I should be able to choose the rules system. This means my beloved HeroQuest. Much as I adore running HeroQuest, I would love the chance to play in a game too.

Having chosen the rules, I now need a GM. There is really no contest here, it would have to be Robin D Laws, the designer of HeroQuest. The chance to play in a game run by the designer of the system ought to be a rules master class.

I would be fascinated to see how Robin paced the game, as the suggested rhythm of HeroQuest mirrors his great work on storytelling: Hamlets Hit Points. As this Dream HeroQuest would be a one-shot, then the setting would not matter. It would be enough to play in the group and experience the HeroQuest rules being run by the designer.


Dream Players

So, with the GM chosen, it is time to look at the Players for this Dream HeroQuest. The “rules” of the post give me six choices in total, one of which is the GM. Thus, I now have five Players to select to join me on a Dream HeroQuest of Unknown Kadath, as run by Robin D. Laws.


Wil Wheaton

First choice is Wil Wheaton actor, writer and all-round uber-geek. Wil is best known for playing Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but he was also great as Gordie Lachance in the earlier Stand By Me. Currently he appears in the awesome Big Bang Theory, and spreads boardgames to wider audiences with his Tabletop webseries.

Wil ticks all the boxes for the sort of Player I want. Not only would it be helpful to have at least one more roleplayer in the group, but he seems a cool guy to hang out with.


Neil Gaiman

While Wil is something of a Jack-of-all-Trades, I would fill the remaining slots of my DreamQuest with a pair of writers and a pair of actors. The first of the writers is geek-favourite Neil Gaiman. Personal highlights of Neil’s work include the Sandman and Stardust comics, along with the brilliant Neverwhere television series.

Once again, Neil is an obvious choice to create an awesome story at the table. His writing is dripping with imaginative storytelling. I am certain Neil would take our game to interesting places.


CJ Cherryh

Writer choice number two is CJ Cherryh, my favourite author. Her Alliance-Union universe novels are a brilliant portrayal of hard SF, with a compelling setting and powerful characters. I adore these books, just part of the 60+ books she has written.

If Neil is at the table to drive the story, then I would watch CJ for her characterization and motivations. Not that there is anything wrong with her stories, but I would be fascinated to meet one of her characters at the table.


Emma Thompson

Speaking of characters, the pair of actors excel in this area. First actor choice is the multitalented Emma Thompson, the rare recipient of an acting and a writing Oscar. Emma has appeared in many films, but my favourite performances are in Much Ado About Nothing, Love Actually and Sense and Sensibility, the latter she also scripted.

Emma is such a brilliant actor, it would be a dream to watch her bring a character to life at the table. As she is also a writer, then I am sure she would excel at improvisation.


Viggo Mortenson

My final choice for the Dream HeroQuest is another multitalented actor, Viggo Mortenson. He is a superb actor as well as a talented poet, painter and photographer. Clearly, Viggo came to prominence as Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, but beyond that he is a man of many talents.

From watching the extras on the Lord of the Rings films, I have a sense of Viggo’s intensity and focus. While not expecting a reprieve of Aragorn at the table, I would hope to see a character of similar intensity and drive.




So there we are, my six choices for a Dream HeroQuest game. How awesome would this game be? These were not easy choices, and I am sure I could write several more of this style of post, each with a different focus. Who would you choose to game with? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Happy Gaming



For more essays from Phil, and updates about his latest campaign, visit Tales of a GM.




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