Rob Donoghue writes:
Fred Hicks has commented that the reason he wrote Don’t Rest Your Head was to try to mechanically simulate all the things he tries to bring to the table as a GM: hard choices, escalating tension and, of course, intense, personal pain. I’ve got no shortage of stories of fantastic GMing that Fred has done, and a lot of them are full of those things he values so much, but for all that he can really bring the pain, that’s not the thing that really bring out the Fuck Yeah.
No, what’s amazing about Fred is that, as a GM, he’s willing to try anything. All those ideas for things you might someday like to try in a game, Fred grabs with both hands and incorporates into next week’s game. He showed me how to end a campaign with one grand wrap-up-session. He’s shown me how you turn an egg timer into the most powerful prop in an Amber game. He’s run entire sessions where no conversations is allowed between characters except in the flashback to the planning session, which occours only in flashback. He’s used mechanics to organically push players to have a conversation about being a demon that hit all the Buffy notes of coming out to a family member. He’s made sure systems can give players as much as they ask for and more, along with the full weight of price. He’s interrupted an entire campaign to have a courtroom session in one character’s head to decide if they live or die. He is a master of tools and toys.
As a player, this makes him engage your game with vigor. As a publisher, it means he goes out of his way to share the tools he’s had to claw and fight to gain. And as a GM, it means he will use every resource you can imagine, and many more you’ve never even conceived of, to make the game fun, compelling and awesome for everyone at the table. It’s a joy to behold, and has been my honor to learn from.