Eli Elliot (he/they); Pro-GM, Podcaster, Streamer. Eli is the GM for No Peace and Death, an actual play on twitch.tv/FriendsWhoRollDice. In the TTRPG industry, he loves to make sure their stories are collaborative with their players. In this GM Spotlight we talk a little about their work, Black History Month, and diverse worlds!
What is your favorite TTRPG to run? Why?
Urban Shadows is my bread and butter. It has all of the things that I love in most TV shows (drama, supernatural politics, romance) and the mechanics that go with it are so nice and easy to use.
What is something unique that you bring to the table?
I take collaborative storytelling very seriously at my tables. A lot of the world building that is done is driven by the players’ interpretation of the setting that we are in. I give helpful suggestions and make sure everything lines up with lore and what not, but ultimately, they have most of the say in the world that they are inhabiting.
What is one of your greatest GMing Moments?
A scene in an Actual Play I’m currently running. One of the player’s siblings was lost 10 years ago that just came back as a revenant (vengeful ghost). The scene was extremely intense just because the two characters have such diametrically opposing goals. The conversation ends up being a trainwreck that leads to the player agreeing to help kill someone to try to get the revenant on their side. The banter back and forth just flowed so naturally. It was one of the best in-character arguments I’ve had with a player.
What inspires your games?
Bad TV. A lot of my games come from some of the bad TV that I end up watching (*cough* CW *cough*) and thinking about how I could make a lot of the plot points actually appealing and appropriately dramatic. Prime example, I am currently running a Monster of the Week Campaign that was inspired by a season of the Magicians.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Celebrating Black joy, success, and progress as a community. There is definitely space for recognizing Black trauma and its effect on us today, but focusing on just that really misses the opportunity to talk about just how awesome Black people are.
How do you go about building diverse worlds?
Establishing early on that fair skinned, skinny, gender definitive, and straight are not the default and that no marginalized community is a monolith.
What does good representation look like to you?
Seeing all different types of Black people present. Dark skinned, light skinned, disabled, those from marginalized genders and sexualities, and so many more. Black people are a very diverse group in itself, and it’s important that we show all of those facets in the media and our games.
What advice do you have for Black GMs who are just getting started?
2 big things. 1) Always listen to and consider your players’ wants. 2) Never underestimate the power of an all Black (or all BIMPOC) table.
Is there anyone you look up to in the TTRPG Space?
Austin (@/sailorsctaustin on Twitter) has been a truly inspiring individual in the space. I’m always excited when I see another project that they are working on or another stream that she is playing on. He’s an icon.
Do you have anything you would like to promote?
I run an Urban Shadows Actual Play on Twitch called No Peace in Death! We run every other Thursday at 5PM PST on twitch.tv/FriendsWhoRollDice.
Any games you are currently running?
Every Sunday this month, I’m running Alice is Missing, a silent, text-based TTRPG.