One of our most seasoned GMs is Matthew Pauze, who has been playing since he was 10 years old and happened upon a 2nd Edition D&D book in a Cole’s bookstore. 28 years and 492 games (that’s only on StartPlaying!) later, Matthew is the go-to GM for Chronicles of Darkness. In fact, he’s up for pretty much any indie TTRPG you can name. If you want to explore fully realized worlds that don’t necessarily have dungeons or dragons, this is the GM for you.
What are your favorite TTRPGs to run and play in? Why?
No favourite, I love a variety of games. But I’m most known for my Chronicles of Darkness campaigns. I’m dying to play in Legacy or Houses of the Blooded.
Do you prefer homebrew stories or premade adventures? Why?
Homebrew. Allows me to tailor so much to the style of the troupe. As well as bring new unexpected twists to the table.
What is something unique that you bring to the table?
A vast variety of rpg systems from mainstream to indie, and the ability to leap mechanics in a balanced way to enhance the experience. Adaptability, as well analyzing and blending styles of the troupe at the table. In addition I am told I have a great strength for building good living worlds.
Where do you gather your inspiration from?
Everything. Music, books, anime, running games, sleeping, experiences, nearly everything can trigger inspiration if you simply take in the moment.
What do you like about playing online vs. in-person?
Online - The tools at my disposal to create fantastic immersion are second to none.
In person - I miss building props.
What is your best advice for new players? For GMs?
Have fun and keep open communication. For GMs, (looks at list of common GM mistakes and picks at random) don’t overestimate the number you can handle at a table. Watch for toxic people harming those that are less vocal.
What is one of the best moments of your GMing career?
Watching a player cry tears of joy at the end of an emotional arc after that person had been extremely introverted throughout the campaign.
What do you love about StartPlaying Games?
It handles the money part and gives us a convenient calendar.
Matthew often runs mystery-focused stories that adapt to the players’ choices and style. To experience his unique brand of storytelling, check out his profile here. He also has, as he names it, his “poor tiny YouTube” channel.