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bygrinstow (a.k.a. Judge Jon)

3 years on StartPlaying


8 games hosted


Highly rated for: Storytelling, Inclusive, Creativity

About me

Hi! I'm Jon, and I've been of playing a range of assorted RPGs since grade school. I've attended RPG conventions since the late 80s, so I have lots of experience with running games for folks I don't know and who don't even know each other — I know we'll have fun. I've also run a number of games in the past few of years at online conventions, along with my bi-weekly local game being online, so running online is well in hand. I lean toward a 'theater of the mind' approach, but make use of pictures, map sharing, and whiteboards in Zoom when we need more detail. Particularly for online games, I de-emphasize grid tactics, finding they slow down game play. I'd rather keep things moving in a simpler way than have players waiting too long for their next turn! I'm always ready for things to go in that unexpected direction, or several directions at once. I'm mainly here to run Dungeon Crawl Classics and Star Wars (Fantasy Flight Games' version). Let's play!

GM style

We want the same things: to roll funky dice hoping for outrageous results and invent what that means for the characters at the table. We'd like something to happen to the characters, be it good, bad, or indifferent -- the experience looms larger than the experience points. The ideas we throw around are to be supported when needed by the rules, not controlled or restricted by the rules. A laugh or four along the way ain't a bad thing, neither. I run family-suitable games, and have often had teens and pre-teens at my table at conventions. Parents have been approving before and after. I consider everyone at my table (literal or virtual) to be an adult, regardless of their age, and to comport themselves appropriately (e.g. swearing and innuendo is not appropriate with strangers). I lean toward minimal visuals with art and maps when needed, all within Zoom (and very occasionally, Roll20). I'd rather get a rule wrong in your favor, than stop the game to look something up (I do look up reference materials or charts sometimes, but work to keep that at a minimum and make it quick). I strive to fold in player creativity whenever possible, and build on that within the narrative. We're pulling in the same direction -- toward our sense of fun. An adversarial GM I am not, we aren't playing against each other... For campaigns, I prefer to run shorter campaigns that can be linked and utilize the same ongoing characters, than a lengthy contiguous campaign. This allows me to have a breather to refresh my batteries, and allows for characters to switch in and out, if desired. NOTE: If you are booked for a game and can't make the session, please give me 24 hours notice if possible. Skipping a session without any notice or compelling reason still incurs a charge because I've set aside time for you. A FEW NOTES ON THE GAMES I ESPECIALLY LOVE Dungeon Crawl Classics makes magic back into magic (D&D magic is like technology) by making it unpredictable and risky. You could fire 1 magic missile or 20 magic missiles, and you won't know 100% for sure which until you do it. The Warrior and Dwarf have an amazing ability to invent combat maneuvers during play, using their wits and their environment to turn the tide of a battle. Other classes have things to make them unique and fun to play, too. The game firmly puts the emphasis on the IDEAS of everyone at the table, rather than the rules, and outcomes are never predictable, so you're engaged with the events of the game. Star Wars (Edge of the Empire, et. al.) by FFG has a lot of the same DNA as DCC (above) but gets there in a very different way. The narrative dice system encourages the creativity of everyone at the table to interpret the results, which can lead the game in cool new directions and opens up possibilities other games just do not have. I feel like the system really allows me to shape the game to feel as much like a Star Wars story as possible, whereas other RPGs have felt more like an RPG that's somewhat kind of Star Wars-y, at best.

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