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James (DM_Shroud)
DMs Guild Writer
Published Writer
Voice Actor
Game Designer

2 years on StartPlaying

1 game hosted

Highly rated for: Inclusive, World Builder, Teacher

About me

(Pro GM profile under revision for the Holidays, see you all in 2024!) Greetings! I am James, better known in the gaming realm as DM_Shroud. With a rich experience of 47 years in nearly a hundred roleplaying games, starting from the days of Classic Traveller, I've crafted countless adventures across a myriad of worlds. My gaming library boasts an extensive collection of systems, but I have a particular fondness for narrative-driven space operas like Star Trek, and Star Wars, as well as fantasy games like Over the Wall, Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, and One Ring. As a Professional Game Master, my mission is clear: to deliver an exciting, engaging, and memorable game experience that balances quality with affordability. This isn't just a hobby for me – it's a passion-turned-profession, fueled by my goal to better support my family and fund my children's college education. Versatile Gaming Schedule: I offer various gaming sessions, including introductory sessions to (Mongoose) Traveller 2e, Beyond the Wall, Star Trek Adventures, and more. My schedule is flexible, accommodating different time zones and preferences, with prices listed about 10$ per player/ session (First few sessions are FREE) , and starting at $20 per player per session for a custom game, unless it is something I already have going, as listed below: CURRENT GAME SCHEDULE As of January 2024, Recruiting players on Roll20 for the following: (All times are PST Times) Sun Night 6p-9p PST Intro to Traveller 2e: Space Opera Intrigues in the Aurin Cluster [10$/Player/ 3 Hr. Session] 0/6 Players Mon Night 7p-10p PST Star Trek Adventures [TOS Era] USS Azimuth [Free to Play] 4/6 Players Tue Night 6p-9p PST (OSR) Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures® Further Afield™ - The Dark Coast [10$/Player/ 3 Hr. Session] 2/5 Players Wed Night (Open to run for you) Thu Night 6p-9p PST Star Trek Adventures [TOS Era] USS Artic [Free to Play] 6 Players (Pretty Full, but you can apply) Fri (All Day) Unavailable Saturday (All Day) Unavailable Other game systems, days and times are possible, but those would require negotiation in advance, typically 30$ a player/ session but we can negotiate. If it is something I know very well, or easy to run, prices can drop drastically. I'm NOT typically available on Friday evenings, or Saturdays, USA times, since I spend weekends in the Mountains with my family. Custom World Design: Beyond guiding games, I'm also a skilled fantasy and sf cartographer. Whether you're an author needing a vivid setting or you run or have a playgroup desiring a unique world, I can craft detailed maps and worlds tailored to your specific imagination. Please contact me with your needs, I can work with you on developing a quote, and we can arrange payment through this site. We can also set up an interactive mapping session where you guide me as I work on your map in realtime, using any of a number of mapping software tools. A Bit More About Me: My journey into the fantastical began as a young sci-fi enthusiast, inspired by the likes of Joe Haldeman's "Forever War". When not orchestrating epic adventures, I'm often found designing fictional solar systems or drawing fantasy worlds, continuing to fuel my lifelong passion for science fiction and fantasy. Invitation to Adventure: I invite you to dive into the worlds I've created and join me in crafting unforgettable stories. Whether you're a seasoned player or new to the realm of RPGs, there's a place at my table for you. Welcome to my mind – let's embark on an extraordinary journey together! About Me: I have always been an avid fan of Sci-fi, since I was a kid, reading Joe Haldeman's "Forever War", under the blankets past my bedtime with a flashlight. I started playing Traveller as a Referee in 1977. When I am not writing or gaming, I design fictional solar systems or work on cartography maps of all scales for sf and fantasy games and my novels. I strive to inspire others as I was inspired as a young boy reading sci-fi novels late into the night. Check out my games. Welcome to my Mind.

GM style

My Style Manifesto is thus, (Adopted from the Professional Game Master Society) 1. Be courteous, and respectful, with a well-organized presentation for my gaming clients. 2. I will not cancel game events without prior notification to my Game clients. 3. I will not make complicated financial arrangements with my clients. Return policies can be complicated– just keep it simple. 4. I will be courageous, and write the best scenarios I can. I will use technology wisely wherever it improves the specific game at hand. 5. Each of my games is like a tree. I will do the work required to make it grow, and prune whatever is dead to keep the game lively. 6. I will endeavor to be entertaining. I will use voice, as well as improvisational description, and literary motifs to craft a better performance. 7. With everything above in mind, I will have fun in my role as a Professional Gamemaster. * * * * I am an Actor/Role-player as a player and DM. I served in the US Navy, and used to design World War 2, and Vietnam-era wargames, so I am well versed in Tactics and Strategy at all levels. I love to do maps of all scales- from taverns to entire continents and fantasy and sf worlds, solar systems and star sectors using the best cartography software available. I like to prepare handouts, bios, backstory histories, character pictures, and lore handouts to support the game campaigns that I run. I generally run games in a gritty/realistic style, including critical hits, disabling injuries, encumbrance, and weather effects of cold, heat, snow, etc. thirst, and starvation. Combat happens, but it is usually very deadly, and should only be engaged in by choice, to support the job at hand, not just for combat-as-drama. It is too easy to lose characters that way. GM Preferences: Combat Frequency Casual: Story-based combat encounters, with logical side encounters, and minimal random encounters. Combat Style Advanced: Encounters exploit mechanics, strategy, and movement. Failure to overcome these challenges results in losses or death for your character. Story and Significance Story-Driven: Encounters relate to detailed plots and conflicts. Key details of the encounter could mean the difference between life and death. Story Type Intrigue: I design Encounters around shifting political loyalties and uncertain motives. Enemies in encounters may not show their true faces or may not be obvious. AND Adventurer: I design Encounters around mysteries and strange events. Untangling these stories will provide much-needed information, as the campaign progresses. Treasure Importance Casual: Loot is uncommon. Magic or high-tech items are sparse to rarely found, but powerful. Surviving as an adventurer is a dangerous life, sometimes forced on you by circumstance. Game Pace Easy Going: The game is always moving forward with overlapping events, adventures, or quests, but I still space events out. There may be time for training and research, but you never know what might come up next week. If an opportunity comes up, you might not want to turn it down, as it may be a while before the next knock on the door comes. Combat encounters can happen but infrequently (perhaps 30% of a scenario). Mass battles are rare. I don't want to take up story time with mass battle game mechanics, often, I'll rule this by Fiat, common sense, or have key scenes that involve the player characters that determine the direction of any large battle. Advancement Easy Going: Leveling is slow, to keep survival edgy, without a lot of hit points gained, for setting reasons. Players can expect to level several times in a year of the game depending on the events of the game- the typical character will level during an average of every 4 to 6 adventures, based on milestones, for a level-based system like 5th Ed. D&D. Game Play Tone Serious: We play the game and only the game. No dick jokes. Limited puns. Limited out-of-character comments. We are all adults here. Metagaming Tone Easy Going: Everyone tries to remember not to use real-world knowledge or decide actions based on what page the Monster Manual is open to currently. The party comes together semi-organically with an overriding theme.

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