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James (DM_Shroud)
Cost Per Player

Professional Game Master
James (DM_Shroud)he/him

1 Review

Player for
46 years
GM for
46 years
Hosted over
0 games

About me

Want an adventure where fun is guaranteed, and the edginess of potential character death is always present? As a Professional Dungeon Master, I run a Pay-to-Play Online 5th Edition D&D Grim & Gritty Low Fantasy Campaign on called "The Lost Empire". Episodes of this campaign tell the stories of the heroes of the Magocracy of Valonde, beset on all sides by Warlocks and their demonic pacts, witches, banditry, and an ancient conflict with the goblins of the underdark. A growing body of Setting Lore, Maps of all Scales, and the Campaign Characters is supported by Scabard, here: I am actively recruiting for players. Check out my game. Resume': I've been GM of 22 Long Campaigns, and shorter mini-campaigns, or one-shots on over the last 7 years, playing with over 250 people on roll20, with 3,828 Total hours played, mostly as a Gamemaster/ Referee. My DM's Profile is at this link: I am also active in Roll20 Conventions. I participated in Roll20Con Events in 2020, and 2021. I ran the Numenera Launch Convention, by myself running 10 sessions of Numenera, over a 3-day weekend, when Numenera was launched. I am also currently running a Twilight: 2000 4th Edition campaign via roll20 for 6 players done with gritty realism, in a grim, post-WW3 survival environment. In future weeks, starting in 2022, I will be setting up other campaigns: - Traveller sfrpg homebrew (Mongoose 2nd Edition) - The One Ring RPG 1st edition Roleplaying games have always been a huge part of my life. I owe my 6th grade middle school creative writing teacher a debt—she taught the class to play D&D in 1977. We learned to draft stories and create dramatic encounters. That middle school geek with tape on his glasses eventually became a speculative fiction novelist, cartographer, indie film producer, and voice actor through gaming. With the aid of the Classic Traveller sfrpg, I dreamed up a vast science fiction paracosm that is now the setting for my Space Opera novels. Secretly, I wanted to be a Federation Science Officer or a Star Wars Jedi. But who doesn't? With a profound love of star systems, spaceports, alien creatures, maps of worlds, stellar settings, heroes in space, alien races, tough space marines and robots of all kinds, I grew to adulthood, and eventually enlisted in the US Navy. After 9 years of Naval service, I was disabled, but despite my injuries, I was still able to run games. After a number of years of working on small sideline writing, and programming projects, I retired to Thailand. Now I write novels and run online games as a Professional Roleplaying Game Referee, with an all-white tiny house panther, a Thai Lt. Col. Wife, and three kids. Despite numerous life challenges, I never lost my love of gaming. While certain things are more difficult, with concentration and focus issues, I do the best job that I can while relying on 44 years of gaming experience. As a DM, I "prefer" 4-5 players or fewer. However, In the past, 4 years ago I have run 11-player groups, doing the full fellowship for the One Ring RPG, (we had 4 Hobbits and a Dunedain Ranger of the North!). It was exhausting, but I did it, for 6 months, one game a week. One session I ran lasted 13 hours straight, where I ran 3 sessions back-to-back, because the players demanding for me to "keep going, run one more!". As a GM, I run a gritty, realistic, low -fantasy and -magic, open-world sandbox with occasional tactical table elements (low combat), heavy narrative elements, and lots of roleplaying with milestones for advancement. I have done professional Voice Acting, and indie feature film acting and production. I am a college-educated member of Mensa and also a Pro-Level Gamemaster on since 2014. I have worked in the gaming industry as a credited, professional play tester. Before leaving America to move to Thailand, 6 years ago, I created a Pittsburgh Roleplay and Boardgame Meetup group, the "Steel City Gamers" that I developed by recruiting, and running games, and teaching others how to run games. Over 9 years, that meetup has grown to almost 900 people. I am learning how to run games using Astral Tabletop, and Fantasy Grounds Unity, and Foundry VTT. I ask that players don’t deviate from their character. When a player character suddenly becomes a chaotic neutral problem for the party and divorces themselves from responsibility to the campaign as a player, they take the fun out of it for other players. My groups treat each other with respect. I have run all female player groups, especially Game of Thrones, but also a female spy James Bond RPG group and I’m LGBTQ+ Friendly and dedicated to hosting a great gaming experienCe. I allow under 18 in some of my games, but a parent is required to also play at the same time, if anyone is under 18. And then it is only with 100% consent of the rest of the group. PLEASE NOTE. I DO NOT LIVE IN AMERICA. I live in Thailand, GMT+7, so I run games in my early mornings for USA Player Groups, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday Evenings, usually @ 6 PM on West Coast PST, 9 PM on East Coast EST. I cannot do USA Weekend Games hosting, as I go on family trips to the mountains here. Check out my games. Welcome to my Mind.

GM style

My Style Manifesto is thus, (Adopted from the Professional GameMaster Society) 1. Be courteous, 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 as 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/Roleplayer as a player, and DM. I used to design World War 2, and Vietnam era wargames, and 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 worlds, using the best software available. I like to prepare handouts, character pictures, and lore handouts to support the game campaign. I run games in a gritty / realism style, including critical hits, and disabling injuries, encumbrance, 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, 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 storytime 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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