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Dylan Topping (Ace)

Professional Game Master
Dylan Topping (Ace)he/him

6 Reviews


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

About me

Oh man, oh jeez, this is just like LinkedIn all over again. Hi there, potential players! My real name is Dylan, but please call me Ace, because that's what I've been going by as a DM for the last decade. I've been involved in the TTRPG/DnD/Tabletop scene since highschool. A friend of mine wanted to get into this thing called DnD, and they needed a DM, so I volunteered. Been running games....pretty much constently ever since. Like, 90% DM, 10% PCing. Turns out, most people prefer playing! Wish I knew that 14 years ago. :P I love what I do, and I’m very good at it. Been running games for well over a decade now, and I’m looking forward to meeting new players here on Start Playing! If you'd like to see me in action, I stream my games durning the week on Twitch, and keep an archive on YouTube. I stream my Rise of the Runelords game on Thursdays and I'm a player in a game on Mondays ( a One-shot campaign that got way out of hand) (I only stream campaigns if everyone consents to being recorded)

GM style

A friend of a friend got me into tabletop with the pitch of "This is a game where you can do anything. No really. Anything." And that's kinda been a motto I try to DM by. Compare a video game to tabletop. A video game has a set of clearly defined actions you can take. Tabletop does not. A poorly programmed game can let you break it, sure, but you can never do an action that was never programmed in. For instance, in Super Mario, you can move, jump, run fast, shoot fireballs (sometimes) and that's about it. There's no combination of buttons that lets you put Mario on a bicycle. And then infuse your dead grandfather's soul into Mario's bicycle. And then use said haunted bicycle to deceive townsfolk into buying your terrible snake oil products you crafted out of Goombas. Dnd is a game about collective storytelling. Regardless if I'm running a premade adventure or a homebrew campaign, I love incorporating player ideas and backstories into the plot. That's not to say I enforce extensive backstories or anything, but I want this to be an story we all create collectively. Roleplaying is important to me. Be it talking to NPCs, discussing plans, and developing character personally. I like doing silly voices. You don't have to, of course, but I think your robbing yourself of fun if you don't come up with a fun personally for yourself. Obviously, it depends on the parties preference, but the amount of time dedicated to talking IC (In-character) will never be zero. For combat, I like building my encounters like a puzzle that you can unpack. Encounters that reward creativity, and flexibility over raw power or +numbers. Example: In my current campaign, around level 3-4 or so, I had the party fight a Quasit. Its a demon about the size of a housecat, highly resistant to damaging spells, resistant to weapons not made of cold iron, constantly regenerating, as well as constantly invisible whenever it wasn't attacking. Oh, and it was flying around a huge room at 50 feet per round. How the heck do you think they took it out? Seriously, give it a think for a moment before you keep reading. How would you approach this fight? I certainty had a few ideas in my head when I made the encounter. Perhaps they would distract it to escape, and buy Cold Iron weapons? Perhaps they'd throw bags of flour at it to make it visible when it flew around? Perhaps they'd use a magic scroll to summon an angel to sense the demon? All nope! What they did is that they slowly retreated out of the big room, while taunting the tiny demon, thanks to the cleric who had taken the time to learn Abyssal. The cleric retreated to a small hallway, that was still in sight of the demon, and dropped his shield on the ground. The demon charged after them, tiny knife in hand, and ended up triggering the Readied action of the Gunslinger and the Fighter, who had hidden nearby, and grabbed the tiny demon. Beside, despite all it's defenses, it was still only as physically strong as a cat. And even invisible, a grapple is still a grapple! :D Rules wise, I try to stick to the rules for the most part, but if a rule gets in the way of fun, I don't mind moveing it to the side. Though I usually like to have a discussion with the party about it first! For prep: I usually make most of my maps on Roll20 before session. That being said, if you guys do something whacky or that I didn't expect, by all means we can do it! Ain't nothing wrong with Theater of the Mind! Out of character, I like to be open to feedback and ideas from you guys. So if you feel tired of fighting X too much or, other aspect of the story or will like to explore a particular element of the setting, by all means! I remember one time where I presented the players a map of a small city, with a large manor house in the background. Party took one look at the map, and decided to explore the house. I had zero prep for the house. I didn't even expect the party to notice it's presence. But ok then! I guess this session is about bothering the owner of this manor house! Even when I'm running a pre-made campaign or a more structured story, player agency is important. You guys are the main characters of this story. I'm just the camera man! In conclusion, I like being a DM because you basically turn into a game controller. You are the window through which the party sees the world, and interacts with it. To quote JoCat: "It's a role that requires leadership, initiative, and a total willingness to have a bunch of guys stomp on all of your ideas in favor of doing funny memes and dumb scenarios." And honestly? After all these years? I've come to enjoy DMing more than PCing. I'm basically the head writer in the writers room of the best TV show ever, and the players are the rest of the writing staff, pitching wild ideas. I can have a vague idea of what's gonna happen at session. And then, in session, the party will decide to mass Awaken a pet shop full of dogs, teach them communism, and recruit them to join there pirate crew. That happened, by the way. There're called Barktarians, and they are a race in my world now.


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