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Game Designer

1 year on StartPlaying

61 games hosted

Highly rated for: Storytelling, Creativity, Inclusive

About me

Hi! I'm Mike, a professional science fiction and fantasy author (writing as Michael R. Underwood) as well as a podcaster, actual play creator, and ttrpg designer. It takes a lot of hats to make it as a creative these days. :) My author website: I was a nominee for the Best Game Master (Actual Play Video) award at the 2023 New Jersey Web Fest for my work on VALLOWARD. I've been playing ttrpgs nearly my whole life. RPGs were a major part of how I learned to tell stories, make friends, and imagine possibilities in what the world can be. I worked in a game store all through college, I wrote my Master's thesis on ttrpgs, and now I co-host and GM an actual play show ( in addition to designing games of my own. As a professional author, I love games that prioritize storytelling, cool worldbuilding, and collaboration. I grew up with D&D and I'm especially fond of Powered by the Apocalypse and Forged in the Dark games like Blades in the Dark, Masks, Thirsty Sword Lesbians, Scum & Villainy, etc. Some of my other favorites include Heart, Exalted, 7th Sea, and Boy Problems. As a game designer, I was a Game Design Consultant and Additional Writer on Candela Obscura. My sci-fi comedy game The Only Logical Solution is Hijinx was published in 2022 and I'm developing a Forged in the Dark RPG based on my novella series Genrenauts. All of my game listing images and in-game art assets are human-made.

GM style

My GMing style is deeply collaborative and inventive, leading tables that are like a TV writer's room mixed with an improv troupe. I'm great at fleshing out NPCs in moments and bringing them to life to make the world feel real, thanks to years of experience as a writer and player as well as a GM. You'll get expert worldbuilding, plotting, and characterization, with a focus on storytelling and fun. I know how to weave together internal character plots with external action plots, how to make different parts of a story resonate, and how to keep things moving. My games are more fun and adventurous than grim and gritty. My favorite genres are epic fantasy, space opera, urban fantasy, and cyberpunk. I work hard to foster an inclusive table through compassionate worldbuilding and make space for marginalized people to play on their own terms. You can watch my GMing style here:


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