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That John
Professional Game Master
That Johnhe/him

6 Reviews

Game Designer

Player for
10 years
GM for
10 years
Hosted over
5 games

About me

You know what makes games memorable? Absolute and undiluted chaos. That brief and shining moment where the DM's schemes go awry and the note-shredder is broken out, when every enemy under the sun is stymied and bamboozled or just plain Mad, when the party's completely insane plan is ascendant and the whole campaign begins to unravel - this is what I live for as a DM. I've been running a very wide variety of games since college, looking to tell stories of danger and derring-do, starting off with Call of Cthulhu one-shots and gradually establishing longer-form campaigns with a very clear emphasis on collaborative story-telling and player-driven game design. For a day job, I teach physics with cognitive science as spice.

GM style

Immersion is the name of the game - my maps are highly detailed labors of love (see MisterWostrel on Inkarnate), my prep goes in enough directions to establish a real sandbox campaign that is ready to juke and dodge, and my NPCs (usually voiced) are tied to their community. If there's one place I tend to fall short on, my combats are too easy and I'm a sucker for clever munchkins. My expectation is that players are putting their all into their character to lean into the story, so I choose to tend to the fertile soil their story grows in rather than trying to kill them all the time. Never have I had so much fun as allowing players to riff, and riff true, to tell their own stories from their own magic and to be a part of a tale that they want to tell over and over because they were something more than heroes. A worthy blog once compared good tabletop gaming to a jazz quintet, and I have taken that wild advice to heart. Past that - I have no room or time for bigotry between my players, though I have much latitude for differences in opinion. I believe that there are few truly profane words and many profane actions, so while NPCs might be (within the bounds of the setting) prejudiced and there for the players to love to hate, I'm not going to run a game that players feel unsafe in, nor will I tolerate players that make others feel unwelcome. This is a game, and its supposed to be fun, but nothing makes it less fun than someone forgetting to treat other people with dignity and respect like the humans they are. I'm trying really hard to make things lighter and fluffier, but starting off with Call of Cthulhu really set my tone early. I'm open to high-risk grimdark campaigns on request, but that's a niche crowd and I know it. I'm most experienced in noir and horror, regardless of system or setting, but high fantasy for me is inspired more by LoTR and Earthsea than Harry Potter, so expect Strange Magic, Secret Societies, and Cosmic Themes to be a meaningful feature of games. As for Earthsea - I'm on a nautical kick, so I'll run you a game with all kinds of piratical and sea-going exploration.

Player reviews (6)

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