One of the founding demons of our order, Camilla Greer is here to talk about her module Night School, for The Demon Collective, Vol. 1.
DAVID: How would you like to introduce yourself?
CAMILLA: My name is Camilla, I’m a 27 year old trans woman who works at a board game store in DC. I’ve been playing RPGs for a decade and a half, most seriously in the last three or four years.
How did you get started with tabletop RPGs?
One summer I was on a camping and hiking trip with a friend and his family. When we camped out, he would pull out his 3rd edition PHB, and I my character sheet for Orguk Bloodbane, half-orc barbarian. I still think it’s the perfect place to play D&D.
Ooh, tell me about Orguk.
Classic half-orc barbarian. Swings a big greataxe, loves to drink, fight, and break bones. Shallow as a puddle, but still the archetype I have the most fun with.
Nothing wrong with shallow! Are you playing anything currently?
Yeah! Right now I’m playing in an ongoing beer and pretzels game my roommate runs, as well as a more in depth campaign, both currently 5E. I also GM a lot. In some state of activity, I have a GLOG campaign, and a Black Hack 2e game set in the Ultraviolet Grasslands. I also get to run lots of one shots for friends, I’m ramping up for Princecon in March, and I get to run lot of D&D at the store, for kids and adults.
Any tips on introducing new players/kids to D&D?
Gosh, lots and lots. Lemme see if I can come up with some bullet points.
- Stay in the fiction. Instead of “can I roll Investigation” have them say “I look around the room, checking for signs of struggle.” It allows you to handle rules, helps them stay in that position of imagination, and encourages them to try things that aren’t written on their character sheets.
- Let them breath. D&D is all about developing this feedback loop between what the player do, what interests them, and what the DM is providing in response. Newer players don’t have muscles for that, so making sure that every player gets a chance to respond and show you how they feel about what’s happening helps you learn what they want, and hopefully provide that for them by the end of the night.
- Roll in the open. This one is very much a personal style, but I feel that rolling publicly, admitting when I’m making things up on the fly, etc. makes the casual nature of the activity very apparent, and helps people relax. DM screens are also just like, pretty weird for people who aren’t familiar with them?
I guess those are my biggies. The only way to get better at anything, especially RPGs is to just do it as much as possible. Run as often as you can, for whoever you can, even if it’s not the perfect group, or your adventure isn’t perfectly prepped. My general motto in life is “fail until you don’t.”
That’s excellent advice, thanks for sharing. Can you tell me a little about your Demon Collective adventure?
Yeah! It’s a single site adventure, around a manor falling into ruin. The players will encounter brainwashed proctors who run the place, abducted children trying to escape, and parasitic flying book monsters. There are lots of ways to approach it, and it turns out different every time. It started as a adventure I ran for the kids D&D program at work, the Guild of Heroes, and I’ve expanded on it each time I’ve run it since then.
What’s the most important thing to keep in mind while running it?
Honestly, I think the adventure is fairly straightforward. Because there are a handful of different active groups or characters, keeping them from stagnating is important. Think about how their activity will present the players with interesting choices.
What do you generally look for in RPG products? Is there anything that’s really caught your eye recently?
I’m a big fan of crafting my own content. Sandbox adventures or settings that leave gaps for me to fill in is exciting. I like it when the books contain only the good stuff. I can make up a tavern or a thieve’s guild, don’t give me the details. I’m a big fan of Luka Rejec’s Ultraviolet Grasslands. Really excited for the published version of that which should be on the way soon. Mothership is also really exciting to me. It points at a genre that is both very clear in the tropes and situations that will inspire players and GMs, while somehow also being underrepresented amongst RPGs. The design of that rulebook amazes me, it’s so easy to find what I need quickly.