Hey there and welcome to another TTRPG Community interview! These are low key, prewritten interviews which are available to fill out on this page. If you are a part of the TTRPG space in almost any way at all, there should be something for you!
Today, we’re hearing from Cameron, a TTRPG Game Master from Australia!
Please introduce yourself and the game(s) you are currently GMing!
I’m Cameron, a high school English/Drama teacher in Australia. I am currently running two D&D 5e campaigns.
How long have you been playing TTRPGs? How did you get started?
I started playing in 1995. I was theatre nerd in high school, and I was playing Laertes in Hamlet with a community theatre group outside of school, The actor playing Hamlet invited me to join a game.
How long did it take for you to start running your own games?
About two weeks.
Do you create your own homebrew world(s)? If so, where do you get your inspiration from?
A lot of the games I’ve played (Shadowrun, Aberrant, World of Darkness) have been set in variations of the real world, or have been games whose seeing is a key part of the game (Exalted, Fading Suns), and so for those games I have used the published setting while creating locations within them. For D&D, I create my own setting/worlds.
What was the first TTRPG you ever GMed for? How long was the campaign?
The first game I GMed was Shadowrun, 2nd edition, and that campaign lasted for about 4 years.
What’s your favourite TTRPG system to GM for, and why?
I’ll always have a soft spot for Shadowrun, though it’s the setting and game concept I like more than that system I really like the combat mechanics of Exalted, 3rd edition, and also like systems that support storytelling in games. Genesus & Feng Shui are examples I’ve enjoyed.
What other systems do you feel confident running games in?
I feel confident picking up any system and running it with a little prep time. I’ve had a fair bit of experience running World of Darkness games of multiple editions, as well as Cyberpunk, and D20 variations.
In your opinion, what is the ideal adventuring party size?
I don’t think there’s a single answer, as it depends on the group dynamic. I’ve always had small-to-mid sized groups of 3-6 for campaigns I’ve run, and have find that quite enjoyable.
What’s your favourite TTRPG setting? Do you prefer fantasy or science fiction, or something else/more specific?
Shadowrun is probably my favourite setting, with the world of Exalted being a close second. I generally prefer science fiction, though Shadowrun is a blend of the two, and the setting of Exalted has a magicitech that is a little science fiction in a fantasy world.
What’s your favourite of the three ‘pillars’ as a GM – exploration, roleplay or combat? Do you favour one over the others in your GMing style?
Those are the three pillars of D&D and are not the same in other games and systems. When I run D&D I probably favour exploration, especially of setting history. Then roleplaying as a close second. D&D’s combat mechanics are not my favourite as they invariably result in long, drawn out grinds through a creature’s HP, so I will use combat sparingly.
How comfortable are you with roleplaying NPCs? Do you think it’s important to be able to “do voices”? Do you have any advice for other GMs in this area?
I’m a high school drama teacher 😁
My advice is that having a character with interesting motivations and an interesting relationship to the party is not important than how you play them. People often get caught up on accents, but you can create an interesting and unique voice just by sightly altering the pitch, pace or tone of your voice. Just remember to make a blue or what you did for each character.
Are you a part of the LGBTQIA2S+, BIPOC, AAPI, Disabled or any other marginalised community?
No. I’m a white, middle aged, cishet man with a beard.
Tell us about one of your favourite moments that happened in a game you were running.
Here’s a blog post about a favourite gaming moment: https://bragrman.com/2017/07/30/night-brings-the-sun-a-tale-of-heroic-sacrifice/
Are you big on prep or do you prefer to make it up as you go along? Do you have any tips or tricks for other GMs in this area?
I vascilate between the two. Early in a new game I will do a lot of prep, especially if I am designing a new world or setting, but once a campaign is up and running I sometimes can run sessions with little to no prep as all the pieces are already in motion and just need to react to player actions.
Do you GM professionally? If not, have you ever thought about doing this?
I do not. I’ve thought about it, but don’t really want to turn my hobby into a job.
What do you think about the word ‘Game Master’? Is there a better catch-all term that you think works better for any/all TTRPG systems?
I don’t like terms that imply a significant power difference between the members of the group. I like the term Referee, used by Cyberpunk, but ultimately I don’t think the name matters all that much.
What’s the ultimate piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about starting GMing?
Start small. One scenes scenario, set of problems. See what catches players’ imaginations and build on that. Work with the players rather than try to force them to follow your pre-existing ideas. It’s more fun when it’s collaborative!
Shout out a fellow GM! Who in the TTRPG community inspires you? Why do you admire them/their work?
Holden Shearer created the Exalted 3rd edition core rules. One of the best systems I’ve played.
Are you playing in any TTRPG campaigns at the moment? Tell us about your favourite character!
No, I’m usually the GM!
What’s your favourite book, TV show, or film?
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Tell us a fact about yourself that others might struggle to believe.
Years ago I did a master’s degree in educational psychology, in which I studied roleplay as a teaching strategy and how it functions in the mind of participants.
Which subject do you wish you knew more about?
The physics of gravity
What is your favourite smell?
If you could give the current chapter of your life a name, what would it be?
Back to the beginning
What is the worst gift you have ever received?
An AM/FM radio in the shape of a juke box.
What is the strangest food combination you enjoy?
Strange to who? I think all the things I eat are quite normal.
How many chickens would it take to defeat a lion in battle?
Enough to smother the lion in feathers.
If time, money and skill were no object, what would your ultimate cosplay/Halloween costume be?
An animatronic dragon suit.
Where should folks go to find out more about you?
Bragrman.com (though it's sorely in need of an update). (gothHoblin's note: You can also follow Cameron on Twitter!)
Disclaimer: The information and answers contained in the interview posted above represents the views and opinions of the interviewee only and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of myself (gothHoblin). The appearance of an interview on this website does not constitute an endorsement of the interviewee or their statements.