If you follow the RPG Bloggers Network (chances are you got here from there — Welcome!), love kobolds, or mine tropes for RPG usage, you’ve probably run across Philipe-Antoine Menard, aka The Chatty DM. Phil took some time from his hectic schedule to roll the much-maligned d12 and share some info with us.
d1. What got you into DMing?
I was 10 when an older (13) friend of mine showed me the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Edition Players Handbook and ran me and some friends through a dungeon of his devising. Once done, I asked him to show me his map, when I saw all these traps, monsters and treasures, I was hooked. I started churning dungeons after dungeons. For the year or so I alternated between playing in my friend’s adventures (he bought some adventures) and DMing mine.
Then I discovered the Dungeon Master Guide in a Hobby store (along with un-inked dice), I bought it and I never looked back.
d2. Describe your Gamemastering style. Start at Bad/Killer/Evil and expound from there, please.
I’m none of them, except I do have my Evil moments. I’d say I’ve mostly been a directing GM in that I usually have a structured script that I run players through, letting them shape where the next adventure goes based on their actions in game and our discussions between games. I also am a good pacer, making sure things move along fast and that the story grips most of the players.
Lately I’ve taken a drastic turn toward coaching the players to drive the story more. I had the pleasure of being DMed by some very skilled people at Gen Con 2008 and I’ve taken furious notes on how to allow players to shape the “rails” of a story and still hit the objectives of the adventure.
d3.What are your favorite systems to DM for? Have you run a 4e game yet? Is it in the works if not?
My favorite Game is D&D. I grew tired of the work needed to make D&D 3.5 adventures so I embraced 4e. I play-tested it a few times and I did run a few demo games at my local Game Store. I’m starting my new campaign this week! I’m soo hyped to reconvene with my gaming group after a long summer hiatus.
d4. What do you think of 4e? What do you feel are the high and low points of the system?
After having been on the fence for some time (up until some time after the release). At Gen Con, I finally ‘Got’ what the game was about for me (Storytelling Heroic Action Fantasy) and I fully embraced it.
High Point: DM prep, Low page flipping, fun for all.
Low Point: Awkward and Boring writing. Limited options in Core Set.
d5. One of my favorite columns from your sites are the RPG tropes. What is your favorite trope?
Ack, that’s like asking me for my favorite child! I’d say both the Rules of Cool and of Fun as together they define what I strive for as a DM and Gamer.
d6. What do you think your best idea/post on the blog has been?
I have to say my current project: Kobold Love… the reaction is phenomenal. As a close second I’d say my Bedtime Storytelling campaign with my 6 year old son Nico.
d7. What’s your proudest moment with blogging thus far?
Meeting all these nice Industry People at Gen Con (Wolfgang Baur, James Wyatt, MIke Mearls, Robin Laws) and have all them say ‘I know who you are, I read your blog’. There’s no feeling like it!
d8.You’ve had an eventful year in terms of blogging. Can you summarize your year for us?
I started blogging so I’d leave my friend’s email boxes alone while I was prepping our bi-monthly game. Then I decided to blog to become a better DM. Then I discovered I had more talent than I thought I had and started exploring all kinds of series and blog post format. I hit a low point last winter when blogging felt too much like work. I refocused and I now mostly only write stuff that I find fun to write about. I went to Gen Con to meet blogging friends and I left it feeling like a Rock Star!
d9. Have you gotten any work in the industry based on the work on your blog? Are you looking for any?
Not yet, although I’ve been invited to try my hand in Dragon and Dungeon magazines.
I’m trying real hard to create my own work and put it out for people to see that I have the chops to pull it off.
d10.What projects do you have in the works now?
- A Dragon article about Skill Challenges.
- An Online D&D 4e imprint called Chatty Studios (a patron based 4e Adventure design project)
- A free teaser project from Chatty Studios called Kobold Love, check it out here.
d11. Where do you want the ChattyDM to be in the next year?
I want to have a Ennies trophy in one hand and at least one published D&D product in the other.
d12. This space reserved for anything cool you’d like to share with our readers.
Have a look at Project Kobold Love, it’s one of my best ideas ever.
- d12 Interviews: Gnome Stew
- d12 interviews: Levi Kornelson of Amagi Games.
- Inside the RPGA: Discussion with Michael Lee.