Welcome to Tavern Talk Thursday! This is a weekly column where we chat with a member of the TTRPG (tabletop role-playing game) community to learn more about how they found themselves at the table, what they love about tabletop gaming and other fun things. Think of it as a little sneak peeks into the minds of our fellow players and DMs.

We hope you enjoyed your holiday, adventurers but it’s time to get back to work. Bbefore you shuffle off to that dungeon, stop in and check out this week’s Tavern Talk with the incredible Alex Platt. Out of everyone we have interviewed, her introduction to TTRPGs is one of our favorites. No spoilers – but it’s good. Alex has mastered the skill of podcasting and participates in multiple ones including Animorphs Anonymous, Dungeons and Dracon Beams and Horse Girls. Check out our full interview to find out what Alex loves most about being a part of this incredible community.

Keep up with Alex on social media! (Twitter)

RELATED: Check out more Tavern Talk Thursdays!

Alex Platt

Animorphs Anonymous logo.

Julia Roth: Let’s chat your TTRPG backstory! How did you find yourself at the table?

Alex Platt: A very strange way! My best friend and I have an Animorphs podcast that has been going strong for over five years now. One day I received a message from someone looking to start an Animorphs Dungeons and Dragons live play podcast, and they wanted to know if I would consider being a player in their campaign.

I, of course, said no, I have no idea how to play D&D but let me help you find Animorphs fans who do. Well, they gave me a little time and then came back and said, what if I taught you how to play? I was hesitant, but now I am so glad I said yes. My whole world is saturated with TTRPGs, and that person has become an amazing friend!

JR: Favorite world to adventure in?

AP: Clearly, I am a sucker for Animorphs. I have to say the world that was built for our show, Dungeons and Dracon Beams, is my favorite. It is so nostalgic, and helping to bring to life the feeling of a book series I have loved for decades is one of the coolest feelings.

RELATED: GGA’s Top 10 Tabletop Games of 2022

JR: Favorite one-shot adventure?

AP: Any holiday-themed one-shot! There is something that is so silly about them, to begin with, and it tends to bring out the goofiest side in the players, which is always so much fun. One of my first games where I was a guest was on Botched, it was a black Friday one-shot that turned into like black magic and eldritch horrors known as store managers. I think it got to me.

JR: Backstory or class first?

AP: Class! I love knowing the abilities and strengths to play into with the character before building them a backstory. And I find the character’s voice flows better for me if they have X ability and Y feat, and now I need to know why it happened to them and how and what that means regarding how they would react to a situation.

Plus, I also love to question the Game Master on what I can play that would support your world. I love it when the GM is like well, I think you could use a barbarian in this because other people are leaning towards this or that. I adore being able to help my GM blow out the game in a way that allows their story to be showcased, and I get this very cool added benefit of I am always learning more. This means I don’t main a class, so I get to explore and play.

Dungeons and Dracon Beams logo.

RELATED: GGA’s 7 Best Fantasy Books of 2022

JR: Favorite spell and why?

AP: I do not often play characters that have spells, but one of the few times I did, it was an incredibly powerful high-level character, and I found the spell ‘Wish.’ It is the most powerful spell a mortal creature can cast, and it alters the very foundation of reality. While it is overkill, I was way more interested in the butterfly effect of it. It can be used as an undo button for a major event that just occurred, but what does that mean for everyone who just lived through it?

What about the people on the other side of the world? Did they relive that time? Does the entirety of space-time revert, and if so, does it leave evidence of that anywhere? It left me with so many interesting questions about possible ramifications for the world that I spent all the time I should have been writing about my character thinking about that instead.

JR: Who has been your favorite character to play?

AP: You couldn’t keep me away from Animorphs for too long! It would be my Dungeons and Dracon Beams character Savannah. I really learned so much playing that character, and because she is such a wise character, I really had to learn rapidly to do her justice. However, I have a very close second with my Pokémon Tabletop United game character Calynn!

RELATED: B. Dave Walters Chats Diversifyinbg TTRPGs, High-Level Storytelling and His Favorite Table Moments

JR: Do you have a particular race/class you enjoy?

AP: While I don’t have a far-and-away favorite that I will always play, I do love Rogues! They’re sneaky and ridiculous characters who are just fun.

JR: Is there something that you build into every character? A fun trait or a special item?

AP: I love finding ways to use animals to inspire or inform characters. Even if it’s Pokémon and not real animals, I am not sure I have ever played a game where that didn’t factor in some way or another. I recently created a barbarian that had the path of the beast, and its beast form was an eagle re-skin. As a type of duck called the common merganser. The first bit of feedback from the Game Master was, ‘of course, you found a way to include animals.’

JR: What is your favorite system to play within?

AP: I have a sick and twisted darkness in me that has made me want to really crack the Pokémon Tabletop United system. Combined with playing the new Scarlet game, I have been obsessing over it. It seems so complex on the surface, but it’s also strangely intuitive!

RELATED: What The Legend of Vox Machina Renewal Could Mean for the Future of TTRPG Live Shows

JR: Tell us about the wildest adventure you have been on?

AP: I have been so lucky to help create a game called Guild of Granddaughters with Jenna Garrett. It was supposed to be a one-shot for International Women’s Day, where we gathered five of the best women TTRPG players we know to play a D&D game for charity. We were able to do a second game because all our players were attending DragonCon in Atlanta, so we put on a live show.

We made the players do a ‘sports’ task involving bouncing various balls into a bin. It was the very last chance for a player to make it, and they sunk it perfectly. The cheer that went up from everyone in the room was insane. It is a little bit of a D&D adventure and a little human existence adventure, but that moment was surreal. When we were planning the game, we couldn’t have hoped it would work out so perfectly.

JR: What has been your most impactful moment at a table?

AP: I didn’t realize it right at the table, but a little later! We were playing our Pokémon game for the show Late Starters. Another player and I were in a 2-on-2 battle, and I used a feat to rearrange the turn order so the other player’s Pokémon could go next. He hadn’t told us he was down to 1 single hit point, and there was no way for him to win the battle.

RELATED: The OP Games Board Games One Stop Shop Gift Guide

Rearranging the turn order and him landing a critical hit turned the tides of everything for us, and we won! I had no idea it was that close, but it was one of those moments where you could just feel the emotions change and watching someone go from thinking they were doomed to victory was the best feeling. When he told me later just how close he was to getting KO’d, I was stunned.

JR: Favorite dice to use?

AP: I have a set of dice I got for my birthday from the mastermind behind our Animorphs game. They are clear and purple resin with little raven skulls in them. They are my absolute favorite dice!

Alex Platt dice.

JR: Would you rather face off against an entire dungeon of undead or charm your way through a royal court?

AP: Charm my way through a royal court. I generally play characters that are not so great at charming people, and it brings me endless joy to play these horrible, socially awkward characters that cannot seem to get it together. The thought of how badly I could mess that up delights me.

RELATED: Mike Birchall Answers the Most Important Question – Is Everything Fine?

JR: Favorite TTRPG Monster?

AP: I really love dragons. I know that is so boring, but I have loved dragons forever. One of my favorite book series is Temeraire (Naomi Novik), and even when they’re absolutely destroying me and everyone I love, they are still cool as hell. In the same vein, I find kobolds more charming than I have any right to.

JR: Good luck charms or rituals before a game?

AP: No good luck charms, but I definitely have my rituals! They change a bit per character, but I have playlists for them, so no matter what I am doing, I have that playlist blasting for a good 24 hours before playing. Sometimes it’s writing the summary to read on the podcast and really getting deep into the character mindset; for others, it’s hitting the gym and really getting physical. If it’s for a game I GM, it’s getting all of my files set up on my computer in the EXACT order I need them.

RELATED: Book Review – Hell Bent

JR: Who is sitting at your dream table?

AP: I really respect and love the people I play with, so first and foremost, Austin, my favorite game master, Kaycie and Tim of Late Starters, Jenna and Nate of Dungeons and Dracon Beams. I adore them all as players and people. Then I would take a wild left turn and get Aabria Iyengar and Brennan Lee Mulligan from Dimension 20. The game we would play would be bird based, I used to work in wildlife rehabilitation specializing in birds, and I am ready to throw down that knowledge.

JR: What are you most looking forward to within the TTRPG world?

AP: Finding more incredible creators and players who are immensely talented and fun and good people. It is far and away my favorite part of this entire community and its most valuable resource- the creative people in it. They also tend to be kind and incredibly generous with their time and energy, and I am constantly in awe of them.

Tavern Talk Thursday: JAKE YNZUNZA

Catch Me