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.
For our first week, we chatted with the incredibly talented Chad Michael Collins. He is the face of Brandon Beckett from the Sniper franchise, the voice and motion capture behind Alex in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and a part of the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons live-play game with The Die is Cast Gaming. Check out everything Collins has to share about getting started in the community and what he loves about it.
Chad Michael Collins
Julia Roth: Let’s chat your TTRPG back story! How did you find yourself at the table?
Chad Michael Collins: After being obsessed with fantasy and Dungeons & Dragons from my childhood on, I finally sat at the table for a Lost Mines of Phandelver Starter Set beginner’s campaign about five years ago – a long time coming! We played in-person, pre-pandemic, so I got the true blue experience and could not have been more excited and into it.
JR: What is your favorite one-shot adventure?
CMC: A few years ago, I ran a Christmas-themed one-shot adventure for some friends that I found on DM’s Guild. It featured an evil druid that was furious that some townsfolk were chopping down trees and decided it would animate massive Christmas treants, unleash a gigantic gingerbread man, chestnut-smelling fire elementals and other such presents on the town.
JR: Do you have a particular race/class you enjoy?
CMC: I do love to play me a paladin in D&D, and also in most other fantasy games I’ve played like Diablo, World of Warcraft and more. I’ve always been obsessed with the knight archetype, and the paladin holy knight in D&D is right up my alley: the frontline tank, the fearsome protector of the party. Add in some utility magic spells (Find Steed!) and Holy Smites, and there’s the perfect class for me.
JR: Would you rather face off against an entire dungeon of undead or charm your way through a royal court?
CMC: For me, I relish the tactical chessboard that is combat, so I say bring on the hordes of undead anytime! The roleplaying element of D&D is a blast, but there’s nothing more fun for me than mixing it up against the wonderful monsters you come across on an adventuring day.
JR: Is there something that you build into every character? A fun trait or a special item?
CMC: Oh yeah – even if it seems mundane, I pack a climber’s kit every time. You can’t fully appreciate how useful those are until you find yourself without one. Same goes for a crowbar, and if you’re adventuring in the far north, definitely some crampons. Falling on the ice is the worst, especially in a fight.
JR: What do you build first? Your backstory or race and class?
CMC: As a tactics/combat player, I go race and class first and get myself nice and familiar with what my PC can do as it goes. I do enjoy writing the backstory as well, and I think that’s such a great element to share with a DM to create some really amazing “Wow!” moments at the table as the campaign goes.
JR: Who is sitting at your dream table?
CMC: Oh boy, that’s a good question. Here’s my party: Kurt Cobain as our bard; Mike Tyson as our barbarian; George Carlin as our wizard; Betty White as our cleric. And, of course, I’ll play a paladin!
JR: What are you most looking forward to within the TTRPG world?
CMC: For this question, I’ll have to go full-on shameless promoter: our forthcoming The Die is Cast Gaming homebrew D&D live-play, premiering September 19, 2022, on Twitch! We’ve lined up an amazing and talented group, and the campaign is set in the Border Kingdoms, which is little used and will see all of us experienced players out of our element from the start, which I look forward to.
As a secondary answer: due to schedule, I’ve had to put my Curse of Strahd campaign on hiatus for now. We were about halfway through that complicated, wacky gothic adventure, and I loved running it. The twists and turns you can take, the payoffs you can build into it based on what the party does is so fun. It takes it out of you as a DM, but it’s been one of the more rewarding campaigns I’ve ever run.
JR: Who has been your favorite character to play?
CMC: That’s a tough one, but I’ll go with my barbarian – Crom – from a Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign I recently finished. He was a beast of a fighter, a polearm master, with a seedy pirate background. Since I’m a zealous notetaker, Crom – despite his low INT score – was the party’s chief secretary and treasurer and often led many of the social interactions in town. He was the most well-rounded barbarian I’ve ever seen and a raging nightmare on the battlefield with his winged boots!
JR: What is your favorite system to play within?
CMC: I’ve got to go with the gold standard D&D 5e, which was where I began and still use. I’m so enamored with D&D that I often find myself disinterested in many of the other games and systems out there. Although, I recently discovered that there is a GI Joe RPG that exists, so I may be changing my tune here real soon…Yo Joe!
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