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.

Take a seat at the bar, fellow adventurers, and settle in because we are chatting with the incredibly poetic bard Rae this week. She is one part of the terrific team behind the Average Adventuring Party podcast and a lover of TTRPGs. Fun fact – she is the oldest group member and the only one with tattoos, which makes her double the badass. Rae enjoys all things fantasy and fun when she isn’t rolling dice with her friends. Check out what else she had to share about what she loves within the TTRPG community below.

You can read Rae’s beautiful poetry right here!

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

Rae: I played some when I was a teenager; otherwise, it’s been a while. I started dating Gary Barker, and he played a lot. I loved reading his stories for the games he DM’d. He had me create a character just to try it and got a couple of his friends to play, they were awesome, and I’ve been playing ever since (8 years now).

JR: Favorite world to adventure in?

R: I like fantasy or sci-fi the most, but I will also do steampunk.

JR: Favorite one-shot adventure?

R: The one and only game I DM’d. I meshed together Princess Bride and Labyrinth and ran a one-shot. It was fun and went better than I expected.

JR: Backstory or class first?

R: Class first. I tend to stick to a few of the same classes, and Gary tries to get me to change it up some, so it’s not the same each time. So I usually pick a class and then try to come up with a different backstory or way to play it.

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JR: Favorite spell and why?

R: Tree shape. I like turning people into trees so they can’t die. It gives them the barkskin, and they do not take damage. Plus, who doesn’t like trees? Trees are beautiful.

JR: Who has been your favorite character to play?

R: As much as I love Suna, I really enjoyed playing this flirtatious, outgoing champion/paladin named Hilda. It was so far out of my comfort zone, but it was a lot of fun, and I always try to do something that would make that character proud of the social aspect of her, not so much the flirty side (I don’t want to get in trouble).

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

R: Anything that is not human. For me, one of the reasons I enjoy this is to play something different. I guess I could also do a supped-up human in a steampunk game or cyborg, but just a plain human doesn’t appeal to me.

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

R: If I do, I don’t realize I do it. I tend to be an introvert in life, so I tend to play more aggressively, so I guess I always try to add a way to be more sociable.

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JR: What is your favorite system to play within?

R: I was going to say FantasyCraft, but here recently, Gary found the Cypher System, and I really like that one. This is the one I did my one shot in, and it’s super easy to understand and play.

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

R: You’d think it was the adventure with Suna with all the time jumps and all, but really, I think it was the air adventure game we played. It was supposed to be an Indiana Jones-esque type game. We were just supposed to be traveling around and finding artifacts. I really didn’t do much weapon or damage stuff with my character. It ended up being more of a spy/espionage game, and it was so much fun being the innocent character that turned into a wannabe killer. Imagine a big, clanky turtle with a stuttering problem acting like a smooth crime boss so she can get information on a slave trade. We blew up so much stuff.

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

R: When I thought Gary was going to kill my character. It was my first time playing Suna, and she was older, and I considered her wiser and not as much of a murder-death-killer. She had her childhood memories and knew she murdered in the past, but after being imprisoned for almost 30 years, she grew up. So the party had befriended this lantern arcon, and Suna was the one keeping track of him.

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We got into a fight, and the being we were fighting was sucking things into this black hole type thing, and the lantern arcon started getting pulled out. We can’t touch him, so my grand idea was to take my pot and pan, jump into it, and try to catch him in the pot and cover him with the lid. I was so sure I had died and was trying not to cry (although I know some tears fell). Everyone else woke up and kept getting told they did what they could for me. I didn’t realize how much I liked Suna until that moment.

JR: Favorite dice to use?

R: I have two that I always seem to use: a set of purple dice, but if they are rolling crappy, I don’t hesitate to switch them out with my green ones; and my cancer ones. They have cancer ribbons in them. I saw them in a gaming shop one time and loved them. As a cancer survivor, I had to have them.

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

R: Face off against an entire dungeon of undead. I am not a charmer. I don’t think I could ever play a bard or someone that relies on charm.

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JR: Favorite TTRPG monster?

R: The slime monster, WeirdSwift, that we fought during season 2 of the podcast. It was so gross and even now makes me cringe, but what an interesting fight that was.

JR: Good luck charms or rituals before a game?

R: A downside to dating the DM is that you don’t want to do something that will also cause him luck, so I don’t have anything. Oh, maybe having an icee at the beginning of the game. That can be my ritual, I guess.

JR: Who is sitting at your dream table?

R: Wil Wheaton would be awesome. I love watching his videos and listening to him play. Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith as they are one of my favorite duos. Alan Tudyk as he is so diversified and awesome that I think he would be so much fun to play off.

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

R: The stories and the opportunities it gives me to be someone else.

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