It’s Wednesday so it’s time for another interview with a member of the TTRPG community! Today we’ll hear from Mike Shea; writer, independent RPG publisher and data scientist. You can find him at

Let’s get started!

What attracted you to TTRPGs?

At the time, back in the late 80s, mostly the interesting mechanics tied to adventures. Today, I’d say I’m most attracted to having a focal point around which we can get together with our friends and family to share our creativity and build worlds together. It’s an unfortunately rare thing to actually meet up with people and spend hours together just enjoying ourselves and laughing. I think D&D saves lives. I wrote more about it here:

What is your favorite(s) TV Show or Movie?

For TV shows I have to say the Wire, Deadwood, and Rome.They have some of the best writing and character in television. I rewatch all three serieses about every four or five years.

For movies, I think my taste in movies as a kid was pretty good. Raiders of the Lost Ark I think is my favorite movie of all time. I love Conan the Barbarian (the original one). Time Bandits is an all-time favorite of mine but I haven’t seen it in a few years. I think it holds up though. All great inspiration for D&D and RPGs if you ask me.

Describe a favorite scenario you ran in a TTRPG.

In a recent Numenera campaign, in the middle of a battle, a character used a cypher (a sort of one-use magic item) without knowing what it did. It teleported four of the six characters 14 months into the future. The whole timeline of the campaign jumped forward 14 months. The two characters who didn’t teleport forward had spent the time building up a resistance against the armies of the big bad thinking their friends had died. It was an amazing shift in the campaign and one I’ll remember the rest of my days.

You can create a creature by making any real world object, plant, animal sentient. What is it?

I sentient aircraft carrier transformer might be cool. A huge aircraft carrier that transforms into a big walking robot. That’d be fun. I guess Broadside the transformer is one but I didn’t have that in mind when I thought about it.

What do you think is absolutely essential in creating a safe space for all in a TTRPG game?

I’m a big fan of “let’s pause for a minute”. The idea is that anyone at any time can say this phrase and it pauses the game. Everyone breaks character and gives the person saying it the floor. It can be just for clarifying a situation, talking out of game about in-game choices, It can also help address safety issues. The GM can use it often to make sure people are good with in-game choices and help ensure everyone’s on the same page. Doing so helps normalize its use so if someone does need to use it for a safety issue, people are already used to using it.

What is something else you’d like us to know about you?

I’m actually getting into Destiny 2 in a big way. I haven’t played a massive online game in years but it’s been a fun way to step away from the tabletop RPG world for a while and just shoot some evil robots.

Thanks, Mike!

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