NOTE: the opinions expressed in interviews are those of the guests, not necessarily those of shadomain.com
Today we talk with Maia, a newbie Dungeon Master and also a player in DND 5E and Pathfinder 2E games. Outside of gaming, she’s a product designer, and finds that the creativity and problem-solving skills she uses in her job often spills over into her role as a DM.
You can find her on X, formerly known as Twitter here: https://twitter.com/maiaf_w
Let’s hear from her now:
Do you prefer playing TTRPGs online or in person, and why?
I currently DM a game online, and we use webcams to maintain a sense of connection and immersion among the players. However, my preference leans toward in-person sessions. There’s something irreplaceable about the tactile experience of rolling dice, the energy in the room, and the spontaneous interactions that happen when you’re sharing a physical space with your fellow adventurers.
What is your favorite book(s)?
For young adult fiction, “The Hunger Games” has always captivated me. When it comes to psychological thrillers, “The Silent Patient” and numerous books by James Patterson are my go-to reads. I’m also a fan of classic fantasy, with “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Hobbit” holding special places in my heart, along with the “Harry Potter” series. These days, however, you’ll most likely find me engrossed in TTRPG lore books as I continue to deepen my understanding of the worlds I play in.
What is one thing you think defines a (nearly) perfect TTRPG session?
As a player, a nearly perfect TTRPG session is one where every player gets their moment to shine. Whether it’s through combat, role-playing, or problem-solving, the session should offer opportunities for each character to showcase their unique abilities and contribute meaningfully to the story. From the DM’s chair, a near-perfect session is one where the players are fully immersed and engaged, not just in the game mechanics but also in the narrative. I aim for a balance between challenging encounters and compelling storytelling. The ultimate win is when players leave the table already excited for the next session.
What childhood cartoon would you like to play as a TTRPG?
If I could turn any childhood cartoon into a TTRPG, it would have to be “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The show’s rich lore, elemental magic system, and complex characters would translate incredibly well into a tabletop setting. Wait, it’s already a TTRPG?! Okay, I need to look into it ASAP!
What do you think is absolutely essential in creating a safe space for all in a TTRPG game?
In my opinion, the cornerstone of a safe TTRPG space is open communication, facilitated by tools like Session Zero and safety mechanics (e.g., X-Card, Lines and Veils). These allow players to voice their boundaries, preferences, and any triggers they may have. As a DM, it’s my responsibility to not only respect these boundaries but also to actively check in with my players to ensure everyone is comfortable as the campaign progresses.
Anything else you’d like us to know:
One thing worth mentioning is my current obsession with specific TTRPG settings. Right now, I’m all about Eberron for its unique blend of magic and technology, offering so much for storytelling. Ptolus is another favorite, with its deep lore and intricate cityscape that provides endless opportunities for urban adventures. These settings not only fuel my creativity but also offer a playground for the kinds of complex narratives and character-driven stories I love to explore. In addition to these, I’ve recently fallen in love with Crystalpunk, a setting that merges the gritty atmosphere of cyberpunk with the fantastical elements of high fantasy. It’s like walking through neon-lit streets with spellslingers and arcane tech at every corner. This setting has opened up a whole new avenue for storytelling, allowing me to incorporate modern themes and challenges into a magical world. It’s a setting that I believe has a lot of untapped potential, and I’m excited for the possibility to delve deeper into it in my upcoming campaigns.
Thanks, Maia! If you’d like to be interviewed at Shadomain, fill out this simple form and we’ll publish your answers on an upcoming Wednesday: https://shadomain.com/interview/
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