NOTE: the opinions expressed in interviews are those of the guests, not necessarily those of shadomain.com
Welcome to another Tales From the Tavern mini interview. Today we hear from Matt Kimberlin (Synthetic 20). You can find them at:
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ASynthetic20
Drive Thru RPG – https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?author=Matt%20Kimberlin
Let’s hear from Matt!
What is your favorite TTRPG?
This is difficult for me. If I’m talking about design, I love 10 Candles. It’s a marvel of elegant simplicity. However, I also tend to like games that can do more with multiple sessions, and 10 Candles is definitely a one-shot kind of game. For short campaigns, I love Powered by the Apocalypse games, specifically Glitterhearts and City of Mists come to mind. For longer campaigns, I like the crunch of a system like GURPS where you can also remove parts that don’t vibe with your group for a simpler experience if you want that. Alice Is Missing, Fudge, and Toon would all be honorable mentions.
What other hobbies are you interested in?
I play a lot of board games and video games with my partner, but we have time set aside each week to watch professional wrestling. I love the intersection of wrestling and TTRPGs, because they can both be about big emotions telling stories within a dedicated structure.
What is one thing you think defines a (nearly) perfect TTRPG session?
For me, the best TTRPG sessions are the ones that pay off on months of planning. I had a session once where the party was getting ready for a big political summit with characters from all over the campaign’s world, real endgame level social encounter. One of the PCs had a brother that had faked his death to push the PC away from their home. Another PC played the brother in an intro session and knew the death was faked. The brother revealed that he was alive to the PC, and the table went silent with tension. Six months of weekly games led up to that reveal, and it was glorious. Those are the stories that people remember. I love the trust that I had with both players too, because one kept that secret for six months, and the other enjoyed the payoff because of it.
Favorite non-mainstream ttrpg system?
I’ve got to say World Wide Wrestling. It’s my favorite Powered by the Apocalypse game and not enough people know how good it is. Powered by the Apocalypse is at its best as a system in my opinion when the mechanics are married to a specific kind of story, and professional wrestling has a structure that feeds TTRPG stories very well. It’s all built for fantastic moments.
Have you ever felt like an outsider in the TTRPG space? Describe if you can.
I have continually felt disconnected from the “old school” player despite my years of experience, because I’ve always run games as an outsider of society in general as an autistic and queer individual. When people with a lot of experience complain about safety tools and the like, I feel like they come from a completely different space from the one I occupied. It’s jarring. I want to have pride in my history, but I know and respect that not everyone expects someone from my gaming generation to have been dismantling the system one table at a time. I’m glad that TTRPGs are becoming a more diverse space, because that makes me feel more at home.
Anything else you’d like us to know:
I’m currently working on my first independent supplement, my own TTRPG system (with minimal prep, simple math, and lots of dice rolling), and much more! I hope anyone interested in telling great stories with friends will search me out on the socials. It’s been a heck of a ride doing what I do, and I’m thankful for every opportunity to help people have more fun in their lives. Stay safe and DFTBA!