e’s Interviews: Phil of Musings of the Chatty DM

Phil has been running the RPG blog, Musings of the Chatty DM, for a little over one year.   e caught up with him and asked him some questions that are certainly on the minds and hearts of everyone.   Okay, maybe not, but she’s sure they’re burning questions in her mind!

e:   When did you first start playing D&D?

I was 9 years old, way back in 1982

e:   Do you play any other RPGs?

I play (as a PC) in a monthly game of Monte Cook‘s World of Darkness. I play a Demon jerk with a superiority complex that’s completely clueless about human society. My friends tell me that this is not much of a stretch for me in terms of role playing.

e:   Describe yourself as if you were an NPC in one of your campaigns.

Enthusiastic, overconfident chatty extrovert, given to taking too many projects at the same time.

e:   Bad Horse is the Thoroughbred of Sin. Who is the Chatty DM?

The Evil Overlord of Crunch (and a closet Fluff aficionado)

e:   What is the status of your application for the Evil League of Evil?

They received it and are watching me. I’m expecting news any day now.

e:   Dice - share or don’t share?

Share… I have so many as I buy a new set whenever I start a new Campaign.

e:   Rolling behind the screen – lie or don’t lie?

I don’t use the screen. However, monsters are known to become more fragile as a fight turns against players.

e:   Do you kill PCs often? (Or do they kill themselves?)

About one character death per year. I expect more with 4e as we learn the system.

e:   If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Slow time so I could do more in a given day.

e:   What’s your favorite color of dragon and why?

Bronze… I always liked the Metallic dragons and I mourn that the Bronze won’t be in 4e. With the core 4e dragons, I’d say the Green Dragon is the coolest.

e:   I hear tell that your regular game is played 80/20 French/English. Can you perhaps give us an example of one of these fantastical linguistic creations?

That would be lost in translation. We mostly speak French but all action, spells, items and such are in English.


Je prend mon wand of Fireballs et je l’active pour frapper les six Dire Wolves.

e:   What type of player do you enjoy DMing for the most? The least?

I really like Butt Kickers mixed with storytellers but my group has varied tastes and it works fine. I don’t like outliers/instigator players all that much. I keep a good pace and I’m not fond of door kickers and people who take decision without at least telling the rest of the group a bit in advance.

e:   What food is a staple for your gaming group?

  • Meals: Pizza, Szechuan, Lebanese and Chicken in a Box.
  • Snacks: Chips
  • Drinks: Iced Tea, Beer, Wine and Power Drinks

e:   Which makes for a more fun time at the gaming table – excessive booze or excessive caffeine?

Neither. Both tend to crash games.

e:   Since you lost to Yax in the ENnies competition, what are your current plans for world domination?

The World is in Chaos, and I need to rule it.

Who says that I didn’t lose on purpose and that it’s all part of THE PLAN ™.

e:   What’s with the minions thing?

Well, every Overlord needs his minions to help him take over the world.

Seriously though, it’s was a branding experiment in the early days of the blog that I hoped people would find more funny than insulting. I’m not using it actively anymore except to rile overly sensitive blogger minions about it.

BTW, you’re up for your 360 evaluation in 2 weeks.

e:   You throw around the word “trope” a lot as if everybody knows what it means. Please, indulge the ignorant and give us a definition.

A trope is a story figure of speech, a shortcut that authors use in traditional fiction to convey a message, an emotion without spelling it all out. Like that large breasted girl that suggest that the group splits up to investigate something in a Horror movie… everyone knows she’ll get killed. That’s a Trope.

Tropes are part gimmick, part audience expectations. Used too often, they become clichés.

Tropes are used by everyone, even RPG adventure writers. Adventures are like stories. Learning about tropes makes writing effective, fun adventures easier.

e:   What’s the hardest thing about being a DM?

Fighting procrastination before each game session to prepare a game that is tailored to the tastes of all players. It’s so easy to convince myself that the published adventure I have is fine as is and then start World of Warcraft.

e:   Coke or Pepsi?

Either, as long as it’s Diet… I even drink the Store Brand sludge when it’s on special.

e:   Crunch or Fluff?

I look at Crunch First. It needs to fit my needs and my game style. Then, if I like it I see how the fluff is built around the crunch and make my decision on adopting the system or nut.

e:   Peanut butter and ______ sandwich.


e:   If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Definitively Knights of Cydonnia by Muse, coolest song ever!

e:   What advice do you have for people who want to learn how to DM?

Join a group, observe the DM for a few sessions, read the 4th Edition Dungeon Master Guide and read GM-tips website like Martin Ralya’s Treasure Tables, Gnome Stew and of course, Musings of the Chatty DM.

e:   What’s your favorite mini?

Kermit the horny Green Slaad

e:   Favorite RPG writer(s)?

Mike Mearls and Monte Cook, I wish I could design like they do.

e:   Favorite monster?

Evil Outsiders. I love playing Demons and Devils!

e:   What’s your opinion on gnomes getting yoinked from the PHB?

No opinion, they’ll be back in the PHB II… Ask me what I think of multiple PHBs instead.

e:   When you actually get to PLAY 4e, what character will you play?

Most likely a Halfling cleric of Cheerfulness

e:   If there was no D&D, what RPG would you be playing/GMing?

Probably Savage Worlds or a variant thereof.

e:   What’s the funniest (PG-13) dating mishap you’ve ever had?

I was 16 and somehow found myself with a 20 year old girlfriend. On our first date that my parent were away from the house she bough a 5$ bottle of sparkling wine and decided to show me how it was done. Best 7 seconds of my life!!!

e:   You’re a married geek. What’s your #1 motto to live by for getting and keeping the girl of your dreams?

Listen to her, make her feel special, indulge in /respect her geekiness as she does with you.

e:   What does your wife think of your geekiness? Is there a line you must not cross?

She’s a geek too. All’s fine as long as I don’t indulge in my hobbies on a Saturday afternooon while the whole family is available.

e:   Bacon or Canadian bacon?


e:   Tell us why Canada is the best place to live. I mean, snow, ice, freezing temperatures… what are the upsides?

Canadian Bacon, Free Healthcare, Canadian Bacon, Girls needing bodily warmth, Canadian Bacon, Poutine, Canadian Bacon, My wife, Canadian bacon

e:   So I’m really bummed that I won’t be going to GenCon. Please fill my readers in on the things you’ll be doing there without me:

Yeah, I really overbooked myself!

I’ll be DMing 4 Sessions for the Paizo Pathfinder Society as well as being the Table DM for a Major Drow house in the Ascension of the Drow 126 player mega adventure.

I’ll host a Drunken D&D 4e game with fellow RPG blogger (It’s a D&D drinking game with an adventure I wrote expressly for it).

I’ll co-host a GM-Fu seminar about Adventure Prep.

I’ll be part of a RPGblogger panel with our buddies.

I’ll play in a crazy D&D 4e game called ‘Out of the Box‘ hosted by the Stupid Ranger crew.

Thanks for playing e’s interviews, Phil!!

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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