I like creating and consuming, so I’m on both sides of the fence. I have recently started making my own dice (I don’t sell them yet but maybe one day, if I get good enough), but I also like making hacked classes for various systems, system variants, supplements and sourcebooks. I also love drawing, and character art (especially if they’re cute girls as that’s what I like to draw) is a big hobby of mine.
I am a PhD student at the University of Loughborough researching Multi-Agent Systems, and I love artificial intelligence and robotics. I’m previously trained in Psychology so my research interests are a bit all over the place! But I also like video games – so much in fact I’m soon to present a paper at the University of Birmingham’s Play/Pause Symposium on Sex in Virtual Reality (and how it’s currently really boring, broken, and worryingly problematic).
Do you have a current project?
I am currently putting together a system-agnostic compendium of real-life flowers, trees and plants (both for healing and poisoning) complete with roll tables for random selections that I’d love for people to use in their games!
How did you get into tabletop gaming?
I’d known of its existence for years, and joined a game through the University’s gaming club when I started back in 2013. I almost didn’t go from anxiety and being stood up by some other freshers who said they’d join me, but an older student convinced me to join his game. The rest is history!
What do you love about tabletop games?
I love the freedom to explore and express yourself, the ability to craft stories with other people you enjoy spending time with, and the ability to create beings inside you with narratives you can creatively design and play out even when you’re by yourself. Also, I looooove sparkly dice 😉
Have you overcome any obstacles in tabletop gaming?
I have definitely experienced gatekeeping, and one big frustration of mine is knowing several people who are more keen on the crunch side of games than the roleplaying aspects. That’s more than fine by me – everyone can like the aspects of gaming they enjoy! However, I find these people often try and instruct others how to play, or complain when another player doesn’t build optimally. People should leave others to play how they want to play! I’ve also experienced players using their characters to give me undue or cloying attention during games purely (I reason) for the fact I’m one of the few women at the table. I’ve had other players character’s literally attempt to White Knight (“I’ll step in the middle of your fight so I can save you, m’ady”) me mid-game when my character was not only more capable but also higher ranking than his.
What would your advice be to women who are interested in tabletop gaming?
Definitely don’t be afraid of not immediately being ‘in-character’, or not being like the other people in your game if they’re more experienced. Everyone, even experienced players, ask for help with numbers and what to roll (I’m a terror for not reading rules thoroughly enough!). Focus on who you feel your character is, learn to relax and let loose, and enjoy yourself!
What kind of characters are you drawn to play?
A very broad variety! I tend to take aspects of myself (or aspects I’m not familiar with emotionally) and try and explore them. My latest character definitely has some of my relationship anxiety, and comes from a sad history of a healthy polyamorous quad that was broken apart by an evil warlord. Serious roleplay can be very cathartic sometimes. On the flip side to that, I usually love playing comic relief because I adore making other people laugh!