Judy Black / @judyblackcloud on Twitter

@judyblackcloud

I’m an author, gamer and streamer. My current novel series, Cabinet of Aberrations, is all about a traveling sideshow that hunts monster. My first DnD Adventure was published in volume 1 of the UnCaged anthology. I stream Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop goodness with the Roll for Trouble crew.

I’m an author and mental health advocate. I go to conventions, write a ton, and try to uplift other voices in the community.

Do you have a current project?

I’d love for people to join in on the Roll for Trouble streams. We’re trying to show the world that tabletop games are for everyone. https://www.twitch.tv/rollfortrouble

How did you get into tabletop gaming?

One of my best friends was home from college and wanted something to do. I’d never played but wanted to spend time with friends so I joined in. After session 1 (where I accidentally ran naked through an acid cave and broke a moral challenge puzzle), I was hooked for life.

What do you love about tabletop games?

Gaming is my way of connecting with people and getting to express myself in interesting ways. I was really involved in theater as a kid and so tabletop games now give me a chance to still use that background at the table. It’s also the most fun way to create on the fly. Solving puzzles, figuring out challenges, all the best bits of tabletop games help make me feel like I do have some things figured out in life, ha!

Have you overcome any obstacles in tabletop gaming?

I have been very lucky in that I have only had a few tiny encounters or issues. Almost every table I have played at has been either all women or marginalized players which has really shaped my love of the game. At a few conventions I’ve had some bad experiences where I’ve been talked over, told I don’t know the game or leered at.

What would your advice be to women who are interested in tabletop gaming?

I would look to local game shops and see what options are there. I love in-person playing the most but I know for a lot of people that doesn’t always work out. If you can’t find a group in person, check out social media under the DnD tags or the WomeninTabletop tags, there are a ton of amazing people out there looking for players just like you.

What kind of characters are you drawn to play?

I love playing characters that are doing their best but make a lot of mistakes. Roleplaying is my favorite part of the game for sure so I love having people who have complicated histories and struggles with finding themselves and who they are. I build based on the character’s story more than the best stat-wise build. My most recent character that I play on our Roll for Trouble game is my first attempt at multiclassing and he’s built that way for story reasons. Verity is a rogue who made some bad decisions on what to steal in the past and those decisions lead to him being left for dead in a river. In order to live, he made a pact with an arch-fey and now has a few levels in warlock. I wanted to play with the power dynamics and fickle nature of fey so Verity is now unable to lie without starting to bleed profusely. I love doing stuff like that with my characters, giving them extra issues they are working around. I tend to go all-in with my characters and write extensive backstories. My poor DM probably has close to 15,000 words of Verity feelings from me. Whoops.

Is there a woman in tabletop we should highlight?

Ashley Warren and the UnCaged group for sure!

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