Welcome to Roadworthy! This is a chance to show off a Road Crew Judge and allow them to share their experience and wisdom. We provide these profiles to help provide insight into their personality and style, and maybe give up-and-coming Judges some advice on improving their game.
The Road Crew theme for 2019 is Road Trip! We want you to get out there and experience the world. Whether it be in real life or online, you can always explore unknown lands and make new friends. Who knows, maybe we’ll put you up on our website. Jump on into the Road Crew program for your chance!
This week’s judge comes from Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is a sometimes teacher, artist, and writer. He loves to run Dungeon Crawl Classics—and isn’t afraid to answer questions, either. Let’s meet Judge Daniel Vance!
Roadworthy: Daniel Vance!
What’s your name, where do you live (and game), and how would you describe yourself?
My name is Daniel Vance and I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, but I am originally from South Dakota. I game at Todd Bunn’s amazing Gateway Games. Todd is a super cool guy and a great judge also. I would describe myself as a sometimes teacher, artist, and writer. I am a longtime gamer and I love older systems.
How did you first discover DCC?
I managed to get into Dungeon Crawl Classics just as it came out. I had been collecting the Adventures for 3.5 and when I heard that the Dark Master was putting together a game, I was all in. I still have my first printing black leatherette copy (but it never comes off the shelf).
How many Road Crew games have you run this year?
I have run tons of DCC games this year, but official Road Crew games? Err…it is sad to say that my 10th will be July 18th. Playtesting has taken up a bit of my game time this year.
What’s your favorite Road Crew game experience so far?
Running games at Gary Con was the best! It’s such a great con and DCC is the perfect con game. It plays fast and dirty and I think people really respond well to it. My best session ever was probably running Temple of the Hamster at Gary Con. I met some amazing people during that game and they really got into the spirit of battling giant hamsters. I still hear an occasional “squeak, squeak” from people who were there. And I never really expected the group to join up with the hamsters against the villagers but that is exactly how it played out.
Tell us where you run your Road Crew games?
The group plays out of Gateway Games and we are one of three groups maybe four that call that place home. I cannot say enough nice things about Todd Bunn. He is the hub of the OSR community in Cincinnati and a righteous dude.
What advice would you give to other Road Crew judges?
My advice is for new judges, if you don’t know a rule, wait just a few seconds. Often your players will look it up in that time and tell you the results. The same goes when you are stumped, if you wait with a little smile on your face, your players will often think of the most devious thing that could happen and blurt it out. Plus you also get to pretend to be mysterious.
Your question comes from Judge Jon Hammersley: What made you realize that being a Judge was something that you’d enjoy?
Honestly, I have been Judging, DMing, GMing, REFing, and Keepering since 1980, because no one wanted the job! But it quickly became something I loved, i enjoyed all of the world-building and tinkering. I still remember my first dungeon, the 100-foot pit which drops you into the lair of a dragon might have been a bit much. But I love judging the DCC game because of its open endedness. I love that DCC is not afraid of what the players might do with great power, it just pits them against more terrible opponents! I feel that DCC puts the story in the hands of the group and not in the rules.
What do you do to inspire your players?
I try to be inventive and come up with interesting scenarios for them to destroy (but we all do that). Sometimes I make props or do write-ups but mostly I try to never say no to cool ideas. Some judges seem to have a real adversarial view of their players, but we are all here to have fun. I think rather than saying no to some zany sidetrack, I would say “yes, but…” and have some consequences that further the action. The adventurers shape the story, not the other way around. Also, I never have a story that we need to finish. Long-drawn out plots can feel like a punishment, so I try to avoid them.
Don’t forget to head on over to the Third Party Publishers page and check out our Roadworthy Judge’s latest Dungeon Crawl Classics compatible module, Escape from the Demon Inn.