Roadworthy: Judge Jeff Scifert

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.

From the Volunteer State comes a man of letters who discovered that his favorite letters are actually DCC RPG. He has quickly adopted online gaming, and has great advice for everyone out there.

Let’s meet Judge Jeff Scifert!


Roadworthy: Judge Jeff Scifert!

What’s your name, where do you live (and game), and how would you describe yourself?

Hello! My name is Jeff Scifert (pronounced SIGH-fert, like SCI-ence). I earned my PhD in biomedical engineering and have been working for Medtronic Spine for 20 years, live in Arlington, TN (Greater Memphis, TN area) and game with a local group at my house and at The Cellar Tabletop Games and Comics in Bartlett, TN. 

I have been tabletop roleplaying since about 1980 and love to both GM and play equally. I am an avid reader and have more books (gaming and otherwise) than I will likely ever be able to read and more gaming material that I will ever get to run. But reading generates so many great nuggets which I can bring into my gaming – it’s fantastic! I love to tell stories and to provide an evening of entertainment that the players will look back with fondly. Love when a player starts a topic with “hey, remember when we …” – such an awesome feeling! 

Recently I have been introducing my two kids (girl (9) and boy (13)) and one of my older nephews to RPGs and they are having a lot of fun. 

How did you first discover Dungeon Crawl Classics?

I first heard of DCC through my friend, Roadworthy Judge James Walls, and his proselytizing blog Living for Crits. I read his blog pretty routinely, enjoying his style of play, his session recaps, and the discussions of various games he likes, one of which was this game called Dungeon Crawl Classics

I had been looking for a new system to capture the sword & sorcery feel of the fantasy genre I so enjoy reading, tiring of other iterations of systems which I had grown up playing. Once I tried DCC, I was hooked. I began listening to Spellburn, Sactum Secorum, and other podcasts, reaching out to many DCC judges to play, meet, and learn from as I dug into the system. I was hooked! 

This truly is the BEST community of gamers one could ask for, bar none! I also have now been involved with the GFA in an editing and coordination capacity, made a DCC fan-conversion for creatures and NPCs from Jacob Hurst’s Swordfish Islands: Hexcrawl Adventures on Hot Springs Island, and assisted in editing other upcoming DCC third-party products like David Baity’s Dark Trails RPG. Always willing to assist other DCC creative minds!

How many Road Crew games have your ran so far?

My current total is around 8 sessions, but I have 6 more coming up for DCC Days (4 online and 2 in-store once The Cellar opens for gaming again!). My goal is to hit over 20 by the end of 2020!

How did the quarantine change your gaming life?

I have been running a lot more online for obvious reasons and am finding with my busy family and work schedules that the flexibility of online play fits my lifestyle right now, which is great! It has allowed me to run games at later hours, even finding new friends in the international community online, which is awesome! I am VERY happy Goodman Games has been a fast adopter of online gaming for The Road Crew, especially in these challenging times.

Give us a favorite gaming highlight from this year.

My recent favorite highlight was running The Imperishable Sorceress online during Virtual Gary Con. The players (all of whom had never played the module and several who were fairly new to DCC) went off the rails about midway through the module, managing to find the exit to the dungeon early before really finishing the main plot of the dungeon. They ended up “somewhere else” and realized they were really in trouble. Thinking quickly, they managed to use their patron (The King of Elfland) to turn back time to a particular point where they made an important decision that threw them off course and suddenly they were back on track and finished the module in a very different (and excitingly cool) fashion.

Such a great group and unique creative solutions made them and me enjoy the module in a fantastic way. One I will remember for quite some time!

What advice would you give to other Road Crew judges running online games?

Prep, Prep, Prep.

I think that I am realizing that setting up and running effective online games takes a little more up-front prep in terms of up-front communications with players, online platform pre-game Judge prep (keying in PC pregens and NPC stats and images for ease of rolling, images for maps, key handouts, drawings, etc. loaded and ready to share), and having back-ups for video or audio in case there are platform issues with the main platform you had planned on using.

And video is SO important! Seeing the player’s faces (and vice versa) and expressions really is key to making that personal connection. But, the extra effort is worth it when your games run smoother and your players are more engaged.

Author: pandabrett

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