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 Loveland, CO comes our next Judge. (Note: when the interview was conducted, he lived in Atlanta. He’s since moved.) He’s been seen at many a convention in the past and online everywhere this year, so you might already know the face, but today you meet the man!
Let’s meet Judge Will Keller!
Roadworthy: Will Keller!
What’s your name, where do you live (and game), and how would you describe yourself?
I’m Will Keller, a software engineer living in the Atlanta suburbs. I’ve been gaming since 1984 or so. I wasn’t allowed to play D&D because of the Satanic Panic, so I got started with Traveller instead, and then MERP/Rolemaster. All else being equal, I’d rather be running a game than playing it. I’m fairly new to game evangelism though and still feeling my way around with the Road Crew.
How did you first discover DCC?
Jim Walls ran an after-hours game at Gencon 2015. The players all had zero level stormtrooper recruits, I think my character’s weapon was a hull breach repair gun. It was bonkers. When I asked him about it after I got back home, he snail-mailed me a copy of the quickstart rules. I was hooked. I got a copy of the full book, and haven’t looked back. Thanks, Jim!
What’s your favorite Road Crew game experience so far?
I have two. In the first game I ran, my regular gaming group had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t actually killed a character in any game in years. They were exploring the well in Sailors on the Starless Sea, and one player sent one of his peons down the well to see what was down there. I took that character sheet. The player was confused, so he sent a second character down the well. I took that character sheet. He figured he was on to something, so he sent a THIRD character down. I finally just broke it to him that those characters were dead and not coming back. It was something of a wake-up call to the group! (I would handle that situation a little differently if it happened today though.)
The second favorite experience was running Carnival of the Damned at a small game convention in New Mexico. I set up as an all-day drop-in/drop-out kind of thing. We played for nearly seven hours straight. The body count by the end was pretty massive, but I had one player who survived all 32 encounters with his first character. This was a guy who just walked up and wanted to try a new game, and now he is a core member of that game group. DCC makes friends!
Tell us where you run your Road Crew games.
I’ve been running games at Heroic Gaming in Roswell, GA twice a month, although our schedule has been a bit messed up since the summer. I’ve also been running once a month at Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta, as part of the Atlanta Tabletop Role Playing Games.
What advice would you give to other Road Crew judges?
Community! I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but the DCC community is one of the best I’ve ever seen. We have Facebook or Discord, Mewe, or even Reddit, if you’re feeling saucy. There are so many great people there, including many of the designers and writers for DCC. You can ask questions, brainstorm ideas, help out new people, and just bask in the knowledge that there are other people out there as awesome as you.
How has your life/ gaming life changed during the quarantine?
I’ve been doing online gaming for years, so the transition to online-only wasn’t too difficult. I’ve been doing more gaming than usual during the quarantine, which is awesome, but I miss the face-to-face interaction of an in-person game.
Your bonus question comes from Judge Daniel Vance: What Books do you use as an inspiration?
I love random tables. I have a lot of fun generating a bunch of random, disconnected items and then figuring out how to make them fit together coherently. To that end, I keep the Tome of Adventure Design, the Dungeon Alphabet, the Monster Alphabet, the Will Keller, and The Ultimate Toolbox close at hand.