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.
This time out we travel to The Prairie State to meet a judge whose gaming life has become more active during the pandemic. Let’s meet Judge Eric Young!
Roadworthy: Eric Young
What’s your name, where do you live (and game), and how would you describe yourself?
I’m Eric Young of Schaumburg, IL, but in the online world I will game pretty much anywhere.
I guess I would say I am an “I will play anything” kind of gamer and judge. DCC and its variants are my “go-to” games for running stuff because there are so many ways an adventure can go. As a judge I am definitely in the “rules light” category and want the story to rule the day. I love when players control the story. It makes for some great tap dancing when in a 20 page module; the players go off book at page 3 and the sandboxing starts.
So when I say “play anything” I also mean that I have had to play NPC’s that didn’t exist when I said “Okay, here’s where you are…” when the adventure began: ghost children, amorous apothecaries, rowdy cowboys looking for fight or frolic…I just never know where the players will take a game. That’s the fun for me.
How did you first discover DCC?
I first found DCC at an in house gaming event run by Spellburn and Gold medal Goodie Award Winner Judge Jen and her husband Bob (aka Ceronomus). That weekend was fantastic. In one location, I got to game with Jeff Goad, of Spellburn podcast fame, Terry Olson (not enough room to list that man’s amazing credits), and Weird Frontiers and Carnival of the Damned creator David Baity. The way the games just kept flowing and got weirder and more amazing was awesome.
About 4 months later I went to my first GaryCon and played in the Mall Maul and a Weird Frontiers after hours pick up game run by Mr. Baity and I was hooked. I knew I had found my tribe.
How many games did you run in 2020? How many this year?
In 2020 I ran 15 Road Crew events starting at GaryCon and running the rest of the year. This year my number is none at this point because I have been playing and helping other Road Crew Judges playtest some things they want to run. I plan on running a play test for Weird Frontiers at Spawn of Cyclops Con and have 4 events at GaryCon. I am really looking forward to those.
What kind of adventures are you running for Road Crew?
I have run mostly Weird Frontiers, there is something about that alternative history that gets me going and the player classes are amazing–David Baity made a hellova ride there. When I run DCC I tend to go with Stephen Newton’s “Attack of the Frawgs” for my funnel and then follow up with his “Haunting of Larvik Island”.
There are so many great things in there. Stephen is a master of dungeon ecology. Everything is there for a reason and it fits the environment. The fact that they can be lethal to the unthinking player, is a nice bonus. Another great module is Studio 9 Games’ “Strange Night at the Pint N Pony”. So much awesome fun there.
This year the plan is to branch out into MCC, Xcrawl, DCC Lanhkmar, Empire of the East, and the Shudder Mountains this year. There is just so much stuff, I couldn’t do it all at once. Mr. Goodman has allowed so many talented people to create wonderful stuff. It’s an embarrassment of riches really.
What’s your favorite Road Crew game experience so far?
There hasn’t been one experience; it’s been the experience of running the same game for different groups and seeing such radically different solutions. In one game the party decided “let’s stop and fish” during a funnel and darned if that fish didn’t save the party’s life down the road. Then another group threw a duck one of the characters carried through the entire adventure at some fleeing creatures and it intimidated them into surrendering. Every game has been that way. That’s why DCC rocks. Give the player’s agency and they will do amazing things. As Judge Jen says so often “There is no wrong fun” in DCC.
How has the quarantine changed your gaming life?
I am one of those people who had gaming actually increase due to lockdown. I hadn’t really run much outside of my home table until lockdown started. When my Spring Break Trip was cancelled, I jumped in to do GaryCon as a judge for the first time. Running online then became a regular thing in my life. Knowing that at least 3 times a month I would either be playing or judging games really gave me something to look forward to. It was great to help take some of the pressure off judges who were really missing running games in person. To help in just that small way was a nice feeling.
What advice would you give to other Road Crew judges?
First off, be yourself when you judge. The DCC Road Crew has (to name a few of the great ones) Brendan LaSalle, Jeff Goad, Judge Sniderman, Joan DesTroyer, Kurt A. Raush, and Big Troy Tucker. It doesn’t have what you bring in as a judge. Watch them judge, steal ideas from them, but in the end be yourself and play to your strengths. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the rules, just play the game and be consistent during the session. Chances are the players at the table will know the rules and help you out. Always say “Yes” to the players and you’re going to be great
Finally, get involved in the community and make connections on the DCC RPG Rocks! Facebook page and the Goodman Games website. The DCC community is the best. If you have a question or are looking for a game someone out there has what you are looking for.