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Chaosium Community Corner Interviews - Cult of Chaos GMs


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Our wonderful community ambassador Bridgett  @Symphony Entertainment is interviewing GMs from our Cult of Chaos gamemaster program. Cult of Chaos members are invited to tell us about themselves, discuss and promote their content, provide insight to running amazing games for the Cult of Chaos at conventions, events, and FLGSs all over the planet! ! 

Would you like to be featured in a future Community Corner interview? 
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Interviewed by Bridgett Jeffries
BRIDGETT @Symphony Entertainment  Hello, Alex! Thank you for agreeing to be our first Community Corner: Cult of Chaos interviewee. We’re delighted to have you! Okay, so for starters—tell us a little bit about yourself!

ALEX SUN: Thanks for having me, Bridgett. It’s a pleasure. Here’s a couple of things about me: I’m a second generation Taiwanese American, an electrical engineer, a podcaster, and a gamemaster. I have been GMing weekly for seven years and plan to continue strong!You can find me on the Into the Darkness YouTube channel, which is hosted by Thom Raley. I am also one of the hosts for the podcast RPG Reanimators, where we offer GM tips, dissect scenarios, and reanimate them with new ideas.

Which systems to you typically run for the Cult of Chaos Program?

Call of Cthulhu 7e!

What originally drew you these particular systems/that particular game?

I love the idea of ordinary people getting wrapped up in weird and scary situations. The stakes are very high because the player characters are very mortal. During a Call of Cthulhu game, it’s always entertaining to see the slow descent into madness as the PCs encounter revelation after revelation. Equally entertaining, is seeing the PCs step up despite all odds and succeeding with sacrifices (sometimes literally).

What was the biggest hurdle you faced when becoming a GM?

When I first started GMing, I was nervous about public speaking, as the majority of the attention would be focused on me. What really helped me was learning to focus on creating an environment for the players (myself included) to have a good time. I studied a lot of online resources to help myself get better at GMing. That studying, paired with a lot of note-taking helped my confidence with running games. Since I was having fun, the rest fell into place.
What was your goal when you decided to join the Cult of Chaos program?

My goal was to run some excellent games for the community and to introduce new players to the hobby. I feel like the biggest compliment a GM can receive is when their players are inspired to GM others.
Where do you typically run your games?

I typically run games online, one to two times a week in the Into the Darkness online community. You can find me at horror conventions as well. Shoutout Chaosium Con!
Okay, into the gritty! How do you successfully pace your games?

Managing tension is a fantastic tool to keep the pace of a game. Tension in a story typically rises overtime until it reaches a climax, and then it initiates a falling action. Throughout the entirety of the story, this pattern repeats in varying degrees. I imagine the flow of tension as a rollercoaster with its peaks and valleys. When the players are in a calm situation, I look to increase the tension with danger, mystery, and excitement. When the scene is tense, due to a combat or a vital story choice, I aim to diffuse the tension as soon as possible. Too much of calm or tension sustained at one time can make the players inured to it; they might get bored. Change is interesting! By managing the tension, a GM can keep the players engaged and at the edge of their seats.I’ve also found that it is useful to estimate how much time each section of a scenario will take. It’s helpful when you are operating under a time crunch, like in a convention setting. If the GM keeps track of the time, they can make sure all the major plot points are available to be explored, which is good pacing. As a bonus, if this is outside of a convention game, you’ll learn to identify killer cliffhanger opportunities.

How do you use visualization and environmental storytelling to enhance the player experience?

Visualization allows a GM to establish powerful moods and player engagement. When I prep for a game, I visualize how the locations in the scenario would feel like in my mind. I try and incorporate all five senses and I take bullet points of the descriptions. During the game, I intersperse these bullet points into the narration to make the world that the PCs are playing in believable.For example, here’s some bullet points describing an abandoned shopping mall:
  • Stuffy air with a side of mold and a cold that makes you shiver
  • Graffiti all over the stripped concrete walls and boarded up storefronts
  • In the dark is a lone, overturned shopping cart
  • BB gun pellets strewn all over the cracked tile floor
  • Piles of broken glass that look like salt
  • The crunch of litter underneath shoes

The players will only get as much information as the GM tells them. The more that a GM gives to the players, the more that they get to work with.Environmental storytelling is an essential asset for bringing the environment to life. It’s one thing to narrate to the players that “there was a struggle in the living room as the victim was dragged away into the basement”. It’s another thing to narrate that “The sofa and coffee table are tossed aside and there is clutter everywhere. There is a trail of blood and claw marks that lead all the way down to the darkened basement”. With the latter narration, the players get the information of the former narration with the satisfaction of coming to that conclusion themselves as well as being drawn into the scene.

What are some good GM habits that GMs should consider building?

Here are some good GM habits that I personally found useful:Bring the energy to the table that you want back. The game starts with the GM: players will pick up on the GM’s excitement. When I’m enthusiastic about a game, I perform better. Along those lines, play to your strengths as a GM. I personally found that I enjoy narrating combat and high-octane scenes so I have played more Pulp Cthulhu and chose scenarios with that kind of content to run.Always keep learning! Practice, practice, practice. The internet provides a limitless pool of knowledge at your fingertips. I personally study YouTube videos, blogs, and podcasts to learn all about GMing. I ask my fellow GMs questions and compare notes on how they run their games. That being said, there is no substitution for experience, so play and run as many games as you can.Be a fan of the player characters. Give them opportunities to succeed and let them do what they are good at. The GM doesn’t come to the table with a story. The story is what all the players at the table leave with.

DeadLightandOtherDarkTurns.png.3c980dd3abc8473b69601512220fc961.pngWhat’s one piece of advice you’d offer to a novice GM, looking to get involved in Chaosium’s Cult of Chaos program?

Just jump in. The hardest part is the first step. Once a novice GM joins, they will find that the community is very friendly and willing to offer help or advice. They will find that there is a great selection of scenarios that are on offer for Cult of Chaos gamemasters.
What is your favourite Chaosium product?
My personal favorite is Dead Light for Call of Cthulhu 7e.

Where can people find you running games in 2024?
I am a gamemaster for the online roleplaying club Into the Darkness and I GM for the club members there. You can also find me on the RPG Reanimators podcast. I run pick up games on the podcast’s Discord server. Last but not least, I will be attending Chaosium Con 2024 and NecronomiCon 2024. I hope to see you there!
Edited by MOB
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  • MOB featured and pinned this topic

If you are focusing on a specific group for people maybe you should be up front about it, instead of we are going to find out when we open the Form.

Screenshot from the form:


So i am in the Andet (Other) group, not even worth a listing... ...

Edited by TrolleFrostholm
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On 11/12/2023 at 10:54 AM, TrolleFrostholm said:

If you are focusing on a specific group for people maybe you should be up front about it, instead of we are going to find out when we open the Form.

Screenshot from the form:


So i am in the Andet (Other) group, not even worth a listing... ...

There are 4 entirely-different groups listed, not "a specific group."

Given that those groups have traditionally faced prejudice / marginalization / exclusion, I think it's very worthwhile to reach out particularly to them to make them feel invited & included; and to give other members of those groups (in the general fanbase & readership of the Community Corner) someone to identify with when they read the interviews.


C'es ne pas un .sig

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