For our first entry, we figured where better to start than an introduction to our two main shows: Eudura and Hemlora. We sat down with the DMs of each show – Harry and Michael – and asked them a few questions about their games. What was the inspiration for their campaign and what do they enjoy the most about running it? What do they think are the main challenges of running a streamed game as opposed to a tabletop game? And, most importantly, what makes their games enjoyable for our viewers?
Here’s what the guys had to say…
What was the inspiration for the campaign?
Harry: I wanted a campaign where the party came from the same town and shared a common tragedy – similar to The Lord of the Rings and Wheel of Time – in which adventure is forced upon a small village rather than the group setting out to become adventurers. One of the main themes that will develop in the campaign is the consequences of smaller actions the party takes. With war on the horizon for the continent, I’m looking forward to seeing how the players will handle the possibilities of allying with nations or factions. With how volatile the party has been so far, however, I feel that might be some way off.
Michael: The foundation of Hemlora was how morally grey D&D can be and from there I wanted to explore the cliché that “Angels are good and Demons are bad”. I developed a new adaptation of the Celestial Realm, the Nine Hells, and a central plane (Earth/Hemlora) that is between both sides. As far as artistic adaptations and how I plan to tell the story are concerned, I'm heavily influenced by Japanese directors and writers like Miyazaki (Spirited Away), Kazutoyo Maehiro (Final Fantasy), and Kazuki Nakashima (Gurren Laggan).
What do you enjoy most about running the game?
Harry: I love it when the party responds to the world and story with genuine enthusiasm. I spent a good long while making this world. It's the same world as my private D&D game, but the streamed game started on the opposite side of the continent. Letting players explore a world you've created is the final step that makes the world feel real. Watching the characters and their relationships grow is something every DM can enjoy. Each one of my players has a multi-layered backstory so that I can work with callbacks to their history in different ways. I wanted there to be more than one 'quest' for each party member which related to their pasts. Referencing the backstory of the character in quests and skill checks is something I always enjoy in D&D.
Michael: Growing up as a kid, I always played out very long stories where I was every character as just a hobby. It was my way of unwinding at the end of the day to exhaust my hyperactive brain. D&D allows me to use that experience to bring entertainment to my friends, viewers, and my players. I would have to say the thing I enjoy most about doing this is the fact that I can make a world in which people can immerse themselves and experience something new and refreshing.
What do you see as the main challenges of running a streamed game as opposed to a tabletop game?
Harry: I always feel combat is a bit more of a slog in a stream. Combat by and large is quite predictable in most tabletop roleplaying games. The players and the viewers both will most likely know the outcome after the first round of the combat. I'm going to try and spice things up. I adore using environmental hazards and tertiary interactive elements to make combats more interesting. Instead of simply turn-by-turn combat, I'd like to try some narrative combat.
Michael: I started playing D&D about a year and a half ago and started DMing a little under a year ago. I've never had the chance to DM a group at a table, mainly because we already had a very experienced DM running a home group for us. But, as my passion for DMing grew, I eventually dropped out of that group and went off into the depths of the internet to start a group of my own. The biggest challenge I've run into is… conveyance. I might know all the things I want to show and have the party experience based off backstories and what have you, but I had to start thinking like a player when DMing and this was particularly hard for me. It's easy to connect the dots when you can see all the dots, but realising that players can only see so far was and is something that I find very challenging to balance.
What do you think makes your game enjoyable for viewers?
Harry: The unpredictability of the players! Their actions have consistently surprised me and that is what I yearn for as a DM. My stories are there to be broken and pieced back together and these players have no problem doing that. My campaign is becoming more and more flexible as time goes on. The characters are developing homebrew abilities to make sure they are not just confined to the sourcebooks’ limitations. I look forward to seeing how their classes and powers change as time passes, and I'm sure the viewers will too!
Michael: When I would roam around and watch D&D on YouTube and Twitch, I’d rarely come across people using unique monsters, spells, and mechanics. I believe people will enjoy watching this show because it goes off the tracks of a traditional D&D world and is filled with a lot of homebrewed content that you couldn’t get anywhere else except the world of Hemlora.
Want to see Harry and Michael in action? Eudura streams every Friday at 22.30 GMT/17.30 EST and Hemlora streams every Saturday at midnight GMT/19.00 EST.