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An Adventure with the Adventurers League, and Pathfinder Society – Brynn Salvadori



[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]With Dungeons and Dragons’ (D&D) recent rise in popularity thanks to the incredible talent of Matthew Mercer and support from Geek and Sundry, geek culture has exploded. Here at The Geekwave we are dedicated to supporting anything geeky and encouraging everyone to follow what they’re passionate about and produce content about it. I happen to be quite passionate about Role Playing games like D&D, and with the surge of popularity in the D&D culture I wanted to talk to the Dungeon Masters (DMs) working professionally in the RPG world, and hopefully learn some things. Specifically how individually they got into the difficult task of DMing, how they encourage new players to join or old players to come back, and because they DM in a public setting how they deal with controversy at the table.

During this year’s ‘Salt Lake City Gaming Con’ convention or Gaming Con I had the immeasurable pleasure and luck to sit down with several Dungeon Masters that work for the Adventurers League, and the Pathfinder Society. Hearing about their passion for the game from all the DMs was inspiring and immediately made me wish I had the time during the convention to sit down and play. A couple of the DMs I spoke to, Dave Knighton and Derek Grey, that run the Adventurers League and even produce adventure modules for the conventions to run. In this blog series, I’ll run through the conversations I had with each individual Dungeon Master in the order in which I talked to them.


Brynn Salvadori

I began my adventure with Brynn Salvadori,  I could tell she was clearly a powerful DM as she approached. Immediately, I knew that she would have the answers that I sought. After a brief introduction and explanation of my quest I believed I had earned the respect of this DM and was brave enough to ask my first question in my quest for knowledge. It was my goal to learn about the origin of these powerful Dungeon Masters that roamed this area of the convention floor, so I spoke. Brynn quickly engaged with the tale that I sought, as the first woman DM with the D&D Adventurers League here in Utah, her legacy begins 20 years ago with her father. . .  

In the 70’s when the original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D) was being played her father had the dice and miniatures hanging around the house. Though his playing time was limited, Brynn couldn’t suppress the interest and desire to play. This was difficult though, for Brynn did not know anyone that played! Just out of High School though she met a guy. As the time honored trope goes, one must invite their significant other to play D&D, and so Brynn was begrudgingly allowed entrance into the party. It was not long before their respect was won and Brynn was running the game for everyone; she had taken control of the difficult part, and all the other players had to do was show up and play! Brynn notes, that while it wasn’t bad for her, she often had to fight for a table. Her skill as a DM was doubted by many, her first time DMing with the Adventurers League happened by pure chance. Her presence at the event was to help with character creation, to be a ‘Booth Babe.’ But when some of the scheduled DMs were not able to attend, Brynn was there to take up the mantle and begin her journey as DM for the Adventurers League! That first table was a make or break moment though. As she set up and awaited her prospective adventures to arrive, a couple of them were intrigued because they had never had a woman DM before. Though there was one who could not accept the legitimacy of Brynn’s claim to lead the adventure. “Women cannot DM! I will not sit for a women DM, I’ve never had one and I’m not going too.” Brynn drew her line in the sand though standing firm! “That’s fine, then you can leave, this is my table to DM” and so he left. Brynn ensured that the other players at the table knew, “If he sits at any of your tables throughout the day, you’re all in trouble. You need to back me on this” and they did. This is what is so incredible and powerful about the Adventurers League, they are a tight knit group, and are there to protect and support one another. It is known that some individuals will to adventure can be defeated by a single poor experience but Brynn was able to turn this poor experience around and continue to grow and a leader. No longer was it a bad experience for her, but for the player that chose not to play, he is the one who didn’t find enjoyment on that day. This powerful story was very encouraging and allowed me to venture forth with a related topic.

“Every DM has a right to say, ‘This is my table and this is making me uncomfortable’ and those people need to stop or they need to go.”

It was also my goal to find out how being a DM in a setting not inside one’s own castle but at a local tavern differed. Where you know not all the patrons and they come from all walks of life. Brynn notes that running the adventures with the Adventurers League requires the DM to keep things fun while remaining firm and sometimes deal with the social problems that can be awkward. “You have to deal with creepers. . . Though being surrounded by people that support you makes a huge difference.” My curiosity at this point took hold and I wanted to know how Brynn has dealt with these topics at the table. Sexism, racism, rape and pillage players. Her response was determined. “You have to say NO. This is not okay.” Brynn does a ton of policing on the table herself particularly with topics like that. But this not a table to table prevention, the DMs in the Adventurers League are a party themselves and as Brynn says “they watch for those people, and as a group we look for them. Every DM has a right to say, ‘This is my table and this is making me uncomfortable’ and those people need to stop or they need to go.” Though most of the adventurers have laid down gold to partake in the adventure at these tables, that gold has not paid for the right to make others uncomfortable. No one has the right to be an asshole at the Adventurers League because they paid to be there.

Having answered many of my questions at this point, I sought the answer to a very difficult question. What was Brynn’s favorite module to run? Brynn had many in her mind, particularly the adventures from ‘Tales of the Yawning Portal’ book, but she loves all concreted adventures, because there is a lot more opportunity for role play, which is Brynn’s favorite part about D&D. “A lot of the older premade modules where role dice and kill things, and the concreted modules have a lot more role play in them and less hitting things with a bat.” 

“Charity events are always fun, you get a lot of different people that might not have come to a normal D&D game that you can bring into and expose them to D&D.”

The Adventurers League also happens to run a lot of charity events, and I had recently found out about the Maidens and Mimics event which was run entirely by women and all the proceeds from the event went to the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA). I wanted to know more about the Adventurers League’s charity events, and Brynn was happy to oblige as she was apart of the Maiden’s and Mimics. “Charity events are always fun, you get a lot of different people that might not have come to a normal D&D game that you can bring into and expose them to D&D. Because they are coming for the charity and they want to give to the charity. And for the charity events we do a lot of extra things. You can pay a dollar and get rerolls to help build your character and playing, but it’s all going to the charity.” I thought this was brilliant! Encouraging adventurers to support charities by allowing them to have fun and control the game with increased donations really shows how amazing the Adventurers League is. Brynn points out that “Running games for a charity that you care about is always fun, and you put more effort into the game.” So for a bunch of women to come together as DMs and support a charity targeted for women they were always destined to succeed in their quest. 

Though I knew there was more information that I could absorb form Brynn, I had other DMs that I was hoping to meet, and I needed to wrap up our enlightening conversation. It was time for my final question. . . What is your favorite character build? Well currently Brynn is in love with the Barbarian Half-Orc. Though traditional this Barbarian Half-Orc is not, for she is insane! She has a 6ft tall invisible rabbit that follows her about. And as Brynn loves the role play element of D&D, having a 6ft tall invisible rabbit following you around definitely increases the drama at the table. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Talon Dillman
Talon Dillman, Director
Talon is a senior at the University of Utah getting a B.S. Degree in English. He is the current director of The Geekwave, and when he's not busy with running the platform, he's probably playing a TTRPG or working on one of his campaigns.

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An Adventure with the Adventurers League, and Pathfinder Society – Brynn Salvadori