Continuing our discussion about women in the gaming community and industry, I am please to be joined by Bridget, another contributor to Real Women of Gaming who goes by the moniker Thia the Bard. Her gaming interests lean more on the tabletop side so that’s a great opportunity to get her views on RPGs, board games, and tabletop in general.
F&B: What is your Gamertag and does it bear any special meaning?
Thia: Thia the Bard. It is the name of a favorite D&D character. I also do a lot of singing and storytelling in two other aspects of my life. One of my job and the second is at Renaissance Faires. I work with a lot of children at both so paying at Bard is second nature.
F&B: We are getting a lot of readers outside the U.S. If you don’t mind everyone knowing, what country do you hail from?
Thia: I hail from the USA
F&B: Gamer guild/clan affiliation?
Thia: The Real Women of Gaming is the only gaming group I belong to.
F&B: When did you start gaming and what got you started?
Thia: I played video games with my mother, brother and cousins when I was younger. We also played a lot of board games. Game nights were bonding nights. At least once a week we had a family dinner with my first cousins and played games at my grandparents’ house. My housemates and I started playing games like Smallworld and after I expressed my long desire to play D&D we started that which has been my gateway back into gaming.
F&B: Console or PC? Reason for preference?
Thia: Neither. I prefer tabletop games because I am better at them. If I have to choose of the two I suppose Console due to the fact that I used to play a lot of games on a Console with my family. I mean to start relearning this medium of gaming.
F&B: With tabletop being your preference are you more into story-like RPGs, strategy, or wargames?
Thia: Oooo tough one. I love RPGs because I enjoy creating a character and making a story happen. However the competitive part of me really enjoys strategy games. I like to play against other people. I like the push myself and see if I am as good as I think I am. There is something about a strategy game that makes me feel like a child again playing against my family who never show mercy. If I have to choose probably RPGs because then I don’t get as hard on myself when I lose.
F&B: Favorite game?
Thia: Werewolves and D&D are very high on the list though Clue will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my favorite game as a kid.
F&B: Currently playing?
Thia: A campaign in D&D and learning Magic. Unfortunately my work life is too crazy to be doing too many games right now.
F&B: Most anticipated future release?
Thia: Batman: Arkham Knight.
F&B: With RPGs do you prefer homebrew campaigns, or published material?
Thia: I like homebrew campaigns. I love the opportunity for creativity! It is a great challenge for everyone who is playing.
F&B: When creating your RPG characters, do you tend to create the concept in your mind first and build the character around that, or let the dice/chance decide and build the RP around that?
Thia: I like to create concepts. I also write so character building is a big part of the game for me. I need to know my character. Thia has a serious backstory which I figured out before I even started to play her. It is honestly the best way for me to play.
F&B: Do you keep your dice separated into groups to avoid bad dice contaminating the good, or throw them all together and tempt the fates?
Thia: This question is fantastic because I was just having a conversation with a good friend about this topic. I have a few of each dice. Before we play I roll and see which is rolling best and start with that. Then if I start to roll poorly with that dice I will play with the others till I find the next best. So yes I separate them. Tempting fate has never rolled well for me.
F&B: Favorite game character and what drew you to them?
Thia: I’ve always got a soft spot for Laura Croft. She is smart. She made me believe that girls can be like Indiana Jones. She is sexy without that being her only defining characteristic. She has a lot of qualities that I think are fantastic for gamers to see a woman have.
F&B: Have you experienced any issues related to being a female gamer and can you share a memorable good or bad experience?
Thia: I’ve gone to a couple game stores where there has been some unnecessary comments made and yes it hindered my gaming. That was when I was a little younger. Now I understand that gaming, like the rest of life, is about the journey. I will never wake up and be the best gamer. I can only continue to learn and to play. That being said I will share a positive experience. My first time meeting Crymson Pleasure. My housemate was friends with Crymson and had been invited over to ring in the New Year with a game night. I was, to be honest, terrified. All these new people who were experienced gamers would be there. Then there would be me. So new and worried due to past experiences. It turned out to be the best New Year’s Eve I have ever had. The kindness and the warmth that was shown to me by those gamers made me feel safe. I felt like I could ask questions. I could learn with these people and would not be judged. It has helped me to be more confident in trying new games and to even start to identify as a gamer.
F&B: What advice would you give young ladies who are worried about sharing their love of gaming, or experiencing negativity because they have?
Thia: I get it. I have been there; honestly sometimes I am still there. I am not ashamed of my love of gaming but it is hard sometimes when you get negative reactions. You are not less of a woman for gaming. It will give you skills that others don’t have. So if you go in to a shop, a club or whatever and people treat you like less of a gamer due to your gender then screw them. This also goes for any people who treat you like less of a person because you are a gamer. Find another group. Go online. Go to a new shop. You will find a community. I did. It took me a while but I have found a great group of people. You are not a freak. You are not less. This is one more opportunity to level up in life so take it. Travel. Talk to others. Trust me, you will find the right party and get the XP.