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Interview With Ashley M

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Ashley M. | @ashleeeeean

she/her

This week we spoke with Ashley, twitch streamer and DM for brand new show, Once Upon A Dice Roll!

Ashley shared her experiences with DnD and what the TTRPG community means to her. We also heard all about her brand new show, Once Upon A Dice Roll! Episode one is available right now over on their Twitch, with an absolutely stellar cast.

How were you first introduced to TTRPGs?

I was first introduced to TTRPG in Highschool when a few of my friends invited me over for a DND session. I had no clue what it was, but was given a character sheet and started rolling. Unfortunately – my friends were incredibly immature and within the first 10 minutes, my charcated was cursed with a “ring of disrobement”, causing my character to be permanently nude. It was not the best introduction to TTRPG and DND, infact I never touched the medium for another 8 years when a community member in my Twitch Channel mentioned they were a DM for DND, and I gave it another go. From there, I fell in love with DND, and learned my first experience in DND was not normal. 

How could we ensure more women feel comfortable jumping into D&D?

We need to ensure that we create welcome environments. Not just saying ‘we are inclusive and love to support women, but actually do it. Part of establishing Once Upon A Dice Roll, I sat down with our cast of women and demigirl powerhouses, and we discussed content and encounters that are a hard no.  It’s not hard to sit down as a DM or producer and ask the players what will make them comfortable. Keep in mind that sometimes stories in DND, 5E and TTRPG’s can be incredibly triggering or borderline abuse. Always consult players in private if you are planning on possibly any triggering content to ensure that you are able to tell a story that is compelling and comfortable.

What has the TTRPG community come to mean to you?

The TTRPG community for me was previously understood to be a male dominated cis community. However, I have seen it grow tremendously over the past few years as an inclusive digital community. There are a lot of changes that still need to happen to make TTRPG a more progressive and welcoming environment – but I think we are on the right path. Today, the community to me means home. I can see a tweet, a meme, an experience and instantly feel a direct connection to the content.

What advice would you give to any players out there thinking about stepping behind the DM screen for the first time?

You don’t need to have an elaborately planned multi-year campaign. Start small, a homebrew oneshot! DM’ing is different than being a player, as there are more things you need to track and plan (all the while every plan you create will be set fire by the party) encounters, story progression etc. By starting out hosting a few one shots – you can get the feel of describing an encounter, leading combat, and creating a balanced experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions yourself! Being a DM doesn’t mean memorizing the handbooks and the 25 page scripts and stories that you have written, it means looking things up and being just as inquisitive as your players. If you refuse to ask questions or challenge your own knowledge, you will find yourself being too linear and not allowing for the story, and the players stories, to write themselves.

We are so excited for your brand new actual play show, Once Upon A Dice Roll! What can you tell us about this new show?

OKAY! So this might be a bit long winded – back in December 2020, I began writing ideas for a campaign, small stories and character details  and learning the basics of being a DM. So in 2021 I hosted a One Shot called “Fight Like A Girl” that was a charity fundraiser for 1,000 Dreams Foundation, to test my skills as a DM. Since then I have been ITCHING to get behind that screen again and this time tell a more compelling and elaborate story. I made a call for Female/Non-Binary/Female Presenting creators back in February and had overwhelming response and support. What was originally going to be another one shot, has now turned into a full fledged campaign – picking back up on the story that I began writing back in 2020. Once Upon A Dice Roll is meant to be the new home of inclusive and diverse content for TTRPG. I want to open the content door for other creators looking for a space and home to host their own content as well (without the heavy living of creating a new brand and space.) Once Upon A Dice Roll is also meant for new, beginners and experienced players to play in an environment conducive to learning and expanding their experience in the TTRPG space.

Thanks so much to Ashley for sharing her experiences in the TTRPG space and for telling us all about the fab new show, Once Upon A Dice Roll!

Make sure you give Ashley and Once Upon A Dice Roll a follow, and check out their first episode over on Twitch now!

Image description:
Ashley is smiling towards the camera, has long blonde hair and is wearing a white hoodie. Ashley has black wing eyeliner and 2 silver nose rings.

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