Cassi Mothwin (she/her) is content creator for 5e who hopes to branch out into other TTRPGs in the future.
When did you begin playing D&D? And what do you love most about the game?
I started playing D&D after the chaos of planning my wedding in 2018. I always wanted to play, but never really had a chance, time, or energy to learn. Thankfully my brother stepped up and taught me. I just love how D&D has become this incredible excuse to celebrate my friends regularly and cooperatively use our imaginations.
As a queer person, have roleplaying games helped you explore or express your queer identity?
I would say so. When I play with people I trust, I know I don’t have to worry about managing (or hiding) my queerness.
What drew you to want to play the Curse of Strahd adventure?
I’ve always been drawn to dark fiction and mystery. When I read the title, I immediately wanted to know what the curse is. Throw in a vampire overlord, and I’m sold! After I played through as a PC, I knew I would love to run it. It was unique in that it’s tightly self-contained compared to other modules — the party can’t just run from the problem forever. That leaves a lot of opportunity for intrigue, red herrings, and drama.
Do you have any tips or tricks for DMs who want to run the adventure?
I have so many tips. Two important things to consider for this module are safety tools and how a GM wants to run Strahd. First, figure out what your group is comfortable with in terms of horror. Their answers will dictate how far you can push the module. When it comes to Strahd, there are several different schools of thought. Some like a ruthless general, some like an evil tyrant. I prefer the patient noble archetype. Once you’ve decided how you want to run Strahd, you can shape your NPCs around their experience within Barovia.
On November 16th, What Crooked Roots (15 folk-horror themed role-play encounters) was released. How do you envision DMs incorporating this material into their sessions?
The encounters within What Crooked Roots are purposely loose. My hope is that GMs can twist them to fit their world quite easily and with a low amount of prep.
What inspired you to create within the folk horror genre, and how is that set apart from other kinds of horror stories?
My current Curse of Strahd party inspired me! At our 6-month anniversary, I sent out a survey to get their feedback on the campaign as a whole. I asked them about several genres and which one they wanted to see more of. Folk horror was the most requested. As I set out for resources, I couldn’t find anything to suit my needs. I originally planned on making a d20 roll table, but my ideas got ahead of me.
Folk horror shares a lot of similarities with other genres, and I think the definition is fairly broad. I break it down a bit in What Crooked Roots, but to summarize, it’s a realization of anxieties regarding the unknown within nature and the wild within humans.
Do you have any recommendations of queer nerdy content that you would like people to know about?
- Twice Bitten is an amazing Curse of Strahd actual play with passionate players who do a wonderful job of roleplaying diverse characters.
- Planet Arcana is a podcast with a delightfully rich world unlike any I’ve seen in the D&D space before. I recommend giving them a listen all the time.
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