The Dungeons and Dragons actual play series Children of Éarte is spearheaded by Daredevil actor and Dungeon Master darling Deborah Ann Woll. Woll has previously described her newest D&D adventure series as a fairy tale for adults – and a recent interview confirms that Woll’s plans are less Disney and more Brothers Grimm.
During ‘On the Éarte’ – an out-of-game chat segment that replaces the usual Demiplane Twitch stream once a month – Woll revealed “already on this adventure, I think three or four times, people have been down to one hit point – in fact, I believe one is right now”. Without spoiling the series so far (you can check out our Children of Éarte episode reviews for those), several characters have already taken bold actions that would clearly take a toll – so those in the know may be able to guess who took the worst beatings (looking at you, Silas Jordan).
“We have already brought them to the brink a couple of times here”, Woll says when talking about, as she calls them, the “squishy little first-level characters” of the series. However, Woll insists that she is more likely to be kind rather than cruel when it comes to DM-ing. “People have called me diabolical”, she says, “but I don’t think of myself like that at all – I hit hard, for sure, but I’m very generous”.
While Woll has run D&D games for celebrities like Scream star Matthew Lillard, Stranger Things actor Gaten Matarazzo, and even Jack Black, Woll is perhaps best known in the D&D community for her puzzles. These too are designed to be challenging, but they’re generous and flexible to how the player approaches them. “Puzzles should not be about making people feel stupid or less than,” she adds. “They should make them feel smart and engaged and successful.”
In the interview, Woll shares some of her top puzzling tips – “have lots of clues to draw attention to a way they can solve it for themselves.” Rather than relying exclusively on successful investigation rolls, Woll freely offers clues to her players – though how useful the clues will be still depend on the degree of success on your d20. She’s also apparently prepared to adapt her puzzle to player creativity. “I want you to shine”, she says. “I want all your ideas to be useful.”
Naturally, Woll doesn’t reveal too much about the next episodes of Children of Éarte at this stage, but she does drop a few hints. Firstly, she recommends that everyone go read the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson – a fairy tale that was apparently a big inspiration. Secondly, she explains there are things that the players have absolutely missed so far. And finally, she sums up what to expect from episode four in two simple words – “roll initiative”.