Stories Told Interview: Co-Founder Discusses TTRPGs, A New Campaign, and More
Watching actual play TTRPGs has become popular in the last few years. Campaigns run by Dimension 20 or Critical Role have pretty much become synonymous with Dungeons and Dragons, but those aren’t the only campaigns to look out for. There are tons of other actual play TTRPG channels with diverse casts and compelling narratives. Harley, known online as Breadwitchery, and Hannah, known online as Louiseyhannah, created the collaborative channel Stories Told together because they both love TTRPGs and wanted to participate in more of them.
Harley and Hannah switch off monthly to create mini-series TTRPGs. In an interview with Game Rant, Harley discussed why Stories Told was created, how it picks its players, favorite campaigns, and much more. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: What are Stories Told?
A: Stories Told is a collaborative TTRPG channel. It’s a channel where we feature actual players of TTRPGs, and we do at least once a month. An actual play is when people are playing a TTRPG, and it’s being filmed and watched by people, so we live stream TTRPGs. We like to do mini-series, and we like to showcase indie systems, so not just D&D and not just viral things. We also like to have people who haven’t played TTRPGs before and some who have played TTRPGs a ton. We always like to have a really mixed cast in terms of experience and that kind of thing as long as everyone has perfect chemistry.
We think it’s enjoyable to introduce people to new things, and often because the chat is being introduced to a new system, so it’s fun that they can have it explained to them as the players are having it explained to them. It’s basically just a TTRPG collaboration channel, and Louise Hannah (Hannah) founded it, and we just run a mini-series every month of a TTRPG, and it’s an enjoyable time.
Q: How did you get into TTRPGs and D&D?
A: Basically, when I was first interested in it, I looked on Reddit because on Reddit, there are lots of people looking for TTRPG buddies, mainly they’re always looking for a GM, which I sympathize with now, but I put stuff on Reddit, and I joined a group or two. They never really lasted, but they were fun, and then a little while back, I got invited onto Cantrip Breakers, which is another actual play with some other streamers, and they do an endless actual play where there’s no end; it just keeps going with the episodes.
That was fun, but it didn’t fit in my schedule anymore, so, unfortunately, I had to leave. And then, because my appetite for TTRPGs had been whetted, I was looking into fun seasonal TTRPGs, stuff I could do on my channel, and that kind of thing, and from there, Hannah was also really into the idea of doing a lot more TTRPG things, so that’s how we got really into it.
Q: Are there any standout campaigns that you’ve done in the past?
A: I really, really enjoyed our first campaign, which was called “Aaah, Teen Monsters!” We ran that with the Monster Hearts system, and it was super duper fun because Monster Hearts is basically a system all about roleplaying a different kind of monster, like a vampire, werewolf, succubus, that kind of thing, and it deals with themes of being a teenager and hormones and that kind of thing. That was the first thing we did under the Stories Told branding, and it was with a bunch of my friends, and we all just played ourselves, but not quite, and I found that really, really fun.
It was a perfect time because we weren’t in our heads about roleplaying or anything. We weren’t playing ourselves exactly, and we were playing caricatures of ourselves, so it was super easy, and it liable. And I make all the graphics for Stories Told, and I was so proud of the graphics I did for “Aaah, Teen Monsters!” because it was a mock-up Windows 98 interface and I was so proud of it, I spent ages on it, so it has a very near and dear place in my heart.
Then I also really like “The Fifth House,” which is one of our series we’re actually doing a second season of; as far as I’m aware, the campaign itself hasn’t excited any controversy, but it is an adaptation of the Harry Potter IP, and it’s using the Witchcraft and Wizardry system by Wacksteven which is not paid for at all, it’s a free system. Half of the cast is non-binary, and People of Color and that kind of thing, and we’re using it as a personal reclamation and bastardization of the narrative.
It’s very much like a, we’re trying to reclaim this for our nostalgia, and we think it’s funny if it’s a bunch of non-binary people trotting around in the world. But I can understand people have a different perspective, and they definitely wouldn’t like that. Because we’re the affected group, we got to make the call on what we feel safe with, and I really, really love that campaign because we’re playing eleven-year-olds. Then we’re going to be aging up, and we’re going to see the journey of our characters as they grow up. It’s lovely, and our GM is fantastic.