Meet Amy! A long-time cosplayer who took her love of roleplaying and put it towards a roleplaying game; Amy brings her bright-eyed, positive wonderment to the role of Leiya, Half-Orc Paladin and lover of herbology.
RP: Tell me a little bit about yourself!
AC: My name is Amy Chrzanowski and I’m a proud Jersey girl from Central Jersey (which is definitely a place. We’re close to the shore but still know that New York is what you mean by “the city”). I’m adopted from South Korea and totally view myself as more Italian/Polish.
In my normal, “every day” life, I work in food marketing. In my (lack of) spare time, I’m the Global Membership Director for a Star Wars fan organization called Saber Guild and am currently in rehearsals for Elf the Musical with Narrows Community Theater in Brooklyn. I love the color purple, all things Disney, have an unhealthy obsession with dogs, and can eat my weight in popcorn.
RP: So I hear you have quite the extensive cosplay history…
AC: I lived in Orlando, FL from May 2008-May 2009 while doing the Disney College Program. When I returned to the tri-state area, I wanted to find a way to volunteer and connect with others in the NYC community.
I had just missed a volunteer meeting for Make-A-Wish when I moved to the city, which was a bit disheartening; but then, my friend Molly sent me an article about “lightsaber classes”. I mean, they had me at “lightsabers”, but watching their video about their day at St.Mary’s Hospital really touched me and it was like a sign. Dress as a Jedi and perform with lightsabers to raise awareness and money for amazing charities - including Make-A-Wish? This was my calling.
I reached out to Empire Saber Guild on Twitter and attended a class a month or two later. It then took me a year to pull together my first costume - my generic Jedi, Kamyos Rehnard - but since then I’ve upgraded my Jedi, gotten 2 Sith costumes, joined Rebel Legion (as a Jedi and Rose Tico), and the 501st (as an Imperial Officer).
My time with Saber Guild: Empire Temple has allowed me to embody what I believe to be the principles of the Jedi. We have raised thousands of dollars for local charities such as St.Mary’s Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House - and we’ve been fortunate enough to perform for the families at both locations. I also aided our Local Director, Rubin Polizzi, in the formation of a kids lightsaber training program called “Padawan Training Institute”. We’ve trained younglings at high profile events such as Star Wars Celebration Chicago, Star Wars Celebration Orlando, Hascon, and Play Fair (to name a few).
Currently, I am the Global Membership Director for Saber Guild International and finishing up a year as the PR Director for Saber Guild: Empire Temple. I’m so proud of the amazing work this organization does around the globe. Our members are incredible.
RP: How much overlap do you see between cosplay and roleplay?
AC: A ton! Truthfully, I’ve been looking into pieces to wear during Casters and Cantrips!
I’m not necessarily saying you need to cosplay to roleplay, but it’s definitely a lot more fun! To me, for cosplay (especially on a Saber Guild Level, where many of our characters are our own, unique characters), there’s an element of storytelling. One of my favorite cosplays is Rose Tyler from the episode “Idiot’s Lantern” - not just because of the pretty pink heels and skirt, but I really enjoyed the episode. Yes, it was a fun episode about the Coronation, but it also dealt with abusive families, a mother taking a stand, and a son learning to forgive (“of course, he’s your dad”).
When it comes to cosplaying for roleplay, I think it only enhances who your character is on a deeper level. Knowing that my Casters and Cantrips character is into plants and botany, I purchased long, brown gloves. They felt D&D-ish to me, but I felt it would be good for her to have something to protect her arms when digging in the dirt, especially around plants with thorns.
Yep, these are things I ponder in my everyday life. But that’s all I’ll say about that. Sorry for talking your ear off!
RP: Don’t apologize for passion! You have such an incredible insight to character building. When/why did you start playing RPGs?
AC: Unlike some of the other players, I did not grow up playing table top games like D&D. My experience with “RPGs” stemmed from online RPG forums and games like Knights of the Old Republic. I recently fell into tabletop and RPG games thanks to my friends Anne and Miles (oh hey! They’re in this show too!)
RP: Do you play board games at all? What are some of your favorites and why?
AC: My family was big on board games, especially since my parents were brought up on the classics like Monopoly, Clue, and Battleship. I actually just brought some 80s and 90s vintage board games home to play with my boyfriend and his kids. The collection includes such gems as The Full House Game (“Have mercy”), the Are You Afraid of the Dark Game (“I call this session of the Midnight Society”), and Disney Trivial Pursuit. My most prized game is a TaleSpin game signed by Jymn Magon.
To me, games (board games, video games) are very nostalgic, and I have a lot of great family memories playing games. In a world of technology, sometimes it’s nice to disconnect and focus on a great game.
RP: How do you balance gaming with your real life?
AC: I feel like gaming has found me just at the right time - during times when I feel like I’m missing performance or improv, and it’s allowed me to clear a space to be able to focus on something I really love with really great friends.
RP: How did you get involved with Casters and Cantrips?
AC: I previously worked with both Miles and Anne during Hearts of Kyber with Geeks4Good and Anne knows that I’m a big fan of the Cauldron. I’m fortunate enough to have been invited to join them on this adventure!
RP: What are you most looking forward to for Casters and Cantrips?
AC: Learning more about the D&D system, role playing with other experienced players and quite frankly - learning from them and testing the boundaries of what mischief I can get away with!
RP: What was your character creation process like?
AC: I actually first started thinking about my experiences at the Cauldron and what always stood out to me - e.g. the Tree and the herbs that were used in potions. I was watching Outlander at the time and it got me thinking about plants and herbology (especially for medicinal use - always important during a campaign) - and with Anne’s guidance, that’s how I fell into my Half-Orc Paladin character.
Since then, I’ve started looking into herbs and the history of alchemy - which has been fascinating!
For my character, I want her to bring a childlike wonder to the group. While I’m nervous being a newer player, I’m really excited - and I want to bring that enthusiasm to her as well.
RP: How do you think the interactive audience will make this game different than a “traditional” D&D game?
AC: For players in the game, it keeps things fresh. We don’t know when the audience will choose to assist us (or possibly the DM - duh duh duuuuuuuh), but they will be an integral part to the success of our adventures and I look forward to seeing who we meet and the energy that they’ll bring to this every week!
For the audience, I think this is going to be an extremely unique experience to help influence the storytelling of this game - and I love it! You don’t necessarily have to be seated with us, but they’ll always have a place at the table - and for someone who’s a bit newer to all of this, I’m honestly grateful.
RP: Do you have any advice for people just starting out with RPGs?
AC: Jump in head first with a smile on your face. I’m not gonna lie - I’m nervous and slightly intimidated by the amazing people I will be joining for Casters and Cantrips. I think it’s important to have a level of trust with the other players, and to not be afraid to make bold choices.
And read the Player’s Handbook. That has been really helpful.
But there’s only so much a book can teach you - so go out there and RPG your little heart out!