Character Creation Cast

Character Creation Spotlight E16 - Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast with Jay Dragon and Lillie J. Harris

Episode Summary

Welcome to a special bonus episode of Character Creation Spotlight, everyone! This episode, we are shining the light on Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast, a slice of life RPG about a magical B&B with a whole host of phenomenal characters. Designers Jay Dragon and Lillie J. Harris join us to teach us about the system, run us through setting up a scenario, and have many small Evolution Cast style discussions sprinkled throughout the episode.

Episode Notes

Welcome to a special bonus episode of Character Creation Spotlight, everyone! This episode, we are shining the light on Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast, a slice of life RPG about a magical B&B with a whole host of phenomenal characters. Designers Jay Dragon and Lillie J. Harris join us to teach us about the system, run us through setting up a scenario, and have many small Evolution Cast style discussions sprinkled throughout the episode.


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Lillie J. Harris @lilliejharris

Games discussed this episode:

Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast




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Episode Transcription

Transcripts Automatically Generated - Not 100% Accurate

Amelia Antrim  0:20  

Welcome to a special bonus episode of character creation spotlight everyone. In this bonus segment we will be shining a light on some current or upcoming games to keep an eye out for I'm one of your hosts Amelia and today we are welcoming J dragon and Lily J Harris to talk about C now should have asked before how do you say this


Jay Dragon  0:40  

either way any any way is fine. Okay, anyways, all they're cracked.


Amelia Antrim  0:44  

Why I really like this game. Today we are welcoming J dragon and Lily J. Harris to talk about gazebos Bed and Breakfast. A slice of life tabletop role playing game set at a beautiful bed and breakfast deep in the woods, where mischief and magic govern.


Ryan Boelter  1:04  

Yeah. Welcome to character creation spotlight both you it's really great to have you here with us. Thank you. Hi, Jay. could you start us off by telling a little bit about yourself and what sort of projects you have going on right now?


Jay Dragon  1:18  

Hi, I'm Jay dragon. I don't use pronouns. I am the editorial director of Possum Creek games. And I am also one of the writers on board you save us bed and breakfast. You might know me from sleepaway, a queer hard tabletop role playing game about campers or wander home. Pastoral slice of life fantasy traveling game. My turn.


Amelia Antrim  1:41  

Lily, please tell us about you.


Lillie J Harris  1:44  

So my name is Lily J. Harris. I'm a cartoonist and illustrator and a writer from Southern Maryland. And I'm a writer for gays have his bed and breakfast or use a bus or however iteration you you imagine?


Amelia Antrim  2:00  

I guess I want to start by asking about that real quick. It's like, Why leave it open? I mean, I know that, you know, obviously, you're not coming into people's houses to tell them how to pronounce anything at all ever. But it was there? Like, why choose to just say, do what you want?


Lillie J Harris  2:16  

I think I mean, Jay, I'm gonna let you go. But I think that's already kind of the the ethos of UC Davis anyway, you know, of just like not really having a lot of parameters as to how people play with it, or interact with it really.


Jay Dragon  2:28  

Yeah. And it's like very much it's a it's a game about, in a lot of ways. It's a game very inspired by other forms of role playing, such as fanfiction, and like, fan relationships. And one thing I want to make was that let everyone feel like they kind of own the game the moment like It's like their game their copy their world when they kind of when they go into it. And part of that is allowing, like, it's a tactic to have little choices at the start of the game, that kind of people's emotional freedom to be like, well, if I can choose how easy buzz name is pronounced, I can also make these bigger choices later on. You know, I like that.


Amelia Antrim  3:09  

Yeah, I mean, that's the thing that we we talk about a lot. In our case, particularly in the lens of character creation of like, how did the things that you're doing at that very beginning, the first time that you touched this game, impact what you do the rest of the time? And how does it sort of tell you what it's going to be like and kind of, you know, set those stepping stones for the rest of it. And so I'm excited to see how just like little choices I'm always I'm always fascinated when people have like little decisions like that you think of all of those minute details that go into it, like stuff that I just never would have thought Oh, you're so much smarter than


Jay Dragon  3:47  

I am decide is oftentimes thinking too much about the details.


Amelia Antrim  3:51  

But I love it like the things that come out of those little decisions that people make and no way that it has such a big impact and like snowballs as you go. Just it's it's so fascinating and thrilling to me absolutely love that part of game design.


Ryan Boelter  4:06  

Absolutely. Well thank you both for being here. Now since this is an abridged version of our normal format, I will be sticking to the highlights of the system with a special focus on character creation, or in this case, lack thereof. We'll get into that. Without further ado, how about we find out what this game is all about? What's in a game? So we started talking a little bit about this before we got here. Can you tell us the core concept of Beyonce buzz?


Jay Dragon  4:40  

Do you want to get the you wanna get the narrative and get the mechanics?


Lillie J Harris  4:43  

Sure Sure. Sure. Sure. Okay, so um, off the top of the head spitballing. Here the narrative of gaze of disease a disease spreading purposed. Generally speaking, it is a heartless which you inevitably ended up selling her heart to heart Have this magical bed and breakfast that houses all of these various creatures and people in it. And so at least the narrative aspect of it, it gives people the chance to kind of get into already pre established characters, and a whole host of different guests within that story as well.


Jay Dragon  5:20  

And the way you play each game is you get together, you pick a chapter, which is like about an hour long, episodic event, like maybe it's going fishing, maybe it's, you know, maybe it's like fighting a weird scarecrow monster in the woods at night, maybe it's like mushroom picking, right? Like you pick an activity. From the chapter you pick from the guests, and the residents that are currently unlawfully kind of characters who are around, and then you play for about an hour, he plays those characters. You make decisions with stickers and like you make you make marks on the character sheet that will impact when people pick that sheet up again in the future. And then if you want to play another chapter, you can play different characters, if you want, you can swap it around. Over time, you can unlock more guests, more chapters kind of explore deeper into the book. But that's kind of the core structure of it. Hmm, very cool.


Amelia Antrim  6:12  

Oh, cool. So can you tell us a little bit more about the setting for this? So obviously, it's a world with magic and that kind of thing? Is there a lot of like detail to it? Or is it left pretty open?


Jay Dragon  6:25  

It's it's set in a kind of, like pastiche. 20th century, we have a lot of like, kind of like a 20th century full of like, weird, magical things.


Lillie J Harris  6:37  

Yet, never really in established time. Specifically, it's like, there is no internet. That's Yes, we give it.


Ryan Boelter  6:46  

Mm hmm. And it could be it could be like modern day even. But there's just nothing, nothing big technology wise. Yeah,


Jay Dragon  6:55  

we've talked about how like, it could be anywhere from like, easily 1950s to like 2010s. But everyone's too poor for cell phones, kind of like, there's no Wi Fi out in the woods kind of thing.


Ryan Boelter  7:09  

And this is a place to get away from the technology.


Jay Dragon  7:11  

Exactly. And the idea of the setting is this, it's this it's this magical Bed and Breakfast full of life. And there are these, you know, the characters ranged from like, a girl who ran away from home and a sleeping in the dryer in the laundry room to like the child, the spawn of Satan, who's left on the front door and has been raised as just like a hyperactive kid. All these different types of kind of characters that we tried to do a lot of was hinting at the setting and like pointing in directions, but now we're kind of letting people fill in a lot for themselves.


Amelia Antrim  7:49  

Yeah, have you done a lot of like, a lot of playtesting with it, I would be super interested to sort of see like, based on people's lived experiences, like what kinds of things they infer from those small details that would be super fascinating to me to watch, like, be like, Oh, I put this detail in there thinking that you would get this out of it. But you went over here?


Jay Dragon  8:09  

Well, Lily, if you want to talk a little bit about rock on which is a chapter you wrote that I feel like has a lot of those kinds of inferences and moments of that.


Lillie J Harris  8:19  

Yeah, so just so I'm clear. Question mark. Warm stunk.


Jay Dragon  8:23  

Yeah. Warm song.


Lillie J Harris  8:24  

Okay, cool. You're on the same page. Yeah, so at least for me, writing this chapter, this chapter involves two people who are going to one of their first like, local hardcore shows. And so for me personally, being from that scene in my youth, just like okay, like I'm taking my own experience of going to house shows, and the different like archetypes of people you would find that will go to a house show. And then having one character super experienced with that kind of culture and then the other who's like, this is their baptism by fire. That was really great. But honestly on the vein of actual plays, and seeing people interpret characters in ways that I was not expecting day I can't remember off the top of my head, but you will probably remember the latest actual play that's happening based on episode so like on the podcast.


Jay Dragon  9:15  

Oh, the the podcast one with with. Good, that's the Yeah, that's the the same has been breakfast podcast with Jeff Stormer. Yeah.


Lillie J Harris  9:23  

The person and I want to get their name correctly, but the person who is playing Parrish has


Jay Dragon  9:31  

Brennan Yes, yes. Only Mulligan Yeah.


Lillie J Harris  9:35  

So in the in the characterization, I have a perish perish is a chef for the bed and breakfast who was also a frog who was turned into a frog, but was in a previous life a night. And so the characterization of this parish and this actual play really leans heavy into like, knighthood is in like a really playful way of just like talking with some Don't just like such a steam is really really can't be in really fun. And that's something I wouldn't have gone with initially but it totally works.


Ryan Boelter  10:08  

Yeah, that's amazing.


Jay Dragon  10:10  

That's actually that podcast we've been doing with Jeff Stormer is a great example of that because Parrish is in every single episode and each episode played by someone totally different. So cool one episode or three and like Brennan Brennan takes Parrish and is like, by Jove we must you know like defeat like someone else someone else will take first I've heard from a Canadian players that are like game players that they will that people often make Parrish French when they're playing in Canada because of the Quebec Quebec wall. And those are make Parrish kind of French night, which is very different than like an American Association. But then also we will play him as just like a cool dad or like a funny dad or like, like there's like, like, because there's so cool. Because there's this like one kind of like, there's like kind of understanding of parish as this, you know, like, almost like commedia dell'arte, right, where it's like, parish is this character. But we've intentionally left really big gaps where everyone brings their own things to the table, which means that kind of the characters become like, the whole world becomes your own, right. Like, with the rock, it's like is this like, is, you know, like, like, I think you could probably even, you know, run that chapters anywhere from a frat party to a hardcore show to like a hippie venue. I was talking to some folks recently who are asking if rock on had alcohol on it, because they weren't, they were trying to figure out whether or not their show was family friendly. They weren't sure where to put it. And the chapter is ambiguous, intentionally so so that you can kind of manipulate the narrative to be what is kind of at your comfort level. Mm hmm.


Amelia Antrim  11:52  

Oh, I really love this. I really, I, I mean, just this, this sort of, like, you know, like personal lived experience concept is a thing that I've been paying more attention to, because my son is learning about it in like, his literature classes and stuff right now. And like pointing out, he's really big into pointing out all the facts that like, every time someone like, in a show doesn't look like him. That's his thing right now. It's like, That person doesn't look like me, but I still like the show. And I just, I find it so fascinating to be able to, like we put so much of ourselves into role playing games and sort of like you've left this like, almost like Jar shape, where it's like, I can put whatever I want in the jar, but like, it's gonna be roughly this shape. And just to see like, what people put in there, what I'm like, it's so cool.


Jay Dragon  12:40  

One of the things we've talked about a lot in terms of like meta meta concepts around the game, is this idea of like communal fanfiction, or the idea that like, the game itself is fanfiction for a TV show and a book series that doesn't exist. And so the choices you're making about your character are very fanfic or fan. Like I mentioned phantom earlier, right? Like that kind of fan fiction relationship with like, this is your headache like I will oftentimes people will make fun of me sometimes because I talk about you say, but I will like, talk about my head cannons for characters. Yes, it's important to me distinguish that like, this is how I imagined perish but there's nowhere in the text that says that. So it's by headcanon. And it's there's no truth to it. There's no objective truth, right? It just my


Amelia Antrim  13:26  

thing that we don't talk about enough in RPG is like we were going to one point do an episode on that Ryan, I think like for our character evolution cast about, like using RPGs as your fanfic, you know, to sort of like, fix your problematic cannons and to you know, like insert the characters that you wish would have been there and I wish that we talked more about that because it is a really big part of the game for a lot of us.


Ryan Boelter  13:50  

And I love that in this case, even the designer of the game gets to have headcanon


Jay Dragon  13:59  

actually made a lot of intentional things with Lilly actually don't talk about your your relationship with RPTS prior to coming up with this project.


Lillie J Harris  14:11  

Yeah, so my relationship with TT RPGs was I once sat in on a friend's d&d session a couple years ago and thought, oh, wow, this is real, real Stern. No, like my roleplay experiences come from like pros, one on one roleplay experience, but just like long paragraph fiction writing, like a collaborative writing partner, but really never anything in terms of an actual tabletop reference at all. So which was really refreshing apparently, which was nice. It was a bit of a learning curve and like Alright, so what exactly are tokens? Mechanic Yeah, yeah, but honestly, learning so much about it so quickly. It's been really helpful but also like Jay has said thankfully bring Getting a perspective that is not completely drenched in TTRPG. For a game that isn't really well, I won't say he's not. He's not that he definitely is. Yeah, but


Amelia Antrim  15:09  

when you want to work outside of like, what that sort of like structured box is, you know, like, we don't have character creation. And you know, we both came into this like, okay, tell us about your character creation. And you're like, there isn't one. Wait, I'm sorry, what? You know, I mean, it's there are things that you assume going into it, there are things that we just are like, that's what a game is. It's always nice to have somebody say, but it doesn't have to be.


Jay Dragon  15:33  

Yeah. And because our understanding of like, I think about a lot how what we use to shape the canon of what counts is a role playing game is through a very specific lens, I only talk about the history of role playing games in again, like kind of a meta way. We talk about the history of war games and history of Dungeons and Dragons. But that is one avenue of role playing. And there are many other avenues of role playing like, you know, one on one text roleplay I used to do, like, Homestuck style. chatlog roleplay, when I was a teenager, there's asked blogs on Tumblr, there's kids in the playground role playing Warrior Cats, these things that we associate with these things that we know we view as childish or cringy. And like, in a sense, yes, they are, you know, ways of playing for kids. But also right there a huge


Amelia Antrim  16:22  

play starts like that's where we all start with that is, you know, like I look at, you know, I have kids, it's like they're small, you're like watching them and you're like you're playing pretend and I just came in and gave you rules. The game makes it okay, because now you have dice like,


Jay Dragon  16:38  

yeah, exactly. And that's a lot of that's a lot of our philosophy is that, like, if we're like, we want to create games that are much more holistic and understanding what we can learn from right like when you there's a great quote by Hayao Miyazaki that's been going on Twitter a lot lately about how the problem in higher in Miyazaki is viewpoint. The problem with modern anime is that it is self referential, that it's being made by people who only consume anime. And I can't speak to what's going on and anime in Japan and 2022. But I can speak to that I think that one of the major challenges with role playing games and in the modern day is that they are very self referential, and that they are only a lot of them are only communicating with role playing games, historically, or shallow pastiche of other forms of media. And so one of the challenges how do we actually learn from right? Like, if we imagine Warrior Cats is a role playing game? What do we learn from it? If we imagine the Chronicles of Narnia or a role playing game? What do we learn for right? These kind of


Amelia Antrim  17:38  

relationships? Yeah, well, and I think that just gives you a whole new freedom to do things differently to say, you know, like, it's fine. If we don't use dice, it's fine. If we, you know, don't use Play Books, or we don't make characters or it gives you permission to sort of just try something completely new and different, in a way that I think a lot of designers feel really bound by, like, these are the structures that make it okay, the meaning of the game. I'm really excited to see something that just kind of falls outside of that. It's really cool. It's absolutely,


Ryan Boelter  18:10  

and I'm seeing a big trend of like storytelling, focus games, where you're not actually playing scenes, for the most part, you're, you're constructing the story as if you're kind of doing a synopsis of what kind of happened and what the conversations kind of contained but not actually having the conversations as characters, which is really interesting. And the the more narrative focused as well. It's a really interesting trend. Yeah. Yeah.


Amelia Antrim  18:37  

I mean, we've definitely seen a rise in like journaling games over the last couple years to it sort of speaks to some of that, like, you know, collaborative writing process so you know, like I'm looking at one that I really want to play with my friends right now that is just like a back and forth journaling game and it's like that's still role playing. And you know, we I expanding some of that now finally, I'm


Jay Dragon  18:59  

just one of the writers on his investment breakfast but a very important part for me in terms of game design was in I think when I wrote my first game and I put it online the first bit of feedback I got was from a Reddit post that said this is not a game that that gave me has been like this for the past four years. motivator I'm sorry, this isn't a game Oh, let me okay. It's like the revelation that no matter what I do from a very early point that no matter what I create, people won't call it a game. So why not just push what again? Limits right because I'm already there's no one on


Amelia Antrim  19:41  

Reddit will say you're wrong he's trying to please them. You do you that's amazing to amazing. I don't know I think I have over the last couple of years like you know, like reading stuff for the any is especially like, just The number of things that we've gotten that it's like a couple of years ago, I don't know that I would have called this a game, but it totally is like, it just, it's, it's incredible. I love seeing the way that this this hobby and industry is growing and expanding. It's very cool. Yeah, we should be talking about this game. And


Ryan Boelter  20:18  

I agree, I've been thoroughly enjoying this conversation. So we talked a little bit about that I heard those tokens possibly in this game. So what sort of materials do we need and say Don't? Don't. Materials. Don't worry,


Jay Dragon  20:42  

you nailed it. Lily is heavily involved in the narrative process, which is very, very different from the silly mechanical parts. But the way the game works mechanically is Each chapter has its own rules. So the rules of the game changed almost completely based on what chapter you're playing. There are some common thing there are some common like game objects, which chapters will use in different ways, such as a deck of playing cards, coins, tokens, index cards, if you don't have the, the chapters indicate which ones need which so if you don't have the right things, you can just choose a different chapter. So it's very, like it's very, like, you know, kind of adaptive on the fly like that. And also, like, you know, you can always cheat, that's fine, too. There are some surprise chapters that have some secret other things. I think my personal favorite is among the little surprises is the tale of Sir Parrish the bold, which uses a D 20. And has stat blocks. And is the only and it's just my little joke to ya, it's just it's a little like now it's


Amelia Antrim  21:51  

a game. Yeah, it's like now


Jay Dragon  21:55  

where you're, you're fighting dragons as a night. Exactly. Like, there's a little there's a little moment, but overwhelmingly Yeah. But what's cool right about specific characters in these chapters, is that you can tailor the mechanics to the characters. So I was playtesting, a chapter a few weeks ago, that's about doing laundry. And one of the characters has a special track that monitors how grossed out by the laundry they are. And it's like their personal game mechanic, their own little like section of the game with its own rules. That's for members playing that specific character or like, there's a couple of chapters that have like edge cases, like, there's like one chapter, this entire thing. This is very odd this chapter, like the chapters get weirder as you go further into the book. There's one chapter where there's a machine that clones people on a demo, and hey, kid, the demon child has climbed it and there's eight Hey, kids running around. But there's rules at the end for edge cases of what happens if this specific thing or combination of things ends up in the cloning machine. Like just to kind of cover some some gaps. Which is like there's some special ways like unlock a special guest or like, you know, do cheese a special thing if you if you use the edge cases, which is like, just like scissors, oddly specific thing that you can just put in the corner of a book and have be like, interesting and narratively relevant.


Ryan Boelter  23:28  



Amelia Antrim  23:30  

Oh, that's so fun. I love I love that they're just like all different things. I don't know, it's just very much like, something for everyone, which lots of games say. And I think in lots of cases they do. But this is like a very different version of that. That's just, like really excited about


Ryan Boelter  23:48  

this. I'm always fascinated by by slice of life RPGs because it's like, I've seen quite a few of them over the years. And they they are always super interesting in how mundane some of the stuff is. But like you add those little bit twists, here and there. And it takes that mundane to like a whole new level. And it's just so fascinating to play in that sort of space.


Amelia Antrim  24:17  

It's always interesting to how how different they all are from each other. Like what parts of mundane Are you trying to capture? And what everybody's idea of that is?


Ryan Boelter  24:27  

Yeah, absolutely.


Amelia Antrim  24:31  

So this game doesn't have character creation, despite the fact that you are on Character Creation Cast. Can you talk a little bit about what led to that decision? Why why you chose to make a game that went that way and then maybe tell people a little bit about what kinds of characters they can play when they sit down to play this game.


Jay Dragon  24:52  

Lily and I before this call, we're talking about our favorite guests, so


Lillie J Harris  24:56  

I'm so I'm like biting my I'm just like, I want to talk about


Jay Dragon  25:03  

why we chose to do prefab characters. And then please take us on a magical journey tell us


Amelia Antrim  25:09  

all your favorite.


Jay Dragon  25:13  

Really quick, the reason why we chose to do pre constructed characters is because I'm me and the other designer Emma's the CO Creator, who did a ton of the mechanics and best luck at Nightline bug on Twitter. And she has, like, we were both really interested in specificity. And the idea of being able to tell much more powerful stories by having like the mechanics really be very specific. And so we somewhat early on were like, what if each character is effectively a self contained game mechanics system. And we ended up kind of going a lot from there, but it was kind of a lot of the core we were, you know, a little inspired by Lady Blackbird, which is another game that does that, but think, to a more limited degree. And then we were like, Oh, well, what if you will? Obviously, if you got this bed and breakfast, you have to have all these like eccentric guests staying there. And then, you know, we we wrote 50 of them. 57 to seven residents, and then 50 guests. Yeah.


Ryan Boelter  26:20  



Jay Dragon  26:23  

Tell us about a few of


Lillie J Harris  26:26  

you in the ring, Gatorade and


Jay Dragon  26:32  

Dragon boats with a steel chair.


Lillie J Harris  26:38  

Coming in with the illegal move. Okay, so, like Jay said, we have seven residents already. But the 50 Guests are what other players can choose from to play with themselves


Jay Dragon  26:49  

or themselves. Residents are effectively like the main characters like they're, they're the ones who are most frequently gonna be chosen from and guests kind of service this like, if you need an extra character, if none of the residents appeal to you if you want to do something special. Here's all these guests. Mm hmm. Yeah.


Lillie J Harris  27:06  

Which is really lovely. Like I believe like some of them even though they're our guests are known to just like stick around semi indefinitely in the bed and breakfast like, some of them are known to like go they're just passing through, but there are some that are pretty much standard already there. And what's really lovely about the guess, is that there's a short description like a one line description as to what this guest is all first blush. And then you have bingos and work sees they effectively like what are their you don't want to make it like a binary positive, negative, but just what are like their strong suit. So what is something that they're really efficient at? Or a good trait for them? I guess, and whoops, user just where do they fall short? As creatures? It's really wonderful. I have a couple in quotation marks I say as I pull out a giant pen. But no, I will spare you and just pick like maybe like one or two that I really like. Um, there is of course, I'm gonna go been Woodruff.


Jay Dragon  28:10  

But what trophy is so great,


Lillie J Harris  28:12  

I love I love but so much. So, but is a literal flower. I want you to like help me describe but because I say it's a flower.


Jay Dragon  28:26  

He's like, he's like, he's a flower. He's a trans Do you know not I'll round as it's a weird, it's a flower monster from French folklore. And he's, he's a trans man. He's a trans masculine flower monster that loves to play basketball and goes to high school. Makes sense.


Lillie J Harris  28:46  

For me, we drove through many of them, but it's like such an easily accessible like jockey character without being off putting, like, yeah, very earnest. And I think that's what I really like about but it's like, oh, no, you're earnestly just vibing. Like you're I don't know, there are certain characters that I feel like, at least for me in terms of guestlist. And like, Oh, this is something I would naturally gravitate to. And I would not naturally gravitate towards a bug. And the I think the great thing about having such an extensive list is you can fall into like your natural pattern of character play. But you can also go completely left field and try out someone totally new. There's so many I love


Jay Dragon  29:28  

it because you switch characters like every hour. Basically, you can find like I felt there's one play test or seven doing in real life play tests with this big binder full of papers and glue and stickers. But there's one player there's one player who just wants to play perish. Every time he shows up. He plays the frog. That's his character. He's invested. Other people show up and they're like, let me look through the pile of guests. Let me see if I can find someone who's maybe different than who I normally play. And because you change it effectively every hour, it lets you take experimental risks, right? You can try out


Amelia Antrim  29:59  

you don't have to commits to something which is I know like in a campaign it's something that I like get really stressed about, I'm like, this character has to be perfect because I'm going to like by we got to see like the growth arc and we've got to do you know, and obviously, like, I'm less like that on our show because I never have to play any of them at all. But I like the idea of being able to kind of switch and be like, you know, I'm going to get a feel for this. And if it's not for me, I can do something else next time or and


Lillie J Harris  30:24  

also, based on your emotional state. Like what I really love about these guests lists are that there are several characters that are intentionally nonverbal. So depending on if you show up and you want to be there with your friends and play, use Eva's you can still play and just not speak like little that's really Yeah, a little cryptic is that the pumpkin boy, love. Pumpkin boy communicates by bouncing just bouncing Oh stick. Um, it does not speak. And also, there's a stone guess like a literal, ancient floating stone that uses his pronouns, and just does not talk just communicates by floating and making uncomfortable sounds.


Jay Dragon  31:07  

It's possibly just a rock. It is.


Ryan Boelter  31:11  

Really, it's Rocco from Sesame Street.


Jay Dragon  31:14  

It's really hard to pronounce the Tesla. I think it's how you're supposed to say it. But yes, it's like bizarre old rock. My favorite guests on a mechanic's level is Ragen bones, who's one of the first guests you start with who has this really like nefarious skeleton who's just trying to constantly plot during the Ben black breakfast. He has a really long journey. So he's trying to get like 30 points, like he's trying to, he's trying to like he's trying to basically like, it's a very long and arduous process to get him to complete his journey. And once he does, so, you have to like go to the part of the book that tells you the rules for when the world ends and like the world starts to end. And like, you have to like, be like that changes the whole tenor of the game for the next several sessions until you can like save the world. It's like a whole side plot that's hidden in the back of the book. And dragon bones at any moment, anyone can tell him to restart from the beginning. So at any moment, anyone can FOIL his plans and restart. So it's the Sisyphean endeavor of him trying to bring about the end of the world. And there are rules for if you let him succeed, if the whole group is like, let's let random bones have this one. There's game mechanics for what to do in the world. But you don't ever like you would always be like, no, none of that don't do that. Right. And


Amelia Antrim  32:40  

I just have to say like the idea of having characters that are like, I don't want to say less involved, but sort of like less at the forefront to is like making me tear up a little bit. Because I have somebody who gets like, they have a Latino look, I've got lots of mental health issues. And one of those things is that a lot of times, I will go to have game night. And I am just too overstimulated, like I've had too long of a day. Like a lot of times my gaming group would meet on Sunday nights, we would have recorded this for like five or six hours. And I'm like, I just can't do people. But I miss my friends. And so it's like, well, I have to cancel a game night because I just don't have it in me to be like charismatic and interesting and fun. But that means I don't get to hang out with my friends. And so like the idea of like having a character there that's like I can participate without having to be like, this, like, bright ray of sunshine is like really nice. It's really, like, I'm gonna try not to cry. Because I have lots of days like that, where I just like, I don't have anything left. But like, I still want to do things like I don't want to have to say no, to participating in something. And so like, I really appreciate having those options there for people. Like that makes a big difference for someone like me.


Jay Dragon  33:55  

Um, I think that I have spent a lot of time looking at games and watching people play. I think that my biggest gripe with games right now as a whole is that a lot of games presume, constant active involvement from everyone and I think ignore the realities of what it's like to play, which is that, you know, like when I've, when I run games for people, sometimes there's someone who just has to like lie down the whole time. I occasionally like yell out a thing from the bed, right? Sometimes I'll play games and there's someone who's nervous cleaner play the game before and they want to be drawing in their sketchbook. Sometimes there are people who are who were ready to be the center of attention and like, are able to give that that energy. And I think that it's important for like as a game designer, part of the like a game designer is like effectively, you are giving people tools to build spaces for play. And an important part of that is that the like, you need to make room for all kinds of play, not necessarily just the most like The most present best selves that the players, right? Because like, Yeah, you don't want to design for bad faith. But that's not that faith. That's just that there are many people who need need to take a break during play games like


Amelia Antrim  35:13  

sometimes I am an adult and I am not my peak drama club self tired


Jay Dragon  35:21  

games games should I think design with the assumption that the players are the players have all different levels of things to bring to the table?


Ryan Boelter  35:31  

Yeah. Yeah, it's very cool that there's a lot of talk about, you know, sharing the spotlight nowadays, and how it's, you know, good table etiquette to, to try to shine the light on on other folks playing their characters at the table, and then they'll do the same to you and etc, etc. And if somebody wants to be a background character, it sounds like we can still shining the spotlight on them being a background character, they don't have to be at the forefront, they don't have to be the primary hero or anything like


Jay Dragon  36:02  

my one of my big things that I feel very strongly is that there's always more ways to play than the game designer can imagine. And like, it is the goal of the game designer to make space for not only all the different ways of play the game designer can imagine but also all the other ways to that game, just like that, like, game should have space for like all different kinds of fun, even if that fun isn't something that game designer could conceive of.


Amelia Antrim  36:28  

Yeah. Which is definitely like, not an easy thing to do. You know, when you're saying like, I need to design for things I can't even imagine like


Jay Dragon  36:38  

two plus years


Amelia Antrim  36:40  

now, right? Yeah. But I think in you know, like, from my view to like, even the effort to go there says, like, okay, you've, you know, like, it's made me feel welcome. You know, that even like the, you know, we've we've tried, and we understand that this is something that happens is is certainly for that. Yeah,


Ryan Boelter  37:03  

it's a big deal. Absolutely. Well, I'm excited to see kind of what our options are in this game, would we be able to walk through like a, like, what would kind of happen at a session zero to kind of prep us into play for one of these chapters?


Jay Dragon  37:21  

Sure. Um, how how deep do we want to go? How much on a scale of one of us explains it to we do it? How on what's Where do you want to end on that scale?


Amelia Antrim  37:34  

Well, I mean, the question at this point is for you, like as far as time how much, you know, do you because like, we're we're willing to do whatever like we are. I don't know. I'm in it now.


Jay Dragon  37:44  

Exactly. Very, very fast. So. Lily, do we want to Lily, do you want to have your first time entering Bed and Breakfast?


Lillie J Harris  37:56  

strapped down the harness on this roller coaster?


Amelia Antrim  38:02  

Last chance to back out.


Lillie J Harris  38:04  

I mean, yeah, we can do that.


Jay Dragon  38:05  

Yeah. All right. Let's make some people. So the way it always the way you always open a session he says when breakfast is you read the first opening paragraphs which set the tone which is once upon a time the world was cruel, and there was a witch who knew it well. And so she sold her heart to build a house in the woods Where the world could never find her. At first, she would let no one into her fortress. But in the long march of days, a strange thing happened. In her own cold and spiteful way the witch made a friend and then another, and then several more, until their house was teeming with colorful faces and complicated lives. The house would come to be known as us as Bed and Breakfast and it would last for a very long time. And then once you've kind of introduced we've established we've entered the ritual space right? We look over the mysteries which is on the front door of your neighbor's Bed and Breakfast there's a sign which reads no soliciting, trespassing, romancing snooping, snitching or unnecessary small talk welcome you saver reserves or temper for those that she catches violating these rules underneath that sign as a second smaller sign which reads room for everyone. It is always September 15th. Inside the bed and breakfast, even if it's summer spring or winter outside. September 15 is the same as favorite day of the year. You save as men breakfast is in many places that may times but is most frequently near the cozy village of sleepy town somewhere on the east coast to some time in the 20th century. Finally, every room is always next to every other room. The Bed and Breakfast is both quaint and sprawling. Oh, I love it. And then the next step would be to introduce the residents who we've talked about a little bit. Lily if you want to help me just introduce the the six main residents besides Moon Prince. Did you want the roll stock?


Lillie J Harris  39:49  

I can Yes, I was gonna say is this


Jay Dragon  39:58  

scary if I could just do that but if you've been very close to be I'm dropping a bunch of links in the in the in the Zoom chat this is just for us so if we want to just been one wants to just open these four pages really quick just to and in the first link I sent the rule sheet there Lily on page if you go to where my cursor is on page three, you want to introduce the residents


Lillie J Harris  40:27  

Heck yeah. Alright so there is Gertrude a teenage girl who ran away from home and at the moment sleeps atop the dryer in the laundry room. She is kind and insecure quiet and capable beyond expectations. Cell A were a young adult who wants study to be easy was the printing magic behind now he works as the night Porter but hopes to someday become a rock star. Although it's not clear how he's going to get there is Hey kid, abandoned on the front door as a baby they grew up amid the chaos of the bed and breakfast now they're a delightfully rambunctious devil child who causes disaster wherever they go. Perish once again at night cursed by a wicked wizard to take the form of a frog now he's the bed and breakfast head in only cook but he's still courageous hero at heart and then precious Amelie dear Amelie. Robotic made acquired by the bed and breakfast they are the meticulous housekeeper constantly struggling and failing to keep the bed and breakfast tidy. They're still parsing out how they're supposed to be. And then there is good neighbor of the owner of the bed and breakfast a cold and heartless which with no patience for mirth or a sick Hannity


Lillie J Harris  41:41  

check on that fake accent when I can't figure out how to pronounce words.


Amelia Antrim  41:50  

Great. That's a good, that's a good move.


Lillie J Harris  41:53  

Thank you. Thank you. It's like are we making a joke? Some say that she secretly cares for her residents, but no one dare suggested anywhere she might overhear them.


Jay Dragon  42:05  

So those are the secrets when Trump's secret. So those are the residents. We're gonna choose a chapter first. But once we choose a chapter, you'll be picking from the residents. And if none of them speak to you, you can look to the guests. So if we want to click over to get a sense, in I think it was the second link I sent. It's a big spreadsheet called the chapter spreadsheet. Do folks see that? Yeah. It's very dense. It's all the colorful, yes, it's very, it's very visually overwhelming. So are there any? Are there any, like titles of chapters that you see just looking through that stand out to you that are interesting to you? A lot.


Amelia Antrim  42:50  

So I was already interested in wash cycle, because that just sounded fun to me.


Jay Dragon  42:54  

Yeah, let's do it. Let's do wash cycle.


Ryan Boelter  42:58  

So we talked about it, let's do it. Let's


Jay Dragon  43:00  

do it. Um, so it says with Gertrude, Sal and anyone but Emily, so someone should be Gertrude and someone should be Sal. And then the other two people can be whoever they want. So fun. Does anyone is anyone spoken to by Gertrude? Does anyone feel so? I would


Amelia Antrim  43:17  

love to be Gertrude. Wonderful.


Ryan Boelter  43:20  

I think I'll be somebody else.


Jay Dragon  43:21  

Okay, sounds good. Willie, do you want to be Salah should I be so?


Lillie J Harris  43:26  

I do I really want to just be on the periphery and watch all this happen if I can be quite honest.


Jay Dragon  43:31  

Yeah, that sounds great. All right. I mean, we're not gonna play the game at all. So this is just prep. We're just setting up so it says yeah, yeah, don't


Amelia Antrim  43:40  

play strict. No, play


Jay Dragon  43:44  

the game right now we're just we're just we're doing everything up to the playing the game. Oh, I


Lillie J Harris  43:48  

feel you okay, I'll be so I don't mind. Ryan, I


Jay Dragon  43:51  

sent you both the residents sheets and the guest list if you want to pay yeah, there's a lot of names. And so and like, the way it normally works in the game is that there's a few guests that start unlocked and then as you play, you'll unlock more and some guests will leave also. So like there, you'll never have like be choosing from a list of 50 guests. But yeah, we are and you can choose from the list of 50 guests. So


Amelia Antrim  44:16  

there's one that has a description that starts a Neptunian octopus. Brain so that's you. That's because I saw the word Neptunian.


Ryan Boelter  44:27  

I mean, I was thinking about that, but I almost have to pick this other one. Or however you pronounce it Arare Oh, oh, the waters of the earth. Oh, fantastic in a washing machine.


Amelia Antrim  44:44  

The Earth was a washing machine.


Ryan Boelter  44:46  

orario Angel over the waters of the earth a miasma of darkest blue light surrounded by six spinning wheels covered an eye as an 18 winged wielding three flaming swords, who only who uses only a name and No pronouns. Yeah, amazing.


Amelia Antrim  45:02  

Okay and a teenage runaway


Ryan Boelter  45:05  

sounds an apprentice that sounds a former


Jay Dragon  45:07  

apprentice is now an aspiring former


Amelia Antrim  45:09  

apprentice. Alright, in a laundry room just


Jay Dragon  45:12  

to finish it off. I think while we're all I will be I will be racking bones I think since we talked about him. Yeah, literally. Skeleton who uses he him pronouns?


Ryan Boelter  45:26  

I don't know why, but I'm picturing like the cash flow was that old cartoon like doodlee. whiplash or flash?


Jay Dragon  45:42  

Yeah, no, exactly.


Lillie J Harris  45:45  

Groucho Marx mask or something?


Jay Dragon  45:47  

Oh my god. Yes. So now we go over the rules. This is a frantic chapter. So it uses coin flipping as its main mechanic, you build up I'm not going to properly explain the rules because we're not gonna play but I'll kind of give you the one page you know, because this is a one page games like one page rule set. So it uses coin flipping. You build up coins as you do things and then you those coins make you more and more disastrous, they're chaos coins. And we're basically just trying to complete this huge clock of like laundry like the washing machine, the dryer, the dude trying to get everything through over time. Sound you have a special header titled very busy guy, don't read out loud. Sal is very busy, of course, of course and would rather be practicing for his concert tonight than sitting around folding laundry in the corner of the bed and breakfast. And whenever Sal doesn't want to do something he's very good at making it everyone else's problem. Whenever Sal says something he thinks is encouraging or inspiring another character, he can give away one of his cows coins to them. So South can effectively encourage people and dump his coins onto them. And similarly, Gertrude, you have the header yucky, which is Gertrude is brave, smart, hearty and adventurous. She is also easily overwhelmed. Whenever an intense wave of smell penetrates her mask an unidentified stain offense her eyes are a slimy texture passes through her hands take off her grossed out track below. When the track fills up because she has to have room to function. She won't go take a break sounds depending on her but she won't be able to do a good job until she recovers. So she can't give away cast coins until someone helps her out and clears the trash.


Amelia Antrim  47:28  

Oh me as a real person trying to get a laundry in my house. Great.


Ryan Boelter  47:32  

Can I just say I love a the mechanic for a washing machine. Chapter is coins


Amelia Antrim  47:44  

that's incredible.


Jay Dragon  47:49  

And now finally. So we've learned the rules of the game, we've chosen characters in real life we would simply be set to play. So I will lead us right up to the moment right before we start playing. Were on the first page of Chapter 10 wash cycle there is this fiction prose and Gertrude and Sal like we're in high school and we're popcorn reading some you know some play. Can you read the the lines that are being spoken by your characters when they come up as I read the fiction so I'll be the narrator cool. Chapter 10 wash cycle with Gertrude Sal and anyone but Emily, in which the laundry room has become a disaster and sound must lead the charge to fix it. With gertrudes reluctant help. Emily's arms had fallen off this was less of a problem for Emily than it would have been for most of the bed and breakfasts residents but the local repair shop was waiting on a cart from out of town to arrive and it had been an entire week since they twisted their joints apart mopping. Footprints model the floor turning it the rich brown color of early spring mud. Gertrude was curled up with a book underneath the fax machine. Try not to eavesdrop too obviously on sales phone call. She didn't want to be in the lobby but the smell of sweaty clothes and damp had filled the bed and breakfast and the calming scent of printer ankling to the clunky device was the only thing that could crowd out the more pungent odors. Sal put down the phone with a heavy side and Gertrude looked over at him. What's wrong?


Lillie J Harris  49:17  

Yes, it says with Emily at a commission. I've got to get all the laundry done today.


Jay Dragon  49:23  

Gertrude looked appalled.


Amelia Antrim  49:25  

But so there's a mountain of clothes and sheets and stuff in there. What about your concert?


Lillie J Harris  49:32  

I tried to bring it up but she well,


Jay Dragon  49:35  

Sal glance down at the phone speakers still glowing orange from heat and scratch the back of his head. I don't think she liked the sound of that. Virtus stood up straightening out her back which hurt a fair sight more than a teenager is probably shut. Nobody knew how the laundry room better than her. She'd never been on laundry duty per se. But she tried to sleep through more than a few wash cycles.


Amelia Antrim  49:56  

Well, okay, maybe you can still make your concert if Someone else pitches in


Jay Dragon  50:01  

Sal's eyes glinted.


Lillie J Harris  50:03  

Really? That's so sweet of you, kid. Let's get to work.


Jay Dragon  50:07  

Before Gertrude could stammer at a clarification, the two of them were in the laundry room, she looked out across the horror of the vast sea of dirty bedsheets and stinky socks, and realized that she had just signed up for a very long day. Indeed. Oh, no. That is the process for playing right? We just I didn't skip anything major. There was no like, there's nothing here that like we should have done that. I didn't do. So. Which is that for contacts that are easy setup. Yeah. Like with all of our goofing and joking, which is getting cut from the recording. That took that took about 1520 minutes


Amelia Antrim  50:48  

to do. Yeah, I mean, and a lot of that was just like, Ryan and I have never looked at this character list before. Yeah, exactly. Like, yes. We didn't have to have everything explained from nothing. I think like, you could do this in five. Yeah.


Jay Dragon  51:04  

If you if you had people who already knew how you save us worked, you can easily like, it's it was actually funny for the podcast recording, because we budgeted a half hour before the recording, to, like, set everything up. And because for the podcast, everyone already had their character. And they already have the chapter, there was literally just, I explained the rules to a one page game. And then we make 20 minutes, right? Like it's very, it's very quick and comfortable. And like, the weirder right as you go on, they're late chapters that are like 15 pages long. There are like bizarre corner cases and weird things. There's like a, there's a hex crawl inspired chapter that uses like index cards to create an ocean. There's a chapter that borrows from League of Legends Lane combat, where it's like, you've got three lanes and you're trying to like, take control. Like, there's a lot of weird chapters. But


Amelia Antrim  51:58  

yeah, at the core, that's an option because there are days where you're like, I want to like really like dig into it. And then there are days where you're like, I just want to like goof around and have like exactly this kind of you know, exactly, yeah. And like,


Jay Dragon  52:10  

again, that was it. That was that was that was the whole? Yes. So that's a big part. That was another big part of why I've really fallen in love with pre generated characters for this game is that yeah, I think oftentimes, with one shots, you feel this kind of frustration, where you put all this work into building a character for one shot. And then you never get to play the character again, and you don't get an emotionally satisfying resolution. In this game, you take you pick up a few trees of character, you pick them up, you embody them for a little bit. And then afterwards, once we're done with the chapter, you make a couple marks on the character sheet like indicating, like, if you've advanced the journey at all, if you've like made any changes to the character, you can see your journey on there. And, you know, you make these kinds of marks. And then, like you feel like your character has as part of a larger narrative, right? It's like your character is growing from your hands he passed on to other players, it'll, they'll continue to grow. But also, like, your character feels, you know, it feels like getting it feels good. If you're only going to play a game for an hour to be able to, you know, chat for an hour to be able to like, know that your character is not gone your character is not stuck in purgatory when you end the game. They Yeah, that someone else is going to pick up really, really if you made choices about her Arielle and you like my notes on the sheet and you like you know, checked off boxes on the journey. The next person who picks up berario would have access to all that information and could that would change how they play it and like certainly my RRL is going to be different from yours. But we can both learn from that angel, you know?


Ryan Boelter  53:51  

Absolutely. Can we like peel back the curtain a little bit and like talk about some of the stuff that are on these character sheets? Yeah,


Amelia Antrim  54:03  

marking off because I'm very interested in this idea of like playing a character that's like already a little bit lived in. Because even when I do a campaign, it's so my decisions that are impacting things, not somebody else's. And I know I personally have like a little bit of weirdness about like, giving over like, think my fit like this is mine,


Jay Dragon  54:22  

I think certainly the appeal of funny


Amelia Antrim  54:25  

and there's a difference with like pre generated ones obviously. Yeah, it comes with characters like this isn't my baby that I'm handing off? Yeah.


Jay Dragon  54:33  

And I think there is there are you know, there are some people where it's like I mentioned the playtester who just wants to play parish right and every session they play parish and they're the one like, I would feel kind of weird for my real life play test if someone else played parish because they've kind of really, you know, connected with Parrish for that iteration of ESA buzz. Um, but so like, you can kind of grow very strong attachment invest in a character but also I like to think of it a lot as As I think tying back to the larger trend of games about, we're telling stories instead of playing characters, right, like I'm sorry to say sorry, magic of the quiet year. This is a game where people get where like, characters get to make, they're like, the characters journey itself is collaborative, right? Like we're all working together to tell that kind of story. Absolutely. Lily, Lily, and more thoughts on that.


Lillie J Harris  55:24  

Um, the thoughts that I have honestly are geared towards just like, how each character changes. It sounds strange to say, I guess how each character changes in his own right, versus like passing them off to other people to play them. Yeah, like gertrudes whole journey. Yeah, like, it sounds kind of, like difficult to explain. But I suppose like towards the later chapters, that version of Gertrude versus the beginning version of Gertrude just seems so different before anyone ever even plays her.


Jay Dragon  55:58  

One of the one of the tricks we did is that your character presidents, everyone's got a journey residents have more complex journeys. But a journey is effectively like marking your characters are as it goes from player to player. So like, Gertrude, for example, starts with a journey that says, like, you don't feel at home, check off these things when they happen. And they're all about making connections. And once she completes that, she goes into a phase where she's trying to figure out if she wants to be more of a witches apprentice, or if she wants to just have fun and be herself. And so she's kind of pushing those against each other. And so that's kind of a character arc that emerged over time. And then as Lily said, as the chapters go on later, chapters represent this more mature version of Gertrude Gertrude didn't stand up to you, as a broker to kind of serve herself who can do magic. And so the character kind of, is kind of given space to grow in these ways. But also because you know, you can take notes and like her sheet, you can change your make, you can make your own markings and stuff, the character grows in your own way, and almost like builds up this kind of accumulation of your inputs, other people's inputs, the games, inputs, right? All these things kind of come together. That allows, you know, like, certainly, you know, if you come into, you know, even come into a game and play Gertrude and like, you're gonna play Gertrude different than other people. There's also, you know, like, there's no shared coherent, carnal, you know, you're not gonna get in trouble for playing Gertrude.


Amelia Antrim  57:23  

Bell. There's no Gertrude metaplot. Exactly, yeah. That's awesome. I'm really intrigued by like, how you, I don't want to say balance, because that has, like, that's such a, you know, a kind of a loaded word and RPGs. But how you kind of like, ways that the game has like those, you know, paragraphs at the end of chapters is like a little bit of narrative. And then, you know, also the decisions that the players are making over the course of the chapters, like, how do you balance those two things like the decisions that players are making versus the sort of fiction that you have already built into the game? That's a really good question. Um, I mean, the answer could be like, I don't know.


Jay Dragon  58:08  

Lily, I feel like this ties into when, when you're first starting out, I remember, sort of have working with you a bit on like, when does the fiction stop? Yeah, like, it's, and it's a really weird thing to write these chapters because you're writing a story up until the plot starts, right? Like, you're right.


Amelia Antrim  58:27  

It's really hard. It's really hard. Like, I know, even in world building stuff that I've done that it's like, where do you stop and say, Okay, now we have to, like, play to find out, you know, where do you stop writing the thing?


Lillie J Harris  58:38  

Yeah, I can only speak for myself. But I found myself naturally stopping on the ellipses and on the cliffhanger. I kind of went at it, how I try to motivate myself to continuing projects. So if I Yeah, literally. So like, if I'm like drawing something on Tuesday night, and I think I have to work on this on Wednesday. I can't stop when it's like the most boring part. I have to stop when it's fun so that I can pick it up when it's fun. Yeah, yes.


Jay Dragon  59:07  

That's a great way to put it. And like a lot of these trappers, like, the ideal is that like, they stop and they make you go, Oh, well, what happens next? Like, we don't want to stop on a on a satisfying conclusion, we want to stop on a spot where you're like, oh, what's, what's the next bet?


Amelia Antrim  59:23  

Well, you tell me.


Jay Dragon  59:26  

Exactly. And there's actually there's an interesting concept in in running games for kids that I think about a lot, which is a tactic when you're running games for kids, is you want to end the game when the kids are having fun. You don't leave running, you know, if you're running games with you don't want to stop when the kids are getting bored. You want to stop when the kids are having fun. And that's part of the trick for us as trackers being short is they kind of make you want to see what's the next step for people. But also, I think it's just sort of an important like, process within the story. And like, you know, Lily and I have both worked, you know, with kids at various points. And so I think there's a lot of that I certainly at the rest of the team to I'm thinking about I'm like, oh my god, everyone on this project has done early child education. But like part of that is like, having the game I feel like it's it's giving you the first step, and then hinting at what the second step is. And then asking you for the third step, you know, like, it's the kind of like, Yeah, I do. I do we do you do teaching process where it's like, yeah, the concierge reads the fiction. We are doing the voices of the fiction, and then, you know,


Amelia Antrim  1:00:34  

then we start playing back and forth, exactly.


Lillie J Harris  1:00:37  

Guardian teaching their child to bike, and like, does not tell the kid it's like, I'm not gonna tell you, I'm taking my hands off your back, and you're gonna look back and I'm not even behind you anymore. Yeah,


Jay Dragon  1:00:48  

the best. The best chapter intros are the ones where a play like rock on is a good example of this actually, because rock on the way the chapter does Sal and Gertrude driving in a car together, like getting out at the house in suburbia, and sleep down suburbia, where they're where the rock party is. And they're going into the concert and the the chapter, open the chapter, the chapter perfection ends as they go through the door and their party. And it's this very kind of like, like it makes you immediately want to say what Gertrude does you know what I mean? Because like, Gertrude is quiet, she's nervous, what does she do? And it like, pushes you immediately into the app? And you're like, I want to know, I want to tell you what Gertrude does, like I know, a sense of a Gertrude would do here. Yeah,


Lillie J Harris  1:01:38  

they're also a lot of that goes into what you were saying TJ, which is like, I can't explicitly say, Gertrude, see somebody hanging from the rafters screaming into a mic, if that's not the kind of music that you anticipate it, you know, so it has to go with what the people are already imagining themselves and what kind of venue they're imagining for themselves.


Jay Dragon  1:01:56  

We have advice in the book for when you have to rewrite a little bit of the chapter fiction to accommodate something that's maybe changed in your own personal game. But also, we do play a number of little tricks like Gertrude, for example, starts by sleeping on the dryer in the laundry room, that's where she begins to very, like, fragile, unloved place, because she feels like she doesn't belong in the house. That is the thing which use the player want to fix almost immediately, right? Like, you want to get her a room, as soon as possible.


Amelia Antrim  1:02:28  

Get you a bed,


Jay Dragon  1:02:31  

and like, impulse. Um, and so in the fiction, we never explicitly say where Gertrude is sleeping, we always leave it a little ambiguous as to whether or not cheating like, even in this fiction, it was very careful, right? Gertrude has a lot of experience with the laundry room, she knows that better than anyone. But don't we don't say that that's where she sleeps. And the reason for that is because we know players are gonna want to change that. And so we leave a little bit of the fiction like we take a step back and let players do that. And then it turns out the book has been ready for them to do that this whole time. Right? A Gertrude Gertrude who is staying in the laundry room and says she knows better than anyone is different than a Gertrude who used to stay in the laundry room, and knows that better than a different feeling. And so the game catches your eye matter which way you want to go with that.


Ryan Boelter  1:03:24  

I love that. Oh.


Amelia Antrim  1:03:28  

That's so cool. Now I want to look at now I want to throw my kids into this game, though, and see what they do though, because they always that's one thing that I love about playing with my kids is that like, they they also don't know those limits of what an RPG should be. So you like throw them into things. And they're like, let me describe this whole buffet setup for you. And you're like, I did not say there was a buffet, but great, go for it.


Lillie J Harris  1:03:51  

Not not to be menacing. I feel like what a great plan. Also if your kids are like being incredibly rowdy, you're like, Hey, you want to play this picnic? Do you want to play?


Amelia Antrim  1:04:04  

In the garden? Kid, why don't you be a quiet pumpkin.


Jay Dragon  1:04:09  

Kids kids have incredible creative energy. Kids are so much more daring. Like I love role playing with kids. I much prefer role playing with adults, because kids have kind of an endless creative capacity and a lack of shame and a lack of need for


Amelia Antrim  1:04:23  

nobody has said to them. Like you can't do that. Yeah, nobody has gone out like nobody on Reddit has told them that that's not a game.


Jay Dragon  1:04:31  

Exactly. And the downside, right, and so the downside that kids deal with is that kids are still learning how to play with other people. And so the tension point for kids comes from where their ideas intersect. And the trick for designing a game that's easy for both kids and grownups to get into is that for with kids, you want a game that helps them modulate their different imaginations whereas for grownups Do you want a game which prompts them forward with their imaginations and encourages them to share and, and move into space with each other and like, and also giving space to each other? Like, you know, basically, you want to have a game that can kind of do both. And the magic trick of your sabers is one of the one of the many magic tricks of you say, Yeah, is trying to find that space where it, it enables kids to balance themselves with each other. And it enables grownups to share and re access that childlike part of play.


Amelia Antrim  1:05:32  

Yeah, and I found that there's, there are not that many games that do that there. There are like lots of games out does it like this is for kids. And then there are games that are like this is for adults, and there are very few that are like, okay, we can all do this together. I click family game. There's not


Jay Dragon  1:05:48  

many, I find games, tabletop role playing games written for kids with a couple of exceptions. Kevin, Kevin Parker is a great guy. But overwhelmingly, I find them frustrating because I think that they are oftentimes much more about what grownups believe kids want to be playing, rather than what kids enjoy playing. And like, I've certainly learned is that grownups are much more squeamish and more sentimental than kids are. And so it's like, you know, there are there are a lot of things which, to a kid is funny and to a grown up is monstrous. And that's okay, that's fine, right? Like, finds children love, I think a lot of violent games, because they don't understand you know, that they don't they don't conceptualize that relationship with the actual violence. And so to them, it's this, right, you got, you know, Kenyatta people. is fine, but I think it shows right that like, designing a game for kids, there's the question of Is this a game that kids play on their own? Is this again, a game that kids play with grownups life purpose for facilitating? Like, what is the context of play? And the thing that I like to joke about is that I like to joke that possum Creek games are for kids who are tool who kids who are reading above their grade level, right? Like, I want to, I want to write games for the kid and Barnes and Noble who's sitting on the floor opening up Vampire the Masquerade books, like with the, you know, the kid who the kid who's maybe getting in a little over their head, but like, that's part of being a kid. And like, that's kind of the trick of a lot of possibly game materials is like, yeah, these are games for kids who are just starting to be ready to like, learn, like, burn the intricacies of the world. And like also, the games that are good for kids to play with other kids without even a grown up Muslim, right, that kind of Yeah, how do you make space for that is its own track.


Amelia Antrim  1:07:47  

Yeah. Which I think is why I'm looking at this one and saying like, Oh, yeah, like my son would play this was one of those like, oh, where's that book that I wanted to check out from the library? That's over in the adult section and not with the picture books, so you know, exactly,


Jay Dragon  1:07:58  

exactly. i My first exposure to tip top role playing games was hiding in the corner of Barnes and Noble reading fourth edition monster manuals. Yeah, and the rule was my dad my dad's rule asked me was if I could read the book at Barnes and Noble I wasn't allowed to bring it home so I would sit in for six hours and read like six bucks and then I would have three more that I was like dad we got to buy these


Amelia Antrim  1:08:30  

game the system Yeah.


Ryan Boelter  1:08:34  

Amazing. Well,


Amelia Antrim  1:08:35  

so our last question here. Is there anything else that you want people to know in particular about the crowdfunding campaign or anything like that? I know we've we've run through a lot of like really system stuff in the game stuff but in the more the more real world with facts.


Jay Dragon  1:08:53  

Lily what's the party you're most excited for?


Lillie J Harris  1:08:56  

March 22 2022. No, I'm just excited for the launch. Yeah, but like genuinely I'm excited for the launch I checked the backer kit What is it the the clock like the countdown Oh yep


Amelia Antrim  1:09:12  

oh no officially says like one day


Jay Dragon  1:09:14  

Yeah, we are we are we are recording it is at the time that we are currently recording it is one day and 18 hours away. Yeah. I did that for my mind. I did that.


Lillie J Harris  1:09:30  

already put in my paid time off at my day job like I'm not working that day. Can you mean when I can't be on the actual day. I am very excited for all of the the little merchant goodies that are gonna come from it as well. And also the well. Let me not flub the the name of it. Did the multiverse


Jay Dragon  1:09:55  

question verse Yeah,


Lillie J Harris  1:09:57  

yeah. Very excited for that. We're


Jay Dragon  1:10:00  

playing, we're partnering. We're partnering with a virtual tabletop stock company. Like if you're familiar with roll 20, this is kind of Yeah, like, yeah, for all 20 met Stardew Valley effectively in terms of like, what it's like to play, it's genuinely I want to okay, I want you to understand I am a huge Stickler when it comes to virtual tabletops. Like, my preferred way of playing is like a discord call an Excel spreadsheet. But this, they charged me, they really did, we played, we played a session of USA buzz on multiverse. And it was genuinely a experience that I've not had in any other game environment like it is, it's a way of playing because you're playing these characters, and you're like, you're running around a fully realized Bed and Breakfast, like the level that's the bed, like there's multiple levels that are the bed and breakfast. And so you run around, and you like, if you're bored of the conversation, or you want to like just explore, you can just go and like find objects and like, there's gonna be like mouseover text for them. So like you can like, you can effectively solo explore these levels just for fun. It's, it's such a different way of playing, but it's so much fun. It's so intuitive, and I lurked for about 10 years before I started playing tabletop games. And it is so much like, it has all the best qualities of you get to run around and the objects you pick up matter, and you get to like explore the world and feel like your actions are tangible and physical. It's really, it's really a cool thing. I'm really excited for the multiverse stuff. It's gonna be like, it's genuinely like, it is hard to explain, because it's just so different from what we normally see. With the game of stickers and stuff for the physical component, we had to do something special for the digital, you know? Yeah,


Amelia Antrim  1:11:49  

I know, that's the thing that I, I mean, I've been seeing more and more games that have a digital component to them. And I think especially given like state of the world as it is right now. More and more games are having to think about that, like how do we play when we can't be together? Yeah.


Jay Dragon  1:12:04  

One really cool thing also is so there are some guests whose mechanics and journey involve tactile components. So for example, Alex do Lohan who has a headless biker horsewoman, like, like, I have this horseman, but on a motorcycle, and she's a lesbian. Like you do, as you do. Would you call her journey and paper is you draw tattoos on her arm, to like, as you like, play chapters with her, she gets new tattoos, when her arm is filled up, she has to go back biking, and then she can come back with a new tattoo arm. But that's not an easy thing to do online. So we're going to be working with multiverse folks to figure out what is a completely different journey that's digital friendly. That will be like, utilizing online mechanics, like, you know, things like things like, you know, like being able to, you know, like randomize stuff, or like change stuff based on time of day or like, you know, being able to like simulate things like all the sorts of things that like things that being online let you do that you can't do on TableTop, we're gonna use as ways to even though the game will be different online in person will be enhancing it, you know, we're still a full,


Amelia Antrim  1:13:15  

you still get experience? Yeah,


Jay Dragon  1:13:16  

like the thing, that's the thing we've talked about a lot is that we're not trying, like, we don't want to be simulating a tabletop online, we're making a new experience that lines up with the physical. So it's definitely cool.


Amelia Antrim  1:13:30  

That makes me really happy. Because like, as someone who I, I don't have local friends that play tabletop games, the majority of my friends are long distance. And like even Ryan and I have actually never played at a table together. And so like, it's there are lots of games that are like, well, you can kind of do it over here online. And it's like, but I want the full experience. Even if it's not the same experience as you would get in person, I still want a full experience. Yeah, and I'm okay with things being different. Like there are some things you can't simulate, but then make sure that what I'm doing over here makes up for that. Exactly. Yeah. I'm really glad that you're thinking thinking that part through because that that is awesome for people like me, who would love to have local friends, but just don't.


Jay Dragon  1:14:14  

It's also the multiverse team. The other big projects they're working on right now is blades in the dark. So they're making their blades that are thing and they're making their USA bus thing and there are no two tone more totally distant.


Amelia Antrim  1:14:33  

That's so cool. Oh, that's really exciting. Because I I like I said, I don't get to engage with that kind of stuff very often. And to hear that you're excited about it, too. Especially as someone who's like not, you know, would not play virtually all the time. Yeah, it's


Ryan Boelter  1:14:50  

giving me a was it a Maniac Mansion vibe, if we were able to roleplay in the Maniac Mansion. Have you


Jay Dragon  1:15:00  

ever wished you could invite all your friends into Stardew Valley and then all pretend to be characters and Stardew Valley, right? Yeah, exactly.


Ryan Boelter  1:15:11  

Exactly. That sounds amazing.


Amelia Antrim  1:15:13  

Like honestly, yes. I would play that in a minute. Yeah, absolutely. Um, so and then the other. The other thing I want to point out too, is that you're not doing this through Kickstarter. It looks like right,


Jay Dragon  1:15:23  

we're not we're through through Indiegogo, Indiegogo. Okay. Yes, we we decided to do Indiegogo after Kickstarters announcement in December about NF T's. Indiegogo also offered us a lot more press support. And like, we went to them. And we're basically like, here's how much of our audience we are worried we will lose if we leave Kickstarter, and they were like, here's how we can support you to make up for that. So they've been great Indiegogo is gonna be a really cool experience for us, is, you know, this is our first time not using Kickstarter for a big project like this, but I'm excited to see how it goes. Um, it's been a really I've been I've spent the past two weeks setting up the IndieGoGo page, and it is actually a very surprisingly flexible and effective system that does a bunch of things that Kickstarter dead.


Amelia Antrim  1:16:10  

Yeah, no, I know, I've seen a lot of creators kind of saying that like, Okay, I have to figure out what to do to switch from Kickstarter and all that kind of stuff. But I also know that like, for me, I've just sort of been like trained to go to Kickstarter to look for the things. So I did just want to point out that like, that's not where it is.


Jay Dragon  1:16:26  

There will be a link in the description though. So click on that. Absolutely.


Amelia Antrim  1:16:29  

We will. And we will tweet about it a bunch because I'm excited about it. Absolutely. Well, Jay, Emily, thank you both so much for sitting down to talk with us about your neighbor's Bed and Breakfast. This was so much fun. What a good discussion. Thank you. Do you want to remind everyone where they can find you online?


Lillie J Harris  1:16:52  

Yeah, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram and HFO under Lily the letter J. So Lily J Harris.


Jay Dragon  1:17:00  

And you can find me on Twitter at at J letter J drag ski. I am the most notable trade dragon on Twitter so certainly if you search for trade dragon I'm sure you can find me. And you can also all my stuff is assessed with possible pre games so check out possum Creek, possibly and read a lot of stuff there.


Ryan Boelter  1:17:24  

Very cool. Well again, thank you both so much for joining us and for the special bonus episode of character creation spotlight. And thanks to everyone for tuning in. Do not forget to check out yas a buzz breakfast, a crowdfunding campaign which should be going on right now.


Jay Dragon  1:17:44  

Oh, amazing. I have either very proud of how it's going or filled with credit every month. So you all know what this episode launches.


Amelia Antrim  1:17:59  

Look it up but you'll know sure you're very excited for how it's going.


Jay Dragon  1:18:04  

I sure I sure hope I sure hope the J dragon who's hearing this is otherwise 100%.


Ryan Boelter  1:18:15  

All right, we will see you next time everyone.


Ryan Boelter  1:18:27  

Character Creation Cast is a production of the One Shot Podcast Network and can be found online at www dot character creation Add to the website to get more information on our hosts this show and even our press kit. Character Creation Cast can also be found on twitter at creation cast or ON OUR DISCORD SERVER at discord character creation I one of your hosts Ryan boelter and I can be found on twitter at Lord Neptune or online at Lord Neptune calm. Our other hosts Amelia Antrim can be found on twitter at ginger reckoning. Music for this episode is used with a Creative Commons license, or with permission from the podcast they originated from. Further information can be found within the show notes. Our main theme music is hero remix by Steve combs, and it's used with a Creative Commons license. This podcast is owned by us under Creative Commons. This episode was edited by Ryan boelter. Further information for the game systems used and today's guests can be found in the show notes. If you'd like to leave us a rating or review. We have links to various preview platforms out there including Apple podcasts in our show notes. Also check the show notes for links to our other projects. Thanks for joining us. I remember we find that the best part of any role playing game is character creation. So go out there and create some amazing people. We will see you next time.


Amelia Antrim  1:20:14  

Now we got a ransom show blurbs show blurbs show my show by the show blurbs.


Ryan Boelter  1:20:21  

Character Creation Cast is hosted by the one chat Podcast Network. If you enjoyed our show, visit one shot where you will find other great shows like Wardha


Amelia Antrim  1:20:33  

Wardha is an original fantasy actual play podcast created by Ali Grauer and drew Modjeski. It's one part Game of Thrones. Two parts Downton Abbey served on the rocks with a twist of Agatha Christie, discover magic mystery, and more than a little socio political commentary along the way. The city holds 1000s of stories. What will yours be? Right outright Oh, there we go. Look at that close enough


Unknown Speaker  1:20:59  



Amelia Antrim  1:21:02  

Alright, I will do a five count for background noise and then we'll go ahead and get started. Okay, well, I'll take a sip of my coffee first and then priorities computers


Jay Dragon  1:21:16  

no worries. I just bombarded us with Google Docs.


Amelia Antrim  1:21:22  

Oh gosh darn it as Ryan would say.


Ryan Boelter  1:21:30  

Goodness gracious.


Amelia Antrim  1:21:33  

Yes As you and no one else


Lillie J Harris  1:21:39  

Oh, my poor computer.


Ryan Boelter  1:21:41  

We are trying to teach my son different words of of exclaiming I don't know. Goodness gracious. Quality. Yeah.


Amelia Antrim  1:21:52  

And you're trying to teach your child to to swear.


Ryan Boelter  1:21:56  

Yeah, exactly. So Goodness gracious. Could gosh, oh, golly. All that sort of fun stuff. Instead of you know, harsher words that some kids will be using.


Amelia Antrim  1:22:06  

Oh, yeah. See, and my son like corrects mine because I will swear and then he's like, Oh, Mom word.


Ryan Boelter  1:22:17  

There we go. So now we can stop our recordings and


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