The Interview Room: Jacky Leung, bringing Asian Own Voices stories into tabletop spaces.
In this episode I am joined by Jacky Leung, from Unbreakable Publishers. Jacky is a Chinese American tabletop RPG writer and designer.
He is also the Lead Creative Director for Unbreakable Publishers (@unbreakble_pub on Twitter), a platform bringing Asian Own Voices stories into tabletop spaces. Unbreakable Publishers plans to release four new anthologies featuring Asian contributors across 2021, showcasing indie RPGs and D&D 5e.
He has appeared in several publications, including Paizo’s Lost Omens: Gods and Magic, the Uncaged Anthology, and more. You can also find Jacky on Asian Represent’s Asian Reads live on Twitch (twitch.tv/aznrep) on the first Saturday of every month as the crew reads through AD&D’s Kara-Tur: the Eastern Realms at 12 PM EST and on All Nerds Here (https://twitch.tv/allnerdshere) on Sundays at 3 PM EST playing tabletop RPGs.
You can also find out more about Jacky here: https://startplaying.games/blog/team/jacky-leung
This podcast is made for people like you. Thank you for being there. Welcome to the GMS Podcast episode 434 a podcast about the people who make and the people who play tabletop board games and roleplaying games.
If you would like to participate or sponsor this podcast, or if you would like to send us your questions or comments, get in touch. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or find me in Twitter as @gmsmagazine. and Chris is @diasexmachina
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From the publisher’s page:
Renounce the status quo, be the drive for change.
Unbreakable: Revolution is a collection of Asian-centric adventures that showcases the versatility of Asian stories with a plethora of Tabletop Roleplaying systems and rulesets.
Unbreakable: Revolution is currently available as both a digital file with a hardcover print version.
The digital edition includes:
A full color, 150-paged bookmarked PDF
A black and white printer-friendly bookmarked PDF
7 original standalone adventures from Asian writers and illustrators from around the world!
The adventures feature a variety of systems and rulesets, including 13th Age, The Black Hack, B/X Essentials, d20 systems, One Shot World, Forged in the Dark, Gun&Slinger, Ironsworn, and more!
Produced by Jacky Leung and Jazz Eisinger. Layout & Graphics Design by Caroline Amaba.
Edited by Lexi Antoku, Omi Chun, Remy Cortez, Steve Huynh, Brent Jans, Doug Riechel, Alda Yuan.
Sensitivity & Cultural Consultations by Lexi Antoku, Daniel Kwan, Kevin Thien Vu Long Nguyen, Pam Punzalan, Vis Subramanian, TOR WAR.
Cover Art by Joshua Mendenhall. Original Artwork by Caroline Amaba, Alika Gupta, Cammiella Gwisdalla, Sonya Henar, Rajib Kalita, H. “Ink” Kugler, Herman Lau, Kevin Thien Vu Long Nguyen, Mia Mercury, Tiona Miché, Brian Phongluangtham, Angeli Rafer, TOR WAR, Nichole Wilkinson, Kathryne Wilson, Nala J. Wu.
Adventures Written by Doryen Chin, Kevin Thien Vu Long Nguyen, Rajib Kalita, Charu Patel, Pam Punzalan, Ari Santiago, KC Shi.
Content Warnings for the adventures in this anthology (these are also included before the relevant adventures):
alcohol, bodily harm, body horror, cemeteries, child abduction, claustrophobia, colonial violence, colonialism, cultural & religious oppression, dead parents & family members, drowning, firearms, foreign invaders, funerals, gambling, gang violence, gaslighting, hatchets/axes, horror, hostages, immolation, imperialism, imprisonment, inequity, kidnapping, knives, mentions of murder, open water, oppression, orphanages, piracy, prison, profaning of Christian beliefs & imagery, racial & religious prejudice reflective of 19th-century Spanish colonial society in the Philippines, racism, rats, slavery, snakes, starvation, suicide attempts, supernatural aging, theft, threatening ocean life (sharks), torture, violence, violence against children & elderly
HARDCOVER PRINT IS NOW AVAILABLE!
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT UNBREAKABLE:
“The writing and artwork are powerfully beautiful, filled with a vital hope and will, burning bright against oppressive darkness – the sparks of revolution. Taking inspiration from the breadth of history, culture, experience, and imagination of the incredible, diverse Asian creators of the Unbreakable team, they created something truly spectacular.” – Sebrina A Calkins
“What has me excited is how this collection has been curated.” – Charlie Hall (Polygon)
“So this is an excellent book of adventures that any GM would be happy to run at their table, presented with utility and beauty.” – The Rat Hole
“The level of thought and diligence they put into this, the level of both affection and diligence they put into the work; it’s professional…it’s folks who’ve actually thought about what it means to write things from a perspective that are representing a given specific culture in an anthology of work that is representing a much, much broader non-homogeneous series or set of cultures and they’ve put the work in.” – Ramji (the 4th Culture)
Thank you for listening. It truly is wonderful to have you there and genuinely appreciated. The GMS Magazine Podcast is produced by Paco Garcia with assistance from Chris Dias and Martin Reed and the amazing bunch of listeners all over the world. The theme tune is by Kev Adset.
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Thank you once again and, until next time, game on!
Welcome to the Dmbs magazine podcast, episode 434, a podcast of all the people who make up the people who play tabletop board games and the role playing games. I am back to. Your host and this is the RPG interview room.
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The show in which I am lucky enough to get together with some of the best people in the world of role playing game and ask them lots of questions about their work. In this episode, I am joined by Jackie Leung Junkie’s, a Chinese American tabletop RPG, writer and designer.
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And he’s also the lead creative director for Unbreakable Publishers, a platform bringing Asian own voices stories into tabletop spaces. I wanted to interview Jacki because I have saying one of their recent productions, which basically it’s called Unbreakable Revolution, which is a collection of Asian centric adventures that showcases the versatility of Asian stories with a plethora of tabletop
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roleplaying systems and rules. Now, I have to say I did order it from a drive thru RPG a while ago, and I still haven’t received my copy, which is gutting because I’m taking a look at the PDF. I have not read it because I find reading PDFs really, really hard, but it looks and feels amazing.
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I haven’t gagging to bury my nose into that beautiful, beautiful book, but meanwhile, I just wanted to talk to Jacqui about it because it’s I think it’s a very important project and a very, very interesting one. In deed, if you would like to participate or sponsor these podcasts, or if you would like to send us your questions
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or comments, please do get in touch. You can email me on podcast, our games magazine dot com or find me on Twitter. I am at GMES Magazine. And by all means to join us on Facebook or our Discord server.
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There’s a link in the show notes on I would love to see you there. And Please do leave a review of the podcasting. Whatever platform do you happen to listen? It helps a lot, and he means even more to me and the rest of the team I know.
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Well, here’s Jackie. Jacqui, welcome to the show. first time I have you here, which is absolutely wonderful to have you around because you have curated an absolutely. Amazing product with unbreakable revolution. How are you, sir? I’m doing well, thank you for having me on the show.
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I’m really looking forward to it. I mean, me too, because we’ve been trying for a bit and swapping emails here and there for the last two or three weeks, four weeks now. Yeah, something like that. Very, very long time zones make life difficult.
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But I sure do. Anyway, before we start with with with your products, would you have done? How are you? Who am I? Yeah. Why, why, why are you even here? Stupid question Well. Well, I will say for the for the capacity of Unbreakable, I am the creative lead manager for Unbreakable Publishers, which is a platform that we
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have developed to try to elevate Asian creators and Asian voices in the RPG space. That is our main objective and our main goal. And so we want to invite Asian creators to either they either experience or no experience to get the opportunities to learn about the technology industry through creating and through actually getting a public a published
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work as a result of it. And then that way, if we we are and we’re working towards trying to make it into a space where we can try to mentor each other or help each other find opportunities so that we can try to bring more Asian voices in a space that sometimes gets very shunted.
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How did you start within the Thai RPG world, though, because this is unbreakable is a fairly recent thing, but you’ve been at it for quite some time. What is your background? So my background, I started coming into the teaching RPG space actually as a blogger.
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Way back in 2014. So I was a blogger then, and I predominantly just focused on Dungeons and Dragons and a couple of other RPGs that I liked at the time. And around 2017, I took my first steps to try to be a teacher, RPG creator and a writer.
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And then over the years, I’ve had a lot of opportunity. I had some wonderful opportunities to work with other big projects like the Uncaged Anthology, and I’ve had the opportunity. I remember I even have I worked. I did have one writing credit for Piso, for Lost Omens for gods and magic, and and that’s where I got most
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of my start. Okay. You were described to me by Snooks Chang as the most prolific blogger in Asia. I I I I will say it, it was definitely. I could see that because a lot there are still a lot of people who still remember me from my blogging because I still get asked about that quite a bit
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. And if you are used to that, I just actually still active as a, as a, as a blogger. Is there something that you have parked? I think now I don’t blog as much as I used to, especially the last two years, especially 2019.
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I have been very focused on unbreakable and being a freelance writer. But it is something that I still occasionally used to do on my Patreon, except right now. So, but for the most part, yeah, I still I still like blogging.
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I still miss blogging, actually. I just wish I had more time because my process for writing a blog article takes like an average of like two weeks. Get your phone off now. I mean, that’s that’s fair enough. I mean, I’ve since I’ve been having the blog myself.
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It does take some time to think about what you’re going to write and then write it and write it it and then think about publishing and publishing. It takes longer than people think, actually. Yeah, I used to have a six to eight month content schedule, so and I would and I would write those every year.
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Starting in October, I would start writing out the content schedule for the next the following year and start planning and then have enough space to adjust where I need to. And things like that days and I used to do yeah, because at the at my busiest, I used to churn out 55 articles a week every week for
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about six months straight. That is unbelievable. I mean, that is a lot of so you can write a lot of novels in that time. I did I actually wrote on the manuscript of a novel at that time, too.
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What made you take the leap from being a evidently successful and prolific blogger to wanting to make a living writing RPG? I think there was I wanted to try for a career change that was part of it, and then I saw at that time this around that time when I did make that change, when I started making
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that change, I started seeing more about the growing opportunities in community content programs, especially like the DMs Guild. And then eventually I started seeing other opportunities coming in from those kinds of spaces and seeing that I can self-publish.
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And that was like a and I figured that would be a wonderful opportunity to get my feet wet and try and learn about the process. And over time, I get, I think the best way I could put it was I and I ended up in places that gave me better opportunities as I went along.
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Right? How was it jumping? I mean, what was it rewarding? What kind of experiences? So so I will say I am the outlier for four for a first time creator because the usual most common advice people will give for creating or for anything creating wise is that the first thing you ever create is never going to be
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great and it may not even be successful. And I unfortunately broke that mold by having my very first content be a good, a very strong best seller in a matter of a month. Yeah, that’s setting the benchmark very, very high.
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I kind of yeah, it still does well. So it it it was something I didn’t expect. And and I think that changed a lot of my outlook for the process. And I learned a lot since then, and I’ve learned a lot about the actual the work involved for that whole process and what it would take to achieve
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that. What was the reception of you as a writer? And with that, I’m going to very likely go for the fact that the duration and the very few Asian writers within the RPG community, we are seeing a few more here and there, but there have been traditionally very, very few.
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What was the reception that you saw when you started? I think when I first started a I didn’t have I don’t I think because I’m also masculine presenting, I don’t think I had as much adversity up front. And so.
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I will say, for the most part, the experience was pretty neutral, I would say, for my for my early expense, I think because at that time the space was because there was so new and the temporary space was starting to enter.
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At least the hobby is entering into a mainstream lens. And so people didn’t really know how to react to new people coming in or how they wanted to react. And then now that things are kind of solidified now, now it feel there’s that.
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There’s always that element of like to me, it always feels like there’s this little bit of like gatekeeping element still, okay? And but whereas before it, there was just enough room where we could, I could wiggle my way in.
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And maybe that’s why I got I got there. How does that gaping gatekeeping manifest? What do you see that makes you think? Yeah, I have a I have a hurdle here. I I will I will say, probably for me, the gatekeeping felt the most affluent when people were talking about the longevity of the game and whether or
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not this was just like a fad. And then when people start coming and telling their own stories and trying to get into the space, they felt like there’s no need for these kinds of stories. That’s that’s usually what I felt was there’s no need for these stories like.
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OK. Well, I’m still going to tell it, I’m still going to tell it. And I don’t just mean that there is no need for these stories. Such a ridiculously weak excuse for not letting other people tell their stories, you know, Oh, I don’t need it.
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So nobody else does. Well, that’s just completely ridiculous. Does that still happen to you or have you seen in the last few years that things have changed for the better? What is it like to compare to what we used to be when you started?
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I think when we come here then, now there are more people aware of the fact that there are stories that are not being told and that there are perspectives that have not been really analyzed or assessed or looked at before.
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And I feel like people are more receptive to it. They’re more willing to look at it at the very least. And. I think the important thing, too, is that. People, not only are they receptive and understand and willing to take it and accept these sort of stories now?
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But the fact that they’re able to understand it and that it’s in a form that they can understand as well, because I think the other big thing too, is that when you want to tell a story, sometimes you tell it in your own way, but you may not tell it in a way that’s relatable or enough for
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somebody else to understand you. And so I think that’s also taking some change as well. How we told our stories. And how did you tell them actually, what would you say are the main differences in the way that you’re telling your stories in the way that have traditionally been told or that are traditionally published?
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I think so. The best example that what sparked a lot of the the the controversy for at least four Asian stories has been the, for example, about how. Oriental Adventures was used to portray specifically East Asian cultures and and that and how basically when you look, when you really take a deep look at it, it just felt
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. There was no nuance and that any nuance that there was there just kind of got garbled up in these kind of appropriate of measures that were put into the writing and. You know, of course, we can look in hindsight and say that, well, because they didn’t have access to all the same kinds of information that we have
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now. Sure. And we can say that, you know, publication, the way publishing was done, then it was different. Sure. But it doesn’t excuse the fact that it happened and that, you know, we have to do better about it.
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And I think that’s the important part is we want to do better and there are people who just don’t feel like it’s necessary, which is, yeah, guys, I still think really a ridiculous them because one of the things when I have taken a look at how, you know, Asian stories are told, Western stories are told.
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I see a massive difference between the traditional monolith. You know, the hero’s journey, which is incredibly prevalent even when people don’t realize they’re doing it. They actually are doing that because it’s so, so common from the different kind of dynamics that are present within Asian stories.
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You know, there’s a lot more about group dynamics and the people who travel with the so-called hero who is more often than not a non hero that becomes something. As a nun, there’s only a hero, either. So have you.
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How do you implement. Many differences from from traditional background, from traditional stories into your storytelling? I will say personally, for me, it is something I still continue to work towards because I am I am born and raised in the United States, so I have a lot of Western influences in my upbringing, but I am also a first
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generation American, so I actually have the fortunate of being very closely related to my my culture, from my parents and my grandparents, my great grandparents. And so I have the diaspora I experience is is unique to me. And in this, and I will say that for me personally, I have been working towards adding more of the methods
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of storytelling that a lot, especially for me since I identify as Chinese. I like Chinese stories, how they tell their stories and how the central themes that they try to have and try to incorporate those kinds of things into my games and my stories as well to those people who say that these kind of stories are not
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needed. Well, what is your reply to that other than, you know, the one that I would give him, which I’d of off you replies to those people? I always say that. I think I always I think this is just the way I’ve always looked at things is just that every person in this world has a story to
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tell from there, because every experience and in perspective, even if you have the same event, everyone experiences that event differently and how that event will then influence the individual moving past that also will be different. And so to me, every unique individual perspective is a unique story that you cannot really retell any other way, except through the
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lens of the person who tells it. And so when you basically. Suffocate these kinds of stories or just ignore these kinds of stories, you are losing out on a piece of the human experience and you just and we just diminish because of that.
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And also, we are diminished by the fact that we don’t know those stories are there. You know, if we think that all that surrounds us is us. Where is devolution, where is the you know, where’s the richness to our lives and is this this is the one thing that I just don’t?
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Don’t get I mean, what do you do with your life when the only thing that you hear is the same thing? Over and over and over and over and over are boring. You know, I mean, I there are some people that I can.
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There are some and I can understand that some people prefer to remain complacent with what they’re familiar with it because familiarity is breeds security. So people feel that, and that’s probably why they latch on to those sort of feelings.
00:19:01:11 – 00:19:17:14
But. I mean, I will say that the answer, I guess, will always be dependent on the person who replies that with how they reply when it comes to. They don’t think these stories matter or they don’t think they these stories need to be here.
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Yeah. Well, let’s let’s hope that they realize that, you know, they have nothing to lose a great deal to win by just just looking around once or twice. That would be very nice indeed. OK, let’s let’s have them to unbreakable revolution.
00:19:33:02 – 00:20:05:14
Because how long ago did this project start exactly a year ago? Because I around this time last year, around this time 2020, I meet myself, our editor in chief jazz and our art director, Caroline. We were sitting in our meeting and we were trying to figure out what we want to do for the 2021 season.
00:20:06:15 – 00:20:28:06
And I came up with this idea that we do something different and which is funny when you think about the title. But I want to do something different. I didn’t want to do just another just simple anthology. I wanted to do something woefully different, something that broke expectations that didn’t do didn’t follow the status quo when it
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came to how you should write an RPG anthology. So I was like, Let’s do something different. Let’s do the thing most people will never expect. And you know which you don’t see too many often people doing this and which is curating a multi-system RPG anthology.
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So, like every adventure, is designed for either several or several real sets or for one particular rule set. And we’re going to curate them, and we want to centralize them around as a theme, and we want to make sure that we have as much opportunity to let these creators have a space to do it and to really
00:21:03:19 – 00:21:22:05
step forth and show what kind, how Asian, what the versatility that Asian stories to tell. Why did you decide to go on a multi system instead of deciding, you know, let’s let’s do, let’s go for the safe bet and let’s do five, which would be, you know, incredibly popular because of five.
00:21:23:08 – 00:21:45:19
Why take the risk in brackets risk of going multisystem? Well, so and that was the. So I think for me, a lot of it came from the the realization that, yes, there is that element of safety for going five, and we still plan to do some five volumes because we have our our our our first original product
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, which was a five product. And so we’re going to continue that as well. But we decided, well, let’s do new product lines and let’s do something totally different. And I think for me, I know for me personally, my feelings were at that time that.
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There we need to bring in new games, new ideas, new ways to tell stories because there are other ways to tell stories and the mainstream is the mainstream. People will always look to the mainstream and it’s and it’s always good to know that there are other things within its proliferate.
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And all you have to do is just take a look around and and we’re starting to see more people learning about other systems as we go. And so my hope is that having such a product is a opportunity for people who purchase it to try new systems, try new stories and also see that there are other ways
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to tell stories through these different systems and that you can use them. And the other thing that we made very that was very strong about was making sure that these systems that we choose would be a curated list for our our contributors to pull from, which would be having a free system reference document or free resource that
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people can just go on the internet, pull up the rules and have it available. Because that’s accessibility. That is that is a financial accessibility because I don’t know about anybody, but no one feels like spending $150 to $200 to just play a tabletop game.
00:23:21:23 – 00:23:37:14
I don’t know. That just feels like a lot of investment for for the average consumer. And. You know, I would rather have it go, OK, well, you have the one book and you can and we provide you how to acquire all the real sets.
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And that’s pretty much it. And so you only really spend for that one book to try almost a dozen different systems. Hmm. How do you go about choosing the people who were going to work with you? So we go through a open.
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We go through an open pitch process with our contributors. We also we also do a general public one, so we usually encourage for our contributors to be identified themselves as Asian. We don’t strictly ask for any kind of pedigree or heritage.
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We just simply ask the simple question Do you identify as Asian, whether you’re mixed or not? Do you identify as Asian? That is all I ask. And I still get a lot of emails when people say, I’m mixed, it’s like, Do you identify as Asian?
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This is the question I have to ask. This is all I need to ask you to answer me. And that is so that is our basic requirement. And we don’t really have a whole lot of we’re not really a big stickler about the experience level of our contributors because this whole process is really about bringing in new
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voices to be the space. And you know, they. And the thing is like that is that is the most important thing is that they will learn through the editorial process. They’ll learn for our feedback, they’ll learn through, you know, even some of them will do play testing and they get to learn about how they write, how it
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translates when it comes to their play testing. But yeah, so myself, jazz and Caroline, it’s just the three of us. We review every pitch. We go through them one by one. So we so it’s a very lengthy Sunday afternoon for us when we go through those.
00:25:18:19 – 00:25:33:18
And so we go through all of them together. I think when we did 2020 One’s entire pitch year, so it’s four or book products coming up. I think we went through about 60 pitches. That’s a lot. Yes. Yes, it was.
00:25:35:01 – 00:25:45:05
And we ended up with the second. And they were for everything. So it was like for our for revolution, it’s for our upcoming pathways. It is also for our five products. So, you know, we have to go through all of them.
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But for for revolution, we saw that there was a nice, consistent list and then there was a few people who were like sitting around the system agnostic kind of writing. So we said, OK, well, can you can we?
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And so we approached them and asked them whether or not they could. They would be comfortable doing it because it was all about their comfort level as well. So. And so they said yes, and so that’s how we ended up with our final list for revolution.
00:26:12:16 – 00:26:22:12
We ended up having a few. So I will say for the most part, when we looked at it and then we looked at the themes and we curated the themes, we just said, OK, so this is going to be revolution.
00:26:22:21 – 00:26:46:20
This is because this has all the storytelling that we want and have been through that whole process. We, myself, we will go through basically organizing our writers and scheduling our editors and having our art direction get done. And for the most part, it went through pretty well.
00:26:48:00 – 00:27:09:13
That’s a question for you. How is? How do you how knowledgeable are you with all the systems on with you, I mean, you the team, because having the reason I ask is because having many different systems, how could you ensure that the quality of the adventure of the applied mechanism mechanisms was going to be able to be
00:27:09:13 – 00:27:27:21
able to play? So we definitely curated a list of a sort of system reference documents that were be applicable. And it’s still a very long list. Mind you, it’s about 20 to 30 systems in there. And I personally had to read through all of them to make sure that they weren’t.
00:27:27:22 – 00:27:49:11
They would. They didn’t have elements of cultural exploitation or were written by problematic creators or had a hit sport and then not even look through the product history of some of these studies to see if there was a history of problematic creatures using the site, using this in or problematic content that derived from it.
00:27:49:19 – 00:28:07:06
And so I spent I definitely spent a few months going through creating that list, and we still had it an open door policy where creators could still ask for us to. They could ask to write an adventure in a system that wasn’t in the list.
00:28:07:22 – 00:28:22:06
We would just have to review it. And that was all we had to do so. And so being familiar with all of it, I I will say it was it was a daunting task. Well, I can imagine very daunting task.
00:28:22:08 – 00:28:38:03
I can’t imagine because that does a huge amount of work. Now I am going to be incredibly cynical here, so I hope this comes across as. As I intended to come through. But you said earlier that the other thing you ask is for people to identify as Asian.
00:28:38:20 – 00:28:57:10
That is a very trusting policy because I would feel that there could be some asshole out there saying, Oh, this is unfair because it’s just for Asian and nonwhite white people. So I’m just going to say that I’m Asian, I’m present, you know, give them my pitch and my venture, and hopefully they will publish me and I
00:28:57:10 – 00:29:11:19
would say, Oh, I am not Asian, I fool you. Do you consider that that could be a possibility at the time? Oh, yes, I did, because in reality, that has happened in real life. Well, not not not with us, not with us.
00:29:11:19 – 00:29:35:03
But I’ll give an example for those who don’t know the editor in chief and Marvel faked him. Faked being Japanese. Oh, to get his position. Oh yes, because the position was designed to be what they were looking for, specifically a beam pocket person and the person who white actually falsified theirs themselves and made themselves into a.
00:29:35:05 – 00:29:50:20
They had a Japanese persona and the name and everything and wrote things under that pen name. And then they submitted things. And then when they got accepted, it was like a big surprise to everyone. And this editor in chief still continues to hope that nobody ever recounts the story, and I will continue to recount the story every
00:29:50:21 – 00:30:07:10
time I get an opportunity to do so. Wow, that is one big lie. Yeah. So I will say for us, for us internally, we do. We do try very hard. We this is a good faith policy. Yes, you’re right.
00:30:07:10 – 00:30:23:12
It is a strictly good faith policy and we also have it. We also have a lot of internal policies for if you violate the codes of conduct because we also have a very strict code of conduct regarding our creators, whether they be the writers, the editors, anybody in between.
00:30:23:18 – 00:30:36:07
It’s a very it even applies to me, so I’m not immune to my own code of conduct. So we all must adhere to it. And if we’re not, there’s a lot of penalties involved besides the fact that your adventure will be pulled.
00:30:36:13 – 00:30:48:19
Besides that, you’ll lose out on all future revenue shares. You will. We will make sure this is not pleasant for, you know, that’s that’s does indeed very, very fair enough. What was the basis of that code of conduct?
00:30:49:03 – 00:31:02:05
Because I reckon that there might be some people interested in hearing out what is it that you do to ensure their safety? So we definitely want to make sure that if you’re, we definitely don’t obviously want any racism.
00:31:02:06 – 00:31:15:03
We don’t want any bigotry. We we’re really the main things about that, about that code of conduct that we really look out for are those sort of things. And then the other thing we always look out for is.
00:31:16:18 – 00:31:39:14
Basically. I guess the best way to do is to say it would be like to incite violence. We’re really not, we’re really not a fan of that, even though we wrote the entire anthology about Revolution. Go figure. But we, I will say for our internal code of conduct that policy, we usually.
00:31:41:05 – 00:32:01:12
When we wrote it, it was pretty much just to say we don’t want any fascists, we don’t want any racism, we don’t want any bigotry. And that basically we are to adhere to the fact that everyone here is to do the work of promoting Asian stories and that this is not something to tear each other down about
00:32:01:23 – 00:32:24:18
. And that pretty much, obviously, if you’re the good faith policy is and still so if you are, so that part is in there is there as well. And the part of basically you violating any of those kinds of parts of our codes of conduct, it will just basically be like I said, you lose out on future shares
00:32:24:18 – 00:32:42:18
, you’re removed from all the future printings. Remove from the content. And you know, if we need to, we may even take legal action if necessary, depending on how severe the case is. Those are. Usually that’s usually it. Did you have any any case that you had to pull?
00:32:42:18 – 00:33:04:21
You know this. This is too much. No, not yet. OK. I’m very grateful to say not yet. Well, that’s actually pretty good because it means that the rules that you are putting out there are working, you know, people are reading with actually the very least making sure that they are adhering to its thus the great privacy codes
00:33:04:21 – 00:33:22:15
of conduct work. Mm-Hmm. General, the the authors who are they? Oh, OK, thanks. I mean, either me a list of one by one, because people are going to be able to take a look at the right. But you know, where do they come from generally?
00:33:22:16 – 00:33:44:00
What kind of surprises have you had? So I think I’m very blessed to have someone like Pam who wrote make of the an instrument of peace. They wrote a adventure about Spanish colonial Philippines and the and what I really loved about that adventure is that.
00:33:45:10 – 00:34:11:01
The the governor general is possessed by the demon, by a demon, lord by the ball, and the players are actually playing part of a religious order who must infiltrate and enter into this into Spanish colonial Philippines during a very tense, harmonious time where you know, civil war is happening and revolution is sparking.
00:34:11:08 – 00:34:37:16
And so you have so players will get to experience that the the atmosphere of of basically of Spanish colonial for the Philippines well in the cusp of a of a revolution from the local people. So that one, I love that one really, truly dearly, and I will say I’m really blessed that one or the other, we actually
00:34:37:16 – 00:35:00:23
I really what I really love to for our book is that we have two different Indian writers who come from two different region, two completely different regions of India. So you actually get two different perspectives of the Indian subcontinent, which is something that some people really aren’t aware of, is that culturally speaking, in India, there are there
00:35:00:23 – 00:35:17:14
are multiple different subcultures. There are many different cultures within India, and they’re all uniquely different and they all interpret things differently. They have different customs, different traditions, and even even though the most of them are Hindu, they they will.
00:35:17:15 – 00:35:33:13
They also still have different perspectives of how the hint of Hinduism and we get to how you get to actually see and taste that both from in Unbreakable because we have one from Rajeev who is does the who did the Crimson Uprising?
00:35:33:20 – 00:36:00:13
And then we have Charro, who did the first day of Navratri. And those are two different stories in two different parts of India, inspired by two different cultures of India. And I really love that a lot and that that is definitely something that I really enjoy that we managed to have in this book the different perspectives, because
00:36:00:14 – 00:36:15:08
some people don’t know that and having and it was really nice because we had somebody who has an Indian background. They identify with that and realize that it’s like it is too different. You, you actually got to represent both like two different perspectives.
00:36:15:16 – 00:36:29:20
And I’m like, Yes, I’m so glad we could. It’s that’s like. And that is something that we don’t artificially put into the anthologies. That is just something that we see that happens through the curation process. And I will say that like even in hindsight, I probably didn’t.
00:36:30:01 – 00:36:41:02
I will say that it’s just been it’s wonderful to be surprised from time to time when you can have something where it just fits and you’re happy and you and you can be very happy to see the outcome of that.
00:36:41:11 – 00:36:56:04
I’m really, really pleased and happy to hear that there are some, some Indian writers in there as well, because I’ve always thought I’ve been to India. Myself and my niece is married to an Indian man and she lived here for for ages before going back to the UK.
00:36:56:15 – 00:37:14:14
And when I when I visited India to for her wedding, I was absolutely fascinated at the diversity within India, which is something that I wasn’t expecting. You know, you hear about India and suddenly we all do what we do in Europe of one country, one people.
00:37:14:14 – 00:37:32:11
I was like, Yeah, that really doesn’t work like that. And I’ve always thought, Yeah, there must be some amazing games and adventures and stories that can come out of here. I want to hear them. So knowing that that to Indians, right, is there.
00:37:32:11 – 00:38:03:06
That’s that’s fantastic. That’s that’s really great. You know what? What’s been the. Hardest part of putting no revolution together. The hardest part, the fact that it’s myself, Jazz and Caroline, who have to do pretty much all of the organization well because it’s only three of us who are handling the art direction so that that includes the layout
00:38:04:10 – 00:38:19:20
. I am handling right now, the business side of unbreakable publishers of that is a different element. So but I still do handle the creative management side of things. And then Jazz is to is the managing editor and our editor in chief overall.
00:38:20:01 – 00:38:38:06
So jazz actually has. So basically, it’s like a it’s a big handoff. So I make sure the writers get all their stuff together and then present that to jazz. Jazz gets the editors together to get all, get through the processes that we go through sensitivity and then we go through a revision, then another editing phase.
00:38:38:18 – 00:38:56:09
And then and then we have Caroline, who’s doing layout the entire time. So it’s a lot two for three people to juggle at the same time, especially since for Jazz and Caroline, especially, they both have full time jobs and I’m the full time and I’m a full time writer as well.
00:38:56:09 – 00:39:12:20
So trying to juggle all of that as well, it’s been an interesting time. I’ll bet. I bet it has. I mean, I’ve published a few books myself just by myself, and I do them write them. I was all translation work or most of it, and it is a ginormous task.
00:39:12:20 – 00:39:30:03
I don’t think people understand how much work goes into publishing. The Roebling game runs venture, really. Yeah, yeah, and we. And the thing is, we do go through that extensive like there is that writing process and we go through an editing process through sensitivity reading process.
00:39:30:10 – 00:39:43:23
And then we get an a through the sensitivity reading. The writers do another revision, which then the editor goes through with them one more time to complete before they can clear it for layout and so that that process in itself.
00:39:45:04 – 00:40:07:23
Could take at least four months, give or take. That’s quite some time. Well, and we. And the thing is too, we also try to be lax about the well, I wouldn’t say we were lax, but rather we give very healthy amounts of time to our creators.
00:40:09:00 – 00:40:27:24
Granted, we’ve had a few moments where we had to go like this took a little longer can in which there’s a lot of profit for us. But overall, we try not to, especially myself and Caroline and Jazz. We didn’t want to instill this notion of crunch, which is a big industry concern that regardless of which industry you’re
00:40:27:24 – 00:40:50:01
in, yeah. Anywhere crunchies is a thing that everyone sometimes deals with, and we really didn’t want our contributors to experience crunch ourselves or the three of us we can. We can choose to experience crunch. But even then we we kept we really try to be gentle to ourselves and to our contributors that there is this is not
00:40:50:09 – 00:41:03:16
how we don’t want to be like everyone else in the industry. We want everyone to have a good experience and to have the ability to look back on their work and be proud of their work. And so that is why we take this.
00:41:03:22 – 00:41:16:11
We take a longer approach than probably most publishing houses will ever take. What are the advantages of that approach that you have? Experience yourself? You know, the tangible things that you would say. This is the reason why I would recommend you do it this way.
00:41:18:01 – 00:41:34:15
I think for me, for example, I will say for writers like me personally, we all go through different ups and downs in our lives and creatively speaking, like there are high moments, there are low moments. And for creator, you can’t always be writing and creating 24, seven, seven days a week.
00:41:34:24 – 00:41:45:10
It’s just not going to happen. You will have some days that are better than others, and that’s probably when you should maximize it is when you have those good moments, when you’re good, when you’re in a good mental space to do it.
00:41:45:17 – 00:42:05:20
But it may not happen for a while. We’re also living in a time where people have are going through large bouts of depression and and other things, and so it can be very difficult. And so the important thing I think we’ve ever I’ve ever stated that we wanted from this experience and from in general unbreakable is that
00:42:06:11 – 00:42:20:20
unlike, you know, we want to be understanding, we don’t want to be like how in previous iterations of the industry where it always feels like this is an ironclad feeling where you’re basically stuck, you’ve got to finish these things by the deadline or else.
00:42:21:04 – 00:42:41:20
And I really was never for that. And so I really am grateful that for the last several years now, the industry as a whole has been moving into the the mindset of if you if you’re thinking you’re going to experience a delay, just message us so we can so we can accommodate you and that we can accommodate
00:42:41:21 – 00:42:58:18
our production schedule. And so for us, we do both. We give a length, we give a little bit more time. In most cases and then in and then we also understand and we try to keep an open door policy of like, Hey, if there is something going wrong or there’s something that you need to talk to us
00:42:58:19 – 00:43:09:07
about, we’re here for you. We want to hear and we want to talk to you. So just feel free to message us. And in all honesty, that has been that happens a lot. We get a lot of people messaging.
00:43:09:07 – 00:43:22:16
It’s like, Hey, I’m not doing well, this, you know, things are not coming through and we’re like, OK, that’s not problem. Just, you know, let’s just amend the time and see if we can meet up this. We can again, just let me know again and then we’ll just keep working at it until we get there.
00:43:23:09 – 00:43:40:23
That is also a big risk to to do to to to take that approach, even though it is very, very gentle. And to be honest, I think is the right approach to take. But it’s also a big risk because when deadlines, which is a horrible word, but deadlines can indeed suffer.
00:43:41:02 – 00:44:00:16
Yeah. Have you found a that you could have published this sooner? Has it been worth it? So I will say for us, we probably could have, but we we we. So we published Revolution in August. Our original plan was closer in May.
00:44:01:11 – 00:44:15:17
So we were three months too late. But I will say for that part, that was not on the contributors. That was just mostly from myself, jazz and Caroline being human beings as well and having our own share of needing to take care of ourselves.
00:44:16:01 – 00:44:33:12
So I will say, for the most part, I in in when I think back to it, like we really could have probably gotten that done around May or June and probably been good. But I think it was more it’s more important that we both took all that everyone, including the three people who run everything to take care
00:44:33:12 – 00:44:55:09
of themselves as well. And so. Yes, it’s a risk, but I I feel that. In the long run, it’s better for the longevity of not only just. The the industry, but also the people who work in it, because we need people to have the ability to give themselves that kind of allowance.
00:44:55:21 – 00:45:19:07
And I feel that, you know, that is something that I hope continues to be a thing that people ask for when they need it. And so and for the most part, we only we when I think back to revolution, we’ve only had maybe one or two ish incidents where we have asked for an extension, which honestly is
00:45:19:07 – 00:45:40:01
not really bad, all things considered, because we even we even factor in the extensions. So realistically speaking, like we did pretty much meet our target timeline. Well, I think there are three months. DeLay is kind of next to nothing, especially if the effort of bringing it on time could have delayed the next project by six months because
00:45:40:02 – 00:46:03:06
of the extra time you would need to recover after all the stress of bringing this on time in brackets. So I think three months is actually not bad at all. Yeah. It really wasn’t. And I mean, I think the important lesson that we’ve learned is that, you know, we just make sure that when we like, especially for
00:46:03:07 – 00:46:17:03
the admin like myself, Jazz and Caroline, is that we we are communicating that when we’re building block or games after suffering through blockers or we’re having issues and we need and we’re trying to we can’t get past that obstacle or something like that.
00:46:17:04 – 00:46:39:10
We work, we work it together in something like that. So it’s so pretty much I think from an industry standpoint and from our experience with Unbreakable, it’s always been about communication. And that’s the most important thing is that we communicate when things are not going well or when things are happening because like I like on occasion, I
00:46:39:10 – 00:46:52:13
still would send out for the most part updates to our contributors when they didn’t hear back, especially if they didn’t hear from me for like a month or two. I’ll be like, Hey, here’s where we are situationally so that they are aware of and things like that.
00:46:52:13 – 00:47:09:08
And whenever we meet accolades or updates, I usually send an email as well because I like because I would like everyone to be, you know, up to date and involved with their own success as well. So that’s that’s what I usually do this for anything.
00:47:10:21 – 00:47:27:13
I need to ask you this, but how wars are these funded? Did you go to any crowdfunding or did this come out of your own pockets? So for the most part, so. So unbreakable right now is not crowdfunding.
00:47:27:21 – 00:47:42:01
That is something that we are looking to do in the in the future because we want to equip. We want to equitably pay all of our creators right now. We are going through a a royalty share split system for our contributors.
00:47:42:08 – 00:48:02:21
But our goal, our goal moving forward is to eventually get to getting crowdfunding and having pay out and so we can pay our contributors for the work upfront. And also, they can have royalties at the end as well, because that in itself is also a financially liberating experience because I live on passive income through all my royalties
00:48:02:21 – 00:48:21:08
. And so my goal is to give these same opportunities to our creators and contributors, the ability to have passive income if they so choose to keep it. And so and so right now for revolution, it was strictly just mostly done, not from our own pockets.
00:48:21:08 – 00:48:37:01
And and then we’re doing royalty split as as for our compensation to our contributors right now dies a bit risk a big amount of money because producing a book is never a cheap endeavor. Why know that you must have a good reason?
00:48:37:01 – 00:48:52:21
Why didn’t you go for crowdfunding in the first place? Because the African listing Kickstarter would have done very well? Yeah, so I think a lot of it had to do with because we have at that time, we had not formally established the business yet.
00:48:52:24 – 00:49:08:09
So we had so we we were more because when we at the time when we first released Unbreakable Volume one, the five anthology, we were still mostly it was it was mostly a community effort more than actually like us trying to create a publishing effort.
00:49:08:18 – 00:49:22:20
And so by the time we were moving into revolution into these future books, we thought it was definitely becoming something that we wanted to do long term and we didn’t really want to do. We really didn’t want it to just be a one and done experience.
00:49:23:21 – 00:49:40:16
So we. So this was a decision that was made for us to keep it going. And so we’re moving into that phase now, but for the most part, revolution and pathways, they will not be crowdfunded because of the structure that was before them.
00:49:43:03 – 00:49:55:23
Then why are you doing this, because obviously, it’s not for the money. You know, this is this is not something that you’re going to be making a ton of money. Why are you doing these huge amount of work?
00:49:57:15 – 00:50:15:03
It is quite a task. It’s quite the task, and honestly, a lot of it has to do with the fact that one I I I want to waterproof the industry wrong in the sense that we that these stories can exist and should exist and should have a space for them.
00:50:16:03 – 00:50:32:08
two. I also believe in spite of the industry, that there can be more Asian creators in terms of writers, editors, artists, sensitivity consultants, I want more of them out there. I want more of them to have opportunities. I want more of them to be published.
00:50:32:08 – 00:50:47:23
I want more of them to have opportunities that I probably would only dream of getting. I want them to succeed, in other words. And I really believe that to the point where when we started doing this, I don’t think we were.
00:50:48:03 – 00:51:03:09
We I don’t I don’t even think we were thinking too much about the high ceiling of profit or anything like that. We weren’t even thinking about the profitability of it. We were really doing it for the sake of what is the most important thing, which was for the community as a whole.
00:51:04:24 – 00:51:19:20
The one thing is world that I wanted to ask you, because I can I can understand completely, you want them to have to see all those things. I think it makes, as far as I’m concerned, perfect sense. What will you tell companies out there?
00:51:20:02 – 00:51:39:15
Because I see I still see an awful lot of work coming out with Asian backgrounds. But no Asian people working on them or very, very few. What would you say to people who want to, because I can understand being enamored of all that of other cultures?
00:51:39:20 – 00:51:58:21
It happens. It’s a beautiful thing. But what will you say to those companies who want to write things about? Japan or the Philippines or China or anywhere else. So I that is something that I I use my favorite argument I used to hear before what?
00:51:58:22 – 00:52:11:19
Like, probably back in 2014 and 2015 was definitely when people said that there wasn’t they didn’t know, they didn’t know anybody. That was the that was the most common excuse I’ve ever heard. They never they didn’t know anybody.
00:52:12:04 – 00:52:25:20
Well, and that’s and that’s why this platform exists, because I want to be able to flood the space with more Asian creators so I can basically put gesture to the to the community and say, there are plenty of Asian creators here.
00:52:26:08 – 00:52:50:01
I don’t know what your problem is. I don’t know what your problem is. You’re saying there’s not there’s not enough people to hire either. Oh, excuse me. Here are 50. Go for it. There are 50, there’s 100 and, you know, I am very blessed because every time I see it, whether it be a friend of our our
00:52:50:02 – 00:53:09:01
contributor community or or, ah, another Asian creator, or even just like someone in our community who actually gets an opportunity, I try very hard to make sure that if I find out about it, that I really try to shout it to the ceiling, to the heavens of the sky about it and try to share as much as
00:53:09:01 – 00:53:33:09
I can on Twitter about it. Because, you know, those are opportunities. And that’s important because that shows to people what these are. These are people with credentials. You have no excuse to say anything about their qualifications, their ability or the fact that they maybe they may be they may be geographically in a difficult place because there are
00:53:33:09 – 00:53:52:05
people who are who are becoming very successful in the RPG space, who are in countries, not in the United States, who are not in Europe, and because we live in the advent of the internet. And, you know, we have things like video conferencing, we have emails which has been around for over, you know, since the since the
00:53:52:05 – 00:54:13:01
early 2000, you know, the 2001 before that. So like, we really have no excuse at this point of like really not having the ability to connect. And so I feel at that point like now we’re trying. So our main focus, at least for me, is to make sure that the the classic argument of I don’t know anybody
00:54:13:02 – 00:54:29:11
well, there’s there’s plenty here. Please pick. You know, the thing about the when people say the Oh, I don’t know, anybody is a bit like, what is it? May I introduce you to Google? Yes. Come on, get real.
00:54:29:15 – 00:54:54:04
I mean, the thing I find particularly offensive when people say, well, know anybody. Wait a second. Do you really think that people are not writing games of adventures in Asia already? Seriously, because that’s a erasing every single author who’s writing stuff and there is a lot of stuff being written, so it’s my personal, my personal, I will
00:54:54:04 – 00:55:16:02
say personally that I. The amount of work that the RPG C community has churned out in the last five years is staggering from their many successful Kickstarter to the fact that many of the creators in there have gotten to work with great opportunities and publishers.
00:55:16:12 – 00:55:36:08
And you know, I will say that for you, the fact that people would have the notion or gumption to say that that these stories don’t need to exist or the fact that you know these, that they don’t know anybody or that they don’t feel like they know where to look.
00:55:36:08 – 00:56:03:12
I’m like, they’re all right there. I buy personal. Other favorite is that there is even a website. There’s RPGs C creator made to literally curate and organize every T tr indie RPG made by an Asian creator. Wow. So, yeah, so there’s no excuse, there’s no that that completely blows that one out of the window right away.
00:56:04:12 – 00:56:22:09
But I can imagine there must be still an awful lot of Asian creatives out there who wouldn’t know where to go, where to start. What would you have? What would you tell them? So I would tell them for so I can definitely say we definitely live in a different.
00:56:22:15 – 00:56:46:16
I will say compared to when I started playing teacher RPG back in the early two in around 2000 and looking now like the opportunity to create is really bountiful for for perspective writer. You can definitely get away with self-publishing on platforms like itch or drive through or other places.
00:56:47:19 – 00:57:04:12
And the and the thing is people are sometimes when they come in, they’re generally afraid because they don’t know about like, you know, what is standard, what’s the standards, what are the expectations like? And I will say that for the most part, I would say that the that there are a lot of creators who’ve taken the courage
00:57:04:12 – 00:57:23:01
to say, I don’t like the standard, I’m going to do it my way and I’m going to make it as as as pleasing as it can be for myself. And I think that’s the important thing is that if you’re going, if you don’t know where to start, you can start by just creating and working at it.
00:57:23:11 – 00:57:43:24
And you know, the other big thing you know is to look at when there are and look within the community, especially the teacher community. There’s, you know, there are there are plenty of creators who can recommend each other to other different things and you will find them eventually.
00:57:43:24 – 00:57:55:23
It may take a little bit, but you will find them. And I will say that the most important thing is to get started and just create because you get better as you create. The more you create, the better you become.
00:57:55:23 – 00:58:14:07
Because you refine your, your craft, you then start seeing what you can improve, what you do and what needs to change. And the. And you know, another good another great place to look is and if you happen to stumble upon us and unbreakable or I want to take an opportunity with us when we have an open call
00:58:14:09 – 00:58:37:09
, we welcome you. We really do. And you know, that is definitely one place to look. And there are other opportunities. And because there are workshops and things like that like Magpie does once in a while, a create a creators writers workshop and storytellers collaborative does one as well.
00:58:38:10 – 00:58:52:17
And so like, there are places to look. I mean, they might need some digging, but those are the best places to look for. But yeah, my advice is to start, just to start. Don’t don’t pay attention to what other people say is the standard.
00:58:53:02 – 00:59:13:10
Do it the way you want it to do it. The sound advice indeed to to to wrap up the interview. And now what? What’s next? So we are working very diligently on unbreakable pathways, which is the next next is another iteration.
00:59:13:18 – 00:59:32:24
It’s like revolution is going to be a multi RPG anthology. But the story is for our pathways are centered around things like family traveling and food. So we really wanted to showcase things about the especially for a lot of Asian cultures.
00:59:32:24 – 00:59:48:14
Family is such a big integral element of their stories and of their identity. And so we really wanted to have kind of a story that’s set around those kinds of experiences. And we also love the notion of like either stories about traveling.
00:59:48:20 – 01:00:05:00
I think there’s like one and we definitely want to highlight the food because I don’t think I feel like it’s not just Asian. It’s not definitely not just Asian cultures, but I feel like compared to some Western countries, it feels like food culture just somehow gets lost in translation.
01:00:05:00 – 01:00:17:15
And we all forget about the heritage of our food culture like we we forget, like what it took to get to this point of why we have these dishes, why are these so important to us? What’s the story behind the dishes?
01:00:18:10 – 01:00:32:17
I don’t think that’s the thing that we’re trying to highlight about. The food element is like the foods that matter to us. Why do they matter to us? That’s quite interesting. Absolutely beautiful. And I would really love to talk to you about that at some point in the future.
01:00:32:18 – 01:00:51:04
I hope that that comes out really quickly, because that sounds fascinating. Jackie, thank you so, so much for being with me today. It’s been truly fantastic, and I hope that we can repeat this again very, very soon. Yes, I hope so, too.
01:00:51:05 – 01:01:20:11
Thank you for having me. This has been a pleasure. Thank you. Thank you for listening. It is truly wonderful to have you there and genuinely, genuinely appreciate it. The GMA’s Magazine podcast is produced by Packer, is here with assistance from Chris Diaz and Martin Reid and the amazing bunch of listeners all over the world.
01:01:20:13 – 01:01:39:09
That would be you. The theme to you is by Kev Outset. Please, please, please let me know what you think of the podcast by emailing Me Out podcast GMA’s Magazine dot com, or get in touch on our Facebook page, or that these core channel and do join me on Twitter.
01:01:39:14 – 01:01:51:01
I am @GMSmagazine and I would love to hear from you. But until the next time. Thank you once again for being there and game on.