Tag Archive for Dreamation

Transplant

2015 has proven to be quite a busy year already. There’s so much ground to cover! Where did we leave off? Ah, yes. DREAMATION 2015. It was a great con, and I was so busy that I actually didn’t get any photos this time! Both Marissa Kelley and I ran playtests of the game that we’re developing together with Sarah Richardson, Bluebeard’s Bride, which I’ve talked about before on this blog. Bluebeard’s Bride has finally ousted me out of my semi-retirement from GMing. We’ve been getting some really awesome feedback, and I’m pretty darn excited about getting it out into the wild.

Then there was Carnegie Mellon’s Transformational Experience Summit, which I co-presented at with Emily Care Boss. It was a great experience. Our panel was very well attended, and we met and spoke with a lot of amazing people, including the guys from over at Games for Change, and Heather Kelley, an amazing and awesome game designer and thinker. Thanks again to Jessica Hammer and Chris Klug for inviting me to the conference.

At the Peace Maker presentation at TES

At the Peace Maker presentation at TES

 

Then it was off to India for two months, were I did field work for Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project, which is the most astounding NGO I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. While I was there I playtested Shanna Germain’s No Thank You, Evil! with some of the kids at the school. These children had never encountered an RPG before, and I was a little nervous that it would just be too far out of our depth. However, they seemed to immediately grasp what RPGs were all about, and THEY LOVED IT. They begged me to bring No Thank You, Evil! again the next time I visited the school.

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On the way home from India I made a brief stopover in Japan, and got to spend a day with Andy Kitkowski, who has translated some really great Japanese RPG titles into English, among many of his other distinguishments. He took me to a game store in Akihabara, and we discussed some of the fascinating differences between U.S. and Japanese gaming cultures (while also stuffing our faces with ramen). It seems that no matter what country I go to I can find something to do that involves games. I’m billing Japan as a vital games research opportunity : P

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Immediately after coming back from India I moved cross country and started a new job. At the last minute before Gen Con I discovered that I wasn’t going to be able to make it. Much to my chagrin! Still, I had friends on the ground, and a couple of great GMs volunteered to run playtests of Bluebeard’s Bride for us. One even sent me a picture of my Industry Insider profile. I was honored to be selected as in Industry Insider, and so incredibly bummed that I wasn’t able to make good on it this year.

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Now, on to actual content.

I had the pleasure of writing an article titled “Why Minority Settings in RPGs Matter” for TOR.com in April. It went off pretty well, and several other places picked it up. It was even translated into French! If there’s any of my stuff that I would point you to, it’s this. Go read it! Afterward I was invited out to Tor in New York City, and got to me my editor, Bridget, who is one of those people who can just light up a room. The whole staff is great, actually, and they stuffed a bunch of books into my hands, which anyone knows is the most direct way into my heart. I got to go a floor or two down to see my friend Liz Gorinsky, and she and I chatted about her lasted work, including editing The Three-Body Problem.Incidentally, it won the Hugo award for Best Novel last night! Eeee! A super hearty congrats to Liz!!

I did an interview with Jonas Richter over at RPG Geek called “Interview with Strix: Myths, minorities, and feminine horror.” It’s the most in-depth that I’ve talked about my work to date.

We did (or rather, Evan Torner did) a write-up in the Knudepunkt Companion Book for the Golden Cobra freeform competition that I helped judge, entitled “The Golden Cobra Challenge: Amateur-Friendly Pervasive Freeform Design“. Article starts on page 70. Jason Morningstar also did a write-up of the same title over at NordicLarp.Org. We’ve decided to host another Golden Cobra competition this year! We’ve invited a new judge into our rotation and changed up our challenge constraints. I’m really looking forward to what the competition produces. Last year’s games blew me out of the water.

Lastly, I’ve been working on a section for The RPG Studies Handbook with Jessica Hammer. It’s a university level text book that will be published through Routledge when it’s done. Can’t say more about it than that for now!

I’ve been on some panels and video casts, also.

“My Gaming Resume” hosted by Richard Rogers as part of Indie+

“Larping as Other” hosted by Julia Ellingboe as part of the Gaming as Other Indie+ series

“Lady Event Organizer Roundtable” hosted by Anna Kreider

As for the games I’ve been working on, my freelance docket is nearly full.

Urban Shadows has launched, and my L.A. City Guide has been released out into the wild, so I’m officially all finished up with that.

I’m developing a Greenwood District/Black Wall Street setting for Dead Scare, an RPG about 1950s housewives surviving a zombie apocalypse. I’m developing an “Encyclopedia Draconica” entry for Epyllion, an RPG about being a dragon. So badass! I’m co-developing with A.A. George a setting based in rural India for The Warren, a terrific and terrifying game about being rabbits. I love these indie projects, and they make me very happy.

Oh, and doy! I am of course in the middle of co-designing Bluebeard’s Bride. We’re getting very close to an open beta. If you’re interested in reading more about it, I post our playtest feedback and wax philosophical about the game over on my Google+ page.

In relation to larger publishers and studios, the things I’m doing are harder to talk about. I’ve signed a number of NDAs that basically mean I’m not allowed to tell you what game I’m working on. What I can say is that I’m doing a pretty good chunk of work for Onyx Path, in an area that directly pertains to my academic expertise. It looks like I’ll be signing on for a second project with them soon.

I am also writing for a video game being produced by Undead Labs. These are the guys that partnered with Microsoft to make State of Decay. Video games are a different animal than their analogue brethren, but I’ve really enjoyed the work so far. I’m considering opening up to video game writing more widely. I guess we’ll see!

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I’ve been doing a bit of mentoring work through Different Play also. Not as much as I would like. It was especially hard to get anything done when I was in India. I’m looking forward to picking it back up again now that I’m back in the States. It’s a pleasure working with such creative people.

Coming up I’ll be ghosting around PAX Prime. Then it’s off to Sand Con on the East Coast. And finally, in October I’ll be a con sponsored guest at Big Bad Con. I know there’s a couple of things I didn’t get around to discussing this post. I just can’t remember what they are!

Till next time,
Strix

The Longest Winter

Winter has been both fun and challenging. Waded through some major changes and made sure to keep on the horse. Some exciting things have been going on and are continuing to develop into even more exciting things.

December was paper writing crunch time for grad school. Early February I was up in L.A. for script work and I ended up being pulled into a fashion show! I have not done professional modeling in a long, long time, but I managed not to trip on the runway despite the buckets of fake blood that got spilled all over the catwalk from the designer before us. Eek! I walked for the Aneroc label, which belongs to my friend and talented costume designer Corena Gibson. It was a lot of fun, and for me, very nostalgic.

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I also got to drop in on an interview with Camden Toy. Camden is a cool guy and I’m glad that he’s working with us on ADAM 8. I did get some actual work done though, and picked up two new scripts that I’ve been working on since, as well as pitched around some ideas with the writer/producer I’m working with. Fun times in Hollywood. You never know what’s going to happen.

In late February and early March I turned my attention towards the East Coast convention circuit. First up was DREAMATION, hosted by Double Exposure. Wonky website aside, it was an amazing gathering of cutting edge indie game designers and awesome players. It’s the most progressive and positive gaming convention I’ve ever attended. While there, I participated in a Gaming as Other panel, part of a series of panels that tackles the sticky topic of minority issues in the gaming community and within games themselves. As a bi-racial Mexican-American woman who has been a part of the gaming community for a long time, this is a pretty important topic to me, and one that I have a lot to say about. You can watch the video below.

I also got to play some really fun games, and have a strategy meeting for the Super Secret Project while there. The one negative? It was really cold!

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After that was Intercon N, which while not quite so progressive as DREAMATION, was still enjoyable. I sat on three panels at Intercon, including an additional one in the Gaming as Other series, which I don’t think was quite as well received as it had been at previous cons where it was presented. My favorite panel was the one I sat on with other academics, discussing the psychology of playing characters. I could have gone on for hours, hours!

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Overall, I’m sure I’ll be returning to the East Coast. There are a lot of interesting things going on there, and I definitely need more time to explore.

I also submitted to the call for papers for this year’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, the biggest conference in the world in my field. I have been biting my nails ever since! I’ll find out in April if my proposal is accepted, but I really think I might have a chance. How many other people can there be that are experts on the intersectionality of religion with ARGs and LARPs? It’s an extremely competitive conference though, so while I can’t lie and say I won’t be let down if I don’t get accepted this year, there will be many other chances in the future.

And just so the cycle completes itself it’s now time for another graduate school paper crunch. Woo.

End of Year Roundup, Some Annoucements!

The last two months of have been a whirlwind.

Things got kicked off with Comikaze in Los Angeles. I was there as talent for Tinker. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of great people in the industry including Chuck Patton, who is my absolute hero for being an animator for both Spawn and Captain Planet. That show warped my mind with its environmentalist agenda, and is essentially how I wound up in the Peace Corps! We got to hang out and talk for a while, and it was really great.

Clearly enthralled with Chuck.

Clearly enthralled with Chuck.

There were lots of great photo ops, and I even manage to snag a pic with the actual Power Rangers! Weirdly, I also had a conversation about Jungian psychology in popular media with some guy from Universal. You just never know at these things.

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Then there was the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Baltimore. This was a heavy hitting academic conference, and a complete 180 from Comikaze. I was non-presenting this year, just so I get get my legs under me and see what it is like, but next year I will definitely be submitting an abstract. There were many, many wonderful panels and there was just not enough time to attend them all. Several of my favorites talked about ethnographic studies of possession and mediumship, experiences in field work, and state exams in feudal China. Really, really fascinating stuff. Baltimore was way colder than I would have liked, but it turns out their beer isn’t so bad. Several professors and fellow students from my program were also in attendance, and it was pretty fun to roll as a group. Pacifica was very well represented, and I was proud.

Finally came LosCon 40, a science fiction convention also in L.A. I presented there last year and it was a pretty good experience, so I was looking forward to running some more panels. We ran “How to Date a God” and “Surviving Nightmares” and they both went over really well. There’s actually a lot of mythology involved in the landscape of dreams and nightmares, and it was so fun getting to share that with others. It was, however, our first run of Nightmares and I was a little nervous. It’s a dicey and often times very personal subject, but it was really great to see the audience connect with the material and wordlessly create a safe space for the subject to be talked about by all of us.

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So that finishes up 2013 for me. However, I’ll have nary a pause. There are a few exciting things coming up.

In January I’ll be NPCing for the Steampunk Murder Mystery at the Steampunk Symposium, which is always tons of fun. The Symposium is staged on the Queen Mary, and it doesn’t get more cool or spooky than that. I will also be COMING OUT OF GM RETIREMENT to help the venerable and talented Mike Young run a LARP at the Symposium. I retired from GMing in 2010 after years of running a Legend of the Five Rings network. It had been very rewarding, but also tiring as hell, so I decided that I would take a very long, maybe permanent break from GMing. However, it looks like this one time (and this one time only!) I’m going to be chipping in and helping Mike run the show. You really, really don’t want to miss it.

In early spring I will be attending the Dreamation and Intercon N circuit. This is my first trip out to the East Coast gaming scene, and I’m curious to see how things are done there. There’s a lot of indie folks out that way, and they always seem to be up to something interesting. I may or may not be sitting in on a variety of panels. I think we’re talking about maybe two right now, but I’ll let you guys know as that develops.

Other things that are going on: I’ve joined onto another project with director/producer Sean Williams. I’m not comfortable giving away any details yet, but it’s a really interesting script and I can’t wait to get working on it. It’s nothing at all like ADAM 8, which is the sci-fi feature currently in pre-production. I’ve also joined an indie game project headed up by game designer Brennan Taylor. It’s also a secret for right now, sorry! But I can tell you that it does have something to do with my roots in Legend of the Five Rings. I am super, super stoked about this project, and I think we’re going to have a beautiful end product. I can’t wait to talk about it!

Otherwise I’m still doing the Ph.D. thing full time. Somehow. Have some abstract deadlines coming up for a few conferences and publications. Have joined a couple of independent study groups on top of that. I’ve also decided that I’d like additional language acquisition on top of the Spanish and the little of Kichwa that I know. I was thinking German but now I’m no so sure. Suggestions?

See you kids around,
Strix

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