After years as a Dungeons & Dragons player, Sabriel Mastin stepped behind the DM screen to run her own campaign. She immediately loved it, creating her own adventures in the world of Eberron. With that experience under her belt, she realized she could help other DMs with their own creations as well. She now offers her services as a D&D editor, offering developmental, line, and copyediting on modules and supplements. By day, Sabriel is a the head of social media and support for Overbuff, a stats-tracking website for Overwatch, the popular first-person shooter from Activision Blizzard.
In this podcast, Sabriel and I talk about the transition from player to DM; how easy it is to switch between editions of D&D; Sabriel’s sources of inspiration for her campaigns; how her group has adapted to gaming in a pandemic; the benefits of hiring an editor, and the cost of doing so; and how the Overwatch community has responded to the lawsuits and scandals around Activision Blizzard.
Stream the audio edition of this interview below or from Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Overcast, Pandora, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, RadioPublic, or the Internet Archive. Click past the jump for a transcript and links to resources mentioned in this episode.
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- Sabriel Mastin on Twitter
- Overbuff on Twitter
- Become a Knight or Dame
- Game Wizards by Jon Peterson (MIT Press)
- The Dreams in Gary’s Basement: A Documentary on Gary Gygax on Kickstarter
- Dungeon Masters Guild
- The Forge
- Activision Blizzard lawsuit and investigations explained
- “Overwatch’s McCree will be renamed Cole Cassidy“
- “Call of Duty made billions recently, so of course Activision Blizzard is laying off QA“
- “Nintendo fires staffer who faced sustained harassment“
- Universal Life Church of Modesto, California
Voiceover: Welcome to the Polygamer podcast, where gaming is for everyone. Join us as we expand the boundaries of the gaming community.
Ken Gagne: Hello, and welcome to the Polygamer podcast, episode number 120 for Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021. I’m your host, Ken Gagne.
Sabriel Mastin: And I’m Captain Sabriel Mastin, wait —
Sabriel: … what show are we on?
Ken: Wrong podcast. Wrong podcast. But it’s true: today’s guest is Sabriel Mastin, a veteran of the Polygamer podcast. She was on episode number 21, way back in May of 2015, and episode number 62 back in March of 2017. As well as the co-host on “Side Quest” episodes of Polygamer where we talked about Star Trek Beyond and Wonder Woman.
Ken: Sabriel’s former appearances on this show focus on discussions about freelance writing, being an indie game reviewer, being a Let’s Player, and then more recently, talking about Overwatch. Because she works for Overbuff, a stats-tracking website for Overwatch, the popular first-person shooter from Warcraft developer, Blizzard, also known as Activision Blizzard.
Ken: It has been almost five years since Sabriel has been on the show to talk about her accomplishments, and a lot has changed, both in the gaming landscape and in her diverse portfolio of accomplishments. So I thought it’d be a great opportunity to bring back to the show Sabriel Mastin, who is also my co-host on the Transporter Lock podcast, which we launched four years ago, in the time since her last appearance on Polygamer. So Sabriel, welcome back to Polygamer.
Sabriel: Thank you. Thank you. And as you were listing all the things we’ve talked about in the past, I’m thinking, one of these days, I’m going to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
Ken: The most interesting people I know don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. I think there is some statistic out there that you have five career changes in your life. I’m making that number up, but I totally believe it. And I’m looking forward to all of your careers, because they’re all so fascinating, Sabriel. You do so much fun, cool stuff. As I just mentioned, Overwatch, Dungeons & Dragons, Let’s Playing. How many of the things, from when you were on the show originally, almost seven years ago, do you still do? Are you a Let’s Player? Are you an indie game reviewer?
Sabriel: I do not review indie games any more, unless I happen to play one and talk about it on the Twitter. I’ll write once in a while still, not as much as I did then, but still do that here. Be it usually about video games, but I have started dabbling in writing material for Dungeons & Dragons to sell. And then some new things that we’re going to start talking about as well.
Ken: Yes, and that’s very exciting. I love Dungeons & Dragons. I admit, I love the idea of Dungeons & Dragons. I don’t play it myself. But I had Amanda on the show, our mutual friend, to talk about DMing as a librarian. And I understand you’re also… Do you prefer the term DM or GM?
Sabriel: I mean, I use DM, but I haven’t really thought about a preference, to be honest. When people ask me, I will say, “I’m a Dungeon Mistress.”
Ken: I like it. And that is 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons?
Sabriel: Yeah. Actually, I have tried to run some old editions before, and some of the players loved it and some of the players did not. But we can dive into that if you want to talk about it. But, no, the thing is, usually, you run the current stuff.
Ken: How old is old?
Sabriel: 1E and 2E, which are from the late ’70s, early ’80s.
Ken: So second edition is what I grew up with. Of course, as you know, we called it Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which is so funny, AD&D. I guess they dropped that because it was a little intimidating for people who want to get into it. They’re like, “Wait, where’s Basic Dungeons & Dragons? I want to start at the beginner.”
Sabriel: Yeah. Well, I mean, I had this group online who have been playing 5E for quite a while, that’s what they call 5th Edition. And I said, “Do you want to try one of these old ones? Because I think it would be kind of neat to see the roots of the game.” And a few of them were like, “All right. Yeah, let’s do this.” And we had three players one afternoon, had a blast, but we also didn’t take it seriously. And we know Gary Gygax was very problematic, and we understood all this stuff. We just played along with it, had fun. And we tried to tell these other people who were kind of poo-pooing on the idea and who didn’t want to play before, “We had a blast at it,” like, “Okay, I guess we’ll try it.”
Sabriel: But those people didn’t really seem to be really into it, into it as we were. And so they did not have as much fun as we do it, but there were still good times. And it’s good to show them how far the game had evolved in 30, 40 years. It was a fun little trip.
Ken: I like your use of the word evolve, because that doesn’t necessarily mean improvement. It means changing to adapt to one’s environment. And there are still people out there who prefer the older edition, because they think that’s better. But that may be indicative of the era in which they grew up playing it.
Sabriel: Oh, yeah. There’s still like, what’s it called OS, what was… Old School Revival, OSR. People will still, maybe they don’t play AD&D or just specifically, a game called Dungeons & Dragons, but they play a game that’s basically the same thing, where they have the old style type of rules, similar things like that. Where it’s kind of the generic version of D&D, but it’s D&D still, just maybe different names for abilities and stuff like that. But people, older people usually, like to play those old classics or under those old rules. I mean, that’s how I first started playing D&D was 2nd Edition, maybe a little bit 1st Edition.
Ken: For somebody who is familiar with one edition, is it difficult to transition to another one? Or is it basically like starting over and learning a whole new game?
Sabriel: It’s starting over. Third and up are the closest to each other, but still they are also drastically different from each other. I mean, one of the big things is the d20 system back in the day, you may have heard of the word THACO.
Ken: To Hit Armor Class Zero.
Sabriel: Yes. Back then, let’s just say 5th Edition and 4th Edition and 3rd Edition all had… You roll a d20 and you add modifiers to increase your score, like a plus two in your attack or plus two to decks. Well back then, in 1st and 2nd Edition, you that THACO, which meant you roll your d20, you roll a 15, you got a 15, but then you do like subtraction with your modifiers and all this weird math that, it makes sense when you play the game, but it was a complicated way to calculate things, like that. It was basically the same concept, but just a much more complicated and convoluted method to get there.
Ken: Well, I think that stemmed from the fact that in those early additions, a lower arm class number was better. So if you were buck naked, you had an armor class of 10. And if you had plate mail, you had an armor class of zero, and that was a little backwards.
Sabriel: Yep. I mean, I see where they get all this stuff from, it was just, like I said, a more convoluted way to go about it. And the game is a much more friendly to newbies now.
Ken: Talking where Dungeons & Dragons came from and all the various iterations, I was recently reading the book Game Wizards by Jon Peterson, published earlier this year by MIT Press. And it is a rather academic look at almost the business side of Dungeons & Dragons, and how TSR was formed by Gary Gygax, GS and Dave Arneson the co-inventor of Dungeons & Dragons. Like most stuff from MIT Press, I found it a little dry, and it wasn’t looking at the inspirations for the gameplay. Like why are elves this way? Or where have dragons come from, et cetera?
Ken: But as you can imagine, Gary Gygax is also a main character in this book. He’s also the subject of a documentary that I backed Kickstarter. Haven’t seen the documentary yet, because it hasn’t come out, but you did mention that he is a problematic individual. Don’t want to go too much into that, but for those who are unfamiliar with that aspect of the co-creator of D&D can you give us a little bit more color?
Sabriel: Okay. The very basic version of it. White guy in the Midwest who didn’t see as much of the world as… There’s the trope of white nerd, white cishet nerd, I mean, that kind of applies to him. And I don’t think most of the things that he created was of ill intent, but it didn’t age well, how about that? And so problematic in that way.
Ken: I see because usually when I hear problematic, I think of somebody who was abusive to people.
Sabriel: Yeah, you’re right. Maybe I could have chosen a better word.
Ken: No, no. I mean, I think problematic is accurate, I just brought my own perception to that word.
Sabriel: Yeah. I mean you have your biases when you are surrounded by white people in a white culture. I’m from small town, Minnesota, there was maybe one person of color per 3,000, 5,000 people. I was very naive for a very long part of my life, until I moved out of home. And you just see the world in a different way that is suboptimal, and that shows here. He was very much a nerd who, I think, he was well meaning and very logical, but it just did not age well. It was not good for the time, but it did not age well.
Ken: Sure. You know that saying, “He knows not what he does,” and he never had the experience that you and I have had of being able to travel to other places and meet people. But I do know that over the last 10, 20 years Dungeons & Dragons has tried to be more inclusive in their illustrations. And in the examples they give in the rule books, where it’s not all bearded, white barbarians bashing down doors.
Sabriel: Exactly. I mean, he also didn’t think any women were interested in D&D beyond fleeting interest, so women don’t play D&D. I mean, he had this kind of mentality through even through his forum posting in the early 2000s before he died. And so, I mean, he was problematic too.
Ken: And, unfortunately, that’s a mindset that is still pervasive among many demographics, including nerds today.
Ken: And I don’t say nerds derogatorily, some people prefer geeks. But I just mean people who are really passionate about niche subjects, which includes you and me.
Sabriel: I remember like in the late ’90s, there was definitely a “difference” between nerds and geeks and dweebs, and maybe dweebs is still “bad thing to be,” but you wanted to be a geek and not a nerd. And now I’m just like, whatever, we’re all geeks and nerds and we just love our fandoms. That’s cool. As long as you’re nice about it and not a gatekeeper, it’s cool.
Ken: My own personal definition is, you don’t know somebody is a geek until you happen to touch upon the topic that they are really passionate about.
Ken: Anyway, but again, that is not meant as a judgment or a criticism, especially on Polygamer, where we are open to all passions here. So, anyway, you are a Dungeon Mistress but you started as a player.
Sabriel: You know what? You could call me DM. I call me Dungeon Mistress — but now that it comes out of your mouth…
Ken: o matter how good friends we are, I think you’re right on this one. So you are a DM, how long were you a player before you decided to leap behind the DM screen?
Sabriel: All right, so I played D&D when I was in junior high, high school didn’t really play much, more or less there was probably a good 15, 20 year gap where I didn’t play. I had no idea the fifth edition even was, but I’ve been playing for seven years now, six years give or take. The person I was seeing at the time was like, “Hey, I see the running Dungeons & Dragons at the comic shop downtown. You want to go play?” I’m like, “Sure. I haven’t played this forever.”
Sabriel: And get there, we had a good time. We played D&D, it turned out to be a thing called Adventurers League. It was organized play. And I thought it was just going to be a one night thing. And then at the end of the night, DM was like, “All right, see you next week.” And I was like, “All right, guess I’m made a commitment, but I had fun. So I’m all for it.” And playing sense. I started DMing like a year or two later. I like being the Dungeon Master. I like running the show. I like being the, I consider, storyteller of a shared experience. And I like that aspect does a lot.
Ken: That seems like a rather fast transition from player to DM only a year or two.
Sabriel: Part of me is, I like knowing how things worked. When playing D&D, I like to know like why X thing happened or what’s behind the next door, but I wanted to know behind the scenes from like the DM point of view. And I was good and never would look ahead of the adventure we were playing. Because I know, nope, that was beyond over the scope of me. But I did when I start running other adventures. And so I want to see like how adventures are written/. How do DMs know what they even know? And how do you run this thing? And I just love knowing how things work. And that’s kind of like why I jump to the DM spot.
Sabriel: And D&D has a, what’s the word I’m looking for? No, deluge is a lot, right? The opposite of, a scarce number of DMs, drought is probably… there’s not as many DMs as there are players, since I like knowing how things worked and I want to give it a shot, I’m like, “Hey, I’m going to run something.” So I did. I mean, sometimes DMing is the person’s first experience with D&D. Mine, it was just second, but I love it.
Ken: So just to be specific, was there an occasion you were rising to where there were players looking for a DM and there wasn’t one?
Sabriel: At first, no, I wanted to try it, give it a shot. And I did for a few weeks. And then all of a sudden, like a new book dropped and the store was playing it, it was like, “Hey, we need DMs. Here we go Brie, you can DM tonight. Here’s a free book.” “Okay. I guess I’m DMing tonight.” And so it was out of necessity, but I was already showing interested in doing it. And ran a hard cover, which is one of the official published adventures, for good a nine, 10 months or so, and loved it.
Ken: Is that what some of us would call a module.
Sabriel: You know what? I used to use these terms too, but no, a campaign, in the old days, it was probably closer to a campaign. A module usually meant like a one-off adventure, where a campaign usually meant like a series of adventures that were all tied to each other. And nowadays they call it usually a hard cover.
Ken: Gotcha. Okay. Yeah. That is the distinction I would use too. I remember growing up with, Keep on the Borderlands, and the Isle of Dread as modules. And trying to figure out how to string those together, so that you could keep playing the same characters and thus make it into a campaign.
Ken: You started off, as you said, playing six or seven years ago, you made the leap behind the DM screen a year or two later, which means you were playing as the DM before the pandemic. Clearly that has changed things the last two years, have you been able to maintain your gaming group?
Sabriel: Yeah. So right when the pandemic hit, I had started a new campaign, and like, “Oh crap, we can’t meet up together anymore.” It literally just started like two, three weeks before. We realized like, “Okay, we got to play at home now.” And that group lasted for about a month or two, but I had two players who were, let’s say suboptimal in attendance and telling us that they’re going to show up or not. And so that one fizzled, but that’s okay, we didn’t get too far into it.
Sabriel: And then I realized with online play, I am not limited to the people I can scrounge up locally here in Fargo. I can pull from all over the world, and so I did. I had one player locally still, and that rest were a bunch of friends who I had known online and close people, and we’ve been playing since. We’ve been playing, gosh, I guess since then, we’re on a campaign that more or less started the summer of the pandemic. We’re nearing the, well, what’s the word I’m looking for, I don’t want to say end of the campaign, but we’re nearing the main story that kicked off that campaign. And whether will continue our net it’s up to the players, but after about a year and a half, we’re getting there.
Ken: Wow. So when you draw players from all around the world, do they already know each other?
Sabriel: Some of these didn’t, I may have known, but sometimes they don’t know each other. So they come in here and have a little meet and just start, basically, learn each other and meet each other as we play.
Ken: Does that make teamwork harder when you’re meeting each other for the first time in a fantasy setting like that?
Sabriel: Ah, see, well, when it comes to like, I have my roots in 5E, in Adventurers League, the organized play, where the expectation is you just show up and play with whoever shows up. Adventurers League is meant to be that way, it’s drop in play. You bring a character that’s within the parameters of the organizational thing, so you’re all roughly equal power level and plug and play and just play with the people you’re at. And if you’re good with talking and hanging up, it’s no problem. But at first it’s usually like rudimentary things, like what should we do? What should we?
Sabriel: Over time as you learn each other, you start learning players, how they run, how they work, you find out like what interests them either be it in mechanics or lore. And eventually you start building these, usually, some friendships there. Or even if it’s not like close friendships, you get to know each other pretty well, especially when you play a 100 sessions or so, however long it’s been.
Ken: And how do they coordinate what characters to play? Because everybody wants to bring their own character to the table, but you still have to have some decisions about, well, we need at least one healer. We need at least one tank, et cetera.
Sabriel: No, no.
Sabriel: Maybe some people will tell you that, but fifth edition is also a little different. But I tell players like, “Play what you want. We’ll worry about the balance to me, on how deadly this is.” Because fifth edition is a system set up for, while you can heal in combat, it’s meant to be more of a beat the crap out the enemies as quickly as you can and heal up afterwards, if it’s possible. You might do some triage in combat, but it’s all about action economy and trying to make sure there’s fewer enemies, so you want more people doing more actions on your side versus people doing action on their side.
Ken: That’s true, because I’m thinking, I know this is a really outdated example, but the original Final Fantasy on 8-bit Nintendo, you want to have like a fighter, a thief, a Black Mage and a White Mage, or you can just have four White Mages and play the game on the hardest difficulties set. But one of the reasons that’s difficult is because the game does not adapt to your party composition. Whereas you, as the DM, can be more dynamic and can adjust the encounters accordingly.
Sabriel: Exactly. I mean, Dungeons & Dragons doesn’t have a pure concept of tank, like we think of it in a video game sense. You have some people who can maybe draw attention, maybe logically, it makes sense for some things to attack them. But I’m like, “No, play in a setting where people, a little smarter than that, they know to, as the term is, geek the mage, go after the casters. But then they do that too, they know to go after the casters. So I run monsters a little bit more intelligently than just, this person hit me for the most hit points, therefore, I must focus on them.
Ken: We were talking earlier about geek versus nerd. There’s apparently yet another definition of geek there.
Sabriel: This is from my short time playing Shadowrun, the phrase is geek the mage, where you just go after the caster, you focus fire the caster.
Ken: Today. I learned a new word.
Sabriel: Yep. Geek, it’s a new word. My group, when we switched to online play are like, “Okay, what form are we going to take to do this in?” There are a number of services on online, like Roll20 or Forge something, Forge of the… God, it’s right there. But, anyway, a lot of online battle mats and systems that are meant to help facilitate online play by bringing all the players under one banner, like, “You use our chatroom. Use our video service. Forge Foundry, that’s close. But anyway, and I was like, “Well, we can try this, but these all cost money of course. And how much do we want to invest in this? How long is this pandemic going to go on? If we just all huddle up for two weeks, we can all go back to playing in a few weeks.” Ha, ha, ha.
Ken: How naive we were.
Sabriel: Yep. And so we played around with trying to figure out different services, and what we just ultimately settled on was a chat platform Discord. And because of the pandemic, necessity being the mother of invention, or people just being bored, people have made free versions of like online battle mats, if we ever need them. Or I’ll just use theater of the mine and describe what’s going on, if it’s a simple combat, “You are within melee of X creature, what do you want to do?” Things like that. And for basically any non-combat, it’s almost entirely theater of the mind for me.
Sabriel: But we play on Discord. We play all in video together, and I let my players, I trust them, they can roll locally or they can use the automatic dice roller, so we can all see the results. We use D&D Beyond Character Sheets, which is another service, there’s online character sheets that you can bring anywhere. It’s turned out great.
Sabriel: I think it’s awesome. I really, really do enjoy playing online because that means I have digital access to all my digital books. I do love having the physical books and still buy them all. But for quick access, when I need a quick search or what does this spell do? I can just Google or go to D&D Beyond Search, what is this spell do, do, do, do, do? And search there instantly. There’s the result. I don’t need to search through page 78 like that, which is awesome. But there is something said to playing in person.
Sabriel: Over the summer, when COVID was at its lowest, I got to actually host a little group, in-person. It was awesome. It was great to have in-person group thing again, because there are different dynamics socially, when you play online versus play in person. Like when you play in person, it’s much easier to not interrupt them.
Sabriel: Even if you can see them on camera, you still got to figure out like who’s going to say it? Nope, oh, sorry, interrupted you. In-person, you can kind of read things and when people are going to talk and crap like that. And so there’s a total different dynamic you have to get used to play online versus play in-person. You’re together in person. There’s something special about that too. Actually having actual minis to move around, or just being across the way from someone or talking about the adventure afterwards and going up for waffles.
Ken: And the snacks, the snacks.
Sabriel: The snacks, the drinking, whatever you want to drink.
Ken: To your point, body language is a big part of communication. You can see people’s intentions before they verbalize them, sometimes before even know them. And it’s important to be able to see that, to include them in the conversation, and to anticipate actions, especially as we mentioned earlier about when you’re a team and you’re trying to collaborate, especially with people you’ve never met before.
Sabriel: Exactly. And so I think I’ll always love in-person play the most, but I really like online play, not too far behind. Because it just lets me play with people all around the world, and make do pretty well.
Ken: You said that you got your start as a DM when somebody gave you a book to play through. And now you mentioned that your team is about to arrive at the main storyline of the campaign. Is this a campaign of your own creation?
Sabriel: Yes, it is. One of my favorite settings is the Eberron setting, which is, it’s a D&D world, I want to say steampunk is the closest analogy to the real world, where people who don’t play understand it. But it’s a magic punk society, where my is just everyday part of technology. It’s not actual steampunk, but it’s the closest can analogy people understand. You have these “corporations,” who are in charge of various types of magic, like airships and sea travel or lightning rail, which is the train. And there was a massive war, like a 100 year war, and the thing that ended it, was this huge disaster that completely destroyed one country.
Sabriel: And no one knows what happened. And so there was a massive of like Cold War ceasefire going on, and so tensions are tight. Are like, all the countries are still a little nervous around each other, because they’re not sure how this catastrophe happens. So we don’t want to fight, just in case it happens again. But this setting is so much fun for me. And I created my own adventure here for it. I’ve done multiple adventures here for it. The creator just has, here’s a basic outline of this world, maybe this country here, and I just took off with it, and made it my own.
Ken: Wow. So you must have to put a lot of time into preparing for these gameplay sessions with a lot of creative writing, and editing of your own work.
Sabriel: Yes and no, some weeks, I’m just like, I just wing it, off the top, I mean, not off the top of my head, but I do put a little bit. Sometimes I put lots of work into it, depending on what really the players kind of set themselves up there before. Setting up like Dungeons for combats is what takes me the most. Because I have to make a place for them to explore, what are they going to fight in here? What are they going to find in here? Is there going to be any cool loot in here? What’s a cool treasure item to put in here? And other stuff like the politics that run with that, I’ll put some dot into it. But ultimately, it’s player led, what are they going to do? How are they going to interact with it?
Sabriel: Right now, one of the players, their backstory was they have the soul of their evil, dead aunt in them, and they made that a year and a half ago. And player led thing like, “Hey, a year and a half later, we should try to get that out of you.” And she’s like, “Yeah, we should.” And so I just had to make a whole new adventure and a whole other part of world where they can try to get this lady’s soul out of her. I love that part of D&D, there’s no guidance on how that happens. So I have to invent it, and it’s so much fun for me. I love it.
Ken: Have you ever taken an improv class?
Sabriel: Nope. Very creative, apparently in some ways, but nope, just off top of my thing a lot of time. A lot of the inspiration comes from other media, be it books, TV, or whatnot. I mean, like I read a romance novel that had dragons in it, like last summer, the dragons you could tell when they were in human form, what color dragon they were, because the color of their eyes, and that became a part of my world. And it’s like, that was really cool. And my players, now, when they look at people, they see someone’s kind of acting weird. They look at the eyes of the person they’re talking to, to see what color they are. And they have a lot of fun with that.
Ken: That’s really cool how you get to synthesize. I attended a conference a couple years ago, where they said that, if you are in a creative field, you should spend at least 20% of your time consuming content.
Sabriel: Oh, gotcha.
Ken: Because you need to know not only what the landscape is and to which you’re going to be putting your own work, but you also need to seek sources for inspiration. And that doesn’t mean borrowing and stealing other ideas, so that nothing that you create is original. It just means figuring out what works and what doesn’t, so that you can iterate and improve upon it.
Sabriel: Absolutely. I mean, like right now, my players are in this world where like literally nothing bad happens. There are no nefarious plots, no nothing. They’re basically in, I don’t want to say heaven, but they’re in a plain of existence where, it is just, everything is perfect and good in every way. And trying to make an adventure, where there’s still danger in that kind of world, is a really fascinating and fun challenge, and they have loved it. And they’re almost out of there. But, yeah, consuming other media is one of the huge thing of the creative life.
Ken: And would you say that a lot of your inspiration comes from any particular medium? Like, are you watching TV, watching movies, reading comic books, playing video games, all of the above.
Sabriel: I mean, I couldn’t tell you exact percentage. This is like the third campaign ever in the setting. The first one loosely based on, if you’ve ever watched Agent, Carter loosely based on the bomb things that were there. There was a plot to destroy a city with bombs. But I was watching Agent Carter, and I’m like, “This plot is pretty cool. I’m going to try to steal it.” Or not steal, but I’m going to borrow it, and I adapted it to my own thing. The idea of that there were an evil plot, evil masterminds putting bombs around the city was all mine, but just got the inspiration. It got the juices flowing. Here, I started this campaign off with, I wanted to start… I got the idea watching something on YouTube of trying to get players to, will they question the status quo or not?
Sabriel: And so I set up a thing, where will they help the crown? Or will they help this “terrorist group” fight the crown? That was the whole premise of this thing. I didn’t know how that was going to look, but I created two factions, the royalty and this other group, who were at odds. Who do the group side with? They sided with the, I don’t want to say, terrorists, this is what the Royals call them, without knowing the faction names, I guess.
Sabriel: I don’t bring up the names because they don’t mean nothing to anybody else. But they sided with the rebels, we’ll say that, for a while, until they realized the rebels were doing some very dirty, evil things. And now they’re like, “We’ll help the Royals, but we’re still not siding with them.” And it’s been a fun, little dichotomy, seeing the players work through that, working with the status quo, to keep things as they are, working through to change things to a different way. And it’s been so much fun.
Ken: Do your players ever identify your sources of inspiration? Are they ever like, “Wait a minute, this reminds me of Agent Carter?
Sabriel: They haven’t actually. Sometimes, because I just love talking about it, I will reveal. But a lot of people will say like, “Don’t ever do that,” but I love telling. I like showing how things work. I like looking at how things work. And so I like tell how things work, behind the scenes as well.
Ken: Now, your first appearance on the Polygamer podcast, we talked a lot about your freelance writing, which we alluded to earlier. And I understand that now, within this new hobby of D&D, you have taken on the role also of freelance editing, is that correct?
Sabriel: Yes. So my old job working in an office was doing a lot of editing type work for lawyers on very boring legal documents. And I quit that job in 2016 or so, it took me five years to think, “Hey, I could put those skills to use and help creatives. And I love D&D, I could help people do it here.” And so it’s been a recent endeavor really, the last few months here, but, yeah, I’m starting working with other writers on their D&D projects, and helping mold them into adventures or supplements or whatever that they will be selling or do sell to other people. And I have been loving it.
Sabriel: It’s been fun working on the creative side of editing. Instead of the dry lawyer side of editing. But I met some really cool people, got a nice little community of other editors I can talk to you for like, “Hey, what do you think about this?” Or “Am I wrong about this wording here?” Or things like that, or just working with creatives, helping them. I just love the idea or the process of helping them craft something to be the best it can be.
Ken: And how do you solicit these clients? Are these people you’ve worked with before or played with before?
Sabriel: One, I mean, some are friends, some are people… There’s Discords out there, especially the DMs Guild, it’s website, Creator’s Discord, where people will have, that is like, “Hey, I’m looking for an editor.” “I’m looking for a writer.” And so, that’s where I first got a few of my clients and I’ve had people just reach out to me like, “Hey, can you help me with this?” I’m like, “Sure.” And there we go.
Ken: And what kind of editing are we talking about? Are we talking about punctuation and grammar? Are we talking about actual gameplay where you’re coming back with feedback such as, this monster is too high a level”?
Sabriel: It kind of runs a whole gambit, but ultimately depends on what they need, but I tend to go through the basics of developmental editing. “Hey, this is not working. This makes no sense to your story. This paragraph contradicts this other paragraph here.” To line editing, like, “Here, I’m going to make this sentence. This isn’t actually word, much gooder.” And then at the end proofread, make sure punctuation and whatnot is precise. Well, definitely it depends on need and how much they want to spend.
Sabriel: Most people, so far, have just ask for the whole gambit of like, “Help me make this adventure make sense.” And because I’ve been playing for seven years in the current iteration, I think I have a really good understanding of the game and how to run it. What makes sense? What’s the tough encounter. Part of that also is like, “Hey, this monster you designed, it doesn’t match the stats that you created for it.” Or, “This is a little tough for this adventure.”
Sabriel: But play testing is another thing, that’s what other people do. But I can send them my best idea or suggestion for a thing like, “Hey, I don’t think this is right,” or, “I think you can go a little harder on this.”
Ken: So you’re not bringing these unfinished products to a team and trying them out.
Sabriel: No, no. That’s for someone else to do.
Ken: Oh, I see. Gotcha.
Sabriel: But there is an editor chat there, there’s a writer chat there. I mean this place also have a couple projects that I wrote some new classes for D&D or sub classes for. Which should be coming out soon, I think they’re supposed to come out a week ago, but it is out of my hands. I just may the contribution, and it’s up to the collator, I guess, I don’t know what the word is, to you finally put it to paper and print it.
Ken: This is actually a printed product that people will be able to buy like online or in stores?
Sabriel: Online. It is just a PDF. I don’t think they’re actually going to go to paper. But no, DMs Guild is a website where people will put their creations on there and either give them away for free or sell them. And this person was like, “Hey, I’m collecting a bunch of homebrew classes under this theme, do you want to contribute?” And he’s like, “Here’s your royalty if you do.” I’m like, “Cool. Sure.” And I did. And I know they were going to try to get that published like last weekend, but I don’t think it’s out yet.
Sabriel: But anyway, I have a couple cool subclasses out there I think are neat. I don’t think he did any play testing before he’s going to publish. So I’m a little nervous about that. And I think I’m going to have to do that myself and just send him edits and saying, “Hey, change XYZ in the future here.”
Ken: Well, that’s one of the nice things about a PDF is it’s very easy to iterate upon and release new versions.
Sabriel: Exactly. I’m just a little nervous about it, just publishing it as is, and I’m like, “Oh gosh, no.” But okay. Yep.
Ken: Well, that’s exciting. I’m looking forward to finding it. And you said it’ll be on the DMs Guild website.
Sabriel: Yeah. And when it does get eventually published, I’ll put it on my website, you can find that at sabriel.me. I’ll repeat that again at the end of the podcast, I’m sure. I also have the domain sabriel.gay. I don’t remember if that goes to my Twitter or that goes to my website, but my Twitter links to my website, so it doesn’t really matter. I just really dig this being, it feels nice to be creative again, and maybe make a few bucks on the side. But for me, I do it for me. I do it for me and I’m really enjoying it.
Ken: You mentioned that there are multiple different kinds of editing, developmental, line editing, copy editing, et cetera. Can you give a broad estimate for what those various services would cost somebody?
Sabriel: I go on the cheap end, since I’m just kind of building a portfolio and building my creative portfolio versus the boring legal portfolio, which I can’t share, because it’s all private documents. But I mean, for a lot of types of editing, you’re looking at two cents per word for each type of editing on the low end. And so if you have like a 3000 word project that makes decent money for me, but I got to make a living too. I got to live too. Sometimes for a lot of these D&D projects, it’s people who don’t make as much money. I will work on a royalty basis for how much their product sells. I will make earnings off of… And it’s much smaller, but I take that into account when I say like, “Yeah, I’ll help you.”
Sabriel: I will put more priority on people, who I’m getting more money out of, I’m not going to lie. But I want to help these people too, because they’re cool people, and a cool project. And it’s not huge, huge ordeal for me to take time and help them with the royalty who are not going to make as much money, but might help them, might make more connections in the future and all cool. All cool.
Ken: Well, I think the most interesting part of that answer to for me was there are multiple ways to charge for a project. There is a flat fee, there’s an hourly fee, and in your case, you’re charging per the word. And I think that makes a lot of sense, because some people read and edit quickly. And if you’re getting paid by the hour, that’s not fair to them, but this is more dependent on the size of the project, not necessarily what it’ll take you to edit it. I mean, they’re is clearly a correlation there, but it’s going to vary. So I think this is a more consistent way to charge across multiple editors.
Sabriel: Right. And I mean, some people need more help than others.
Sabriel: And so there can be difference there too, but, in general, yeah, I mean, those are the basics. Those are the basics, I won’t get into-
Ken: I mean two different people could send you different 3000 word manuscripts and one person you might write back and say, “This is flawless. You just forgot this one comma.” And the other person you might write back and say, “This is fundamentally flawed and you need to go back to the drawing board.” And you’re going to get paid the same for either one.
Sabriel: Right. But I like that. And then I even have one person I’ve worked with that has multiple projects. I can already see the huge improvement in their writing, because they know how I’m going to say like, “Hey, I will just highlight a paragraph and just say, fix or shorten.” I don’t have to say like, what about it? Or I’ll just say, “Simplify.” And they’re like, “Okay, you’re right.” And then he’ll start over and do it again.
Ken: Yep. I am an editor as well of the magazine Juiced.GS, and one of my goals when working with my staff of freelance and volunteer writers, is not just to make better writing, but to make better writers.
Ken: Because in the long-term, that’s a better investment in my time.
Sabriel: Exactly. Exactly.
Ken: You’re in the unique position of not only producing your own work for your players to play in with your campaign in Eberron, but also editing other people’s work. And we were talking about inspiration. Clearly you don’t want to engage in intellectual property theft, but do you ever read somebody’s work and say, “Gee, I wish I thought of that.”
Sabriel: It hasn’t come up specifically like that before. But no, actually that hasn’t come up yet. But I mean, heck I am going to run one of the adventures I helped edit in this coming week, with some on my online… We’re doing a little Christmas break for our campaign for a week, and I’m like, “Hey, we’re going to run this one,” I said, “one-shot. That’s loose based on the TV show, Taskmaster, but it’s a D&D version of it.” Where the players are just set up in a “live studio audience.” And they have to complete tasks. But be creative because your character sheet is your tool set. And so how do I do that? And so I think it’s going to be fun for them.
Ken: And what about going the other direction? As I said, you create your own work, do you hire editors? Or since you are an editor, do you do your own work?
Sabriel: Oh, I mean all the stuff I create at this point, for the most part, is stuff that never goes out into the real world, it’s just my players see. I do have one project I made, and I published like a year ago before I really knew Wizard style and Wizards of the Coast type things or editing at a higher level of creative. So I’m going back to rework them, but I haven’t created a project to sell yet that would warrant an editor yet, how about that? To sell.
Ken: When you say that you published something before you were familiar with wizard standards, to what degree do wizards standards matter, unless they’re the ones publishing your work?
Sabriel: Well, they matter to me, because I want to try to make it feel “real” or official, but it’s not required by any means. There’s plenty of work on there that’s not up to snuffs as it were. But I feel like I just want to have some degree of professionalism, especially if I’m going to say like, “Hey, I know my stuff about Wizards, work with me.” But then you see this old product and the old project that doesn’t quite fit up to it and see that, what does that say about me? So I am working on slowly going back and fixing that. So it looks a little more modern or to update.
Ken: And pending the release of that update, have you unpublished the original version?
Sabriel: Ah, no, but it’s up for free.
Ken: So people who wanted to find this work online, they could.
Sabriel: Oh, you can go to my website, sabriel.me, and the portfolio, the Shieldmaiden subclass for artificer.
Ken: Oh nice, very good. I will include a link to that in the show notes.
Sabriel: If you use my affiliate code, I get a pittance.
Ken: And your affiliate code is on your website.
Sabriel: No, if you actually use my link specifically, the affiliate code’s attached to that, as the internet way of doing things.
Ken: Of course, although the FCC requires that you advertise the fact that you’re doing that.
Ken: Wink, wink.
Sabriel: Actually. I don’t think I get anything if it’s a free product.
Ken: Oh, well, if they use your link to go to the store to get the free product, but then in that same session they buy something that might work.
Ken: That’s how it works for me with Amazon and iTunes.
Ken: So I include my affiliate code in iTunes podcast subscription links and I never got a dime out of it. I was like, “Well I guess people are just getting the podcast and not buying anything while they’re there.” And then one day I logged into my iTunes affiliate store and I had never given them my bank deposit information.
Sabriel: Oh no.
Ken: And that’s why I hadn’t gotten paid. So they were accruing the funds, and it was a couple hundred bucks, nothing really life changing, but it’s a couple hundred bucks I didn’t have before.
Sabriel: Oh dang.
Ken: I have a friend who had the same experience with Patreon. They thought they were getting paid nothing, and it turned out that they just weren’t getting the deposits.
Sabriel: So make sure you have that set up correctly.
Ken: Yes. If you are expecting money and you don’t get it, it may be your own darn fault, lesson learned. So we’ve been talking a lot about D&D and I want to spend at least the last 10 minutes talking about the other thing or one of the many things, to be honest, that you’re well known for on the Twitters, which is-
Sabriel: Girls. Oh, yes. Overwatch.
Ken: You died doing what you love —
Both: Being very gay.
Sabriel: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Ken: That’s right. So we don’t have a lot enough time to go into what Overwatch is and who plays it and how to play it. We did a whole podcast about that four years ago. But suffice to say, as I mentioned at the top of the hour, it is a first-person shooter published by Activision Blizzard very much about the online play and the team play. And there are a couple of interesting developments around this game, at least a couple, one is that Overwatch was announced two years of go and it still doesn’t have a release date. Does it?
Sabriel: Nope. Nope. As much as the community is starving for one and making them up themselves. And every time it doesn’t meet that, they get disappointed, as if Blizzard, lied to them, even though it’s never had a release date. Nope.
Ken: Yeah. Even right now looking on Wikipedia, it says investor documents released in November 2021 had reported that an initial plan released window in 2022 have been pushed to at least 2023. So we’re going to be waiting on that for a while. And even though you work on Overbuff, you don’t have any inside scoops about Overwatch to share.
Sabriel: No, I cannot confirm nor deny.
Ken: But they did change the composition, the size of the squads, right?
Sabriel: Yeah. It’s going from a six V six game to a five V five. Normally you have tanks, two damage players, and two support, which is slash healer. And they’re saying it’s a one tank and that’s part of probably why it’s taking them a little longer, because they have to rebalance the game to having one tank who makes space and soaks up damage versus two people who do that job.
Ken: Well, wait, I didn’t understand this are these slots predefined. You can’t have a squad of five tanks?
Sabriel: Correct. Not in normal modes. There are special modes where you can do that, other stuff like that, and have different types of groups of people. But in the normal modes that most people play, yep, you have a set role, you queue up, do you want to play healer? Do you want to play damage? Or do you want to play tank? Or do you queue for two of them and see what you get? Or three and see what you get?
Sabriel: But, yep, the old game before, probably when we last talked did not have that feature. In the old day, you just queued up with a bunch of people and you hoped you got to play your role, but no, they made some changes since we last talked where it’s two, two, and two.
Ken: Oh, okay. So it’s not that I forgot our last interview, it’s that this is a new development, relatively.
Sabriel: Yeah. It’s probably been like three years now, but it’s been a while since we’ve talked about this.
Ken: It’s true. I actually, in that time did buy Overwatch on the Nintendo Switch. It was at the beginning of the pandemic and it was on sale for the Switch. And I am generally not a first-person shooter, but I knew that my friend Sabriel loved this game, and therefore, not that I would love it, but that I owed it a shot. And so I tried it.
Sabriel: I was surprised. I was surprised when you told me you bought it. I’m not going to lie.
Ken: I’m not opposed to first-person shooters. I love GoldenEye on both the N64 and the Wii. And-
Sabriel: Yeah. This is so close to GoldenEye. It’s just like it.
Ken: Okay. I can tell when you’re mocking me, and you’re mocking me. Well, maybe if it had been closer to GoldenEye, I would’ve enjoyed it more.
Sabriel: Oh, totally.
Ken: Well, here’s the thing that is not unique to either Overwatch or to first-person shooters, I don’t like playing online with strangers.
Sabriel: That’s why I play, usually, with friends.
Ken: Maybe I would’ve had a different experience, but-
Sabriel: Maybe, but I don’t know. This is a way different game than GoldenEye. Which Overwatch 2 is going to have PVE content and it’s a big selling point. And so maybe Overwatch 2 will be more your style.
Ken: Player versus enemy?
Sabriel: Environment. Computer usually.
Sabriel: It’s usually a term meant for AI, player versus AI, even if they say PVE.
Ken: I’m glad you clarified what constitutes environment. Because I would’ve been like, “Oh, no player versus a blizzard, oh no.”
Sabriel: Speaking of going versus Blizzard.
Ken: That’s right.
Sabriel: How do you like that segue?
Ken: It was subtle until you called it out.
Ken: Yeah. So Activision Blizzard has been in the news a lot lately for multiple sexual harassment and toxic workplace issues, which have been brought both by employees and by the state of California. The legal proceedings are too numerous and complex to detail here, but they are multiple lawsuits, multiple government bodies involved, and a lot of revelations about how long Blizzard has known about this, and how long they have covered it up and allowed it to continue. They’ve made some minor improvements like renaming the Overwatch character, McCreed, the cowboy, he’s now known as who now?
Sabriel: McCree is now Cole Cassidy.
Ken: Right, because the person he was named after at Activision Blizzard, McCree, is one of the harassers being named in these lawsuits. And I think they’ve also said that they’re no longer going to name fictional characters after real people.
Sabriel: Correct, yes. And I think that’s why… Actually, I am in World of Warcraft, or at least I’m pretty sure it’s me, but I cannot get anyone to acknowledge it, because I think they don’t want to have to take it out.
Ken: Well, there’s no reason why they would ever have to, because you’re on the up and up.
Sabriel: Oh I am. At least, think I am. I mean, someone probably thinks I did something to slight them.
Ken: No, not you.
Sabriel: But, yeah, there’s an NPC World of Warcraft named Sabriel, that you can fight and get her mount.
Ken: With Activision Blizzard, which also publishes World of Warcraft, there have been employee walkouts out of protest for this behavior. How is the Overwatch community reacting to all the news, if they are at all?
Sabriel: You know what, you could say, Overwatch community, but I think it’s online gamers. People are like, we kind of talked about this on our Transporter Lock last week actually, where like community online could be kind of not good or they just want to rage for the hits, for the likes, and then don’t care. Sadly, that is a lot of this here. But also where you get people who outrage, and then just go on as life is normal. But sadly, that’s also about all you can do. As a consumer, you can do few things, not purchase anything anymore from this company, but who are you also hurting with that? The employees who actually working at it or they C level suite, people who are actually benefiting from all that.
Sabriel: You cannot play their games, or you can just continue playing it, and there you go. I mean, it’s hard as a consumer to really know what to do. And to some level there’s not much we can do. In the Overwatch community, there’s some people who have stopped playing the game. One of my team members, she stopped playing for two, three months, and she doesn’t play as much anymore, but she still comes back here and there. But I don’t know how much it actually hurt or not. Because I think a lot of people realize, we can’t do much. Stopping playing isn’t going to fix the executives at the company.
Ken: Yeah. Because they’re already making millions of dollars a year and they have all these golden parachutes that even if they are let go due a sexual harassment, they’re going to profit from it. And canceling an individual $20 a month subscription plan, isn’t going to change that. Of course, if the majority, more than 50%, of Overwatch players did that, then they might notice.
Sabriel: Well, and even then, Overwatch it’s a one time fee, hit pay and then you never have to pay again.
Ken: Ah, okay. So you’re already in, they’ve already gotten your money.
Sabriel: Yeah. And so like basically the more you play, if you think about it, the more you’re making them spend.
Ken: Right. Ah, revenge is sweet.
Sabriel: I mean, that’s capitalism in a nutshell. I’m like, I intentionally don’t go to Walmart as much, because of some of their practices. Is it actually hurting Walmart? No. I don’t usually go to Chick-fil-A. I think I’ve been them once in the last few years, because of their practices against queer people. Does it actually hurt Chick-fil-A? No. But I feel better about it. That’s basically all we can do in capitalism.
Ken: Yeah. And these snowflakes can create a snowball or a blizzard and I think it can add up.
Sabriel: It can. Yep. But sadly, there’s just only so much we can do. But as for the community, I mean, this Overwatch community is hurting already, because they tease us Overwatch 2 two years ago, and we don’t have a release date, and they’ve more or less, they have added things to Overwatch, but for a time, we were getting a new map every three months or every six months and a new hero every six months, alternating. Haven’t had that since April 2020. And some people are starting to kind of feel neglected, because all their attention is focused on Overwatch 2. And so any kind of news the community jumps on, whether it be because of the crap at Activision Blizzard or if a developer doesn’t say the right thing on the boards about the future of the game.
Sabriel: The community’s just very high strung right now, I think. Maybe that’s not the right word, but very, very strained. And just chomping at the bit for anything, anything, and if it’s not what they tell each other they want to hear, they get mad.
Ken: So just to clarify what you said earlier about a lot of people, the online communities, in almost any fandom can be toxic, and regarding the Overwatch issues or the Activision Blizzard issues, people are raging or experiencing outrage. Are they angry over the harassment that Activision has allowed to continue? Or are they angry, just the opposite, that this is an issue?
Sabriel: There are people who are mad about what happened at Activision Blizzard, like me. But I still continue to play, but for most part, the community has just gone back to focusing on Overwatch 2.
Ken: I’m sure there are people who are outraged that McCree got renamed.
Sabriel: Yes. Let’s just call him Cassidy from here on. But, yeah, there are people who are upset that he was renamed or pretend that they’re upset for the hate clicks. I mean, that’s how I feel a lot of people do. They don’t actually have feelings toward this, but if I just say I’m mad about it, I get attention. So I’m going to pretend I’m mad about it, and then I do become mad about it. I think that’s the way a lot of people work online, and then it becomes a problem.
Sabriel: Because it hasn’t happened for a while anymore, when I would talk about it on Overbuff Twitter about Cassidy, people would be like, “Nope, it’s McCree.” I don’t respond to them. And those responses have gone next to zero, and it’s been a whole month, month and a half since the name change. People just fuss at first, and for the most part, most people don’t actually care, but they pretend they care or they say they care.
Ken: Well, thank you for correcting me, when I said his old name. And it wasn’t because of an insistence on the old name. It’s just because, as not being an Overwatch player, I forgot what the new name was.
Sabriel: Yeah, no, it’s a okay. Maybe I’m more sensitive to it, because I’m trans and name changing and whatnot. But, yeah, when it comes to the Activision Blizzard thing, which is a whole freaking mess, and I’ve had things that you never think you’re going to have to report on your whole life, when you become a writer for a video game, talking about toxicity, sexual harassment, people stealing milk from nursing mothers, just the weird, terrible, awful topics that have come up over the last few months. It’s just, wow. There’s been a lot of hell there.
Ken: I hadn’t heard that last one.
Sabriel: Yeah, that one’s a newer one, came out like a week or two ago.
Ken: Oh, God. Okay. Wow. Wow, like the rabbit hole, it just goes so deep.
Sabriel: Yep. And I mean, this is a company who’s constantly, like, “We have made our record profits this year. Now we’re going to lay off 800 people.” They just announced they made a bunch more money, this most recent investor call, and then they lay off almost a good share of the QA people at this one office in Wisconsin. And now there’s actually a strike going on in Wisconsin for these people saying, “Hire these people back.”
Ken: Yep. I’m looking at a headline on The Verge published on December 3rd. It says, “Call of Duty made billions recently, so, of course, Activision Blizzard is laying off QA.”
Sabriel: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.
Sabriel: It’s disgusting. And there’s actually now a unionization effort working on an Activision Blizzard. Hopefully, they’re actually able to get contracts in order.
Ken: Well, I hope so, because as I was saying, individual actions don’t always amount to something, but group actions can have a much louder voice. And when you are unionized, you have that benefit of people having your back, and speaking with a consistent voice that is hard to ignore. So I hope that that happens.
Sabriel: Yeah. Sadly with consumers and a lot of the consumers can only do so much, but has to come from within, in situations like this.
Ken: Is there anything that you do you recommend listeners to this podcast do?
Sabriel: If you like playing World of Warcraft, keep playing it. If you like playing Overwatch, keep playing it. Go ahead. It’s okay. If you want to stop, it’s also okay. One of my partners stopped playing Blizzard games after this, and it’s just that, it’s a personal thing. And if you don’t feel a right playing those games, it’s okay. Just don’t make other people feel bad if they do keep playing, because that’s not really helping either. There’s no easy answer to this, because, while there’s millions of other games to play, maybe those aren’t your jam.
Sabriel: In this day and age, like the alternatives to what… Every company has some crappy thing in their past, be it a riot or Blizzard or Walmart or Coke. I mean, Coke was still selling to Nazi Germany during the war. I mean, where do you draw the line? Right. And so you only have so many alternatives, and so just be smart, just know about where your money is going. You can’t necessarily do anything about it. It’s just the world as it is today. But it’s okay if you want to stop, it’s okay, if you want to keep playing.
Ken: Yeah. And I think it’s important, to your point, to live out your own personal values and ethics. I, like you, don’t, well, I do like you, but similar to you, I don’t go to Walmart. I don’t go to Chick-fil-A. I’ve been trying to cut back on my Amazon purchases, but there are a lot of people who work at Amazon, and they sometimes need that job just like in the movie, Nomadland. And so what are you going to do? Even Nintendo, they have this wonderful public image as far as I know. And they create all these family friendly games, but you go back five years ago, here’s another headline from The Verge, Nintendo fire staffer who faced sustained harassment.
Sabriel: Yep, one of my acquaintances? Yep.
Ken: Yeah. And I remember that story, and it was not acceptable what they did to this person. Does that mean that I stop playing Nintendo games?
Ken: To your point, you would have to cut yourself off from all of capitalism. Which might not be a bad thing, because capitalism, in my opinion, is fundamentally flawed, but that’s a different podcast.
Sabriel: Right. Right. It just sucks that there’s only so much we can do. Baby steps, I guess.
Ken: Yeah. But we can support the individuals who are standing up and making their voices known, whether that is when people get laid off, retweeting the fact that they’re looking for jobs, because at social networking really can make a difference. And being open to hearing different perspectives about what is happening, whether it’s by reading the news, listening to podcasts like Polygamer, and just not making assumptions about what is and is not happening.
Ken: Anyway. Cool. Well, we have talked a lot about Dungeons & Dragons and about Overwatch. Where at just about an hour, Sabriel, you’re one of my dearest friends, we could talk for ages and we do, especially on the Transporter Lock podcast. But I do want to wrap up here and let our listeners know where can they find you online?
Sabriel: Yeah. I go to sabriel.me for my website, go to twitter.com/damesabriel, because I bought my own knighthood, you can also go to sabriel.gay. But apparently as we’re going to record this, for some reason it claims anything that you go to with that website is not secure, even if that’s a lie. Sabriel.me, twitter.com/damesabriel.
Ken: And how do I become a knight?
Sabriel: You go to a website and buy it.
Ken: If you send me a link, can I put in the show notes?
Sabriel: Yes. It’s like a gift website. It’s from the UK. It’s great.
Sabriel: They bought a manor and a little plot of land, so they can give out knighthood.
Ken: Awesome. Kind of like how the Universal Life Church of Modesto, California will ordain anybody to be a reverend.
Sabriel: That’s right. I am ordained as well, but from a different thing.
Ken: Awesome. So many ways to increase our stature. I love it.
Ken: Well, Sabriel, I have had a pleasure chatting with you on Polygamer. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day, and I look forward to talking to you tomorrow on the Transporter Lock podcast.
Sabriel: And see you in-person in like less than a week.
Ken: Until next time.
Sabriel: Oh, wait, wait, hit it. No, wait, I don’t have to send off here.
Voiceover: This has been Polygamer, a Gamebits production. Find more episodes, read our blog, or send feedback at polygamer.net.