Artwork for podcast Making a Monster
01: Jiangshi - Banana Chan, Game and a Curry
Wet Ink Games Episode 110th August 2020 • Making a Monster • Lucas Zellers
00:00:00 00:14:24

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The Jiangshi, Chinese hopping vampires, in an RPG that addresses the racism and oppression of 1920s Chinatown - featuring Banana Chan of Game and a Curry.

Read the full transcript and see art from the game here: https://scintilla.studio/monster-01-jiangshi-banana-chan/

Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwZnw01Oz9U&list=PLNqL_h0x0qyZoNSS1VP1tBA5QCaie5Coo&index=2

Join the conversation:

https://twitter.com/sparkotter

https://www.instagram.com/sparkotter/

Guest links:

https://www.facebook.com/gameandacurry/

https://twitter.com/gameandacurry

https://www.facebook.com/WetInkGames

https://twitter.com/wetinkgames

Music by Jason Shaw at Audionautix: https://audionautix.com


A version of this article also appears on Love Thy Nerd: https://lovethynerd.com/jiangshi-lets-players-empathize-with-victims-of-systemic-racism/

Transcripts

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You're just finishing up service.

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The restaurant is starting to get a little empty.

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When you stare out the window, you notice a person with their arms outstretched,

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hopping, and they're hopping towards you.

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Maybe they've been drinking even though it's prohibition

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era, maybe they're injured.

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Maybe they just need your help.

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But when you look out the window, You also see that their face, it

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doesn't like they're quite there.

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They look like they're just staring at you and their eyes are sort of glazed over.

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Their skin.

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Isn't exactly what you would call alive.

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It's gray and it doesn't look right.

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So, um, this person is hopping towards you and they don't say anything once they've

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gotten close enough to another person.

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But she starts coming out of that other person's body.

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There's this blue wisp flying out of this other person into the hopping.

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Hello and welcome to making a monster.

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The weekly podcast where game designers show you their favorite

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monster, how it works, why it works and what it means this week.

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I'm thrilled for you to meet banana Chan.

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One of the designers for a new release called Zhang sugar

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blood in the banquet hall.

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She partnered with wedding games to bring this unique and

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timely project to Kickstarter.

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And because I'm future Lucas, I can tell you young should blue pass its

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goals to become fully funded on day one.

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And it's easy to see why.

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Her diverse team of authors and designers have crafted a unifying and enlightening

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cultural experience, utterly unique to the medium of tabletop gaming.

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You should learn.

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The banquet hall is about a Chinese family running a restaurant in the

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1920s and in the daytime they're faced with oppression and, uh, you know, the

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stress of having to run a restaurant and keeping up with their customers.

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Meanwhile, at night, John should come out and they attack

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everyone just a big, quick.

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Background on what juncture are.

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Yeah.

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They're hopping vampires and they don't feed on blood necessarily.

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They feed on the cheesy of a person, the life force of a person, or like I'm

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a quote, unquote, the soul of a person.

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Sen.

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And I, we go back and forth on like the, the background of the juncture as well.

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Cause there are a few different stories about like where they

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came from mythologically, like in Chinese culture, like.

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Had they become things.

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One of my favorite stories is that this priest, this priest was trying to carry

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bodies from point a to point B, trying to drag them along because they had to

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burry them in a burial site and do like, you know, proper virtual type stuff.

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And they realized that this is a lot of work.

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So what they did was they enchanted a bunch of bodies with some paper talismans.

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And then they started hopping and they start, uh, you know, hopping towards

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the burial site behind the priest.

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And that was like easy way of getting out of doing this long.

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Yeah.

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Or unfortunately some of the paper talismans fell off their heads and

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that's how we have the juncture.

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They just like run a muck and started destroying towns

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and doing all that fun stuff.

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How do you feel this story is represented mechanically in a game?

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So in the game itself, each player has a character sheet that has slots.

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And when they take damage, they cover up their slots.

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Lots also have items, facets, skills, their hopes, and dreams,

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things about the character, right?

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So when they get filled up, they start becoming more and more like juncture.

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So it's gradually erasing the parts of the parts of the character that

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the player has chosen to define that character as being in personality.

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Right?

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Exactly.

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So you could think of it as like, you know, literally turning more and more

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into Joshua or, you know, if you were thinking about it in terms of like

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a, uh, an allegory it's like they're becoming more and more assimilated, or

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there may be an acting their fears of becoming assimilated into this new world.

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I'm sold well, tradition and culture figure in the game, not just as an

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object to be protected, but also as a positive force that itself protects

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the family and the restaurant.

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And we also have paper towels.

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They're fake paper, talismans.

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I'm air quoting right now with my fingers, but, uh, fake paper tells

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mins that characters will write on.

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So they will come together as a family and write out a family motto,

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which will keep them safe from the juncture so that when they.

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Use the spell.

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When they use these pieces of paper, they can stick them on the junction and they'll

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freeze them in place and hopefully giving them enough time to carry out their plan.

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A campaign in juncture is a series of one shots collected

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into an anthology or mini series.

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Bananas background as a small box games, designer shines here in

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junctures clear and unique objective.

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None of the player characters actually die.

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If you turn into a drunk shoe, you can turn back.

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The only way for the players to quote unquote lose is if they,

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their restaurant takes on so much damage that it falls into disrepair.

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And then the restaurant closes because the restaurant itself actually acts

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as a character kind of as well.

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It's got eight slots on the board and when things get covered up by

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undone chores, it goes into disrepair.

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Using this restaurant board, you go about your day using the day

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cycles and like the night cycles.

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So in the daytime, you're acting out the day scenes, you have to do your chores.

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You have to, you know, make sure that the customers are happy and that night

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the junk should come out and you have to defend the restaurant from these juncture.

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And also we'll make sure that you get some rest for the next day.

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And every day you get a pool of dice on the first day.

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Maybe you have like five to eight.

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And the second day, as you're getting more stressed out one day, it gets taken out.

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And so you have to roll from 40 eights, a pool of 40 eights, and then

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the next day you have three D AIDS.

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And then finally on the last day, maybe you have two DA's and that's

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like the least amenity it's.

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You can have a for this game.

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So, if I were to thumbnail this, I would say in the same way that

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shadow run has a D six dice pool.

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Juncture has a D eight dice.

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Yeah.

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And we decided to use DAS because the number eight is, um, it's

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lucky and Chinese culture.

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Yeah, so it's very thematic.

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And, uh, if you roll any fours, the fours cancel it.

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The highest number because the number four is bad luck and similar to the word death.

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So that's why we decided to have before is be like, you know, the number

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that cancels out the highest number, and then the next highest number

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would be the outcome to the role.

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And Mandarin, it would be, ER, I'm sure.

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Uh, and so in Cantonese, because my Mandarin is terrible in Cantonese,

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the number four would sound like, say, and to die is say so for Cantonese,

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the word juncture would be gung.

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See, it would be different from say and say, so, yeah.

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When you say Chinatown, are you thinking of one Chinatown in particular?

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So the base game is actually in it's based on off of San Francisco's Chinatown,

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because that's one of the first train of towns that, that happens during

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the, I believe like the 18 hundreds, but, uh, we have a few different

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Chinatowns that players can choose from and a few different ventures as well.

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So they don't necessarily have to be in a Chinatown.

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So we have San Francisco and Los Angeles by Ross churn.

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He's doing both of those.

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And then we have New York by Kiana Shaw and we have Vancouver

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and Toronto by Daniel Kwan.

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Amazing.

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So that's five, five Chinatowns that you can choose from, but also

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with the adventures, if you are.

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Say, uh, playing a or from Yoshi Creelman, uh, Yoshi, Romans writing

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one on, uh, Japanese interment camps.

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So using that as a setting, uh, we also have Carl pure Lewis.

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Who's using a setting that's based off of a Haitian American community.

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Yeah, so there's a lot.

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So in this moment, everything that we've done, the session

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zero, we've set up the board.

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We've rolled out these characters sheets in this moment.

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What do you want people to be feeling.

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So there are two different tones that we have set up for this game.

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So the first tone that we're taking on is a more serious, scary, you

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know, creepy vibe, sort of similar to, you know, the terrorist season too.

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It's like a weird, creepy, like what's going on type of ghost story.

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And then the other vibe.

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Is a sillier vibe, which is something that is used a lot in Cantonese horror movies.

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For example, the spooky bunch is one of the movies that I've talked about

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before, where the characters are in like a pretty silly situation, even

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though there were faced with ghosts.

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Um, and if you've never seen the spooky bunch, uh, first of

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all, do definitely check it out.

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And second of all, I like to think of it sort of like a Bob's burgers

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meets vampires type scenario.

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All right.

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Well, it's on the list.

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The young HSA are exactly the kind of monster I was hoping to find when

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I started this project, a way of understanding and interacting with

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important issues that fosters real conversation and community sure.

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Are there manifestation of the racism and the oppression

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and all the things that the.

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Characters at the time were dealing with, so the Chinese immigrant family,

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they were dealing with like a lot of, a lot of stress from all these

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different systemic issues and Sen and I were hoping that the juncture

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would be like this, um, this physical manifestation of all of these things.

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Uh, but.

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It's not just, uh, it's not just the scary stuff.

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Right.

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Um, it's also like the silly stuff, which we tried to make light of, not in

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the sense that we're trying to dampen it or anything, but trying to make it.

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Feel a little more hopeful so that it's family friendly and

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it's a little more approachable.

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So when we're talking about racism or, you know, oppression, it's a little easier

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to understand when players try to grapple with these with these sensitive times.

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I mean, I never asked you to write an essay about whether racism is a zombie,

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but I might play this game with you and ask is racism a zombie though?

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And you know exactly what I was talking about.

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What is doing it in this way, add to the conversation.

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I think that there are two things, right?

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So, because it's set in the 1920s, we do have a little bit of separation

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in terms of time and period.

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So, because it's something that's already happened, you can sort

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of take a look at all this stuff that's happened historically, like

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in books or in the tax itself.

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Um, The timeline describes, like all the things that have happened, including

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like the Chinese exclusion act.

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I think that that separation with the time period allows for, for

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people to like, Digestible easier.

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And then the second way is that we added these horror elements

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because, or quote, unquote horror.

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They can be silly if you want them to be silly, but we add the horror

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element because that adds another layer of separation where it's like,

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okay, you know, I understand that all this stuff is happening, but.

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It still feels like we're building a story together.

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We're, you know, sort of like watching a movie, we're not actually

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encountering these things in real life, even though we are like, we

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still are encountering like, you know, impression or, you know, systemic race.

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We still have a safe space to sort of play in and understand more

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about what's happening in the world.

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Banana.

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I'm so glad you came on the podcast.

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This is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to get to.

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I knew it.

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I'm glad if you're as excited it is.

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I am about as young ship blood in the banquet hall, you can find

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links to everything you need to know@theepisodepageonscintilla.studio

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slash monster, including beautiful illustrations.

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Full color cover art banana has also made available a nine page short story written

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in the Chinatowns setting of young HSA and in the style of an actual play podcast.

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And you can get it by trusting me with your email address.

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There's going to be a lot more extras like this as making a

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monster progresses, and I'm excited to share them with you that way.

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Juncture blood in the banquet hall is live on Kickstarter until Thursday,

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August 13th, and a backer kit will be available on that page for late pledges.

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If you're also listening to this in the future.

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Follow wet ink games and game, and a Curry on Facebook, Twitter, and

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Instagram to stay completely up to date on the games, retail distribution.

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Right now, John should blend the bank at home.

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We'll be on Kickstarter on July.

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14th would be a 30 day Kickstarter.

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I think it ends on August 13th, but afterwards, once production goes out

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and everything, we should be able to get in stores through distribution,

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as long as everything is fine, you know, like as long as covert doesn't

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mess things up some more right.

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All those links are on the show's website at scintilla.studio/monster.

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Making a monster is produced by me, Lucas Zellers.

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And if you want to support the show, the best thing to do right

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now is rate and review the podcast wherever you happen to be listening,

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it really helps other listeners.

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Trust me, take a chance on this show.

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Next time on making a monster.

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Sorry, my DMV design process on a series of ventures called fear of workers.

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I wanted to make a villain who doesn't put out a ton of damage.

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She's not super beefy, but she takes allies.

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She'll take your group of characters.

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If you come into her layer five zeros, she's going to turn

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