Artwork for podcast Making a Monster
Wave Lurcher: Astra Fauna by Sarah Dahlinger
Episode 1926th June 2023 • Making a Monster • Lucas Zellers
00:00:00 00:22:09

Share Episode

Shownotes

An alien shark feeding off the living islands of an alien world, the wave lurcher is a partner in the search for life.

Read the transcript and get more from the show:

https://scintilla.studio/monster-wave-lurcher/

Get stat blocks, bonus content, and other monstrous perks: www.patreon.com/scintillastudio

Join the conversation: www.twitter.com/SparkOtter

Meet my guests:

My about page has all my bio info :) https://www.sarahdahlinger.com/about

Sarah's Website

Music by Jason Shaw at Audionautix.com

Transcripts

Lucas:

This episode of Making a

Lucas:

Monster is brought to you by the

Lucas:

Book of Extinction pre-order store.

Sarah Dahlinger:

the Wave Lurcher is

Sarah Dahlinger:

a creature that has evolved to attach

Sarah Dahlinger:

itself to a giant moving island like

Sarah Dahlinger:

creature called the yango using its

Sarah Dahlinger:

hook-filled suckers, it is able to

Sarah Dahlinger:

attach there, and then it uses a jaw

Sarah Dahlinger:

that can protrude in and out rapidly

Sarah Dahlinger:

to cut off pieces of dead flesh off

Sarah Dahlinger:

of this large island sort of creature.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And Viedat encounters it because

Sarah Dahlinger:

the shoals of Kindichi, the

Sarah Dahlinger:

humanoids of this planet, have

Sarah Dahlinger:

them sort of semi domesticated.

Sarah Dahlinger:

They wash their skins, they feed them

Sarah Dahlinger:

if they're having a lean time, they

Sarah Dahlinger:

keep them sort of near their boats.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then when they want to find the

Sarah Dahlinger:

moving island creature, the yangos,

Sarah Dahlinger:

they will harness one To a tiny raft.

Sarah Dahlinger:

One of the reasons I call them

Sarah Dahlinger:

wave lurchers is because another

Sarah Dahlinger:

word for a greyhound is a lurcher.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So if you picture a hound and a

Sarah Dahlinger:

hare, they take the wave lurcher,

Sarah Dahlinger:

they tie it up to a tiny raft and

Sarah Dahlinger:

they're like, okay, go find the prey.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And they're super fast and

Sarah Dahlinger:

they head out across the water

Sarah Dahlinger:

very, very quickly and agilely.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then they can find this

Sarah Dahlinger:

large island like creature.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then once they're there, they

Sarah Dahlinger:

attach themselves, they have a nice

Sarah Dahlinger:

meal, and then the people who are on

Sarah Dahlinger:

the raft can explore the creature.

Sarah Dahlinger:

There's other creatures on there,

Sarah Dahlinger:

there's other food sources on

Sarah Dahlinger:

there, water sources on there.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So the wave lurcher is almost like

Sarah Dahlinger:

the bridge between the people of

Sarah Dahlinger:

the world and the most important

Sarah Dahlinger:

creature in the ecosystem, the yangos.

Lucas:

Welcome back to Making a Monster.

Lucas:

This is my first episode after

Lucas:

the conclusion of the Book

Lucas:

of Extinction Kickstarter.

Lucas:

So I wanna say a quick thank you

Lucas:

to the 2,309 backers who brought

Lucas:

to life this Monster Manual of Ex.

Lucas:

Think species.

Lucas:

As designer and audience, we have embraced

Lucas:

creatures rooted in the interconnected

Lucas:

ecologies of our own natural world

Lucas:

and the choices we've made about them.

Lucas:

So for animals made monstrous and

Lucas:

magical, I'm very pleased to bring

Lucas:

you another conversation with a

Lucas:

designer who shares that naturalist

Lucas:

philosophy, and for this episode.

Lucas:

Let us carry you to worlds beyond

Lucas:

the stars with Astra Fauna:

Lucas:

Expeditions, a story filled art book

Lucas:

where every chapter showcases the

Lucas:

adventure of an alien scientist who's

Lucas:

exploring life on a far off planet.

Lucas:

Sarah, welcome back.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Thank you.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Happy to be back.

Lucas:

It's been a while.

Lucas:

It's been a hot minute.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It has, it has,

Sarah Dahlinger:

and like a whole lot of stuff

Sarah Dahlinger:

has gone on in between then.

Lucas:

We last interviewed at GenCon 2022.

Lucas:

So I know I've asked you this

Lucas:

before and gotten the answers, but

Lucas:

please introduce yourself again.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Yeah, sure.

Sarah Dahlinger:

My name is Sarah Dahlinger.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I am a creature concept sculptor largely,

Sarah Dahlinger:

but I also do illustration and I like

Sarah Dahlinger:

to focus on, the biology of the creature

Sarah Dahlinger:

and getting a make believe creature

Sarah Dahlinger:

to have anatomy that would make sense.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then on top of that, because

Sarah Dahlinger:

people wanna hear the stories

Sarah Dahlinger:

of the creatures and stuff like

Sarah Dahlinger:

that, I also do a bit of writing.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So to tell the tale of

Sarah Dahlinger:

the things that I make.

Lucas:

You've worked for Wizards on

Lucas:

D&D; you've worked for Metal Weave

Lucas:

Games, which was how we last got in

Lucas:

touch; Evil Hat, the Monster of the

Lucas:

Wee k people; Monty Cook; Paizo,

Lucas:

even the National Park Service.

Lucas:

So basically all of the

Lucas:

things that I like to do.

Lucas:

If I were to encounter your work in

Lucas:

the wild, how would I be able to tell

Lucas:

"that's a Sarah Dollinger piece"?

Lucas:

, Sarah Dahlinger: I think nowadays

Lucas:

when people see my work in the

Lucas:

wild, they generally are attracted

Lucas:

to that it's a unique monster.

Lucas:

When I was at GenCon, the one that we

Lucas:

spoke at, I had a number of ADs stop by

Lucas:

and they were like, wow, this is like

Lucas:

a creature that I've never seen before.

Lucas:

And then the second thing that people

Lucas:

often to me is that because I work a

Lucas:

lot in ZBrush, a lot of my stuff is

Lucas:

like, it looks very highly detailed.

Lucas:

Painting all the details, whew,

Lucas:

that's a ton of work, but you can get

Lucas:

'em a little bit easier in ZBrush.

Lucas:

So, my work tends to be

Lucas:

really, really highly detailed.

Lucas:

When did you start playing

Lucas:

tabletop role-playing games?

Lucas:

Or were you a player before

Lucas:

you illustrated for them?

Sarah Dahlinger:

Yes.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Yeah.

Sarah Dahlinger:

You know, it was really funny.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I was in high school and my best friend

Sarah Dahlinger:

at the time, her older brother had like,

Sarah Dahlinger:

I don't know, a second edition rule book.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And I was like, oh, this is super cool.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And I could find no one to play with me.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So I just like, I, so I just read it.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then because I was

Sarah Dahlinger:

introduced with that.

Sarah Dahlinger:

That was the time the 3.5 Monster

Sarah Dahlinger:

Manual came out and I bought that

Sarah Dahlinger:

before I ever played any D&D.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I still have it.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's so well loved.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's like it's falling apart.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I used to just stare at the

Sarah Dahlinger:

pictures, just for hours and hours.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So then, you know, I graduate high school,

Sarah Dahlinger:

I go to college, I meet my roommate,

Sarah Dahlinger:

and my roommate had this brilliant plan.

Sarah Dahlinger:

They're like, all right, I'm

Sarah Dahlinger:

gonna end up with a single room.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I'm gonna scare this girl away.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I'm gonna tell her that me and my

Sarah Dahlinger:

friends all play Dungeons and Dragons.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So she comes up and like we're

Sarah Dahlinger:

Dungeons and Dragons players.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And they're like, oh man,

Sarah Dahlinger:

she'll, she'll run scared.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And I was like, yes.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I was like, I have been looking

Sarah Dahlinger:

for a group for four years.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So, and they were like, oh,

Sarah Dahlinger:

well, do you wanna play?

Sarah Dahlinger:

So we still came to this day

Lucas:

wow, that that story ends

Lucas:

about as well as it possibly could.

Lucas:

I think

Sarah Dahlinger:

Yeah.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Yeah.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So I mean, it's, been great.

Lucas:

where does Astra

Lucas:

Fauna fit in this story?

Sarah Dahlinger:

Every time you make a

Sarah Dahlinger:

big personal project, I find that it's

Sarah Dahlinger:

like one of those things, it's an itch you

Sarah Dahlinger:

need to scratch or the project that your

Sarah Dahlinger:

12-year-old self wished you had, I find.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So that's what Astra Fauna started as

Sarah Dahlinger:

is I really wanted to do a book that

Sarah Dahlinger:

showcased my full range of abilities.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So I wanted to show like, you know,

Sarah Dahlinger:

I can take a 2D concept and I can

Sarah Dahlinger:

iterate on that and I can make a

Sarah Dahlinger:

monster and then we can do a 3D

Sarah Dahlinger:

concept and you can iterate on that.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And that was how I wanted to do art wise.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And originally the book was

Sarah Dahlinger:

almost like 90% art focused.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then I found that I had another

Sarah Dahlinger:

book that was more story focused, and I

Sarah Dahlinger:

found that people were identifying and

Sarah Dahlinger:

appreciating the story focus book more.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And so I was like, oh, okay, we'll

Sarah Dahlinger:

just write stories to go with all

Sarah Dahlinger:

this art that I wanted to make.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And that's sort of how the two

Sarah Dahlinger:

blended together to make Astra Fauna.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Each chapter has a new

Sarah Dahlinger:

planet and a new protagonist.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And when you go to the next chapter,

Sarah Dahlinger:

you get kind of an intro to the

Sarah Dahlinger:

new protagonist, what they're all

Sarah Dahlinger:

about, and then what they're doing.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I stopped counting at 230 images,

Sarah Dahlinger:

um, for the, for the book.

Sarah Dahlinger:

There was like, I think one

Sarah Dahlinger:

more chapter to go after that.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And I was like, you know

Sarah Dahlinger:

what, we're, we're good.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I'm not gonna count anymore.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And so , the images have like

Sarah Dahlinger:

field notes next to them too.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So you have your main story

Sarah Dahlinger:

column and then your field notes.

Sarah Dahlinger:

The stories are very wide

Sarah Dahlinger:

ranging too because, like they're

Sarah Dahlinger:

definitely out there to do science

Sarah Dahlinger:

in space, but, stuff comes up.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So it's some are very light and

Sarah Dahlinger:

some are a little bit more heavy.

Lucas:

would you call this

Lucas:

speculative evolution?

Lucas:

Looking at this project, it reminds me

Lucas:

a lot of, uh, Netflix's alien worlds.

Lucas:

And I'm trying desperately to find,

Lucas:

maybe you can help me with this.

Lucas:

I'm trying desperately find the, the

Lucas:

author that like, first triggered

Lucas:

speculative evolution in my brain.

Lucas:

Um,

Sarah Dahlinger:

Oh, I

Sarah Dahlinger:

know what you're talking

Lucas:

you're, you know what I'm talking

Sarah Dahlinger:

yes, and

Sarah Dahlinger:

I know the name, I know the

Lucas:

it Larry Niven?

Lucas:

It's not.

Sarah Dahlinger:

We can,

Lucas:

Yeah, I'll, I'll find it

Sarah Dahlinger:

Yeah,

Lucas:

the Darwin or the Beagle.

Lucas:

And I can't.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Yep.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Yeah.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Yeah.

Sarah Dahlinger:

A lot.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I know.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I know what you're talking about.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And people are like, oh my God,

Sarah Dahlinger:

your work reminds me of this guy.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And I looked at it and I was

Sarah Dahlinger:

like, oh, that guy's cool.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And.

Lucas:

So you're in great company.

Lucas:

So let's pick one as a standout.

Lucas:

What is the

Sarah Dahlinger:

So the wave lurcher

Sarah Dahlinger:

is one of my favorite creatures because

Sarah Dahlinger:

it's from, I think, my favorite chapter

Sarah Dahlinger:

for creature development out of the

Sarah Dahlinger:

whole book, I mean, I like it all,

Sarah Dahlinger:

but the mostly water only world with

Sarah Dahlinger:

a few islands was really fun to do.

Sarah Dahlinger:

The wave lurcher is based off of a shark.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's a shark alien that has adapted

Sarah Dahlinger:

to, latch onto these massive,

Sarah Dahlinger:

massive like moving islands sort

Sarah Dahlinger:

of things that are called yangos.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Because the yangos are so

Sarah Dahlinger:

big, like, really, really big.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And because they dive, so like

Sarah Dahlinger:

a lot of people when they make

Sarah Dahlinger:

like the moving Island character,

Sarah Dahlinger:

they just kinda stay at the top.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Mine will dive periodically

Sarah Dahlinger:

and like erase all life on it

Sarah Dahlinger:

and then it has to start again.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And that's sort of part of the evolution

Sarah Dahlinger:

of the world and how that world works.

Sarah Dahlinger:

The wave lurchers have multiple, like

Sarah Dahlinger:

suckers on their fins and they have a

Sarah Dahlinger:

protrusion on their face that has suckers.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then, I pulled in some squid

Sarah Dahlinger:

anatomy to have the suckers have

Sarah Dahlinger:

like little teeth on them too,

Sarah Dahlinger:

so they can really hold on there.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Then for its mouth, I kind of pulled

Sarah Dahlinger:

in some anatomy from the goblin

Sarah Dahlinger:

shark and the cookie cutter shark.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So It'll latch onto these giant beasts.

Sarah Dahlinger:

But these giant beasts

Sarah Dahlinger:

they have, like dead skin.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And it needs to come off.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So they serve a purpose.

Sarah Dahlinger:

They feed off of the dead skin on this

Sarah Dahlinger:

giant creature and therefore help keep

Sarah Dahlinger:

it healthy and they help prevent it

Sarah Dahlinger:

from getting diseases from getting into

Sarah Dahlinger:

that wounded flesh or that dead flesh.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So they're actually like a

Sarah Dahlinger:

really important part of the

Sarah Dahlinger:

ecosystem of the world as well.

Sarah Dahlinger:

But they are kind of terrifying looking.

Lucas:

One of my favorite questions is

Lucas:

asking the visual and literary influences

Lucas:

that go into a given monster, and it's

Lucas:

rare that they're all so clearly defined

Lucas:

in the way that you've defined them.

Lucas:

And it's rare that they're all biological.

Sarah Dahlinger:

That's sort of how

Sarah Dahlinger:

I make all my creatures, and I'm

Sarah Dahlinger:

not gonna say that I invented it.

Sarah Dahlinger:

The person I was taught, that

Sarah Dahlinger:

taught me all this is Terryl

Sarah Dahlinger:

Whitlatch and she did a lot of the,

Sarah Dahlinger:

monster development for Star Wars.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I took her class on

Lucas:

No kidding.

Sarah Dahlinger:

absolutely amazing.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And so she teaches that technique

Sarah Dahlinger:

where you look at the natural world,

Sarah Dahlinger:

all naturally occurring animals,

Sarah Dahlinger:

and then what you do is you think

Sarah Dahlinger:

of what you want the creature to do.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Like, okay, so I want a

Sarah Dahlinger:

shark, I want it to be fast.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I want it to be able to suck onto this

Sarah Dahlinger:

like whale like thing, and I want it to

Sarah Dahlinger:

be able to easily feed off of dead flesh.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So then that's your, your brief

Sarah Dahlinger:

and then you go into biology and

Sarah Dahlinger:

you're like, okay, what animals

Sarah Dahlinger:

that always already exist, do that?

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then you kind of pick and

Sarah Dahlinger:

pull little features and then you

Sarah Dahlinger:

sort of blend it all together and

Sarah Dahlinger:

that's how you get a creature.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's really fun to do.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It is.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's super fun.

Lucas:

Most of the people I talk

Lucas:

to are designers first and artists

Lucas:

second, if they are artists at all.

Lucas:

So this is a really new approach from

Lucas:

what I've heard on the show so far.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Oh, cool.

Lucas:

Coming to the game design portion

Lucas:

of this though, you put together system

Lucas:

neutral stat blocks for this thing.

Lucas:

What did you learn from writing system

Lucas:

neutral stat blocks for these monsters?

Lucas:

And how's that helpful for game masters?

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's funny, I thought it

Sarah Dahlinger:

would be really hard, but for me, because

Sarah Dahlinger:

I'm a player, it was essentially the

Sarah Dahlinger:

system neutral stat blocks just kind of

Sarah Dahlinger:

has to tell you how big it is, how fast

Sarah Dahlinger:

it is, how strong it is, how smart it is.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Does it have a personality?

Sarah Dahlinger:

Like does it have a Charisma score?

Sarah Dahlinger:

And because you take so much time sort

Sarah Dahlinger:

of developing them almost from the

Sarah Dahlinger:

inside out, it was not hard to really do.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And um, oh, the other thing too, and

Sarah Dahlinger:

this was actually really fun, is all my

Sarah Dahlinger:

system neutral stat blocks contain hooks.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So how you could implement them

Sarah Dahlinger:

into, so writing those was super

Sarah Dahlinger:

fun because I'm like, you couldn't

Sarah Dahlinger:

encounter this creature this way.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Or maybe, you know, this guy

Sarah Dahlinger:

needs help with this, or, or it

Sarah Dahlinger:

could be stuck here or something

Sarah Dahlinger:

like that so those are fun to do.

Lucas:

I wanna circle back a bit and hit

Lucas:

the framing device that you've got here.

Lucas:

These are all travel logs or field

Lucas:

notes from different point of view

Lucas:

characters, different alien scientists.

Lucas:

So tell us a little bit about

Lucas:

Kindichi the World and Viedat,

Lucas:

the scientist who's working on it.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Yeah, so Kindichi

Sarah Dahlinger:

is A planet that's filled with water.

Sarah Dahlinger:

But because I wanted the focus to

Sarah Dahlinger:

be on these moving island creatures,

Sarah Dahlinger:

the yangos, Kindichi actually has

Sarah Dahlinger:

very, very little actual islands.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's just like if the water

Sarah Dahlinger:

levels were super high.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So the only islands are the very tippy

Sarah Dahlinger:

tops of like their highest mountains.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And um, Viedat is a she

Sarah Dahlinger:

looks like a space bug.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And one of the things I wanted to

Sarah Dahlinger:

explore with her, and actually one of

Sarah Dahlinger:

the things I kind of like to explore

Sarah Dahlinger:

with my work in general is just because

Sarah Dahlinger:

something might look a certain way

Sarah Dahlinger:

doesn't mean they are a certain way.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So like a great example with

Sarah Dahlinger:

our own present world is a bear.

Sarah Dahlinger:

If you were an alien that came

Sarah Dahlinger:

down and saw a bear, you'd be

Sarah Dahlinger:

like, that looks super cuddly.

Sarah Dahlinger:

that looks like I could pet it if

Sarah Dahlinger:

you didn't know what a bear was.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Right?

Sarah Dahlinger:

And like, you know, if you know

Sarah Dahlinger:

that if you walk into the middle of

Sarah Dahlinger:

the forest and try and pet grizzly

Sarah Dahlinger:

bears, it's not gonna go great.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So that's one of the things I was

Sarah Dahlinger:

exploring with Viedat is like she

Sarah Dahlinger:

is a bit insecure and very smart and

Sarah Dahlinger:

super nice and really wants to make

Sarah Dahlinger:

friends with people and looks like

Sarah Dahlinger:

a horrifying space insect, you know?

Lucas:

So a bear in reverse.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Exactly.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Exactly.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Her mouthpieces are

Sarah Dahlinger:

obviously like a bug mouth.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So she has, she makes these little

Sarah Dahlinger:

drones to solve various problems for her.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So she has one that talks for her and

Sarah Dahlinger:

she has one that helps her scan like the

Sarah Dahlinger:

oceans for creatures and stuff like that.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So she has stuff to help, they

Sarah Dahlinger:

help her in her daily life and they

Sarah Dahlinger:

help her in her scientific job.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So she comes to this, planet because,

Sarah Dahlinger:

um, she can fly and she's pretty

Sarah Dahlinger:

good at it, but the planet is just

Sarah Dahlinger:

so, so, so vast, is that she keeps

Sarah Dahlinger:

failing and she can't find anything.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And if you watch any nature

Sarah Dahlinger:

documentaries, I just watched one

Sarah Dahlinger:

they're trying to find a pod of

Sarah Dahlinger:

orca, like a specific pod of orca.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It took them like two years to find this

Sarah Dahlinger:

specific pod of orca and because like our

Sarah Dahlinger:

own oceans are vast and this planet's,

Sarah Dahlinger:

oceans are even bigger than that.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So, She's just failing and failing.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then she stumbles upon the,

Sarah Dahlinger:

um, so my humanoid characters for

Sarah Dahlinger:

that are these essentially they're

Sarah Dahlinger:

all bards, so they're really fun.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Their entire culture, their entire

Sarah Dahlinger:

culture is different sorts of bards and

Sarah Dahlinger:

they're different types of fish people.

Sarah Dahlinger:

they're called the shoals of Kindichi.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So we have the REI is like

Sarah Dahlinger:

their sort of like ray people.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then we have like an eel

Sarah Dahlinger:

type person and stuff like that.

Sarah Dahlinger:

The Ray Risi, they're all storytellers.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then you have one that

Sarah Dahlinger:

they're all like dancers.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then you have another

Sarah Dahlinger:

one that do like beat poetry.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Um, another one that

Sarah Dahlinger:

like only does tragedy.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So the neat thing with interacting

Sarah Dahlinger:

with them is you can go on a whole

Sarah Dahlinger:

bunch of neat adventures, but you have

Sarah Dahlinger:

to essentially pass various trials

Sarah Dahlinger:

and they're all different and they're

Sarah Dahlinger:

all like, sort of performance based.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Um, so it can be a neat thing

Sarah Dahlinger:

to dovetail into a home brew

Sarah Dahlinger:

campaign that you're maybe running.

Sarah Dahlinger:

But anyway, she enc encounters this

Sarah Dahlinger:

group of people, the Shoals and She talks

Sarah Dahlinger:

about getting to know them and there's

Sarah Dahlinger:

a period of time where she's sort of

Sarah Dahlinger:

like, Hey, I'm here to study your planet.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And they're sort of like,

Sarah Dahlinger:

maybe you're sketchy.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And she's like, I'm actually really not.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And you know.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So they become friends and

Sarah Dahlinger:

eventually they help her find the

Sarah Dahlinger:

things that she needs to find.

Lucas:

So tell me about

Lucas:

Vita and the Wave Archer.

Lucas:

How does she, how does she encounter this?

Lucas:

And if you can, this, this I think

Lucas:

might be the thing that I cut into

Lucas:

the, the front of the episode.

Lucas:

So I don't know if you remember this

Lucas:

from the last time we, we talked,

Sarah Dahlinger:

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I remember this.

Sarah Dahlinger:

We were talking about the, the shoe crock

Lucas:

Yeah.

Lucas:

Still have that book on my shelf.

Sarah Dahlinger:

oh, nice.

Sarah Dahlinger:

That's awesome.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Thank you.

Lucas:

Yeah, absolutely.

Lucas:

Looking at the wave lurcher,

Lucas:

what does this tell us about

Lucas:

the world that we live in?

Lucas:

Does this help us understand anything

Lucas:

about how we live or how we should?

Sarah Dahlinger:

One of the things that

Sarah Dahlinger:

I try to do with the entire book, this is

Sarah Dahlinger:

prevalent in every chapter in Astro Fauna,

Sarah Dahlinger:

is I sort of made it nicer than our world.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Like, yes, there's problems, and yes,

Sarah Dahlinger:

there's strife, but in pretty much every

Sarah Dahlinger:

chapter, humans might have chosen to be

Sarah Dahlinger:

cruel to this animal, but they weren't.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Or if it was a human, they might have

Sarah Dahlinger:

chosen to be racist at this moment,

Sarah Dahlinger:

but the people in Astra Fauna weren't.

Sarah Dahlinger:

With the wave lurcher,

Sarah Dahlinger:

they treat it very well.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Like they don't try to make

Sarah Dahlinger:

it something that it's not.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And I'm not saying there

Sarah Dahlinger:

isn't domesticated creatures

Sarah Dahlinger:

in Astra Fauna, there is.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's just, in any time that you have

Sarah Dahlinger:

a situation where a human could have

Sarah Dahlinger:

done it poorly, I try to make the

Sarah Dahlinger:

creatures in Astra Fauna do it well.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I guess it was a bit of a response

Sarah Dahlinger:

to most of the time I was writing it

Sarah Dahlinger:

during the pandemic and I just sort of

Sarah Dahlinger:

wanted a nice place for me to go and.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I just sort of needed to make

Sarah Dahlinger:

myself like a little oasis.

Sarah Dahlinger:

at any point in time, like when I

Sarah Dahlinger:

have a scientist go to a chapter,

Sarah Dahlinger:

they always defer to the native people

Sarah Dahlinger:

and talk to them respectfully and

Sarah Dahlinger:

like I try to make no one a dick.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Basically, you know, it's like that,

Sarah Dahlinger:

that that golden rule of, of being

Sarah Dahlinger:

an artist is, you know, don't be

Sarah Dahlinger:

a dicks and, and no one really is.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's just,

Lucas:

Wow.

Sarah Dahlinger:

yeah.

Lucas:

Yeah, so much of the speculative

Lucas:

fiction in, in D&D and I'm thinking

Lucas:

of things like cyberpunk and a lot

Lucas:

of the other really central and

Lucas:

paramount, science fiction epics.

Lucas:

Star Trek is one of those ones that

Lucas:

is unusual in that it's optimistic

Lucas:

and it paints its world that way.

Lucas:

It's fascinating to me that you've

Lucas:

made a world that is explicitly

Lucas:

imagined without problems.

Sarah Dahlinger:

But it's funny

Sarah Dahlinger:

cuz there is totally problems.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Like everyone has a

Sarah Dahlinger:

problem when they go there.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's just that in general, people

Sarah Dahlinger:

tend to do the right thing.

Lucas:

Hmm.

Lucas:

So other than like personal

Lucas:

escapism, was there a goal for that?

Lucas:

Was there something you were

Lucas:

trying to get at with this?

Lucas:

Some sort of literary principle

Lucas:

or genre you were accessing?

Sarah Dahlinger:

Honestly, a lot of it

Sarah Dahlinger:

was just, it goes back to the whole you

Sarah Dahlinger:

wished existed when you were like 12.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And I don't get me wrong,

Sarah Dahlinger:

like I love four Hammer 40 K.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Like I love, I love some really,

Sarah Dahlinger:

really squalid, terrible,

Sarah Dahlinger:

there's no hope sort of thing.

Sarah Dahlinger:

But that's already been done.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Um, so I wanted to do

Sarah Dahlinger:

something that wasn't that.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And part of it, me being.

Sarah Dahlinger:

In the world of Covid, I just didn't

Sarah Dahlinger:

want to make my life any more dark,

Sarah Dahlinger:

so I made it a little bit brighter.

Lucas:

So tell me about the Kickstarter.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Yeah, the

Sarah Dahlinger:

Kickstarter, I'm super excited.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's to launch the hardcover

Sarah Dahlinger:

version of the book.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Oh, I got the samples from the printer.

Sarah Dahlinger:

They're gorgeous.

Sarah Dahlinger:

They're so nice.

Sarah Dahlinger:

It's so perfect.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So the book is a hundred

Sarah Dahlinger:

percent ready to print.

Sarah Dahlinger:

We just need, to buy the printing, costs

Sarah Dahlinger:

and shipping and handling and printing.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Two features of the book.

Sarah Dahlinger:

there's going to be system neutral stat

Sarah Dahlinger:

blocks that you can get for every MPC

Sarah Dahlinger:

and every creature, so you can dovetail

Sarah Dahlinger:

them into your home brew campaigns.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And the other thing that I really

Sarah Dahlinger:

wanted is I had some people who were

Sarah Dahlinger:

close to me, who I started talking to

Sarah Dahlinger:

when I was about two chapters in, and

Sarah Dahlinger:

they expressed that they had a hard

Sarah Dahlinger:

time due to various, like migraines or

Sarah Dahlinger:

troubles with their eyes or whatnot.

Sarah Dahlinger:

They had a tr hard time reading art books.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And so one of the things that I'm doing

Sarah Dahlinger:

with this is I have accessibility features

Sarah Dahlinger:

that comes standard with every book.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So the book will come with a

Sarah Dahlinger:

screen reader friendly transcript.

Sarah Dahlinger:

A transcript that has the dyslexic

Sarah Dahlinger:

friendly font, and an audiobook.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And there'll be two versions of the

Sarah Dahlinger:

audiobook, one with sound effects and

Sarah Dahlinger:

one that's like just stripped down.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Because I want people to be able

Sarah Dahlinger:

to take this world and run with it.

Sarah Dahlinger:

I want everyone to be

Sarah Dahlinger:

able to experience it.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So if you need to have the audiobook

Sarah Dahlinger:

playing and then you're looking

Sarah Dahlinger:

at the pictures, that's fine.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Or if you need to have something,

Sarah Dahlinger:

read the text transcript to you.

Sarah Dahlinger:

That's fine.

Sarah Dahlinger:

All of it, like all the text in

Sarah Dahlinger:

there is accessible and all the

Sarah Dahlinger:

pictures in there are as accessible

Sarah Dahlinger:

as I can possibly make them.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So that's just a standard feature

Sarah Dahlinger:

that comes with all the books.

Sarah Dahlinger:

So the book has five stories, over 230

Sarah Dahlinger:

images, which we've already discussed,

Sarah Dahlinger:

yeah, sta blocks accessibility

Sarah Dahlinger:

features, uh, yeah, hard cover.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And it's gorgeous and we

Sarah Dahlinger:

just need to get it printed.

Lucas:

What's the fastest

Lucas:

way to get to Astra Fauna?

Sarah Dahlinger:

So if you wanted to,

Sarah Dahlinger:

you could just write astrafauna.com

Sarah Dahlinger:

into your search engine, and that will

Sarah Dahlinger:

bring you to the Astra Fauna webpage.

Sarah Dahlinger:

And then there's a big button that you

Sarah Dahlinger:

can just click and go to the Kickstarter.

Sarah Dahlinger:

Or if you're just on Kickstarter and you,

Sarah Dahlinger:

you know, went to search in Astra Fauna in

Sarah Dahlinger:

Kickstarter, then it'll pop right up to.

Lucas:

Thanks for listening

Lucas:

to Making a Monster.

Lucas:

If you like what you've heard and you

Lucas:

wanna support the show, you can leave

Lucas:

me a rating in Spotify, subscribe in

Lucas:

Google Podcasts, or use whatever platform

Lucas:

you're on to make the algorithm happy.

Lucas:

You can also join my email list where

Lucas:

new episodes and insider bonus features

Lucas:

from my guests will be made available

Lucas:

to you immediately, including stat

Lucas:

blocks, art and digital tokens for

Lucas:

your tabletop role playing games.

Lucas:

New episodes are coming out this

Lucas:

summer, including some exciting episodes

Lucas:

of Making, a Monster Extinction,

Lucas:

and if you miss the Kickstarter

Lucas:

for Book of Extinction, guess what?

Lucas:

You can still get the book.

Lucas:

It's on our pre-order store at

Lucas:

mage hand press.com/extinction.

Lucas:

The first 130 pages of the book

Lucas:

are available to you immediately

Lucas:

when you buy from this.

Lucas:

Site and though they are a little rough

Lucas:

around the edges, you will have access to

Lucas:

future updates and the full and complete

Lucas:

version of the book as they are finished.

Chapters

Video

More from YouTube