Interview with Bee, Creator of World of Wyldrvir and non-combat tabletop RPG!
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Note: this is a transcripted interview, edited for ease of reading
- About Bee
- Creating Wyldrvir
- What is unique about Wyldrvir?
- Non-combat challenges
- About player characters
- Magic schools
- Other upcoming ideas
- Closing words
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get started in tabletop RPGs?
I’m Bee, I’m 21, I started working with TTRPG stuff about 2-3 years ago. I did some stuff in 5e then went and did my own thing.
I started playing more recently. I maybe got into it really 2-3 years ago. It all really started because a friend of mine really got me into it online. I started watching Adventure Zone, and my friend basically gave me a campaign as a birthday gift.
When did you decide to make Wyldrvir into it’s own published game?
Coming up with the initial game idea
So, there was never really a point where I said, “This is what I want to do”.
That moment never really came, to be honest. I had gotten into some things, and when I get into things, I tend to create and write; that’s just what I find fun. Somewhere down that line, I ended up getting really into homebrewing and made my own game.
It started with making my own 5e podcasts, which was Frostwalkers, and as we started getting into other stuff with that group, I was thinking about what I could do. Campaign two is going to have a different DM, which is great but also… what would I do with my time?
So, I ended up going in a weird direction. Like I said, there was never a point where I decided to make my own game. I started coming up with a one-shot that I thought would be fun for my friends to play in. It went from… this will be a fun one shot to… I guess this is its own game now. That rulebook that is our core book was our one-shot scratchpad, and then it slowly morphed into what it is now.
Help from friends and refining the game idea
Even then, I can’t say it was all me. I work best in conversation. I work best in concepting when I’m with someone else, so I’m really thankful to Crow who helped me make everything happen. It would not have worked out as well as it did had it not been for Crow. They’re also the one who did all the amazing art. Their support makes this game exist, to be completely honest.
Crow made exactly what we were thinking about. Funny story, in the earlier ideas, we had no idea what we were making. It started out a one-shot idea, and then it was like, oh… is that quite right? Is that what we want to do? There was almost a point where Wyldrvir was a webcomic, so that style came out of what would a webcomic in this world look like? And once it became a game, we transferred over a lot of the same art. So, the Wyldrvir story really is one of us just being like, this makes sense, right?
What makes Wyldrvir a unique tabletop RPG?
It has no real combat system – that’s the thing that everyone opens with being the weird thing. There’s no fighting. That came out of the very simple reasoning of… that’s hard, and it didn’t really match what we wanted to do with the game. We wanted to make a roadtrip through a fantasy world. That was the concept. I always tell people that the pitch for the one-shot was… we could play with the diegetic nature of the show. What if the podcast is about a group of kids doing a podcast?
For some reason, that idea, I thought was really funny, and I liked it. As we kept concepting, I was like, let’s make a one-shot where the characters are making their own travel show, and our show is their show. But they wouldn’t really be able to do much combat in that setup, it would be really awkward. That started us going along that maybe there just isn’t combat.
What types of non-combat challenges do you run into in Wyldrvir?
You’re traveling through the world, so there’s a bit more mundanity to some of these challenges. What if you’re stuck somewhere? What if you’re homesick?
There are still magical creatures. You’ll have to endear these high power magical creatures without fighting them. Someone made the joke that it’s the Undertale pacifist means of combat, and I was like… you know… that’s not wrong. That’s not incorrect.
You learn what the creature needs to effectively calm down, and you provide that. At the end of the day, the creatures of Wyldrvir are just creatures that have magic. They aren’t trying to hurt people, you just need to chill them out a bit.
What are the player characters in Wyldrvir like?
Character creation creativity
Wyldrvir definitely rewards creative thinking with character types because the attributes, which is what your character can do, is completely up to you. You don’t have to limit yourself.. We’ve had people who have made a character whose thing is that they use pasta for their magic. We had someone who’s attributes were all It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia references, and one of their things was bird law – it actually became very useful.
It’s great, that’s the beautiful part of it. You can go anywhere and do anything. You can make a living thing of fire that uses water magic. It doesn’t matter, and making sure that everyone had that, especially with the races, was important to me because we’ve seen people’s feelings about D&D races and tying things like intelligence or charisma to what you are versus what you do. I wanted to make sure in Wydrvir, that wasn’t really a thing. What you do is tied to what you do.
A focus on what you do versus what you are
The races in Wydrvir do exist, and I think they give fun fantasy flavor to it. They do have attributes that they give you, but they are more about the ‘what’. So, the race attributes for a Sun Elf is more about being able to survive in the heat or being able to use minor fire magic. It’s something that makes sense that someone tied to the flame would have.
Now, if you came from the fire city, one of the attributes is that you’re so used to everything being so temperamental and hot-headed and fiery that, in contrast, you have just learned to take all that. You can take those high intensity situations, and you are very chill. That’s not something tied to being a Sun Elf, that’s something that’s tied to being in that environment of living in the fire city.
If younger people are playing it, I want it to be very clear that you CAN do anything. What you are is not equivalent to what you do.
I saw D&D do it with Tasha’s to try and make it better, and I do appreciate it, but I’m also of the mind that anytime D&D does something different, people yell about it.
You have a magic school planned for Wydrvir?
Excited about Strixhaven
I am an MtG buff. I do like Magic the Gathering a lot, and I was really happy that Strixhaven got a book because it’s a new plane. I think it’s the first time that we’ve gotten a new space. The last two MtG books were Ravnica and Theros, which have been around since 2005 and the 90’s for Ravnica. I think the magic school genre has every right to grow, and seeing Wizards put their spin on it.
I remember screaming about it because I was so upset that it would just be cloning Harry Potter, but no! It ended up being its own thing, and it was really cool! I remember going to my friends and being like, “the colleges are actually about colleges! They’re actually school stuff!”
I personally think that in terms of the magic school stuff, they did everything cooler, but I remember seeing the Polygon article go on about the book, and people got so upset that there were going to be rules for school stuff in a magic school book – that there would be a D&D book that wasn’t about horrifying monsters and murder.
Wyldrvir’s own magic school
I want when Wyldrvir does the magic school for people to be like, “oh, cute, neat!” and not scream at us that there are no monsters.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been thinking about doing a magic school in Wydrvir because I think that fits this world’s vibe SO well. I remember telling Crow – something that Crow really likes about Wyldrvir is how new magic is in the world – and they said, “well, if you do that, that means magic is something people can study, and that takes away the newness of it all.”
Crow is the person that tries to make sense of my ideas, so, I am taking that idea into account, but then thinking that the flip side of that is… what if that’s the point? It helped me really build around this.
I came up with the idea: What if the magic school itself isn’t so much a traditional school as a lab, and the teachers here know just as little about magic as everyone else. Everyone’s confused, no one knows what’s going on, and everyone’s trying their best to figure it out. So, it’s a school, but it is also a massive think-tank of the best mages that have come so far. Hopefully they’ll work something out!
Making this magic school something different
I’m of the mind that if you’re going to do something, do something fun and different with it. This is a school that’s trying to learn how to be a school. That’s different; that’s not something you’d expect from a typical magic school story. I usually like taking a very tried and true idea and flipping it a bit to try something different, and that’s something that Wyldrvir has really allowed me to do, which I really appreciate.
What other ideas are you working on with Wyldrvir?
There’s a lot that’s going to happen with Wyldrvir. I want to do a summer camp – I REALLY want to do a summer camp. That’s the one I’m working on right now. There’s the school, and a few other things. Eventually I’ll get to do everything that I want to do as long as I stick with the idea that if anything’s going to happen in Wyldrvir, it’s going to be weird and different from what people anticipate, and that’s the fun.
Any closing words about tabletop RPGs?
I want to thank everyone who’s been making stuff for Wyldrivr – there’s a really fun community that’s grown around it so far, and it blows my mind. I’ve gotten to meet so many other cool people and have gotten to write for so many other games now… I guess I do good enough that people want me on their projects, which will never not be wild to me. It’s cool, and not at all intimidating. It’s a little wild.
I could just be happy with Wyldrivr. I could be done, but I have started new ideas, as always, and I’m excited for that because if this weird Time Kid project of mine works out, I think it is going to be really cool. It is the weirdest mix of a scripted show and TTRPG show – I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it.
I like doing stuff, and I like making stuff with cool people, and that’s all there is to it!
Thank you for having me on!
Go check out Wyldrvir!
World of Wyldrvir’s site can be found here.
World of Wyldrvir can be found on itch.io and DriveThruRPG.
Thank you Bee for chatting about your experiences and your game! And thank you, dear reader, for following along!
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