Episode 18 – Endorse Your Make-Believe: an Interview with Kelsey Dionne of the Arcane Library!

This week I interview the awesome Kelsey Dionne of the Arcane Library. The Arcane Library is a publisher for best-selling Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition third-party content and printable card-based gaming aids. Kelsey is the writer of the Arcane Library’s D&D 5e adventures and it’s her writing chops and layout skills as pertaining specifically to D&D adventure modules that made me really want to chat with her about Dungeons and Dragons and her writing process. One of the things that impresses me about her adventures are the way they are graphically laid out and I would recommend downloading at least the free adventure from the website (Temple of the Basilisk Cult) so you can see what I see while we chat. During the interview we talk about her writing of course but we also talk about Dungeons and Dragons the game in general, how she runs it herself and my favorite section is probably when we discuss “why D&D” … air quotes … and a few topics relating to that like dungeon master advice and some D&D tips for low level players.

Bookmarks
00:00:00 – Opening (News & Sundries)
00:15:23 – Interview
01:15:19 – Hobby Progress
01:19:44 – Section Charlie

In Section Charlie, where I highlight something or someone cool I’ve come across on the internet, I share an Instagram account soulbounddice, where artist Velouria creates custom hand-crafted polyhedral dice for tabletop games and collectors!
https://www.instagram.com/soulbounddice/

SHOW NOTES

Mandolin
Garth Nix
Roald Dahl story collection “Skin”
Blood And Snow
Unearthed Arcana
Unearthed Arcana Encounter Building article
Xanathar’s Guide To Everything
Sly Flourish
Lightbox Expo
Rachael Dunk
Ahmed Aldoori YouTube Channel
Ahmed Aldoori 3D Tracer Illustration (YouTube video)

Watch the YouTube version of the podcast which contains time-lapse footage of working at the paint desk!

Show Transcript (excluding interview content)

What can I do different this episode? I mean as far as the intro goes. What? We’re live? Seriously? No one tells me anything … 

Hello, and welcome to CryinMo’s Tabletop Alchemy. This is episode 18 and I am CryinMo.

All right so how are you guys doing this week? I hope everyone is safe and sound, I hope everyone is emotionally stable, and to be perfectly honest, I actually hope everyone is “hope-ful”. Well, maybe, you know, at least half full of hope. 

I had a text chat with a friend of mine this week who has been going through some pretty heavy stuff and she’s realized that she has to let some things go and life is going to be what it’s going to be. Almost through sheer exhaustion life is forcing her to understand that you can’t save everyone and that some people are never going to change, no matter how hard you try to help them. Change, that is. Why am I talking about this? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. I think it’s just because I wanted to bring up this idea that if you’re feeling like life is constantly pummeling you to the ground, like the universe just keeps dumping garbage on you over and over while you struggle to stand up beneath the deluge and it just keeps knocking you down … not only is it ok to just lie there for a bit, it might be necessary. You might need to just let the garbage rain down while you just go with the flow, live life minute by minute, hour by hour, whatever it takes to get through. You might just need to do that and save whatever energy you’ve been expending in futile rages against the machine. Something tells me that new opportunities will appear at some point and if you’ve saved up some energy, spent a little bit of time centering yourself or just concentrating on yourself, you might be able to seize those opportunities when you realize where they are.

Wow, ok – I apologize, this way off track and yeah, this really IS Tabletop Alchemy, I swear! Let me introduce the show again: All right, as much as it may not seem like it, this is Tabletop Alchemy, a show about tabletop gaming hobbies, specifically Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer, skirmish games like Frostgrave, terrain crafting and a whole lot of miniature painting! My intent is to create content you can have on in the background while you’re working on your gaming stuff for the week or while you’re in transit from one location to another and you want to keep that hobby vibe surrounding you, I seem to be really developing this into an interview-based podcast which, to be perfectly honest, wasn’t something I considered doing when I first set out to produce it but I am quickly learning it is too incredibly cool to not do! So there! See, go with the flow, see what you like doing and pursue it! 

All right, quick sundries: you can find all the episodes and show notes with links to things discussed in most episodes at cryinmo.com, you can also find ways to contact me there, from email to instagram to facebook, you’ll also find links to most major podcast apps as well as a link to my YouTube channel that includes every podcast episode as a video accompanied by footage of whatever I’m working on at the painting desk (just in case YouTube is your preferred listening or content-consuming platform).

As always, I tip my hat to my wonderful patrons at Patreon, they provide financial support that goes a lot further than they probably understand and for which I am always grateful. Other fantastic ways to support the show are leaving a rating on whatever app you happen to listen to the show on or dropping a comment on the YouTube version or punching a like on the little excerpts I post on Instagram, and of course – just flat out sharing the show with anyone else you think might enjoy it! All of that stuff is really how we gain new audience members and grow the community. And I love interacting with you guys, so always feel free to send me a direct message on one of my social media accounts or comments or whatever works for you.

So I have a couple things to report on quickly for this week: Last weekend, Kiera and I attended the first day of Lightbox Expo in Pasadena California and it was pretty damn cool! Basically, for me, it was like taking the Artist Alley out of Comic Con and making a whole convention around just the artists. It was super refreshing – again, for me – to walk around tables and booths of hundreds of artists and not see you know ten thousand fan art drawings of batman or iron man. There was just a ton of original art, original IP, concept art, design stuff, it was all very cool. Kiera and I and our friend Bimal (both Kiera and Bimal are artists), we all got to meet one of the crazy cool people that I’ve interviewed on this show! Daniel Landerman! He had a booth there with framed originals and a stack of original artwork for sale, it was great to meet him in person and shake his hand and look at his original art. Kiera got to do a portfolio review where she sat with Racheal Dunk and I’ll drop a link to Rachael’s portfolio site in the show notes, it’s just rachaeldunk.com – she’s a 3D artist who’s worked on Star Wars, Aquaman, Transformers, Gardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie, just craziness all the stuff she’s worked on. Anyway, Kiera got to sit with her and it was Kiera’s first ever portfolio review and it went really well and I’m just so happy she got to do that. We also attended a talk led by Ahmed Aldoori, another artist I’ll drop a link to his YouTube channel in the shownotes as well, there was just a ton of great people and art to experience there and I’m sure it’ll become an annual thing. Again, that’s the Lightbox Expo.

So the second bit of news is this whole CryinMo appearing on another podcast thing. That’s right, Dan Adams of Paint All The Minis fame and I concluded a month-long run of weekend conversations about his Sustainable Gaming concept and not only did I find out that he’s going to run all four of our episodes in continuity – which, yes, means I’ll be on the Paint All The Minis podcast for four weeks in a row, starting September 20th – and which, yes, I warned him is a crazy idea because having me on that many times in a row is bound to be bad for his listening numbers but he didn’t listen to me – but he also dropped a little 20 minute preview that I’ll put a link to in the show notes as well. I had a really good time just hanging out with him on Skype or Google Chats whatever, I think he’s super intelligent and he was just really fun to talk to, I think we got along great. We’re definitely different personality-wise insofar as how we sort of deal with life, he’s very analytical and I learned a lot to be honest. I don’t think he learned anything from me, ‘cause most of my answers to his questions were like “I don’t know, dude, I just do what feels good.” And he’d be like “but WHY does it feel good?” And then I’d be like  … “uhhhh … I don’t think that hard about things. And now I’m thinking I should.” But seriously, I had a great time and he’s offered to come onto Tabletop Alchemy so I’m working on what subjects I’d like to chat with HIM about. 

Okay, I hear you yelling at me, I do, I can hear it: get to the gaming stuff, duuuuude! Get to the interview! All right, all right, I got it.

So … this week I have a conversation with the awesome Kelsey Dionne of the Arcane Library. What is this magical library of arcane arts, you might be wondering. And who is Kelsey Dionne? The Arcane Library … dot com … is a publisher for best-selling Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition third-party content and printable card-based gaming aids. Kelsey is the author of the Arcane Library’s D&D adventures and it’s her writing chops and layout skills as pertaining  specifically to D&D adventure modules that made me really want to chat with her about Dungeons and Dragons and her writing process. As you guys know I talk a lot and I try to reign myself in during actual interviews but I had a hard time restraining my excitement in the first third of this interview and I talked a bit too much, but I guarantee that I shut up at some point and let Kelsey sort of, you know … answer questions. But definitely one of the things that impresses me about her adventures are the way they are graphically laid out and I would recommend if at all possible downloading at least the one free adventure from thearcanelibrary.com (which is called Temple of the Basilisk Cult and it downloads in PDF format) so you can see what I see while we chat. During the interview we talk about her writing of course but we also talk about the game in general, how she runs it herself and my favorite section is probably when we discuss “why D&D” … air quotes … and a few topics relating to that. All right, let’s do the thing!

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All right, that was a super fun conversation, for me anyway, I hope you guys dug it and definitely go check Kelsey’s work out at the arcane library.com, as always, links for that and other specific things we mentioned in the interview are in the show notes at cryinmo.com. Thank you once again Kelsey for taking the time to chat with me, I really appreciated that and your just overall creative and happy vibe.

Okay, Hobby Progress!

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So this week is very simple, I painted up that  Privateer Press Trollkin Shaman I primed last week, he was super fun to paint, he has a lot of details on him which always ends up taking a bunch of time, but I’m pretty happy with how he turned out and I actually asked Kiera for some advice on some color scheme choices. I painted him in three pieces, his one arm with the ax and his head I kept separate and I attached his staff-holding hand to his body and primed all of that with him also mounted to the base. This is also the first time I used some pink terrain foam, XPS foam to be exact, as a miniature’s base in addition to a chunk of cork. Actually while I’m recording this, I haven’t yet finished the base but I’m guessing I’ll have it done when this episode releases and he should be on Instagram the day after this episode drops. He’ll be an excellent player character figure for like an orc wizard or something of that nature or of course as an NPC for D&D and maybe even a wizard or apprentice for an orcish Frostgrave warband, which I’ve definitely been planning. So now I’m wondering what I’m gonna paint next! I’m not sure, I have that Reaper Bones female effreet model already primed, I still have five of those Frostgrave Cultist conversions ready to paint, I’m just not sure. I’m also getting ready to order a couple of paints and possibly Blood Bowl. I know I keep hovering on the fence with that game, but – hey, sustainable gaming! I don’t know if that means I should buy it or not. The one thing is, I don’t have to decide right now. Or ever, really. So we’ll see. But I do need to order paint and I usually order from Miniaturemarket.com as they have decent prices and honest shipping fees. I need a new bottle of P3 Thamar Black and I’ve wanted a couple of the Contrast colors, I want to pick up the pink one and the warp green, I think those will be very useful. I’m also considering picking up some of Citadel technical paint called Blood for the blood god, that’s a famous glossy transparent red and there’s also an opaque green called Nurgle’s Rot that could be fun to have on hand for like pools of I don’t know, snot? I don’t know, it just looks like it achieves a particular affect that I’m sure is re-creatable with some kind of paint mixture but I don’t know what that is, so having a premade pot of it probably would be cool. 

All right, I think that’s it for hobby progress, let’s do section Charlie!

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This is where I get to shoutout or highlight someone or something cool I’ve come across online that I wanna share. So this week, I’m gonna highlight an Instagram account called soulbounddice and while this account is pretty awesome, the concept is doubly interesting because I had no idea that making your own dice is this small but growing trend. Of course, I don’t know much about anything going so perhaps you’ve all heard of this. Apparently you can purchase dice molds from somewhere, again, I’m not clear on all of this and I’m just starting to investigate it, cause I think the potential here is kinda cool. My first thought when seeing these custom-made dice was oh man, where’s the grimdark dice? I can see ironsleet.com commissioning a whole set of rusty, deadly looking dice haha! But soulbounddice is an Instagram account for an artist named Velouria and her work is very eye-catching! At a cursory glance her dice might appear similar to what you see online at most dice outlets but upon closer inspection you can really see how clear some of her dice are and for the multi-colored ones, just how unique they actually are. One of my favorites is this set where she’s placed, apparently, bits of a flower or plant called bittersweet nightshade into clear resin, it looks really cool. I could see artist doing this with all kinds of other materials. Dead spider dice anyone? Im just kidding, I don’t want those. Put ‘em away, seriously. She has another set that has I guess ink dropped into the resin and I swear it looks like there’s like a beta fish in die, like you’re just catching a view of a beta fish tale in it’s bowl. It’s very cool. But anyway, fun little Instagram feed and it looks like she’s just getting started so I expect we’ll see all kinds of neat products in the future, dice-wise I mean. Link as always, in the show notes!

All right, friends and fellow gamers, artists and rogues, dice-rollers and miniature-movers, that puts a taser in this Hangover. I wish you all the best in your hobby endeavors for the week, I hope you get some gaming in or at least get some game-related stuff done. Remember, live in the moment and do the thing. See ya!