Know Direction 287 In Writing

Ruvaid Virk on Jalmeray and The Impossible Lands

Esther: Hello and welcome to Know Direction, your number one source for Pathfinder news, reviews, and interviews. I’m one of your hosts, Esther Wallace, and I’m here with my co-host Navaar —

Navaar: Hello!

Esther: And our guest today is somebody we are so excited to talk to. He has many bylines with Paizo, including the Starfinder Bounty Echoes of Woe, credits in the Impossible Lands, the upcoming Tian Xia books, and The Dark Archive: our guest today is Ruvaid Virk! Welcome to Know Direction.

Ruvaid: Hi. Thanks so much for having me. I’m super excited to be here.

Navaar: Thanks for joining us. So we — Esther and I — had previously reviewed a little bit of the book The Impossible Lands, but we are going to jump in today to kind of do a deep dive into some of the stuff that you wrote. So yeah, if you want to just get us started, like what are some of the things — I know you’ve already told us, but for the audience, what are some of the things that you wrote in the book that we’re gonna get into today?

Ruvaid: Yeah, absolutely. So I wrote the Vishkanya ancestry. I wrote a good part of the Niswan entry in, in Jalmeray. I didn’t write all of it, but I wrote like, The People, the Day Of, a, A Year In Culture, a really, really good portion of it. I wrote the Adventuring In, or some of the Adventuring In Jalmeray section, the weapons, part of the additional archetype for Student of Perfection. I wrote two of the deity entries, Chamidu and Ragdya. And I also wrote two of the Bestiary entries. the Ratajin and the, uh, Kashrishi.

Navaar: That’s a lot of fun. I, you know, I’m curious like, because I think that this book, Impossible Lands, is such an important book in general. Coming on as a writer, how was it presented to you? What was the– sort of the pitch to you to even want to do something like this?

Ruvaid: Yeah. So Impossible Lands was pitched to me, you know, it’s — the entire area is steeped in cultural influences from like, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and a lot of other places with like, Geb and Nex and, and Alkenstar, right? So it’s just this very diverse area and, Jalmeray in specific, is a Indian-South Asian-inspired area.

And I, I myself am a Pakistani and so, you know, when the Paizo team contacted me, they were like, basically, “Hey, you know, we, this is the outline, what do you wanna work on?” And I said, “Well, Jalmeray! Absolutely I wanna work on that.” I get to flex a little bit of my culture! It was just really exciting to, to see that and be a part of it.

And, you know, I feel pretty lucky to have been able to, uh, to work on that. It’s just really, really, really awesome to be a part of a book with, with such diverse authors and diverse inspirations and like, you know, have it all actually be written by people that are actually a part of those, those cultures and stuff, right?

Navaar: Yeah, absolutely. 

Esther: Absolutely. I’m curious, can you tell us a little bit more about the process? So the team from Paizo it sounds like gives a brief, and then you have some ability to select what you’d like to work on. How do you then start like fleshing out this place? Are there cues that you’re given from the team, or do you kind of get to have a creative process and then work with them to refine what you’ve come up with? Or both?

Ruvaid: It’s definitely a collaborative effort. You work with the Paizo team, you work with other freelancers that are on the project, you know, you bounce ideas back and forth. Developing a book like this is, is all about shared ideas and trying to improve the things that you have, get ideas from other sources, and like, you know, just, just work together.

And so that, that’s what it was. It was a long period of, you know, “This is what I’m thinking. What do you guys think? You guys think there could be any improvement?” both to the Paizo staff and other writers on the book. And lots of back and forth, lots of collaborative effort for sure.

There’s no way that I could have, you know, written what I did without working with the other people who wrote parts of Jalmeray, with people with more information than I have in some parts. Like it, it’s not something you do alone, for sure.

Navaar: Yeah, yeah. So I’m curious too, like, how did you get introduced to Pathfinder, and really like, the world of Golarion, like when did that happen for you?

Ruvaid: Yeah. Well, 2012 was probably the, the year. And I can trace this pretty easily because that’s the year that I started my undergrad. When I met, one of my really, really good friends — who’s actually an ex-Paizo employee, Levi Steadman — and he, introduced me to, to Pathfinder. He’d been playing for, a number of years, and at the time, I, you know, I was like, “Oh, I, I know D&D is a thing, and that sounds like a lot of fun. I read a lot of fantasy, you know, I kind of wanna play!” And it just so happened that the first really close friend that I made that was into TTRPGs was into Pathfinder.

And honestly, the rest is kind of just history. We’ve played a bunch of Pathfinder. And I love Golarion, and I love Pathfinder. And then one day I saw a Twitter call for diverse authors by Lyz Liddell, who’s no longer with Paizo, but was at the time. And so I reached out and here I am, X amount of years later. It’s an — almost exactly three years, actually.

Navaar: I love that. I think like it’s– it’s a lot of fun to see like, that transition and, and how to come into it.

I mean, back then, right, in 2013, a lot of these places existed but didn’t necessarily have the same kind of written representation. Like were you aware of the Impossible Lands or Jalmeray back in 2013 or any of those early games?

Ruvaid: Not when I initially started. Initially, I think we just started with like, an adventure path. We were playing… Wrath of the Righteous was my first character.

Navaar: Yeah, classic! 

Ruvaid: I mean, uh, it, it’s a classic. Yeah. It’s, it’s great. It wasn’t really until later when I learned about like, Vudra as it was presented in 1E, and then Jalmeray. And it was cool to see that those existed, but like you said, some of the content has not, you know, maybe aged the greatest over time. And so that was one of the big reasons I was so excited to, that they were doing this was ’cause — a chance to update the area, to kind of, you know, have people write it who aren’t just a monolith of people not from that culture, right? [laughs]

Navaar: Yeah. 

Esther: Yeah. 

Ruvaid: No real offense to people who worked on it. I mean, TTRPGs fifteen, ten — fifteeen, twenty years ago is a little different. But I’m just, I’m really happy to see representation being done the way that it is with Paizo. You know, the Mwangi Expanse, this book, Tian Xia coming out, like — they’re, I don’t know, knocking it out of the park, I think.

Navaar: I’ve definitely been banging the drum on the Mwangi Expanse since it arrived, and probably even before then…. just so excited for the idea of it. But yeah, I think that’s one of the incredible things, right, with this stuff is that representation. That being able to open a book and see pictures of people and fantasy ancestries that have brown skin you know, and, and black hair — 

Ruvaid: Mmhm. Mmhm. 

Navaar: — and wearing clothes that you would traditionally only see in other parts of the world that aren’t Eurocentric. And I think that, as a creative person, really helps to like, one, inspire, but also open your eyes… “Now I can fit into this!” And now I want to tell my stories in this kind of world and use this setting in a way that, you know, you might not want to in another setting where everything feels Eurocentric. 

Ruvaid: Yeah, no, absolutely. I think it’s really important, to be able to have access to these different types of– ’cause, cultures all around the world, you’re not — there’s a specific type of Eurocentric story and like, story framing and you know, mythology and so on and so forth.

You know, everyone’s familiar with Greek gods and, and like Norse mythology and whatever. But, being able to pick up a book like this and see inspiration from other parts of the world is how you become more diverse as a person, right? Is how you learn more, how you expand your horizons, and you’re able to learn about these cultures from the lens of that culture, not just like, as an, as an outsider and portraying that culture, which is how, things historically have been.

Esther: I have animals making noise, but I wanted to say something. One of the things that I love that you pointed out there is non-Eurocentric ways of storytelling. And one of the things that I think I notice we can tend towards in the way tabletop RPGs unfold, sometimes in the Actual Play space, sometimes in home games, is that it can tend toward these like, more Eurocentric beats of how a story unfolds. And I was wondering if we could get into a little bit more of how a setting like this, and how inviting folks from non-European cultures to represent their own cultures and kind of bring in other modes of storytelling, can influence games and the way we get into gameplay? I’m just curious if, if we have any thoughts on that.

Ruvaid: Yeah, I mean, so for example, you look at like, Indian mythology and — you know, I’m, I’ll preface like I’m, I am Pakistani, I’m not Hindu either — but there is this idea of like, cycles, reincarnation, karma, and starting stories from a place that aren’t the beginning, right? And that’s something that you see a whole lot of.

I actually listened to a, uh, a recent, lecture from Writing The Other that was specifically on non-Western storytelling that brings up a lot of good points. Like, it’s things like starting — having multiple ways of the same story being told from different perspectives, starting it from one place, flashing back, flashing forward. Things like unreliable narrators and changes in details and, you know, kind of piecing those things together. An example people are very familiar with: 1,001 Tales From like Arabian Nights, right?

And it’s stories within stories within stories. And I think that having a book like this, that kind of provides a foundation of location, of people, of ideologies that you can weave into those kinds of stories, like, fate and reincarnation and karma, obviously, is a really big thing. And those are things that are expanded upon within the text of not only the deity entries, but throughout the Jalmeray section.

And, you know, it’s looking at like, Rakshasas and Ashuras and what their, you know, what their plans are. And it’s– the story can almost like, build itself, right? I’m running a, a Jalmeray-based home campaign right now.

Navaar: That’s awesome! 

Ruvaid: And I started the campaign… they woke up, you know, Skyrim-style in the back of a, in the back of a cart, and whatever, and, you know, don’t remember anything. And then we like, almost immediately after the first session, have been in a flashback sequence since, and picking up little details and meeting like people that they saw for the first time and didn’t know who they were.

And like, that’s been a really enjoyable experience for them. That’s just like an example, right? I don’t know, having all these written items to, to reference, just having the inspiration from this non-Western storytelling be a part of the writing that’s being done… I mean, all of that comes across, right?

You can mess around with karma. You can mess around with the gods. You can reincarnate characters, you can have ’em be, be in the middle of some new crazy life cycle, and really just have space to do, so much more than just like, The Hero’s Journey. No hate on The Hero’s Journey! [laughs] But… [laughs]

Esther: And there’s so much more than a monolith of a way to tell a story. Like, there’s so many meaningful ways to tell stories. 

Ruvaid: Yeah! 

Esther: And I, I love everything that you’re getting at here. One of the things I noticed was the way you talked about this sense of not necessarily beginning at the beginning and one of the strong feelings I got reading the Jalmeray section is this very layered sense of time and that there’s not just one beginning for this place. There’s people who have lived there — the indigenous people, there’s the colonists from Vudra, there’s the colonists from Nex — and so many different layers of story, of these places that have their own story going on, that combine here. And it really feels like a, a different sense of time, which I loved. I just thought that was the coolest thing ever. So it really came through.

Ruvaid: Yeah, I’m really, really happy, really happy to hear that. And Jalmeray as, as a setting is so interesting because of that, right? There’s so many waves of settling and settlement and wreckages of old places and traces of, like you said, like the indigenous people, the Sunghari, and, it, it just, it’s so much room to make your stories. 

Navaar: Yeah. I think like, one of the great things about it that I’ve noticed here, too, is like, it seems like in both this book and in the Mwangi Expanse, there’s it seems like a stronger sense of community that seems to come with hiring writers from all these different cultures. You can see that there is a, like– yes, these are a group of different peoples, even some of these people who are like Rakshasa and stuff like that– and it’s like, yes, they are different groups of people, but there’s also, in this place, a respect for everybody’s ideologies and their religions. And even if we don’t agree, or even if you’ll never go to this shrine, like it’s still something that it’s all respected here. We keep the violence out of the streets and — you know what I mean? And stuff like that.

And I think that that’s a lot of fun. It’s a really great way to not only approach the storytelling, but also to encourage people in their storytelling to like, look at this in a way that… even though the history of these places sometimes has colonialism and, and things like that, how do we get past that? How do we include that history but also work to move beyond it?

I mean, with that in mind, like, I’m curious: does that come from the writers, or is that also a blend of the, of the team and Paizo direction and stuff like that?

Ruvaid: Definitely like both, right? We can write what we think we wanna do and what we think is the best way, and at the end of the day, the developers and the company, you know, they get that text and they do what they think is best with that text. And the fact that, looking at this book, that a lot of those ideas kind of have made it through and, you know, have been developed is a testament to how important that is, not only to us as writers, but the developers who put this book out. ‘Cause they worked on making that text better, on enhancing it, on working with the writers to have it included in, in the first place. So, you know, definitely collaborative.

You know, I could have written whatever crazy things I wanted for Jalmeray, right? And if it doesn’t pass the, you know, “we can keep it in the book,” then it, then it doesn’t pass, right? For whatever reason — you know, sometimes that happens. But I think that it’s very important to, like you said, not shy away from the fact that these, you know, things like colonialism and things are a very real part of the setting and the world, but how do we incorporate that into the setting, work with it, move past it, and make it a better experience? Because for a lot of people, you know, these are ideas that are very real, that are very emotional ideas that, that mean a lot to them. And it takes a collaborative effort to pay it a proper amount of respect and to do it justice.

That certainly requires both me as a writer, other writers, and the developers in the company to all be aware that there are potential pitfalls there that we can fall in, to make sure that, that we’re all doing our best to, to avoid those pitfalls. And one of the biggest ways to do that is to hire people who know what they’re, you know, who have a lens to — that know what they’re talking about. And, you know, have things like sensitivity readers. And always have this avenue of open communication.

Navaar: It’s just really good to see. And I think that it’s true. Like, there are so many things. We talked about a little bit of like, the genies, Rakshasa, is it the Vanara? The, uh, the monkey people?

Ruvaid: The Vanara, yes. Yeah.

Navaar: These are things that have, in a vacuum, have a connotation already. A lot of that connotation comes from D&D or from just Orientalist media, right? So taking that stuff and giving it power, giving it beauty, even if it still retains– like, the Rakshasa still aren’t good creatures, right?

Like, even if you still retain that, how do you write it in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s offensive? And what I love is that now we have this perspective, and the reader then can take this and understand where it comes from, and create that in a way that is more nuanced and more true to what it’s meant to be than just something that could really set somebody off, if, you know, they take it to the wrong place.

Ruvaid: Yeah, absolutely. And like, you know, you, you mentioned the, the ancestries and that’s, that was a huge area where having that kind of care was so important. Like, the Vanaras and Vishkanyas, there were ancestries playable in, in 1E.

And, you know, are mentioned plenty of other places and like, how do you… like for me, you know, I — I wrote Vishkanya — moving them from the, like, the stereotype that they were in their Pathfinder 1 presentation to being, like you said, just more nuanced and an actual group of people with their own values, with their own ideas, and still draw inspiration from the original mythological like, origins and pay respect to that is not something that you can do without really understanding like, the culture and understanding their, their origins, which is… I think everybody did a really, really great job.

Like, Brian Yaksha wrote The Vanara and it might be my favorite, my favorite section in the book. They’re so fleshed out as a people, you know, their beliefs, their everything. Everything about it. And that comes from paying, from paying respect to the culture, to the origins and also, you know, still bringing in that fantasy element and, you know, making, making it fun. You can feel the love and care, right? 

Navaar: Yeah. I mean, I think it says something, right, when a person opens the book and they see it and they go, “I wanna play this.”

Ruvaid: Yeah! Yeah. 

Navaar: Because I, there have been other races in other games that I’ve opened and been like, “I’m never playing this.” [Navaar and Ruvaid laugh] And, you know, we don’t have to get into those reasons why, but like, if you’ve ever felt that, you understand.

And I think there is something that, to be said about the idea of having that — not only the artwork, which is incredible — but also the words that are written in there, the lore, the description of how the characters are. I really, really love that. 

Yeah. I think unless you have something else outside of this, Esther, I think I would love to get into like the specific stuff that you wrote, you know, starting with Jalmeray and, and go from there.

Esther: Yeah, I had like a, a couple things that might take us into that. I did wanna briefly remark that Navaar and I, when we did our review of the, the overall book, we had both been like, the Vanara were the ancestry we were most nervous about. And it was really cool to go through and read it and be like, “Oh, I could play this. This is a really cool, well done, carefully thought out representation.” And I was thinking when Navaar was like, “In some systems you open up and you find an ancestry and it’s like, oh, I am never playing that,” either because it’s so badly portrayed or for me sometimes it’s like, maybe it’s not, but I’m never playing that because I feel like it would be so outside of my lane. One of the things that I really appreciated about all the ancestries in this book is it felt like they’re approachable for everyone to play. That it can be done in a really respectful, thoughtful way. And that I wouldn’t be like wildly veering outside of my lane if I were like, I wanna play a Vishkanya, I wanna play a Kashrishi.

Like, it would feel really good. So I just thought that was awesome. Well done as a team. 

I wanted to ask: you mentioned that you wrote A Year in Niswan. I would love to ask about like, how that process was for you. What is it like to think up the year cycle of a fantasy place?

Ruvaid: Yeah. Well, it required a whole lot of research into weather patterns and agriculture real world, you know, boring things that most people don’t really think about. But I mean, my aim was to bring in an element of realism, obviously, to it, but also just kind of look at the setting as a whole from like, the perspective of the people that would be living there, right?

There are people who have made this their home, why have they done that? In the time that they have lived here, what are the things that they would have seen, how would those things that they’ve seen have impacted them? How would that have changed, informed their culture and stuff? 

And as far as like, the overall year goes, like, the season changing and, uh, and weathers, my approach to it was: “Well, I would think that there is very distinct weather changes because the island of Jalmeray has so much like, elemental energy from the centuries of genies and, and all of that.” It kind of made sense to me for there to be an ebb and flow of that energy to create these distinct seasons. A big part of like, the festivals and like, the different celebrations are very much directly inspired by, by real world celebrations.

 Like the Festival of Flights, there’s a nice, really nice big art piece of it in the book. And you know, you, you go to South Asia, you go to Pakistan, you go to India, and that’s a real thing. You know, people, people go and, and fly a bunch of kites. And it’s a really big deal over there, to the point where actually, they had to ban it in some cities ’cause people got really, really like, really competitive about it, and kites were flying down and like, causing problems with like the power lines and, and all of that.

But like, that’s almost a direct inspiration from real world. Yolarati is an analog to like, Holi and happens around the same time. It’s the, it’s the incoming of, of spring, at, you know, at, at the end of the winter. And Holi actually just, you know, happened about a week ago. 

Navaar: My friend and I, they live in Mumbai, and we were doing a recording and we had to postpone it because Holi was going on and it was too loud for the microphone. [Ruvaid and Navaar laugh]

Ruvaid: Yeah. And, and, uh, it’s, I, I’ve never actually been a part of a Holi celebration myself, but it’s certainly an, an, an experience from everything that I’m aware of. To like, actually give you an answer to your question, I guess, you know, it’s, it’s a lot of, it’s a lot of research into why people celebrate the things that they do, the origins of it, and how I can translate that into the culture in, in the setting and how those things might evolve from the point of view of the people on Jalmeray. 

You know, these are people who come from Vudra who have settled somewhere else. They’re certainly going to have a holdover of Vudrani customs, and they’re also gonna make new ones and make their own and adapt them. It was a lot of fun to work on. 

Navaar: I think like, what’s a lot of fun about these settings is they are — obviously, this is a fantasy setting — but in so many ways, they still feel very grounded. I think you alluded to some of that, but I’m curious like, for you as the writer, how do you find that balance of like, “this is grounded in some reality” to, you know, “now we’re including fantasy elements of this?”

Ruvaid: You can use like, grounded elements as, as a foundation to start with, and then you can be like, “okay, well, if this was a real thing, how does the fact that magic exists, how does the fact that technology has gone this way or whatever, how might that change how those elements are worked with? 

For example, there’s a line somewhere in, in the Jalmeray section that Niswan basically has like, a central heating-cooling system that is powered by genie elemental magic that is sustained throughout the year. Because the weather changes so much, but Niswan is such a, such a hub, well, you’d wanna make sure everyone’s be able to be comfortable all the time. Now you’re harnessing this magic and the elements to achieve that goal in a, in a fantastical manner, when the grounding foundation of that is being a trade city, being a hub for people. I think that this is where, collaboration with like, other writers and stuff, too, is super important. ‘Cause you get to bounce ideas off each other and, you know, you, you can come up with crazy fun ideas and based them in real life things and make them bigger and make them, make them grander and it doesn’t feel weird. It’s just an application of the tools that the, the setting has. And I guess it seems corny, but your imagination is the limit or whatever! [laughs]

Esther: I remember reading the heating-cooling system thing and I was like, “That is dope! That is amazing!”

Ruvaid: Yeah! 

Navaar: Yeah. 

Esther: It makes so much sense that like, this elemental presence and the genie still being present would be able to maintain it. Like that is, that is awesome. I think it really is the sky is the limit. One of the things I find really interesting is where we can limit our own imaginations when it comes to fantasy and why. And I think that this is a beautiful example of unfettering some of that, and I love that.

Ruvaid: Yeah, no, absolutely. Like, I think that sometimes people can get themselves maybe a little stuck based on like, things that they’ve seen, the media that they’ve consumed, you know, “these are the limits that I’ve seen, so these are the limits that I’m gonna impose on myself.” And that takes work and effort to, to break through, I think. And practice like, practice writing, practice creating, practice messing around with different elements of, of a setting of a story, kind of seeing what little fun changes you can make and how those might impact other things.

And I think that it’s a really, really exciting process like, when you, when you get to the end and, you know, you have these really cool elements that started in just small changes in small parts where you weren’t afraid to say, “well, what if I just change, what if I just do this,” right?

Another one of my like, favorite examples — and I guess maybe this is just me like, tooting my own horn or whatever, but — there’s a game of, a game called carom, that’s a board game, that is mentioned in the, in the text as well. And there’s also a line that mentions that the monks from the Student of Perfection Houses, you know, they play a giant- size version of carom as a form of strength and dexterity training. The game itself is like pool on a big square board, and you use your fingers to hit these pucks into four holes in the corners. And well, okay, you know, how do you translate this, this little game that’s part of the culture into something, into something bigger? And, well, people still like to have fun when they’re training or, you know, in, in a profession. So why not make monks, you know, hit giant stone rocks to play a game and also train at the same time?

Navaar: Yeah. [chuckles] We need more sports in TTRPGs — in fantasy TTRPGs, to be clear.

Ruvaid: Yeah, yeah. I, I, I agree with you. 

Esther: More games within games!

Navaar: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Ruvaid: Yeah! Prada Hanam, I’m pretty sure has a, has a mention of them playing, like, wrestling or like there’s, there’s a couple mentions throughout, throughout the book. 

Navaar: We definitely need to see it. Yeah. I was just, I was gonna go back to one of the things you were talking about, just like the heating and cooling and stuff. And I think, like, it’s so funny that– and oftentimes when we’re imagining these worlds, like, it’s like we leave out some of those stuff, like basic things that are now like, basic needs in our lives, right?

And it’s like, yeah, they have indoor plumbing! Like it doesn’t have to be like, leaves and an outhouse, you know what I mean? Like, it, it just… yeah. They can just have peace. Uh, so… [laughs]

Ruvaid: [laughs] You can give people toilets. It’s fine. [laughs]

Navaar: Yeah, exactly. So I think it’s just fun like, from a writing standpoint to look at it like, “this is the imagination, you know, in the grand scope… and also, let us not forget this refrigerator that we are going to put in everybody’s house.” 

Ruvaid: Yeah. 

[Navaar and Ruvaid laugh] 

The little things in the details, you know, these are everyday things that, that people need and, and interact with. And that’s where I think some of the, a lot of the magic can really be — you can kind of accentuate those little things, ’cause magic is a, is a part of the world and stuff. People have made it a part of their lives. So, you know, how might that show up? Fun little thinking exercises.

Navaar: Yes, absolutely. In the Jalmeray section, is there any other portions that you were a large contributor on? I know you mentioned some earlier specifically in the Jalmeray stuff. 

Ruvaid: Yeah, so, Jalmeray stuff. I can kind of list off the places that I actually wrote: the Introduction to Niswan, A Day in Niswan, A Year in Niswan, the People of Niswan, the Culture and Subcultures of Niswan, that page on the Challenge of Sky and Heaven. I did not write governments; that was Saif Ansari, who did a really, really good job with it. Locations, I wrote; Important Faces was, uh, was Saif. And then the adventuring, the familiar, the weapons, and the Student of Perfection Archetype. It’s kind of a lot of, lot of stuff.

Navaar: Esther just lit up when you mentioned the familiar.

Esther: I love the familair so much. The, the Ceru?

Ruvaid: Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Esther: Yeah, oh my goodness. I saw this little blue elephant with a, a spoon in their trunk, and I, I just — yes, I light up. Amazing. What was the inspiration for this familiar? I gotta ask.

Ruvaid: So, you know, I cheated a little bit, I guess. The Ceru is a, is a familiar that was present in, in First Edition, as well. And so, I essentially kind of just like, ported it over into 2E and kind of adjusted some of the abilities and stuff that it already had for Second Edition.

But like, the art order really is, really, is fantastic. It’s, it’s a cute little elephant with a spoon. Like, I mean, how could you not love it?

Navaar: [laughs] Yeah.

Esther: Exactly. 

Navaar: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, so I, I think one of the other things that I’d like to touch on, too: you mentioned like the people, because we had talked about like, this still being a very diverse place. Like, how much of that, I guess — or, where do you draw that inspiration from for you, for like, writing this diverse group of people that are like, not only diverse in the origins of the regions that they come from, but also sometimes in their ancestry, which includes a variety of things?

Ruvaid: The inspiration that I drew a lot on was looking at Jalmeray as a whole as a place where Vudrani immigrants have settled, right? And drawing on my own experiences of being in communities and areas with very large South Asian immigrant populations, you know — Houston for example, has a very, very large South Asian population, lots of places in Canada, Dearborn where I grew up in Michigan — that was kind of like my basis, I guess, is how these communities of immigrants have come together and how they form and things that they do.

And in the scope of like, of Jalmeray, you make some of those the fantastical, the ancestries that exist from Vudra. Like, the Ysoki are here because they’re originally from, originally from Vudra. Vishkanya are in Jalmeray because they’ve escaped persecution and are looking for a new life over here. Kashrishi are here looking for new experiences and just having new homes. There’s always a reason that people immigrate from one place to another. And that’s a big, big draw of how I wrote what I did. And it’s, it was finding the fantastical elements of that, that make it different, that make it a lot of fun. And like, the Sunghari as well, you know, they’re an indigenous population that were already on the island and then have gone through a series of very unfortunate events and are now starting to reclaim their heritage and, and kind of have some justice for them and things. And, you know, again, these are all rooted in very real-world events and real things. But there are obviously no Kashrishi or, or Vishkanya in, in real life. [laughs]

Navaar: Yeah, yeah. For sure. The immigrant experience is not something that is… it’s universal among, or there are universal elements, I should say, among immigrants. But it’s not a universal thing because not everybody has, has gone through that experience.

And so I think it’s, it’s such an important experience to have written about, because not only does it reach to those people who have gone through something similar, but also helps inform others of like, this is how this could be, this is how it’s been perceived for other people. And again, like, if we’re just talking about how do we include more people into this world and, and make it something that we can all celebrate even if it’s not our culture, I think that those are very important elements to have so that we can — so we can achieve that and see it and, and be comfortable and understand like, this is how I can go about this and, and how these people would act.

Though like, these sections: I know there are plenty of people who read the stuff and just take the things that they want from it, you know, to make it their own thing and still do a homebrew world. What I love is being able to look at this and go, “Cool. Like, now I know I can run an adventure in this city, and I know what it’s gonna be like when my players come across NPCs and what they’ll see in the streets and stuff like that.” And so I, I absolutely love that stuff.

Ruvaid: Yeah. It’s those small details that really flesh out the world, that make it feel so great to be in. And it makes me very happy that, in general, like, this kind of book exists for, for that reason. You know? Being able to share the clothing, the, the mannerisms, the culture with other people who would maybe otherwise never really had a chance to interact or engage with, you know, with those ideas is just, is really awesome.

Navaar: Yeah, absolutely. The other things that I would love to get into, we can start with the ancestries ’cause we’ve already touched on those a little bit. Yeah, let’s get into that ’cause that, that’s a fun one. The Vishkanya, right.

Ruvaid: So Vishkanya is the one ancestry that I wrote. Vishkanya was, was also a playable ancestry in, in 1E. I mentioned that earlier. I also wrote the Vishkanya in the Bestiary 3 entry, which is fun to have been able to expand on them.

 But Vishkanya as, as an ancestry are inspired initially by a mythological figure also — they’re, they’re called Vishakanya in the text, and it, they essentially have boiled down to, they’re people with poison in their blood and, you know, very, very like, femme fatale- type characters, historically.

And so when I wrote the actual ancestry, a big inspiration for them was them being essentially an immigrant population, ’cause back in like, Vudra, in like, in-setting, they dealt with a lot of persecution. They dealt with a lot of like, bias and so, you know, how they dealt with that kind of adversity forms the core of like, some of their, of their societal structure, and then how they have evolved in this new space, in Jalmeray, being more open, more capable of kind of being themselves. I think of Vishkanya as kind of like first or second generation, like, immigrants, you know, people who — obviously it’s not monolithic — but there are people who are learning to, be in this new world, who are learning to be themselves and, and also pay homage to, and respect to where it is that they came from.

That’s a lot of what Inspired the like, lore for the Vishkanya. And, and some of like, the heritages, like the Scalekeeper Vishkanya, you know, is a heritage for people, for Vishkanya that are tasked with keeping the history of, of their people alive. And not just, you know, this community, but like Vishkanya as a whole. It was very important to me that that type of relationship kind of come across in, in who the Vishkanya are as, as people.

Navaar: When you’re writing this, are you also doing the mechanical aspects of it as well?

Ruvaid: Yeah, that makes sense that you want me to talk about the character options. That totally, I totally get it. [Navaar and Ruvaid laugh heartily]

Navaar: I’m genuinely curious, but yeah.

Ruvaid: Yes. Yeah, I did. I did also write the mechanical options, the ancestry, the heritages, the ancestry feats. Is there, is there like a specific, anything specific that you wanna know about as far as those mechanics go?

Navaar: I was just gonna say in terms of the writing, does one or the other come more naturally to you when it comes to like, the mechanics versus the lore stuff? Or do you feel pretty comfortable like, going into both of those?

Ruvaid: Historically speaking, I really like writing lore and, and narrative content. From a published standpoint, most of my content is mechanical. [laughs]

Navaar: Okay. Yeah.

Ruvaid: They both have their own draws, challenges and I enjoy doing both. So, that kind of a non-answer, but… [laughs]

Navaar: I got you. I mean, I think like it’s kind of inherent to the product, right? Like, this is a game that is, while it’s obviously heavily steeped in lore, it’s also very much steeped in the mechanical aspects of it. So it’s great to have this lore but how do we attach it to something that the players can use? But what I think is fun is like, obviously the customization of Pathfinder 2e allows for that to be pretty flexible to where, though it could be difficult, it could also be a lot of fun, I think. 

Ruvaid: Yeah, definitely. It’s a really fun, fun experience and fun challenge to, like you said, translate lore to mechanics, like making the, uh, you know, making the, the Vishkanya Venom for example. It’s an ancestry trait that they have. How do you make it so that that venom is a– not like, broken as an accessible poison?

Navaar: Yeah, yeah. [laughs]

Ruvaid: Uh, but also not so watered down that it’s never going to be, you know, there’s no point in using it. My answer to that was to make the different like, ancestry feats that like, upgrade the poison over time. And that’s, that’s in line with how that damage and ability might scale when looking at some of the mechanics in, in other parts of, of the game.

Esther: I was actually gonna ask you to walk us through the venom feat tree a little bit, so I love that we, we touched on that. Beautiful.

Ruvaid: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. So, you know, all, all Vishkanya, they start with the ability to Envenom once per day, right? And as part of the ancestry, uh, feat options, even starting at 1, you can take these enhancement feats for the venom to kind of signify your character being either, having particularly potent venom, or having used it a lot or, or however you wanna frame it, right? And it made a lot of sense to, from there, think about different ways that venom could be used. Because a, you know, saying that I’ve seen before is that like, medicine and like, poisoning are kind of like two different sides of the same coin, or I don’t remember how the phrase goes exactly, but you know, it made sense to have changes to the venom over time. And that’s where the like, the Restoring Blood, which is a Level 5 feat that actually heals instead of damages comes from. 

Esther: I loved that one. 

Ruvaid: It’s a — yeah, yeah! It’s a, it’s a very cool one, right? And I think is another mechanical representation of this innate attribute that they have being more than just something to be scared of. And then yeah, uh, also in, in Level Five, you can increase– you can change the effect that the venom has, which, instead of doing damage, it debilitates enemies, and gives them a, a penalty to speed. And, you know, that also is inspired by just different uses of venom in like, the femme fatale archetype historically. You know, what kind of ways would someone like that use the ability of having a poison [if] they could draw it on command, right?

That goes then even further with like, the 9th-level feats: Moderate Enhance Venom, which just increases the damage to up to a, a few d6 each at each stage. And 13, the Stronger Debilitating Venom is an enhancement of the version of it that does the Speed penalty, but now you’re giving conditions with it as well. You know, you’re give, making them, potentially Enfeebled or Drained or Sickened. 

And there’s also a Level 13 feat called Venom Purge, which again, builds on the idea of, of, poisoning and medicine being the same, two sides of the same coin, where you can use your own innate venom to help you beat anything else that’s, that’s trying to affect you, which is cool. 

And then 17th-level is… there are two, two possible venom enhancement feats, Greater Enhance Venom, which again, increases the damage. And each time these actually increase the amount of time, the frequency that you can use your Envenom action. So by 17th-level, you can, you know, do it once a minute. You’re so skilled and so, so in tune with the use of your own blood as, as, as poison that like you can just, you know, keep slicing yourself and, and in, in, in every, in every encounter, right?

[Esther and Ruvaid joins them]

Navaar: Yeah.

Ruvaid: Um, and the Vicious Venom, the second 17th-level feat, essentially makes it like… it’s so potent, your venom, that it requires people to make two saves instead of, instead of just one, to reduce the venom effects.

Navaar: Love it.

Esther: That is a really cool feat tree. I’m excited to play a Vishkanya and get to play with all of this one day. I don’t know what class I’ll be yet, but I’m definitely [Navaar laughs] — honestly, when I read the book I was like, “okay, they’re now at like the top of my ancestry list to play.” 

Ruvaid: Yeah! 

Esther: So it’s just really cool getting to hear from you about like, some of the thought that went into them and, and some of the feat trees.

Ruvaid: I’m very excited for you to play a Vishkanya one day. [Navaar chuckles]

Navaar: So one of the other things that Esther and I both really enjoy doing in Pathfinder 2E is playing with the religious aspects of it. And so I would really love to talk about, both the Ragyda and the, uh, Chamidu.

Ruvaid: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. 

Navaar: Yeah. We can start with the Chamidu. I think that’s fine. Which is such a cool, like, piece of artwork.

Ruvaid: Oh, I, I love the artwork.

Navaar: Yeah. 

Ruvaid: I love the artwork so much. They, um —

Navaar: I mean, we could literally say this about the entire book, but like, specifically this one stands —

Ruvaid: All of the artwork is just fire!

Navaar: Yes. Yeah. It’s, yeah. But this really stands out as just being this absolutely otherworldly image.

Esther: We should describe it for our listeners if they haven’t seen it.

Navaar: Yes!

Esther: It’s, uh, the figure of a dark-skinned, I would say femme person, with multiple arms and multiple faces astride, a tiger with sort of simian-like hands and feet. And like, some of this figures hands are holding weapons and it’s really, really cool. Highly encourage y’all to crack open the book and look if you haven’t. 

Ruvaid: Yeah. So Chamidu is definitely, you know, obviously very directly inspired by Hindu deity and Hindu Mythology. In this case, they are the deity of both like, fertility, children, and also wild animals, which are domains that you see that are very common in similar types of deities in, in real-world culture as well.

One of the immediately unique features of, of Chamidu is the fact that they have multiple faces, right, multiple aspects to them. And that, again, is a very commonly seen like, motif in South Asian mythology. Each face has to do with the specific part of her areas of concern.

So there’s a, there’s a healing part of it. There’s the destructive wrathful part of it that, you know, engages when Chamidu is fighting against people who are destroying nature reserves or, or animals. There is a frightening aspect to her. And then there is a nurturing aspect of her.

All of that is different representation of, of her domains both being mothers, people who are, who are pregnant — they pray to Chamidu for, for the safety of their unborn children. They’ll even pray to her if they’re having trouble conceiving, right?

That’s one aspect, is this life and the continuation of life. And that idea can then, you know, translates to animals in the wild and ensuring that — you know, it says in here, wild beasts, but that kind of translates to “let nature do its thing.” Don’t go, you know, deforesting a, an area and drive out like, all of the diverse organisms that live there. Don’t trap them, don’t hunt them carelessly. All of that, in my mind, ties to the idea of sustaining and the continuation of, of life.

And so like, to that regard, like, orphans and abandoned children also can find shelter at, Chamidu temples because, you know, she cares about the fact that they’re alive and, and you know, that they have something to contribute. So temples of Chamidu are, are really fun. I imagine them as being, like little mini-menageries and orphanages at the same time. You got kids running around with like, a whole bunch of animals that are like, being nursed back to health or like, some big temple might be breeding like, endangered species or, or whatever. And some might be working with druids on, you know, in, in some lands to, to ensure that, like a you know, very special natural area is not destroyed and things like that. 

So I think, I think there’s a lot of, a lot of different avenues that you can kind of take like a, a worshiper of, of Chamidu. For, for example, you can channel her fury, you know. There’s a reason that her title is the Roar of the Storm. It’s just loving and, and nurturing, but if you mess with her flock, then she has, you know, she’s got, she’s got no mercy. So I think they’re really cool. I love the art. 

Navaar: I love it, yeah.

Esther: Yeah. One of the things that really stands out are the many aspects of this deity and the many dimensions of her. I love that. I think sometimes we can sort of get locked into play as like, “This is my God, and they are about… war! Or, balance, or, you know, one thing.” 

Ruvaid: Yeah. Yeah. 

Esther: [Navaar and Ruvaid laugh] 

And I really love that here, there’s such a diversity of her aspects to pull from and maybe even embody like, more than one. That’s just really, really cool. It really shows. 

Ruvaid: And like, I think I name each of them in there. There’s a face of healing, the face of nature, the face of the storm, and the face of nightmares.

Navaar: Yes. 

Esther: I loved the face of nightmares. That one just sounded cool.

Ruvaid: Yeah. You know, like, I, like I said, she’s not here to mess around with anybody who’s, who’s trying to cause trouble in her, in her domain, you know?

Esther: It briefly calls back to the conversation we were having about like, Rakshasas and Asuras and their presence here, and that these beings are often constructed solely as evil. And here in this book, like I know, the like, Master of Coin in, uh, Niswan, Brahi Ektar is this Rakshasa who is actually about like, protection of the city. And I love the dimension that that gives. And the dimension that like, this deity who, one of her aspects is the face of nightmares — well, is a nightmare always a bad thing? They can teach us a lot, they can be inviting us to a lot. And I really felt that in reading this entry. So I just think it’s really cool. 

Ruvaid: Yeah, I love, love to hear it. I mean, I, I think that the idea of like, the strict delineation between like, good and evil is… it’s a scale, right? There are some things that you can say “okay, yeah, cool. That’s pretty evil.” But generally speaking, people are multifaceted.

Events, situations, everything has so many different aspects to them, and it’s important to understand that like, you can be a caring and loving person and then also you are allowed to get angry and to fight for things. And, in fact, I, I think that that accentuates that, that other side of you, right? 

Navaar: I was listening to Neil Druckman, who wrote The Last of Us, talk about the game and the final decision of the game. And [he] asked like, people, the people who playtested it, if they agreed with Joel, the main character. And it was like if, you know, if the people weren’t apparent, it was kind of all over the place. And if the people were apparent, then it was all, they all agreed to do same thing. And I think that’s like, it’s the case. It depends on what your priorities are, what your values are, et cetera, to how you approach a situation. I mean, I think that’s like, what’s fun about it, too. Like even with the deities, it’s still… it’s not like alignment: Lawful Good, right, or whatever. It’s one of these three or four lines up with this and, and I think that spectrum of a person’s ability to like, live within the realm of, of what they can do and know that they’re gonna make mistakes is, is important. Because the idea of playing like, a Lawful Good character or whatever — like even as a Paladin — it just seems so ridiculous that it always comes off as ridiculous or really… what’s a good word for it? Abrasive. Right? 

Ruvaid: Mmhm. 

Navaar: You know what I mean? Like, there’s something that’s just not organic about the idea of only being black or white, on a scale of morality. And so I think that– I really love this idea of, of having this multi-facets even to the deities. 

Esther: Speaking of that… yeah, I was gonna say, brings us — I wanted to get at least quickly to Ragdya, who is one of my favorite deities to read about in this book. Please do tell us about the inspiration for the Sage on the Mountain and what he is all about!

Ruvaid: Yeah, absolutely. So, Ragdya is, I’d say, definitely inspired by the figure of, of Hanuman from South Asian mythology, who is in fact a monkey-based deity. Not Sun Wukong. I understand that’s where a lot of people would, would go with this, but that’s a little bit north and east, you know.

And so, Ragdya — and writing Ragdya, he — he is like, the progenitor of the Vanara people. All of the Vanara are his children, and he is this father who is doing his best for, for his children and to present a way to go through life and find meaning and embrace everything that, that life has to offer. And also at the same time, in doing so, reach this peak of enlightenment. His areas of concern are, are humor, lessons and, and monkeys. 

And you know, I, I worked very closely with the author of the Vanara on this as well, because he is their progenitor deity. A big thing that I tried really hard on his entry to reflect is that the pranks and the joy and, and the humor– those aren’t just like, things that happen for the sake of the laughs, right? It’s a method through which you engage with the surroundings when you engage with life, and you interact with people around you and, and you evolve and you grow, using that humor to connect with other people and to learn more about yourself.

Ragdya as an entity… he, he sits atop, atop a mountain, right? After going through an entire life of, of learning and, you know, soul-searching and reaching for enlightenment. And this lesson of how to go through life is, is imparted through his scripture. He doesn’t have anybody to interact with, to share these lessons and humor with, and that’s kind of a driving force to why in his scripture, like, you know… engage with the community, engage with the people, laugh together, build, learn together. Don’t allow people around you and the community to be harmed or to suffer. Because, you know, all, all of that is so paramount to learning about yourself, about the world and, and reaching that area: the peak of self-fulfillment and, and enlightenment.

Navaar: One of the things that I think always gets a little bit tricky is, is that sometimes we have– there are many cultures that have like, a trickster god, or things like that. And I think like, oftentimes, people of color, we — negative stereotypes can be surrounded by like, deceit and things like that.

And so I’m– I think it’s always, it’s always great to see like with this and like with Grandmother Spider from the Mwangi Expanse, like, to have these trickster gods that have… that’s a part of who they are, but it’s not in a sense of like, deceit or being evil and stuff like that. And so, I mean like, how much of that, as you’re writing it, were you aware of? How much of that goes into like, thinking about how to frame it in a way that’s going to always come off as positive?

Ruvaid: Yeah, no, I mean, definitely at the forefront of my brain when I was, when I was writing Ragdya, because I mean… I think it’s very easy to take this idea of a monkey god that, you know, is all about pranks and, and, and humor and just turn it into like, a big joke. The reality is like, even with people in the real world, most people like, are so jokey and so humorous for a reason, right? Either it’s a defense mechanism or it’s how they engage with the people around them, it’s how they form relationships, it’s how they deal with traumatic events. There’s all sorts of reasons.

Navaar: Yeah. How they show affection, yeah.

Ruvaid: Exactly, right. That’s the kind of the vibe that I think was really important to, to bring to someone like Ragdya and, and his followers because it’s a vehicle, right? It’s a, it’s humor and pranks and levity. It’s a vehicle to know yourself and to engage with people around you. 

It’s definitely tricky hitting that fine line. And it’s like, you can find so many examples of that being done poorly, right? I can hope that the words that I put down did justice to the idea that there is more to being someone who finds the humor in everything and finds the good side of everything that they go through than just being naively optimistic. Or just being woefully unaware of like, the realities of life, when the idea is that’s, that’s how they deal with those realities, right? That’s how the followers create a better place for themselves. That’s how they create a better place, better world for the people around them. That’s how they, that’s how they spread joy, and in spreading joy become closer to the God, uh, of Ragdya and to the, uh, people around them. 

There’s a line at the end there where there’s a group of, of Ragdyan worshipers who actually like, are kinda like a traveling troupe that do like, stand-up in performances from city to city. I think that really just encapsulates it. You’re bringing joy, you’re bringing togetherness, you’re learning more about the world, and all, of that, all of that together.

Navaar: Yeah. I love it. Thank you.

Esther: I love it. I love that you also encapsulated it for me in this quote: “A common saying is that a Ragdyan tries anything at least once, and gladly tells you the story of how it went wrong at least twice.” I loved that that also built in the ability for things to go wrong and for that to be like, a learning experience and also like, an experience of joy. That there’s this deity who’s like, “Yeah, you’ll try things. They’ll go wrong. It’s all a part of the story”. 

Ruvaid: Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that. Life is a, is a big mess, right? No matter who you are. Finding ways to deal with it positively and to grow is, is important. That’s what Ragdya is all about.

I will say, if anybody wants some mechanical options for being a Ragdyan supporter, I wrote a Archetype. They’re in, uh, Impossible Lands Plus on Pathfinder Infinite called the Ragdya Coterie, where you can play one of these, one of these devotees that travel and put on performances and stuff. Little, uh, sorry! There’s a self-promo there.

[All laugh]

Navaar: Hey, it’s okay! 

Esther: — gonna ask you to self-promo anyway, so…

Navaar: Yeah.

Ruvaid: Okay, absolutely.

Navaar: That helps. Is there anything else that you had, Esther?

Esther: I was just gonna ask, is there anything that we didn’t cover that you were hoping to talk about?

Ruvaid: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I wrote a couple Bestiary entries, but that’s really GM-centric, most players don’t really look at those. I do wanna point out that the art for one of my Bestiary entries is absolute fire, and I think everyone should see it. The Ratajin entry. I love the art. 

Esther: Ooh!

Ruvaid: It’s on page three 336 if you got the book in front of you.

Esther: I do. It’s gorgeous. There’s this blue-skinned figure with vibrant red hair and two pairs of very golden eyes and like, golden tattoos over their body. It’s awesome.

Ruvaid: As far as anything else, I hope that anybody who is picking up the book and reading the Jalmeray entry can appreciate this taste of culture from people who are there and that, you know, we — I and the other authors — worked really hard to kind of give the sense of what real-world cultures can, can be like. And, and, and I hope that expands the, the horizons for anybody who’s looking at the book. 

Navaar: One of the things that always feels good, as somebody who writes stuff, is anytime other people pick that up and want to do something with it. And I mentioned it a little bit last time, but like, there’s already an adventure on Pathfinder Infinite called Adventures In Jalmeray, written by a couple of folks over at Desis and Dragons. One, check that out. Also, two, I think that’s gotta feel great as somebody who wrote this section, to know it immediately inspired somebody to go out and write an adventure about it. 

Ruvaid: The folks at Desis and Dragons are fantastic and their, and their adventures are great. I bought it immediately when it, when it dropped, you know. [laughs]

Navaar: Yeah, absolutely. 

Ruvaid: It’s nice to see and be a part of the growing legitimate representation of this culture. And being able to bring that to a wider audience, it feels pretty great. Maybe one day there’ll be a Lost Omens: Vudra and maybe they’ll, they’ll let me write for it. ‘ Til then we have Jalmeray.

Esther: You hear that, folks at Paizo? 

Navaar: Right, yeah! [Ruvaid laughs] It’s interesting. There’s not a lot of information about it, right? It’s like one of those things, similarly to the North American equivalent, that there’s, like, it exists, but there’s not really information about it that you can find. But yeah, I hope to see more of that stuff, ’cause I, I really do love it. I think representation for anybody feels amazing, to me. And I, I love to see more of this stuff. I love to open a book and see, you know, these little gnomes and halflings and Orcs, you know, with brown skin. It’s just incredible. So, yeah. Thank you so much for joining us to share about the work that you did and, and your experiences with this.

Ruvaid: Thank you so much for having me. I’m always happy to go on about my work. [ All laugh]

Navaar: Absolutely. 

Esther: Yeah!

Navaar: Before we let you go, yeah, quick plug of, of where people can find you and, and some of the stuff that you are working on?

Ruvaid: Yeah, absolutely. So for anybody who wants to follow me, I am most active on Twitter @Darth_Ruvaider. I talk about my, uh, my Jalmeray campaign on the account, or least I’m, I’m supposed to. I’m a little bit behind on my updates. But yeah, I talk about tabletop stuff there really, whatever, whatever comes to mind. Do a lot of retweeting. 

Other conduct information, that’s also on my, on my Twitter bio. My email, for anybody who’s interested in contacting me professionally, is, is on there. 

As for upcoming works, the most recently announced Tian Xia books will have work featured by yours truly, so really look forward to that. If you really liked Jalmeray, maybe keep your eyes open and on my Twitter page for no particular reason in the coming future. I have worked on Impossible Lands+, which is a Pathfinder Infinite, mechanical addition to The Impossible Lands with Team Plus that has some Jalmeray-based, two Jalmeray archetypes actually, the Soulguard and Ragdya’s Coterie. So check those out if you like new Archetypes. I will always be announcing any new works and stuff coming through on my Twitter, so keep an eye out.

Navaar: Perfect!

Esther: Awesome. Thank you so much for being with us. This has been amazing. 

Ruvaid: Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, no, you guys, you guys have been great and I, I hope I didn’t ramble too much, but — 

Navaar: No!

Esther: Not at all. 

Ruvaid: I had, I, I, I, I had a great time.

Navaar: Awesome. Yeah, me too.

Esther: All right. Thank you listeners for tuning in. 

Navaar: Thank you for listening and hanging out with us. If you [would] like to follow me on social media, I’m in most places as NavaarSNP. That’s N-A-V-A-A-R-S-N-P. Check it out, see the other stuff I’m working on.

Esther: If you’d like to follow me on social media. I am everywhere @dungeonminister. And importantly, if you wanna follow Know Direction on social media, we are @knowdirection on Twitter and YouTube and Mastodon as well. And you can come join our Discord server where we talk about episodes of this show and other network shows and just Pathfinder and TTRPGs in general. It’s a really good time. You are so welcome to join and we’d love to have you there.

Until next time, this has been Know Direction. Thanks so much for tuning in! 

Ryan Costello

What started as one gamer wanting to talk about his love of a game grew into a podcast network. Ryan founded what would become the Know Direction Podcast network with Jason "Jay" Dubsky, his friend and fellow 3.5 enthusiast. They and their game group moved on to Pathfinder, and the Know Direction podcast network was born. Now married and a father, Ryan continues to serve the network as the director of logistics and co-host of Upshift podcast, dedicated to the Essence20 RPG system he writes for and helped design. You can find out more about Ryan and the history of the network in this episode of Presenting: