TTRPG Community Interview with Nico of Story Night Publishing

Hey there and welcome to another TTRPG Community interview! These are low key, prewritten interviews which are available to fill out on this page. If you are a part of the TTRPG space in almost any way at all, there should be something for you!

Please introduce yourself and the content you create!

My name is Nico! I’m a neurospicy trans man who has recently delved into the world of creating TTRPGs with my business partner, Frank. We run Story Night Publishing on itchio and have high hopes of publishing many fun games, as well as books and other content down the line!

How did you get started making TTRPG content? What motivated you to begin?

Frank, mostly! I’ve always been big into D&D, it’s a huge hyperfixation of mine and I’ve always homebrewed all my game content just because it feels more fun to me that way. I had always sort of ideally fantasized about publishing my own work some day, but it was really Frank who inspired me and made me realize, “Hey, maybe I actually CAN do that”. Since we’ve officially gotten started, I’ve already published two games on itchio, albeit small games but it’s still farther than I ever expected to go when I had my first idle fantasy.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Oh a lot of things! My friends, my romantic partners, Pinterest, the media I consume, sometimes even one word spoken out of someone’s mouth will send my brain spiraling down a whole “what if” path. Right now my biggest idea sources are itchio’s game jams. Those are giving me a good base to start with, and then off I go to Pinterest to collect inspiration!

What was the first thing you ever made? Are you still proud of it?

Like, the first game I ever made? I’ve been an artist and a kind-of writer my whole life, so it’s hard to say what the first “thing” was. As far as games go, technically the first one I made that I can remember was for a board game project I had when I was studying graphic design in technical college. It was a partner project and meant to be done as a quick mind-exercise in like… I dunno an hour I think? On scrap printer paper. I actually can’t remember how it worked to be able to tell you if I’m still proud of it, but I remember being satisfied with it enough to go, “F**k it, done!”

AI has proved to have a huge impact on the TTRPG community. As succinctly as possible, what is your general opinion on the use of AI for writing/content creation?

I’ve got a lot of issues with AI in general. If watching the Matrix or any other movie has taught me anything it’s that AI is not to be trusted. And in real life… Yeah no thanks. My business partner has a very different perspective on it than I do, but I can’t bring myself to even consider using it for something creative. I can ramble on for hours about copyright infringement and originality but I’ll spare you that… Mess. Creativity is best left to the organics, thanks.

Are you a part of the LGBTQIA2S+, BIPOC, AAPI, Disabled or any other marginalised community?

Oh yeah. I’ve been called a “unicorn” once or twice before, as there is absolutely nothing traditional about me. To start, I’m a transgender man who is both gay and polyamorous. Both my gender identity and my sexuality lean into the nonbinary area as well, though. I’ve also got ADHD and I’m seeking a diagnosis for autism. Like, my therapist is very confident that I’m autistic, and so am I, however that is an expensive diagnosis and I am not a rich man (insert laughter). I’m also an eclectic pagan if that counts towards anything, not to mention just flat-out strange but I digress. In short, yes definitely!

If yes, do you reflect this in the content you create? How important do you think it is for folks of all identities to feel recognised within the games they play?

For sure, and I go out of my way to do so, even for communities that I’m not a part of. Representation is so, absolutely, undoubtably important and no one can tell me otherwise. Did you watch any of those videos of the little BIPOC girls seeing the trailer of the live action Little Mermaid? Just that alone should be enough to tell you how important it is. In my private D&D campaign, which I’m currently rewriting, I’m always thinking, “How can I make this world more representative, more accessible, more etcetera?” As far as my published works, Watch of the Gargoyle is an epistolary RPG that’s, on the surface, just a game where you write from the perspective of a gargoyle that’s overlooking a human town. But really, it’s more of an allegory for being neurodivergent in a world that was designed for neurotypicals. I always feel like I’m viewing humanity from the outside, like I’m involved with it but… Not really. And that’s what this game is about.

What’s the next project people will see from you?

Right now I’m working on a game for the Anime and Manga Tribute TTRPG Jam on itchio which will likely be the next thing I publish. It hasn’t got a name yet, but it’s based around the 12 Jungian archetypes – if you don’t know what that is, look it up, it’s cool – and heavily inspired by Studio Ghibli and Pokemon. I don’t want to share too much about it – spoilers! But I have been posting some progress now and again on my Twitter.

Of all of the things you’ve created, which one is your personal favourite?

Of the exactly two things I’ve published, it would be Watch of the Gargoyle. That was sort of a passion project. Out of ALL of the things? No idea. Unfair question. Pass!

Tell us about your process when creating. Do you have any tips or tricks for other creators in the same space as you?

My process? Oh my process (nervous laughter). I mean, it really varies for me, especially with the ADHD. It usually starts with an idea and just snowballs from there. I try to divide up my work evenly, do a little bit every day if I have the energy after work and life and stuff. I often turn to Pinterest to collect some ideas and then just… Write everything down. That’s my biggest tip to other creators, in any space really. Always. Write it. Down. Never don’t write things down. Doesn’t matter if the idea is good or not, even if it’s just one word. Write it down. I have so many notes between my phone and computer and sketchbooks and everywhere else it’s not even funny. Sometimes I go back to them, sometimes I don’t. But you never know, right? I always write it down just in case. Sometimes, months, even years later I’ll find that note again and go “oh yeah!! That was a good idea!!” and maybe make something of it. It’s always worth writing down, just in case.

Shout out a fellow creator! Who in the TTRPG community inspires you? Why do you admire them/their work? Please provide a link to their website/social media.

I’m gonna give this one to LuckyNewtGames. I’ve known about them for maybe like… A week or so, after learning about their game jam (mentioned earlier) through a mutual Discord server. We’ve interacted a few times between Discord and Twitter and they’ve just been absolutely delightful and very supportive. They’ve got tons of fantastic games on their itchio page, absolutely worth checking out. Their itchio is here and this is their Twitter.

Are you playing in any TTRPG campaigns at the moment? Tell us about your favourite character!

Both are on pause, but I’m in two D&D campaigns – one that I’m the DM of, and the other that Frank is the DM of. Picking a favorite character is absolutely unfair so I’ll just tell you about one of my favorite NPCs.

One of my proudest moments as a DM is honestly convincing my players that a regular librarian is either a secretly a cultist, an ancient dragon, or both or worse. She’s a very old dragonborn with white scales and black hair, and she literally just goes by “The Librarian” because she’s so old that her name is impossible to pronounce in modern dialects and let’s be honest, she just likes being cryptic. She’s very insightful to a point where it creeped my players out when they met her for the first – and last – time. I say last time because she literally died the next day. She was assassinated by a cult who she had a little too much information on by complete accident, and they were trying to prevent that information from spreading. And that’s it, she was dead. However my players spent the entirety of the rest of that campaign absolutely convinced that she was evil, and going to come back from the dead to haunt them or something. I’m currently working on the reboot and I’m tempted to bring her back as like… Actually evil or secretly an ancient dragon or something. Only time will tell, hehe.

What’s your favourite book, TV show, or film?

The Hobbit for book without a doubt. It’s my comfort novel. TV show and film? Literally anything Star Wars. Super into Star Wars, very obsessed with it. There has never been a Star Wars anything that I didn’t like in some way.

Which subject do you wish you knew more about?

All of them. All the subjects. I want to know all the things. But seriously though, Egyptian mythology. It’s not for lack of trying – I study it for fun every so often. But ancient Egypt was around for what – three thousand years or so? And a lot of it is lost to history? I mean, we have a lot of information on their mythology, sure. But they were around for such a long time that the mythology changed and evolved and got muddled and mixed, so nowadays it’s a little hard to put it together in any sort of chronological or coherent order… Oops I’m rambling. Uh. Egyptian mythology, without a doubt.

What is the strangest food combination you enjoy?

I really like Wendys chicken nuggets dipped in their chocolate frosty… Dunno why, just do.

If time, money and skill were no object, what would your ultimate cosplay/Halloween costume be?

Oh dude. So many options. The first that comes to mind is Echo from Star Wars Clone Wars/Bad Batch.

Would you rather own a horse the size of a cat or a cat the size of a horse?

A horse the size of a cat. Can you imagine cleaning the litter box of a giant cat? As a cat owner, no thank you.

Please add anything extra that you’d like to share below.

I just wanna put it out there that I’m working on compiling and formatting the manuscript for a collection of poetry, prose, and short stories that I’ve written over the span of multiple years! I’m hoping to publish independently and may be running a Kickstarter in the indeterminate future to get some physical books out in the world… So keep your eye out and look forward to that?

Where should folks go to find out more about you, and/or check out your content?

This is my link tree, it'll take you to the Story Night Publishing itchio, as well as my personal social medias where I share my work every so often. 

Disclaimer: The information and answers contained in the interview posted above represents the views and opinions of the interviewee only and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of myself (gothHoblin). The appearance of an interview on this website does not constitute an endorsement of the interviewee or their statements.