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ZiMo23 Interview: Rori Montford

Rori Montford is another creator using Crowdfundr for their zine project, Dead Letter Society. her website can be found here.

Q: Easy question first: Give us the elevator pitch of your project. Tell us about it in two sentences or less.

A: Dead Letter Society is a 1-2 player, GM-less, epistolary and journaling game where you play as vampires communicating via a secret society. You write to each other, develop and forfeit assets, and delve into the story that emerges from your letters and tarot driven, intention-based, journaling prompts.

Q: Is this your first ZineMonth project or have you done it before? If it's your first, talk a bit about what inspired you to give it a shot this year. If you've done it before, what's something you've learned from previous crowdfunding projects that you may be doing differently this time, or, if you're not doing anything differently, talk a bit about your previous projects.

A: This is my first ZineMonth project, in fact it’s my first indie ttrpg! As I said during my introduction, I started writing and drawing for ttrpg’s in August 2021. I took the plunge with the Storytelling Collectives “Write Your First Adventure” workshop, and made an adventure for D&D 5e (The Traveling Salesman, DMs Guild). The first few months of freelancing in ttrpg-space were an eye-opening whirlwind.

Zine Month 2022, and the fallout with Zine Quest being moved to the summer, happened as I was starting to discover *so many indie games* that had otherwise passed me by. I saw so many wonderful games and game supplements in that February that I really wanted to try it for myself.

When the idea behind Dead Letter Society popped into my head in September 2022 (“what if: vampire pen pals?”) I knew it was going to be an achievable thing to put together myself for Zine Month 2023. I *had* been toying with another game idea over the summer months, but that one is a little bit bigger than Dead Letter Society–I simply wasn’t going to finish it in time, so that one’s now on the back burner until Dead Letter Society has met the world.

Thanks to the ttrpg community I’ve gotten to do a lot of writing for 3rd party supplements, and illustrations for them also. The support I’ve had is what really gave me the confidence to go for it. I honestly don’t know if "the me of pre-August 2021" could imagine that I’m actually giving this a shot!

Q: Finally, tell us something about your current project that really excites you but the average backer may not be aware of. Maybe a twist to an old trope, a new way of presenting something, or maybe just something you've never tried before that you're using this as an opportunity to try out.

A: Personally, I think Dead Letter Society (DLS) is unique in a few different ways. However, the one that I’m most excited to see put to use is the way the journaling prompts work. I’ve played many journaling games and *really* enjoyed reacting to the way the story prompts evolve. I’ve taken that a step further for DLS, as you can choose something that interests you in what’s happening and purposefully pursue it. Journaling prompts work by you stating your intention–for example, if a letter from your fellow vampire mentions shady dealings at a Big Company, you might state the intention: “I want to investigate Big Company. I think I know a guy who knows a guy. How does our meeting go?” Then you draw a tarot card to determine the journal prompt, and interpret how it works with your intention. Furthermore, the journal prompts offer a choice of interactions with the assets your vampire has which, in turn, can lead to some very difficult decisions. Do you sacrifice an ally to get the information you need, or do you find the *best* hunting spot you’ve ever seen (they are vampires, after all!).

Oh, and the world building, I’m also really excited about the world building! But you said just one, so I’ll leave that for another time. :)

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