Today we are joined by Iko, a reference in the RPG creator’s community. With projects such as “The Lost Bay podcast” or “Broken Luck” he is a very active RPG creator who never stops. With Broken luck he explores the limits of traditional genres, challenging the boundaries between fantasy and science fiction.
When not staring reality in the eyes, Iko spends his existence surfing new RPGs and projects. Today we have the opportunity of knowing more about IKO, his love for RPGs, his kickstarter experience and all his amazing projects.
Welcome to the Mordheim blog. Who is Iko and how would you describe yourself?
Iko: I’m Iko and I run and host The Lost Bay podcast, a show with TTRPG designers and artists. I’ve always been fascinated by the creative processes and the craft of makers and artists, and this is what the podcast is about. If you’re interested in RPGs, in knowing how some of the most interesting and innovative game designers of the indie scene work, or if you’re a game designer yourself, I think that the show might be a good fit for you.
I also make RPGs zines. I’m about to release a troika module called Broken Luck. It has been Kickstartered a couple of months ago and I’m about to launch the print run. It’s illustrated by Perplexing Ruins, an amazing artist, whom I’ve interviewed by the way on the podcast. I’m also about to release Skyrealms, a weird-fantasy bestiary / colouring book illustrated by Evlyn Moreau.
And finally, my bigger project, I hope I’ll be able to kickstart next year, is called The Lost Bay. It’s a 90s suburban horror rpg. Tthere’s a great team of contributors who are coming to work on it like Leo Hunt, Sean Richer, Sam Leigh, Zedeck Siew, I feel so lucky about that.
What and when was your first contact with TTRPG?
Iko: When I was 13 or 14, I was living on a French island in the Mediterranean Sea, the island of Corsica. And basically I had friends coming from mainland France, who brought, D&D and other RPGs. This was pre-internet so, living on the island was a pretty much isolated situation. And so, whenever friends would come from the mainland, they would bring stuff, you know, Music, books, and RPGs and that’s how I discovered RPGs. Everybody was playing, all my friends, that was huge. We even played during class, I’m not proud of it, certainly, but that we did that, you know, hiding the dice we would roll beyond our textbooks. And then, when I moved, when I went to college, I stopped playing for a long time. I went back to RPGs I think four years ago. And when the pandemic hit I’ve spent more time on internet and slowly discovered the OSR/indie RPG scene.
Did the place where you grew up influence my taste for Tell us a bit about the place where you are from. Did it influence your taste for RPGs?
Iko: Well, I don’t know. In the beginning, probably not. I mean, when I first played Dungeons and Dragons and discovered, you know, mediaeval fantasy, goblins, trolls, these were all exotic things to me. The myths that habited me growing up were quite different, Mediterranean. So dicovering this new fantasy somehow foreing imaginary world was quite exciting.
But The Lost Bay, the game I’m writing now, is very much inspired by the small coastal village where I lived for 20 years. It’s a very strange place, very isolated, very modern and very archaic at the same time. A familiar and unsettling place, a beautiful and dangerous place at the same time. It wasn’t uncommon to know people who ended up shot dead or, or worse. So I tried to convey those memories and the memory of the emotions I felt growing up there, and even some specific atmospheres, into The Last Bay Game, making it a familiar and beautifull and weird and frightening place at the same time.
When, before the pandemic, I ran the game in France I told the player that the setting was somewhere in the island of Corsica. All French people somehow have an idea of what Corsica is. But now that I’m writing it, I’m trying to remain faithful to the emotions that inspired the game but without describing a precise setting. It’s a suburb close to magnificent nature, somewhere in the South, in the 90s. There’s guns, and punks, and skates, and dust, and arcade games, and lots of weird stuff and people. A beautiful and dangerous and unpredicatable place. I’ve added a level of abstraction to make it more accessible.
How has been your experience with your kickstarter Broken Luck?
The experience with the Kickstarter web was quite intense emotionally. It took me a few weeks to recover from it. The campaing went very well. We funded the zine over its funding goal, more than double of it. And that’s great. That was my first experience. It’s just a small module. So I’m very grateful about that. I was helped by a lot of generous people. Perplexing Ruins himself, the artist who illustrated the zine, Ian Yusem, Tony Vasinda, Cleo Madeleine, Leo Hunt and other people who gave me a bunch of feedback and advice on how to run the Kickstarter. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all that help. It’s a very generous and supportive community and that makes things possible. Now I am, like many other indie publishers or authors, confronted with the puzzle of international shipping because the Kickstarter rewards (the zine itself and stretch goals) are produced in different countries and different continents and then distributing all these to backers who are all over the world it’s quite a challenge. Things are going okay, but that’s quite intense.
Why did you decided to create “The Lost Bay Podcast”? And how is your experience about it?
Iko: My nine to five job went very slow because of the pandemic. I’m a documentary producer, I produce creative documentaries for the festival circuit or theatrical release. And so as you know, cinemas and festivals were shut down during the pandemic, everything became very slow. My business partner is a very close friend, and I used to tell her about the Critical Role YouTube videos I was watching in the evening. And after a while, she told me: Hey, listen, you seem very much interested in this RPG thing. You have time on your hands because of the pandemic. Why don’t you try and do something with it? So one thing led to another, I opened a twitter account with no contacts at all, and I’ve interviewed Yochai Gal. He was very generous. He welcomed my request. I mean he probably had no idea who I was. And I did the first interview without really knowing if I was going to do more. Yochai’s interview was well received. So I did more.
Thank you for joining us today. Before you go, what are your plans for the next season of “The Lost Bay Podcast”?
Iko: For the next season, which started on the third of November, I plan to do weekly episodes for three and a half/four months, interviewing new voices and also more experienced designers. I also want to give more space to creators who are not in the US orUK scene. I’m interviewing Zedek Siew, Momatoes, Diogo Nogueira. During the month of November I’ll release a few episodes with a spooky/horror vibe. I’ll have as guests Seb Pines, author of the solor RPG Dwelling, Sean McCoy, designer of Mothership, Paolo Greco of The Book of Gaub.