“Welcome to Roll Seekers and the Legend of Nabell, where a group of local gamers just like you role-play for your enjoyment!”
After a successful first campaign spanning over fifty episodes, the actual-play livestream Roll Seekers returns this September for an all-new epic adventure! Want to know what to look forward to in Campaign Two? Check out this exclusive interview with Dustin Ritchea, the producer, dungeon master, and creator of Nabell!
First, can you tell us a little about how the Roll Seekers got started?
Roll Seekers has always been a passion project. Four members of the group have been playing together for almost a decade. After about seven years, we were seeing the big gaming groups online and we asked ourselves, “Why can’t we do that?”
So, we stopped our twelve-person game and began workshopping and testing how we could put a show online. It took over six months before we were ready to stream live and another year before we got our production issues resolved.
We also decided to start mid-campaign. Most of our critics said that we should start over, but being a project of love, we wanted to finish the current story. So, we started streaming one of the most complicated stories I’ve ever told. The entire campaign started as a joke about a bakery, but we decided to try and turn it into a serious epic. I don’t know how successful we were, but we had a lot of fun.
Hundreds and hundreds of hours later, we are now the Roll Seekers. We work with gaming vendors and artists from all over the world, and we can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us.
Who are the Seekers? Why do you feel it’s so important the audience know the players are “local gamers just like” them?
We emphasize this because there are a lot of actual play streams going on right now, and the paragons, Critical Role and Dimension 20, are full of professional actors and celebrities with huge budgets. Our group is made up of friends and family members who just want to share our stories.
Sure, a couple of us have theatre arts and English degrees, but we are not professional television actors. Maybe it’s an unnecessary distinction, but I think it helps set us apart, and I also think it shocks people when they see our production value—which we try to make as professional as possible. We do the whole show in our basement, but if you didn’t know that, I don’t think you’d have any idea.
What surprised you most during Campaign One?
Honestly, it was how much the players grew. We started off doing this as a hobby and by the end of Season Two (not campaign) our viewers were asking us if we were voice actors. That’s a huge accomplishment. Other things that really shocked me were how many followers we got on TikTok (almost 40,000) and that we were invited to headline RegionCon.
In terms of gameplay, our Season One finale had a double nat 20 that absolutely blew my mind. It changed the entire game, and it was AMAZING.
Now, I know the game really depends on the choices the player-characters make. How do you plan for that as a writer and a DM?
As an actor, writer, and oratory storyteller, I love consistency within the storyworld. If I make something up, even if it’s off the cuff, I try to incorporate that into the overall mythos of the world. If I mention a mystical lake, let’s call it “Mythos,” in game one, it’s just a random name. If I mention Lake Mythos in game twenty, it starts to feel more important. If the players visit Lake Mythos and learn the story behind it, the lake begins to feel real. So… consistency, consistency, consistency—oh, and maps help too!
The other thing I try to do is have a starting point and an end point for each game. How we get there is usually up in the air, and sometimes we don’t even get to the endpoint. The best games I’ve ever DMed though have been meticulously planned—not necessarily on what’s going to happen, but rather the lore and characters that the players can discover.
In the second campaign, are all the players starting with brand-new characters? Is the adventure set in the same world?
Yes, yes, and yes. All campaigns in Roll Seekers & The Legend of Nabell will be set in the world of Nabell, each one building on the overall master story of the Green-Eyed God. The Light of Tyve Campaign, however, will be set on a brand-new continent with entirely new characters. The game will start five years after the events of the Trevian Forest, so that may mean there may be a few cameos from the last campaign.
What sorts of things can viewers look forward to in Season Two? What excites you the most?
The next season is going to be dark and gritty. It’s going to have a “Curse of Strahd” feel to it, and what I’m most excited about is that we’re starting from level one. Our players have been workshopping their characters for months, and it’s going to be really exciting to start with such strong material.
The next campaign will not be a simple adventure of heroism and valor—it’ll be for the stout of heart. We’re not trying to create heroes, we’re creating a campaign that must be survived, and I anticipate neutral or even somewhat evil player characters. This goes against my usual DM style, and I’m thrilled.
Can you give us a sneak peek? What should we know about Tyve?
The lands of Tyve were kissed by light long ago—a cacophonous fulmination of power and salvific purposes—the Ithelion. This tangible light of God still shines far beyond unscalable mountains, its pallid gloom haunting the land with memories of ancient wars and forgotten Gods.
But such light casts long shadows, and Tyve is a cold place. There is no room for weakness on its shores. All who live beneath its iron peaks need to be more weapon than flesh. They must be forged by hardship and the fear of disease. For Tyve is a battered land of archaic beauty born when the salt of the sea boiled. It is a land that even the gods turned their backs on, sealing it away from the rest of the world.
Iron mountains rise like a maelstrom of knives, stabbing at the sky and dredging the earth with roots of silvery ore. Every crag bleeds flames, though it does little to tide the chill of the Ithelion and the gray skies, suffocated by clouds of smoke and ash.
Here, five houses have risen to power: the Cult of the Iron Chain, the Plague Artists of Slyphus, the Sorcerers of Keph, the Forgotten Dead of Dragdah, and the Stewards of Gavra. The mainland has been sealed by blasphemous magic, and the continent has been quarantined by a divine and unending storm.
Left to fester and rot, the people of Tyve are as much prisoners as they are villains. Their only solace is the small pieces of Ithelion stolen from the heart of Tyve long, long ago, now unreachable by any known means.
Our story begins on the Southeastern coast of Scarsden, where a vented sea offers the only warmth in a land of cold winds, dim light, and treacherous shadows. It is there where an unlikely pair have crashed far from home. Adventurers seeking cures, knowledge, purpose, and family soon descend upon the unlikely pair where they learn that something truly dark lies beyond the unbreachable Sheared Peaks. Will the Roll Seekers discover the secrets of the Light of Tyve, or will they be lost to the dark?
That sounds amazing! Thank you, and we can’t wait to see what happens next!!
Campaign Two of The Roll Seekers and the Legend of Nabell premieres Tuesday, September 5th, at 7 p.m. EST on the Roll Seeker’s Twitch channel—@RollSeekers