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Forgotten Runes Wizard’s Cult: The Genesis and Evolution of a Successful and Compelling NFT-Centered Fantasy World
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Forgotten Runes Wizard’s Cult: The Genesis and Evolution of a Successful and Compelling NFT-Centered Fantasy World
In this episode of #StoryFirst we're joined by Elf J Trul, Pixelmancer and Archmagus of Lore, of Forgotten Runes Wizard's Cult, which has developed a successful lore-and story-focused NFT project that is pursuing a "decentralized approach to world-building."

In this episode of #StoryFirst we're joined by Elf J Trul, Pixelmancer and Archmagus of Lore, of Forgotten Runes Wizard's Cult, which has developed a successful lore-and story-focused NFT project that is pursuing a "decentralized approach to world-building." One of the major outputs of the project is the Book of Lore, a "compendium of all the stories, art, and creative energy of [community members] ... that is immutable on the blockchain."

In this podcast, Elf focuses on:

  • The Forgotten Runes Wizard's Cult origin story
  • What "lore not floor" means
  • How the project's founders and community are engaging in a decentralized storytelling process that remains both highly individualized, but consistent to the overall world
  • How the project will evolve in the future, including in the areas of comics, gaming and an upcoming animated series (watch the Forgotten Runes trailer below).

Forgotten Runes Wizard's Cult Links
-Book of Lore
-Wizards NFT Collection
-Warriors NFT Mint

StoryPrima and #StoryFirst Links
-About StoryPrima DAO
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Speaker 1: And so we batted around a few ideas on what the theme would be. Um, and we landed on the, the wizards because, you know, for a few reasons, number one, I'm a huge, uh, fantasy nerd. I love Lord the rings and game of Thrones. Uh, number two, I, I knew that if we, if we used this genre, it would just, it's, it's so rich in content and storytelling and characters and world building. It would just be like an, it, it would be endless if, if we, if we dove into this genre, which is what I wanted. And, and, and number three, even with my own, one of one FTS, I, I, I wanted to world build. I wanted, I wanted like a whole like cast of characters that were just, that would just, um, you know, you, you could tell endless stories with them, but I was running into a wall doing it myself, cuz I was number one.

Speaker 1: I was making them all as like full CG rigs and it, it, you know, it takes like two weeks just to make a single character, but then suddenly Dota comes along and he is got a generator and we could like spit out 10,000 characters pretty quickly. That was, that was a major, um, development for, for this, this idea of decentralized world building like immediately being able to spit out 10,000 characters. Um, it like, it was, it was the, it was the world building hack that I had been looking for. um, so yeah, I mean, I, I could really elaborate on that, but that that's how we got that's how forgotten rooms got started.

Speaker 2: Welcome to story first, a podcast where we shine a light on the web three Mavericks that are leveraging the power of narrative to create immersive NFT world. We investigate the art and science of story building through insightful interviews with creators, collectors, and investors. For those who seek a richer NFT experience. This is your portal to vivid new realm of fiction story. First is a production of story. PRMA Dell, whose mission is to encourage the growth and success of story focused NFT projects through research, education and project incubation story. PRMA D brings you the blockbusters of tomorrow.

Speaker 3: Hello and welcome to the story. First podcast, a weekly show where we talk about web three NFT projects focused on storytelling. We believe story focused NFT projects are built to last will form the foundation of a new breed of hugely influential properties in gaming entertainment, art and beyond the hashtag story. First podcast highlights the Mavericks and leaders who are leveraging the power of NFT to tell the blockbuster stories of tomorrow. My name is Devin Sawyer and I am joined by my esteem co-host co-founder and colleague Barry, AKA crayons Barry, say a quick hello? Hello. Hello, good morning. Or good evening. Wherever you may be together. We represent story prima, which is a decentralized autonomous organization with a mission to accelerate the growth and success of story focused NFT projects through media research, education and project incubation. But we're not here to talk about story prima today.

Speaker 3: Today on story first, we are most honored to welcome El uh, from the forgotten ruins wizard community, a very popular and burgeoning NFT project. And we're very honored to host this podcast, uh, because the forgotten ruin wizards is a very deep, lower, heavy, big universe built, um, with community at this center. So Alf, thank you so much for joining us and giving us your time. Um, I'd love to start. Yeah, I'd appreciate it. Um, so Alf is an Anon, uh, uh, pseudo anonymous in, uh, the crypto web three space. Um, and we'd love to, um, start with you and, uh, you know, introduce yourself, tell us your origin story. Um, how did you get into web three and NFTs?

Speaker 1: Sure. Yeah. Um, so I've been an artist all my life. Uh, I mostly started out with traditional materials, like oil paint. Um, and yeah, I, uh, when I graduated college from, from, uh, fine art school, I, um, I had the, uh, the sudden realization that, uh, making a living as an artist was extremely difficult. Um and so, uh, especially cuz I was living in the Midwest, um, where there's almost no art scene. Uh, so I had a choice. I, I could either go to the east coast and continue pursuing fine art or I could go to the west coast and uh, study animation. Um, and so I went to the west coast, I went to Cal arts and uh, you know, I always tried to bring, um, a sort of fine art, uh, ambition into the animation that I worked on. Um, but you know, what I really loved about animation was that unlike painting, which has got like a nearly thousand year history, uh, animation was a, a relatively new medium, you know, I think it's only like a hundred years old.

Speaker 1: Um, and so there's still a lot of new territory to explore in animation, um, especially in like CG animation and uh, you know, any kind of computer animation. Um, and then so yeah, so while I was at Cal arts, I, uh, I studied 2d animation and, and CG animation and then the deeper I got into CG and all the different software, um, I started, I started getting interested in, uh, video games, which is an even newer medium with newer frontiers. Uh, and so that's, that's sort of where I, I, I sort of blossomed, um, studying CG video games, interactive interaction. Uh, yeah. And, and I, I, I could continue on that, but, um, I don't know. Did you wanna,

Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's, that's great. Yeah. So, no, I mean, that's sort of getting to where, where you are today. So, you know, obviously in video gaming, um, you know, it's a different type of storytelling kind of lends itself to the NFT landscape, um, and uh, certainly PFP projects. Um, um, but you've got a bit of a very unique spin. So tell us a bit about, um, the forgotten Roon wizards and, um, the origin story around how you got, you know, implemented into the, uh, web three and as NFT for the community.

Speaker 1: Yeah, for sure. So yeah, you know, I, I, I suppose, um, I had been interested in crypto and Bitcoin since, I don't know, I, I, I guess it would it come out in like 2009 and I heard about it the end and it sounded interesting. I wasn't like super into it, but it's, it's always been just sort of in the background as a curiosity for me. Um, but I dove in heavy, uh, when COVID happened, uh, COVID changed everything for me as it did for everyone. Um, because basically, uh, you know, I was working at, I, I guess you could call it a video game studio, um, and then COVID happened. And then we all got sent home and we all worked from home and suddenly I had a little more free time to just, uh, pursue other things. And, you know, amazingly at that time you had a few things going on, you had, you had COVID happen.

Speaker 1: And then you had the whole market crashed, which for me was like, oh, here's an entry point. And then the third thing that was like starting to rumble was all the talk about, uh, the Bitcoin having. And so I, I started like learning about what the Bitcoin having is and the effect that it typically had on the market. You coupled that with like the crash, which was a good entry point. And I, it was suddenly just, it was a rabbit hole that was just irresistible to me. So I started like really just studying crypto hardcore. Um, and then a few months after that, uh, NFTs started just becoming a really big thing. Um, like I had heard about the crypto kits, I think that was, that was in 2017. Um, but that was like basically the only NFT project at the time. Um, but then things likeable came along where it was suddenly accessible to everybody and, um, being a digital artist and, and, and having this new found interesting crypto for me, it was perfect.

Speaker 1: It combines the two things that I love. Uh, and so I started making my own, um, just one of one NFTs, putting them on wearable, got really into the community, started meeting a lot of new people on Twitter. Um, and it, you know, it was sort of, it just, it felt like a Renaissance. It felt like, like sort of a new movement in art. Um, and yeah, it was, it was great. I, I, you know, I did that for a few months. Uh, and then my partner Doda, who is the, uh, programmer who I've known for about a decade. Um, you know, I, I I'd be talking with him about crypto and NFTs for a while. And then suddenly one day he texted me and he was, he was like, have you heard of these like 10 K character collections, these generative collections? He's like, we should do one of these.

Speaker 1: Um, and I immediately, I was like, yes, let's do it. It looks like fun. Um, and so we batted around a few ideas on what the theme would be. Um, and we landed on the, the wizards because, you know, for a few reasons, number one, I'm a huge, uh, fantasy nerd. I love Lord of the rings and game of Thrones. Uh, number two, I, I knew that if we, if we used this genre, it would just, it's, it's so rich in content and storytelling and characters and world building. It would just be like in it, it would be endless if, if we, if we dove into this genre, which is what I wanted. And, and, and number three, even with my own, one of one NFTs, I, I, I wanted to world build. I wanted, I wanted like a whole like cast of characters that were just, that would just, um, you know, you, you could tell endless stories with them, but I was running into a wall doing it myself, cuz I was number one, I was making them all as like full CG rigs and it, it, you know, it takes like two weeks just to make a single character, but then suddenly Dota comes along and he is got a generator and we could like spit out 10,000 characters pretty quickly.

Speaker 1: That was, that was a, a major, um, development for, for this, this idea of decentralized world building like immediately being able to spit out 10,000 characters. Um, it like, it was, it was the, it was the world building hack that I had been looking for. um, so yeah, I mean, I, I could really elaborate on that, but that, that's how we got that's how forgotten rooms got started

Speaker 3: And you, you know, so, you know, we, we often at story prima have the discussion about, you know, these PFP projects that, you know, have some interesting, um, lore, but it's relatively superficial and then you've got but great art and even great community and they're wildly successful, um, on those facets. But, um, you know, the forgotten RO wizards, um, has very deep story, um, quite intricate universe building, um, and the community is heavily involved in it. Talk a, can you talk a little bit about some of the, um, you know, how, what are the key components of the universe that keep the community engaged and your story knit together? Um, because you've gotta decentralized nature to, to it as well.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 4: And, and the, uh, the book of lore that you guys have also, I've forgotten what it's called, but, uh, I've been through a bunch of the, uh, the entries. So that's also pretty fascinating.

Speaker 1: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So there's a lot of features in the forgotten ROS wizards cult that really put lore first and, uh, sort of incentivize it. So, you know, there, there's a couple things like I, you know, I would say when, when we first started building the collection, I very early realized that a 10 K generative collection is a very powerful storytelling vehicle unto itself. Um, and so, you know, at the base level there, there's a few things that, that we did differently. Number one, we showed a full body character most in FTE projects at that time were focused on just like the PFP, like portrait, which is just like a head and shoulders portrait image of a character. We did the full body because I wanted them to feel like full characters that could go on an adventure. Uh, number two, again, most other PFP projects were like doing like a single character, like name an animal.

Speaker 1: And then that's the project, you know, an ape, a cat, a, a zombie, a penguin or whatever, you know, and you could argue that those characters, it's all literally the single, the same character. That's just wearing different costumes. Ours is different. We have like, I think 120 different heads, um, tons of different bodies, tons of different spells. So it's like, we definitely don't have the same character repeated over and over. Um, so, so that's number one. Number two is our generator is very sophisticated. So a standard generator just takes all the art components and randomly slaps 'em together and done. That's, that's your collection that did not work for us. Simple randomization is just chaos. And we didn't want that. We wanted, we wanted to give our generator direction, art direction, story direction. And so we've got this, this feature in our generator called well, it's, we call it affinity it's, it's, it's essentially just a way of giving the generator direction.

Speaker 1: Um, and so we spend, like, after we get the art done, that's just half the battle. Then we spend the next few weeks, like refining the hell out of our generator and giving it direction. And so ultimately what ends up happening is like our, our, our characters are, are, um, they have harmony they're they're they're, um, they're put together either by like color. So all the colors look unified or they're put together by a theme or they're put together by, um, you know, just any kind of feeling. Every single character has like a cohesive unity to it. It's structured. Yeah. It's very, every character is very structured. And, and when you do that, now, every character doesn't just look like chaos, it looks like it's got a story, it looks like it's got a personality. Um, and so that right there is, was a way to infuse more lo and story into the base in Ft.

Speaker 1: Um, so yeah, so we had that, then we, then we, uh, gave every character a name. The naming system was even very, uh, directed, uh, you know, most PFPs only give their, their NFTs a serial number, but our characters have names. Um, and the names are like tied to the heads. They're not just like randomly assigned. Um, they have meaning, uh, they have purpose. Um, so, so yeah, the art, the names, um, the full body, all of this stuff, uh, suggested character backs, stories and lore underneath. Um, then we released a map, uh, and the, the locations on the map were tied to the names they were tied to the art. Um, you know, the, the, the theme through all of this is like connecting all the pieces in sort of amatic way, rather than just like pure chaos. Um, these are the different ways you can infuse story into a 10 K collection.

Speaker 1: Um, so yeah, and, and then, and then after that, uh, as you mentioned, um, we started releasing other things, the, the biggest thing being the, uh, the forgotten ruins book of lore. Um, so this was an online digital tone where if you own a wizard, you could go to that wizard's page and, um, you could create a lore entry. And so this can come in the form of a story, a poem, art, animation, music, whatever you want. Um, you attach that to the character that you own. Uh, I think we currently have about 2000 entries, um, which is amazing. Um, you know, and, and so like the, the, the whole idea behind this is, is, uh, is one of decentralized world building. Um, you know, so it, you know, in the past you look at worlds like middle earth or the star wars galaxy, or Westeros or Hogwarts.

Speaker 1: These are gigantic worlds that were all created by a lone genius at the top, but the universe is created by a community. All of the characters in the universe are owned by individual holders who own that character in every way. They own it, legally, they own it financially. They own it emotionally. They own it aesthetically. And so they are allowed to create that character's Lauren backstory, we at magic machine, we create the world, everybody else creates the characters. And so this, this combination, this sort of hybrid approach to world building is what is allowing the universe to be built at just a breakneck speed. Um, it's, it's just growing so fast and it's, and it's so complex, and it's so beautiful. Um, you know, just look at our Twitter timeline and you'll see just tons of amazing cult content. We don't call it derivative art, we call it cult content. Um, and it's just, you know, every day people are, are, are adding to the universe and just making it more and more complex. Um, amazing.

Speaker 3: No, that's so what, what, what, what in your mind, um, kind of keeps the story tied together, or do you, does it fracture? Can you talk a little bit about, you know, with possibly as many as thousands of people, or you mentioned a thousand people writing lore thousand. Yeah. Um, how does that, how does that work? Do you feel the story knits together? Does it fit to your universe? Is it possible to break? Can you talk a little bit about the community impact on the overall universe you've built?

Speaker 1: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's a good question. It's something we, we think about a lot. Um, you know, there there's a few different ways to approach it. Um, you know, I, I would say at the base level, the whole project is built on these like timeless archetypes that have worked their way all throughout human history, all throughout culture, across the globe. Um, there's a lot of archetypes that just they're everywhere, no matter where in time you go, these archetypes are there. And a lot of our project is built on those. And so when you start with that as your foundation, it's, it's, it's pretty amazing how the hive mind all just sort of subconsciously understands and agrees without even, without even cooperating without even necessarily knowing what everyone else is writing. Wh when you start to look at the book of lore and the things that people write, it, it all, it sinks pretty well, surprisingly.

Speaker 1: Um, but perhaps not surprisingly, because these are these, these are these timeless archetypes that humanity has always dealt with. Um, and so, so, so that's, that's the base level that sort of keeps that keeps a cohesion across the whole thing. Um, on top of that, uh, you know, we at magic machine, we, we try to sort of communicate like a baseline meta narrative, um, that, you know, we, we always tell people like, you know, when you're creating your lore create for your character only, don't try to say too much about the world at large, like, we'll handle that. You just write for your own character. And, you know, when, when, when you sort of have that as a structure, again, there's not a lot of, uh, uh, disharmony. Um, it all, it all sort of works. Um, you know, and then, you know, finally I would say is, this is a world built on magic. It's a world that has that readily acknowledges like parallel dimensions. It has time travel. Um, and when, when you have a world where, you know, things are sort of flexible and in influx and, uh, magical, then, then there's really, there's not like a hard, rigid rule set that will break the continuity. And so if people do somehow write totally contradictory lore, it works because we have magic and we have time travel and we have parallel dimensions. And, uh, you know, you can always kind of magic your way out of that stuff.

Speaker 4: Nice. Uh, you, you talk about the archetypes. You're also not you like the fantasy projects have been roughly following similar guide, not guidelines, but, uh, similar stories or tropes since, I don't know, since token and yeah. Like, I, I am also a huge fantasy to work. I've been reading those books since, since I could read. Uh, and it makes it if you just picked fiction, right. In a fiction story, it would go bonkers, but within fantasy or sci-fi or some other, uh, niche, it makes it a bit easier to get people on the same boat.

Speaker 1: Yep. Yeah, no, I mean, we, yeah. I mean, you go back to like go mesh or, uh, bearable or, uh, you know, Greek tragedies, you know, there's, it's, it's all very, uh, similar, I mean, I mean, you know, Joseph Campbell and the hero of a thousand faces, that's, you know, a huge influence on me and, you know, it, it's, it's, that sort of thing is, is amazing. And it's still true today. I mean, even like Marvel movies, now, you, you can see the archetypes in those that Joseph Campbell sort of outlined and, and, and, and, and showed us that, you know, they're working their way all throughout human history.

Speaker 4: You, um, you've talked a lot about it, but the idea of structure in your, in your project, do you guys at magic machine, uh, talk about that very often, or does the structure you put in place? Did it just kind of come about organically?

Speaker 1: Uh, yeah, we talk about it a lot. Um, I mean, again, like, like, I, I, I I've to, I've told the cult, um, that, you know, if, if, if you use these archetypes as, as sort of your, your scaffolding, when you're, when you're building a story, then, then you've got your whole legendary just laid out before you, you don't even have to like, create it from scratch, just use the archetypes and, and build on top of that. And, you know, I, I would say that's maybe like hack number two that I, that I suddenly realized one day is, is, you know, you don't have to just like, start with a blank page and just work from scratch, just use human history, use the archetypes, and you've got so much of the work done for you. Um, yeah. You know, I, I, you know, I like, I, I study a lot, like how, like, how the hell did Jr to create such a huge world or, or George R. Martin and like George R. Martin, for example, he used so many, uh, influences just from human history, like, uh, the, the parallel between, um, you know, the seven kingdoms in west rose and, and, uh, like the war of roses in, uh, ancient England.

Speaker 1: I, I think it is, you know, there there's a lot of parallels there. Um, and, you know, it's, you know, partly that's what makes it feel so real is just because it's, it's, it's inspired by actual history.

Speaker 4: Yeah. I, I just think that's an interesting topic in, in the world of Dows of these ization there's there's projects that, um, they they're, they're striving to be completely bottom up, uh, driven, right. The community decides everything, and I tend to think that, so I'm a, I'm a writer, and I tend to think, I tend to look at, look at everything through that lens. Uh, and I don't say I'd be surprised if the, if the completely decentralized NFT, like world building story projects, if they were as successful as those that provided some top down structure, like just a few constraints, right. Like a giant sandbox in which to play. And like, you guys have a few constraints, um, and they're not hard rules, like you can play around it, but I think that structure is important for creativity because it avoids the blank page.

Speaker 1: No, I, I, I totally agree. And I think that goes for just about any art practice it's yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, people think like maybe naively think that like, making art is about freedom, which it is, but the, some of the best art comes with some creative constraints because that's when you have to, that's when you have to innovate. Um, and

Speaker 3: For

Speaker 4: Sure, that's a good way to put it.

Speaker 3: What I like about, um, you know, what you're sharing today is that, you know, you create an element of bottoms up and as much as the universe is established for, for your characters to play, and it's very clear that the community owns their wizard. And so how does that community fit in the world? It becomes a natural extension. I think you described it as cold content and a bit of hive mind, but that's clearly enabled by, um, the community's passion for the universe, um, and the characters in which they've minted and or purchased on the secondary market. If, if, if, uh, if does that sound right for you, do you think that it is the universe in which you create as the playing field that enables the community to get excited?

Speaker 1: Yeah, for sure. Definitely. Um, you know, we, we do a weekly spaces on Twitter called wizard Wednesday, and, you know, that's a place where we divulge a lot of the, the meta narrative. Um, you know, I'll also say like, there's, there's other things we did that sort of, I think, um, sort of inspired creativity. I mean, just the fact that we used a very simple pixel art as the, the base NFT, you know, what we've discovered is that it created like a really low barrier to entry. Um, you know, as opposed if, to, if we had like done really like high polished CG models, or very well illustrated, um, characters like using pixel art as your bass Ft, like anybody can buy a Sprite for $20 and start making pixel art. You know, it's, it's hard to do pixel art. Great, but just about anybody can do basic pixel art. Um, and so that has like allowed a bunch of non artists to actually start making art. And you it's, it's shocking how well people are executing on this people who constantly tell me, like, I haven't made art since I was like an eight year old. And now every day I'm thinking about like stories and, and animation and art that I can make for my wizard. Um, you know, it's kind of like, like Lego blocks or, or Minecraft, like anybody can build something with those that, and that's, that's the beauty of the pixel art.

Speaker 4: Um, do you mean like your community is creating art, uh, around their characters? Like, so writing a lower and then also creating pixel art?

Speaker 1: Yes. Yep.

Speaker 4: Oh, that's awesome. That's super cool.

Speaker 1: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cuz it's the pixel artist, it's, it's a relatively easy medium to, uh, yeah. To, to use. Um, you know, and then like, even from a philosophical standpoint, you know, just the word, the, the title forgotten ruins, it, it means so much like, you know, I, I could talk about this for an hour, but like basically put a ruin is, is just a, a simplified pictogram that represents a larger concept. And so yeah, that applies to the actual ruins that are in the collection. But, you know, I often say that the wizards themselves are ruins they're, they're these very simple minimalized characters. It's, they're like, uh, of creative primitive, they're, they're sort of a seed of creation. And from that very simple pictogram you can extrapolate, you know, stories and very complex art and illustrations, and you can just go in any direction with it. But the fact that we started with such a minimal simplified creative, primitive, I think that really like, it, it, it, it, it, it, it, it, uh, it stimulates the imagination, um, in, in a way that I think a very detailed high polished piece of art would not

Speaker 4: In, uh, in writing. I, I think about, so like a longer piece, right? Like novel link or something like that. Uh, I think the best stories leave a lot up to the imagination, but the best authors use, like what I just call 'em breadcrumbs, right? Like from like canceling Gretel, like to lead the reader in a particular direction, without explicitly pointing out everything like token, right? Like the scene in the beginning of the first book where they cross in the river and one of the L floor stands there and all his elephant glory, that's like all he says, but like so many fantasy writers would use 2000 words to describe every single thing about that. Yeah. But the idea of the simplified, uh, the pictograms or the, or the, the pixel art characters, they're kind of like breadcrumbs in a way. It's like they just give people, uh, a direction at which to go. So,

Speaker 1: Absolutely.

Speaker 4: Yeah. That's super cool.

Speaker 3: Yep. And it sounds like it makes it, you know, you, you talk a lot about, um, your, your project and the story and the way you went about it is being a, what I guess you could call accessible for the community. Um, so it sounds like it's easy for them to participate and bring their wizard to life. I love the, um, the way you described it as a room, being a pictogram that represents a larger concept. And if your community gets the idea that, you know, your, your, the IP you own in that wizard is for you to expand upon and create. Um, but that's amazing, but what is it, what do you guys do as, um, leaders in the project to encourage that participation? How do you get the community to care enough? Um, you know, you're a successful project, you've got a floor. Um, so there's a speculative nature that gets people to care, but it sounds like you actually have people caring about the story and building it. What, can you talk about how you were successful in getting people to care about the story in light of, of profitable endeavor?

Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah, no, it's a great question. We, uh, we have a, a saying in our community it's, uh, lore, not floor. Um, yeah, perfect. And, and beautifully that, that coin or that, that term was coined by. So, uh, uh, prominent wizard in our community, uh, Magus, Wizi the one who rings. Um, who's very, very creative himself, but, uh, but yeah, it, you know, it means, you know, it's, it's obvious what it means. It's, uh, you know, this project is about the lore, not the floor. Um, so you know, that, that sentiment just echoes throughout our community in, in so many ways. I mean, you know, like I said, we do a weekly podcast called wizard Wednesday, and so we put lore front and center there. We, uh, we invite community members to read their book of lore entry. Um, you know, and we, we, we just, we just talk about nerd stuff.

Speaker 1: We talk about lore, we talk about character, we talk about world building. Um, you know, yeah. And then, and then our, our discord is just like full of, of creative content. There's always just illustrations and stories and lore being posted our discord. Also our Twitter obviously is just like an endless stream of cult content. Um, we, uh, sometimes we have people sing on, uh, on our wizard Wednesday. We have a nice, yeah, yeah. She, uh, Margaret, she, she writes songs. We, uh, we call her our Bard and spell singer. Um, nice. Yeah. You know, and, and then beyond that, uh, you know, one of the things that magic machine is, is very, one of the things that keeps us B very, very busy is, um, you know, while, while our, while, while our cult is busy making content, um, some of the biggest things that we do is we're, we are pursuing these larger media expressions.

Speaker 1: So we've, uh, we actually just finished a comic book that is actually being physically printed. Um, it's on its way to the printer, as we speak, we're gonna print, like, I think like 200,000 copies and we're gonna give them a wall all away for free. Nice. Um, and, and, and the beauty of it is like a lot of the, uh, the stories in the comic are straight up from the, our book of lore. Um, and so, you know, it's, it's amazing that, you know, you can be in our, our cult, you can create a story about your wizard, and then it shows up in a physically printed comic book. You know, this is the sort of the thing we want to keep doing. Um, we all like a

Speaker 3: Video game, too.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah. We have a video game in development. Um, it's, it's currently in production and we've got, I think, like 20 or 30 people working on it as we speak. Um, and then one of the things I'm really excited about because of my background in animation is, um, we've got a, uh, a show being created. Um, so currently we J we just released a minute and a half fully animated trailer, uh, that was animated by tip mouse studios in Los Angeles. It looks super professional. Everybody goes on, it's on our Twitter. It's amazing. Um,

Speaker 4: I watched it begin this morning. , it's awesome. Like, it reminds me of like, like Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid, like,

Speaker 1: Yeah, perfect.

Speaker 4: Great. It's like it, it's, it's straight up like nineties retro. It's outstanding.

Speaker 1: great. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. And then, um, yeah, and then, so, but for the show, uh, our, our partner bears snake, he brought in possibly the most perfect show runner slash writer to, uh, write the first episodes. Um, it's this guy named Derek Colstad and he's fricking amazing. He is, uh, he's actually the creator of the John wick franchise. Um, he's worked on a few Marvel movies. Uh, he wrote the film, nobody with a Bob Oden, Kirk, it's on Netflix right now.

Speaker 4: That's good. I watched that.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Oh, it's great. No, this guy, yeah.

Speaker 4: It's a great movie.

Speaker 1: You wanna talk about a man who knows story? The guy is like a story genius. Um, we, you know, I've had a few meetings with him just like batting around some creative ideas and it's just like, like talking story with that guy for, for me was just like the most beautiful synergy , um, like he gets it, he gets story. I mean, obviously he's a professional. Um, and so, yeah, so he's just the perfect person to be creating, uh, the show version of the universe for us. Um, I'm so excited about working with him.

Speaker 4: It'll be animated also. Is it also, um, yeah, that's a question. And is, is it also gonna be by tip mouse? Like the same style?

Speaker 1: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. The same trailer. Um, yeah, so, yeah. And so, yeah, so like, you know, and again, like, you know, a lot of the content that we wanna put in the show is, is gonna be content that we pull straight from the book of lore. I mean, that's, that's, what's fun to me about this project. It's truly a decentralized world building, uh, project it's, you know, you're gonna see characters, you know, if you own a wizard, you're gonna see wizards you own, and that you wrote the lore for showing up on a professionally produced, uh, show. I mean, how cool is that?

Speaker 4: I mean, that sounds like the dream .

Speaker 1: Yeah. Like

Speaker 4: That's the NFT dream right there.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, I mean, that's, yeah. That's, that's what this is all about. I, I, I just can't wait.

Speaker 3: So, um, you know, there's, um, as I mentioned earlier, the forgotten room wizards, uh, cult is a very successful project. Um, it's got a floor price. Not that that matters cuz the law is what matters. Um, but it might be difficult for other community members who want to get involved and get excited about the universe. Um, but I do believe you have something minting very soon if not imminently, um, that might, uh, allow others to gain access to the universe.

Speaker 1: Yep. Tomorrow actually, um, oh, on May 11th. Um, right on. Yeah. So we, uh, we, the universe, um, began with wizards and uh, tomorrow we're launching warriors. So, you know, you you've, if, when you've got wizards, you've gotta have warriors. It's the, uh, of course it's the sword and sorcery trope, the might and magic brain and bra. Um, and so yeah, the warriors collection, uh, Doda and I are putting the finishing touches on it today. Um, it's looking amazing. Um, and you know, the, but the, the most important thing about it is that it expands the world. Um, it expands the community, it brings this whole new flavor of storytelling to the universe. Um, you know, you think about the, uh, the wizard and warrior trope throughout, through all throughout history that, you know, there's obvious ones like a Gandolph and Arago um,

Speaker 3: But Berlin Arthur,

Speaker 1: Merlin, Arthur. Perfect. Yep. But then there's even ones like, uh, Yoda and Luke Skywalker, Jack, um, or, uh, you know, you could even go so far as to say like Rocky Balboa and his trainer Mickey that, you know, that's a weird

Speaker 3: Yeah. Right. So yet another example of, uh, an archetype that, um, is boundless and connecting all at the same time.

Speaker 1: Exactly. Yeah. Amazing. So, so yeah, we're very excited about it. Um, if you wanna join the cult, uh, warriors might be a great entry for you. Um, but you know, we at magic machine, we're always coming up with new to tokens and new ways to expand the world. And you know, we've also got a lot of collections. We've got a pony collection that your, your wizard can ride a pony. Um, hopefully the warriors will be able to ride them too. Uh, we've got a collection of souls where we, uh, on Halloween, we, you could burn your wizard for, uh, uh, soul wizard in return. Um, we did a beast auction where we auctioned seven mythical, legendary beasts. And, uh, even if you couldn't buy a beast, um, every beast, uh, released, uh, spawn for free to wizard holders. So, you know, there's gonna be all kinds of ways upcoming for people to, uh, join the community. Um, so yeah, you know, it's, again, it's all about expanding the world.

Speaker 3: Amazing. And you, you know, you talked a lot about, um, engagement and, and success, uh, there, um, to building a truly decentralized community around your story. Um, maybe go back in time and tell us a little bit about how you drove awareness originally. Can you talk what it was like to, you know, launch that amazing generator and what happened? How did you make people aware and get them excited initially to jump into the world?

Speaker 1: Yeah. You, you, you mean like when we first launched wizards, when

Speaker 3: You first launched wizards. Yeah.

Speaker 1: Yeah. That's, that's always the hardest thing, you know, it's like, I, you know, the art wasn't necessarily difficult for me, you know, it just took a long time. The, the generator wasn't necessarily difficult for Dota, the smart contracts, you know, these are all things that are within our wheelhouse promo and community management was something that was just totally new for both of us. Um, so, you know, we just sort of blindly stumbled our way through it. Uh, you know, one of the techniques we used was just like, you know, identifying, um, you know, what you would call NFT influencers on, on Twitter and social media, um, and just sort of reaching out to them. And, um, yeah, what, what we did in the beginning was we just like started making custom wizards for certain people, um, you know, in, in hopes that they would just sort of tweet about us and talk about us.

Speaker 1: We actually never even demanded that they do. So we just, you know, reached out and just said, Hey, we'd like to make you a wizard. And, um, you know, what, what was cool about that besides just like some of the promo that we got from them was it was sort of an extension of the whole decentralized world building process because, you know, they would describe like a character that they wanted, you know, they, there were ideas that I never would've done or thought of myself, and we got some really cool characters out of that. Um, just, you know, crowdsourcing ideas for, for characters in our world. Um, and so that's, you know, that's one reason I loved doing that. Uh, but, but yeah, I mean, that's how we sort of grew that that's how we got our first leg up, I would say is right. Like a handful of those influencers started talking about us and yeah. Um, bringing their audience in. So,

Speaker 3: And it sounds like it's still at the root of the, the ethos of your project, which is decentralized community based storytelling, just so you were doing the same thing just, um, in the earliest days. Yeah. We're finding that too. Most of the projects we speak to, and certainly as we're, um, out there, um, promoting and trying to gain interest for our legends of cipher project, it really is, uh, you gotta do the hard work. You gotta build a fan base, you gotta reach out, you gotta, um, have a and excitement for your story in order to get others passionate and excited about your story. Um, and that's a common thread we find

Speaker 1: Among no, it, I mean, it, like, it sounds obvious to say, but it, I don't, it's, it's not, I think to a lot of founders, which is you can't just build a project, like here's the art and let's all pump the floor price. Like that's not a mission, that's not a goal. That's not a, that's not like something to galvanize a community around. That's pretty empty. Um, you know, you, you gotta have like a purpose, you gotta have

Speaker 4: A story,

Speaker 1: A story. Yeah, yeah. yeah. You gotta, you gotta have like a, a mission, like a, a like yeah. Something to rally around and, you know, yeah. For us, it, it was like lore and story and world building. Um, and you know, again, it sounds obvious, but I, I think a lot of projects might not really fully realize that.

Speaker 4: Yeah, we, we, we totally agree. Uh we're yeah. A hundred percent on that same page, so,

Speaker 1: Yep.

Speaker 3: Um, we're coming up on the hour. So I, I do wanna get in a couple of, uh, couple more questions. Um, um, talk, can you tell us the, maybe one or two key lesson learned, um, on your journey from getting started to where you are today? Um, any key lessons or you could share for other burgeoning projects out there trying to make their way and stories.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Oh man. So many there's technical lessons. There's there's social lessons. There's art lessons.

Speaker 4: Um, how about story related

Speaker 1: Or lawyer related? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, I guess like, you know, okay. Here, here's something that I, that I like sort of, I, I guess congealed in my mind while we were working on this Warrior's collection, which is like, you know, I, I, I've worked at studios in the past where there was not like a strong central leader. There wasn't a strong central vision and, and the, the, the bosses just sort of relied on just like, just throw money at it and hire a bunch of talent and, and we'll get something great, but there was no creative vision. You can't really buy creative vision. You've gotta have, you've gotta have it yourself. And you have to lead with that. And I've been lucky enough that my two partners, like just fully trust me to just like, sort of lead with like the Melore of the universe.

Speaker 1: And, you know, so I guess what my, like my like advice is like define your creative vision and everything you make needs to follow that I'm talking art, I'm talking the lore, I'm talking every single little feature of your collection. If you're naming your characters, if you're the colors of your characters, like every element needs to follow that vision. And don't deviate from it in any way, every single component, every single feature needs to follow that vision. You know, and it, for, for me, it helps like having one person who knows what that vision is and just making everything follow that. But if you're, if your team is just like, number one has no vision, or, or if the person does have that vision, if you're not listening to them, then you know, you might get a little disharmony, a little chaos, and then it's, it's, it's gonna ripple through the entire collection and just show that there's not really a central message.

Speaker 3: Love it.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 3: We can relate certainly our project when legends cipher, we, we, uh, we rely heavily on Barry, our lead writer to kind of keep the, keep the narrative flowing, keep the infrastructure intact. I mean, it's good that we, you know, we'll share, you know, we're all passionate about the story. Um, and we all bring different, uh, capabilities to the telling of it. But, um, yeah. I dunno, Barry, what do you think, do you think we do a pretty good job of listening?

Speaker 4: Yeah, no, totally. Uh, totally like, so I've got a couple novels I've been working on for years and that's one pro I have a process for that. Right. Whatever it is, like it, sometimes it changes like day to day, but in building the legends of cipher, like, so I'm writing a graphic novel, and it's not me. I mean, it's me, but I have to get buy in from Devin and voice and James not even buyin, like we talk, we spent like a year brainstorming, like in world building. So I'm learning, learning slash creating a new process for me to write, but it, but it is very much collaborative, um, for sure. But like I was saying earlier, or like, like you were saying rather like the, you got the lone genius token or, um, Martin or whoever. Right. Um, creating their worlds. I think that speaks to what you're saying about creative vision. Like, I can't think of any books offhand that are considered great that were written by more than one person. Yeah. So,

Speaker 1: Yeah, for sure.

Speaker 4: I can't speak to other art forms though, but just in writing. So I, for sure hard agree with that.

Speaker 1: And I just, I just wanna quickly say, I, you know, I don't wanna give the impression that I'm like the sole creative genius. I mean, my, my team do to bear everybody else. They, they also throw in a lot of great ideas and, and we incorporate those ideas and our team is all very creative, you know? And then of course the whole community, the whole idea of decentralized world building, like so many great things come out of, out of, out of the cult cult on a daily basis. Um, yeah, but like, I guess the point I was trying to make is like, there's still that core and there's still that core vision that you need to maintain and, and it'll carry the whole thing through.

Speaker 3: I, I love the

Speaker 4: Term that resonates to me.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I love the term creative vision. I think that, you know, that resonates, um, and I hope the audience gets a good perspective out of it. You know, when, when we think about great a vision and, um, you know, Barry's role, you know, we always come back, you know, for writing a, a piece that is kind of, um, you know, like anology, we share writing these anthologies to help introduce the universe, but we all rely heavily on Barry and, you know, it's a burden, right. To have that creative vision, um, and to really take accountability and ownership for making sure it comes to life and everything we do. Um, so, you know, I've certainly gained a greater appreciation for what creative vision is. And it sounds like it's central to all great projects and storytelling. Um, last two questions for you. Um, NFTs, um, Alf, do you think they're fads or enduring?

Speaker 1: No, I think they're here to stay, I think. Um, but, but, but how that said, uh, you know, I think we're gonna see a similar pattern to, you know, things like, uh, boom of the late nineties, early 2000, or even like the ICO boom of 2017. You're, you're gonna see a lot of projects drop off projects that were in it for the wrong reasons. Um, you know, let's call it a crash. I'm sure there's gonna be a crash of some shape or form sooner or later. Uh, but I also think there's a long tail. I think, um, the quality projects will rise to the top. Um, and I, I think they're here to stay because it's just, it's such a powerful technology capable of so much, you know, again, when I was in Cal arts, when I realized that animation and then video games were such an unexplored medium, I think, uh, you know, obviously NFTs are, are like such a brand new frontier. There's so many new ways to do tokens, to do, to structure your generator, to tell a story through a community. I mean, this is just a brand new arena and, um, there, there's no way that it's going away.

Speaker 4: It's a, it's a, it's a, it's a new medium that I think it allows, or at least it will allow for more immersion in the storytelling, whether it's the gamification of written word or it's literal games or it's whatever, but more immersion creates more emotional attachment creates longer, more devoted community in fans.

Speaker 1: Absolutely.

Speaker 4: Yeah. That's awesome, man.

Speaker 3: Last question for you Al um, you know, you spoke about there'll be a long tail. Um, so we safe to assume that the, the best projects and the best stories will emerge. Um, so how long do you think until a decentralized autonomous organization or decentralized storytelling community will be up on the stage of a mainstream award? Um, like an academy award or an Ebony, any accepting on behalf of a community? How many months, years?

Speaker 1: Yeah. Uh, you know, if there's one thing that the crypto scene is notorious for it's predictions, so , um, what , it's, uh, I'm not sure if I can give a, uh, a prediction, hell, I don't know, three years let's put it that way. Um, perfect. You know, and I'll say this, you know, and of course I would say this, but I'm gonna say it anyway. I thank forgotten ROS has got a, uh, hell of a chance of at being one of those projects. And, and, and I'm, I'm not just saying it blindly, you know, like I said, we, we, you know, we've got Derek, Colstad writing our show, we've got, uh, a full on universe game being built. We've got comics in production, we've got a ton of other things in our back pocket that we haven't even revealed yet. You know, and, and the reason these things are happening is, is number one. I think our core, uh, project is great, but number two, our team is phenomenal. We are veterans in this thing. We, we we've been working in the entertainment industry for over a decade. We're well, connected Doda is an incredible solidity programmer. He's a brilliant tokens innovator. Our core team is, has just got so much experience and talent at doing this sort of thing. And, uh, you know, I think that's, what's really gonna carry us yeah. Across the finish finish line.

Speaker 3: Well, we appreciate, um, immensely the fact that you've brought in a ton of that experience through our podcast today on hashtag story first. Um, yes. Thank you. I know we've benefit. Yeah. We've benefited from the time today. I know our audience will benefit from the time today and I really do hope we can stay connected. Um, this community thought leaders and collaborators in the space and, uh, help each other along. And, um, you know, we're, we're, we're big fans and, uh, want to thank you again, Al for coming on the show and sharing your knowledge and experience.

Speaker 1: I, uh, I, I enjoyed it very much. I really appreciate the invite. It's always fun to talk about story and, and projects and crypto, so thank you so much.

Speaker 3: Amazing. Yeah. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. And, and so for the audience, um, we'll have all the links and everything available with our podcast descriptions, but, um, head out to forgotten Um, and you can check out all the details and, uh, you know, keep an eye out for the warriors. Um, minting, watch that trailer block, train near you. Yeah. Check out the trailer. We're we're big fans, um, really enjoyed it and, uh, thank you. And all the best of luck to you and that amazing team.

Speaker 5: Yep. Thanks guys. Talk to you later.

Speaker 3: Cheers. Thanks.

Learn about the PRIMA Airdrop and Our First Incubated Project: Legends of Cypher
Learn about the PRIMA Airdrop and Our First Incubated Project: Legends of Cypher
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