Jasmine Yang | @DrifterGameWorkshop
Our interview this week is with DMs Guild best selling creator and TTRPG writer, Jasmine Yang! We spoke to Jasmine about representation in the TTRPG industry, along with Jasmine’s own inspirations and how she first got into writing. Check out this amazing creator!
How could we encourage more women to get involved in the TTRPG space?
I think having more women GMs is the key part since they’re really the organisers of groups and set the standard of the culture at the table. Having visible, female role models would certainly help, women like Aabriya Iengar and Deborah Ann Woll streaming games, as well as the myriad of women content creators online goes a long way in proving that women can take the leadership role at the table and in the community. Also certainly wouldn’t hurt to have more women in key creative positions at the big RPG companies like Wizards of the Coast.
How has representation changed in the D&D community since you first started playing?
I think the conversation about things like racism, ableism, sexism have become much more prominent, especially in the way they’ve been coded into the game (whether consciously or unconsciously). It has been fantastic to see fans and content creators making their own supplemental rules that help to circumvent things like this – stuff like the combat wheelchair is a prime example of aiding representation and inclusion in the space, and it seems to be a continuing trend which is fantastic.
Though it does have to be said that most of these are borne from the community – while Wizards of the Coast has made some strides in LGBTQ+ rep in their books and downplaying some of the racist aspects that were grandfathered into the rules, they’ve never really initiated a big change that would encourage good representation.
Tell us how you first got into writing for TTRPGs.
When I started playing D&D, my friends and I were too broke to afford actual rulesets and monster books, so we ended up homebrewing all our own classes and monsters which is really what got me into enjoying the design aspect of TTRPGs. I kept doing it, and eventually started running a seafaring campaign and didn’t find any good naval combat rules in the books so I made my own and it ended up escalating into a full book (the fact I hated my real job at the time and needed a distraction was also a big factor haha). Then when that book ended up actually selling pretty well, I just ended up turning all my other random bits of homebrew into content and I’ve been going like that ever since.
What was the inspiration behind your amazing Hamund's Harvesting Handbook series?
Oh thanks for calling it amazing! Really it was just the fact that my players (like many others out there) kept trying to harvest the creatures they killed and I kept coming up short when it came to cool loot to give them. I was also playing a lot of video game RPGs like the Witcher and Xenoblade Chronicles where taking apart the monsters you kill for parts is very standard, so I wanted to see if I could bring the same experience to D&D. Pretty much everything I make starts as something that I want to bring into my own games, and then I end up sending them out to the world and hoping they like it.
Do you have any advice you would offer to aspiring TTRPG writers out there?
Find the gaps in the market and see if you can fill them, or look for what you think is weak in the published rules and see if you can improve them. It’s worked out for me pretty well 🙂
Also, read a lot of published works. Like any writing, it really helps to see what others have done and learn either from their success or their mistake. I’ve read the PHB, DMG, and monster books dozens of times each in the time I made my books, as well as the rules of other games and taken inspiration from all of them.
Thank you so much to Jasmine for speaking to us about her work and experiences in the TTRPG space! Make sure you’re following Jasmine to keep up to date with all her new projects, especially the Herbalism Guide for D&D 5e that’s on its way!
Jasmine smiles, taking a selfie. She has long black hair and is wearing a long sleeved, dark blue top. Jasmine is sitting in a room with white walls, with a sofa and leafy house plants that can be seen behind her.