Into the Mother Lands is getting a lot of Press! Check out some of our coverage
Mother Lands is a tabletop role-playing game free of slavery and colonialism – Polygon
An Afrofuturist game inspired by Black Panther and Star Trek
Tanya DePass, founder and director of I Need Diverse Games, a not-for-profit advocacy organization, has brought together a talented group of creatives to launch a new tabletop role-playing game. Mother Lands posits a world far from our Earth that has never known slavery or colonialism. What began as an actual play series on Twitch and YouTube has spawned a new crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. The ultimate goal is to produce Into The Mother Lands, a sourcebook that will explain the setting and define the game’s rules.
Polygon sat down with DePass, the creator of the new setting, and lead designer B. Dave Walters to learn more. They explained that the germ of the idea originated in the historical record.
“We went back to the African Emperor Mansa Musa,” Walters said, referring to the leader of the Mali Empire, an Islamic West African state which Musa I ruled during the 14th century. “He was arguably the wealthiest man in history, who really existed and who sent a fleet to the New World. […] For our story, this fleet departed and, through a mechanism that is yet to be revealed within the narrative, were transported to another planet.”
Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/goldiechan/2021/07/12/how-afrofuturism-can-help-us-tell-better-stories/
What is Afrofuturism?
This term has been appearing more and more in various academic and creative circles, often without being clearly defined or defined by non-Black academics. I sat down with the diverse creative team behind the wildly popular Into The Mother Lands TTRPG (tabletop RPG) show to have a lively discussion on the history, definition and future of Afrofuturism.
1) What is Into the Mother Lands?
“It’s a team of all-star game designers launched and funded a $360,000 Kickstarter campaign for the tabletop role-playing setting Into the Mother Lands, an all – person of color – created sci-fi universe of exploration, removed from imperialist and colonialist narratives. Into the Mother Lands tells the story of a lost expedition, sent to find a “new world” that never materialized. Centuries later, these explorers live on an adopted homeworld called Musalia.” – B. Dave Walters, Lead Developer.
Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/robwieland/2021/06/15/an-exclusive-interview-with-the-creators-of-into-the-mother-lands/?sh=194cea6d4ff6
The current popularity of Dungeons & Dragons is thanks, in part, to the rise of steaming shows. These shows allow people who have never picked up a strange die see how the games work and understand the connections that players get with their characters. While D&D shows are the most popular and widespread, there are several streaming shows on the rise that expand the horizon beyond fantasy stories and the Fifth Edition system.
One of the most notable is Into The Mother Lands. This show, created by several BIPOC creators, has done a lot to show that role-playing games are for everyone. Not only does it feature a diverse cast, it features a sci-fi setting that offers an afrofuturist look at a world where humans and aliens have come together.
D&D Renaissance Could Usher in More Accessibility, Inclusivity in TTRPG Fandom – Teen Vogue
Reckoning directly with tabletop RPGs’ history of racist settings is Into the Motherlands, an RPG created by I Need Diverse Games founder and director Tanya DePass and led by devs, cast, and crew of color. In an interview with Polygon’s Charlie Hall, DePass and lead designer B. Dave Walters talked about the diversity designed into their worldbuilding. Walters noted, “Black excellence was a foundational idea, so we came up with a premise that would allow lots of different kinds of people of color to have a place where they flourish and are at the center stage rather than being in addition to, or as a ‘noble savage’ or something that was bolted on to the side [of a Euro-centric universe].”
Into the Mother Lands brings us back to space with a new hero on board
The spaceship hurtling away from the Haathorei moon is staffed with Torch’s newest recruits. What was meant to be a simple mission of investigating the reason behind a planet’s water shortage turned into a grisly battle with cephalopod monstrosities. Only later, standing around the operating table, staring at one of its severed tentacles, does horror find the recruits.
The danger never left them.
A botched roll of the dice has a scalpel slicing an organ, dozens of tiny eyes with sets of teeth bursting out. It’s a scene that sent chills and panic to all, the chaos reminiscent to the scarab swarm from the Mummy (1999) and Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979).
Into the Mother Lands is a wondrous and nail biting sci-fi odyssey that left us on a cliffhanger in its first season.
Making its debut in 2020, this Twitch-sponsored roleplaying game left both audiences and cast members floating in space, exploring the planet Vutoa (also known as Musalia) and the stories surrounding it. Based on the Cortex system, its mechanics favor creating an engaging story and character drama.
This show reimagines new worlds, cultures, and cities untouched by colonialism. This innovative show, created by all PoC development team, features diverse cultural representation within the game and provides a non-Eurocentric premise. Already it is inspiring in-depth discussion of “what politics, culture, and law might look like in such a world” and what can be learned from collaborative shows like Into the Mother Lands.
This new and growing show focuses on the story of Torch’s — a peacekeeping organization — newest recruits. Starting off as strangers, we watched our four heroes grow together in the first season. From space sleepovers to stomping at the creepy-crawlies together, we’ve become invested in their individual and collective journeys across the universe.
What has become a trademark of Into the Mother Lands early on is the authentic roleplaying by its cast. The beauty of Storyteller Eugenio Vargas’ descriptions, the powerful chemistry between the cast, and those moments where the story peeks into the backstory of a character and hauntingly ties it to the present will hold you captive. This is a story you cannot turn away from or forget.
Now they must come together again for their next mission and meet their newest team member: a Hyaenole Fixer named Koseh played by Aabria Iyengar.
As a Fixer, Koseh’s engineering skills will become instrumental in the challenges ahead. Her introduction to the group left us with a mixture of tense moments and a good deal of chuckles. Her gleeful bluntness and endearing mannerisms equally riled up and impressed the crew. While there is still so much to learn about our new hero, Aabria’s performance and ferret bot TeeWee quickly won the hearts of the audience.
This new season promises us more of Koseh, new group dynamics, how the rest of the cast has fared in the aftermath of their last mission, and more of the game’s universe. While first season’s cephalopod foe has vanished (for now), trouble still lurks in the void. As our heroes end the second season’s premiere heading off on a rescue mission, we can only wonder what will greet them.
Into the Mother Lands invites players and audience members to another exciting season in the cosmos. For the next couple of months, Mother Lands’ vast, imaginative universe will become our new home in the stars.
The Cocked Die – Tanya DePass & Mother Lands Returns! (audio podcast)
Tanya DePass is a streamer, a TTRPG creative, the founder of I need Diverse Games, and an all-around swell person. You’ve seen her on Rivals of Waterdeep, The Black Dice Society, Into the Motherlands, Jasper’s Game Week, Worldbuilders, and so many more. She’s a force for good in our community and I’m so glad she stopped by again to chat S2 of Into the Motherlands and a few other topics I won’t spoil.
ComicBookResource.com – Cortex Prime: Everything You Need to Know about the New RPG System
Created by Cam Banks and published by Fandom, Cortex Prime offers a the tools fans need to bring the world of their dreams to life. When a mechanic works on an engine, they use tools that work on that engine, but works for one engine doesn’t necessarily work for them all. That’s why mechanics have lots of tools, so they can work on every engine that enters their shop. Cam Banks’ and Fandom’s newest iteration of the Cortex system, Cortex Prime takes that best-fit tool approach and applies it to role-playing games. The new core rulebook, a “multigenre, modular, roleplaying toolkit” is out now, and expectations are high. Read more at CBR.com
Venture Beat – Into the Mother Lands interview: Twitch invests in an RPG show led by people of color
Critical Role has played an important roll in the rise of actual play RPG livestreams and podcasts, turning these from a niche to a major player in the streaming ecosystem. According to measurement firm StreamElements, viewers watched an aggregated 19.5 million hours of such shows on Twitch an YouTube, a 1,142% increase over 2018. 2020’s numbers are likely higher.
And one of the best of these actual play shows is Rivals of Waterdeep, a Wizards of the Coast-backed project. It started in 2018 in conjunction with Dungeons & Dragons‘ Waterdeep: Dragon Heist storyline. It’s now in its 8th season, and the project features some of what I consider the deepest role-playing you can find in any D&D show.
Tanya DePass is one of the Rivals‘ players. And she’s teaming up with B. Dave Walters, whose credits include the transmedia Electropunk project, A Darkened Wish (an actual play show with a comic book series from IDW Publishing), the documentary project Dear America, from a Black Guy (which seeks to talk about the Black experience in the U.S., racism, and the need to listen and treat each other with respect), andvarious other video and gaming projects. They’re teaming up for a unique RPG project: Into the Mother Lands, which launched with an actual play broadcast on Sunday. It airs at 4 p.m. Pacific on Sundays on Twitch.
Into the Mother Lands is landmark for several reasons. First, it’s a Twitch-sponsored project, showing that livestreaming companies realize that they need to invest in the content creators that grew their platform. Twitch also left all the decisions to DePass, giving her and her team full control over the project. They’re making a tabletop RPG for this as well, using the Cortex Prime system.
Nerdist – A New Twitch Series will Take You Into the Mother Lands by Kelly Knox
Into the Mother Lands is a brand-new role-playing game coming to Twitch on October 4! Sponsored by Twitch and run on the Cortex RPG system, the unique actual play series promises to be an aspirational science fiction story set on a compelling new world.
Into the Mother Lands/Cast: Eugenio Vargas, Krystina Arielle, Deejay Knight, Tanya DePass, and Michael Sinclair II
Into the Mother Lands is the brainchild of Creative Director Tanya DePass, who not only conceived the sci-fi concept for the show, but also put together an all-star team both in front of and behind the camera to tell the story. DePass and Lead Developer B. Dave Walters chatted with Nerdist about what we can expect from the upcoming RPG and why they hope it will inspire more players to join their world.
Read more at the Nerdist.com
Tabletop Babble #196- Part of the Don’t Split the Podcast Network ~ Into the Mother Lands – James Introcaso
Comic Book Resource – Into the Mother Lands: A Sci-Fi RPG Odyssey from an All-Black & POC Team, Explained E.L Meszaros
The new RPG stream Into the Mother Lands just announced its release this October. This Twitch-funded project looks like a great addition to the wealth of actual-play shows, but much about Into the Mother Lands sets it apart from other representatives of the genre.
Throughout its 12-week run, Into the Mother Lands will tell a sci-fi odyssey using a brand new game based on the Cortex system. Cast members are adventurers who have been making their home on an adopted world after a mysterious ancestor’s misguided travels stranded them there generations in the past. The game promises unique, new cultures, enemy plots and loads of adventure, all brought to life in a new system.
Read more on CBR.com
Dicebreaker.com – Twitch-funded and POC-created tabletop RPG Into the Mother Lands is launching next month by Alex Meehan
Into the Mother Lands, an upcoming tabletop RPG made by POC creators, is being funded by and launched as an actual play series on livestreaming platform Twitch next month.
A “sci-fi odyssey”, Into the Mother Lands sees players landing on the planet of Musalia 1,500 years after the Emperor Musa discovered the world on a strange detour to the Americas. The tabletop RPG enables players to become one of the descendents of the Emperor himself, or otherwise choose from one of the cultures occupying Musalia – including those that have evolved as a result of human and alien interaction.
Read more on Dicebreaker