So, as many of you know, I recently added gaming information to my blog. This spans anything from video games to TTRPGs and even board games. I’m not picky I will play anything at least once. So starting this off, I reached out to some friends and acquaintances who work as streamers or in video creation. I got a few answers and have started interviews. Though after some consideration I decided to begin with my friend, Brogan, commonly known as NoNat1s on YouTube, who happily agreed to take part. We met a while back when he was still streaming on caffeine.tv. We got together on Discord, caught up a bit, and I asked him a few questions.
We covered a few different topics, including how his career is going, what his favorite TTRPG is, discussed things for the memes, and whether he’s ever cast magic missile in to the darkness or not. All very serious and life-changing questions, I assure you. I have transcribed our interview below, our names and laughing have been made bold to make it easier for you to tell the difference between speech and sound I hope you will all enjoy it!
Tawny: Alrighty so, Brogan also known as NoNat1s, the artist formerly known as Gameboyer721.
Tawny: We have some questions that I’ve come up with as well as a few from your Twitter friends.
Brogan: Looking forward to them.
Tawny: Yes. Most of them are probably things you’ve been asked before and will be asked a million times because of your chosen career path.
Brogan: It comes with the job. Laughs
Tawny: So the first one is: What made you want to get in to the whole video making thing?
Brogan: Oh, so that takes me all the back to high school, where probably fourteen for fifteen years old, little Brogan was just discovering YouTube. Laughs And then shortly after discovering YouTube discovered exactly what a Lets Play was and decided, ‘I like my voice, I like video games I want to make these!’ And so I had my parents get me like a $20 microphone like a $75 capture card I plugged in my Nintendo Wii and I made the cringiest most awful video game gameplays.
Tawny: I have seen some of these videos!
Brogan: That’s true, I forget you have! Unfortunately, and I’m sad, the ones from like fifteen – sixteen years old are lost to time, I wish I had access to those videos. But after that I did that off and on for a while. Never really giving it a whole lot of effort, a whole lot of time. And then after college I got in to live streaming which you know, sort of felt like video creation, but with instant gratification, cause you said something funny and someone laughed right then and there.
Brogan: So I did that for about a year or two and after that I had started to realize while I liked the instant gratification, I didn’t have the fortitude and stamina it took to stream full time. You know 30 – 40 hours a week at 100% in personality going gusto and bravado. It gets incredibly mentally exhausting. And also at the same time – Sorry if I am rambling more beyond the initial questions.Feel free to stop me.
Tawny: No, go for it, go for it, This is good.
Brogan: Laughs Near that time I had just been getting in to a sort of resurgence in to table top role playing. Which was something I’ve been doing for about 7 years now but the most so in the last 2 or 3 years I’d say. And in that resurgence I had just gotten into the new system, the new kid of the block, Pathfinder 2nd Edition. And I noticed there’s not much on YouTube when it comes to Pathfinder.
So with me sort of seeing the end of my streaming career coming over the horizon, I decided to get back in to video editing. And a lot of what I learned from streaming and even some of what I learned from when I did make cringy YouTube videos sort of helped me get a jump start on this 3rd content creation endeavor. You know, I knew the basic of video editing, the basics of marketing and the basics of branding and with all those basics sort of in hand I was able to get off to a very lucky and strong start to my channel. And that’s where I am now, six months in.
Tawny: Hm, good, so you’re doing good with that.
Brogan: It’s going better than I ever imagined.
Tawny: Good. So what is it about table top role playing games that pulls you in and makes you want to create about them?
Brogan: I think it’s just the sheer customization of the hobby. You know I love video games and the more unique I can make myself in a video game, typically the more I enjoy that video game. For example: some role playing games let you choose your class. Something as simple as World of Warcraft you get to pick your class and then in there pick a subclass of your class and just you know, the more you get to make yourself different from everyone else the more fun it ended up being for me. And once I discovered table top role playing games, where you can just make anything you want and there are no actual limits unless you play strictly by the rules. Even then there is so many more limits than any video game out there. And I love pushing those limits, I love stretching it to just the brink of imagination and usually I end up GMing games because I like being able to make dozens of different characters and encounters and worlds and cities and stuff and its just something that’s been a passion of mine ever since I got in to the hobby.
Tawny: Good, good, good. Alright, next one! I know the answer to this because I remember when it happened.
Tawny: How do you feel about Paizo acknowledging you?
Brogan: Alright, so the first time it happened. Laughs I was like a giddy kid on Christmas. Cause I didn’t expect it. I don’t even remember- I think I just posted on Twitter I’m covering @paizo’s Pathfinder 2E character creation. And this was like a week after starting my channel, I think maybe two weeks. Paizo liked and retweeted my video on Twitter, and I was blown out of the water! Cause to me at that point, I had never talked to Paizo, I had never interacted with Paizo and so them sort of taking the first step to interact with me was both breathtaking and honoring and also just sort of made me realize just how cool of a company Paizo is.
Watching them now, I’m not on like first name basis with Piazo or whatever, but I follow them, they follow me, and I get to see they are so good about community interaction.
Alot of people have issues with Wizards of the Coast and D&D right now. Cause a lot of what they interact with right now is very star power driven. You know they interact with their Critical Role actors; they interact with big names that play D&D, Terry Crews, and what have you but Paizo really, really exemplifies that community aspect. You know I’ve seen a channel with like 75 subscribers – 100 subscribers, post a video and Paizo liked it and retweeted it. They are so cool, they interact, they talk, You know they will comment on twitter posts and the community interaction is just so powerful and makes the Pathfinder feel that much more tight-knit which is absolutely a draw for me.
Tawny: Good, alright. Do you have a favorite character concept?
Brogan: So favorite character concept. My favorite class has always been the Wizard, just because you can do so many different things. I’d say my favorite concept changes from day to day. It’s probably whatever I thought up the most recently cause I have character ADD. So I’ll be playing my one character and I love him and he’s so cool and I have these ideas. But that character concept’s cool, and then I start thinking about that other character concept. You know that meme with the guy and the girlfriend, but he’s looking over his shoulder at the other girl?
Brogan: That’s me with every D&D and Pathfinder character I ever make and think of.
Brogan: Laughs But my favorite right now and just for the memes in pathfinder you can make a level one wizard with a great axe who can magically propel the great axe up the 500 feet away. And hit 56 damage at level 1. Which is a lot.
Tawny: Yeah, yeah thats alot!
Brogan: I just like that one because he’s so kooky. Doesn’t do well as you level up, but at level one man, he’s fun!
Tawny: So do you think your background in theater affects the way approach your videos?
Brogan: 100%. Everythings a performance and I mean everything is a performance. Even to some extent, you know, this interview of sorts, you know it is a performance. I’m still me but I’m a very articulate well pronounced me, I don’t want to slur any words. I don’t want to sound too lazy and everything even as far as a Twitter post is a performance in some light.
Now I’m not playing a totally different character, but I’m playing an exaggerated version of myself that represents the brand. You know in my videos I try to always give off this nice upbeat energy that makes people excited to learn RPGs, excited to hear and just talk about RPGs. Cause that’s the kind of excitement I feel when I get to play and talk about it with other people. So that’s really what I want to portray with my entire brand: is that RPGs are for fun, we love them and we just get really excited about them.
And so my training in theater has absolutely helped with that. As long as the film is rolling and I’m live or whatever, I have no trouble keeping that energy going. Sure, the second I turn the camera off, there are days I just ‘blah’ I collapse in to the chair afterwards, and grumble to myself because I’m in a bad mood. Laughs But what’s great about this is when the films rolling I don’t think about my bad mood, I don’t think about anything. So some days I do find it hard to hit the record button but once I’ve hit it everything else goes away! Until I’m done recording. And it’s just an amazing feeling that I wish I could convince my lazy bad mood self that ‘if you just hit the button! Just the button, start recording and you’ll feel better!’ But no, it’s absolutely a performance and both my high school and college and after college training and experience in theater helps me out every single day in this career.
Tawny: That’s good, good. So sometimes in your videos you can be a little opinionated about what you like.
Brogan: A little bit, a little bit, a lot a bit, a little bit.
Tawny: How do you manage to not just spew out everything you want to say about a subject?
Brogan: So there’s a balance when it comes to video making- I mean my main goal is to make enjoyable content and I know people love a good opinion, especially if its controversial. Laughs
Tawny: This is true.
Brogan: And I’m also never, you know this, I’ve never been afraid to say what’s on my mind, say what I mean and what I think. There are times I get carried away, there are times I get a little bit to negative or harsh on an aspects of a game. But I do think people find opinions interesting because opinions spark conversation. Now a lot of times opinions spark argument, but I like to think it spawns conversation. You know if everyone’s being civil about it. Because if we all thought the same way about the same thing. You know it’d be boring, there’d be nothing to talk about. So I like to share my opinions in my videos, even those times when it just leaks out a little bit because it always sparks a comment and I’ve seen comment chains get 6 – 7 comments deep, just people talking their opinion.
You know ‘I can’t believe you don’t like this class! Their so powerful!’ ‘Uh actually I kind of agree with him, I don’t think they have enough tools’ and then they go on and on back and forth talking about their opinions on these mechanics or this class and its just awesome to see that my videos can spark conversation like that.
I feel like if I just went through the motions and basically read the book as it is, it wouldn’t be nearly as engaging, it wouldn’t- it would feel like a classroom. Which I don’t want it to. I don’t want people to feel like I’m reading the book to them. I want them to feel like I’m reading the book with them. You know, I read through; I give my thoughts and opinions. ‘Oh, that’s kinda strong’ ‘Oh that’s a little under powered’ and then they can respond to that in the comments and when I have time, I love to respond to them right back. It’s one of my favorite parts of doing this, just the community interaction. It’s awesome.
Tawny: Yeah, I have noticed with other interviews I have been doing, that everybody, no matter what their creative outlet seems to be, is that communication with their fanbase is a major priority.
Brogan: Well, it’s important because without our fanbase we’re nothing. You know, without an audience, a TV show is just a picture on a box. It’s the audience that gives it life that gives it meaning and you know it’s still fun to make videos, it’s still fun to upload them. But once you’ve made the video, if no one’s watching it just kind of sits there. And so that connection with our community is so important because I want to make sure, at least for me personally, I want to make sure they are happy; I want to make sure they are enjoying the content; I want to keep them up to date with every little thing. If a video is going to be one day late, I almost always make sure to post in Discord or on my YouTube messages and say ‘Hey guys, the videos going to be a little late, I just want to keep you in the loop’.
And I think some people undervalue that. I think some people under value commitment to your community. Some people only interacted with like their paid viewers, and patrons and stuff. And that’s one way to do it. You know it makes it more of a VIP treatment, but your general audience is just as important in a lot of ways. Like sure the patrons, they help pay your bills; they help you support yourself, but you wouldn’t have those patrons without having a general audience first. It’s super cliche but ‘I’m nothing without my audience!’ as you know it’s kinda true.
Tawny: Yep! Yeah! Alright, so. Another question. What is one thing you would suggest to new players?
Brogan: Don’t think too hard. Just roll with it. If you have a question, go ahead and ask, but don’t get caught up on the rules. No matter what system you’re playing, don’t think of it like a board game. You know if your playing Monopoly you need to follow the rules. But playing Dungeons and Dragons, or any table top role playing game for that matter, just do something. There are ways to make it work. I can’t remember what my video was or what I was talking about when I thought of it but I believe it’s ‘in Monopoly the rules determine what you do, in table top role playing, you determine what the rules do’. Sort of, I don’t think that’s an exact quote, but it’s something along those lines. The rules adapt to your choices, whereas in a lot of board games you have to adapt to the rules. So don’t be afraid to get creative, think outside the box and just get outside your comfort zone when it comes to RPGS everyone’s first game is going to be awkward, and slow, and there’s going to be questions, but just focus on the story and not the rules and your going to have a great freaking time.
Tawny: I remember my first TTRPG experience was a game called The Dead. It was basically zombie apocalypse using the D20 system; I think. And I was so confused, I was going between like three books. Sigh
Brogan: Oh my word. Yeah, ideally at your first game you shouldn’t be using more than one rule book. Like maybe the DM will have like a game master’s guide or something. But hopefully if you’re playing 5E you should only need the players handbook 2E you should only need the core rulebook.
I remember my first game, honestly I don’t even know if we played it right. It was so long ago. It was senior year of high school I played a game of D&D, I don’t know what edition it was, or anything, I didn’t even know there were different editions at that point. I was so not in the hobby. But I know we sat down, we made characters, and we played for like two hours and I just remember having a miserable time. Like I don’t think the DM knew what he was doing, but none of us knew he didn’t know what he was doing so it was just this kind of awkward, slow mess of the DM saying ‘okay you do this now roll that dice’. ‘Ok, ok now you do this’. Laughs But luckily a few years later when I got to try it again I really got into a good group with my college friends and they really opened my eyes to what exactly you can do with table top role playing.
Tawny: Okay good, good. On to your Twitter fans or friends, whatever they may be.
Katherine Rothwell wrote; What got in him to Pathfinder 2E, curious about this since his most recent video, said he only started playing it nine months ago and he never played 1E.
Brogan: So you know I saw this comment on Twitter and even since that point I’m like ‘what did get me in to 2E?’ I’ve been really struggling to remember. My memory is not one of my strongest aspects. But I know I watched Taking20s D&D 5E vs Pathfinder 2E video. And honestly, I don’t think I could tell you the exact moment I was like ‘I wanna play Pathfinder 2E!’ I know at some point I downloaded the core rulebook as a PDF and just started checking it out and I was instantly hooked. The second I looked at the classes and all of the crazy customization and feat choices and everything you could do. I was hooked.
From that point I was just all Pathfinder all the time, it’s all I wanted to do, and then my friend started a D&D 3.5 campaign. Laughs
Brogan: Which we’re still playing today. Its been a ton of fun, but man, I can not play enough Pathfinder 2E. I do think I need to take a step back honestly with how much I’ve been looking at the rules. I need to play something simple again just so I can appreciate the rules again. I’ve been so rules heavy lately I need to take some time to property rules lite and then I can go back. That was near the end of December when I first got in to Pathfinder 2E, about six months after the release of the system.
Tawny: Alright so lets see, Luis Loza wants to know, Why does he gatta hate on the fighter so much?
Brogan: Laughs Luis, the fighter is too strong! So again, most of my hate is for the memes and for funning. Fighters are really good at their one thing, fighting. But my main issue with fighters is – For those of you who don’t play Pathfinder, or are unaware, everybody starts with trained proficiency with their weapons. Which basically equates to a +2 to hit. Fighters are the only class in the game that start at expert and that equates to a +4 to hit. So fighters naturally have a +2 over every single other class in the game, on any attack roll they make.
Now in something like D&D 5E, this would be way less of a problem. You know, they just might hit more often. The reason the fighter is so powerful in PathFinder 2E is due to the +10 -10 critical hit system. If you beat a target’s armor class by 10 or more, it’s’ a critical hit. What this means is, if you’re like me, cause I’m playing a fighter right now, and you make your build very carefully, you can get a +16 to attack at level 5 and then roll like a 13 on the dice and get a critical hit!
It’s ridicules! Like sure, they don’t have the bonus damage ranger or rogues have, and they don’t have the magic of spell casters, but the frequency of their critical hits is absolutely ridiculous. On top of that, the game is balanced that attacking multiple times in a turn should make you drastically less accurate, at -5 at your second attack. But just because of your accuracy bonus of + 2 over everyone else, even that is less of an issue. More often than not with my fighter if I attack, twice in one turn, at level 5, I usually hit twice.
And Luis, those are my main grips, people bring up the fact that that ‘oh the fighter he’s just not good at role playing, they don’t get as many skills’ and I’m like sure, but you can still be good at role playing as a fighter. Just pick your skills more. Or just use your skills more. Laughs. I don’t know, they say the fighters not versatile but I heavily disagree.
Tawny: I’d probably end of role playing a fighter like Fighter from 8-Bit Theater “I like swords.” Laughs
Brogan: I like swords. Laughs Mountain Dew!
Tawny: Henry Prince writes: Exactly what made him realize that Pathfinder 2 was the better game when all the masses flocked to D&D 5th edition?
Brogan: The answer to that is nothing! Because I do believe 2E is better than 5E.
Brogan: I also don’t think 5E is better than 2E. I think they’re very different games. I believe this is like comparing Skyrim to World of Warcraft. You know, they’re different experiences, their different rule sets. And sure they’re very similar, they both have fighters, they both have rangers, but the way that these classes are portrayed the way to customize them, the combat system, everything about the systems is so different that they’re going to appeal to different people.
Some people might like the sort of slightly slower paced game play of World of Warcraft, compared to the first person hack and slash of Skyrim, but that doesn’t mean World of Warcraft is better than Skyrim. I’ll always say this, the TTRPG genre hobby as a whole is 100% opinion based. So if someone likes heavy customizations, rules for everything and really heavy duty mechanical syetesm, they’re going to love Pathfinder 2E.
If they want it to be simple, tell their story and play their character without thinking too hard about their choices at level up and everything, 5E is a fantasises system for that! You know usually unless you’re a spell caster getting new spells in 5E when you level up, you might get two or three choices. Whereas in Pathfinder you get probably 10 to 20 choices depending on the level up. So it’s all personal preferences. I guess if I had to vote I would say that I like 2E more than 5E, but I do not think it is a better system.
Tawny: That is a fair and political answer. Laughs.
Tawny: I have one more question for you, and this is a very serious question that your older goofball fans would lecture me if I did not ask you.
Brogan: Uh oh…
Tawny: Have you ever cast magic missile in to the darkness?
Brogan: I have never cast magic missile in to the darkness, unfortunately. I’ve cast magic missile with an enemy against a player, but I have never – I mean I’m a forever GM, I never get to play. So I’ve never cast magic missile as a player. The one time I played a wizard he specialized in summoning animated brooms that attacked people and he didn’t have magic missile in his spell list, so unfortunately no I have never cast magic missile in to the darkness in my entire life.
Tawny: Animated brooms?
Brogan: Yeah it’s called, summon construct, it’s a 2nd level spell – oh no I think it’s a 1st level spell in Pathfinder and you can summon a level zero construct and one of the options is an animated broom and it just sweeps over to people and smacks em with the handle. It’s great. You can throw dust in their eyes. Laughs
Tawny: So I’m just like imagining Disney’s Fantasia, Mickey Mouse just went insane with the mops.
Brogan: Exactly! The big difference is that I also had the level two spell final sacrifice, which destroys anything you’ve summoned in a giant fireball. So in that same campaign I swept my brooms over in between four enemies and he detonated like a bomb! I don’t think that happened in Fantasia.
Tawny: Laughs I don’t remember that part, so you are probably right! Kamikaze brooms.
Tawny: How do you feel about how much people seem to enjoy watching you stream on YouTube when you know you used to do it all the time?
Brogan: It’s fascinating, honestly, and I haven’t decided how I want to go with it. I’ve gotten a lot of people who want me to stream, you know, Baldur’s Gate 3, Divinity Original Sin, Pathfinder Kingmaker. And part of me is like ‘yeah that would be fun it would be nice easy simple to do’, but another part of me doesn’t want to rely on that kind of content. Because part of what happened near the end of streaming was, I got very complacent. I got kind of bored honestly, and part of the problem was that streaming started to kill my love of video games. Luckily it came back, so it didn’t die forever, but the only time I was playing video games was for my job. You know 20 – 30 hours a week. And video games were no longer a relaxing time for me.
Tawny: I remember you bringing up how hard it was getting to maintain it simply for the numbers.
Brogan: That’s the hard part, once you – cause without spilling legal details, I was under contract, and I had to hit certain metrics. And once playing a fun video game becomes how do I get enough people to watch this, it becomes far less fun. Were its different making my TTRPG content is I’m not playing the game in my videos you know, I’m teaching people how to play. I’m talking about the systems and its mechanics and so that is much easier to think of in a healthy mindset as a job. You know I’m basically setting up a lecture for a class, that I’m hoping – I know earlier I said I don’t want it to feel like a classroom! But I want it to be an entertaining, informative video. And so it feels much better and more rewarding and just healthier for my brain when I take time to think of a video, I record it; I edit it; I upload it, and then I see how it does.
If it does poorly, at least it’s already done. The hardest part with streaming is if you’re two hours in to a stream with two hours left to go and nobody has stopped by it is so taxing on your mental health when you think ‘oh my word, I‘m ganna get fired because nobody wants to watch me’. And then you stop being as positive in the stream, your overall quality goes down and it’s just a spiral downward. It’s rough. So respect the streamers out there who can that day to day. Like I could do it for a year and a half, but after that. I lost it, I couldn’t go anymore, I’m much more in to video creation at the moment.
Tawny: You mentioned once when we were talking that you sometimes thought about creating a TTRPG of your own. Is that something you’d ever like to seriously do?
Brogan: I don’t know. I’ve always had issues, ever since i was little, where I had tons of really awesome floating ideas. But I struggle to make them concrete and cohesive, which is why I love TTRPGs you know the concrete stuff is already there. I almost always place my games in pre-existing worlds, and then I can just take my random floaty ideas and Clicks tongue stick them in the world. I struggle to come up with a unique world with unique rules and I fear- I haven’t tried it so I don’t have proof yet, but I fear that’s the same thing would happen with a TTRPG system.
I would have all these cool ideas, like I was talking to you about the ability for players to switch classes at will while rewarding them for sticking with the same class. And I think it’s a cool idea, I have no idea how I cement that together, balance it, make it work, how I would make enemies function, and just everything else about the system, which is probably why TTRPG creation is not usually a one-man job. It’s tough and I don’t know if I would have the focus, the energy, the time, or the money to make it happen anytime soon. Right now it’s really just, I spend probably about six- seven hours a day working on YouTube a day a week, not more. I really don’t have time for much else.
Tawny: It does sound like takes up a lot of time.
Brogan: It does, but it’s freaking worth it.
Tawny: That’s good then if you enjoy it! That’s what you need to go for!
Brogan: Here here!