Your Rivers Are Wrong
By YRAW Podcast
"The possibilities are truly infinite within the worlds built by one's imagination. Two very easily distracted people ponder on the impact and art form of worldbuilding in every medium of creativity, from TV to tabletop games. From New York to the Netherlands, every week we a new topic to the transatlantic table, and afterwards round out the episode with an improvised worldbuilding prompt."
- Merle merlefindhammer.com
- Dante youtube.com/@WintryRPG
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Rivers Are WrongOct 31, 2023
#70 - Fan Prompts! The Monsters Next Door!
Happy Halloween! We close out Season 6 with a fan-powered prompts episode, tackling the many monsters you all have concocted. Have a wonderful holiday and rest of the year, we will see you again in 2024!
#69 - Worldbuilding from Past to Present! ft. An Altogether Different River
[Audio fixed!] How do you add depth to a setting? You can outline its culture, its economy, its neighbors...but what about its timeline? Today we use the TTRPG "An Altogether Different River" by Aaron Lim to piece together a setting of our own, and act out the lives of two of its denizens.
Prompt: Play as two characters within your setting!
#68 - Vessels, Vehicles, & The 30-Year Wish
What is the purpose of a vehicle in a story, or lack thereof? We discuss the surprising gravity of mobility, its link to authority and autonomy, and how to best make use of one in your own writings. We're close to the end, so stick around!
Prompt: A genie's plan to escape its lamp.
#67 - Robots, & Baby Robo's New Gig
Hello, fellow humans! Today we talk robots - how to define them, the potential of their character arcs, and why they are keystone entities in every setting they exist in. This episode gets more and more chaotic as time passes, so stay til the end!
Prompt: The first day of a robot's new job!
#66 - Breadcrumbs, & The Culprit All Along!
Gasp! A old janitor was the mastermind the whole time! Who could've guessed? Well, you did, probably, if you followed the breadcrumbs! Today we discuss the highlights and challenges of setting up meaningful clues, and what it takes to establish a meaningful mystery in an improvised setting.
Prompt: The villain is revealed!
#65 - Fan Prompts! Weather Babies and Slenderwolves
Back at it again with fan prompts, written by you! A handful of wacky ones as we do our best to not make all the prompts sky-themed. Join us for this episode of Your Rivers Are Wrong!
#64 - Wordless Characters, & Now He Speaks
Hello all, this is the sleepy after-vacation episode~ Both of us were super exhausted and decided to talk a little less today, and sticking to the theme, we're discussing silent, mute, and wordless characters! Are there any benefits to a character never speaking, and how do they communicate otherwise? Join us for another laidback episode of Your Rivers Are Wrong.
#63 - LIVE! Travel, & Two Samurai Train Riders
Reporting in from the Netherlands! Dante and Merle meet in-person for the second time ever to talk worldbuilding and storytelling face-to-face. Speaking of travel! Is the journey as important as the destination? How does the accessibility of travel affect the story's pace, and how is travel a measuring stick of power? All this and more in a very special episode of Your Rivers Are Wrong!
Prompt: Two people are alone in a train cart.
#62 - Movement, & The Sick Shredder
This is the episode we got wildly off-topic! A conversation about movement in media branches off to all sorts of motion in media, soliloquys about subtitles, and the art of implied movement. If you like ramblings tangents, you'll love this episode.
Prompt: Make up a story based on a guy famous for his one move!
#61 - Game Masters, & The Perfect Accounting TTRPG
We're back at it! The dynamic duo is reunited for the formal kickoff of Season 6! We talk shop about the art of game mastering, the importance of collaboration, the challenges of improvisation, and how to tie it all together.
Prompt: Pitch me your best campaign idea, using these three randomly generated words!
#60.5 - Folk Horror ft. Cassi Mothwin!
The first episode of season 6 kicks off with a special guest! We're joined by Cassi Mothwin, esteemed TTRPG author and designer of several award-winning games, and resident expert on the motifs of folk horror.
Check out her published work on her website! cassimothwin.com
Both Merle and I will be back to formally start the new season next week, so stay tuned!
Season 6's Exciting News!
We're back! As the summer cools down, we've got a couple of announcements for you.
- Our first episode drops August 15th, featuring an interview with TTRPG designer Cassi Mothwin! Episodes will be released weekly every Tuesday following.
- We've already got a handful of episodes recorded, including a special LIVE episode recorded in Europe! We meet in-person for the second time ever to talk about worldbuilding face-to-face.
- Our Fan Prompts episode is coming up soon, so submit your prompts for us to improvise to: email@example.com ! You can also tag us on Twitter! We are @YRAWPodcast there ^-^
See you all soon!
- merle & dante
#60 - Fan Prompts! Sword-Wielding Dinos & Dead Oceans!
It's the end of Season 5! Join us in celebrating the start to summer with one-sentence worldbuilding prompts written by you and improvised by us. The prompts just get crazier and crazier, so stick around until the end!
#59 - Let's Make a Flying City! (and film a chase scene)
Sometimes we leave the bloopers in. Chaos ensues on this episode of worldbuilding and storytelling, as we collaborate to create a flying city! Where, how, and why does it fly, and what worlds are explored as it journeys across the horizon? Enjoy our full meltdown on this almost-end to season 5 of Your Rivers Are Wrong!
Prompt: Make a chase scene in the city we just built!
#58 - Coming of Age, & The Scribe's Last Story
Adulting! We're all doing it...right? What does it mean to "come of age" in stories and in life? Join us on this very special episode where we talk about growing up in both life and literature, and why that process is different for every person.
Prompt: Make a coming-of-age story for the oldest character.
#57 - Session Zero, & The Worst D&D Game
The internet is full of nightmarish D&D games, terrible DMs and horror story situations. How can you make sure your games are a good fit for your time, energy and storytelling? Well, join us at the transatlantic table to talk about Session Zero, a game-before-the-game that effectively irons out or brings to light problems before you have to experience them. The tabletop RPG experience should always be a fun and welcoming time, and we impart the lessons we've learned after almost half a decade of storytelling.
Prompt: Play as yourself, joining a D&D table you know nothing about.
#56 - Comedy, Tragedy, and Teddy the Jokester
Polar opposites, or two sides of the same coin? Books, movies, plays and even actors often choose to prioritize one or the other, but must they exist separately? Or rather, *can* they ever be separated? We talk about personal writing challenges, the mediums within which both are best conveyed, and close on a heartwarming tale of a tragic comedian.
Prompt: Describe the funniest person with the saddest backstory.
#55 - Fan Prompts! Heavy Rain and Heroic Sandwiches
Every five episodes we tap into fan prompts! One-sentence worldbuilding foundations that blossom into beautiful (sometimes), chaotic (always) stories and setting, written by you!
#54 - Cliches, and The Most Generic Space Fantasy
Stop me if you've heard this before - cliches and stereotypes are often frowned on in modern media, but once upon a time every popular idea was seen in full for the first time. There's a reason cliches work, and we break down when you should use cliches in your own stories, and how the mastery of the storyteller comes into play.
Prompt: Describe the most generic space fantasy!
#53 - Foils, and the Two Villains, Maybe?
What's a foil? Originating from a proper metal that refracts light through a gemstone, it's taken on its own meaning in literature. We break down what foils are, how they've been utilized, and how to properly play as a foil when the situation calls for it. The prompt that follows is a strange sort of meltdown you'll have to listen to to understand, maybe? Tune in to this episode of Your Rivers Are Wrong!
#52 - Sudden Change, & The Star Who Found Himself
In stories, we speak of change as the driving force of a story. But what if it happens all at once? A drastic shift, a physical transformation, a world-altering moment, or simply a change of clothes - a lot can happen in the blink of an eye. How do stories utilize sudden change to bring color to a plot, and how do their characters respond? Find out on this episode of Your Rivers Are Wrong!
Prompt: A person is given the chance of a lifetime to change. What do they do with this opportunity?
#51 - Lasting Impact, & What The Adventurers Left Behind
We're back! Today we talk about what it means to leave behind an impact! From past to present change, how do we create a world that characters can interface with, and how do we add gravity to their changes? Join us as we kick off Season 5 of Your Rivers Are Wrong!
Prompt: The adventurers have come and gone. List three things that have changed about the village.
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#50 - Fan Prompts! It's All Connected!
This is the end of Season 4! We tie it all up with another episode of fan-submitted prompts, provided by you! Thanks so much for listening, we'll be back in April :D
#49 - Giants, and the Biggest Hero
A huge topic for our penultimate episode of Season 4 - we talk giants! Who they are, what they stand for, and how they impact your stories just by existing - a quintessential "monster" personified. Join us as we fee-fi-fumble through another topic and make for ourselves the hero nobody ever expects. Enjoy!
#48 - Building Upwards, and Villains on the Roof!
Warning: Light Snowpiercer spoilers! All sorts of worldbuilding in this episode, as we tackle the challenges of verticality! How does skyward structure change the landscape of a setting, the dynamics of a community, and the development of hierarchy? And stick around for life tips and unhinged prompt work towards the end, on this episode of Your Rivers Are Wrong.
Prompt: The villain's on the roof!
#47 - Sports, and The Girl Who Falls
We like sports and we don't care who knows! An unlikely topic for two worldbuilding nerds, but a welcome one. What stories do sports lend themselves towards, and why are they so popular? What is it about sports that naturally builds storylines, and brings out the best in each of the characters involved? We break it down here on Your Rivers Are Wrong.
Prompt: It's the first day of the sports fair, and our main character shows everyone what she can do.
#46 - Geniuses, & The Red-Handed Prodigy
The world conspires against us as fire and construction threaten our audio quality, but nonetheless! Another episode drops where Merle introduces the concept of geniuses and prodigies, and the role they play in their respective stories. What does it mean to be highly regarded, and how does one handle the burden of expectations?
Prompt: Describe the story of a once-genius.
#45 - Fan Prompts! Cheese Wizards and Vanishing Dragons
It's that time again! Bringing back the channel's favorite episode, we improvise the prompts you send in! Stick around as we build worlds and stories out of one-sentence ideas, provided by you. Enjoy!
#44 - The Chase, and Panic at the Plaza
Please listen to this episode, if only for the wild prompt at the end! Today we break down chase scenes, the rise and fall of tension, and how often having less details can amplify a scene. We talk TTRPG debacles, Nicholas Cage, and how drama is poignantly found in the second to moments. Enjoy!
Prompt: Paint a chase scene collaboratively.
#43 - Investment, and The Lovable NPC
Warning: This episode contain spoilers for a movie from 1987. If you would rather not hear about us rant about our newly found love of Inigo Montoya, please listen to a different episode. :P Join us as we discuss in our sleep-deprived delirium what it means to be invested in a character, how to consciously move a character forward, and why sometimes the side character is more lovable than the main ones.
#42 - Immersion, and The Unseen Monster
Today we learn how to utilize all five senses to tell a fully immersive story, and highlight what makes media like Arcane so satisfying from an artistic perspective. Roles are swapped today as we keep trying out new things for the new year!
Prompt: Describe a monster that cannot be perceived by the five senses.
#41 - Introductions, and The Disappointing Hero
We're back! You're back! Welcome back to season 4 of Your Rivers Are Wrong. With a new format and some holiday cheer, we kick off the new season talking about introductions! They're messy, awkward, and never done quite right, and that's what we love about them. Thankfully, in the worldbuilding and storytelling realm, practice makes perfect. Join us for a fun episode, and thanks for being here!
Prompt: Introduce to us a disappointing hero.
#40 - Season 3 Finale! Absences & Shared Histories
Sometimes the most important details are the ones unspoken. In our final episode for 2022, we break down the absence of information, and emotions evoked from the mystery of the unknown. We follow it up with a discussion on how shared histories can add incredible depth to two characters well before they ever interact. An introspective episode to top of an incredible year. Celebrate with us, and enjoy the episode!
Prompt: A lone flower, unwilted, is found in an abandoned house. Explain how it got there.
#39 - Love Triangles and Fanfiction
The penultimate episode of Season 3 sends us on some strongly worded rants about our love-hate opinions on love dynamics and writing fiction. Watch as we fill in the blanks on our own origin stories!
Prompt: Write a love triangle where Character A is also Character C!
#38 - Time Loops and Witches
Hey, that looks familiar...it's another episode of Your Rivers Are Wrong! We talk time loops - why constraining your setting to a time rather than a place leads to some intense introspection. We follow it up with witches! The cauldron-twirling trope of a villain that has gotten more love in recent years. Hope you enjoy!
Prompt: Describe a protagonist that uses a time loop to escape a witch's den.
#37 - Montages and Werewolves
Spooky season continues! We start off this episode talking about montage sequences, from the triumphant trainings of Rocky to the twists and turns of the intro to Up. What makes them both practical and engaging? Werewolves make their debut as a late Halloween topic, and we break down to nuances of duality. Join us on this episode of Your Rivers Are Wrong!
Prompt: Describe a montage sequence detailing the beginnings of a superhero!
#36 - Oops, All Prompts! Lights, Lies, and Giant Whales
Merle and Dante tackle prompts, all submitted by you! Enjoy the chaos that unfolds as we improv entire worlds from your suggestions.
#35 - HALLOWEEN Special! Vampires & Uncanny Valleys
It's spoooooky season! We break down our favorite terrifying topics, from the laundry list of essential vampire characteristics, to the terror of something almost human, but not quite. Join us on this haunting holiday on another episode of Your Rivers are Wrong!
Prompt: Build a city or settlement with humans being the minority population.
#34 - No Man's Lands & Young Adult Novels
An unlikely pairing of topics! In our longest episode in a while, we first discuss the odd perks of a barren landscape - how emptiness allows for introspective storytelling, impossible heists, and intense arguments. We branch off into a breakdown of the young adult novel sphere - the impact of an international audience, and the importance of its influence on a maturing generation. All this and more on this episode of Young Rivers are Wrong!
Prompt: Describe a stranger met in a no man's land.
#33 - Demigods and Oceans
It's tough to be a demigod! Torn between two worlds, we discuss the struggles of the halfway hero, forced to choose between the celestial responsibilities and the humble hometowns. We also talk about the big blue sea! The stories it facilitates, the mighty of a force very much beyond ourselves. Join us for another wonderful episode of Your Rivers are Wrong.
Prompt: Tell me about the sea monster living in the wrong river.
#32 - Mermaids and Mirrors
Join us as we go off the deep end and discuss the whosits and whatsits of mermaids! What adds to their mystique, and why are their stories so compelling? We also reflect on the topic of mirrors, and the variety of motifs and storylines that might originate from them. The episode quickly gets a bit unhinged, so hope you can stick around for a fun listen.
Prompt: Detail the origin story of the Mirror Man in Snow White!
#31 - Hometowns and High Societies
From the humble farms of yore to the skyward towers of fortune, your character's gotta come from somewhere! We talk about the origins of one's foundations rooted in the societies they are born into, and how they shape their worldviews and futures.
Prompt: The villain must reluctantly defend their hometown!
#30 - LIVE! Lost Memories & Airships
Live from the Netherlands, Merle and Dante finally meet in person for a very special episode of Your Rivers are Wrong! After 3.5 years of playing D&D online, we finally get to record face-to-face in a super fun episode detailing the weight of lost memories and the not-so-unique perks of airship stories. Join us for a one-of-a-kind episode!
Prompt: Make a story about something you've just stumbled upon that nobody knows about.
#29 - Hundred-Player D&D & Mob Mentalities
Season 3 starts with some big topics! Ever wanted to play D&D with way more than 5 people? Let's talk about West Marches, a collaborative effort to structure a living world with many storytellers and even more characters. From there, we bounce to discussing groups as a collective force - what separates a man from a mob, and what power comes with numbers? All this and more in the first episode of Your Rivers are Wrong, Season 3!
#28.5 - Clouds & Names (ft. Cherry the Human!)
To satiate your thirst for season 3, join Merle and a special guest none other than Cherry the Human for a lovely live chat about things we want to understand better: clouds (what makes them cloudy, and why is it so hard to explain what they are?) and names (why are they so important and what if you don't have one or feel like yours fits?). We close off by imagining ourselves a world without names and the amazing impracticalities that come with it. Make sure to check out Cherry's amazing work at www.naisyuanye.com!
#28 - Season Finale! Finales and Improv
Season 2 is in the books! Join us as we discuss good and bad finales, what makes a great epilogue, and what it takes to end a story on your terms. Then we delve into improv, a necessary skill for anyone storyteller in the TTRPG space. What are some tricks to use when you're caught off-guard? How much should you really prep? All this and more in the season's last episode of Your Rivers Are Wrong.
#27 - Backstories and Big Cities
What makes a great backstory? Heartbreak? Blank spaces? Tons and tons of pages? The history of a traveling hero is core to the path they come to walk - we break down how backstories are a crucial step in the beginnings of any tabletop RPG. And where's that hero headed? The big city, of course? What makes a metropolis a whole world in itself? We discuss aggressively American food, the big city mentality, and the building blocks of writing a story together. Join us for another episode of Your Rivers Are Wrong!
Prompt: Medieval hero is shunted to a modern cityscape - what do they look like after a year?
#26 - Fairies, Magical Girls and Moons
Three topics? That's more than two! We stumble our way through topics we love and grew up with. What's the appeal of a fairy's whimsy, or a magical transformation, or a celestial body that we landed on in the recent century? There's a lot to love, to be honest.
Prompt: Make a type of magic based on friendship!
#25 - Theatre and Spy Movies
It's our birthday week! To celebrate, we cover a topic near and dear to our hearts, theatre! What makes this medium of storytelling so special and unique in the modern era of TV and movies? And we talk spy movies! Which means a solid segment on cultural touchstones like Sky Kids and National Treasure, and other stuff.
Prompt: What would definitely be in a middle school production of Sky Kids?