Wahey there! I’m extremely excited to have this post here because it is absolutely cool! Dawnfall is the game I’m talking about and if you don’t know what that all is – here’s a twitter thread by the author, RoAnna Sylver, where you can find out more about it. And here’s a link to the Hearts of Choice website – which also gives the links for Android/iOS apps or if you want to play it on the website.
I reached out to RoAnna because I saw Oz on the character art and saw him a bit in the free chapters we got before the game was released and IMMEDIATELY wanted to know more about him. Hence this interview! I made the picture big because Oz is too cool to be shown as a tiny image.
Character questions for Oz
Hi, Oz! I’m super glad to have you here for an interview! Let’s get comfortable! How are you today?
Hey there! I’m real happy to be here. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I hope all my answers make sense. I’m usually the one doing the asking and listening. People don’t tend to ask the bartender personal questions… unless they’re being creeps, in which case they get the shortcut to the door.
Now, before we get to the questions, tell us a bit about yourself?
Not much to tell, really. I’m Oz, I tend bar on Eclipse and now the ship called the Dawnfall, which is stuck in the liminal space between universes, and can shapeshift into whatever it wants. I grew up trained to record and distill memories in a secret organization, which was cool but also really not the life I wanted. My Heart-Star Zenith helped me escape, and we’ve been together ever since. And eventually we joined up with some more friends on the Dawnfall, and kind of became usually-benevolent pirates, stealing from bad guys, helping people escape across dimensions, narrowly evading death… like I said, pretty standard stuff!
- I know you’re a bartender, so tell me your favourite drink to make?
Well… Don’t go spreading this around, but my specialty is in, uh, unconventional drink making. They can really take you places. Make you remember some of the best times of your life—or someone else’s. Putting my memory-distilling training to good use! It’s probably the most fun you can have without doing something really illeg… actually, this is pretty illegal too, which is why I said not to spread it around. On the legal side, I really like making Harpiyae drinks; they use some of the brightest and most intense berries you’ve ever seen. They’ll make you hear colors. And they always come with straws whether you have a beak or not.
- Do you know about the character alignment? Which one are you?
Gwen told me about this once, I think! I’m not totally sure, but ‘Neutral Good’ might sound right? I definitely don’t really care about laws, like I said before, but I’m not super Chaotic either. I leave that to Zenith and Gwen. I do try to see both sides of most arguments, but sometimes you just can’t be neutral and stay good.
- What one thing do you always have on or near you?
One of Averis’ feathers. Nephilim don’t usually tend to exchange jewelry or anything like that with their Heart-Stars, since we show our feelings so clearly on our skin—Rune’s always with me, and so are Zenith and Gwen. Averis has his own star of course, but Harpipyae give each other feathers too, and it’s just nice to have a physical reminder sometimes. Maybe I should give him some hair back or something. He really likes playing with hair.
- Being a bartender, you must overhear strange conversations, or even have people tell you all their woes. What’s your weirdest ‘customer story’?
You know, the best ones are the ones I can’t repeat. Bartender-patron confidentiality, you know. The same goes for memory distilling—those are even more personal. I have veto power if anyone wants to record a memory of, say, killing or assaulting someone, I do not deal in that kind of stuff, which luckily comes up pretty rarely. It’s mostly good or bittersweet stuff, remembering loved ones, perfect days, really good concerts, that kind of thing. The occasional corporate secret. Most wouldn’t be that interesting except for the person themself, or a professional blackmailer.
But this one time… there was a guy who, when I asked what memory he’d like me to record and make into a drink he could revisit whenever he wanted… gave me a really long, weird look, and said ‘this conversation right here.’
We, uh. Didn’t end up working together.
- If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Uh… most people would probably expect for me to say ‘I wish my face wasn’t burned’ or ‘I wish I still had both antennae,’ but I’m so used to it by now I don’t even really think about it. It still hurts sometimes, and it’s rough when I can’t always express what I’m feeling, or pick it up from other people, but it’s just how I am. It’s normal now. I don’t know if I’d change back if I could. I guess I might want a more stable life, where we—me and the people I love—could all live and be safe and boring and… normal. I’d love for our biggest worry to be what’s for dinner, not if we’re going to be stormed and arrested or killed, or separated again.
- What’s your kryptonite?
Gwen told me about that too—and it’s kind of a weird concept, because you’d think it’d mean ‘something that can hurt and possibly kill you,’ which is… a lot of things, really? But it’s usually used in a good way almost, like ‘what’s something that you just can’t say no to?’ So I guess mine’s… anyone with a story. Especially if they’re in over their heads. Also I have a thing for cute artist nerds, especially if they come from faraway places.
- What nicknames do you have for people in your life? Do they have any meaning? A story?
I don’t really tend to give people nicknames, but it’s really because some of the most important people in my life chose their names. Gwen did twice, I mean, she’s the Ghost Queen but she picked her actual name too. I don’t think I could call her anything else. Or Rune. Their names are too special.
Zenith didn’t pick xirs, but I still think xie likes being called it by friends, because we say it in a different way than xie’s used to. We’re not a crowd screaming it, or some high society socialite who thinks they’re entitled to xir time. We’re here because we love who xie actually is. ‘Zenith’ means something else to us. Same with Averis. I like to call my friends by their names, but mean something different by it than anyone else.
- Which of your friends don’t think before they speak?
Zenith, no question. Xie’s good at a lot of things, but thinking before xie shoots off xir mouth isn’t one of them. It’s gotten xir in a lot of trouble a few times—but fortunately xie’s pretty good at talking xir way back out again. And if xie can’t, xie’s got backup.
- What are you currently worried about?
Oof… a lot of things. Mostly about my friends. We all live such dangerous lives, and they could all change or end at any moment. I guess that makes it all the more important to enjoy the good times when you have them, and remember them when you don’t.
- I, uh, read you like dad jokes. Could you please give some examples? For very scientific reasons.
Ha, I know what those are too! But we usually call them something different—Nephilim call very excellent jokes like that ‘scholar flourishes,’ but with a really sarcastic skin-tint. I think the old Zephyrian Harpiyae word is something like ‘foolish whistle,’ but they’re a pretty straightforward bunch. And nobody seems to appreciate the sheer genius… by the way, I’m reading this amazing book about the atmospheric effects of the lack of gravity in liminal space. It’s really hard to put down!
Hey, thanks so much for having me! You have yourself a great night!
RoAnna Sylver is a writer of really cool, queer, weird books (Chameleon Moon, Stake Sauce), and interactive fiction games (Dawnfall, Date the Lizard, The Three-Body Problem). A chronically ill Portland, OR-based artist and musician, RoAnna also probably spends too much time playing videogames (it’s research!) and would really like a nap.
Is this something you’re interested in? I’ve played a whole bunch of text rpg games before and this is certainly one of the good ones! Go check it out and see if you like it.