Saturday, 12 December 2015

Interview: Joni Heinonen RPG youtuber and illustrator from Finland

Joni Heinonen is a gamer from Finland who also hosts Finnish Youtube video series called Ropetupa (referred as RP Lodge in the interview) and illustrates comics and various roleplaying games (including Dragon Union).

What is your story? As a gamer and an illustrator?

Let me answer to the illustrator- half first: I drew the Moomin's Animated Series' Groke when I was four, into a cardboard box. So that was my first drawing I ever made. I also like to make comics, or graphic novels.
The story of Roleplaying gaming is a bit more complicated: At the turn of the millenia I was bored, so I read Pelit-magazine, where I noticed an interesting article about someone's first LARP.
Article was written by Nordic, I read all the other articles in brevious magazines. Slowly the world of RPGs opened to me, and I bought Cyberpunk 2020, and never looked back.

Joni Heinonen with his first RPG.
You are one of the few rpg youtubers in Finland. What pushes you to create videos instead of more traditional blog writing?

I first got the idea to do vlog, when I watched Lazy Game Reviews, it had a laid-back attitude which inspired me to do something similar. But I didn't want to make a channel about videogames because those are so common in YouTube.
So, I decided to make a channel dedicated to RPGs, because I knew much about the subject.
Other RPG styled videos that have inspired me have been TtheWriter's D&D Stories and Counter Monkey.

Is it hard to come up with topics for your videos, or do you have a big pile of "to-do's"?

Christmas episodes are really difficult to make, because there are very little Roleplaying games that has holiday-theme. Otherwise I have ideas for the next year at least. Subjects for videos comes to me mainly by looking at my bookshelf.

How hard is it to get feedback for your videos? What is the force that makes you continue? What is it that makes this "your thing"?

Feedback isn't that common, but when someone comments my work, I feel like the king of the world. That makes me want to continue.
I want to think RP Lodge as an channel for newbies, who are on the fence about the hobby, and as an RPG Chronicle for future generations. Maybe that is the my "thing" because it is unique, at least in Finnish language area.

Your channel is currently in Finnish. Have you got anly plans to break internationally?

I am currently planning to review the Age of Tempest as an "international" -episode. Depending on how well that goes, I may start to make English videos in addition to Finnish.
Of course Age of Tempest has to first come out.

I've noticed luring you that you're also some kind of a collector. How much you use the material that you acquire?

I have only collected for a couple of years now. Surprisingly, my collecting really started when I got a girlfriend (my wife nowadays). Other than Vampire: Requiem I have played everything that I have in my bookshelf. If I am not going to run the game, I won't buy it.
Furthemore I like to read every book I have, so I don't buy collector's items or something that I want to sell for a better price.

Do you prefer being Game Master or a player? What is your gaming style, what kinds of games do you like?

Definitely as a Gamemaster. I like to run story-based games, where players still have the power to affect to the story. I like games which have elegant rules and the possibility to do other than just hit an orc with a sword.

What is your favorite system and why? Is it something you've found later or been there from the beginning?

My previous favorite, Cyberpunk 2020 has been replaced by Pathfinder. I like in Pathfinder how much tools it gives to players and gamemasters.
I know Pathfinder at least from my second game I ever purchased: D&D 3rd edition.
D&D is apparently some kind of requirement for a roleplayer.

What tips you've got for beginner youtubers who would like to create gaming/geek videos?

Don't say and think should you do this, at least try, then hesitate.
I have to say also that the quality of audio is way more important than the quality of the video. Don't use the camera's mic if possible.
You shouldn't do what everyone else does, do what is important to you, find your own "thing". If nothing else, do reviews from obscure toys from 90's if you can't think anything.

Roolipelitupa's studio.

If someone wanted collaboration with you, get visibility in your video or get your illustration for his material, how should he proceed with you and what bribes you need?

You can contact me through my e-mail: ropetupa@gmail.com.
I have thought about making cross-overs with other Finnish 'Tubers. But for now, I am going to work alone. Best way to get your product reviewed is to send it in a physical form. PDFs are left at the bottom of the list.
At the moment, I will work for free for Finnish RPG makers, it will change if there is too much people who want to get my work, of course. But my prices aren't high, just some couple of tens.

Thank you for the interview! Your video channel is always a joy to watch. It's refreshingly cheery. What would you like to say for the readers of this article in the end of the interview?

Nerdness, favors the nerd!