Wizard Wednesday Recap, 2023-06-21
Elf starts off the meeting by asking Dotta if he is secretly working for Avalanche. Dotta says that he feels like he's Michael Scott in the episode of The Office when he has to moonlight in a call center. Bearsnake asks Dotta to explain for people who aren't aware.
Dotta's Meme Arc
Dotta wonders why the AVAX Intern looks exactly like him and says that it isn't a very common look (in reference to both of their avatars). Elf notes that Dotta has been commenting on the Avalanche posts, and asks if he's received any replies. Dotta says he's really just been trying to get in touch with the artist, because he wants them to produce Dotta memes, but AVAX won't let him connect. Instead, he has recruited community member Castamere, who he says has created "some bangers."
Elf says there's something else at play here and notes a Medieval fresco painting depicting a figure with striking similarities to Mickey Mouse. He says there are examples of this throughout history, and it's possible the AVAX Intern artist thought it was completely original.
Elf's New Piece For MAPS
Following this, Elf mentions that he is in Denver and is donating another piece to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies which will be auctioned by Christie's. The piece is based on "Death Depicted as the Grim Reaper on Top of the Moon" by Gustave Doré
Bearsnake notes that the last time Elf had a piece auctioned with MAPS, only Beeple had a piece with a higher final bid. He also mentions Elf's work (The Quantum Ouroboros) being displayed in Times Square. Elf says the Ouroboros was the perfect figure to display there.
New Commemorative Athenaeum Items from Episode 100
Then, Elf also speaks about the new Athenaeum items from the 100th Episode Airdrop and asks Bear which one he feels the most affinity towards, stipulating he's not allowed to say the Bear Paw, joking about the inclusion of the Magic Whoopie Cushion at Bearsnake's request. Elf notes there is definitely comedy and humor in the Runiverse.
Elf also said he loved seeing all of the activity in the Secret Tower in response to the new items and how community members brainstormed uses for them. On this topic, Dotta mentions that the team is always thinking of different ways to utilize the Athenaeum items. He says that BlackSand received an honorary item in the "Black Sands Oil Can" due to the community project's use of Athenaeum items within its own ecosystem.
3D Wizards Update
Next, Elf gives another 3D update. The site is in progress and the finish line is in sight. He expresses his excitement about how good the new models look. Bear replies to Jitcy's tweet stating that Forgotten Runes has the best 3D:
"It's not a competition, but we are winning."
Elf agrees and mentions the details that personalize all of the Characters.
"These are more than just 3D assets. These are full Characters with identities.
Bear mentions that he has shared some 3D Wizards during previous shows in the Discord's Sales chat. On this subject, Dotta greets newcomers to the show and notes:
- 1/2 of the Wizard Wednesday show is the Space itself
- 1/4 of the show takes place in the Discord
- 1/4 is the pinned tweets in the Space
Meta Lore, Canon Lore, & IRL Lore
Then, Elf jumps into Cult Questions, the first of which concerns the differentiations between Meta Lore, Canon Lore, and IRL lore. Elf says Meta Lore is the general information about the world — symbols, themes, and concepts that define the Runiverse.
Canon lore refers to the "official lore." He says the tricky thing here is that there can be different versions of "official." He references the different lores of Star Wars between the films, novels, and comics.
"I think Forgotten Runes will have this same sort of dynamic."
Athenaeum Item Supply Cap
The next question concerns the supply cap for Athenaeum items, and if there will be more tokens issued for already-released items. Dotta replies that the current items are capped, barring the unrevealed Treats from Imp Boxes. However, he mentions the team will "almost certainly" create more items for the Athenaeum collection in the future.
"You can think of the collection as the 'storytelling items' collection for the Runiverse."
How Are Characters Selected For Larger Media Expressions?
The next question is regarding the selection for Characters featured in the Forgotten Runes larger media expressions. Elf gives the example of telling Joe, the comic writer, just to read through the Book of Lore and pull out anything that he found particularly interesting. Elf says the short answer is that he is leaving that decision to the lead creators for the individual projects. He mentions the length of time required for development of television and comics, and says Magic Machine wonders about other mediums for faster iteration.
"We are definitely playing with an idea for a media expression that is going to be much quicker for you to see the results of your lore in a really nice expression that you can have fun with."
Dotta speaks about the commercial rights of Character IP for token owners.
"Instead of creating artwork for these IPs where everything is owned by a single entity, the holders and the creatives that come together and create the artwork are able to benefit from it financially. That's really the goal of what we're doing here is trying to capture this idea of these eternal archetypes and the creative spirit in a way that's financially sustainable. One of the biggest ways we're doing that is the comic book and the show, but those take forever."
He asks rhetorically, "What good are your IP commercial rights if there's nothing that anyone wants to buy with them?"
He says the team is exploring different products that Magic Machine could roll out on a quicker basis to amplify the community's lore. He also notes his experiment of a recent tweet storm he posted which originated from a community member's Wizard lore and that Wizard's burning through the Sacred Flame.
Dotta also returns to Elf's new MAPS work for auction and wonders why Christie's underestimates the final bidding price, noting their estimate of 8 ETH, which he says is, "vastly underpricing what we saw last time." Elf speaks about his depiction of Doré's original etching as well as his interest in modern deconstructionist takes on pieces by artists of the Romantic movement.
Shadow Hats Lore
Elf then transitions to conversation about The Shadow Hats.
Cabals In the Reflection
Elf mentions past dialogues of shadow groups, who sit in the darkness and control major world events to their benefit. He notes secret banking syndicates and ancient, powerful families. He names Bilderbergers, Free Masons, Illuminati, Skull and Bones, and Knights Templar. Elf says these are examples of IRL lore.
He also notes there are similar groups in the Runiverse and names the Illuminatus Heads, The Black Goats, The Council of 13, The Red Capes, The Black Dragon Society, The Red Hat Syndicate, The Sevenths, and even The Kobold Horde.
"Whatever you want to say about these groups, the lore surrounding them is quite compelling. What I'm fascinated by is how this meme, this archetype, is able to so powerfully capture the imaginations of so many people...Like most mythologies, there are grains of truth to them."
He notes that one such piece of lore is surrounding Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. "With crypto, true to its name, the creator figure is shrouded in mystery. We don't know who Satoshi is. They're truly this wizard in the shadow."
He goes on to say that Nakamoto and his creation are often demonized by competing elite syndicates and the narrative they want to promote. The counter-narrative, he says, is that Nakamoto is a sort of savior who will lead his followers to the Promised Land.
So, he asks: "Who are the Shadow Hats, and on which side of this narrative do they fall?"
Questions of the White Hat Wizards
"They hide in their tower, not revealing their power levels, not involving themselves in the geopolitics of all the other Color Cults. But why? And what is this obsession that the White Hats have with Order? Can the Shadow exist without the Light?"
Drawing Shadow Hat Conclusions
Elf says a few conclusions about the Black/Shadow Hats can be drawn:
They have a strong affinity for the Quantum Shadow, and if anyone knows anything about the Quantum Shadow, it's them. Elf says he believes this association will become more clear in time.
Shadow Hat Origins
He mentions the Shadow Hats Twitter account creation this week, and turns the conversation over to Dotta. Dotta speaks to his early obsession with Ordinals and the origins of the Shadow Hats.
"That was one of the key things this was born out of, was this intuition to tinker."
He speaks about the adventurous frontier of Ordinals and this new technology, mentioning how inscribing on satoshis felt like deploying his first smart contract. Dotta talks about how he and Elf have a good relationship when it comes to working under pressure.
"When the Ordinals were...let's say, 400-500, I reached out to [Elf] one night and was like, 'We need something to inscribe.'"
Dotta says at that time his BTC node wasn't fully synced, so they got Droplister to inscribe the Shadow Hat for them.
Dotta Alludes to A Future Drop of "Shadow Beings"
Dotta speaks about the early interest for the Shadow Hats, but that Magic Machine has held onto them. He alludes to an "upcoming drop" and that the team will sell some of the Shadow Hat Ordinals during the process, but even so, he doesn't believe Magic Machine will sell them all. Dotta says the team will reveal more lore and dynamics for the Shadow Hats in time, but it's important to realize that they are not the only Shadow Beings.
"When we do this drop, there will be more supply available other than these 10. Probably on order of a few hundred."
He prompts those interested to join the Forgotten Runes Discord, follow @theshadowhats and follow @forgottenrunes Elf says it's fun that there hasn't been much conversation surrounding the Black Hats in the entire two years of the project.
"But they have been there all along, like a proper Shadow Group is. I'm excited that the Shadow is finally seeing the Light."
Purpose In Plot
Bearsnake wants to note that there is a reason behind this new collection and says he has a distaste for people who move from one thing to the next without "planting."
"We're very purposeful in everything we do...When we try to innovate, we want to make sure it feels organic."
"Shadow" Ordinals Are a Part of the Forgotten Runes Ecosystem
Dotta springboards off of this comment to say that any new Characters on Ordinals are fully part of the Forgotten Runes ecosystem. He notes the benefits with regard to Wizard ownership will be part of the conversation moving forward. Dotta notes that owning a Shadow Hat could be considered on scale with owning a Beast. He also says there are technical issues that need to be ironed out, e.g. ownership verification, but ideally, Shadow Hat owners should be able to write in the Book of Lore for their Character.
He reiterates the general low supply for Ordinal collections. Dotta says not to hold him to it, but the Shadow Beings collection will likely be around 300 and no more than 500. Elf chimes in to note that the fact that the Characters are on another chain is deliberate to the lore.
"These are Characters who are outside the margins of society."
Bear says, "They operate on a different plane."
Welcoming Bitcoiners Into the Fold
Elf speaks about Magic Machine's ideas for audience expansion and how one of the best ways to do that is to reach out to new demographics.
"There's a whole group of Bitcoiners out there that I think we should welcome into the Cult."
Dotta speaks to his philosophy that Forgotten Runes is a "Bitcoiny" project insofar as the art exists all on-chain and that pixel art is a foundational, fundamental style.
Questions From the Audience
Pixel Wizards & Their Appeal
After this, the team lets a few new audience members on stage to take questions. The first comes from Samisa.sats who asks:
"What is it about pixels and Wizards that makes them look so fucking good?"
Bear says, "It's magic, baby!"
Elf attempts to give a short answer by saying the low-res aesthetic was deliberate in that it doesn't provide all the information, so your imagination has to fill in those gaps. He refers to the concept of the Wizards as "creative primitives."
Dotta mentions the association of pixel art with an intermediate age of computing, but notes the essence of pixel art dates back to beadwork, ancient Roman tile mosaics, and stained glass. Elf says even hi-res digital art is reduced to pixels in its most basic elements. Samisa says they just stumbled into the Space after becoming invested in Ordinals and hearing about the Shadow Hats. They feel like someone who has never read or watched Lord of the Rings and has been thrown into the second movie.
Bearsnake responds, "Well, you have a wizard PFP, and you like lore. I'm pretty sure you're in the exact right place on the Internet right now." Bear gives a quick overview of some of the ongoing projects within Forgotten Runes like the comic, television show, and games.
Samisa asks if the collection is on Bitcoin, and when Dotta responds the core collection is on ETH, the question is asked about the meaning of the Wizards being "on-chain." Dotta speaks about the Decoder Crystal and the Wizards' trait information being stored in the call data. He says that for convenience, you can see the contract also points to IPFS, but if ever necessary, the Decoder Crystal contains all of the information to recreate the entire collection from fully on-chain data stored on Ethereum.
How Is Forgotten Runes Using AI?
Another question emerges about the project's use of AI. Elf speaks about the Loracle and is asked if it's like the "Copilot thing that Polygon is working on." Bear says the differentiation is that the Forgotten Runes AI was trained with information created by the community.
Are Ordinals Headed Toward More Lore & Meaning?
Then, speaker MIDUS asks if the Ordinals space is heading toward lore, meaning, and purpose as Forgotten Runes has mentioned so far with the Shadow Hats. Elf reiterates that the lore has been infused in Forgotten Runes from the beginning as a reflection of the real world. Dotta says one of the important things for the team is that the story and art make sense and that it isn't about some arbitrary metric.
"That's been our mode of operation since the beginning, maybe to a fault."
He mentions his notice of a lot of "garbage" in early inscriptions.
Dotta Talks Early Ordinals Garbage & Sub 10K Grails
To this, he mentions low-effort, clone, derivative inscriptions.
"I didn't inscribe garbage because I wanted it to be good. I also didn't buy garbage, because I wanted it to be good, just because it was low inscription numbers."
He says this was actually terrible in terms of investment advice. He notes there were a lot of derivative projects that he passed over because they "didn't do it for him," but in doing so, he admits he potentially lost out on a lot of money due to the low-inscription meta. To this point, Dotta says:
"That's really besides the point, because it's really about making art that you love, and creating things that you love, and collecting things that you love."
He says his overall view of the Ordinals market is that the first 10k are grails in his mind.
"When you think about an Ethereum collection — having 10k Punks, for example — the first 10k feels like an important milestone. After that it really starts to matter a lot less for me."
He notes that after that, the art, team, and story are much more important. He says he thinks this will play out with Lil Peepos and says that Inscribed Pepes, to him, is probably the "bluest chip" of original Ordinals projects. Dotta says he doesn't think people will care that the Inscribed Pepes drop of Lil Peepos will be around the 1.2M inscription number.
"I think it's a great project and people won't care about the inscription number. You just can't. It has to stand on its own two feet after that."
What Can Newcomers Expect From Forgotten Runes?
The conversation transitions to another new audience member asking what someone could experience by being a part of the Forgotten Runes community. Elf gives what he describes as the log line: Open-source Middle Earth. He also describes the creativity the community summons.
Tadmajor Speaks On the Topic
Dotta invites community member Tadmajor on stage, because he mentioned in the Discord that he would like to answer the question as a member of the community rather than someone from the team. He begins by stating that Forgotten Runes was the first NFT project that he minted.
"I was not a pixel artist — was not a creative. I worked in a very regimented, high-stress, technical role where I didn't get to use creativity for years and years. I jumped in and found a community that was building and growing and so supportive of one another that I started to want to make some little things to make some people laugh, to share something with people, and it really, really tapped into a creative energy that I had let lay dormant for the majority of my adult life."
Tad says that whatever way you feel empowered to create, you have the opportunity to do that and notes that everything is open and available to creators. The sky is the limit.
"So many of us got our start because of this project."
Tad expresses excitement for the all of the new people having interest in Forgotten Runes and invites them into the Discord to participate and ask more questions.
Support From the Community
Dotta says that one of the greatest things about the Cult is that everyone is so supportive.
"It's the exact opposite of someone who is an art critic, overanalyzing every detail. Rather, everyone is encouraging of everyone else, regardless of whatever they share, regardless of their skill level...It's the personality type of the people in the Cult."
Bear Talks Building
Bearsnake says that generally there are two groups of people in Web3 and NFTs: The first being those here for financial gain, which he says is fine and he believes is an important part of the ecosystem.
He says the other group is here because they believe in the technology and are looking for a group of like-minded people. Most of them are builders. Bear says Forgotten Runes "over indexes" in this 5-10% of people in Web3.
"If you're able to attract people who are actually building, and innovating, and here for the right reasons, it just creates this longevity and health to the base of the people."
Magic Machine's Experience of Growth
Another Speaker approaches to talk about another project that they're a part of, to which they draw similarities to Forgotten Runes. They wanted to connect about Magic Machine's experience in growing the community.
"The most important thing I think we did was double down on the people who were in our project for the reasons that we aligned with."
"One of the interesting things about Forgotten Runes is that it's not just an art project. We're not just creating a Creative Commons free asset pack. It is tied to this commercial motivation, and I think that's an important part. When you are an adult who is not an artist as a career, it's hard for you to justify spending time to do things creatively because you have a family, and a mortgage, and responsibilities. I think when you have this promise that you own a commercial right of your Character, so that way the things that you create could actually become sort of self-sustaining, I think that's an important part of justifying it to yourself. Or really, in reality, you can make it a sustainable enterprise to create this kind of art. You attract a certain type of person who wants to be creative, who wants to be in an encouraging environment, who wants to have friends. I think a lot of it is just grinding every day. I don't think there's any shortcut, really."
With the rest of the time, the team reviews content from this week's Cult Content Chronicle put together by the illustrious Tania Del Rio.
Dotta and Nosferatu by Castamere
Archer AnimaWorks Trains AI Based on Ozzz's Pixel Paintings
Archer AnimaWorks Sneak Preview Featuring Sorcerer Qaid of the Sun
Cabinet of Curiosities WIP by Ozzz
Chemical Imbalance Rug For Daniela Ilustra
Archmagus Remus of the Palms Character Sheet By 3rnesTea
I4nzits Quests With the Loracle
Magus Wazir Image Generation