Wizard Wednesday Recap, 2023-07-26

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After some technical difficulties, Elf gets started with a few questions from the community.

Cult Questions

Who Would Make First Contact?

In reference to the US Congressional hearing regarding governmental knowledge of UFOs, the team is asked who among them would be the one to make first contact. The team unanimously decides that Bearsnake would be the first in the team to make contact. Bear says he is open about aliens and he wants to believe. He says, "Don't even get me started. Or, get me started, whatever you want." Dotta says, "Yeah, let's dive right in —"

Before Dotta dives into alien conversation, Elf says the team should cover community questions first, because there are a lot of questions about aliens. Elf first plays a sound clip, asking Dotta if he can identify the instrument. Before Dotta answers, Bear names the theremin.

Magic Machine & Alien Encounters

Aliens Marlo Meme
Aliens Meme Featuring Marlo

Community member Sharon then asks the team if they have had alien encounters. Dotta says he has not had an alien encounter, but that he has seen "the flying orbs," recounting a story of seeing two fighter jets that appeared to intercept or escort a floating orb.

On the topic of these flying orbs, Dotta says he believes they are real, but doesn't know that they're necessarily aliens.

Is Congress Hiding Arrival Of the Shadow Hats?

Then, Tabitha of the Marsh asks if the US Congress is actually talking about the arrival the Shadow Hats and not aliens. Bear says, "No comment," and that they would have to be in a SCIF to speak about it. Dotta says that he and Bear just learned the term "SCIF."

Elf asks what a SCIF is (Secure compartmentalized information facility) and Dotta explains that it's a secure room without radio waves, where phones are prohibited, etc.

Elf returns to the Shadow Hats question and notes he has not so subtly implied they represent the deep state. Elf goes on to say that this shadowy cabal has clearly orchestrated a distraction with this "UFO nonsense mass hysteria" and that the Shadow Hats are clearly trying to hide the truth with lies about aliens.

"Area 51 is clearly trying to contain the Quantum Shadow. Trying to hide the truth from a magical cult of Wizards is a exercise in futility."

Dotta says:

"Alien invasion is a very convenient moral panic now that the pandemic is over. It's one of those things you can really only use once, I suppose."

Elf disagrees and says this has happened multiple times in the past and that it's an archetype at this point.

Magic Machine's Favorite Alien Depictions In Film

Then, Madotsuki asks for the team's favorite depictions of aliens. Elf says that he knows Bearsnake's answer and guesses Alien. Bear agrees with Elf's assessment, noting the scary depiction of the xenomorphs, but also notes the large humanoids from Prometheus as well. He says he likes the idea, story-wise, of extraterrestrial beings intermingling DNA with the human race. Elf says that same idea is also explored in Star Trek about the question of why all of the aliens appear as humanoid, and it's because of a "seed race" that all of the species in the galaxy share DNA with. Bearsnake also says he enjoyed the alien depiction in District 9.

Elf says that Disctrict 9 is in his top 3 as well, but says Close Encounters of the Third Kind is first for him, because it solidified the "classic almond-eyed gray alien design." He says he wasn't sure if they were depicted that way in any other media before that film. Bearsnake says that classic alien design has been around since the 30s. Dotta says there are engravings in the pyramids of this same depiction of aliens. Elf says he has to see these engravings, to which Dotta says he will dig it up (but it turns out to be fake).

Elf says his second favorite alien film would be Annihilation, and he says the philosophical subject matter is something the Green Hat Wizards would be into. He thinks it's kind of underrated. Bear notes it's by the same person who wrote Ex Machina. Bearsnake notes that Ex Machina didn't do very well in the box office, but has garnered a cult following. He says there are some films that may not be considered great, but they just check all the boxes for him anyway in terms of themes and cinematography.

Elf turns to ask Dotta about his favorite alien films. Dotta starts off with Men in Black. He liked the assumption that with faster than light travel, comes all sorts of different species in the universe. Dotta lists Avatar next, but says the top place in his heart goes to E.T.

Elf says that E.T. is "such a Dotta alien movie." Bear mentions he is reminded of his relationship to his son when thinking about E.T. "When he's sick, I get sick. When he's happy, I'm incredibly happy."

Elf also gives honorable mentions to: Mac and Me, Howard the Duck, and Alf. Elf says that's all of the alien questions from the community, but he wants to get back to aliens later in the show.


The next question from the community is about an idea the team had previously pitched of "Questing" that would have served as a staking analog for Wizards and Warriors. Dotta says the team has paused work on Questing "for now."

Dotta says:

"To do Questing, I want to make sure we have rewards that are fun, meaningful, non-inflationary...we've had some ideas around Questing that were rudimentary, and nothing we came up with I really loved so, it's on ice for now."

Forgotten Runes Comic Issue 1 Cover
Forgotten Runes Comic Issue 1 Cover

Forgotten Runes Comic Timeline

Next, the team is asked about the timeline of the upcoming Forgotten Runes comic. Bear answers that he's been spending a lot of time with Titan over the past few months working on everything from copyediting, print layout, choice of paper, marketing, etc. Bear briefly shouts out Nalgene for overseeing production.

Then he says:

"That first comic we put together — that was really put together with Scotch tape. We had no idea what we were doing, and we got it done, and we were really proud of it."

Comic Book Distribution Process

Bear says the process with comics becomes more complicated with distribution and elevation of the product quality. He juxtaposes this with the amount of revenue comics typically generate, which he says is not much, if any. However, he says working with Titan has been great. Bear notes that Titan is a UK publisher and is the owner of the largest comic book stores in London.

Bear covers the presale window in which comic book stores look through the monthly "Diamond Comics" book to search for titles to order. Bearsnake says he, Jitcy, Lachness, and Nalgene have been putting effort into ways to "get the Cult activated." He says they are trying to find the easiest ways for comics to be ordered and thinking about ways to include NFT comic book cover variants.

Bear notes that he sees deploying the comic as a big opportunity for Forgotten Runes, as it is the first mass-distributed product from Magic Machine. He notes he believes there is a ton of alignment with people who love comic books and the Cult as it stands now. Bear says the presale window is about a month long, and then the books will go to print shortly after. Following that, they will be in New York Comic Con as a part of Titan's booth. Bear says the comic should be in stores, ready to go by the third week of November.

How Magic Machine Compares to Other Launching Titles

Following this, Bear also says that based on Titan's reaction to the art by illustrator Reilly Brown and looking through Diamond Comics, he feels really good about what Magic Machine is producing.

"I feel like we're in the top 15% of what looks good, just in terms of product."

Elf says that Reilly is so good and expresses surprise that Bear was able to bring him onboard the project. Bear says Reilly is one of the reasons why Titan signed with the project.

"Reilly is our Derek [Kolstad], but in comic books."

Forgotten Runes Comic - Issue -1 Preview
Forgotten Runes Comic - Issue -1 Preview

Driving Sales & Proving the Worth Of IP

Bear states that Titan has brought on an exciting cover artist who he isn't allowed to mention just yet. They will be producing a physical cover variant, which he says could also drive sales. Bear notes video game codes for the Forgotten Runiverse game will also be included. All of these different aspects of the comic culminate into different ways to introduce the world of Forgotten Runes to an audience unfamiliar with Web3. Dotta says it also provides a signal to other media "gatekeepers" (most notably for the show) that there is demand for the IP. Dotta notes that having a good first showing for the first issue is important to set the momentum.

Bear says:

"You don't go into comic books to make a bunch of money. You go into comic books to prove that there is an audience for the stories and Characters you're creating."

Bear notes that Magic Machine has proven the desire for Forgotten Runes IP in the Web3 space, but underlines the fact that this is an important launch to gauge interest from the "regular world." He notes the comics will be $4.99 MSRP, but might be put on sale.

Comic Book Royalties Structure & The Forgotten Runes Model

For the comic, Bearsnake also notes that the team is trying to structure royalties to holders of Characters who appear in the comic and mentions wants to structure it in a way similar to the Screen Actors Guild in a hierarchy of lead Characters, secondary Characters, cameos, etc. Bear says this is the basis for the project.

Dotta offers the caveats to that: The comics use stories from the Book of Lore, and they want to compensate contributors of those stories. However, he notes again that Magic Machine has to be careful in terms of US Securities laws.

In order to receive any royalties payments, you will likely have to KYC in "some traditional meatspace way," though he says they will try to make it "as Web3" as they can.

"In order to receive this money...you'll probably have to give someone your real name...unfortunately."

That being said, Dotta agrees with Bear's statement that this is a way to test the thesis for the project in that people who create towards the IP should be paid for it. Dotta notes Magic Machine will probably not make much profit from the comic. Dotta estimates the revenue for the first 3 issues of the comic to be approximately 10% of the money they have put into it. He says he doesn't mind viewing this as a marketing expense to test the thesis for the model that people who create Forgotten Runes content can be paid.

"I think it's an important part of the process to pull the thread all the way through, and if it's not life-changing money yet, fine, but still it needs to be tested — the entire flow."

Elf says the best thing to him about the comic is that it is a big proof of concept. Elf asks Bearsnake if he has anything else, and he says:

"I'm psyched. Forget everything else. You guys are going to be so impressed with the pages...Maybe I'm biased, maybe I'm not...it is, to me, in the top 5 or 10% of quality."

Dotta agrees, saying that there is so much going on at Magic Machine that he doesn't see the pages immediately as they come through, and he doesn't want to hype it up too much, but he thinks they look amazing. Bear also says there will be more sneak peeks before the comics drop and they have been considering a live drawing promotion with Reilly. Bear also mentions that once the first issue is released in November, a new issue will drop every month for five months. He notes this cadence is part of the complication and work that goes into comics, comic cover variants, print quality, and advertising. He notes they have already had interest for buying interior ad space in the books, which can help cover costs. After the first five months of Forgotten Runes comics, those five issues will be bound into trade paperbacks to be distributed further into brick and mortar bookstores like Barnes & Noble.

How Many Pull Ups Can Dotta Do?

Following the comic book conversation and update, the team gets a curveball question from Feckless, who asks how many pull ups Dotta can do. Dotta immediately replies, "Six," and says he's working on doing a "muscle up" but he isn't able to do that yet. Bear says he could do 20 pull ups three years ago. Elf and Bear joke about arm wrestling, to which Elf says he will beat Bear in a match next time they're together. Dotta says he doesn't believe that, but is excited to watch and implores them not to get together without him.


Elf turns discussion back to aliens, as Bear accused him of not believing. Elf says it would be nearly inconceivable to refuse belief of other life in the universe.

"Believing in life out there versus believing they've visited us — that's two completely different questions."

Burden of Proof

Dotta Wants to Believe
Dotta Wants to Believe

Elf says he defers to Carl Sagan's "Burden of Proof" that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. He says he has not seen anything approaching extraordinary evidence to the existence of extraterrestrial visitation. Elf says he doesn't know if other life has visited Earth, but his current take is that he has not seen anything to make him believe they have. Bear is in disbelief that Elf doesn't believe aliens have visited Earth. Elf reiterates that he hasn't seen any hard evidence of extraterrestrial crafts or beings. Dotta says he agrees, but says there are plenty of people who have seen, with their eyes and instrumentation, vehicles that move in ways far beyond our science and technology. Elf says that they are only referencing eyewitness data, but Dotta interrupts and says there are videos, but notes Elf might then ask for the LIDAR data, which no one has seen. Dotta mentions a video released by NASA earlier in the year depicting a floating metal orb.

The Sentinel Theory

Elf mentions that every single video without exception shows grainy, blurry, indecipherable images. Dotta asks, "What if we're like their zoo, and they don't want to be seen?" He asks if Elf has heard of the "Sentinel Theory." Dotta explains the Sentinel Theory is based on the Sentinelese, who are indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation on an island in the Bay of Bengal. Dotta explains their island is protected by the Indian government and notes the theory that the US is like North Sentinel Island, with external alien protection.

Elf says these are fanciful theories and he and Dotta have a back and forth about the reliability of the multiple eyewitness testimonies. A cult member comments that he wouldn't have believed that Elf was the alien skeptic on the team. Elf notes that he trends toward skepticism.

Machine Elves & Beings Behind the Veil

Red Mushroom

Dotta asks a question about Terrence McKenna's "Machine Elves" which McKenna encountered when taking DMT, as connections to external consciousness. Elf asks if he referring to a time when he told Dotta about taking mushrooms. Dotta says no, but he knows Elf has eaten mushrooms. Dotta says that this is a theory that people have in that the "Machine Elves" McKenna (and others) have encountered as the result of taking DMT are actually a manifestation of the collective consciousness of these aliens.

Elf says that when he has eaten mushrooms, he sometimes gets the feeling that there are "beings on the other side of the veil" who are desperately trying to communicate. He says he doesn't really believe there are beings on the other side and attributes that to pareidolia.

Dotta notes an interest in the studies about DMT, in which a percent of the participants "met beings" while taking the substance, and among those, a large number who began as atheists weren't atheists after the study. Elf reiterates this is the phenomenon of pareidolia, which is the tendency for humans to impose meaningful interpretation to patterns and objects where there is none inherently.

3D Wizards

3D Wooden Boy
3D Wooden Boy

After this conversation on the reality of extraterrestrials winds down, Elf segues into an update on the 3D Wizards. Elf says that he has to get better about time estimations and not making premature announcements, as the 3D Wizards are still not quite ready. Elf says that the collection itself is done, and if you want your 3D Wizard, you can DM him and he will send it to you. He says what is not done is the website, noting that a 3D website that deals with 10k assets is complex. Elf mentions a lot of different components come together to make the models look the right way when rendered, such as the lighting and camera. He says the team probably went through 200 iterations to get the right one, and they are still tweaking them to this day.

Elf also notes they're continuing to squash bugs in the Character collection and working on fine-tuning Character animations. He says that he also wants Characters to be able to be available for download in a multitude of formats for different applications. Elf says the graphic design and overall functionality of the site are also points of focus, noting that they want to showcase the Characters with different interactivity. Though they weren't planning to launch with them, he says spells, props, and Runes also will be present.

Elf also mentions getting the 3D Wizards to display on OpenSea, and says he wasn't sure if he was supposed to say that. He notes there is a chance that they launch next week, but says "no promises."

Elf says the team has a bunch of fun things planned for the 3D launch, including hosting a Wizard Wednesday in oncyber, which is an immersive 3D meta. Elf and Bearsnake both speak about creating custom spaces in oncyber for use with Wizards.

Closing Aliens Comments & Flute Outro

Elf asks if there are any other alien comments. Dotta says, "Yes," and asks if you could pick one person to be the delegate for humanity, who would you pick? Elf says he has the answer and no one can argue: Mister Rogers. Bear says either Dotta or "a mountain lion."

Then, Cult-favorite Woodwind Serenader, Buddha Alpha Healing Sounds steps up to say he was just watching videos where government officials were openly speaking about aliens, to which Elf says that is what sparked the discussion. Elf asks Buddha Alpha Healing Sounds about his pick for humanity's diplomat with the aliens, and he responds Hermes Trismegistus. Elf says that's a good one, and he should do a whole Wizard Wednesday on Hermes Trismegistus.

The team continues to joke about aliens as Elf starts to outro the show, but Dotta stops him and asks if Buddha Alpha Healing Sounds was going to play a tune. With much surprise to Bear and Elf, who weren't present for his first appearance, he outros with another flute performance.

Cult Content

Don't forget to peruse all of the content made by the community of Forgotten Runes in the past week, collected in the 27th week of Tania del Rio's Cult Content Chronicle.