Holly Conrad on Strix Cosplay, D&D and Player Advice
Todd Kenreck: I spoke with my friend, Holly Conrad, about her new Strix cosplay, what she loves about D&D, and her advice to new players.
Holly Conrad: Strix spent 50 years alone in the forest in Barovia. So what I did is pretty much I reworked her costume to be like a Barovian costume, to be a curse of straw and kind of themed costume because Chris also sent me a list of items that she had that she had collected in Barovia. And so I kind of just went on a crazy binge making every item that he told me she had a acquired to put on this costume. So I wanted ... And I knew I was going to be in the Acquisition's Inc show, so I was like, "Okay, I need to have a really cool costume." He sent me the list of items. I'm like, "This is perfect." So I ended up making it her new canonical costume.
Holly Conrad: I have been playing Tiefling sorcerer since I started playing D&D, and I came into D&D in a weird 'cause I came to it through Baldur's Gate. So I started playing PC games and then started playing tabletop games. So I was playing a sorcerer in the PC games since the beginning, since I could do it. So I ... Technically this character has existed however long I've played D&D 'cause I love Tieflings and I love sorcerers. But Strix was her own ... I guess the diluted version of all the Tiefling sorcerers I've always played who are just like little trash children.
Holly Conrad: I love Sigil and I love Planescape, and I love all the Planescape games and stuff. Where I grew up is one of the smoggiest places because it's inland from Los Angeles and it gets all the smog from Los Angeles. So there are time when I was a kid where they wouldn't let us go outside because the smog was so thick. So the sky was brown. And so, I loved Sigil and I was like, "I'm from Sigil. This is disgusting. I hate this. I'm like a Tiefling. That's me." And that's why I love them.
Holly Conrad: I really like sorcerers because they're kind of like the non-academic mage, wizard. They're like an artist. They're like the artist wizard. So whereas a wizard is writing papers and being really academic about it, the sorcerer's just like, "I blew it up, it's done." And just walks away. So I just kind of always really liked that idea. And it does have some limitations in the sense that you can't switch out your spells at night, but at the same time, you have ... You're way more powerful. You actually have ... You have a way more powerful list of spells.
Holly Conrad: It's fun to play a disaster of a person, but I think she's very genuine. She is down to her core she is who she is and very genuinely so. And I think that just being unabashedly yourself is probably one of my favorite parts about her. I wrote fan fiction about my character. So is that the cannon fiction? I don't know. I've been writing for a long time. And one of my dreams is to write a fantasy book, so I've been writing, but I don't really put it out there. And I was just, you know what? Whatever. I'm just going to put it out there because it's something I care about and it's super fun to write. And people loved it, so I was like, "Great, cool. Maybe I will continue to write my fantasy book, then. If I'm okay at this."
Holly Conrad: Anxiety and doing what we do ... I think it's weird because it's like as long as I can put my story out there and tell people ... And be genuine and be like, "Hey, I'm anxious, and that's okay." And as long as I can tell other people that, that's all that really matters. As long as I can do that and allow other people to be okay with their anxiety and all their mental health stuff, then that's the best thing that I can do. Sometimes I just cry a lot, but that's okay.
Holly Conrad: I feel like for D&D, being a good player is just wanting to work like a team. Wanting to be a team and wanting to be a team with the DM, too. Allowing ... Know where the story is going and allowing everyone to have their time to shine and care about your party. I think that's the best thing about us as the Waffle Crew. We all care about each other. We want to hear each other's stories because we care about our team and we care about what Chris sees in our characters and what ... Each other, what we see in them. So I think that's the best thing about being a player.
Holly Conrad: I mean, I've loved D&D for a very long time and I think it's just ... It's that suspension of belief, it's that ability to be someone else. And everyone wants that. Everyone wants to be able to turn off the news and stop seeing the world in flames and just be like, "You know what? I can fix this because I'm a hero." That's what I am. I'm a wizard or I'm a sorcerer or I'm a rogue. And I can do something to make the world a better place even in this fantasy world, and it's cathartic. It's helpful. It's actually helpful, especially when things are really stressful.
Holly Conrad: I think out of everything I enjoy doing the most, I mean, it's just creating art. Whether that art is the live game, the Waffle Crew, what we do. That's art, that's storytelling. I think honestly storytelling is my favorite thing, because even though I do make art, I see my art more as storytelling because I'm not the best artist in the world. There's mechanically, I don't approach things like the academic wizard. I approach it like the sorcerer. This is a storytelling mechanic for me, and I think that's the thing I enjoy the most out of everything I do.