We love TTRPGs here at Geek Girl Authority. There is just something about diving into fantasy worlds that has us jumping out of our seats. We recently had the pleasure of chatting with fellow Dungeons and Dragons lover Linsay Rousseau. She is starring in an upcoming live-play series, The Die Is Cast Gaming, alongside Chad Michael Collins, Jake Ynzunza, Milynn Moon and Andi Norris. We chatted with her about the upcoming series, her character, her history with journalism and much more.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Julia Roth: We love a good backstory here at GGA; what’s yours?
Linsay Rousseau: I’ve always been an actor and a performer. I started music and theater when I was in elementary and high school. They were my life growing up, but I was also very much into academics as well. I decided to go to college but continued to do music and theater while in school, majoring in sociology and anthropology. When I graduated, I found myself in an abusive relationship that I needed to get out of, so I joined the army as a journalist and combat photographer.
I deployed to Iraq alongside the 101st Airborne Division from 2005 to 2006. There, I documented all the operations going on and then was medically discharged and found that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Eventually, I decided to return to school at UC Berkeley and got a masters from their School of Journalism and then pursued a career as an investigative journalist for PBS Frontline. I loved it, but the stress of working on these really in-depth stories and dealing with my PTSD became overwhelming.
To help myself mentally and physically, I left journalism and at the old age of 30, I went back to acting. I started doing theater in the San Francisco area and spent my days teaching singing and musical theater. So, I was balancing this life for six years, but it was grueling and didn’t pay well. I knew there was something more out there. Through some friends, I got into voice acting for video games and eventually got a meeting with an agent who helped me find work both on and off-screen.
I eventually moved to L.A., where the work was, and did some on-the-side jobs like being a brand ambassador for a kale chip and granola bar company to help pay bills. Eventually, I hit a point where my acting was paying the bills, and I could focus on other goals like my production company, penning scripts, and playing Dungeons and Dragons. I had played a bit in high school, but it was here where I really found my love for it. I played multiple games a week over COVID and met tons of fun people, and it eventually snowballed into The Die is Cast Gaming.
JR: Such a packed backstory! You’ve got a lot of experience under your belt and then some. It’s sometimes shocking to hear about D&D games that continue to meet years after they start.
LR: Yes! There is a game that Chad (Michael Collins) and I are in that has been going on for a while. We don’t always meet every week, but we try. We have reached the end and want to do the final game in person, so we are waiting for the perfect time. I’m also in a D&D podcast called Dragonlance: Echoes of Krynn. It is set in the Dragonlance world years after the war. We play monthly for a few hours, and that session is broken into more management podcast-length episodes that release weekly. We play this game through Zoom since we are spread across the United States.
JR: How did you come to join Dragonlance: Echoes of Krynn?
LR: We started planning this game a year ago, but things fell apart soon after. Eventually, we regrouped and rebooted it, found new players and got to work. As I said, it takes place a few years after the war, so it feels new and fresh. But, it isn’t too far out from what people know, and we reference original characters in the books so players can find something familiar with it. It is very much like how we are handling The Die is Cast Gaming‘s story. Our setting is in the Forgotten Realms, but a place that doesn’t get a lot of use. Players will feel at home while also getting a peek into something that is still new. It also allows us to craft our own stories in this world.
JR: Can you share a bit about your character for The Die is Cast Gaming?
LR: Of course! There are a few things I have to keep secret, but I’ll share what I can! Malley Dreabonny is a variant purple Teifling swashbuckling rogue. I’ve always wanted to play a winged character, so her variant is that she has wings. I worked alongside our DM, Jake Ynzunza, to build her backstory. She’s spent her life being raised by her mothers around ports and a smuggling operation. This plays heavily into where we see her at the beginning of our campaign, where she is working on running her own operation. I heavily based her on female pirates, including an Irish female pirate who excited in real life.
JR: I’m very excited to see your character interact with Chad’s paladin!
LR: I know! He really loves to play characters similar to his Call of Duty character, so it will be interesting to see how this goes. He will be the moral, righteous paladin guy, and I will be the one just trying to smooth things over. I like playing morally ambiguous characters. I’ve never played “evil characters,” but I think my default choice is to swing towards the whole chaotic neutral – chaotic good spectrum.
JR: How will you guys be producing The Die is Cast Gaming? Will it be in-person sessions, or will you be playing over Zoom?
LR: We will be playing over Zoom, which is why we had to push back the original launch while we found a new technical director to run OBS and twitch for us. Obviously, pending COVID, of course, we would love to be able eventually to go into a studio. All of us are based in LA, and this is something that is important to all of us. But until then, we will be playing through Zoom. We also want to attend conventions, do special games, and have a rotating cast of guest players to help play some of our NPCs.
JR: Will this be a live-play, or are you going to prerecord?
LR: This is going to be a live play. It was something that was very important to Chad and me. We want to use this as more than just a game but also as a way to teach newcomers the ins and outs of D&D. Chad has a large fanbase of video game players who are excited about the show but don’t know a lot about TTRPGs and we want to help guide them. Eventually, we want to create little videos on how to create characters and go over the rules of combat. There are a lot of opportunities to expand the community, and we want to help.
JR: I want to thank you so much for chatting with us! Before we sign off, what exciting new things do you have coming out on the horizon?
LR: Thank you for having me! Of course, we have The Die is Cast Gaming which drops on September 19, 2022. More information can be found on our socials (Twitch/Facebook/Twitter). Outside of that, I will be in God of War Ragnarok, which releases later this year. I have the Dragonlance: Echoes of Krynn podcast, which updates every Monday and can be listened to on their site. And I also have my weekly talk show, The Roll Out, where my co-host Genevieve Marie and I do reviews and breakdowns and focus on representation within entertainment.