Interview: Roll For Initiative in Mad Cave's 'The Last Session'
Oct 12, 2021
Interview by Troy-Jeffrey Allen
Throughout the years, Jay, Lana, Drew, Walter, and Shen have played their favorite tabletop role-playing game "Dice & Deathtraps." But with their college years soon coming to a close, these longtime comrades are about to experience the ultimate crit: the inevitability of adulthood!
In the following interview, The Last Session writer Jasmine Walls takes us inside this new title and explains what life lessons one can expect to learn from a friendly tabletop campaign.
PREVIEWSworld: So, what is The Last Session?
Jasmine Walls: The Last Session is actually two stories interwoven, set partially in the 'real world' as well as in the world of the game being played. A group of friends--Jay, Lana, Shen, Walter, and Drew--that met in high school playing D&D in a failed GSA club are now graduating college and on the verge of going their separate ways, so they decide to finally finish the very first campaign they ever played. Unfortunately, the addition of a new player--the GM's girlfriend, Cassandra--has thrown a wrench into the group's dynamic. At its core, The Last Session is about friendship, dice-rolling shenanigans, and stepping out on the path of a truly terrifying adventure; adulthood.
PREVIEWSworld: How did this come about as a project? What inspired it?
Jasmine Walls: I was happily surprised when Mad Cave reached out to me about writing this story, so I can't take credit for the base idea of it, but I was definitely inspired by my own tabletop adventures, which I also began in high school. There's a great parallel in making comics with a team and playing tabletop games since they're both forms of collaborative storytelling, which is something I really love and plays a huge role in The Last Session. I try to match a story's tone to its visuals as well, so the vibrancy of Dozer's art was also a big influence.
PREVIEWSworld: Tell us about the AHS GSA crew? Who are they and what makes them integral to the story?
Jasmine Walls: It was important to me that this story had a queer cast, but without making it their defining trait, and what better way than to introduce them from the get-go as all part of a Gender Sexuality Alliance? Each character is dealing with their own problems in their high school days as well as in college, and I think every reader will be able to find something relatable in this cast.
PREVIEWSworld: Will the readers get to experience different worlds?
Jasmine Walls: Absolutely! Readers won't just see the game being played, but fully dive into it, and get to follow along with the adventure. It was a fun challenge to balance the interpersonal real world story with the action-packed adventure of the game narrative, which was masterfully brought to life by Dozer's artwork.
PREVIEWSworld: Is this more comedy or high fantasy or something else entirely?
Jasmine Walls: Why not both? I love genre-blending, and The Last Session is a combination of high fantasy, comedy, and slice of life.
PREVIEWSworld: Are you into tabletop? Which ones?
Jasmine Walls: I am, I started playing D&D in high school with a group of friends, and never really stopped. If it involves making characters and rolling dice, I'm in. I play a lot of Pathfinder currently, as well as more indie tabletop games like Casketland and Magic Swords.
PREVIEWSworld: Looking forward, what can readers expect from The Last Session?
Jasmine Walls: I hope a lot of laughter, I want readers to have fun with this story. There are epic wins and epic fails, all the skeletons you could possibly want, and a little bit of intrigue, as a treat.
PREVIEWSworld: Ultimately, who would you say this book is for?
Jasmine Walls: While I truly think this story is perfect for just about anyone, it really is a love letter to my fellow nerds, and to all the folks moving into adulthood and wondering how to bridge their lives and friendships from teen years to the ever-elusive feeling of being a 'real grown up', something I still haven't quite managed.
Jay, Lana, Drew, Walter, and Shen have played Dice & Deathtraps together since high school. Now, on the verge of graduating college and scattering, they've decided to finally complete their unfinished first campaign. But when Jay's partner Cassandra joins as a new player, Lana's afraid the party won't ever finish their quest...
Troy-Jeffrey Allen is the producer and co-host of PREVIEWSworld Weekly. He is also the Consumer Marketing Manager for Geppi Family Enterprises. Troy's comics work includes MF DOOM: All Caps, Public Enemy's Apocalpyse '91, the Glyph Award-nominated Fight of the Century, the Harvey Award-nominated District Comics, and the Ringo Award-nominated Magic Bullet.