Insight Check: Shareef Jackson (Shaka)

Shareef Jackson (@ShareefJackson) took a brief moment out of planning to break the brains of the Rivals crew to answer some questions.

Group photo of the Rivals of Waterdeep crew in black and white, with the exception of Shareef.
Order is: Cicero, Brandon, Surena, Tanya, Carlos, Shareef

Shareef Jackson plays Shaka, Tiefling Warlock, and the de-facto brain, at least when it comes to puzzles, of the group. Shareef is part of the Spawn on Me podcast, alongside Tanya and Cicero. He’s also a teacher and loves to teach others about math and physics. He also has a youtube channel where he talks about diversity in gaming.
Shaka is a tiefling who has faced discrimination, but you wouldn’t fully know it the way he acts and carries himself. That said, he is never opposed to just trying to be amongst others like him. He’s very analytical and loves puzzles. His patron is a beholder, but Shaka has been keeping him at arms length, though who knows for how long he can continue doing so?

How did you come up with the concept for you character? What was the process?

Our group all met to create characters. I wanted a character that is often underestimated and looked down on, which brought me to Tiefling. I also love spells and magic, so Warlock was my calling. 

If you could switch characters with anyone, who would you choose?

I’d switch with Selise. I love her struggle between justice and vengance. 

Would you change up any aspects of your character if given the opportunity?

I’d up my Strength modifier and AC for sure!  Shaka is a little too squishy.

What has been your favorite moment of the entire series so far? Season 1? Season 2?

S1 fav: Ash running in to save me from Dirty D after escaping the theater
S2 fav: Noc Noc telling Rinn about how he got his name

What is something that you are very much looking forward to in Season 3?

Looking forward to the wild and wacky scenes that are outside of what is written! 

Who has been your favorite NPC of the show? Least favorite?

Fav NPC: Nim.  A great, satisfying story arc
Least fav: Floon.  

Are there any decisions made that you wish you could redo?

Wish I could have looked harder for Merrick when we first went to the apothecary 

What is your opinion on the, while not directly implied, but obvious representation related aspect of the show? It’s a show of PoC and LGBGTQIA+ people, which is a very important thing these days, which really sends a message to others of marginalized identities that this game can be for them also.

My opinion is that it’s fuckin awesome and we represent lovely. 

What is it like playing with this group?

It’s amazing. It’s everything I love about video games times a thousand.

Will there ever be a reckoning between Shaka and his rebuffed patron?

Can’t share that of course. But Beholders are not known to be rational, and being blocked by its servant may not go well.

What was going through your head when you were told/approached about DMing Season 3?

I was super nervous because Carlos has set a high bar. But I’m up for the challenge! It made me think of creating stories and video game stories when I was younger.

How have you been preparing yourself for Season 3?

Writing writing writing. Listening listening listening. Role playing role playing role playing.

Where will we find Shaka as Season 3 begins, due to him having to fade into the background?

He’ll be in the mix! 

What is Shaka’s favorite kind of puzzle?

He loves puzzles that involve manipulating physical objects. 

Is there a puzzle that Shaka has never solved, and does it haunt him at night?

Nah, he’s too dope!

You can find Shareef on his main site, on the Spawn on Me podcast, along with a few of his Twitter accounts(here, here, and here).

If you want to support the work being done here, here’s how:
Retweeting and letting PoC know that there is a space here for them, especially those who have been hesitant to play.


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