Insight Check: Surena Marie (Ashbourne)

Surena Marie (@surenaxmarie) took time out of being royalty to grant us a boon of some information and insight into her character Ashbourne.

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

Surena Marie plays Ashbourne, Half-Elf Ranger, the other group wild card, accompanied by her fox companion Chips. Surena is something of a D&D/TTRPG veteran, having been playing for about 3 years now, with her biggest platform being the Dungeon Rats podcast and stream alongside Carlos. She’s an actress, voice over artist, cosplayer, and garbage Disney princess. She can be found every now and then at conventions talking about diversity and inclusion while cosplaying either her D&D characters or pop culture characters.
Ashbourne is the bombastic member of the Rivals crew. She’s always ready to punch someone if need be, even if they’re some ways above her weight class. She’s bonded strongly with Rinn and Selise, while placing herself under the tutelage of Perrin. She’s a shipper and will put in the work to make them a reality.

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

The process was really fun! I love creating really strange characters. Before deciding on Ash I was going to be a literal Disney Garbage Princess. I was going to be a Druid with the power to turn into only city animals. Like pigeons, rats and all of those things. I thought this would be fun because we were going to be in Waterdeep. But as we all sat down and decided on characters, I saw that here was a need for a ranger or fighter to balance the party since some of them were very new players. Thus my weirdo dragon handed Smashbourne was made. Originally her name was Wynn Ashbourne but the night before SOME we finally played together and I learned that Brandon named his character Rinn. So I just changed it to her last name.

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

Oooh thats super interesting! If I could switch characters with anyone I think it would be Rinn. He is such a fun loving fancy boi turned dark and sort of broody. I think his arch would be really interesting to play. If we are talking straight up character sheets I would be curious to playing PU. I 1,000% would not be a quarter of the halfling bard he is because of how he emotionally wrecks our enemies but the image of me trying sounds really fun(ny).

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

I’m looking forward to seeing where Shareef goes as a DM. I like how we have had two very different seasons both in theme and in content,. S1 felt like a mad dash whereas S2 took place in like 1.5 days.

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

My favorite NPC (other than Chips) is Dirty D. Hands down. Close third is Kolbold 2 although….Volo, Nim…I can’t…choose.

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.

I love wizards for not parading us around like show ponies for being PoC LGBTQIA. They put us together but never tried to do that wierd “taking credit thing” that many producers do when they hire a diverse cast. Because it’s not a pat on the back, extra mile. It’s being aware that representation across media as a whole is a problem and then hiring a diverse cast. Now, our show isn’t by any means a fix but I hope it opens the door to normalizing representation. People might not understand why representation is important but if you ask any marginalized person the first time they saw someone that looked like them in the media 9/10 its going to have emotional value to them. America re-plays the same narratives of strong white men (then white women) saving the world and falling in love. It’s everywhere and so the rest of us become used to it and even accept it unitil BAM something like Moana happens and you realize just how unseen you felt.

What is it like playing with this group?

Playing with the group is a literal dream. We all clicked right away which is pretty magical for any group. Playing with them is like sitting at the dinner table with your siblings. Sometimes its rowdy and loud, or sometimes you share solem silences together. But its always your family no matter what.

What was running through your head, and Ashbourne’s, at the end of Episode 7 and beginning of Episode 8?

The first thought was fuhhhhhh. But then later it was…holy crap…am i dead? …..Is this when we find out my claw has a special power and I am a badass? It was mixed but overall very excited. I love danger in games.

Will we ever learn how Ashbourne’s mentor ended up in jail?

I sure hope so because he’s still in Jail! I should remind Shareef hahaha. If you’re curious I had a small backstory for him that is mostly him training Ash but experiences an ongoing string of comical badluck.

Carlos mentioned the idea/plan of having everyone DM at some point, if given more seasons, are you dreading or looking forward to that?

I am both! I think it will be a super fun experience. Also scary because its a lot of pressure and big shoes to fill.

Will Chips ever get some armor?

I honestly didnt think to get any until right this second. Now that this idea is planted I’m on a mission and whatever the outcome of that will be your fault haha

What would be one of your favorite Ashbourne moments?

I really loved introducing Perrin. I had no idea what the words were going to fling out of my mouth but I was so hyped. I also loved all of Ash’s interactions with Volo and everytime the party realizes how strong Ash is. She is deceptively buff as heck.

You can find Surena here and support her through this.

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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