Insight Check: Tanya DePass (Selise Astorio)

Tanya DePass (@cypheroftyr) was gracious enough to answer some questions I threw at her, even while she was sick. She let us get a better look behind the scenes, giving her opinion on some things, and giving a peek into Selise’s mind(again).

Group photo of the Rivals of Waterdeep crew in black and white, with the exception of Tanya.
Order is: Cicero, Brandon, Surena, Tanya, Carlos, Shareef
Photo Credit: Greg Tito/Wizards of the Coast

Tanya DePass plays Selise Astorio, Human Paladin Matriarch of the Rivals. Tanya is the Director and Founder of I Need Diverse Games, a non-profit, that works to help make games and the gaming community more diverse and inclusive. Their work is done through consulting, panel speaking, and various articles and outreach. Tanya has been part of the TTRPG/D&D community since she was young, but has only recently-ish fully jumped back into things. Tanya is now the GM on a Star Trek stream, and of course, a member of the Rivals of Waterdeep!
Selise is driven forward by the chance to repay the man who murdered her wife, she works for Justice, under the auspices of the God Tyr. She loves baths and justice, and for sure wants to strangle Perrin Underbough. She keeps a stoic facade, but hides a warm heart underneath her armor. She tries her best to keep the Rivals on track, unfortunately getting swept up in their shenanigans far too often.

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

I knew I wanted to be a black woman, human and either a rogue or Paladin. Since I follow the Nordic pantheon and have Tyr as my patron; I used that as a template for Selise. She’s the better side of me in many ways. No big process, but I did enjoy getting her story together beyond rolling for stats. 

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

No one, I think everyone is suited to their characters pretty well and I don’t know if I’d want anyone else playing as Selise.

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

Probably make her a bit more open, a tad bit more trusting. Though she’s motivated by an oath of vengeance, she could be a little nicer; sometimes.

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

Season 1 favorite moment would be getting that nat 20 after (I think Chris Perkins) yelled out from the audience to remind me that I had advantage in my pocket during Stream of Many Eyes. Season 2? Season 2, thought it was emotionally rough; would be letting them see Selise’s past and what she’s lost. Having Rinn worry for her, and confess that he would miss her, that he needs her was a gut punch but in a good way. 

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

I can’t wait to see where Shareef takes us as a GM. Also, trying to see how Selise changes after dealing with the others seeing her past.

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

Fave NPC is Noc Noc. Least fave? Probably Volo. 

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

Not really, a lot of things have worked out for the best; even if it took a while to get there.

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 what we’re doing, and what we represent is important. Not just because we show that anyone can play D&D; but because we are shown doing so, having fun and we’re not trotted out as diversity trophies. The show was put together with the intent of getting a great cast together, and to show that we’re not super rare; or that we aren’t unicorns but have always been around in the TTRPG space. But knowing that seeing POC on an official WotC twitch show is important, and a thing I take seriously. 

What is it like playing with this group?

Amazing, it’s the most fun I’ve had playing D&D in ages. It makes me really happy to see those folks who are newer to tabletop get into it and grow into their characters. 

If given the opportunity, how would Selise murder Perrin?

She’d drop him off a cliff, or Sparta kick him off a bridge. 

If Selise doesn’t get a bath at some point in the day, would she die or would she go on a murder spree?

Murder spree, but she’d have to go quite a while without a bath before it came to bloodshed. She is used to military style training, and is used to roughing it when she has to. It doesn’t mean she likes it.

Does Selise already have a revenge plan in mind for the man who killed her wife, or will she see where the mood takes her?

She’s got a plan, but like all well laid plans it may well go astray when confronted with the man who took her beloved from her. 

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

Dreading, I don’t know that I’m up to the task and I would have terrible performance anxiety as a GM for an established group. 

Here’s where to find me on various spots on the internet, including how to support my work:

🖊️main site:
📸 Instagram:— Tanya DePass 💖💜💙 ryōtōzukai (両刀遣い) (@cypheroftyr) August 7, 2018

If you are looking to support the work, here’s how you currently can.

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