Tuesday, April 23, 2024

MEKONG’s Final Chapter Arrives March 4 in a Cosmic Conclusion

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From Queen’s Court Games, the last episode of MEKONG arrives on Monday, March 4th!

In the secure heartland of the Viangchan Sector, four unsuspecting pilots find themselves thrust into a battle for survival when their passenger starliner falls prey to a malevolent force from the dark beyond the stars. As they launch their anthropomorphic war machines into the skies above Chao Phraya, the pilots must confront not only monsters, but the sinking horror of a prophecy revealed. The Con Ma have returned, and the entire Mekong Empire is at risk.

MEKONG is an epic mecha space opera powered by Beam Saber, set in an original universe inspired by Southeast Asian culture and mythology by Jerry La, with Cultural Sensitivity Consultant Arianne Li. MEKONG puts viewers in the cockpit alongside an all-Asian cast for an adventure that follows in the footsteps of George Lucas’ Star Wars, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Yoshiyuki Tomino’s Mobile Suit Gundam and Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim.

This first-of-its-kind series airs live weekly on Mondays at 6:00p CST on Queen’s Court Games (Twitch). Viewers can also find episodes on YouTube, or via One Shots and Other Mischief on Spotify or wherever fine podcasts are served.

Creator Jerry La takes Southeast Asian culture and mythology into a fantastical future. The Mekong Nebula is an entirely original science fiction universe, spun from the locations and legends of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Each of four player characters brings their Asian heritage to the fore of actual play, highlighting elements of family, identity, and life in the Asian diaspora.

photo of clara, a black and blonde haired person on top of a passport with the character's information, and a sketch of their mecha and call sign in MEKONG

Clara Allison (Oradee Voung) is an actual play performer and producer with Queens Court Games and Happy Jacks RPG Podcast, known for terrible dice luck and resultant creative gameplay.

“MEKONG was conceived to pay homage to the cultures that made us. Western audiences are happy to harvest the aesthetics of Asian art, so long as that ‘Asian’ is Korean or Chinese or Japanese, and doesn’t look beyond the surface. There’s almost no place at the table for Southeast and South Asians, who have more in common with each other than with East Asian cultures. Jerry and I wanted to make something that drew from our folklore and stories in a way that felt as familiar and magical as the way Disney pulled from European traditions. The world is so much bigger and richer than people realize and we want to bring that to everyone.”

photo of Andrew, a bald person on top of a passport with the character's information, and a sketch of their mecha and call sign

Andrew J. Alandy (Roman Maxilom) is a live events and actual play performer finally living his dream of being Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a TTRPG.

“MEKONG is one of my favorite actual plays to have been a part of!”

photo of Ryan, a black haired person on top of a passport with the character's information, and a sketch of their mecha and call sign

Ryan Omega (Callax’an Bulaklak) is a professional gamemaster, LARPer, and host of the TTRPG interview series Geek Public.

“Many of these characters in Mekong are some of the most relatable personalities I’ve roleplayed with: A princess who always anxious for screwing up so publicly. An aspiring actress who’s been told to put her dreams away for duty and family. A father who’s traded his time for war to raise his daughter and has to return to fighting. And of course, a mecha racer who would rather deal with race mechs than his family’s political machinations. If anything, Mekong doesn’t show how separate Southeast Asian culture is from the rest of the world; it shows how universal these themes are, so you don’t need to have that background or heritage to relate to these stories.”

Pooja Sharma (Rupi’a Tayeng) is a long-time actual play performer and proud member IATSE 44 who did not base the portrayal of a person bucking familial expectations to go into the arts on any real person, pinky promise.

“It was a fantastic experience to play at a table where we share so many cultural touchstones, and a privilege to play with such a skilled group of performers. It opened up a unique opportunity in playing Rupi’a, who embodied the struggles of loving and honoring your family while also staying true to yourself and your community.”

Jerry La (Gamemaster) is a writer, improviser, and filmmaker whose works have been showcased everywhere from San Diego Comic Con International to the Cannes Short Film Corner, and winner of the 2019 Best Director Prize at the Terminus Film Festival. MEKONG is his debut RPG Actual Play project.

MEKONG is the culmination of over fifteen years of a young Viet nerd’s obsession with space opera, mythology, history, and anime. In writing the world, I found it wasn’t enough for me to just pastiche together all my favorite genre works and throw a Southeast Asian coat of paint over them – the setting had to reflect lived Southeast Asian experiences. It’s a space fantasy without aliens, only alienated people. It’s an immigrant story, a homecoming story, a universe where demigod-shaped robots and ghost demons from space are complemented by the ever ongoing human struggle for survival and identity. The conflicts and battles fought across the Mekong Constellation may be fantastic spectacles, but they intentionally and thematically echo the battles being waged in, for, and by our communities for dignity, inclusion, and change. These struggles persist to this day, and it is my hope that after sharing this story we can better recognize our potential to build a better world under this star-filled sky we all share.”

MEKONG pushes the boundaries of actual play, using a bespoke score, diegetic sound design, and bespoke art and animations to create an immersive actual play experience above and beyond its peers. MEKONG continues Queen’s Court Games’ commitment to highlighting small publishers and independent games, using the Beam Saber system by Austin Ramsay.

Images courtesy of Queen’s Court Games

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