D&D, Robots and Virtual Taverns: An Interview with Floyd, Founder of Floyd’s Varmints
We caught up with this Dungeons & Dragons fanatic to discuss the film industry, bears with towels on their heads, and… wizard urine?
Tabletop RPGs are amidst something of a renaissance.
Where I live, there’s two rival gaming stores, directly opposite one another on the same street. Both hold Dungeons & Dragons nights regularly, and whenever they do, they are packed – and I mean PACKED.
D&D has reigned the tabletop RPG scene for over forty years, therefore it’s no surprise than one artist has taken inspiration from D&D for his NFT collection – but what is a surprise is how he’s flipped the concept of fearsome monsters on its head. This artist is Floyd, of Floyd’s Varmints.
Rather than frightful enemies, think annoying wisps, not-so-scary bears, and a kung-fu robot bartender. A kung-fu. Robot. Bartender. Oh, he also mines NFTs for you, if that wasn’t enough. If that hasn’t got you interested to find out more, I don’t know what will!
Read to the end of the interview for our Floyd’s Varmints Interview Card, and Timmy collab!
Pssst… there’s three hidden claim links within this article. Happy hunting!
Hydro: Hey! Could you tell me a bit about yourself, your background and how you got into NFTs?
“Floyd”: Despite the rumours, my name is not actually Floyd Jenkins. Floyd – like my first varmint, the Broholder – is a character in the lore of the Deck of Varmints. The real me is not quite as interesting as a famed monster documentarian, but my journey has gone in some interesting directions during my lifetime!
When I was younger, I was always fascinated by the world of digital media, and I decided that I wanted to become a filmmaker. I never stopped wanting to be a filmmaker until I ended up getting an IT job at a well-known movie studio. Working in that industry for a few years drained any desire I had to make movies and TV shows, but being the creative type that I am, the desire to create my own IP never faded. That’s where the real money is at, isn’t it?
I decided that writing novels was more my speed, because I could work on it in solitude, and in my own time. The problem with writing novels is that they take a lot of self-discipline and a major time commitment, without seeing any results for a long time. It wasn’t all about the money for me, but I did want to make a living out of it, so the idea for the novel I wanted to write sat in my brain for a good ten years without any real progress.
Then, I discovered Dungeons & Dragons. It was the perfect blend of fun and creativity for me. It allowed me to create the world I’d always wanted to, and I had the motivation to work on it on a regular basis. Even though there was no money in it, it made me happy.
I tried to find ways I could earn with my passion, and that’s how I came to start 3D modelling. It began with 3D printing miniatures for my games, modelled by a very talented team of sculptors called Cast N’ Play.
When my D&D games started going more online, I wanted to use those minis in a 3D setting. I taught myself how to paint the miniatures in Substance Painter and then bring them into platforms like Tabletop Simulator. After working with 3D models so intimately, I tried my hand at sculpting them myself, and found my new passion.
At the beginning of this year, I got into investing after reading about the Robinhood app on Reddit (before the GameStop debacle). During my investment research, I read an article about how Beeple sold a digital art piece of his for millions of dollars as something called an NFT.
What the heck is an NFT?
I did more research and found the answer to the creative platform I had been searching for all of my life. I immediately decided I needed to try my hand at it!
I have to ask – have you played your part in any TV shows or movies that we may know?
I haven’t acted in anything you’d know, just some independent projects my semi-famous friend put together, but I have provided technical support for some fairly well-known people, like Michael B Jordan, Billy Crystal, and Roma Downey to name a few.
Filmmaker, novelist, artist… you’ve certainly got a creative streak in you! Do you think the first two may play a role in your Varmints metaverse in future?
Oh absolutely. I can envision a world with a Varmints cartoon or comic book. That’s what I love about the NFT space – there are endless possibilities with what you can do and so many talented artists to collaborate with, not to mention the fact that you can fund these endeavours without needing to find some big investor. I’m terrible at fundraising, so the fact that I can make something, sell it right away, and then use those funds to make something bigger is so game-changing.
Tell us about your Varmints!
Deck of Varmints was born not as a planned project, but eh, I’ll upload a piece of art that I’ve already made to Rarible and see what happens.
As I was pulling the original Broholder art that I made, ideas started flooding into my head. What if I had a whole series of collectible creatures that people could buy as digital trading cards? What if they were funny like Garbage Pail Kids? That’s when I stopped myself from just uploading a picture and seeing what happened, to thinking, maybe I should do this thing right and put some thought into it.
I came up with the idea of Floyd Jenkins and his collection of Varmints, based on the D&D book Volo’s Guide to Monsters, but with the twist that all of the creatures are parodies of themselves.
The first varmint I released was the Broholder, a bro’d out version of a Beholder. I actually did my first drop through the NFT Insider Telegram group! I’ve created 6 additional varmints since then, and released a build-a-mining robot (NORMAN) pack, as well as a complete collection of resources for blending.
My Broholder still sits proudly in my wallet! How many Varmints do you have planned for the collection?
Yes! You bought one of the first five that I dropped! You were one of my first supporters and helped this absolute NFT noob get off the ground and I’ll be forever grateful for that. (<3)
As far as the planned number of Varmints goes, I don’t really have a number in mind, so I’ll just keep making them until I or future team members run out of good ideas for them. That being said, Deck of Varmints is expanding so far beyond what I initially set out to do, that Varmints won’t be the only things I release for this collection. I’m very excited about what I have planned!
Was NORMAN the first peek at these plans? What can the community expect from Deck o’ Varmints in future?
Yes, NORMAN is just the beginning for what comes next.
For those that don’t know, NORMAN is a mining NFT that drops magic material resource packs and the brand-new token that I’ve just launched – NOVUM. The magic resources currently only allow you to make new mining NORMANs, but will eventually be used for crafting spells, upgrading Varmint card rarities and equipment NFTs that will be released for use in the D&D campaigns we run in my Discord, and a questing game being developed for Immersys.
Within the next couple of weeks, a new type of NORMAN will be available to buy directly with the NOVUM token that serves a very different function than the current ones, but that’s all I’ll say for now.
Intriguing! Speaking of Immersys, I hear you’ve got a cool space in the works over there?
I do, and I’m really excited about it!
Immersys has opened up a handful of spaces for creators to have their own virtual NFT store. My store is setup like a medieval tavern, so not only will you be able to shop for my NFTs in there, you’ll also be able to sit down and drink some Wizard’s Piss with your friends, find your next adventuring party, or even get into a bar room brawl with NPCs and other players.
The first round is on me! Will we be seeing your Varmints wandering around in the Immersys metaverse?
What’s your favourite Varmint that you’ve designed so far? I love the Towelbear!
The Towelbear is a great one, totally underrated in my opinion.
My favourite tends to change as time goes on and new ones are released, but I’d have to say that my current favourite is the Slimic. Mimics are such classic D&D monsters and they can be literally anything, which opens up so many possibilities for new variations.
What have you enjoyed most about working on Floyd’s Varmints?
I think it’s just how much creative freedom I have, which allows me to stretch my abilities and learn things I never thought I’d be able to do.
What hopes do you have for the future of Floyd’s Varmints?
My hopes for the future of Varmints is to create not just a fun game for people, but to create an overall experience that really hasn’t been done before.
People work so hard to obtain top-level gear in games only to have it become obsolete when a new expansion comes out or only get to use it for limited end-game content.
What if that super sweet chestplate you spent hundreds of hours grinding for in World of Warcraft could be used in your next Adventure’s League D&D session? What if you could craft a 1/1 artefact weapon that records a history of its owners and achievements from games that will live forever on the blockchain and be passed down through generations?
These are the sorts of things that NFTs can make possible, and the sort of thing I hope to accomplish with my project.
Going back to the Telegram group, a lot of the people in that group at the time have gone on to start their own collections, or play prominent roles in some of WAX’s biggest projects. What has it been like to grow alongside these people over the past few months?
It’s really great to see so many cool projects coming out from the people I’ve gotten to know and consider friends. Sometimes I feel like I’m falling behind or not doing enough when I see others that started around the same time as me achieving higher levels of success. I try not to compare myself too closely and stay positive, but that’s not always easy!
I remind myself that even when another project has more buzz than mine or draws in more people, it’s good for all WAX projects and the ecosystem as a whole. It’s like what Corey from Uplift says, and I’ve heard this before from other really successful people as well; a rising tide lifts all ships.
Corey couldn’t be more correct! On the topic of other personalities, are there any NFT artists/collections that you admire, WAX or otherwise?
Oh man, there are so many people on WAX that are doing awesome things, but someone I really admire is Señor Lupe. He’s hilarious, and always so positive! I’ve never heard him say a bad thing about anyone and he never hesitates to help out his fellow artists. Also, he drew 100 freaking unique horse heads by hand on an iPad. That’s really impressive!
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention another fellow iPad artist @nftpizza, who is another bright spot in the NFT community – although I could also be biased since pizza is my favourite food!
Lupe is best fren! Is there anything you’d like to add? Anything you’d like to say directly to the reader?
Si, Lupe brother from other mother is!
I just want to thank all the collectors and other artists out there who have believed in Varmints from the beginning and have made this journey possible so far. I’m only about five months into this thing so we’re just getting started, and there are many great things to come!
It’s quick-fire question time!
What fuels you?
Cold brew coffee with heavy cream, or a genuine compliment.
Prediction time; what will the value of $WAXP be on 1st January, 2022?
Elon Musk riding a Shiba Inu to the moon. But seriously, if it hits $1, I’ll be really happy.
One unusual fact about you?
I do have an IMDB page.
You can invite three people, real or fictional, to dinner. Who do you choose and why?
Gary Gygax, Kevin Smith, and Jesus, because we’d get a free meal and play the most epic game of D&D ever.
What is your purpose in life?
To raise my children into the best adults possible.
How can we follow you and your work?
Floyd has been there since the very earliest days of NFT Insider, and to watch him and his collection grow week on week, month on month has been spectacular. There’s a real tight-knit community around the Varmints – no less deserving of a man of Floyd’s kindness, character and passion.
The Varmints are smack-bang in the centre of that beautiful crossroads between fun, uniqueness and quality, and I for one cannot wait to see what Floyd comes up with next. Maybe one day, I can have a can of Wee Brew and a Towelbear figurine on my desk…
To celebrate this interview, we have our Floyd’s Varmints Interview Card, dropping tomorrow at 22 UTC!