1. Tell us a little bit about yourself
Clinton J. Boomer, known to his friends as “Booms,” resides in the quaint, idyllic, leafy paradise of Macomb, Illinois, where he attended school from the 4th grade through college. He began playing D&D with the 1993 release of Planescape, and currently devotes a full 99.9% of his waking hours to thinking about RPGs. Boomer is a writer, filmmaker, gamer, bartender and janitor.
Although he cannot find enough hours in the day to do even half of what he wants, Boomer is insanely prolific on the topics of ninjas, comedy, D&D, vampires, Lovecraftian gods, …, super-villains, … the human condition, …l and a number of other things he thinks are pretty darn cool.
... and I think, honestly, that that pretty much covers it. I got started writing before I can really remember: my mother loves to tell the stories of when I would walk up to her while she was working at the computer and ask her to "write down this story" - those early works involved a lot of monsters made out of magical fire & people being thrown into garbage-cans. What can I say? I was, like, six.
My professional writing career has really taken off in the last year, starting with my publication in the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting (which followed directly from placing in the Top 4 in Paizo LLC's inaugural RPG Superstar! competition); since then, I've been given the opportunity to work on a ton of cool projects which I don't want to bore you to death with here; for those with a truly freakish and obsessive interest in that topic (hi, mom!), I'll direct you to my resume, located HERE.
I try to game twice a week - running a game on Sunday or Monday night, and playing on the other. When I run, I'm interested in weird, gonzo, epic stuff, obviously: Book of Nine Swords-inspired Planescape, high-level Dark Sun, a home-brew Iron Kingdoms/SpellJammer mash-up, or even Metal Gear Solid-infused high-psionic d20 Modern with Cthulhu elements. But I'll play just about anything, including classic sword-&-board, low-magic historical fantasy; in fact, some of my favorite game-moments are the very, very human ones.
2. What attracted you as a designer to this project?
It was a single, wonderful line: "Pitch me something that Paizo would never, ever let you do." Now, considering that Paizo hired Nick Logue, James Jacobs and Richard Pett, there obviously isn't much that they won't allow if the concept is good; this is a company for whom the words "new & cool" are sort of a credo. I really had to bring my A-game to find something wild enough to go beyond Paizo's normal limits but also awesome enough to make a good game.
Plus, of course, the company has quite the pedigree!
3. Why do you think patronage projects are expanding? (What is Patronage?)
I'm not much of a business-theorist, and you'd probably get a much better answer from someone with a degree in Marketing - or even Art. But I'll give you my raw and unfettered response, which has to do with the do-it-yourself movement and the nature of Open Gaming.
Since the beginning of table-top role-playing, there's been a strong 'home-brew' element - heck, the game wouldn't even exist if it were not for the crazy-making brain-power of amazing guys like Arneson & Gygax who said, basically, "This whole miniature war-gaming thing is fun, but it would be even MORE fun if we got to really play as heroes & go stomping around in crypts, killing monsters!" It's a game about telling stories with your friends. Even before the appearance of the OGL, people were making their own rules for the game, and even selling them to fellow fans - like Role-Aids back in the day.
All the OGL really did was put an official stamp on the practice, exploding the market into the hands of a thousand, thousand gamers with a story to tell, all looking to share their unique visions & unique rules with fellow fans. Some of the work was stellar, some of it was amateur, but all of it had that exciting, infectious "do-it-yourself" feel. Because that's what gaming is: it's DIY fun. It's "hot" media - it won't come to your house and tell you a story. It's not a novel or a DVD or a television show or a sports team, where it exists with or without your input - it's a "build your own awesome" kit.
When the hobby itself is treated like the dynamic media it is, I think that you get really incredible work, which is why I'm so excited to get my hands on the Pathfinder RPG - it's a game that was built from the core of the world's most popular role-playing game, incorporating rules from some of the best writers & designers on the planet (pretty much the entire editorial team from the Paizo-years of Dungeon & Dragon magazine, with constant design-consultation from Monte Cook) and then handed off for a world-wide open playtest for a YEAR. That's amazing, and the end result is killer.
Which brings us to the patronage system, which is the hottest of the hot media: YOU tell the designer what you want out of your adventure, and the feedback loop starts building as a ton of creative minds pass the ball back and forth. What you've got, when you're done, is something BY fans, FOR fans, that meets the specific needs and desires of the core audience who helped make it happen.
How could that NOT attract us 3rd millennium bards?
4. Could you please sum up "Coliseum Morpheuon" in a sentence or three?
Ooooh, good question! Let's find out! The core design behind the Coliseum Morpheuon is that it's a plug-&-play addition to YOUR game-world: an involved and intrigue-laden demi-reality ready to become a part of your campaign as a hidden dimension, a living dungeon, or even the centerpiece of a new series of adventures. As a bubble-plane drifting the borders of Dream, Shadow and the Ethereal, it's a highly morphic place made of equal parts surreal substance and gnostic nightmare, where blood and battle are bartered for power, prestige and profit.
5. Could you please sum up "The Damnation Epoch" in a sentence or three?
It's a winner-take all fight for 101 wish spells, drawn over the course of a century from a crucified pit-fiend, held by the powerful and enigmatic Khan of Nightmares in his shifting, forbidding lair. I'm a sucker for martial-arts epics, especially the classic Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon - everything else fell in to place with that concept. To my mind, it's significant that even parodies and homages to that film (the "Fistful of Yen" super-sketch from Kentucky Fried Movie, the original Mortal Kombat, and even the Christopher Walken/ping-pong comedy Balls of Fury) are exciting and fun. I'd never seen something like that pulled off at the gaming table, so the idea of a team-tournament, sponsored by a mysterious villain and attended by powerful and self-serving beings (including angels, efreet, vampires and demons), really gets me excited.
6. How did you feel, when you discovered someone has signed up for the Patronage Project? For the Gold Level?
I crapped myself. I mean, there's no other way to put it - I freaked out! I've been writing professionally for less than a year, now, so I felt like a Pulitzer prize winner when I learned that people were actually THIS interested in taking a wild ride with me.
7. Could you list some of your major influences in your initial thoughts on Coliseum Morpheuon The Damnation Epoch?
Besides the aforementioned Enter the Dragon, I'm an old-skool Planescape junkie; my desire is to revive that otherworldly dynamic for the new Pathfinder RPG rules, which I think have a very exciting and cinematic feel while still being designed to play more human-centric fantasy. I'm inspired by anime, Warren Ellis comics, Quentin Tarentino, kung-fu and late-80's video games (especially Ninja Gaiden!) as much as by Tolkien or Robert E. Howard, and I'd love for this specific adventure to feel like a natural culmination of all the things I love about gaming - a sort of "you got your chocolate in my peanut-butter!" moment for elements as disparate as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Steven Brust's Jhereg books.
8. What are the strengths of CMTDE being compatible with the Pathfinder RolePlaying Game ?
It's a great system, and it's built "hot" - many minds, many fans, many voices, all working to make the best version of the rules that could possibly be built. Having gone over the new rules with a pretty fine-toothed comb, and having spent some chatting time with Lead Designer Jason Bulmahn at PaizoCon, I think that what the fans are going to see is a really amazing final product. Of course, I'm excited to get to poke at the complex web-work that is such a tight and fluid system and see what it can do.
9. Can you tell me about your experience so far of working with Rite Publishing Vs. Other publishers you have worked with?
Not to just sit here and babble about how great RiP is, but it's been amazing to work with everyone at Rite; seeing the ad for my work get built one step at a time and then appear in the Wayfinder Fanzine for PaizoCon was surreal and joyous and really blew my mind. I've worked on a few projects over the years that have just never gotten off the ground (due to any number of factors), so I'm well aware of the harsh & unforgiving conditions of the publishing world; in short, I'm blown away by the level of commitment and dedication that the Rite folks have for putting out a great product.
10. Can you tell me how you felt when you first saw the portfolio of CMTDE's cover and interior artist Jason Rainville?
Probably not - at least not without using some "adult" words, and I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to curse for this interview. We've got kids at home reading this, right? If I take out all the expletives, it would be something like: "Holy! Oh my! I can't believe it! This guy is awesome!"
My girlfriend is quite the art-junkie, and she loves his stuff; I'm just stunned and amazed to be working with someone so talented!
You can find Part 2 of the interview HERE