31. What is your feeling about the Rite Publishing's newest release Evocative City Sites? (Publisher’s shameless plug)
Oh, huge fan! I just snagged & read through the Rogue's Gallery Tavern .pdf, and it's exactly the sort of thing that I think a GM like myself can make a lot of use of: system-neutral, fun, detailed and flexible enough to be of use to me immediately. Of course, as a professional bartender the last several years, I love a good fantasy-universe alehouse - and the Fu Manchu reference particularly tickled me!What really got me, though, was the price - less than two bucks? And patrons get, like, a discount on top of THAT? Dude. How could you afford NOT to pick it up?
32. What is your home game like?
Characterized by lovingly-detailed, highly cinematic combat, rife with plenty of over-the-top moments of anime-inspired super-awesome, and accented with exceptionally convoluted back-stories involving intricate conspiracies & ancient cults. As a GM, I'm often drawn to non-"traditional fantasy" sources for my in-game inspiration; while I have a deep & abiding love for Arthurian legend & Lord of the Rings, I've probably ripped off Michael Mann's Heat, Warren Ellis's Planetary and Yoshiaki Kawajiri's Ninja Scroll more times than I've ever used elves or dragons.
33. What is the Pathfinder product you want to buy?
Oh, good question!Let's be honest - I love, love, LOVE the Pathfinder universe. I was honored & flattered to get lucky enough to help build part of their core world with my work on the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting, and I really admire what they've done with it: from the simple "you can find your favorite culture/campaign-setting here!" incorporation of real-world and classic fantasy analogues into the universe (you like gothic horror? Well, here's Ustalav! You dig dark Russian folklore? Enjoy the Irrisen! 1800's Congo-tales more to your tastes? We've got Mwangi! Big fan of pulp-era flying cities? Yeah, we have those, too!) to the creation of super-original stuff like the bloatmages and the accompanying "hemotheurgy" (check out pg. 218 of the PCCS!). I know, from my quick peeks behind the scenes, that the intention was to build the best "classic" campaign setting of all time. And I think they knocked it out of the park.So what do I want to buy from them? Anything. Seriously. Especially if I get to work on it.Now, my dream project with them would be an exploration of Numeria - Savage Land of Super-Science! While at PaizoCon, a very good friend of mine (artist Ashton Sperry, known better as N'Wah from the Paizo boards) pitched some really cool things at me for that project, which has been a dream of his for some time - collaborating with him on an adventure set in the harsh, sky-tainted lands of the Black Sovereign Kevoth-Kul and his awful Gearsmen would be awesome!
34. Can you name for us a class or prestige class that would be cool but you have never seen?
One of the coolest things about the OGL movement and the reprecussions of having an entire generation of writers & designers all playing with the same super-flexible rule-set has been the creation of some REALLY varied and original character options; you could build a party of six adventurers, all multi-classed and prestiged, without ever seeing rules taken from the core books of the world's most popular role-playing game - like the Artificer/Blood Mage or the Soulknife/Ninja/Occult Slayer or the Warlock/Chaos Monk/Frenzied Berzerker/War Hulk.What I'm all about, though, is re-exploration - can we re-look at the monk, or the sorcerer, or any of these core classes, in a new way? That's one of the things I really dig about the new Pathfinder RPG, by the by: those who've been following the game since the Alpha playtest already know some of the cool stuff that has been done to re-invigorate barbarians & druids, for example, and Jason Bulhman has revealed some of the other changes to paladins and others on the Paizo.com website.I think that with the new options of the final Pathfinder RPG, the fun will come from tinkering with rules to build something new & different inside the box ... before shattering it open and building a bard-variant with illusion (shadow) spells & magical-pistol focus!
35. What kind of player experience do you hope to create with your game? Have your goals changed during the design process?
Since getting into the build of this adventure, my goal has shifted from simply finding a cool way to get the players into interesting & exotic fights to, now, giving them the most interesting and exotic fights of all time. I hope to create a player experience that re-looks at the basic structure of combat and sees it as a perfect system for infinite mini-games and unique challenges.To that end, I've spent a good deal of time researching my favorite fight scenes & challenges of all time: in movies, comics, video games, and novels, taking what I can & re-imagining the rest; the concern of "will it just be arena-combat grind?" is one that I'm acutely aware of and I'm doing everything in my power to laser in on.
36. What does Pathfinder Rpg need more of?
Still in the midst of learning the rules, and without taking them out for much of a spin at the table (a problem that I intend to rectify shortly!), the only thing I can sense missing from the new game is, well ... ME! It's already a player-oriented game, designed to address the concerns of long-time gamers who already love the setting and the core rules; the sheer number of options for how to, for example, play a sorcerer or barbarian, may not quite match the later years of 3.X in size, but the scope of what CAN be done with the new rules without even poking & prodding and going "yeah, but what about a new feat that lets druids choose a different XXX?" is amazing.I think that the Pathfinder RPG will grow really organically, as more players and GMs (with nearly a decade already spent tinkering with the base rules) start stamping out new & unexplored regions.
37. What advice would you give to fans of Pathfinder?
Write something! This is the same company that used to publish Dragon Magazine and Dungeon Magazine - they've got a real love of fan-created content, and one of the friendliest Community Use policies ever designed! Yes, it's only for non-commercial activity (meaning that you can't make cash off of it), but this isn't the industry to get into to make huge bank; this is an opportunity to tell new stories, with your friends, about an amazing shared world that we all love.Heck, I know for a fact that the Paizo crew read the Wayfinder fanzine with glee; you can download it here for nothing:... and then get your OWN fiiction published at the Pathfinder Chronicler While company-sponsored events like RPG Superstar! or the Pathfinder Society Open Calls are still the primary ways to get noticed by the Paizo staff & get work in print, the best writers I know are always working on something - even free, easily-downloadable content! If you love the Pathfinder, add something to the universe - and then share it with us!
38. What do you think the future is for Pathfinder Rpg?
I think that the Pathfinder RPG, by its nature as a "final" version of the SRD/OGL rules, will immediately appeal to a huge number of gamers who still own a whole crap-load of 3.5/3.X content and who aren't looking to make a shift to another system; I think that the setting is innovative (and yet cohesive) enough to make gaming in their universe appealing to gamers of about any stripe or style (the aforementioned "we've got Ravenloft, Ebberon & Darksun - all in the same setting!" selling point), and I think that it has plenty of room for growth over the next few years - we started in Sandpoint in Rise of the Runelords #1 back in '07, and now we've got a nearly-full map of two continents!By the time 2012 rolls around, I think that an AP set in the mysterious, jungle-ruin-regions of southern Arcadia, retaking Vallenhall and then researching ancient Lergeni end-of-the-world prophecies & eventually teleporting to the charred surface of Aucturn the Stranger might be in order, and I'm excited to be a part of that - or anything else, including a hypothetical 300-page Casmaron book, a Test of the Starstone mega-adventure or anything else. The next few years promise to be golden.In the longer-term: the game itself, over the next decade, will have to grow and evolve - I understand that. That's what games do: they change, because they're dynamic. Getting younger players into the game is important, but I don't think that doing so will require much tweaking of the system - heck, I got into gaming at the age of 13, jumping into the strangest and most complex version of the game that has ever existed: late 2nd-edition, with the launch of Planescape in 1994. Table-top gaming isn't World of Warcraft or even Magic: the Gathering - but it can attract new players & keep the old ones by doing something that neither of those can do. Pathfinder, in my opinion, cuts a lot of the stuff that makes gaming inaccessible to new players while retaining all of the things that old-skool gamers love.What I'd really like to see, and what I know is on the horizon (although, admittedly, not in what incarnation), is novels - there are a lot of people who got into the Forgotten Realms because of Drizzt Do'Urden, and plenty of people who've never actually picked up a 20-sided die who can tell you who Tanis Half-Elven is. If we start seeing some really amazing Pathfinder universe fiction (and the core of that already exists, in both the ongoing APs and the fine people at Pathfinder Chronicler!), I think that the setting and the game have a real, long-term viablity. And by long-term, I mean DECADES.
39. How do you feel about Coliseum Mopheuon The Damnation Epoch as a patronage project rather than a traditional model?
There's a reason that patronage works - a reason that, as Wikipedia notes, "Artists as diverse and important as Chrétien de Troyes, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, William Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson all sought and enjoyed the support of noble or ecclesiastical patrons. Figures as late as Mozart and Beethoven also participated in the system to some degree..."; yet, what this sort of 3rd-millennium, post-digital-revolution patronage system is doing isn't exactly what the Medicis were doing in Florence, trying to 'cleanse' their dirty money. This system is actually, in my opinion, a sort of perfect synthesis of Renaissance-era patronage, rise-of-the-middle-class consumer-driven capitalism, and the unique niche-market strategy called the Long Tail - the theory, in short, that the the primary value of the internet to consumers comes not from lower prices but from providing access to products otherwise unavailable; in this instance, user-oriented, buyer-dictated professional content.I'm thrilled to be a part of this system, because I think that we're right now on the cutting egde of what we probably couldn't do even 5 years ago - and sure as hell couldn't do 10 years ago. We're going to be seeing a lot more companies trying exactly what we're doing here - to use a video-game analogy, this is the downloadable content of the table-top era.I think that my work will be better because of the input of my patrons and their support, and I think that my patrons will get more of exactly what they want because of our interactions, as well. It's a win-win.
40. How did your relationship with Rite Publishing start? How would you characterize it now?
In the beginning, there was darkness - and then there was an email! From what I'm given to understand, I was approached by RiP because a patron or two out there was familiar with my work; a quick chat with Wolfgang Baur (which flatters me immensely!) then confirmed that I would be a good choice to take on a project like this.I got an email from Steve Russell through my CreativeJuices fansite, I jumped at the chance to work on something like this, and the rest is history!Nowadays, I'm the new kid on the RiP team - a freelancer asking a lot of silly questions and just excited as hell to be a part of what I think is going to be a wonderful, fun, awesome project!
Continue to part 5 HERE