Attention: Slight rambling ahead, with a point to make about RPGs somewhere in there, you have been warned!
I recently finished reading the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (that’s the girl with the dragon tattoo, which then played with fire and ended up kicking the hornet’s nest). And in case you are wondering, yes I do read other stuff that is not RPG related. The novels are a satisfying, if little long, suspenseful page turner with an implausible plot. I’ve heard so many people say they were captured by the plot from the very beginning, but I was not. If I had not been reading the book for a book club I probably would have never gotten through the first hundred pages of first novel. After that threshold the book really became engrossing. On the third book I had a similar experience; it did not take off for me after page 113. What about book two? Well let’s just say I only got through it to get to book three!
In all honesty I am being a little facetious, the books are fun an entertaining. Not classics but better than a lot of other stuff out there. After finishing the third book and preparing for the upcoming book club meeting I began reflecting on the novel and realized that one of the reasons I enjoyed the 3rd one so much was because so much of the book had to do with secondary characters. The parts I enjoyed the most had NOTHING to do with the protagonists. In a way that’s a compliment on the author who managed to make secondary characters so memorable, but it’s really sad that by the end of the trilogy I had come to despise the main characters so much.
All this thinking made me ponder the characters we as Game Masters create to populate our games and ended up being a reflection on Non-Player Characters.
Interested? Read on…
Recently I have posted about Open Design’s latest patronage project: Midgard! And while pondering if I should become patron myself, the plan to do an interview with the three designers formed in my head. Alas Brandon Hodge and Jeff Grubb couldn’t make it because of some difficult deadlines, but Wolfgang Baur made some time for answering a few questions for us. Thanks again, Wolfgang! I also want to send my best regards to Jeff and Brandon – rest assured you won’t escape me next time!
Without further ado, here are the questions and answers:
Thanks again for answering a couple of questions for us. Although I think most of our readers already know you and some of your products, but perhaps you could start by telling a bit about yourself. What do you do when you don’t design worlds? How long have you been working in the RPG industry?
I spend my RPG time working at a game company on video games. I worked full-time in the RPG industry from 1991 to 1998; since then, I’ve been a freelancer and a publisher.
There is something my mama always used to tell me, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It has been said before, but I will say it again. Steal EVERYTHING. I don’t mean that you should take somebody’s ideas and try to sell them as your own, but chances are, your campaign setting will never get published, I hate to say (unless you publish it yourself) so fill free to pillage and plunder everything you can as you make your way through the construction of your sandbox. I want to go through today some of the things you might want to steal, and some of the places where you can steal the most. Remember, I am not advising you to knock off a liquor store, or plagiarize, or commit copyright violation. Those are all bad things. Don’t do them…