By doing what I’m doing and continuing not to bow to pressure.
The Finnish have a term ‘Sisu’. It doesn’t have an exact translation, but it roughly correlate to grit, determination, stubbornness, strength of will, perseverance and a resolute commitment to a course particular course despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. I never knew I had it, until it was described to me and now I wonder if there’s some Viking ancestry that leads back to that area of the world…
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No, really, I don’t tend to synch up that well with other people creatively. I accomplish far more as an auteur, or given some instructions and left to get on with it. I think any collaboration or group effort would suffer in both quality and focus for it…
I have TRIED to work with other people to create games and the end result has either been an aborted project, or me finishing it by myself. This is pretty remarkable in and of itself, thanks to my mental health issues which can impact negatively on my capacity to work…
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Because that’s what I enjoy.
Oh, you want more?
Well, besides the fact that I tend to enjoy complex and well-defined worlds, conspiracies, plots, horror and emotional attachment, there’s the fact that these are hard to engender in a game. ‘Delve into the Dungeon of Prolapse the Underwhelming to fetch The Headpiece of Fring’ is pretty simple, ‘Take the Buttplug of Doom to Mount Snoozemoor’ is longer, but pretty simple. Overthrowing a government, rooting out a secret society, making your neighbourhood a better place or falling in love against the odds and raising a family, running a mercenary company during a conflict between many parties – these are more difficult.
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I get my inspiration wherever I can. Ideas tend to sit and percolate for as long as years before coming out in game designs or settings. TThere area few themes that are fairly common to my work, but what really gets my attention is a novelty – something new – or a problem that I find systems don’t really cope well with. My current obsessions are influencing the environment and effective teamwork.
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I’m a firm believer in the idea that systems do matter when it comes to games. This is less true in computer games, where the machine hides the mechanisms from the players for the most part, and can handle special rules, exceptions and complex calculations without slowing down. In roleplaying games, however, system very much does matter and the best games have system and setting that works in tandem.
Call of Cthulhu’s sanity system, as well as its relatively gritty and deadly core system, work in tandem very well to produce an outcome where players are extremely careful and even may keep themselves deliberately ignorant to avoid madness. It doesn’t always work and a tommy-gun still solves a lot of problems that it, perhaps, shouldn’t, but when it does work – it’s perfect.
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What is a Legendary Relic of Power in Your World?
There will be many relics and magical objects, either newly created or left from the wars of the Philosopher Kings, but I don’t think I particularly want to define any super-powerful objects or items unless they’re necessary for adventures. Game-changing artefacts with game-breaking powers soon become fixations for ambitious players and can bring campaigns to an end. I think they’re better served by being plot points. Things to stop or break, rather than acquire and use. Some examples of these might include…
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I tend to have a few particular archetypes that I play most often. In the world that I have spelled out thus far I would play a rogue/thief type character who has come up from the slums in one of the fortress cities via sometimes grim and often criminal means. He would be a capable fighter, compensating for the relative lack of combat capability compared to a fighter by taking compensatory skills and specialising in particular weapons. He would mask a terror of falling back into poverty with bravado and a surface-level amoral and materialistic fixation. Beneath that he would be a good man forced to live in bad circumstances, but with sympathies for The Comity’s assault on the status quo.
He would not be above slitting a motherfucker’s throat in their sleep, but would also get drunk afterwards from the guilt.
He might look something like this…
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