Justus Productions

Matthew W. Croshaw, Fourth Dimension Studios

Matthew W. Croshaw and Fourth Dimensions Studios have been a supporter of MACE and all its incarnations for the past several years now.  They have consistently run multiple tables of the Time Warriors with great success.  We are delighted that Matthew took the time to answer a few questions.

Hello Matthew.  Thanks for taking the time out to talk with us. Tell us a little about yourself and what type of gamer you are?

MC: My name is Matthew Croshaw, I am thirty-five years old, married to a wonderful woman named Lisa and father to three equally wonderful children named Brooklynn, Elijah, and Caroline (who will be here this coming January).  I am the Production Pastor at Revelation Ministries in Marion, SC…which means I am in charge of all the production aspects of the worship services as well as all ministry programs that deal with any type of media arts.  Examples would be-movie ministry, theatrical ministry or as simple as a quarterly newsletter ministry.  I have a theatre degree from Mars Hill College (which is where I also went to undergrad for RPGs).  Later I would attend Grand Canyon University for a BA in Christian Studies and finally, a Masters in Christian Studies.  Last year after fifteen years of running a game written back in 1996, I finally took Time Warriors, public at MACE, as the owner of a one-month-old business called Fourth Dimension Studios LLC.

As far as gaming goes, I am the talker of the bunch.  I like to negotiate and run cons.  I tend to build characters that can fight well enough to take care of themselves but would much rather talk themselves out of a jam.  In short, if it is a hack and slash game, I am going to have a long night.  As much as I love to role play, I very rarely get to play anymore, at least not like I used to in college.  Now, I mostly run and when I do play, it is usually to play-test ideas we have within the company. So I am looking for problems with the story or examining the minor changes in the use of the D6 system and so on, instead of just playing the game.

How long have you been gaming?  What kinds of games do you prefer?

MC:I have been gaming since 1995, so roughly 17 years.  The second part of that question can be taken two ways, so I’ll address both.  First, is genre. I prefer a mixture of Sci-fi with a taste of something real.  For example I like Dark Heresy where I play an Inquisitor.  The Sci-fi setting is a really neat environment for an Inquisitor.  It isn’t for everyone, but I like it. I enjoy the dichotomy.

Now to address the same question differently … Style.  I love a good story.  I want to be swept away in detailed intricate stories.  I want to walk away from the game thinking about the world I was exposed to.   I want to lay in my bed awake at night staring at the ceiling whilst daydreaming about what it would be like to really live in that world.  I want the magic.  Some game masters have it and others don’t.  However, as a player you immediately recognize when you are in the midst of a good story.

So finally…if I get a great story that just happens to be Sci-fi based, I’m good to go!

So it’s been close to a year now since you started this journey, right?  How has it gone so far with Time Warriors and starting a game publication business?

MC: Yes, it has been a year, one that has seen some ups and downs for 4DS.  First of all let me explain how grateful I am to all of you, who have helped 4DS.  MACE and SCARAB have both jumped at the opportunity to build 4DS, provide sound advice, and even help with play-testing.  However, there are the guys you never hear about that make 4DS possible.  They have worked and shared their creativity with 4DS for absolutely free thus far.  Those guys are Scott Moffitt, Randy Miller, Clayton Harbaugh, Aaron Crouse, Cameron Mills, Tommy Poston, Melvin Robinson, Chris Robinson, Jason Makowski, Mitchell Hilburn, and Matt Scruggs.  These guys are awesome role players and a great bunch to work with.

As far as the business itself, we have found the gaming business to be very friendly and supportive.  We have heard the word, “No” on certain things but most often it is “yes.”  We have been very aggressive in making our presence known within the gaming community, in that we have begun the networking process of “you advertise for us and we will do the same for you” type deals.  We have also become more aggressive in the writing of our games.  Right now we are sitting on ten games, five of which will be ready for public use during the 2013 con season.  The plan is to self-publish through Drive Thru RPG who has been extremely wonderful to work with.  The guys at Drive Thru have been so very patient with us as we have been learning the business so to speak.    Keep in mind that with each game, there will be source books and so on.

The big hang up for us has been artwork.  We don’t have an artist on the team that can even begin to compete with the artwork in various other gaming books.  We also learned very quickly that hiring an artist for such a project can be very costly.  However, we have been able to find a solution to that problem and we are diligently working to have the game ready and available to the public by 2013.

Tell us what inspired you to make Time Warriors?

MC: I think the two largest inspirations were 1)the concept of time travel and 2)expansive and massive epics spanning throughout time.  I have always been fascinated with the idea of time travel.  I also have always had a deep appreciation for history.  One of my favorite things to do in game is to make VenRacken activity or Time Warrior activity directly responsible for major events in history.  An easy example of this would be: Adolf Hitler as a VenRacken plant.  Since Adolf Hitler is in our history books, the VenRacken’s were successful in the very least in planting him.  Since he lost the war, the Time Warriors were successful in eliminating Adolf Hitler thereby thwarting the VenRacken plan.

Why did you decide to use the d6/OGL?

MC: Well, first and foremost it was the system that we have always run the game with.  We have heard a lot of people say that they disliked the d6 system.  At first that was a concern for us, but then we saw firsthand the lack of use of the system at cons.  It became apparent that 4DS had an opportunity in some ways to reintroduce the system.  We changed the system up a little, just in the areas that we knew were frustrations for players. For example: One of the biggest complaints was leveling. So we made it go a little faster for the PC’s.  What we like about the D6 system is that it enables us to move quickly in-game. It is very fast paced. It is just what we wanted to keep our PC’s on their toes. Plus, you only need one type of dice to use the system. D6’s are available everywhere. So far, the reaction of players at the conventions we have attended seems to be “I used to play other D6 games and didn’t really like the die system, but you guys have made it fun to play.”

What do you think makes Time Warriors unique and so successful?

MC: Scott Moffitt, who has played the game from its conception over 15 years ago answered this question: “What makes Time Warriors unique and so successful is, first of all, the story arc.  When one plays the game for the first time, he or she gets sucked into this amazingly detailed world.  The characters are larger than life, the story is larger than life and the player is drawn back again and again.  What could be better than saving humanity’s history, to preserve our way of life?  Also, I think TW may be the first game to allow one to play himself or herself in a story arc.”

I tend to agree with his points, though I do believe there are other games out there that allow players to play themselves.  The truth is the Time Warriors saga is MASSIVE!  When we get done putting it all in book form for gaming, the story will encompass five different role playing games (Origins, The Resistance, Time Warriors, Terran Legacy, and Shattered Empire). Each game will have a good number of source books and plenty of adventure books, etc.

What players have said to us at conventions: 1) They love the pace of the game. The game is meant to be fast paced much like a real fire fight would be.  2) They love the detail of the game. We want players to smell, feel, and see the events and locations described in game, not to mention the “oh crap” recognition of being the underdog.  3) They love the build of adventures we bring to conventions. This is good because we write our adventure books in the same manner we prepare “missions” for conventions.  4) They love the intensity we bring to our product.  4DS game masters rehearse their sessions with our home brew groups before conventions, in an effort to bring not only their “A” game, but also to bring out the highest potential each story arc has to offer for players at conventions such as MACE.  5) Believe it or not, they tell us how much they love the D6 system with this game.

What is in the future for you, 4D Studios and Time Warriors?

MC: First, Scott Moffitt and I are starting an official partnership in the administration and creativity of 4DS.  Scott and I have been close friends for a long time.  We have gamed together, worked together, and dreamed about making games together.  His help and his assistance with game mechanics, story details, and just his love for the story is inspiring and fun to be around.  4DS is a better, more viable gaming company with the addition of Scott Moffitt.

4DS will be attending many more conventions during the 2013 Con season than last year.  This is, of course, an effort to get our name and product noticed by more gamers.

4DS will also be hosting our invitation-only event “ShadowCon.”  ShadowCon is a major event for the company through which we are able to test our products and get immediate feedback from the gamers who have been invited.   We are shooting to have 100 players this year.  The event will be centered on various 4DS games such as Time Warriors, LOTE, Paladin, among others, as well as a little surprise we are currently trying to get the rights to.  This doesn’t mean that other non 4DS games will not be allowed.  In fact we will encourage other GM’s to attend the event to ensure that all players are playing during each scheduled session.  ShadowCon is an annual event that takes place every February.  This coming ShadowCon is when we are planning on Time Warriors going public.  Finally, as I have said before, we are sitting on a lot of games. Once Time Warriors goes public, one should expect to start seeing a lot more 4DS products hitting the market.

Other news is the development of our filming wing.  Matt Scruggs, an SCAD graduate, has teamed up with us so that we can 1) Shoot “shorts” to help 4DS become more “known” 2) Incorporate film and computer graphics into our gaming products, and 3) Enter our shorts into film festivals at gaming conventions.

My personal plans for the future are to continue to learn the business, continue to tell good stories, and to be a good husband and dad. I look forward to when my kids can play.  Overall I am going to focus on just keeping things close to home.

As for the future of Time Warriors…well the truth is…only time will tell.

Thanks again.  We look forward to see you at MACE 2012.



Mike Welham , 2012 RPG Superstar

At MACE 2012 Mike Welham, Paizo’s 2012 RPG Superstar, attended and ran some games for us.  He took time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions we had for him.

Hello, Mike.  Thanks for taking the time out to answer a few questions.

MW: Thanks for taking the time to interview me.

Congratulations on the win for 2012 RPG Superstar. How does it feel to be one of the elite?

MW: Even 6 months after the fact, it feels a little surreal. I’m pleased that the voters saw something each round to push me into the next round, and I really appreciate Paizo doing this contest every year. Doom Comes to Dustpawn won’t be released for a couple of months, but I will be excited to see it in print.

What kind of gamer would you say you are?

MW: When I play a character, I like to create a slightly off-kilter hook for the character. It’s a lot of fun to come up with an unusual character and just throwing that out there for the others to interact with. At the same time, especially in “living” campaigns, I make sure the character can benefit the party in combat situations. My overall goal is to bring a little bit of laughter to the table, usually at my character’s expense. I primarily GM at home, and I run my campaigns a little loose, because I have learned that I can have a perfectly crafted plot for a night’s adventure, and the players will go off on completely different tangents, which have absolutely nothing to do with what I planned.

You are one of many RPG Superstar contestants that are from the Carolinas.  Why do you think that is?

MW: That’s amazing, isn’t it? You’ve got Neil Spicer who won in 2009, and this year featured 3 North Carolina residents in the top 4. I believe the Carolinas have a lot of gaming communities that provide a medium for talent to develop. Also, with the sheer number of colleges and military bases in the two states, I think the gaming population is fairly substantial. Of course, conventions like MACE get people excited for gaming. I know when I’ve had a great convention experience, I am eager to contribute back to the community.

Is this your first time being a contestant?

MW: Far from it. I have entered every year Paizo has hosted the competition. I learned something new during each attempt, and I finally found myself in the top 32 this year.

Tell us a little about the RPG Superstar Competition and how you got involved?

MW: Paizo has run RPG Superstar for five years now. It is their way to find amateur designers who can potentially become regular contributors, which Neil Spicer has done. However, you don’t have to win the competition to become part of Paizo’s stable of freelancers.

The first round of the competition is always the same: design a wondrous item in the Pathfinder RPG format using 300 words or less. The judges choose 32 entries, plus 4 alternates in case one of the 32 drops out, and those 32 entrants have a week or so to create their entry for the next round. In 2012, the second round challenge was to create an organization, but previous years have had contestants create an archetype or a monster concept or something else. After the first round, contestants progress through votes cast by the community. The judges have their say about each entry, but the Paizo community at large determines who advances. Ultimately, in the final round of four contestants, the challenge is to submit a proposal for a 32-page adventure module, and the winner gets to write that module (with help from a Paizo developer), while the other three contestants get the opportunity to write a Pathfinder Society scenario.

What was it about Doom Comes to Dustpawn that you think put you over the edge?

MW: I think I lucked out and struck a chord with the voters by choosing to touch on the recently released Distant Worlds supplement.

Did you have an opportunity to see your competitions’ works after each round?  If so, who impressed you the most?

MW: Each round I tried to take a look at what everyone else was doing. Since we couldn’t comment on our own entries, and some decisions for the next round had to wait until the judges released the full rules, I had time to at least skim my competitors’ entries. They were all good and made me nervous about my chances of survival. Overall, though, I felt Tom Phillips had the most consistent presence in the competition, and I thought he was a lock for the win. According to Mark Moreland, the difference in votes between the two of us was less than two percent, making it the closest competition in the history of RPG Superstar.

What inspirations kept you going in the competitions?

MW: I had  two sources of inspiration during the competition: my family and the “Forums Are Way Too Long” group. My wife, Cheryl, is not a gamer, but she was extremely supportive during my run through RPG Superstar, as she has been throughout all of my freelancing career. My daughter, Rachel, patiently allowed me to bounce ideas off of her, and she volunteered to read the judges’ comments first for one of the rounds. The FaWTL group gave me a place to vent frustrations, and a couple of people from the group critiqued my entries. That’s definitely something I would suggest to anyone interested in the competition: find a couple of peers that you trust to honestly critique your work.

Once the complete Doom Comes to Dustpawn is published, what plans do you have in the future?

MW: I’ve already made my turnover for Doom Comes to Dustpawn, so I have already started on my next projects. I have work coming out from Butterfrog Studio, Clockwork Gnome Publishing, Raging Swan Press, Rite Publishing, and Zombie Sky Press. I hope to continue working with Paizo as well, but I am certainly keeping busy.

Thanks again.  Looking forward to meeting you at MACE!

MW: Thank you! I am very much looking forward to meeting you and enjoying everything MACE has to offer.


Edward Bolme, Producer, AEG

In MACE 2012, Alderac Entertainment Group will be attended, demoing a ton of games as well as running some tournaments.  We asked Ed Bolme of AEG a few questions about himself and AEG and he was kind enough to take the time to answer them.

Hello, Ed.  Thanks for taking the time out to answer a few questions.

EB: It’s my pleasure.

First, tell us a little about yourself and what you do for Alderac Entertainment Group.

EB: I am a veteran, nay, dare I say a grognard of the gaming industry. I started out in the 80s writing for Paranoia, Cyberpunk, and other role-playing games, then branched out into TCGs when I joined Five Rings Publishing Group in 1997.

Since then I have also worked at Wizards of the Coast (Dune, Rage, Star Trek Dice, Doomtown, L5R), Interactive Imagination (Magi-Nation), TimeStream (Battle TAGS), BioWare (Dragon Age), and Press Pass (Fullmetal Alchemist, 24 TCG).

Now I am at AEG as a producer, which basically means I take a game from a designed prototype (often using clip art and printed on a laser printer) and turn it into something that you buy at your FLGS. This involves art direction, testing and breaking, and a variety of other less definable skills. In addition, I work with Jeff Quick to ensure that all the AEG rulebooks and printed materials are up to our standards. And Jeff and I have pretty high standards.

How long have you been with AEG? How did you get involved with AEG?

EB: I have been with AEG just over two years now, although my involvement with them started back in 1997 when I was at FRPG. CEO John Zinser knew me pretty well from working with me over the course of three and a half years on L5R and Doomtown. Two years ago, he had a position that needed filling, I needed a job, and everybody won.

AEG has weathered many industry storms including the d20 craze and intense competition in the CCG/TCG. It seems that AEG has survived and evolved with each ebb and flow of the industry and stayed successful.  What do you attribute that success to?

EB: Passion and the willingness to make hard choices.

The passion part shows through in all our games, most especially L5R, which has kept AEG alive and growing in even the worst of markets. But all the folks at AEG truly love our games, and gaming in general.

The hard choices part has, unfortunately, meant letting entire sections of the company go when their lines were failing due to a softening of the market or underperformance of a line. It’s a hard choice, but it keeps the company alive. I think you’ll find the people with the longest history at AEG (John Zinser, Mark Wootton, Todd Rowland, Dave Lepore) all have the passion and the willingness to engage thorny issues head-on.

AEG seems to have shifted its focus to a lot more board and card games recently.  Has that seen a lot of success for AEG?

EB: At AEG, we could happily just focus on L5R for the rest of our days. It’s a great game with a great community. But there are so many other things we also love, so we want to grow and get involved with our other passions.

In the current environment, growth is to be found in expanding our offerings and broadening our base. Given our initial success in card games with Thunderstone, as well as board games with Tomb and Infinite City, we wanted to push further into that market.

How successful will we be? We’re finding out.

Nightfall has done well for us. It’s a consistent seller and has been ported very nicely onto iOS.

Certainly the reception for Smash Up has been remarkable. It was one of the hot games at Gen Con, we have foreign language licenses already signed, and we have people demanding the first expansion… and it hasn’t even officially released yet!

What is coming up for AEG in the near future that you can tell us about?

EB: What I can tell you about is Tempest. Tempest is a series of games all connected in a shared world, a Renaissance-era city-state that sits astride some lucrative trade routes.  We are previewing the first four titles at Essen this year. The artwork and graphic design is lavish, the game designs are unique, the setting is truly engaging, and the games range from Love Letter—a light, fun, 20-minute family game—to Dominare, a 2-3 hour epic slugfest.

What I can’t tell you about is •••••••••, designed by •••••••••••••, which will debut at Essen this year. But it’s fun and very euro, and the •••••••• setting fits nicely with the feel of the game.

What is your favorite AEG game?

EB: Wow, that’s hard.

I still love L5R, even though I don’t work on it anymore. Once L5R gets into your blood, it never leaves. It is my favorite TCG, bar none. Even considering all the other ones I have worked on.

Aside from that, wow, I am fortunate to be able to say that my favorite AEG games are the ones I got to spearhead. I love Ninja for its tension and puzzle aspect, I love Dominare for its depth (every game I have played is very different), and I love Love Letter for its sheer elegance.

It’s games like these that are the reason I am so glad to be working at AEG. And there’s not a single game on our front list that I wouldn’t be happy to play at the drop of a hat.

Thanks for your time.  Look forward to seeing you at MACE.

EB: I look forward to MACE myself. And hopefully I will have a surprise or two up my sleeve to show off there.


Shane Lacy Hensley, MACE 2012 Special Guest

MACE 2012 Interview

Hello, Shane!  Thanks for taking the time out to answer a few questions for the MACE newsletter, The Morning Star.

First off, tell us a little about yourself, what you do, and your role at Pinnacle Entertainment Group.

SLH: I’m the president, founder, and owner of Pinnacle. My job is to decide what we’re making, figure what’s cool about it, and oversee its creation. Often times I write it myself, as that’s really my first love. 🙂

I also have a day job in video games where I’m currently the Executive Producer of End of Nations, a massively multiplayer online realtime strategy game (MMO RTS). (Quite a mouthful, huh?)

What was the inspiration to start PEG and publish RPG games?

SLH: Strangely enough, it was to publish a set of miniature rules called “Fields of  Honor.” Then we did a World War II collectible card game called “The Last Crusade.” PEG really started as a way for me and my friends to publish our pet projects, which were historical board games early on. We never set out to make an RPG, but once the idea for Deadlands formed, we just couldn’t seem to stop!

Before there was Savage Worlds, there was just Deadlands, correct?  Savage Worlds originated from Deadlands?

SLH: Sort of. Deadlands begot our miniatures game, “The Great Rail Wars,” which is essentially Savage Worlds with less character options. The wound system was also a bit different–you rolled the victim’s Vigor versus the damage and took the difference in wounds.

What was the primary driving force to take Weird West Deadlands system to a generic house system in Savage Worlds?

SLH: It was with the complexity of Hell on Earth with machine-guns, vehicles, explosives, and tons of magic, that we realized Deadlands Classic–which was designed to simulate “Josey Wales”-style gunfights–was just too detailed and we needed something a little faster. We tried an adventure (Rain o’ Terror) with Great Rail Wars as the engine and it was a blast! That’s when I knew we needed to look into a new system that would allow us to do everything from Hell on Earth to new game ideas we had like Weird Wars or Rippers or Necessary Evil.

What do you think has kept PEG going?

SLH: Bullheaded determination. 😉 In the early days we had such massive success that a couple of young twenty-somethings just didn’t know how to handle it. We grew and expanded too fast, and quickly found ourselves in debt. We had some real growing pains, but we worked through it, and these days Pinnacle has no debt, is very profitable, and is extremely comfortable.

What keeps you going?

SLH: The burning desire to create and share my ideas. I’m very, very fortunate that a fair number of people seem to like them. A good example is Deadlands Noir. It was a real shot in the dark–and it turned out the reaction was fantastic. 🙂

How do you feel when you walk into a con and see a room full of people playing your games?

SLH: It’s incredibly gratifying. When you see someone grinning from ear to ear because they did something cool or had a great time and you had some small role to play in that, you can’t help but join in their enthusiasm.

What is in store for Savage World that most excites you?

SLH: All new settings in new formats that I think people will really get excited about–but that’s a ways off yet. 😉

What is your favorite setting for Savage Worlds?

SLH: Deadlands is my soul mate, I suppose, but 50 Fathoms is a close second. It’s equal parts Sinbad, Pirates of Dark Water, and Pirates of the Carribean, and that’s just an amazing mix to run, play, or write for.

Christina Stiles, 2012 ENnie award winner

MACE 2012 Interview

Hello, Christina and congratulations for your Gold ENnie Award for Best Adventure for Streets of Zobeck (Open Design).

Tell us a little about this project and your role in it.

CS: Thank you! I’m totally stoked! Streets of Zobeck was a patron project through Open Design/Kobold Press (Wolfgang Baur’s company), meaning patrons paying in at certain levels could anonymously “pitch” material for the book as contributions or contract work. I’d been a patron of a few other Open Design projects, but none called to me like the gritty nature of this one. I mean, with a motto of “leave the paladin at home,” how could I not want to have my name in it? Plus, I’d get to add my mark to the city of Zobeck!

I pitched my heart out on this project, getting in a few feats, magic items, and NPCs before the adventure rounds hit. At 5th-level, I jumped in with “The Fish and the Rose,” a heist adventure involving a hideous, singing fish painting that could foretell the future—think black velvet background ala the Elvis ones of the day mixed with the singing fish (“Take Me to the River” plaques that were popular in the 90s). It got accepted. Around the same time, I proposed “Flesh Fails,” a more risqué adventure involving blackmail and the high priestess of Marena, goddess of lust and torture (in this instance—she has other purviews in her portfolio in the Midgard Campaign Setting). This one didn’t get in immediately, and I had to re-pitch it. I rewrote it and sent it in for the 10th-level adventures, and finally won with it. So, I ended up writing two of the seven adventures.

Ben McFarland deftly led this project to the finish line, and other authors include Matt Stinson, Mike Franke, and the macabre Richard Pett. Ben did a great post about this project on the Kobold Quarterly Blog . http://www.koboldquarterly.com/k/front-page13518.php

How many nominations is this for you? How many ENnies wins is this for you?

CS: Let’s see, I had to go back and check the Ennie list on this. The products I’ve had a big part in that have been nominated include: Faery’s Tale, SCION: Ragnarok, Corwyl: Village of the Wood Elves, Black Sails Over Freeport, and Streets of Zobeck. There have also been things nominated I’ve had small parts in (Sidewinder, Liber Bestarius, Testament, and the Penumbra Bestiary). Out of the main five products, however, Green Ronin’s Black Sails won a silver Ennie for Best Adventure (it won an Origins Award, too), and Open Design’s Streets of Zobeck won gold for Best Adventure; so two wins.

I actually edited the former title, so I can’t claim my adventure-writing skills added to the win, though I’m hoping to trend in this category in the future, as I enjoy writing adventures best.

What do you think made this adventure stand out from the rest?

CS: Its gritty, noir, urban nature played a large part in making it a stand-out adventure. It’s like something you could run in Freeport, but it’s made for Zobeck. It also includes magic, NPCs, feats, and locations, so that’s a big plus for running a campaign set in the city. It’s everything you need to play an urban campaign up to 10th level.

Are you going to do more work for this product line?

CS: Oh yeah! I worked on another Zobeck book for Open Design right after this project: The Zobeck Gazetteer for Pathfinder. Plus, I pulled together the Player’s Guide to the Crossroads (which hasn’t yet released). Then I pitched to lead some Open Design projects and won. We’ve just finished up Journeys to the West (it’s in layout and due out around late September), and Ben McFarland and I are currently leading the Midgard Tales anthology project of 13 Midgard adventures to complement the Midgard Campaign Setting being released around October of this year. The adventures will be out in 2013, though I don’t know the expected date yet.

Additionally, I’ve done articles on Midgard for Kobold Quarterly and for the KQ blog.

What are you working on now?

CS: Oh so many things… I tend to keep busy!

As of this writing, the Rogue Mage RPG Player’s Handbook, a game based on the Rogue Mage novels (Bloodring, Seraphs, Host) of NYT bestselling urban fantasy author Faith Hunter, has just released for sale in pdf through Misfit Studios. The print book will be available at Dragon*Con and then on Amazon.com via BellaRosa Books. In regard to that game, I’m still tweaking the freebie adventure that will go on the Misfit Studios website, and we are finalizing the Rogue Mage RPG Game Master’s Guide over the next few months.

For Open Design (aka Kobold Press), I’m working on the Midgard Tales Open Design project, and I’ve taken over the Dark Deeds Freeport project for them, as well. I am also the associate editor for Kobold Quarterly, and I’m finalizing the 4th issue I’ve had my hand in (one not credited). I’ve also got an unnamed side project for a class I can’t discuss at the moment—but it’s nearing completion.

Backburner projects include finishing the Savage SpirosBlaak book, and then doing a Pathfinder version. I think that’s all, but I could have forgotten something.

What future work of yours do you think will be in the next ENnie nomination list?

CS: I’m hoping Journeys to the West for Open Design makes it into the Best Adventure list, though it could certainly fit in a few Ennie categories. Seeing the Midgard Tales (if we get it to print in time for 2013) or Kobold Quarterly on the list would be great, as well. And, if Rogue Mage ever made it to the list, I’d be beyond ecstatic! Years of work went into making it a great game for fans of Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage novels.

How does it feel to be recognized by the fans by winning an ENnie?

CS: Cloud Nine describes it. We honestly thought we were the dark horse in that nominations list for Best Adventure—not that we doubted we had a great product, but because we were in great company. I thank the fans for recognizing the heart and soul that went into Streets. This is just a stupendous honor.

Again congratulations and we look forward to seeing more great work by you.

CS: Thanks! Keep your eyes out, as I’m always busy on RPG projects.


Clint Black, 2012 ENnie Award winner!

MACE 2012 Interview

Hello, Clint and congratulations for your Gold ENnie Award for Best Game for Savage Worlds Deluxe (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)!

Tell us a little about this project and your role in it.

CB: With Savage Worlds Deluxe we really were just expanding on the existing successful system with a few minor tweaks and adjustments added in. As the Core Rules Brand Manager for Savage Worlds, I worked with Shane Hensley (the creator of Savage Worlds) on writing and refining the material we added along with the changes that were made.

How many nominations is this for you? How many ENnies wins is this for you?

CB: For me personally, this makes three nominations and two wins. Last year, Space 1889: Red Sands was nominated in two categories and won the Silver for Best Supplement. Pinnacle has (I believe) been nominated every year we’ve submitted going back to 2004 when 50 Fathoms won the Silver for Best Non-d20
Supplement and Evernight got an Honorable Mention in the same category. Low Life was nominated for Best Art in 2006, and The Savage World of Solomon Kane won the Silver for Best Production Values in 2008.

What do you think made this product stand out from the rest?

CB: If we had an advantage, I’d guess it was longevity. Savage Worlds has been around for nine years and has a larger following, especially worldwide, than many realize. Given that the ENnies are voted on by fans all over the  world, that helps us. I think it might have also helped that we weren’t providing one specific type of game experience, but a set of core rules that could be adapted to many different kinds of games.

What is next on your plate for this product line?

CB: I will likely start finalizing work on the Hell On Earth Reloaded companion. We had early release copies of Hell on Earth Reloaded, the post-apocalyptic future of Deadlands, at Gen Con and were completely sold out by Saturday morning, so I expect to see a push towards that setting. And of course, I will be assisting with Deadlands Noir, our amazingly successful Kickstarter setting.

What future work of yours do you think will be in the next ENnie nomination list?

CB: Well, we’ve already submitted The Last Sons, a Deadlands Plot Point Campaign book, for next year, and I did some minor assistance on that, but I’m hoping that Hell On Earth Reloaded is really going to strike a chord with the fans. And while it isn’t my work, I definitely think it’s going to be a contender for best cover art; Carmen did an incredible job. You can see her awesome cover in wallpaper form here…

How does it feel to be recognized by the fans by winning this ENnie?

CB: The terms “flustered, flattered, and incredibly appreciative” come to mind. Savage Worlds fans have always been absolutely amazing, and I’m humbled just when anyone asks me to sign a book, but this is an order of magnitude beyond that. Right now, it makes me want to jump back in and hopefully make even more savage worlds for people to play in and enjoy!.

Again congratulations and we look forward to seeing more great work by you!

CB: Thanks, and I’m looking forward to MACE!