Interview with Andy Hopp

Andy Hopp is the writer and artist of  Low Life: The Rise of the Lowly setting book for Savage Worlds RPG.  I had a chance to meet him at Origins this year and he agreed to be our first Kickstarter of the week.

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Hello, Andy.  Thanks for taking the time to interview with us and spotlighting your Kickstarter, 

Thanks! I appreciate the opportunity.

First off, tell us a little about yourself, from your general gaming experience to your experience as being a game writer/publisher.

I’ve been drawing and playing games since I was knee-high to a smurf (I’m about waste-high to a smurf nowadays). I played D&D in college way more often than I probably should have, although I seldom have time for such things anymore. I really dig games that engage the player with an interesting narrative and well-developed characters. Consequently, I’m not really into hack and slash or getting bogged down in rules and mechanics (although those things certainly have their place).

Anyway, I’ve always been drawing monsters. It’s kind of my thing. I got my big break professionally in 2001 when Margaret Weiss and Larry Elmore hired me to illustrate The Bestiary of Loerem for Sovereign Stone. I’ve done work for a buns load of great game manufacturers, such as Chaosium, Goodman Games, Troll Lord, Pinnacle, and many others, but I’ve only recently been able to dedicate myself full time to my own projects, which has been awesome.

How did the Kickstarter for Low Life: The Rise of the Lowly come about?

I’ve done a few other Kickstarters, including one for Low Life Miniatures and one for The Whole Hole. Because of those I’ve been able to really focus on putting out the highest quality games possible. These books are extremely detailed and are literally overflowing with full color illustrations. I do all the writing and art myself, so without Kickstarter there’s no way I’d be able to afford the startup capital to make them happen.

How would you describe Low Life to a person that has never heard of it?

The forsaken cities and wondrous achievements of the antediluvian Hoomanrace lay crumbled and buried. The remnants of that ilk have either croaked, fled, or been warped and mutated beyond recognition, victims of continuing exposure to cosmic, nukular, and pestilent influences left in the wake of the Flush. The dominant beings of the planet, the noble cockroach, the tenacious worm, and the imperishable snack cake have evolved into grand new forms.

What inspired you to create the world of Low Life?

I’m weird.

Actually, I really wanted a setting with absolutely no humans. I wanted something original and different from everything else out there, but still very accessible and very playable. Low Life works not because it’s utterly absurd (it is), but because the characters, although they are ridiculous don’t realize they’re ridiculous. It’s completely out there, but it still takes itself seriously.

Low Life is currently set for Savage Worlds system.  Are there any plans for other systems?

Depending on how well the Kickstarter does I’m planning to do Pathfinder and Fate Core versions as well. There’s still time…

What is “Dementalism”?  Is it set in the Low Life setting?

Dementalism is a Low Life card game in which the players take on the role of sous chefs at the Primordial Soup Kitchen rounding up various escaped clones. It’s great fun and went over very well at Origins this past weekend.

What are you most proud if with respect to Low Life?

Probably the fact that it’s a setting nobody has ever done before. It isn’t a rehashed Tolkeinesque world that claims its originality because its dwarves have green hair or its elves are taller than average or some superficial change to a familiar trope. Really, the thing about it I’m most proud of is that it’s me. I wrote it, illustrated it, and designed it. I’ve put a ton of work into Low Life to bring people something they’ve never seen before. Hopefully they find it as entertaining as I do, but even if they don’t at least I’ve made myself happy.

How do you feel when people react so positively about this most unique and imaginative setting?

It really justifies all the work I’ve put into it. I love making new friends and meeting interesting people.

What is in the future for Low Life once this Kickstarter gets funded?

I’m planning to release two hardbound books and two Dementalism expansions every year for the foreseeable future, in addition to new miniatures, Low Brawl ( a miniatures and card based game), and several other projects. A Low Life board game could be in the works as well. We’re also doing a whole bunch of supplemental products (a fiction anthology, dice, bennies, playing cards, etc…).

We can’t have an interview with you without asking about Con on the Cob.  Tell us about your con?

Con on the Cob is the most fun thing in the history of fun. This year it’s October 17-20 in Hudson, Ohio. www.cononthecob.com

Between your con, your writing and game designing, and your art, do you find time to play any?  If so, what are you playing these days?

Not nearly as much as I would like to. I play a lot of board games and card games with my wife and friends. I really enjoy RPGs, but I seldom have time to play them.

Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us.  Good luck with your Kickstarter!