Interview with Casey Hayes of Team Badass Productions

Casey Hayes is the founder of Team Badass Productions. Their first project is Bump in the Night.

To start off, tell us about yourself and your history in gaming.

Right now, I’m a recent college graduate in English looking to continue on for an M.Ed to work in university administration. Meanwhile, however, I’ve been designing tabletop games in one form or another since I was very young. I started with role playing games my sophomore year of college, and I’ve been running games for my group ever since. Bump in the Night is my first big project, however.

Describe Bump in the Night for us in the form of an elevator pitch.

A game about rookie paranormal investigators trying to establish themselves into a legitimate organization.

What works of fiction helped inspire Bump in the Night?

One of my playtesters enthusiastically refers to the game as “Ghostfacers: the RPG,” so Supernatural is a pretty big influence. I also ended up watching a lot of ghost hunting TV shows while researching the game, particularly Destination Truth and The Dead Files. Lastly, several movies and TV series worked their way into becoming major influences, particularly The Exorcist and the Paranormal Activity series to get more inspiration for the horror aspects of the game, and the anime series Ghost Hunt for inspiration on how investigation can be incorporated into a major part of a game’s plot.

What sort of presence will traits such as magic, psychic abilities, and weird science have in the game?

Scientific and supernatural abilities will both be present in the game, although how much of each is present is up to the GM and players. A major mechanic in the game is the Agency Goal, a statement of purpose the group chooses when they form into a group. This means that a group that chooses an Agency Goal dedicated to uncovering hoaxes is going to be facing way less of the supernatural than a group of exorcists with an Agency Goal of helping people who have been possessed. Furthermore, PCs can be scientists, spiritualists, and mediums, but a spiritualist’s ritual magic can mess with scientific equipment should they be too overt. On a similar note, a medium can see and speak with spirits, but cannot make them appear. So a medium can speak with a ghost all they want, but to a video camera, it will just look like the medium is talking to the air.

What aspects of Bump in the Night do you believe cause it to stand out from other paranormal investigation settings on the RPG market?

When I first started working on Bump, around about the second day of working on it after the initial idea flurry, I looked into what other games I could find on the subject of ghost hunting. In the end, other than Core games like FATE Core or GURPS which can run theoretically anything, the only things I could really find were the WoD Hunter and Call/Trail of Cthulhu. This presented sort of an interesting division; one game was about investigating the supernatural and shooting it, while the other revolved around the inevitability of character death and investigation and research leading down paths of insanity or worse. I wanted to make a game that served as a happy medium between the two, a game with room for horror aspects, but one that focused primarily on investigation, thinking, and working out issues peacefully.

One of the other things that I hope sets Bump apart from other RPGs is the organization aspect. The players’ Agency is a big part of how they operate, and the Agency has the potential to become an independent character in its own right. (My original playtest group even ended up designing a unique logo for their Agency.) Lastly, I tried to make the rules to Bump as player-friendly as possible, ensuring that players of all skill levels could enjoy the game.

If Bump in the Night proves to be successful, are there any additional supplements you would like to publish for the setting?

Providing funding is successful, the big expansion I want to work on is an expansion for playing young characters, more in the vein of Scooby Doo or Gravity Falls than ghost hunting shows and horror movies. Smaller supplements include splat books on specific threats and challenges, possibly expanding into more supernatural phenomena beyond ghosts; A splat about cryptids, one about aliens, and one about miscellaneous world mythology difficult to fit in other places, are possible examples.