Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Spark of Creation

We got this question a while ago, and have been saving it because it's a fun one to talk about and we wanted to make sure we had time to be properly self-indulgent about it. What were your reasons for deciding to create an RPG? asks the question, and, well, it's a long and complicated answer.

Both John and I are long-time gamers; we've been rolling dice almost since we were old enough to understand how. John began reading game books (classic 2nd edition D&D, in the beginning, with a special love of the Dark Sun setting) as a child and running games for his friends and siblings by the time he was in middle school, and installed himself as a GM for everything from rules-light live-action roleplaying to heavy crunch with a thousand dice, running games for anyone who showed an interest all the way through his high school and college careers and into adulthood. I grew up with a mother who helped run the local gaming conventions, and I, too, spent my allowance on secondhand rulebooks, played with my sisters in a basement and strangers at cons, and headed into college with more different game systems experienced than people dated.

We've both always been in love with roleplaying games, is what I'm saying, a love affair that's lasted our whole lives. Games are at their root ways to cooperatively tell stories, and both John and I are storytellers by trade and passion as well. John is an actor, spending his time playing out stories only a little more scripted with others, making ideas and emotions and retelling themes and motifs each time he does, and I'm a writer, absorbing what's around me in my environment and retelling it for others to take in and mold to their own thoughts and purposes. (Or at least, that's what we shoot for, although we may not always be so grandiose!)

So it's only natural that, as creative people who love games, we would eventually want to create games. John's been doing his own version of game development training wheels for many years; he's been creating his own settings and adventures, modding existing game systems and splicing them together, and generally torturing players (usually in a good way) with his creations whenever possible. He and I have been talking about finally doing it - making our own game - for years now, egged on constantly by players (usually with some variation on "If you're going to make us suddenly start rolling d8s for unexplained sanity checks you might as well do it to everyone"), until finally one day we realized that we were doing it anyway, just by ourselves... and if we were going to do it anyway, we could do it and share it with the world instead of just our friends.

As for why we wanted to make this game, we've also always both been fascinated by mythology and religion - heck, John has a degree in it. We love the classics, and even more, we've also been inspired by the many other pop culture interpretations of mythology. Movies like Desmodn Davis' Clash of the Titans or Tarsem Singh's Immortals, TV shows like Xena: Warrior Princess or Stargate SG-1 or The Almighty Johnsons, books like Marvel's Thor comics or Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, or games like White Wolf's Scion, Harper's Agon or Pendelhaven's Fate of the Norns - they all draw on ancient myths and religions and relate them to modern life. They all say something about who humanity has been through the ages, and who we are now, and what we know about ourselves, and so on and so forth.

So we made this game, in particular, because as storytellers we love the ideas of stories that have power, that are as old as we are as humanity itself, that matter, that change but also stay the same, that have meaning no matter who hears them or tells them. And also, heroes doing sick backflips and rad lightning bolt stunts.

Over the years, we've also had an absolutely outstanding time sharing our games, ideas, and stories with folks in the rest of the gaming community - friends and fellow students, convention-goers, online systems theoreticians, people who just like to email us and talk about things. It's been fantastic, and in a little way, making a game feels like finally putting something back into that world that we've loved living in and sharing in for so long. Now we can create something - something good, we hope! - and share it with all of you, and then we get the joy of discussing it and learning from it and hoping it helps inspire the same way we've been inspired.

So basically, we love games, and we love mythology, and we love you. So that's why we made a game, and why we hope you'll love playing it as much as we have loved doing it.

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