Production manager and writer Ryan Schapals works for the LA online media studio Hyper RPG. His job is to turn tabletop roleplaying games into live performance-based narrative experiences on the video streaming website Twitch.
Prior to joining the HyperRPG team, Ryan worked with computer game company Harebrained Schemes as a writer for the app-enhanced tabletop miniatures game Golem Arcana. Right now he’s juggling his minion duties at Hyper RPG building the world of Amaurea’s Dawn for a new tabletop roleplaying game rule set, Open Legend.
Join us for a chat about the second-guessing voices in the back of your head, getting into roleplaying games through Neverwinter Nights, turning down the opportunity to be on-screen talent and the zen experience of doing the dishes!
Cosplayer and game master Kimi is better known as the Golden Lasso Girl, which ought to tell you that she’s a full on geek. She absolutely loves Wonder Woman, not just as an arse-kicking superhero but as an icon of feminine empowerment. Naturally, Kimi’s enthusiasm for cosplay has led her to attending many conventions in various iterations of a Wonder Woman costume, but also for creating a YouTube channel for which Kimi records tutorials for cosplay and crafting. Kimi’s skill is such that one of her cosplay designs for a “bombshell” version of Big Barda was adopted by DC Comics as Barda’s official outfit in their Bombshells comic!
On to of that, Kimi loves tabletop roleplaying games, so much so that not only has she assumed the role of game master for her friends, she’s also become co-host of the Happy Jack’s RPG Podcast. This show features a crew of gamers getting together to answer listeners’ questions and have an enthusiastic chat about RPGs over a few bevvies. (Yes, that’s alcoholic.)
Kimi and I have a great chat about her interest in metalworking, getting into cosplay by wanting to show the professionals how to make a Wonder Woman costume, being one of the cool teachers at school, the joys and struggles of game mastering, sharing your hobby loves in podcasts and how-to videos and the wisdom of deciding not to monetise your passions.
Veteran video game designer and roleplaying game master Steven Lumpkin has worked for some of the biggest names in the online gaming industry, including Red Storm Entertanment, the makers of the Rainbow Six franchise, and Funcom, the makers of Age of Conan, Anarchy Online and The Secret World, as a level designer. His job was creating the tense action scenes that have challenged players across the globe as they venture through these games’ vast virtual worlds.
Steven is now working on the Rollercoaster Tycoon franchise, but has gone from creating levels to working on the basic infrastructure of the game itself as a game designer.
Steven is also a lover of tabletop roleplaying games. He’s been a game master for the RollPlay team on the Twitch channel ItMeJP, where he ran the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition campaign, The West Marches, which featured a huge rotating roster of streaming and YouTube celebrity players. While Steven was on hiatus at the time of recording, he’s since returned to gaming with a new campaign on his own Twitch and YouTube channels and is looking forward to GMing for the Misscliks and other channels!
Steven and I talk about having a day job in gaming while pursuing a musical hobby in his off hours, the reality of working quality assurance in the video game industry, taking out the trash in online game encounter design, how to manage the “crunch” cycle at the end of pre-release game development and staying chill when gaming with some of the biggest names in live streaming.
Creative Director for Paizo, inc., James L. Sutter, is one of the privileged few who helps us geeks combine board gaming, improvisation and flights of imagination via the hobby of the tabletop roleplaying game. He co-developed the rules for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, which lets players adventure through dungeons and slay dragons, and was recently appointed as the Creative Director of the upcoming Starfinder Roleplaying Game which will shift the high fantasy world of Pathfinder a few thousand years into the future and add starships, lasers and cyborgs to Pathfinder’s elves, dwarves and magic swords.
Not only does James write for RPGs, but James is also a keen fiction author. He manages the the Pathfinder Tales novel line for Paizo and has written two novels for it; Death’s Heretic and The Redemption Engine, as well as a multitude of short stories for other publications. James enjoys playing with high-concept ideas like the meaning of atheism in a world where deities are objective fact.
James and I have a great chat about a high school teacher who encouraged his students to create their own RPGs, getting his arse handed to him in Wheel of Fortune, evolving timelines in game products, the joys of communal living and the spirit of adventure at the heart of tabletop roleplaying games!
Game designer and writer Monte Cook has worked on hundreds of roleplaying and board game products. He co-designed the Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, served as design consultant on the Pathfinder roleplaying game and, in 2012, co-founded Monte Cook Games, LLC. As Creative Director and Lead Designer, Monte co-created the Cypher System roleplaying game rules that are the heart of The Strange and the award-winning Numenera.
Monte also bends his writerly talents to novels and fiction, comic books and nonfiction works. In his spare time, he makes the odd YouTube series with fellow geeks, like the a tongue-in-cheek take on ghost hunting reality shows, Geek Seekers, co-starring Jen Page.
Please listen for a great chat about sleeping on couches while interning with an RPG company, some of the dearly departed brands of the RPG industry, why you shouldn’t listen to gossip about the “big guys” and the differences between working for and running an RPG company.
Tabletop roleplaying game GM Adam Koebel is at the forefront of an explosion of RPG popularity online. Though the creative storytelling hobby of tabletop roleplaying games have been around since the advent of Dungeons & Dragons in the mid-seventies, it’s only in the last few years that people have been able to harness live streaming and YouTube videos to present their play for others’ entertainment.
Adam is currently the Game Master in Residence at Roll20, a platform for playing tabletop RPGs across the Internet, and GM of the RollPlay: Swan Song and Rollplay: Balance of Power campaigns for Twitch live-streaming channel itmeJP.
Adam also co-designed the award-winning Dungeon World tabletop roleplaying game and streams analytical content and video game play from Vancouver, Canada. Join me as I have a great geek-out over a shared hobby and chat about how modern technology is enabling not just RPGs as entertainment, but all us hobbyists a chance to improve our skills and find our audiences!
C. J. Miozzi is the paid player I want to be when I grow up. He’s a writer, graphic artist and voice talent, and he’s built his revenue streams around his love of video games, especially Diablo III. He’s probably best known for his YouTube channel of advice for players of Diablo III, for which he goes by the handle of Rhykker.
We chat about the difference between personalities and content providers on YouTube, the conflict between outsourcing and the desire for complete control, pursuing a career almost completely outside your field of study and planning for the inevitable changes in any modern career, not just freelancing. Oh, and we have a bit of a geek-out about Dungeons & Dragons.
Andrew Navaro, Art Director for Fantasy Flight Games.
It’s one thing to create the beautiful pieces of art that grace the pages and playing pieces of Fantasy Flight Games’ products. It’s another thing entirely to ensure that each image not only fits with the tone, themes and atmosphere of not just a given product but also a whole line of products.
Artist and tabletop gamer Andrew Navaro is the leader of a team of art directors at Fantasy Flight. It’s his job as art director to oversee the art direction of Fantasy Flight’s lines and manage the relationships between Fantasy Flight and its roster of freelance artists.
In this chat, Andrew and I discuss his love of gaming, how he came to work at Fantasy Flight Games, just what his job involves and the current state of art in the tabletop gaming industry!
It was Australian gamer Steve Darlington’s describing Jared A. Sorensen as the “foetus horribilis” of the tabletop roleplaying game design set that got my attention. From there on it was all downhill as I followed Jared from the web forum RPGnet to The Forge and bought myself a copy of his game InSpectres, still the most fun tabletop roleplaying game I’ve ever played or game mastered (and would love to play or GM again regularly).
I managed to catch Jared on Facebook one Saturday and asked him about interviewing – it turned out he was available right there and then! I connected my recording kit and got a good half hour chat about his design process, his full-time job in game design and how empanadas are key to his upcoming martial takeover of New York City.