First off, feel free to tell us about the person behind the GM screen. Where are you from? What do you do both aside from gaming? Wife and kids? Where can we stalk you on the internet, that sort of thing!
I’m from the north of Arizona in a little town called Winslow. I am in my second marriage to my wife Andrea. I’ve helped my first wife with raising two kids, and I have a granddaughter, Amelia, from my older son. Feel free to stalk away on twitter and I maintain usaknights.org for the Armored Combat League. Yes, I actually train to do real medieval combat and compete on a worldwide scale. You watch the world championship for armored combat taking place from 1-May-2014 to 4-May-2014 in Spain at Belmonte Castle. This is the same castle Charlton Heston filmed ElCid!
Tell us about Regnum in a nutshell.
The first thing people need to know is that this is a personal expansion or take of existing ‘cannon / official’ material from Palladium Books Inc. On page 141 of Palladium Books – World Book 12: Library of Bletherad it shows the only listed map and some names of the empires found upon the world. The only written lore is on page 136 of Palladium Books – World Book 12: Library of Bletherad & page 167 of Palladium Books – Land of the Damned 1: Chaos Lands it mentions this world with the following paragraph:
“The Heroic Realm of Regnum, a majestic realm where magic is at its height and the land is ruled by a dozen grand empires whom have not warred upon each other in over 10,000 years. Yet, there brews discontent in this garden of paradise, and many of the realm fear a great destruction is soon to befall the entire realm.”
This became the project mission statement for building this world – a paragraph & one map. So I set out to build a world that had known peace longer than 250 times the duration of the United States as a nation. Also that 12 empires had no war, so academia in the form of wizards, warlocks, priests, and even some psychics were the ruling class or at the very least the power brokers of such a world. Now that is not to say there is not crime, politics, maneuvering between nations. I just looked at it as taking the cold war stance on such machinations of the powers that be. To give you an idea of scope of size the U.S.A. could fit its land mass 2 to 3 times on the main continent. So I borrowed an idea / conspiracy and created the Accord – the world government and its ruling body of the ‘World Council’ to oversee the peace.
So think of games that describe the Age of a Thousand Magicks, the great Wizards of Netheril, the first age of Elves from Gondolin! Think of the age when legends were forged on anvils and myths created by thoughts of heroes of the day. When the world comes crashing down and recovers the tales, artifacts, runic creations will be what future epochs tell the younglings about and soon dismissed as fantasy. But for now this is your age, and you are forging the lore with each breath you take.
Welcome to the world of Regnum!
As the PM (Project Manager) of the world I need to make magic at its height, not some unknown, mysterious item but something that has been taken to its heights. In many ways our technology today would seem like magic in the middle ages 700 years ago. So if magic was the technology it had to replace industrial innovaions and be far more common place than what it used to be.
Enter sand crystals and re-chargeable magic items!
Rifts had been using the concept of Techno-Wizardry for some time to make magic available to the masses with P.P.E. (Potential Psychic Energy) clips. I had a nation begin producing items that could make use of crystals that could be used in a similar fashion to help Rifts fans feel at home yet still keep this a magic heavy genre as the mission paragraph implies.
Also, this became an economic issue as well. So you’re an Alchemist that makes magical items such as a ‘Quill of Endless Ink’ for people. Now there are 10-20 of you per city and you have apprentices toiling away making the small items you don’t want to focus on any more. At some point if the magic lasts forever no one needs the item anymore and how do you afford that four-story elven tree mansion, servants. I mean come on money still makes the world go around, right? Now same Alchemist craft a few permanent items a year and auctions them to the highest bidder or you buy a rechargeable item with a preset duration of say, 6 months. Now like buying ink for the printer you take the quill to the Alchemist for a re-charge of 50 marques (marques are the world denomination), and your good for another 6 months. The Alchemist has just turned a renewable income into a true career.
– Adventurer: So I want a sword that spits fireballs, burst into flame on command and does extra damage! Yeah!
– Alchemist: Fine that will be this price for a permanent enchantment, and here is the yearly tax for owning such an item. Or here is a version for 3 months charge at a 10th of the price, which would you prefer?
– Adventurer: …begins to check his coin purse …
When it came to races I wanted to bring some fantasy races that had not been used often so I made this world the genetic petri dish of the Old One – Agu. Many of the races are his creations combing animals and humans. Every species on this world is the byproduct of this archaic creature’s twisted imagination. There is a cat man and dog man race to again bridge the gap for mutant animal lovers from Rifts and Zaranceti (fantasy fish humanoids), elves, dwarves, and changelings from the fantasy settings. All of them have been combined in a way I feel compliments and enhances the whole of the world’s population.
How regularly do you play, and where do you play? (If you play online, do you use any certain tools to accomplish your gaming such as Google hangouts, roll20, etc.)
In Season One: The Galvan Necropolis, it was done both at a tabletop and when we couldn’t get together we used Skype for voice and Roll20 for the maps. Now we are gearing up for Season Two: Paradise Lost, and it is exclusively on Skype and Roll20. We play on twice a month for 26 sessions a year.
If there is a weakness it is the length of character creation. For its strength it is all about the story. While I have never met Kevin Siembieda in person, I have heard from those that gamed with him that he cares more about the story being told and the fun sharing it with others. I have tried to take this approach to the game. I said earlier I am merely a Project Manager and it is the player that tells these stories through their logs as much as I provide setting, narration, tone, people and places to interact with.
Great navigation and just tons of stuff going on within your campaign page, who puts all this stuff together?
Before the Re-Forge, I saw ‘A God Rebuilt ’ CotM from 2012 and I liked the CSS layout. So I got one of Wolfhound’s free templates and them studied and duplicated the CSS layout of AGR with my own spin. I purchased some of the artwork because I had a vision of what I wanted this world to be and I would hold onto that along with the map and paragraph. I began teaching myself digital art so I could make images or alter ones I liked to go with the world. After the Re-Forge both Langy and Madartiste helped me with any and all questions that had totally stumped me.
I even made a test campaign to try out CSS changes before implementing them and allowed Madartiste to toy with CSS at her leisure. I would say 90% of the content is my extrapolations of merging Fantasy and Rifts as a genre and the remaining 10% is the creative ideas all of my players come up with. When it comes to the Adventure Logs (I have renamed them Journals) flip those percentages around. I am floored and amazed by the content they come up with. Then there is the backstory for their characters I have one player that wrote 12 pages worth of a backstory for his PC – Anrir, that made me think of The Last Samurai and Memoirs of a Geisha all rolled into one! It is so stellar and just wow.
Where do you draw inspiration from when preparing your game? How much time do you usually take to prepare for a session?
For story pacing of a season it is Arrow, tone and grittiness it is Game of Thrones, for making a magical world it is the Weasley House from Harry Potter, for world setting it is the following:
15th & 16th Centuries of the whole of Earth,
Rifts – for tidbits about epic campaigns,
Fantasy – for the Western Empire and large governments,
lastly – it is the other campaigns on Obsidian Portal and their logs I read.
Every day I devote time to the campaign, for me this is a project that is ongoing. It won’t create itself and that means I force myself to add content to it every day unless I have sword dueling competition to attend, or family engagement.
That thanks is shared by everyone that has contributed something to this ongoing project. The Regnum Project goal is to get my stuff into the Palladium Books Rifter and finally become a published writer. Without the players and running games to make the story seasons happen and be accountable to I would flounder like many would be writers.
Aside from PF/Rifts I’m sure you have played other systems too, if so, which ones?
D&D boxed sets, AD&D 1st through 3.5 editions, Pathfinder, GURPS, Car Wars, Warhammer (RPG & Miniatures), White Wolf – Vampire, Werewolf, Changeling, and Mage all first editions.
How did you get into tabletop gaming?
The year as 1981 and it was December on my birthday. My mother and father had watched me play with swords and make armor from cardboard growing up. Now I un-wrapped my gift, the last Christmas I was to have in our cabin on the Mogollon Rim northeast of Payson, AZ.
It was a red box with the words ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ on it.
There were some weird shaped dice in the box and books. From that moment there was no looking back, now I could be a knight! Fell beasts beware for great deeds were about to befall them all!!! Oh that year I was reading and running this game with my friends. Every year since then and many of the life choices I have made have been a direct result of the influence tabletop gaming has had on my life, my social circle, and my network of friends – both near and far.
October of 2014 marks 5 years for me. It was a search looking for online character sheets that got me to stumble across the site and I watched the YouTube videos and signed up that day! What brings me back?
I had to say it twice it is so important that via the forums and comments on logs and campaigns the community gives encouragement to each other. We grow as a whole because of its nurturing nature.
Now that the Reforging has been live for a little while now, what are your favorite parts?
A rising star is the help ticket system that has resolved a number of issues and does allow the users and developers to have a medium to get and give feedback.
What would you say the single biggest highlight from Regnum has been so far?
Okay, before we get out of here, give us some of your best GM’ing pearls of wisdom.
Find the balance between you and your players. Sit down and make sure you know what they are looking for from you and let them know what you are looking for from them. Setting everyone’s expectations in advance will allow you to deliver content they will devour and provide you a world view through their eyes.
That wraps it up for this month folks, be sure to keep your suggestions coming for further campaigns of the month straight to my inbox or on the forums. Until next time, game on!