Interview with Simon Berman and Doug Seacat of Privateer Press

Continuing our mini series of Privateer Press interviews, here’s part one of the interview with Simon Berman and Doug Seacat, developers for the Iron Kingdom roleplaying game.

Dan: Are you currently playing or running any tabletop RPG games?
Simon: At the moment, I’m so busy during my “free time” that I haven’t had time to game. But most of my gaming happens during office hours with WARMACHINE playtesting.
Doug: I’ve been doing a regular Friday game night with friends for a while now. We play a huge variety of games as it’s hard to get them to settle on one thing in particular. I think it’s important to get some gaming in regularly. I haven’t DMed anything in a while though.
Dan: How did you two get started in the industry?
Simon: You go first, you’ve been around longer.
Doug: Haha, okay. Matt Staroscik, who wrote the Witchfire Trilogy, was one of my good friends in college. I had done some collaborative writing with him before. Later, when he and Matt Wilson were at AEG, I ended up doing some roleplaying articles for Shadis magazine. While the two Matts were working on the Witchfire Trilogy, Staroscik contacted me because he knew I was a reliable writer who could hit deadlines. I wrote some background material for the third Witchfire book and then proceeded to work on the main sourcebook for the setting itself, which would become the IKCG & IKWG. That’s where I got my start Freelancing with Privateer Press, world building right out of the gate.

 Then down the line, right after the launch of NO QUARTER magazine and just as HORDES was entering the early stages of development, Matt Wilson approached me and asked that I come on as a full time writer. Mostly to work on HORDES, but also to work on NO QUARTER magazine and other material. Since then it’s been a nonstop writing spree.
Simon: I’ve been at Privateer Press for just under two years now. Prior to that I had played games quite a bit. In 2005 I found WARMACHINE and eventually I ended up becoming a volunteer with the Privateer Press Gang. During this time I became good friends with Dan Brant, Biggie, who used to run the volunteer program, and at the time I was looking into making a career change. Something beyond being a Chemical Analyst.

I made a leap of faith and moved from New York to Seattle and started working in the Privateer Press warehouse. While working in the warehouse, I found myself doing freelance writing for NO QUARTER. At the time the stuff that I was writing was general setting descriptions and expanding on things in our Iron Kingdoms cannon. I think the first thing I wrote about was ‘Jack factories. Anyway, last summer Matt Wilson asked me to become a writer and taking over the community management and social media
Doug: You know, we’ve always tried to put good roleplaying information into the magazine, but it was getting kind of hard for me to keep up with it as our publishing schedule would ramp up. “You don’t have time to work on magazine articles!” they’d tell me. And I’d tell them “But I really like working on that stuff!” Luckily Simon had expressed an interest in taking that responsibility over. We had him try a few articles, and his style worked really well. He was exactly what we were looking for. Plus he was already working for us, so there you go!
Dan: Simon, tell us about life in the Privateer Press warehouse. Is it everything we hope it is? Willy Wonka’s WARMACHINE factory?
Simon: Well… It’s a very exciting warehouse. I started work as a packer, then six months later I got into casting, which is a lot more difficult than most people think. There’s a real art to it. It’s all about heat management and changes to the mold as the day wears on… there are a lot of factors.
Dan: Doug, do you ever get tired of the world building?
Doug: No, I love it. I always feel like there’s more stories to tell, more characters that we haven’t had a chance to get into… There are so many aspects of the setting that we’ve only just barely touched on. That was one of the fun things about working on the Retribution book that started off our work on the Mk II material. Even though Matt and I had talked a lot about what the elves were doing, very little of it was in print except for a small chapter on Ios in the world guide. So the chance to dive into that was pretty exciting. There are always more niches I’d like to get into. More cities I’d like to explore.

That’s all we have for part one, tune in later this week for the exciting conclusion of our interview!

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