Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Razor Coast Kickstarter is LIVE!





Interview questions by Christopher Helton, conducted via email.

1. What brought about the genesis of the creation of Razor Coast? What inspirations stewed in your head for it to come about?

Razor Coast was born out of two of my favorite places in the world:

As a young boy my family vacationed on the Outer Banks of North Carolina every summer.  The landscape and the lore of those strange sandy isles captured me.  Nagshead, The Graveyard of the Atlantic, Ocracoke Island (Blackbeard's ole stompin' ground) and the old lighthouses dotting the coast - vacant sentinels who had born witness to terrifying storms and life-rending wrecks - all worked a strange alchemy on my young gamer's brain.  This was one piece of the puzzle.

When I moved to Hawai'i I was immediately struck by the sheer power of the islands.  They are primal and alive in a way no other place is.  Up in the mountains, bamboo forests creak eerily in the wind, and the jagged teeth of Shark's Cove gnash at the incoming waves.  My first trip to the Big Island (as Hawai’i is known) blew my mind - the history of the ali'i and the legends of Pele were such delicious fodder for gaming goodness that I couldn't resist.  The unfortunate history of the islands worked into this as well -- the whaling fleets, the plantations, the usurpation of the native Hawaiians set a great backdrop for a land in need of heroes.
From a strange mixture of the Outer Banks and the Hawaiian Islands, Razor Coast slowly came to life.  A coast of pirates and marauders with a distinctly Polynesian mythos, melded with all the sinister threats we have come to know and love in fantasy RPGs.

2. What makes Razor Coast such a good fit for each of these rule sets, since Swords & Wizardry and Pathfinder come from such different places, from a design viewpoint?

I think the two traits that links Swords and Wizardry and Pathfinder for me are these: First there is  an adherence to the wonderful traditions of fantasy roleplaying that have defined two generations enjoyment of our hobby and second,  a commonly shared sense of adventure.  Anyone who has ever played in a game I’ve run knows well that rules take a back seat in my sessions unless they contribute to and enhance the spirit of adventure, daring, danger and drama that fuels our imaginations as gamers.  Pathfinder and Swords and Wizardry both deliver the goods.

3. What sorts of games do you run within the Razor Coast setting? What sorts of things can people take from the setting to bring into their own games?

Razor Coast was born out of the single best gaming experience of my life.  Gencon 2000 was a magical event for me during which my core group (who I had gamed with since high school) all showed up at the con and we ended up meeting a group that was our delicious bizarro mirror image - a bunch of dudes from NYC who we instantly fell in love with.  I wanted to run something that would forge us together.  I had been stewing Razor Coast in my mind for years and Dajobas was hunting me in my dreams nightly (I'm terrified of sharks - have been since my trips to the Outer Banks, where my brother would force me to watch Jaws with him).

I decided to give Dajobas an ocean to swim in and let him feast on the blood of my group and our new found friends.  Many of the NPCs in the Razor Coast setting were PCs generated for that session - in fact most of the Wave Riders made their debut that fine Gencon Sunday morning.  I still have photos from that session somewhere and every time I find them, a warmth spreads through me.
After its birth, Razor Coast became the setting of choice in my games for the entire 6 years I spent in Hawaii from 2002-2008.  A lot of the set pieces and side adventures in there were spun from off-the-cuff adventures in which some friends would pop by and be like "would you run something for us tonight" and with about 15 minutes prep time I would unleash some of Razor Coast's sinister plots and denizens on them.

4. For those who may know the history of this project, what lessons have been learned that will see this setting finally get released and published?

Ha!  The single most important lesson I learned was that I have my limitations.  I was possessed of the idea that I could do ANYTHING before Razor Coast.  I learned I'm not a business man, nor do I have a head for publishing.  I also learned a lot about how stress can make you hide from things and do stupid things.  I hit bottom, not just in the industry, but in life.  I'm just happy I made it out the other end.

On the up side I learned another great lesson - this hobby is full of wonderful and supportive people who care deeply about one another.  Without the support of Greg Vaughan and all the lovely people at Frog God Games, and of course the indescribable and enormous dollops of human kindness Louis Agresta lavished upon me in my darkest hours, Razor Coast would have been my albatross.  Now its an incredibly exciting experience - not only fueled by my dark imaginings but also injected with goodness from the twisted minds, of Lou, Tim Hitchcock, Richard Pett, and a host of other unsavory masters of the dark arts.  Although its been a strange journey - we are ending up with a Razor Coast far more potent than the original, and for that I am eternally thankful to all corners.

5. What do you see happening with the future of Razor Coast?

This is a great question.  Lou and I have had many a disturbing discussion about where the setting could go from here.  It is truly unique, not only in content, but also in form and I think there are a host of opportunities for future development with FGG.  I have a TERRIBLE reputation of promising too much and delivering too little in this hobby, so I won't reveal anything now.  I'll wait until RC is out there in the world first - no longer counting krakens before they spawn, is Nicolas Logue.  And that's another lesson I've learned.


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