Harry Dresden RPG Interview
21 Mrz 2010

Der Autor

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Wenn ich nicht gerade spiele verunstalte ich Medien. Kommt einem zu Gute bei eigenen Rollenspielen wie Malmsturm oder Projekten wie Ratten!, Savage Worlds Gentlemens Edition, Scion, Sundered Skies und ein paar anderen. An und für sich bin ich der Erzählonkel, daher auch die große liebe zu FATE. Manchmal muss es aber auch ein Burger statt Steak sein und so wird gern und oft auch Savage Worlds oder wenn es klasisch sein soll Pathfinder und Konsorten gespielt. Ich probier gern und oft Systeme aus aber die eigentliche Leidenschaft sind die Hintergrundwelten.

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Rede & Antwort

Huhu! ich hab ein nettes Schmankerl für dich. Fred Hicks ( Evil Hat Verlagseigner, Autor, Art-Director, Layouter Multitalent ) & Ryan Macklin (General Manager of Indie Press Revolution, Owner/Operator: RPGPodcasts.com) standen Rede & Antwort für ein paar Informationen zum bald kommenden Harry Dresden Rollenspiel:

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:

Greetings! First I’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your upcoming Harry Dresden RPG – a game set in the world of Jim Butcher’s bestselling novels and based on the rule set of Evil Hat’s FATE3.0 engine.

Hicks:
Happy to be here.

Macklin:
Thank you for doing this with us.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
Would you please start with a short introduction of yourselves to our readers?

Hicks:
I’m Fred Hicks, one of the system developers on the Dresden Files RPG. In my role with Evil Hat, the publisher, I’ll also be doing the layout and art direction for the book as well as taking it to press. I was also part of the writing team on Spirit of the Century and the Fate system, and designed the Don’t Rest Your Head role-playing game.

Macklin:
I’m Ryan Macklin. I write, edit, and develop RPGs for Evil Hat Productions and some other game companies and imprints. I rant occasionally about the process of making games on my site, RyanMacklin.com.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
What kind of games, not just RPGs, do you like to play yourselves? In fact, *do* you still roleplay on a regular basis?

Hicks:
I’ve been getting in a lot of Dominion lately. I tend to find that playing board games keeps my brain „fit“ for working on role-playing games — looking at how Shadows Over Camelot created a lot of „solo tension“ in play had an impact on my design for Don’t Rest Your Head, for example. As far as RPGs go, I get in a little 4th Edition D&D on occasion, a little Storyteller, a little Fate, but scheduling as an adult with a child has been a real bear.

Macklin:
I’m typing this while looking at my wall of games. Some of my current favorites are Race for the Galaxy, Dominion, Memoir ’44, Taluva, Pandemic, Cash ’n Guns, and quite of bit of whatever Reiner Knizia puts out. As for RPGs, I play regularly, but not with the same, steady group these days — mostly at mini-conventions and meetups.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
When and how did you first encounter the FATE system and the Harry Dresden books?

Hicks:
Heh — well, I helped write the Fate system, so that’s how I first encountered it, myself. As to the Dresden Files, I knew Jim Butcher via some internet gaming back in the early to mid 1990’s. I found myself living in Oklahoma for about a year at one point, and he was taking novel writing classes down at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, so he invited me down for some weekend gaming (playing in his Birthright game), watching Babylon 5, and so on. It became a sort of semi-regular thing. So that’s how I first met Harry Dresden — Storm Front was a class project of Jim’s, coming out of his dot matrix printer.

Macklin:
I blame Fred Hicks on both of those. I got intrigued by Spirit of the Century when I first met Fred, at Gen Con 2006 I think. We knew each other vaguely because we both knew Chad Underkoffler, and Fred was carrying around a proof copy of Spirit. That got me interested…as a fan. And then Fred got me hooked on the Dresden Files novels…as a fan. So, really, it’s all his (and Chad’s) fault. Going from a fan to working with Fred and crew came later.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:

What are your favorite elements in the FATE system?

Hicks:
It’s composed entirely of favorite elements for me. That was part of the point! But aspects get the most press, and rightly so — they were inspired by some of the mechanics in 7th Sea, where players paid points (rather than got them back) for their disadvantages. In that idea we saw a powerful way to put a game element into play that always had a double edge — something that could make your character awesome when used „positively“, and something that would make your character’s story awesome when used „negatively“.

Macklin:
I naturally love aspects, but I also really like that it’s a Fudge derivative. I’ve always liked things like Fudge, mainly because I’m a bit of a die probability nerd and I like bell curve systems. Coupling that with what aspects do was like a marriage in heaven.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
How closely did you co-operate with Jim Butcher on this project? Did he take part in the development of the book?

Hicks:
If Jim took a constant active hand in the development of the game, two things would have happened: one, the Dresden Files novels would be taking longer to come out; two, the RPG would be taking longer to come out (and it’s already taken quite some time). All the same, Jim is at least involved to the point that he has text approval on the results, and has been available to us (during the five or ten minutes a year he has free) to ask questions about the Dresdenverse.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
What are your priorities when presenting a setting for a roleplaying game? What were your priorities with *this* setting?

Hicks:
The setting has to be eminently gameable. Text shouldn’t be wasted on stuff that doesn’t give someone an idea for a character to play or a story to tell. We used this approach with the development of Chad Underkoffler’s Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies game, recently published by Evil Hat. The same is true of the Dresden Files, though frankly Jim is a gamer, and he’s written a „natively“ gameable universe, so luckily we can take its gameability as a given.

That’s allowed us to move on and look, instead, at making sure that the system produces play that feels, instinctively, like the Dresden Files. Fights are exciting, visceral, and desperate. In one of the earlier novels, Harry makes a remark just as a Black Court vampire is going for him: „If he got his hands on me, I was dead.“ We wanted that feeling in the way fights work in the game. After a lot of tuning, I think we got it. One of our playtesters commented, I’m paraphrasing, „We came out of the fight frightened, exhausted, and hurt. Which was just about right.“

There are also a number of themes in the novels that we saw that we wanted to emerge in play, one of the central ones being the effects of supernatural (and even mortal) power on someone, how it takes away your ability to make choices for yourself — your free will, really — the more you have of it. So we baked that right into the way purchasing abilities works.

At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure the game feels like the books.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
What changes or additions to the core rules were made to better simulate the „Dresden-verse“? Did you encounter any specific problems with this?

Macklin:
Fred talks about this in the question above pretty thoroughly, since we at Evil Hat see setting and system not as separate pieces but as two things that need to merge together. If you’re familiar with SotC, you’ll know that people have commented on how tough it is to take out a PC in a fight. The whole stress/consequence system was retooled to make it feel more immediately dangerous, so that you did feel more like Harry when he’s facing down a pack of werewolves. That that’s biggest *change* in my mind, though there are also a lot of additions — things like supernatural strength and magic and the like.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
Did you keep the Stunt system from SotC?

Hicks:
We kept the stunt concept if not the system. SotC was a prototype in a lot of ways, stunts doubly so. We’ve seen the good and the bad of them as folks have gotten a chance to play SotC over the last few years, and we’ve put the good bits into the Dresden Files RPG. We expand it, too, to accommodate supernatural powers, but we also provide some explicit grow-your-own-stunt guidelines and streamlined several concepts that were introduced less gracefully in the SotC iteration.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
How did you handle supernatural „attributes“, like super strength, compared to their mundane counterparts?

Hicks:
They’re super-stunts, in essence — or stunt packages, combining the effects of several stunts into a single purchaseable element. In the case of strength abilities, we divided this into three tiers — Inhuman, Supernatural, and Mythic strength — and priced and detailed them accordingly. It’d be a very long conversation to get into the particulars, though, and better had in the context of having the actual game in hand.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
How does the magic system work?

Macklin:
That…is a big question. Magic in Jim’s world is pretty vast, pretty fluid, and that took the design team (notably the esteemed Leonard Balsera) a long time and a number of versions to come to what we have today. In short, just as in the books, you have the two types of magic: evocation and thaumaturgy. Evocation’s your quick, emotional outburst style of magic — Harry throwing around fire. Thaumaturgy is your slow, ritual magic, your really big spells — like Victor Sells‘ heart exploding spell in Storm Front.

With evocation, to achieve a short effect — like, an attack or maneuver in combat — you call up power, attempt to control it, and fire away. The big trick with evocation is attempting to control it, which if done badly doesn’t mean the spell fails, but that you have to either make up the difference through taking stress on yourself or by having unintended consequences happen with your spell. We have some neat examples in the game, taking from times where we see this happen with Harry in the novels.

Thaumaturgy is the polar opposite to evocation — it’s safer, and you can do a lot with it, but you pay for that with time and ritual. But, the really neat thing is what you can solve with thaumaturgy: impossible or improbable problems, create lasting changes in things and people, provide inaccessible knowledge, things like that. And you achieve these things by gathering power the way Harry does in the books — by taking time, gathering items of power and the like. For my money, this is one of the neatest parts of the system, because we’re not just giving you a laundry list of items that give you some bonus to your roll. It’s much more creative than that, where getting dirty magazines for Bob is as much a ritual component sacrificing some animal. It’s all about the story you want to tell of how you gathered that power.

But, at this point I think the answer is getting long-winded. There’s a lot to our magic system, and I’m pretty proud of the work the team’s done.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
Will we get additional background information about the world of the Dresden Files and/or is there non-official material, like another city as a setting?

Hicks:
Most of our Harry-centric material is culled straight from the novels. We’ve got to be careful about the stuff that’s explicitly „canonical“, because we need to be sure we’re not putting ideas out there that Jim might want to decide are different later on in the novels. We can’t handcuff him. So in that respect, we regard each new novel as the expansion of the setting, and we’re designing the game so it’s easy for folks to „stat up“ the new stuff that shows up in any new story. That said, one of our developers, Clark Valentine, has written up an incredible „Dresdenized“ Baltimore — so that’s going to be our vehicle for showing folks how to take the setting’s canon material and make it their own.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
What is the mysterious high concept aspect mentioned in the charactertype series?

Hicks:
It’s not so mysterious. We’re highlighting one aspect during character creation as the central thing that sums up what the character is about: is he a wizard, a werewolf, or a White Court vampire? That sort of thing. Your high concept aspect has to work as an explanation for any powers that you take, and uses the aspect system’s „compel“ feature to drive some elements of how a high concept restricts what a character can do and how it guides the stories that are told.

Macklin:
In character creation, it’s your kick-off point. People tend to have a quick sketch of an idea in their head, like ‚You know, I want to play a cop who is also a werewolf.“ Great, that’s your first aspect, your high concept: „Werewolf Cop“

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
Will it be possible to pre-order (including the free PDF version) from Germany?

Hicks:
I hope so! It’ll be a question of paying some potentially nasty international postage on top of the product’s price, though. Shipping is a bear these days. IPR does have a retailer or two that it sells to in Germany, though, and I think that Leisure Games has an online store that ships throughout Europe, probably for cheaper in aggregate than it would be to order it from the States.

Macklin:
That’s a question we’ll have answered on the site, DresdenFilesRPG.com, once we have a good handle on the exact numbers and all that.

Hicks:
More than anything, the reality of rising shipping costs, particularly international ones, means that it won’t be possible to offer much of a „break“. We’re a small company!

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
Will the Dresden-verse setting be more of a sandbox-game type, just using the content of the novels as a „What happened so far“ background, or will there be some kind of on-going metaplot?

Hicks:
Inasmuch as there’s any metaplot in the universe, we point you again to the novels. If you want to follow along with them as developments that are „going on over there in Chicago“ or wherever, that’s fine for your game. But we expect play-groups to carve out their own corner of the world for play and go to town. The setting is theirs once play starts.

Macklin:
In some ways, that’s what’s great about a license like Dresden Files. Jim talks a lot about the cosmos and a lot about Chicago, but I can totally carve off my own little world in San Francisco and make that my own little playground in his world.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
Will the Dresden Files RPG be published under the OGL?

Hicks:
It has to be. The Fate system is built on top of Fudge, and Fudge is released under the OGL, so Fate and consequently the RPG has to be as well. That doesn’t mean we’ll be making a lot — nor even necessarily any — of its innards open content, though, beyond the basic system that we’re inheriting from Spirit of the Century. We have to protect Jim’s intellectual property, and that may require painting the closed content with a broad brush.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
What’s your opinion on Diaspora? Will you adapt some elements – e.g. social combat – from this for a generic FATE?

Hicks:
I’m a big fan of Diaspora, warts and all. It’s the most satisfying third party Fate product I’ve seen. No disrespect intended to the others out there, it’s just that Diaspora’s authors really focused well on what they wanted the system to do. It delivers. I’ll certainly have it in mind as Lenny and I and others get to work on the „core Fate“ stuff in 2010 after the Dresden Files stuff is finally behind us. But really there’s good stuff to be mined from every Fate product that the third party set has put out. It’d be silly not to pay attention to what’s going on out in the world of Fate.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
A generic FATE3.0 is said to be in the pipeline after the publication of the Dresden Files RPG. Will this also be published under the OGL?

Hicks:
Again, it has to be. That’s right there in the basics of the OGL, and in Fate’s heritage as a Fudge game. Unlike Dresden, though, we’re going to be able to open up almost all of its content. We don’t have someone else’s intellectual property to worry about in that case.

Rollenspiel Almanach Logo:
So thank you very very much for that interesting Interview and good luck for the Dresden Files RPG and FATE. Take care!

Hicks:
Thanks for the interview!

Macklin:
This was fun. I hope your readers enjoy it as much as we have!

Links:

11 Comments
11 Kommentare
  1. Oh, man ich kann es kaum erwarten. Hoffentlich können wir hier auch vorbestellen.

    Ich habe zwar nur die Serie im Fernsehen gesehen, aber die Bücher werde ich vor ‚Erscheinen des RPG auch noch verspeisen 🙂

  2. Die TV-Serie ist NICHTS im vergleich zu den Büchern! Ehrlich die Romane sind jeden Cent wert.

  3. Die Romane sind wohl leider nicht mehr Vollzählig auf deutsch im Handel. Sehr Schade. Wie sind den die Bücher aufgebaut? Abgeschloßene Geschichten? Also lohnt es wenn man nur einzelne Romane bekommen kann?

  4. Also ich denke, es wird möglich sein, die beiden Bücher vorzubestellen. Aber Du kannst Dich auf hohe Versandkosten einstellen. Du liegst damit im Bereich von ungefähr 30 USD. Was alles kein so großes Problem ist, wenn der Dollar stabil bei 1,3x EUR bleibt…

    Was den Vergleich Bücher zu Serie angeht, kann ich vol zustimmen. Ich habe erst die Serie gesehen, dann alle Bücher gelesen und gucke gerade wieder die Serie. Ich stelle mir das so vor: die Bücher sind der eine große Fall pro Jahr, die Fernsehserie passiert zwischen drin.

  5. wenn die serie wenigestens wie die romane wären und nicht haufenweise umgeschrieben worden wäre fänd ich das auch gut!

    die bücher sind schon linear aufgebaut. ich habe 2-3 bücher bei ebay ersteigert. in deutschland sind wir nun beim 8 band meine ich.

    Ich bin mit fred und einem onlinehändler wegen einer evtl. vorbestell aktion im gespräch!

    wenn es dazu etwas neues gibt lass ich sicher von mir hören

  6. Eine Vorbestellaktion wäre cool. Ich glaube auch zu wissen, welcher Onlinehändler in Deutschland dafür in Frage käme.

    Allerdings werde ich mich an sowas in Deutschland nur beteiligen, wenn ich die Möglichkeit habe, sofort das PDF zu bekommen. Ansonsten werde ich in den saueren Apfel beißen und direkt bei den Bösen Hüten bestellen.

  7. alles klar ist notiert und ich sitz drann 🙂

  8. An Vorbestellen hätte ich auch Interesse 🙂

  9. So, und gibt es jetzt schon Neuigkeiten bezüglich der Preorder in Deutschland?

    (Mal so ganz provokant gefragt, weil Fred Hicks von den Bösen Hüten ja schon mehr oder minder gesagt hat, dass Sphärenmeister sich an der Preorder beteiligt. Angeblich gibts das PDF dann als CD.)

  10. Ich bin noch dran, mit Roland von Sphärenmeisters und Fred habe ich evtl sogar eine Sonderaktion für Deutschland geplant. Dazu meinte Fred:

    Tell you what — up until about mid-April I’m going to be consumed with just making the print run happen. I think after mid-April I’ll be able to talk about special deals & whatnot. But if I told you I could take on thinking about this right now, I’d be lyin‘, and we’ve had enough delayed things between us as it is with the damn interview. I’d rather start talking about this in April when I can be much more clear-headed. Okay?

    Glaub mir ich sitz auf Kohlen 😉

Sag was dazu

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