Sunday 17 January 2021

Rob Conley interview

Here's something new for the blog. It's an interview using a simple framework I'm calling the 5W+H Interview...

Who, What, When, Where, Why plus How?

And our first interviewee is man of the moment: Rob Conley, who has just successfully completed a KickStarter for his Basic Rules for The Majestic Fantasy rpg (reviewed in the previous blog post).

Who... is The Majestic Fantasy rpg aimed at?

The Majestic Fantasy RPG is aimed at new and old fans of the classic editions of the original 1974 roleplaying games. It is designed to expand the life of the setting outside of the dungeon and wilderness. This aspect of my campaign came about because I was a referee who let players "trash" his setting. If a referee does that for their campaign, to make it a plausible challenge you need to flesh it out a bit. At first I made do with the barebones listing found in Judges Guild's Wilderlands of High Fantasy and then started to fill it out with material from Harn, Ars Magica, and my own stuff. Eventually, so many players came and went, each doing their thing, that it took a life of it's own.

What.. was the hardest aspect of the design/writing of the game?

Keeping it terse but not so terse that needed information was omitted. Another was the decade long playtest. Making sure I incorporated what I learned along the way. Then designing the presentation and writing it up in a way that was useful for kitbashing. There a tension between describing what I did and making that description useful for campaigns with a different focus.

Why... did you decide to publish your rules?

In truth I rather stick to settings and adventures but when you do physical sales you need a rulebook that you can offer. I am on good terms with most of the OSR publishers but it's hard to coordinate. So I decided to take the additional material I developed and turn it into a rulebook. This started out as a series of reference cards combining Swords & Wizardry and my Majestic Wilderlands supplement and proceeded from there.

When... is the next ('Advanced'?) edition due?

Probably in the fall and it will be the Lost Grimoire of Magic. I will start getting the book into its final shape after the Wild North setting is released.

It will detail the different magic-user classes:

-Contain a complete reference for all the arcane spells.

-Useful topics for playing and refereeing magic-users.

-An adventure about magic-users.

-Details about the various magic-orders.

-How to setup and maintain a conclave, workshop, sanctum, etc for a magic-user or a group of magic-users.

-Referee advice about magic and magic-users.

As for the series as whole, there will be about ten supplements including the Basic Rules. One each for Fighters, Rogues, Magic-Users, and Clerics. Monsters, Magic Items/Equipment, Human NPCs, Non-Human NPCs, and one I am calling the Axioms of Sandbox Fantasy Campaigns Each will be more than what one would expect from a corresponding chapter(s) in a traditional rulebooks as what I plan for the Lost Grimoire of Magic shows above.

It a bit of a gamble as it is a non-traditional approach. I think kitbashing is the norm not the exception. While there will be fans of Majestic Fantasy RPG, I aim to be everybody's second choices for material to incorporate into their campaigns.

Where... will any further campaign material be set, your Majestic Wilderlands or Blackmarsh/Points of Light?

The short answer it will be Blackmarsh/Points of Light. I will be calling the series The Majestic Fantasy Realms.

I would love to continue with the Wilderlands but at this point it has to be made open content or something else done with it in order IPwise for me to start working with it again. Disappointment doesn't begin to cover my feelings about this.

The Majestic Fantasy Realms will have all my original content just with the Judges Guild serial numbers filed off. The foundation was laid with Points of Light as at the time I had no idea that I would get JG license. For Points of Light, I sketched out a loose background compatible with my Majestic Wilderlands came up with different names and went on from there.

How... do you see the product's future?

I think it will be solid seller and many will find it useful. It's not a barebones system as those systems based on the 3 booklets of the original edition are. But it also not as detailed as GURPS, Ars Magica, Mythras/Runequest, Fantasy Age, or 5th Edition either. The closest equivalent in complexity and tone is the Adventurer, Conqueror, King System by Autarch.

Until I get the rest of Majestic Fantasy supplements out it will have a tough uphill battle because of the wealth of quality systems available in the OSR. I also hope that the Majestic Fantasy RPG serves as a good example of looking at what your setting needs and then writing and assembling the rules needed to run a campaign using that setting.

Robert, thank you so much for participating in our first 5W+H q&a session.

Thanks for having me do this interview.

Bat in the Attic Games on drivethru:

Rob's blog can be found from here:

The Wilderlands MeWe group:

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