Sunday, 21 October 2012

Shane Garvey Interview

Please welcome to Farsight Blogger Shane Garvey of Adventure Games Guild. Shane is the author of QUERP, the Chronicles of Arax and Chronicles of Blood solo adventure games, and co-author of the Fabled Lands RPG.

Welcome to Farsight Blogger. Perhaps you'd like to tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thanks, and sure thing! Well, my name is Shane Garvey; I am a 32 year old Australian, married with two young boys, and working a full time job in IT and communications. Between work, Adventure Games Guild and my family I rarely get any spare time, but when I do I like to watch football (Aussie Rules, not any of that other rubbish) and cricket, and listen to a mixture of 70s and 80s rock/hair metal as well as European power metal.

Tell us about your RPG history - what got you into the wonderful world of tabletop roleplaying?

That would be a mate of mine. When I was around 12, I saw a friend of mine reading a book in the school library. Nothing unusual about that, except he was rolling dice as well. Turns out it was a Fighting Fantasy gamebook, and I was instantly hooked after finding out what he was doing. We hired and re-hired all the Fighting Fantasy books from that library and read them over and over again.

Later, his parents bought him the Hero Quest board game, which we devoured. He then got into Warhammer while I discovered both Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: the Gathering, and from there we were officially gamers.

What is it about the tabletop RPG hobby that attracts you? What do you enjoy most when playing a game?

Tough question! I guess it's a combination the social interactions you get, as well as the story telling and creativity that comes with gaming. It is also the chance to use your brain and to have to think your way through things, especially in strategy games. All of these things combined are what makes it a great hobby.

What's your favourite game? What games that are out there at the moment float your boat?

Another tough one. My favourite game would have to be Warhammer at the moment, and it is what I spend most of my time doing. If we can include board games, my eldest son and I are also enjoying Talisman currently.

In terms of role-playing games, I'm enjoying reading the Lone Wolf multiplayer books by Mongoose Publishing, as well as Dungeon Crawl Classics by Goodman Games. But truth of the matter is I don't get much time to roleplay these days. I'm also looking forward to seeing more of the new D&D; i wasn't a fan of 4th edition, so 5th edition looks better so far.

Do you still get time to play? What are you playing at the moment?

I think I answered these above (sorry!). But to reiterate: I rarely get much spare time to play, but when I do it is either Warhammer or Talisman.

The tabletop roleplaying hobby has been through a lot changes over the years and it seems that its death-knell is always sounded when newer hobbies come along, such as collectible card games and online computer games. It still seems to be able to hold it’s own, though – what do you see happening to the hobby in the future? What changes, if any, do you think will have to be made to ensure its survival?

Honestly, with so much of our attention out there being taken up by computer games, movies, smartphones and just about everything else, the RPG industry does need to make some changes. Many roleplayers are now aging, but the next generation of kids needs to be catered to if the industry doesn't want to die a slow, slow death.

To do this, one has to create role playing products aimed at teens and young adults. They need to have simpler (though not simplistic) rules, with enough variety to keep them from getting bored. Basing it on a licence such as Harry Potter or some other in-thing with the kids would help too.

Out of all your projects, what are you most proud of?

All of them! They are like my babies, I can't choose one! I am very proud of QUERP (Quick Easy Role Playing) as it got some fantastic reviews and I received some wonderful comments about it. In fact, as stated above about kids, I received an email from a teacher in Singapore who had introduced QUERP into the class room in order to help the kids make decisions and learn math. That was a proud moment, as it had achieved what I wanted it to be (I wrote it after the birth of my first child, so that as he grew I could introduce him to role playing through it).

I'm also quite proud of what I am working on with Stuart Lloyd right now: Adventurer: The Solo Roleplaying Game. This goes back to where it all started for me, fantasy gamebooks, but takes it in a new and exciting direction.

You’ve no doubt mixed with other great names in the roleplaying community – do you have any stories or anecdotes to share? Any horror stories? Be as frank as you like!

Being in Australia I don't get to mix face to face with many people in the industry at all. However, through social media and the internet I have chatted with many industry leaders and will say that with the exception of one person (who shall remain nameless) everyone has been extremely pleasant and easy to deal with.

What are you working on at the moment?

The main one is Adventurer: The Solo Role Playing Game. This takes fantasy gamebooks and adds a full-blown RPG system, rather than the often simplistic-by-necessity rules gamebooks normally have. Between Stuart and myself I think we have accomplished something new and exciting. The rules preview is currently up at our website, www.adventuregamesguild.com so you can check it out for yourself.

I am also working on a short, light, solo game called Dungeons. This is also for Adventure Games Guild.