My name is Rick Hershey, for the last 10 or so years I've been primarily doing illustration and graphic design for the rpg and comic industry. Recently I've expanded in to game design and writing, through Fat Goblin Games. I currently live in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina with my wife and three daughters, and I have a son on the way.
Tell us about your RPG history - what got you into the wonderful world of tabletop roleplaying?
I started playing AD&D (second edition) way back in high school when my friend Jason Stoffa introduced me to the game. He is now my design partner at Fat Goblin Games. From D&D we tackled Rifts, AFMBE, and several home-brewed games. Those early years are what got me into the idea of doing illustrations for games.
What is it about the tabletop RPG hobby that attracts you? What do you enjoy most when playing a game?
I like the world creation aspect and shared storytelling of rpg's. It's a unique experience to share those types of moments with your friends, something I never experienced with other media.
What's your favourite game? What games that are out there at the moment float your boat?
Pathfinder is the game we design for and enjoy the many options the system has built into it. It's really fun playing with their systems and creating new content. I also like lighter games, such as Savage Worlds.
Do you still get time to play? What are you playing at the moment?
With a family and working fulltime, I rarely get time to play, and when I do it tends to be more playtesting then just fun with friends. We have been talking about pulling up those first characters we played and having a reunion campaign.
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?
I don't see major changes in the industry in the future at all, and never put any credit into the "death rattle" that seems to be always immanent. I see technology becoming more prevalent in the industry as designers and gamers introduce easier ways to run their traditional games, but nothing that will change the basic nature of the game. New systems and design philosophies will continue to push the hobby, and the next big thing will always be around the corner.
Out of all your projects, what are you most proud of?
Our Shadows over Vathak project was an amazing effort that I'm very proud of co-designing. It started as a 24 hour design project and evolved into a 256 page setting book. It was a lot of work, but worth it. I'm also excited by our upcoming Steampunk Musha setting for Pathfinder. SM has been developed for over eight years and after a successful kickstarter we are moving along with the design. It's allowed me to really stretch my writing skills and push my creativity.
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!
I have a lot of horror stories, but I don't think sharing those will help my career. Generally, everyone in the industry is pretty great and friendly. I've had the privilege to work with a lot of great professionals, many of them the creators of some of my favorite games, and that's pretty awesome.
What are you working on at the moment?