Sunday, 3 February 2013

Interview - Stuart Lloyd


Say hello to Stuart Lloyd, the gamebook specialist of Lloyd of Gamebooks and one of the dudes at Adventure Games Guild!

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

My name is Stuart Lloyd.  By day I teach science in a small city in the UK.  When I'm not teaching science, I writing gamebooks or writing about gamebooks on the endless search to create better gamebooks.  I'm also an information addict and enjoy listening to various podcasts on all kinds of topics.  I also enjoy spending time with my family.

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

The first RPG I came across was Advanced Fighting Fantasy, which I discovered when I was 12.  I played a few games with my friends and created a few scenarios (terrible ones).  I tried to create an AFF solo scenario but I was never satisfied with it and kept on changing it.  I also played Heroquest and devoured a 2nd ed Dungeons and Dragons manual that I found in my school library and spent a lot of time wondering what all the spells mentioned in the magic items section did.

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

I don't have much time to play RPGs but I love to read the sourcebooks for ideas to go into my gamebooks.  I love reading about different systems and settings and I'm always buying sourcebooks from RPG now.  At the moment, I'm reading physical copies of Maelstrom andHeroes Against darkness.  When I am playing RPGs, I enjoy creating characters with a nice backstory and I also enjoy shaking things up sometimes.

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

From a playing point of view, Advanced Figting Fantasy has to be my favourite as it was also the first RPG I played.  I also love the 2nd edition as it cleaned up the problems that the first edition had.  From a system point of view, Heroes Against Darkness floats my boat at the moment.  It has a very elegent system for pretty much every situation.  I especially like the magic system which is versatile and also prevents high level spellcasters from dominating.  You can get a free pdf from the blog which is also very pretty.

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

Between my job, family and writing, I don't play many tabletop RPGs.  The last boardgame I played was Last Night on Earth which I love.

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 think that there will always be a need for tabletop roleplaying as it has a human element that computer games don't provide and it also has a lot of flexibility that collectible card games don't have.  That said, new technology can make it more versatile - I've played RPGs that have been made possible by internet forums and Facebook.

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

I'm quite proud of the Treasure tables I made for Adventurer which Shane and I put together.  I tried to make them old school, have a lot of different possible items and also make them balanced so that as the player goes up in level, they got more powerful.  I also made sure that players do not get too many items too quickly as they might use their character over several adventures and I didn't want them breezing through them.  Also, when they do roll a magic item, it will be even more special.  In terms of gamebooks, I am most proud of my latest creation, Goblin's Bounty.  It's a gamebook you play on an app and uses combat that simulates collectable card games.  I've written the story and Ashton Saylor is doing the cards with Emil from Attic Squad making the program work.

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!

In 2012, I had a pint with Ian Livingstone, Jamie Fry and Neil Rennison after Ian's Blood of the Zombies signing.  It was lovely to meet them all and talk to Ian first hand about his new book.  I also met them all again, along with Steve Jackson, Michael J. Ward, Graham Bottley, Tony Hough and Sam Richards (sorry if I forgot anyone!) at Dragonmeet.  I've also had RPG and gamebook greats such as Dave Morris, Jamie Thomson and Ken St Andre take the time to email me.   It's great that these people are taking the time to talk to little old me.

What are you working on at the moment?

I'm working on quite a few things.  The list is here on my first blog post of 2013 - My Next Big Thing.  Many thanks for the interview!