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 Post subject: Checking in ... the author of Enchanted Wood is in the House
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 2:42 pm 
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Lord of the Enchanted Wood
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Not often I stumble upon a forum devote (OK, partially devoted) to my work. I'll check in occasionally to answer questions. Other than specific questions about my work on the two DQ projects I did (Enchanted Wood for SPI and The Shattered Statue for TSR), my knowledge of DQ is pretty much light and fluffy (no real substance there). So keep that in mind. Some clarifications (and revelations) to start off conversations:

I had no involvement in the DQ project prior to my design of Enchanted Wood.

While I studied the rules and learned them as best I could before writing EW back in 1981 (and SS in 1988 for that matter) ... I have never played Dragon Quest. Ever.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 3:05 pm 
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Welcome :-D

ShaneG.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 3:49 pm 
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:) Welcome!


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 Post subject: Re: Checking in ... the author of Enchanted Wood is in the H
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:23 pm 
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PJaquays wrote:
While I studied the rules and learned them as best I could before writing EW back in 1981 (and SS in 1988 for that matter) ... I have never played Dragon Quest. Ever.


:) So, for your personal games, which gaming system do you prefer, personally?

And, to continue my questions about EW, which is by far my favourite rpg module :), did you write it with a specific other setting in mind then (like JG's Wilderlands), or did you write it exclusively for DQ? Were you involved in the later "exploit" of the module for FR?

Yours,

Rafael


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 6:51 pm 
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Lord of the Enchanted Wood
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When I played RPGs (and other than a few sessions about 10 years ago, has been 20+ years), I played Runequest or A&D (1st edition).

EW was written specifically for Draqon Quest. I did the original "exploitation" of the EW material into the Forgotten Realms. TSR owned the material, the DQ line was dead by that point, and EW had a lot of cool adventure material that coud be appreciated by a larger audience. I cherry-picked some of the more interesting characters and themes and moved them into the High Forest region of the Savage Frontier. Later writers at TSR would pick up on some of that content and broaden its scope. But, to the best of my knowledge, they weren't aware of the material's origin.

I don't play traditional RPGs these days. When I game, its either on the PC or my XBox 360. I have subscriptions to a couple MMORPGs, but am not particularly active (City of Heroes/Villains and LotR Online).

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:10 pm 
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Welcome Paul!

Here's a question that's not related to DQ. :)


Dark Tower and Caverns of Thracia are two of my all-time favorite adventures. One of the most appealing aspects of these adventures are their awesome maps. They have a level of complexity that is only very rarely found in published adventures (actually the only other one that comes to mind right now is the original Ravenloft from Tracy Hickman). Having a challenging, non-linear dungeon layout is very often already a guarantee for success of the adventure as a whole. I've observed more than once when DM'ing your modules that the players find great joy in figuring out the lay of the dungeon and discovering all those different linkages between the different levels.

I once tried to design a dungeon with a similar complex layout like Caverns of Thracia and found it not to be easy at all - in fact I found the result to be a failure and never finished the dungeon.

Now here's the question (actually three questions): When you design your adventures (and draw the maps for them), do you draw three-dimensional maps before to visualize the complex layout better? How easy is it for you at all to design a sophisticated map? How long did it take you to create a complex dungeon map like the one for Dark Tower for example?

Thanks for answering - great to have you here!

Clarence


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:35 pm 
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I may have done some horizontal cross section studies of tricky areas when designing the maps, but I've always had a pretty good sense of spatial relationships, so making the Dark Tower or Caverns of Thracia maps was not particularly challenging for me ... even 25 years ago. However, I'm pretty sure I did rough pencils of all the maps on graph paper and would have worked out difficulty spots before committing them to production inks.

It may have been that type of skill that made it relatively easy to transition into 3D game map making (I spent 5 years as a level designer at id, working on Quake 2 and Quake 3).

If there's a trick of any kind to it, it involves envisaging the dungeons as buried buildings. All the same forms and connections would likely exist in roughly the same proportions.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:39 am 
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Welcome, Paul!

Let me add another voice to the chorus -- those maps are very impressive. My favourite module may be a bit more obscure: Realm of the Slime God from the Dungeoneer's Compendium, not just for presenting a fun and complex dungeon, but also for the high superintelligent-blobs-and-crashed-spaceships content. To think I still haven't run it...

You posted a few years ago that you were effectively out of roleplaying, and have been for a long time. Is this still the case?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:04 am 
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PJaquays wrote:
When I played RPGs (and other than a few sessions about 10 years ago, has been 20+ years), I played Runequest or A&D (1st edition).

EW was written specifically for Draqon Quest. I did the original "exploitation" of the EW material into the Forgotten Realms. TSR owned the material, the DQ line was dead by that point, and EW had a lot of cool adventure material that coud be appreciated by a larger audience. I cherry-picked some of the more interesting characters and themes and moved them into the High Forest region of the Savage Frontier. Later writers at TSR would pick up on some of that content and broaden its scope. But, to the best of my knowledge, they weren't aware of the material's origin.

I don't play traditional RPGs these days. When I game, its either on the PC or my XBox 360. I have subscriptions to a couple MMORPGs, but am not particularly active (City of Heroes/Villains and LotR Online).


Thank you for answering. :) May I ask if you are still involved with the RPG industry at any rate? - You had a successful second career as an illustrator next to your work as a writer. (Actually, a few weeks ago I bought a poster picture of your famous "Dragon Mountain" painting for my godson without realizing it was actually you who had done it.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:57 pm 
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Melan -- I've effectively been "out of roleplaying" since roughly 1992 ... even though I worked for TSR from '93 to early '97. I painted covers for RPG product, but wrote no RPG material. TSR was very compartmentalized internally. You either worked as an artist or designer ... not both. I left TSR to go into computer games in '97 and have not departed from that path since.

Rafael -- the illustration career was what got me in to RPGs. I never really went away from it other than some lapses while working on staff for game and product design companies in the early 80s. These days I work as an artist on computer and video games (Age of Empires III, The Warchiefs, and now Halo Wars). That red dragon poster is my most popular image. Unfortunately, other than the art prints I sell through my website, I derive no income from that image (TSR licensed out the use of it, since they own the copyright).

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