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tec-goblin

Συνέντευξη με τον Ari Marmell

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tec-goblin

Ξεκίνησε από ιδέα της Trillian αν δεν κάνω λάθος. Η διαδικασία μάς πήρε σχεδόν δυο μήνες, γιατί προέκυψαν πολλές δουλειές και τρεξίματα για τον Ari, αλλά τελικά ιδού: η δεύτερη συνέντευξη του φόρουμ, νομίζω η πρώτη με συγγραφέα βιβλίων RPG.

 

Τώρα, αν καμιά ψυχή κάνει ένα copy στις Συνεντεύξεις, καλά θα ήταν. :whistling:

 

Αλλά, φυσικά, δεν περιμένω να ξέρετε όλοι τον Ari Marmell. Ειδικότης του τα rpg τρόμου, αν και περνάει σε νέα μονοπάτια τώρα που γράφει για τη Wizards of the Coast. Έχει ένα εντυπωσιακό ιστορικό, είναι πολύ ενεργός στα φόρουμ των εταιρειών, και έχει στο βιογραφικό του συμμετοχές σε καταπληκτικές κυκλοφορίες όπως το Heroes of Horror και το πρόσφατο Tome of Magic, αλλά και πολλές παλιές κυκλοφορίες του Vampire και άλλων κόσμων, και σε νουβέλλες μεταξύ άλλων. Περισσότερα, όμως, καλύτερα να δείτε στη συνέντευξη, όπου μάς λέει πολλά για το πώς είναι να είσαι συγγραφέας σε αυτό το χώρο και τα επερχόμενα βιβλία.

 

Έχω σημειώσει με έντονα γράμματα σημεία που μου φάνηκαν ενδιαφέροντα σε κάθε απάντηση. Απόδοση στα ελληνικά μπορούμε να κάνουμε για σημεία που έχουν ενδιαφέρον ιδιαίτερο ή κατόπιν αιτήσέώς σας. Ας ξεκινήσουμε με το σύνολο, όπως ήρθε στο mail box μου :).

 

>>Hello, Ari (Do you know this name exists in greek too?). Even though fans can get information on you in www.mouseferatu.com, please, say some words on you here…<<

 

Yep, I knew that. :-) It's short for "Aristotle" in Greek, isn't it? In my case, it's from Hebrew.

[Εδώ τον διόρθωσα ότι είναι συνήθως απλά το όνομα του θεού του πολέμου ;)]

Well, I was born in New York City, but my family moved to Houston, Texas when I was a year old. Lived there until about five years ago, when my wife and I moved to Austin.

 

I've got a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. I've written a few novels, though most of them haven't been published. I've been playing RPGs since I was 9 years old, and I've been working in the industry since late 2000. I started for White Wolf, got into D20 a little while after the D20 license was first released, and finally began working for WotC in late 2004.

 

I'm quite happy working in RPGs, but I'm also looking for opportunities to expand my fiction-writing career.

 

 

>>During the last years, you have been involved in an immense amount of rpg products, spread out to various publishers. While some tendency towards the horror and dark element exists, there is still a great variety among them.

 

How do you manage to do it? How can you have the immense knowledge of different rule systems, different gaming worlds and different working environments needed?<<

 

Heh. It's not actually as hard as it sounds to keep everything straight. While I've worked for a lot of companies, I've really only worked with two separate gaming systems: White Wolf's Storyteller system (the basis for their World of Darkness games), and D&D/D20. It's not too difficult to keep two rules systems separate, especially since I was playing both of them long before I began working in the industry.

 

Keeping the different settings and the different companies separate is a little harder. Most of the major companies have different rules for formatting their work. There's no easy trick to that, really. You just have to keep their guidelines handy, and constantly reference them until you become accustomed to the procedures. You also have to just sort of expect that you're going to screw things up on occasion until you've worked for the company a few times. Fortunately, most companies understand that a writer's going to take some time to become familiar with all their methods.

 

As far as the different worlds? It helps that I'm a big fan of settings and of world-creation. It's one of my favorite parts of being a DM and a writer. I also make a point of having reference materials handy whenever I'm contracted to work on a particular setting. When I was working on Faiths of Eberron, for instance, I referenced the Eberron corebook constantly to make sure I wasn't contradicting or forgetting anything. (It also helped that Keith Baker is a friend of mine, so I could go to him with questions.) Since most of the work I've been doing recently is for the core line, though, and thus not really world-specific, it hasn't been as much of an issue.

 

 

>>Is this your primary job? Does it satisfy you in terms of pleasure, time and money?<<

 

It is, actually. I'm not quite making enough to pay the bills, but thankfully, my wife also earns an income. It terms of time and satisfaction, though, yes, absolutely. I've wanted to be a writer since high school. Even when I'm dealing with a rough or frustrating project, I'm still grateful that I've got the opportunity to do what I love doing.

 

 

>>How did you reach the point you are? What it takes for someone to become involved into an important proportion of WotC books for 2006? What is your advice to someone who wants to enter the roleplaying business?<<

 

It took a lot of patience, persistence, and hard work to get where I am. There were a great many rejected proposals and unpublished projects before I finally got a chance to work for White Wolf. Once I'd done that, I made sure to turn in everything on time, to follow instructions, and to always be available for whatever work they needed done. You'd be surprised how good a reputation a freelancer can get just by meeting deadlines. Once I had a reputation at White Wolf, I used that fact to get some work for the D20 companies, and again, I worked hard and I met deadlines.

 

Even so, it took me years to get WotC's attention. I went to conventions, and spoke to people from WotC. I e-mailed them on occasion, to see if they had any available work. I published articles in Dragon Magazine.

 

And Dragon (or Dungeon) is where I'd suggest that anyone trying to get into the industry should start. WotC gets a lot of their writers from the pages of those magazines. Alternatively, check the web sites of some of your favorite D20 companies and see if they have submission guidelines. If they do, follow them to the letter. Do not ever assume that your proposal or project is so good that you don't have to follow the rules. Ignoring submission guidelines is the best way to have the companies ignore your stuff in turn.

 

Don't even bother approaching WotC if you aren't published somewhere else first. WotC has their pick of freelancers in the industry, and they're only going to hire people with a proven track record.

 

Also, don't get into the industry expecting to make a living. I've been doing this for five years, and I'm only just now coming close to the income I could earn doing something else. Do this because it's what you love doing, or don't do it at all.

 

 

>>How easy is it for someone outside USA and Canada, or even without English as his first language, to write for one of the major rpg publishers? (I know it's a hidden dream of some of the rpg gr and sff crew ;))<<

 

I can't answer this question for certain, since I don't know the specifics of hiring procedures at the various companies. I do know that a lot of freelancers don't live in the US or Canada, though, so it's certainly possible. My guess is, thanks to the miracle of the Internet, that as long as you keep in touch and meet deadlines, the company doesn't care if you live in the US, Europe, Australia, Asia, or Mars.

 

As far as people for whom English is not a first language, it really depends on how good your English is. If you can write well in English, it doesn't matter whether you learned it first, second, or fifth. If you can't write well in English, you probably don't have much of a chance. I don't mean to discourage, but most companies simply don't have the time to polish up the text they receive, not when they have other freelancers they can turn to.

 

 

>>In the degree that you can speak of this, what are the differences between working for Wizards of the Coast, White Wolf, White Wolf's subsidiaries and independent publishers?<<

 

Structure, primarily. The larger the company, the more strict their procedures and guidelines are likely to be. WotC has very specific methods for its writers, from the formatting of text to how certain phrases are used to how frequently we have to turn in status reports. White Wolf is a little less formal, while some of the smallest companies have no real rules at all other than "Give us text we can read."

 

On the other hand, the larger and more professional companies tend to pay more and pay faster, which more than makes up for any additional effort required. :-)

 

 

>>What is the proportion of writing skills, gaming inspirations and professionalism needed to write a good rpg book?<<

Hmm. Tough question. You really have to have all three to be a truly successful freelance writer. If you can't string two sentences together, nobody's going to look at your work. If you can't provide something new and interesting to the game, people won't use the book. And if you can't treat your coworkers with respect and meet your deadlines, you're not going to be hired very often, even if the work you do is fantastic.

 

That's one of the hardest lessons for some freelancers to learn. In this industry, deadlines are vital. Being good isn't enough; you have to be on time.

 

As for which one is most important, it really depends who you're writing for. When working on a World of Darkness book for White Wolf, for example, writing skill is probably more important than gaming inspiration, since the game isn't all that mechanics-heavy.

 

 

>>Do you think more as a storyteller or as a player when writing a book? Does it depend on the portion or publisher?<<

 

While it somewhat depends on the publisher or the section of the book I'm writing, I tend to think more like a DM/storyteller than I do as a player. When creating new mechanics, for example, my first thought is "Would I use this or allow this in a game I was running?" Only after I've answered that question do I worry about "If I was a player, would I choose to use this option?"

 

 

>>What's the book you enjoyed writing more?<<

I don't think I can choose just one. Some of the work I'm most proud of, though, would include:

 

* Victorian Age: Vampire, for White Wolf.

* Egyptian Adventures: Hamunaptra, for Green Ronin.

* The Doom of Listonshire, for Necromancer.

* Heroes of Horror, for WotC.

* Cityscape, for WotC.

 

Plus, my two pieces of published fiction: The novel Gehenna: The Final Night, for White Wolf; and the short story "The Flight of the Righteous Indignation" from WotC's Tales of the Last War anthology.

 

 

>>Woot.. Cityscape is unpublished yet, and you seem to love it, even though it seems to be in different mood than the previous (horror/gothic) ones mentioned in the list... Tell us a bit on why... <<

 

Why do I count Cityscape as one of my favorites? A couple of reasons. First, it tackles an element of fantasy that's very common in fiction, but hasn't been dealt with a lot in D&D. Run well, an urban campaign can be a lot of fun, but it's very different from a standard campaign.

 

I'm quite happy with the mixture of new mechanics and advice/suggestions/tips that C.A. and I worked into the book. Like Heroes of Horror, we felt it was important not only to provide tools, but also guide the DM through creating and running an urban game. I think the best RPG books have a mix of both, and I feel like we succeeded with that.

 

 

>>What's the book in which you were involved which you enjoyed reading and using more?<<

 

Tome of Magic. My only problem is that I can't decide which of the new classes in it I want to play first. :-)

 

 

>>To Tome of Magic now, your most recent publication: you were occupied with the Shadow Magic part, apart from the end of the chapter. Tell us some things about Shadow Magic and the place it can have in our stories.<<

 

Well, there's an awful lot you can do with shadow magic. As written, of course, it represents a type of magic that draws on the Plane of Shadow and--in a more symbolic sense--the darkness that underlies all of reality and creation. When introducing it to a campaign, it can be just another type of magic, one that's not practiced often; or it could be an ancient secret, long-lost and only now rediscovered; or it can be heretical, something that arcanists and/or divine casters wish to see destroyed because they fear what it represents. I think one of the most interesting things you could do with shadow magic would be to make it a brand new type of magic, something never seen before the current generation. Why has it suddenly appeared? Is darkness growing stronger? Does this indicate the beginning of the end for existence as we know it? And are those who can master the power of shadow responsible for what's happening, or are they the only ones who can stop it?

 

Of course, shadow magic can have all sorts of alternate origins or foundations, if your campaign doesn't use the Plane of Shadow. Maybe it's a creation of a god of darkness. Maybe it taps into whatever existed before the gods created the world.

 

I think one of the coolest aspects of shadow magic is purely symbolic, and that's the idea that it draws on a "dark reflection" of the normal world to function. By playing up and enhancing that aspect, shadow magic can be portrayed as a twisted corruption of standard magic--or it can represent a fundamental basis, with normal arcane magic in fact being the newer creation.

 

 

>>Are you pleased with the way shadow magic can be used by any character? I mean, any character can have a taste of pact magic with the appropriate feats, and with some additional dedication and research any spellcaster can have a small taste of truename magic. How can this be done with shadow magic?<<

 

Well, it's not as easy to work shadow magic into an existing caster as it is the other two, I admit. If I had to go back and do it again, I'd probably alter that a little bit. At the very least, I'd like to have created a few shadow-based spells that were available to wizards, clerics, etc.

 

Oh, well. Next time. ;-)

 

 

>>Shadow magic, with its obscure paths and mastery of low level abilities seems an interesting way to present into the game other niche, specialized sorceries – like the sorceries of the 7thSea world, Lancea Sanctum Magic or some kind of mist magic for Ravenloft.

 

Do you have any ideas and advice for players and storyteller who would like to do something similar?<<

I'd start with rumors. Let the players hear tales of people using magics that seem almost like normal spells--but not quite. Tie those rumors into legendary sources. For instance, maybe the tales say that the person who was using them worshipped some forgotten Lovecraftian god, or came from a distant island thought long destroyed.

 

When the PCs first encounter shadow magic, play up its alien nature. Start with abilities that cannot be duplicated with existing spells, so they know they're dealing with something new. Only after they've run into it a few times should they have the opportunity to start learning more about it.

 

Alternatively, you might require that only characters who have been somewhere or done something specific can learn shadow magic. Using the Ravenloft example, maybe only people who have been exposed to the Mists can ever learn shadow magic. Anything you can do to make it different from normal magic--not just mechanically, but flavor-wise--is a good thing.

 

 

>>Two of the books on which you have just finished working and are waiting to be published are about the Eberron campaign setting: Dragonmarked Houses and Faiths of Eberron. Was there something special when working for Eberron? <<

 

Working on Eberron is a very different experience than working on the core rules. First, there's a lot of research involved. I really try to avoid contradicting previously publised material, and that means a lot of flipping through books, a lot of back-and-forth with Keith Baker, and so forth. Plus, there's the fact that I want my Eberron material to feel like Eberron. The world has its own appearance, its own mood, its own aesthetic. They say that everything in D&D can appear in Eberron, but it still needs to fit in, to make sense in context. There's a lot more to keep track of, essentially.

 

 

>>What games are you playing this month ?[it was April 2006]<<

 

I'm a part of two ongoing campaigns at the present time, both D&D. I'm a player in a friend's homebrew campaign on Thursday nights, and I run my own city-based campaign on Sundays. (My campaign's actually wrapping up in a couple of months. Haven't yet decided what I'm going to run next.)

 

 

>>Share with us if you want a funny or entertaining moment of your rpg career.<<

 

Hmm. I'd love to, but I'm afraid my career has been largely bereft of amusing anecdotes. While I've had a lot of fun with the people I work with, nothing in particular has happened that would be all that entertaining to repeat.

 

 

>>Ask yourself a question and reply to it ;)<<

 

How about two, as a way of making up for the delay in responding, and to answer a question you raised in a different e-mail? ;-)

 

 

"What are you working on next?"

 

I've recently worked on a number of books for WotC. Complete Mage is due out toward the end of the year, as is Cityscape. I worked on a large section of another big hardcover, but since it hasn't been announced, I can't say what it is. I've just recently completed work on an installment in the Fantastic Locations series, which was a new experience. I've just recently dived into yet another Eberron book, as well.

 

"If you could decide what WotC was publishing, what would it be?"

 

I'd very much like to do culture-specific books in the Heroes of... series. For instance, I'd like to Heroes of Arabia, modeled after Oriental Adventures and using Al-Qadim as the sample setting. I'd also love to do Heroes of Myth, about how to run a game modeled after Greco-Roman mythology. I'd love to work on a third Fiendish Codex book about the yugoloths and other neutral evil fiends, and I'd love to do a monster book about giants.

 

 

>>Ask me a question.<<

 

All right. What sort of books would you like to see WotC do that they haven't done yet?

 

>> Well, Heroes of Intrigue is an idea that pops up in the forums under many names. Political machinations, courtly combat, negative and positive reputation and things like this.

In addition, knowing that two of my favorite post-medieval/before-modern lines have been stopped, Heroes of Swashbuckling could fit the gap. D20 Past had a lot of nice information, but some more expansion on the theme could be nice. As an alternative, it could be a campaign setting for d20 Modern, but I fear that the line is not strong enough to back up a dedicated campaign setting like Masque of the Red Death.

In any case, I would like to see some merging of the two lines – to find for example a couple of pages (or even a web enhancement) in every generic WotC book describing the necessary adaptations for use with d20 Modern. For Heroes of Horror for example we could have an advanced class version of each of the two base classes, and defense and reputation progressions for some of the rest (the ones that best suit a modern campaign). A page on the big differences of theme between a modern horror campaign and a traditional one could help too. <<

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trillian

:D :D :D Nice!Αυτό ήταν έκπληξη, είχα υποθέσει ότι δεν είχε γίνει τιποτα τελικά.

 

Είναι καλή και ενδιαφέρουσα, αλλά θέλει λιγο editing για να ξεχωρίζουν οι ερωτήσεις. Καλό θα ήταν να τη μετεφραζες κιόλας :).

Περισσότερα δε μπορώ να σχολιάσω, καθότι ειμαι παντελώς άσχετη με το 99% της συνέντευξης...Αλλά μου φαίνεται ότι για τους σχετικούς του είδους θα είναι πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα :D.

 

(για να μπει στην κεντρική υποθέτω θα πρέπει να επικοινωνήσεις με το Βάρδο. Και σε κανα δυο μέρες θα έχω κι εγώ κάτι να μοιραστώ μαζί σας ;) )

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RaspK

Καλή δουλειά, φίλος! Kudos!

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Βάρδος
Τώρα, αν καμιά ψυχή κάνει ένα copy στις Συνεντεύξεις, καλά θα ήταν. :whistling:

 

Μεταφράζεις, την κάνεις attach σε ένα e-mail, μου τη στέλνεις, την ανεβάζω. :hi:

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tec-goblin

Τέλεια τρίλιαν, ανυπομονώ

Ευχαριστώ για τα καλά λόγια κλπ

 

Η μετάφραση θα σταλεί λίγο μετά τις 14 του μήνα που παραδίδω την Πτυχιακή μου ;).

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