I had the chance to interview Amanda Valentine of Margaret Weis Productions. She has worked on an insane number of very good, and critically acclaimed rpg products including Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Smallville, The Dresden Files Roleplaying game, several Dragonlance supplements, the Fiasco Companion, and the Leverage Roleplaying game. She has been on the receiving end of many Ennie awards, Origins awards, Golden Geek awards, Indie RPG awards and more. She was an excellent interview and was gracious enough to talk to me at the end of a very long day. If you’d like to know more about Amanda, check out her website www.ayvalentine.com.
The games of Margaret Weis Productions seem to be incredibly popular at my local game store. In the last year we’ve had games of Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, Serenity, Smallville, and of course Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. Our gamers seem to really enjoy playing within their favorite intellectual properties. That is definitely something that Margaret Weis does really well. With so many IP’s already on their roster, I was wondering if we could expect anything new. Marvel looks to be the focus of MWP for the foreseeable future in terms of IP’s, but they are releasing Dragon Brigade, a game based on the Shadow Raiders book series by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes.
In the vein of Marvel they are planning lots of releases in the coming year. The biggest ones are Fifty State Initiative as part of their current Civil War event line, Annhilation, and then the ever popular Age of Apocalypse. All products which should make many a comic geek’s heart flutter in anticipation. I know they do mine.
Seeing as how a lot of MWP’s games have a huge built-in audience that aren’t necessarily gamers, I was curious how they planned to pull those fans into the games. If they even planned to try it at all. It just seems to me that there is a huge chance for Margaret Weis Productions to pull more non-gamers into the hobby. “It’s an unconventional system to some extent…” “…its appeared to be easier for new gamers to catch on to the system…” And I completely agree with that, if you have never played a Cortex based game you are missing out. Its not incredibly intuitive for a typical gamer, but once you dig in you see that its actually fairly simple. MWP has done a lot to base their games in the story first and in mechanics second. “…if you know the Smallville show, then you’re already going to have a sense of how to play you just have to figure out what dice to pull.” This is very true in the system as well.
I had to ask the difficult question next. What is your dream IP to get? Being more of a dramatic roleplayer and enjoying the more dramatic scenes, Amanda is very interested in a True Blood roleplaying game. I have to say that I think that might just be a pretty damn popular game. It might even be enough to get my wife into roleplaying finally!
So, Amanda, what do you like to do when you find yourself with some free time? She is a gamer and enjoys gaming, and her husband is a game designer as well. They tend not to roleplay much though as it tends to seem to much like work. Amanda does like to read a lot and watch period dramas.
Lastly, the standard question… What makes you a Douchey DM? Unfortunately, she’s not someone who runs games(and that is something you really need to change Amanda!), but as a good player she does have a bit of a pet peeve from some Douchey Dms in her past. Railroading! She hates it when people railroad her. So if you ever find this feisty red headed game professional sitting down at your table, you had better let her play in your sandbox!
Ok, that’s all I was able to get from Margaret Weis Productions and my last interview of the day. I want to thank Amanda again for dealing my very tired and sweaty self at the end of a very long day and giving me a great interview. If you are interested in any of MWP’s products and would like to learn more, check them out at www.margaretweis.com.