Today I resume the activity of the blog after this Christmas break and I do it with an interview with Rodrigo Garcia Carmona, author of La Puerta de Ishtar.
El Dado Inquieto: Before we start allow me to congratulate you for the success of La Puerta de Ishtar, the income achieved with the patronage had been very successful.
Rodrigo García Carmona: Thank you very much; I admit I wasn’t expecting an answer so important. It had been an incredible surprise.
EDI: Do you expected to be so successful when the project began?
RGC: Not even close. The reaction to the patronage already surprised me, and it was when there were enough followers in the blog and people interested in the project. Imagine what I was expecting at the beginning. I thought about a small personal project, with no many people interested because of the particular setting. But it seems, luckily, I was very wrong...
EDI: Why you decided to use history of Mesopotamia as a setting? You will agree that it isn’t a very usual choice for fantasy role-playing games.
RGC: Precisely for that reason, because it isn’t a very usual choice. I like very much history of this part of the world, specially the most ancient one, and I thought it wasn’t represented as it deserved in role-playing games. Culture of mesopotamic peoples is full of legends, myths and interesting stories, and I wanted to represent at least a part of it in a game. I wanted to be able, as a personal matter, to play in this kind of world and to allow others to explore these so exotic lands. Lets not forget that the first civilisation appeared there, the creators of writing (and therefore of history), and creators of myths and customs that even now are with us. Cradle of civilisation.
EDI: Which role-playing games do you like?, had somewhat influenced in the creation of La Puerta de Ishtar?
RGC: I like a lot of role-playing games, from the more classical ones, which I grew with, to the more recent ones. In fact, I thought of Motor de Emociones (Emotions Engine, the system used by La Puerta de Ishtar) as a bridge between these two game styles: the traditional and the contemporary ones (or whatever you want to call them). The specific games that had more influence, enumerated in the appendices of the book, are Barbarians of Lemuria, Dragon Age, FATE and Mouse Guard. There are parts of all of them in Motor de Emociones, and so from a lot more that certainly influenced me in a subconscious manner. There’s also something of my own making of course ;)
EDI: Reading the game book the influence of authors like Lovecraft and Howard, whose works had also inspired many games and tendencies in the role-playing panorama, is also evident. Why did you decided to orient it to heroic fantasy with touches of the terror genre?
RGC: I wanted La Puerta de Ishtar to be part, inside fantasy, of the Sword and Sorcery genre that, in my opinion, offers more game choices and are less represented in role-playing than High Fantasy. Therefore I wanted to make more relevant some typical features of Sword and Sorcery, like mysterious, complex and perverse magic, monsters that are really monsters (and not simple odd animals) and cruel and primitive gods. Combination of these factors create worlds where, if not for taking holidays, are perfect for living adventures.
EDI: Once all obligations derived form the patronage are finished, which future will have La Puerta de Ishtar?
RGC: There are a lot of obligations, so it will take time. Take care that one of them is the electronic version of the first supplement of the game, about the region of Cimmeria. I also want to publish it in physical format if all goes ok and continue with similar ones about other regions of the game. With a lot of calm of course, I prefer to do things slowly, not like publishing a supplement every month. I also want to publish something small in electronic format, but first of all I have to finish the little supplements promised in the patronage.
Thus, of course, by my side, I’m also open to collaborations by other people and, in fact, many material of this kind is beginning to appear. There are also some projects taking place by other authors, like the adventure being developed by Jacobo Peña.
EDI: Aventuras en La Marca del Este (one of the other games created in Spain that had caused sensation) had been published in Italian, have you considered the chance, seeing your success, to publish in the future La Puerta de Ishtar in other languages?
RGC: I would like to edit the game in English, but I don’t think it’s possible for now. The translation is very costly, and right now I don’t have time to translate it by myself. I will see how goes on in the future. For now I’m doing little things in the Anglo-Saxon market, for practise and to find a place.
EDI: La Puerta de Ishtar uses game mechanics you called Motor de Emociones (Emotions Engine) and licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 (BY-NC-SA), will you accept other people using your game system for their own creations?
RGC: Not only I would accept it, I encourage it. This is the reason of this kind of license, to allow others to use the game system (or parts of it they find interesting) for their own creations. So Motor de Emociones will have a long and healthy life.
EDI: Have you considered to create a reference document of Motor de Emociones (as usually it’s done in the games released under the OGL) to be available for fans?
RGC: Yes, it’s planned. It will take time to compile it. Any volunteers? ;)
EDI: After La Puerta de Ishtar have you thought about initiating some other projects related with role-playing games?
RGC: Yes, I have something. But I regret I can’t speak about it yet. ;)
EDI: What advice you will gave a person willing to take a project for creating and commercialise a role-playing game?
RGC: To be patient. This is a long distance race, and one must be prepared to assume it. It’s a more difficult task that seems at first (if you want to do it right), and it takes mental strength and perseverance to get the focus in the game to bring it to fruition. Not only a good idea is needed (there’s a lot of them) but to represent it in an adequate manner. Oh, and you also have to be willing to take many more roles than you think when you start, and be aware to do tasks we enjoy much less to write the rules.
With this I don’t want to discourage nobody, quite the opposite. Just a warning for anyone no to get mislead, Courage!
EDI: Thank you for your time and once more congratulations for the success of La Puerta de Ishtar.
RGC: Thank you very much to you for drawing attention to the game and for giving me this space.
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