Interview with the Platinum Warlock
This month, I figured I’d try something new. I’ve teamed up with Andy Klosky, author of Scrolls of the Platinum Warlock, to do a blog exchange. He’ll be writing a series of posts on my blog and I’ll be writing some on his. This month’s post is an interview of Andy to give you an idea of who he is. And be sure to check out my interview on his blog here!
First off, tell us a little about yourself: who are you?
I’m Andy Klosky. I’m the president and owner of the newly-created Blackfall Press, LLC. I’ve been gaming for almost 20 years and founded the Wittenberg Role-Playing Guild while I was in undergrad.
Tell our readers a little about our experiences together.
I met Will when he began attending Guild meetings at Wittenberg. While we became acquainted through a friend’s D&D 4e game, we got to know one another over the years as he took a much more active role in the Guild and introduced me to Deadlands and Savage Worlds in general.
What upcoming RPG products do you have your eye on?
I’ve really been keeping an eye on John Wick’s Big Book of Little Games, though it seems to keep getting delayed. I’m also high on Pinnacle’s Hell on Earth right now, as well as the new releases for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.
What are you playing/running right now?
I actually just wrapped up the first plot point campaign for Deadlands, called “The Flood”. My wife has just taken up the GMing reins, running Hell on Earth. I’m running a cryogenically-frozen soldier who, through some circumstance, believes that he’s Hawkeye of Marvel Comics fame. It’s a hoot.
If you could be a gaming die, which one would you be and why?
A d12. I don’t come out all the time, but when I do, there’s pain for players…
What are you working on currently?
I’m currently editing the first full roleplaying game I’ve designed: Cold Steel Wardens: Roleplaying in the Iron Age of Comics. I’m also drafting a series of essays on the theory of GMing practice, tentatively called The Pendulum Method: GameMastery, Advanced.
What’s exciting about your current project?
With CSW, I’m really excited for the new rules-set. The mechanics I’ve designed–the MAFIANAP mechanic–are designed for heavy investigation and short, brutal combat. While it’s perfect for the Iron Age of Comics, it’d also be great for a mafioso-style game or a crime drama.
With Pendulum, I’m really in uncharted waters. There are tons of great resources for new GMs out there, but few for those who really want to up their game to a new level. The titular essay deals with how to structure non-linear plots in a game, so that you can build game sessions and campaigns around time travel, perspective changes, and multiple conflicting goals. It’s really something else…
Where do you pull inspiration for your games and designs?
Comics are a big influence on me right now. CSW was directly inspired by Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil: Born Again, and the like. Truth be told, even Pendulum was greatly influenced by Jonathan Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four.
What would be your dream RPG design gig?
I’d love to redesign the Planescape campaign setting outside of the D&D mechanics. Give it a mechanical set built to play up the philosophical elements and the idea of “belief = reality”, while maintaining the setting elements in the City of Sigil.
What’s your favorite system?
Right now, I’m very high on the FATE-variant from ICONS. It’s simple, it’s flexible, and it’s easy to understand.
What is your favorite campaign (as a GM and as a player)?
As a GM, I absolutely loved running “The Flood”, which was quite the departure for me–I very rarely run published campaigns, preferring my own themes. My favorite game, though, may have been a 4e D&D game based on the “Tear of Ioun” adventures by Robert Schwalb. Really great role-play in that campaign.
What’s your favorite settings for Dungeons & Dragons, Savage Worlds, and any one other system?
- D&D–either Planescape or Ravenloft.
- SW–Deadlands and its variants are great, but I also like Rippers.
- Other–I love playing in the DC and Marvel comics universes, and I’d love to run a one-shot of All for One: Regime Diabolique sometime soon.
What’s a setting and/or system that you’ve always thought was underrated?
The d20 version of Call of Cthulhu really gets a lot of flak, but I actually like the rules better than the BRP version and the book itself is gorgeous.
How would you describe your GM style?
Conniving? Does that make sense? I’m always plotting, or at least laying the groundwork for a plan that will come to fruition later in a campaign. While I tend to run very extemporaneous game, I never let a player off the hook…
What’s the best advice you could give a budding GM or player?
Instigate! When the game runs down and things seem slow, do something unexpected and throw a cog in the works. It’s a game–don’t be afraid to take a risk.
What’s your ideal player like?
An ideal player shows investment. Whether that’s writing a background or actively seeking out NPCs or taking part in the formation of the narrative, an ideal player is willing to step out of the comfort of their character sheet and into a bigger world.
What’s something different that you’ve always wanted to run, but haven’t?
I pulled an idea dropped on RPG.net at one point tentatively entitled “Five Apocalypses”, centered around the five Chinese elements. I have no idea what system I’d use for this, though, and I’m not sure that the central plot would be strong enough to carry a campaign.
Who was your first character and how did they turn out?
My first character was a cyborg in the Palladium Heroes Unlimited system, which I rolled up with the help of my cousin Jason. Unfortunately, I never actually played that character; my first “real” character was a 2e D&D Elven Thief named Miron Blademonger. He did fairly well in his first time out, finding a +2 rapier!
How would you describe your player style (and is it different from your GM style)?
As much as I’d like to say I’m a “storyteller” or an “explorer”, I’m absolutely an instigator. I cause as much trouble–usually for myself–as possible. While I’m absolutely goal-oriented at the table, I’m all about the heroic “struggle”.
What’s a gaming quirk that you have at the table?
My dice get names. My “player-killer” d20 is the “Black Die of Doom”. My hideous hunter-orange d10 is “The Die of Shame” and is given to players who make bad puns at the table. My Cthulhu die refers to my tentacled “Wild Die” for Savage Worlds.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m shooting for a Summer/Fall 2013 release for Cold Steel Wardens, so keep your eyes peeled for our Kickstarter. Alternatively, check out the official Blackfall Press website at https://sites.google.com/site/blackfallpressllc/home