Interview: Matt Pennington (2/2)

Es folgt die zweite Hälfte meines Interviews mit Matt Penngington von Profound Decision. Teil eins gab es letzten Montag und ist hier zu finden.

Fabian: So what about your new game designs, especially the upcoming „Empire“ next summer…

Matt: Odyssey was very deliberately created to be a different game to Maelstrom – Profound Decisions has a fantastic reputation for great customer service and a high degree of professionalism about what we do. But LRP games are very much a taste thing, some people like fantasy, some like sci-fi, some like games with lots of roleplaying, some like games with a lot of fighting – and so on. We wanted to create a game that would appeal to people who liked Profound Decisions, but didn’t like the Maelstrom setting or the game style. So we created Odyssey to produce something as different as possible, in style and approach to our current game.

Fabian: We started the „Jenseits der Siegel“ in 2008 as a spin-off and it grew to become another great success. You decided to invent something new instead of creating spin-offs. Admireable, but why?

Matt: After eight years of running Maelstrom and two years of running Odyssey, we had learned an enormous amount about how to create and run a good LRP game. We wanted to put what we had discovered into practice – but many of the new ideas we had were incompatible with Maelstrom. We didn’t want to change Maelstrom – I wanted it to stay true to the vision that had inspired the game from the outset – so we took the decision to bring the game to an epic conclusion – and then to create something completely new.

If we’d made a spin-off from our existing game it would have had all the baggage and preconceptions of that game. Old rules, old ideas about the game world and even assumptions about the style and approach of the game. By creating a brand new event we can create the new game from a clean slate. It gives us the freedom to create our perfect game without being beholden to anything that has gone before.

Fabian: From a simple story-tellers point of view, this sounds very alluring. We’ll start our next phase of ConQuest-Events in 2014 but it will still be Mythodea. Hm… I’ll probably need to think about baggage and new rules as well :-).

But to our next question – talking about LRP evolution and the importance of immersion – what did you change/improve during the last eight years? What lessons did you learn?

Matt: When we launched Odyssey we created a costume guide with pages of colour photos of people in appropriate costume. Inspired by the efforts we were going to, the players also made a huge effort with their costume and the net result was that some of the groups really do look like they have stepped off a movie set.

Gruppe von Odyssey

Eine Gruppe auf dem Odyssey.

Fabian: I’ve seen some pics from UK LRPs and they did look a lot like OOC-camping…

Matt: We’ve always separated our IC and OOC campsites, so that the IC area is purely IC, but for Odyssey we took the decision to ban plastic looking tents from the IC field. This means that the view all around the camp looks near perfect, there is no costume that looks out of place for the game, no camps with dodgy looking tents. As we also chose to put our referees in distinctive costume it means that there is literally nothing on site that looks out of place.

Fabian: Fancy. Such details matter a lot although refs in costumes has it’s disadvantages. We’ve been discussing the IC/OOC game master for years within our team…

Matt: I’ve learned two things throughout the years – even the tiny details matter. Just because you don’t consciously notice the small details, they still work subconsciously affect your event. It’s something you can’t truly appreciate until you play in a game that has succeeded in getting the small details right.

Schlachtenszene vom Odyssey

Schlachtenszene vom Odyssey.

The big thing I’ve learned is that if the organizers demonstrate that they care about the quality of the costumes and the sets at an event, then the players respond accordingly. The more effort we put into creating costume guides and buildings sets for a game – the more effort the players put into their own costumes and camps.

Fabian: Reminds me a little of our „Undead Flesh“ NPCs. Most of those look as if they came directly from a movie set! So back to the ConQuest in Germany – any plans on visiting?

Rick Wynne

Rick Wynne

Fabian: So you’ll be at Ricks Grand Expedition Camp?

Matt: I am hoping to get to ConQuest this year, although it’s not certain yet. Running two LRP games while creating a third is not leaving a lot of time. Rick Wynne will definitely be over again with the Grand Expedition – if I’m able to find time then I’ll be camped with him as part of the expedition so if you want to find out more about Empire then seek out the Grand Expedition camp.

Fabian: Thanks  a lot for your time. Hope to see you next week! 🙂

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