Jamie Chambers, renowned for developing the Serenity Role Playing Game is currently busy with a project that will delight Supernatural fans the world over, and that is the creation of the Supernatural Role Playing Game. We asked him if he’d be willing to answer a few questions; the interview was done via email.
WinchesterBros.com Exclusive – Q&A with RPG Guru & Developer, Jamie Chambers
By: WinchesterBros.com Staff
We want to thank you for agreeing to do this Q&A with us. We truly appreciate it.
Q: Why Supernatural?
Supernatural is entertaining! That’s the obvious answer, and because it’s a property that lends itself quite well to translation into games. Its style of storytelling matches the kinds of role playing games we like to play (and produce) and blends action, humor, drama, and scares in a way we’d like to re-create at the game table.
Q: Were you going to launch the game even if The CW had not renewed the series?
We were confident that we would see a Season Three of Supernatural, but our plans were not affected by the decision. We learned from our experience with Firefly and Serenity that the fans of a show or film series will support tie-in products even when nothing new is on the horizon.
Q: If I’ve never played a role playing game before, what should I expect?
Our very first product, the Supernatural RPG Quickstart Guide, is designed just for you! We know that a number of fans will pick up our products having never played a game of this type before.
A role playing game, explained very simply, is like combining a board game with improv theater. One player, known as the Game Master, is the narrator who describes the scenes and is in charge of understanding the rules. The other players take on the role of a character much like an actor in a play — except that in a role playing game there is no script or set outcome. The story evolves based on the decisions and luck of the players!
In the case of the Supernatural Role Playing Game, the players can take on the role of Hunters — either the Winchester Brothers or they can create new characters from scratch. We’ll provide lots of resources to help new groups get started.
Q: What resources were used to set up the game?
My wife and I have been watching the show since the pilot episode aired, and for over a year she’s had a promo poster of Sam and Dean hanging in her office. So the episodes themselves have been the best resource.
In addition, our licensing contacts at Warner Bros. and DC Comics have provided us with copies of the shooting scripts from all the episodes, as well as manuscripts of the new comics and the tie-in novels. We’ve also got lots of stills and photographs taken from the episodes, both for reference and to serve as art in our final products.
Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible, making the episodes and the other licensed products really feel like they belong together.
Q: Does the game follow the series’ mythology, or will it focus on the ‘monster-of-the-week’ theme?
We are going to follow all the material from the show — meaning the mythology of the yellow-eyed demon and the Winchester Brothers are certainly going to be a part of it, but with enough monster-of-the-week lore to make it just as fun for the many groups who will create characters unrelated to Sam and Dean. And of course, those games should have their own mythologies!
Q: Which character(s) should we expect to see in the game?
Obviously you’ll see Sam, Dean, and John Winchester — along with recurring characters such as Bobby Singer, Ash, etc. Many minor characters will also get a write-up in the book or information in some of our follow-up products.
Q: You wrote on SerenityRPG.com:
“Ultimately anyone running a Serenity adventure or campaign is picking up where Joss has left off and assuming that role of a creator and storyteller […] Understand that in other campaigns, or in future “official” Serenity tales, your version of the ‘Verse may not exactly match up. And that’s okay. Really.”
As opposed to Serenity (and Firefly), Supernatural‘s run is incomplete, as it will return to the air in a few months. Did this fact affect the way in which the game was developed?
I’m a big geek, and we geeks care about continuity. But continuity and RPG products have an interesting relationship — and my involvement with Dragonlance for many years has taught me more than a few lessons about that very subject. But any time you are launching a game you are setting out on your own, and obviously people developing official material aren’t going to incorporate the stories told around your game table.
Our official material will follow the information from the show, the comics, and the novels. I think our approach means that we won’t be contradicted by the upcoming season, since the material is written from a particular viewpoint.
Supernatural players, however, will be creating their own stories. And each group can either try to fit their stories in with continuity or they can toss it out the window. It’s their choice. The point is to have fun!
Q: Did you get any feedback from the cast and crew?
We are still in the early stages of creating our first products, and the people involved in making the show are focused on creating a quality television series. However, some of the creative minds are part of the review process involved in the license. So far they seem to like the early material we’ve sent them!
Q: What response did you get from the playtests?
That’s still in an early phase as well. Folks seem to like how our game system translates into the modern horror genre.
Q: Will there be events for the Supernatural Role Playing Game? If so, are you planning events outside of the United States as well?
Our very first official game events will be held at the Gen Con Game Fair in Indianapolis, Indiana in August of this year. We have two adventures that will allow players to experience the Supernatural Role Playing Game for the first time outside of our internal playtesting and development. We hope to have more events both here and abroad.
Our company is attending the Lucca Comics & Games Festival in Italy this fall, and I’d really like to run the RPG for some of the Italian gamers!
Q: When is the website going to be launched online?
At least an early version of the website — which is supernaturalrpg.com — should be up in August, and a full site will be live when the main product releases in October.
Q: Which other show(s) would you have liked to work on an RPG for?
I’m a fan of mystery and procedural shows, and I don’t know that a mainstream RPG has captured that genre very well. But instead of a licensed game I’m thinking of doing one of our own that could be used to re-create any one of a dozen cop or detective shows.
I’m also a big fan of Heroes, and think that could be an amazing game experience.
Q: Are there any other projects you are currently working on?
I’m finishing a draft of a Dragonlance novel titled The Chroniclerthat is scheduled for release early next year. We’re also in the early stages of developing game products related to a new fantasy series by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, called Dragonships of the Vindras.
Q: Has the fact that you work so closely with the development of RPGs taken anything away from the joy of playing them?
It has definitely not taken away my love of RPGs, but rather has taken away a lot of my time to get to play them. My staff and I have made a pact that we are going to play more games this summer and get back into a regular routine. I’ll be running a Supernatural RPG campaign for at least several months!
Again, thank you for agreeing to do this Q&A with us.
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