Friday, June 19, 2015

Interview with Marc Tassin - June 19, 2015

Please welcome Marc Tassin to The Qwillery. Marc is the creator of the World of Aetaltis (among other things).  Champions of Aetaltis: A Heroic Fantasy Anthology is presently on Kickstarter and the campaign ends on June 23rd. Check it out here. There's a fabulous line up of authors! Please note: I'm a backer!

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. You are an author, editor, and game designer. You are also the creator of the World of Aetaltis. What sparked the creation of Aetaltis?

Marc:  To put it simply, I love heroic fantasy stories and the worlds they are set in. A great heroic fantasy story is timeless, offering a fantastic mix of excitement, wonder, and hope. In fact, it was great heroic fantasy stories that created many of today’s hard core fantasy fans.

And yet, I kept hearing this strange disconnect between what I was told readers and gamers wanted (“Meh. It’s been done too many times. Nobody wants heroic fantasy.”) and what people actually said to me when I talked to them about it (“Oh my god! I love [insert heroic fantasy trope of your choice]! I’d love more of that!”). I decided that although people enjoy other types of fantasy, there’s still this deep desire for heroic fantasy stories.

So I figured, “I love this stuff, and it sounds like other people do to. What they heck! Let’s see if we can make something wonderful!”

TQPlease give us the basics of the World of Aetaltis.

Marc:  Aetaltis is a world desperately in need of heroes. In every land, the mystic seals that once held goblins, trolls, and other monsters locked beneath the surface of the world are failing. The secret to restoring these ancient wards was lost long ago, and in every corner of every kingdom the good people of the world are facing the sudden return of these fiends to the surface.

With no way to predict where or when the next attack will come, the noble rulers and religious orders can’t send aid quickly enough to help every remote village, lone traveler, or isolated monastery that finds itself in danger. It’s a world where each person has to ask themselves, “If I don’t fight, who will?”

TQWhat roleplaying games are the World of Aetaltis game books compatible with? Are there other gaming products planned for Aetaltis?

Marc:  The game material available today is for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game from Paizo Publishing. Pathfinder is the most popular game system on the market today (for good reason), and it was the logical choice for our first products. Over time, we hope to make material available for other game systems to give even more players a chance to explore Aetaltis.

As for new products, there is definitely more in the pipeline. In addition to The Heroes of Thornwall, our first Pathfinder compatible sourcebook, each week we release a new Pathfinder compatible monster inspired by Eric Lofgren as part of our Aetaltis Bestiary Collection. We also have an initial draft of the Aetaltis Campaign Setting book, and a pair of adventures being edited. In fact we already have people playtesting some of this new material through the Aetaltan League of Adventurers playtest group on Facebook.

TQRecently you launched a Kickstarter for Champions of Aetaltis: A Heroic Fantasy Anthology. What is heroic fantasy? Why put together an anthology of stories based on World of Aetaltis?

Marc:  In heroic fantasy, the protagonist finds themselves thrust into the role of hero against an unquestionably evil foe. These protagonists aren’t always hero material, but when faced with true evil, they step up and do what must be done. In terms of scale, the world is epic, but the individual stories are more personal. Throw in a healthy dose of magic, awe inspiring treasures, and a few terrifying monsters, and you’ve got heroic fantasy.

The reason for the anthology is that I wanted to give people who aren’t gamers a doorway into Aetaltis. I have a lot of friends that love fantasy, but they aren’t going to play a roleplaying game. It was extremely important to make it clear from the outset that Aetaltis is about more than just games.

As for the decision to publish an anthology rather than, say, a novel, one reason is that it lets me introduce readers to the vast expanse of wonders that await them in Aetaltis in a way a novel couldn’t. I’m also an ardent proponent of creative collaboration. By bringing a group of creative people together to offer their own views of the world, we end up with a richer experience for the reader than if we’d started with a single-author novel. I think that both of these factors are really important when introducing readers to a new setting.

TQWhich authors will have stories in the anthology?

Marc:  I’m honored and humbled by the amazing authors that agreed to write stories for this book. When I set out to put the author list together, I figured I’d go out on a limb and ask all my favorites. I just never expected them to all say, “Yes!” I already have a number of the stories, and I was not disappointed. It;s going to be amazing. Here is the list of authors taking part:
Bill Willingham (Creator of the FABLES comic book series)

David Farland (NYT bestselling author of the Runelords series)

Michael A. Stackpole (NYT bestselling author of Star Wars: Rogue Squadron)

Larry Correia (NYT bestselling author of the Monster Hunter series)

Elizabeth Vaughan (USA Today bestselling author of the Warlands series)

Ed Greenwood (Creator of the Forgotten Realms)

Elaine Cunningham (NYT bestselling author of Star Wars: Dark Journey)

Mel Odom (Shadowrun, the Rover triology)

Cat Rambo (World Fantasy Award Winner)

John Helfers (Hugo nominated editor)

Jean Rabe (Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms)

Dave Gross (Pathfinder Tales)

Lucy A. Snyder (4 Time Bram Stoker Award Winner)

Steven S. Long (HERO System)

Erin M. Evans (Forgotten Realms)

Aaron Rosenberg (Star Trek, World of Warcraft)

Richard Lee Byers (Forgotten Realms)

TQAfter the Champions of Aetaltis anthology what's next for you?

Marc:  The next three Aetaltis books are in various stages of development. Two of them are Pathfinder compatible game products, including the Aetaltis Campaign Setting book. The third is another treat for our non-gaming fans, although I can’t talk about it yet! We also have a couple deals we're putting together for licensed products. Beyond that? Well, I’ll just say that Aetaltis isn’t the only world we have in the pipeline. If the next few projects do as well as the first one, there is an entire universe of worlds we want to share.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Marc:  And thank you for having me. It was great to be here, and I really appreciate the chance to talk about Aetaltis!


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