You've given me a bit of an idea what your gaming influences are, as well as a little bit of the cultural references...what other source materials are influencing this book (gaming, movies, books, history)?
Wow. Um, I would have to say that pretty much any movie I have seen that has decent to great choreography—from The Matrix to The Lord of the Rings to Star Wars (Episodes I and III; Episode II’s choreography sucked)—has in some way influenced this book. As far as video games, I would have to say mostly fighting games—like the Soul Calibur and Mortal Kombat franchises—have been an influence. I know I mentioned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before, but another TV show that I found quite inspirational was Avatar: The Last Airbender. Considering the amount of novels I read, I would like to say that many of them are an influence, but in my mind really only a few franchises stand out as having great “written choregraphy”: pretty much most everything written by R. A. Salvatore (not just hisDrizzt novels), all of Micheal A. Stackpole’s Star Wars and fantasy novels (seriously, he may have begun with Battletech, but he is an amazing fantasy writer), and Pathfinder Tales: Master of Devils, by Dave Gross.
And what have you worked on with your collaborators in the past? Why are you excited to work with them? Which of their works are most exciting to you, and why?
I worked with Rite Publishing for about a year to help convert Heroes of the Jade Oath from the Arcana Evolved rules set (a great alternate 3.5 system by Monte Cook by the way) to the Pathfinder RPG rules set. I am very excited to work with them because, simply said, they make quality work. And to have Rite Publishing work with me lets me know that they consider my work to be quality. I am most excited for the Heroes of the Jade Oath—as I have a vested interest in seeing it come to fruition, but I also am really excited about 1001 Spells. It is about time we had an affordable Pathfinder version of the Spell Compendium.
Have you been on a patron project before? What do you like about the patronage model? What are you most anticipating about the patron model? What do you think about the patron model compared to traditional design? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
Well, yes and no. Let me explain. I first became aware of the Heroes of the Jade Oath patronage project on the Candlekeep forums. As it was, I was not ready to shell out $60 to become a patron of the project with no guarantee of a print product. Then in 2010, I noticed in my weekly email from Paizo that the Heroes of the Jade Oath PDF plus hardcover was going to be available via the Paizo Store for $60. After convincing my wife that yes, that is really what I wanted for my birthday that year, I was re-reading the product description and realized that it may be talking about the hardcover of the beta version and not the final “omega” version of the book. So I contacted Paizo, who contacted Steve, who contacted me and made me a patron of the project with the promise of a hardcover final version of the book when it came out. Which is how I ended up on the Rite Publishing forums when Steve asked for a volunteer to help convert Heroes of the Jade Oath material to Pathfinder; which led to me being able to launch a pitch in August of 2011.
I like that the patronage model allows for direct consumer input, which I think is probably its biggest strength. I think that it will be interesting to see what the people paying for the Martial Arts Guidebookwant and expect of me. Aside from direct consumer input and funding, I do not see much difference between the patronage model and the traditional retail model. There are two big weaknesses, as I see it, to the patronage model: the project dies if it does not get enough funding (technically a strength and a weakness, in my opinion), and not all patronage models result in a physical product for the patrons. Personally, if I shell out $40+ from my very limited roleplaying budget, I want to have a physical copy of the book (not comb-bound) to leaf through and read. I don’t care if it has pictures or a pretty cover (though with the d20 system charts are a must to understand some things), but I want something to hold in my hands and read.