RPG Industry Professional Interview: Chad Bowser
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
Recommend
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
Chad is no stranger to the geek but this is his first interview since being Geek of the Week #25. He is, of course, a user of the site:
Chad Bowser
United States
Kernersville
North Carolina
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb


He had this to say about himself:

"I'm a disaster recovery engineer by day, living in a small community in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Day trips to the beaches and day trips to the mountains. What could be better?

I began my RPG exodus in 1989 with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition). Since then, I've played hundreds of other systems. I enjoy switching from game to game, seeing what all the different ideas are that various game designers came up with. Right now, I'm in a bit of an OSR phase, reading the tome that is Old School Reference and Index Compilation (OSRIC) v2.x."
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: rpg_pro_interview [+] interview [+] [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. RPG Designer: Chad Bowser
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
Any other gamers in your family? How did you get into the hobby?

My wife is a fellow gamer and game designer. We met at a game club back in 1993. She convinced me to play this game called Call of Cthulhu (2nd - 6th Edition). I agreed, and in my very first session, she shot my character in the back of the head, killing him.


Growing up, my family played lots of card and mass market board games. My mom did play Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition) with me a few times to make sure it was OK for kids.

I got into RPGs during high school. I first learned of them during middle school, but had no interest whatsoever. I was a big fan of The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Watership Down, but the idea of playing those types of stories seemed odd.

In high school, I decided to give the game a shot, so I talked my mom into driving me to Waldenbooks where I immediately picked Oriental Adventures off the shelf. My mom took one look at it, took it away from me and put it back on the shelf. She picked up the Player's Handbook (AD&D 2e)and said, "you should probably start with this." I read the whole book that night. It's been all down hill from there.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. RPG Item: Unnatural History [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
Did any of your previous jobs or education help you become a game designer?

I'd say so, but it worked both ways. My interest in historical RPGs prompted me to study classical archaeology and anthropology in undergrad and medieval and Victorian history in grad school. A lot of what I learned kept me interested in RPGs and usually finds a way into what I'm working on. Plus, my education and subsequent employment translating foreign language documents instilled in me the importance of writing well.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Periodical: Demonground
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
What was the first project you worked on? What was that like?

I assume you mean for publication. Otherwise, I've been working on RPG material since day one. My first published piece was "A Night in the Mountains"' a scenario for Call of Cthulhu (2nd - 6th Edition). It appeared in Demonground. I haven't looked at it in a long time. I'm sure it's atrocious.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. RPG: Victoriana (2nd Edition) [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:221]
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
What’s the most recent project you’ve worked on and what’s great about it?

I turned in the last of my assignments for Marvels of Science and Industry this very morning. It's the steam punk supplement for Victoriana (2nd Edition). If you ever wanted to play a zeppelin owning engineer with a clockwork arm, a denizen of lost Atlantis, or a sentient clockwork man, this is the book for you.

I'm also hoping to finish my next book for Chaosium by November. Unfortunately, an NDA prohibits me from discussing how awesome it is.

8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. RPG: F.A.T.A.L. [Average Rating:1.50 Overall Rank:858]
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
What games influenced you?

I think it's fair to say that every RPG I've played or read has influenced me in some way, if only for me to have read the book or played the game and said, "Nope. Definitely need to make sure I don't do that."
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. RPG Item: Masks of Nyarlathotep (3rd & 4th edition) [Average Rating:8.54 Overall Rank:3]
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
What are you playing right now or most recently?

Right now, I'm running a group of intrepid adventurers through Masks of Nyarlathotep (3rd & 4th edition). They've finished up New York and London and just disembarked in Shanghai. They quickly learned that they're not in Kansas anymore. I do want to mention that anybody thinking about running this game should pick up the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion when it's released. It takes an awesome campaign and makes it even better.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game Designer: Greg Stafford
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
Who is one of your favorite RPG Designers?

Geez, talk about putting somebody on the spot. If I only had to pick one, I'd go with Greg Stafford. His game Pendragon (1st - 5th Editions) is what piqued my interest in writing for RPGs. Since I can only mention one, to mention Greg means I can't mention Jason Morningstar, Mike Pondsmith, Jeff Grubb, Gary Gygax, Steffan O'Sullivan, or any of the other great and innovative designers out there.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. RPG: Pendragon (1st - 5th Editions) [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:7]
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
What RPG do you wish you had designed?

Another tough question. I'm going to go with Pendragon (1st - 5th Editions). It's an awesome marriage of setting and rules that help the players realize that setting.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Master of Rules [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:6981]
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
What non-RPG (either card, board, or video) games do you play?

The only games I don't play are miniature games and CCGs. I've tried both, but they didn't capture my interest enough to keep me involved. I also don't play console video games right now, but that's because my 360 just developed a bad case of the E-74s.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. RPG: Mythic Russia [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
If you had to point someone to an overlooked RPG product, what would that be?

My definition of overlooked might be different from everybody else's. I'm going to mention Mythic Russia here. It's a great mix of history and myth coupled with a system that brings it all to life. So far, Mythic Russia and Birchbark Chronicles 1: The Golden Horde have been released.

7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. RPG Item: The Rotten Apple: Manhattan [Average Rating:4.75 Unranked]
Just another Steve
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
Bonus Question*
What are you drinking right *now*?

I'm drinking some apple juice that might just have gone bad.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}