At GenCon I had the chance to play the totally un-trad game Mecha. In fact I got to play in a session run by the game’s creator Chris Perrin, one of my roommates at the con. What follows is an interview with Mark Reed of Heroic Journey Publishing, Mecha’s publisher. I will be following this up shortly with a review of Mecha and hopefully an interview with Chris if I can ever get it emailed out.
How did you become involved in RPG publishing?
There are 2 halves to this story. The first started in 2004 really. I had just moved to the Twin Cities area and being a gamer I started looking for other gamers. I found The Source, the Midwest’s largest gaming store, Inside I posted or replied to a gaming flyer, I know what you’re thinking “You’re one of those guys?” but what was a guy to do with no friends no family and basically no connection outside of a job going to do? So after a few weeks of setting up times to meet and getting about 4 or 5 of us together, we all got together. And then we met Michelle Nephew of Atlas Games. We invited her to join our group, she had a free night and while I don’t have very much free time, that group has met almost every week since then. Now that led me to do work on my first set of RPG books, D20 Northern Crown. This plus my first visit to Gen Con in 2005 really started me down the path I am on. So fast forward 3 years. The only real work I have done since is some playtesting for Atlas. I had talked about wanting to publish but nothing really was ever finished or done to let me break in. That’s when a friend of mine, told me about Bounty Head Bebop, he had been trying to publish it for the last year or more but couldn’t find the time or know how to self publish, so he offered it to me if I could. That day Heroic Journey Publishing was born Nov. 23 2008 with BHB being released in PDF and then Later in December in Print. Then came other books and finally Mecha 2 years later.
Tell us a bit about Mecha and your other products (especially anything readers would not pick up from the website)?
Well Mecha is a RPG written by Chris Perrin. It uses the OCF! system which was developed by Chris and is very easy to learn and run. The book comes with 3 unique and different settings to play around with and includes rules to make your own SRS [An SRS is a Setting Reference Schematic, the Mecha term for setting -Rich]. You can visit srssource.mecharpg.com to view fan created SRS or post your own. The game is Anime Mecha at its best. Cut Scenes, speedlines, giant robots blowing each other up. It is a fun game over all and really pulls players along for the ride.
Our other products out are the Bounty Head Bebop Line, which currently has a Core book, a spaceship/pirate book and a Cybernetic pdf supplement. The line also has a couple adventures and a free pdf filled with archetype/pre-made characters. The game uses the I20 system, which is a D20 derivative. The rules however have been streamlined so that while it is a crunchy system it can be called a Rules Quick system. The setting is a far modern jazzed out space western with all the gun toting, bounty jumping, ship fightin’ bad guys who ever robbed, kidnapped, blew up, or any other crime that someone decided they did. With you being hired to hunt ‘em down.
Is there an overall philosophy for Heroic Journey Publishing?
Heroic Journey Publishing has a very simple philosophy. It’s really two fold “Provide support to the unpublished and publish high quality games.” What this means is for me I know how hard I had to work to get to where I am and I also realize I have a heck of a climb ahead of me. I want to help those who are just starting out who have great ideas and great games waiting to be put out in some way. Our business model is to allow for a revenue sharing plan with game writers which allows them the support they need to get their game up and going. This allows game designers the ability to keep ownership of the game while giving them the ability to do what they want which is less about publishing and more about line development.
The second part is pretty easy to understand. We want to produce the best games and books we can. This means we strive for quality of content, art, art direction and printing. Our books will be of a high quality guaranteed.
When we talked in person you mentioned that you almost bought D6, can you elaborate on this any?
This really is almost a non issue. In 2008 the owner of WEG had said everything in WEG is for sale. A group of game designers and podcasters got together and we decided we would form a group and make an offer. So this is how Chris Perrin and I met. The offer was legit but the owner decided to go in a different directiond so we pulled it and moved on. The only good from that really was having Chris join HJP as Marketing director and now Co-Owner.
Do you have other games in the works?
Yes we have a ton of things in the pipeline. A few I will mention. We have a Series of Pathfinder supplements we are working on. The writing is finished and they are being edited and pretty soon will be looking for artists. We are also working on a New I20 Game called Hexslingers. The mechanics are done we are just finishing up with the setting info. This will bring “Magic Rules” to the I20 system. Finally I personally am working on a “of Cthulhu” type game using the Fate system. A few of the rules additions are ready for playtesting but we are still a little ways off with that game.
I noticed that you also publish fiction, will you be doing more of that? If so what genres? Are you planning on Mecha-related fiction?
We have one book out currently. It’s a book of fiction called Sapphire, by A.K. Reiber. A great young talented writer. It is a fantasy novel and it is book one in a series of three. Also we have a book by Ken St. Andre in editing right now this is one of his T&T novels and it should be out fairly quickly after editing.
As far as Mecha Fiction goes, we don’t have anything in the pipeline as of yet, but with Chris approval of novels, I won’t say no to that idea.
What do you see as the future of Mecha?
Well we have Combiner rules finally, so those are going into playtesting. We have many more SRS in the works and a few that might surprise some people. Chris is really the guy to answer that/ He is the line developer for Mecha and so only he knows the full plans, he just comes to me and asks for money to commission art.