Sunday, 17 March 2013

Bruno's Geek Reviews: An Interview with Andy Hopp!

  Andy Hopp is an illustrator, writer, web designer, graphic artist, art director, convention organizer, and game designer! He’s also the guy who created, illustrated and wrote that ‘Low Life: Rise of the Lowly’ book I keep talking about here on my blog!
  I am pleased to welcome Andy Hopp for this interview!

‘Low Life: Rise of the Lowly’ is a very different RPG setting from what one usually sees. What were your intentions when you created it?

    Well, originally, I thought of the name “Low Life” as a d20 book about slimes, molds, oozes and other lowly things back when I was doing the Wanderers Guild with Goodman Games. That never happened, so when Shane Hensley asked me to do a Savage Worlds book for him it came to mind. My first concept was about a bunch of critters that lived in your plumbing. Like a whole fantasy world centered on what was under the sink and in the pipes. That kind of evolved into a far-future post-post-post apocalyptic Earth (Mutha Oith) where humans are extinct and everything evolved from the dredges that survived. But, you know, in a funny way.

You’ve got the first ‘Low Life’ supplement in the works. Can you tell us a bit about it, along with some hints as to other future sourcebooks?

    The Whole Hole are series of guidebooks that describe and expand the various realms of Oith. The first one is The Whole Hole: A Gadabout’s Guide to Mutha Oith, Volume 01: Keister Island. Or the just The Whole Hole: Keister Island if brevity is your thing. It’s a 224 page book that goes into a lot of detail about snazzy places on Keister Island, such as The Keister of Gawd, The Soul Patch, Stan’s Rug, and many more. From there it talks about the Garden of Smellemental Glee, the nature of smellcasting, and a bunch of other stuff. Then it’s off to the Bitchin’ City of Floom for a very in-depth look at a few hundred local businesses and the peeps who hang there. The next chapter covers twenty or so other burgs, followed by a bunch of appendices covering new PC races, new Edges and Hindrances, a glossary, new magics, new religions, and a 22 page bestiary. Also other stuff.
    Next on the pipeline is Dementalism, a really fun Low Life themed card game. After that a book of Low Life adventures and a book called Holy Crap, which goes into depth about teh faiths and religions of Oith. Then, the next Whole Hole installment.
    I just played with my daughter’s pet tarantula and now my fingers are going numb.

‘Low Life’ uses the ‘Savage Worlds’ rules system. Was there a specific reason for choosing those rules instead of another available system or creating a new one from scratch?
    I really enjoy Savage Worlds, and I’m very excited to be a part of it, but the main reason the first Low Life book uses Savage Worlds is that it’s an official Savage Setting produced by PEG, Inc. They hired me.

Speaking of systems, you’ve mentioned online that your next supplement will eventually have a PDF to use the ‘Pathfinder’ rules for ‘Low Life’. How much of the main ‘Low Life’ book will those rules cover?
   I plan to eventually release a deluxe version of the original Low Life book, with new artwork and updated rules. If anybody out there wants to help with a Pathfinder conversion (or any other system) I’m interested.

Could you imagine people bringing ‘Low Life’ races into regular Pathfinder games?
    Some of them might work, but they are pretty specific to the setting. Low Life is a silly game, but it doesn’t know it’s silly, and that’s why it works.

When you think of the ‘Low Life’ game sessions people are running at home, how do you like to imagine them?

   Low Life is all about attitude. It’s ridiculous, and the characters are absurd, but because they don’t realize how absurd they are they make it work. They aren’t silly for the sake of silly. They’re silly because of the context they’re in, which makes perfect sense to them. I hope other people feel this as well and it comes out in their games.

I’m curious, have you ever had someone run a ‘Low Life’ game where you were a player and not a game master? If so, does it feel weird to have someone else referee what happens in a setting you created?
    I have, and it does feel weird. It’s sometimes challenging to fight the impulse to say “But that’s not how I imagined it” because everyone’s imagination is different and everyone interprets things differently. I love to see what other people grow from the seeds I sprinkle.

One thing I’ve noticed is that you encourage players and game masters to come up with their own crazy ideas for characters, their equipment, the locations of the setting and the monsters they can encounter, to the point where members of a same race/species in ‘Low Life’ can look very different from one another. Do you think this would have been more difficult to do in a more serious setting?

   In Low Life, for example, you can make a weapon out of anything. A rubber chicken full of nails? Sure. A giant pair of barbecue tongs? Why not. I can’t really imagine a D&D paladin wielding a rubber chicken full of nails or a bowling ball on a chain or a giant turkey baster and a bucket of poison and still being taken seriously.

Any chance of someday seeing ‘Low Life’ novels published?
    Anything’s possible. My issue at the moment is I have my hand in many cookie jars and I have trouble finding time to get everything done when I want to. I go for quality over speed, which is why this book took two years. I’d love to write novels, so we’ll see.

Would you like to see ‘Low Life’ miniatures in a hobby store in the future? Many tabletop roleplayers use maps and minis to manage combat scenarios.
    Armorcast produces a couple of Low Life minis. I’m currently in talks with them and another mini company to produce a larger cast of characters. They’ve been the number one fan requested item for a long time.

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Andy’s Kickstarter Project (Hurry if you want to participate, there’s less than a day left as I write this!)

Andy’s official web site

Mutha Oith Creations

Armorcast
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To read more of my interviews, click HERE!

(Originally posted here)