Ed Jowett is the brains behind British tabletop gaming company, Shades of Vengeance. His latest project, Era: Silence, is currently seeking crowdfunding. We got in touch with him to find out more.
STARBURST: Who are Shades of Vengeance?
Ed Jowett: We're a game creation company who not only create our own tabletop roleplaying games, but help others bring their ideas to reality. This originated after the completion of our first project, Era: The Consortium, was finished. We'd met so many difficulties and experienced so many pitfalls that we realised other people who have brilliant ideas might not be quite so stubborn as we are. We also met some amazing people who we really loved working with. In order to help everyone, we help people find the right artists, layout people, writers, printers, everything they need to help make their game a reality. This helps everyone: the artists have more consistent work, helping them to keep going as freelance artists, and we all get to play the brilliant games ideas that otherwise might never have seen the light of day! We built this company because we love games enough to make our own, that is who we are. So, by extension, helping other people make their games is something that benefits everyone!
What is Era: Silence?
Era: Silence is a High Fantasy Game where the central mechanic involves the characters being unable to speak. Hampered in this way, they must undergo challenges of various kinds, from riddles to combat, in order to earn the letters of their name. The stakes are high - failing 3 challenges will result in the characters being trapped on the isle for ever! Each challenge they complete grants the characters a new ability, from the capacity to create an Astral Sword to the ability to grow wings summon familiars or break other peoples' weapons in combat!
How is it different from the other Era games?
Well, in a sense, it's different from most games, denying the characters the ability to speak! It's different from the other Era games because it allows the characters to embrace magic in a way we've not really done before. Also, the challenges are very isolated and independent from each other - the players make their own roleplaying outside the actual functions of the game, even without being able to speak! I could tell you stories.
Don’t we already have enough fantasy games?
It definitely feels like the majority of people begin creating games with a fantasy game. I, personally am more of a sci-fi guy, so I didn't. However... I don't think that kind of genre makes any real difference to the experience in the end. The kind of story you're making in a roleplaying game seldom can't be transferred to another genre if you prefer - from a fantasy set of challenges to a sci-fi setting where you're undergoing challenges to prove your worth as a unit to a super-corporation. So, I would say no. I think that many games offer a different take on the genre, and I'm proud to say that Era: Silence does that as well.
Kickstarter is a platform that allows the audience to make the choice about whether a game should be created before a creator spends a huge amount of time and money on the project. It's effectively something that lets you see how excited people are about the project ahead of time. For an indie developer, I would more be asking the question "Why not Kickstarter?"
Why are RPGs enjoying a resurgence?
I think people still can't get the same experience from tabletop roleplaying from computer games. We're still stuck with limited AI capabilities which, usually, aren't too hard to outwit. A person behind the enemies allows them to act intelligently, allows the game world to be distorted in favour of the players where needed, and allows them to be given a more difficult time when it's appropriate. I think that it's something that other forms of media cannot yet achieve and I think that RPGs will go strong for a while, yet!
How can we help?
Well, you can check out our games! Everything we've created runs on the same Era d10 Rule Set, including Era: Silence, so once you've played one game, you've got the rules understood to play them all. We're running a Kickstarter for Era: Silence if all goes to plan, and you could support that! Failing that, talk about games in general, help spread the word about the games we've created and never give up on tabletop RPGs as a style of game that's worth playing.
What does the future hold for Shades of Vengeance?
I hope a lot more games! We've got Era: Silence, we've got some new stuff for Era: The Consortium coming out soon in the form of expansions and we have a card game in the works, as well as Era: The Empowered's Core Rulebook. We're not going to stop working on new and interesting ideas!
The Era: Silence Kickstarter runs until August 7th. You can find out more by heading to http://tinyurl.com/era-silence.SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW OR ON TWITTER @STARBURST_MAG
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