Arthur Lives is a tabletop RPG set in the modern day. Players take the roles of ordinary people who discover they are the reincarnated souls of Arthurian legends. Together they must awaken others like them and fight the evils they were reincarnated to defeat. The Second Edition of Arthur Lives launches its Kickstarter on April 2nd.
For the Love Of – GamingWelcome back to For the Love of, a periodic interview blog about all the things we geek out about. In this interview I speak with Dr Jason Tondro about his tabletop RPG Arthur Lives. The second edition launches its Kickstarter on April 2nd.
We begin with Jason’s background and experience. He is a RPG game designer(including Arthur Lives) and professor of English Literature at The College of Coastal Georgia. His PHD is in Medieval and Renaissance Literature and Super Hero Comic Books!
I ask about how someone earns a PHD in Comics. He tells me there is an entire field of academics who study comics as literature. We go in depth into this subject and how it applies to Arthur Lives. His joy and passion for the subject is clear as we lose ourselves in the subject.
Next I ask about Arthur Lives. Arthur Lives is a tabletop RPG published in 2009 by Vigilance Press. The game functioned on the True 20 system in its first edition. The second edition is launching a kickstarter starting April 2nd 2017 utilizing the Fate Core system.
Arthur Lives is a game about modern incarnations of Arthurian Legends like King Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, Guinevere, etc. Players begin with no memory of their past lives and awaken to them though play. What peril has called Arthur back from the dead? What terrors calls to the heroes of the ancient age? Have villains of old has come to claim today’s world? These are the adventures you will find in Arthur Lives. We speak in depth about the kind of characters you can play.
We follow a lengthy tangent into the many versions of King Arthur’s story, touching on almost every popular version of Arthur from Film and Television to the Original Le Motre de Arhtur. This discussion flows back into the game, highlighting the concept of multiple incarnations of the same ancient hero. It is possible for many incarnations of the same Legend to exist in the same game.
Next I ask Jason about the Fate Core system and why he chose it for Arthur Lives. Fate Core is an open source versatile RPG system that adapts to any setting, most notably The Dresden Files tie in game. We go on about the basics of the system including dice mechanics and skills.
Following the discussion of Fate, I ask about Jason’s inspiration for writing Arthur Lives. His first inspiration were books his mother gave him as a child. The second was a massive gaming group, 30+ people, holding several different games during downtime in grad school. The embryo of what would become Arthur lives was born in those sessions. Over the next 30 years he toiled with the game, the setting, and the system. We go into detail about the development of Arthur Live’s first edition.
Our conversation drifts into gaming in general. We touch on video games but we quickly veer into tabletop RPGs and their growing popularity. RPGs are being featured in shows like Big Bang Theory and Stranger things, Celebrities are coming out as RPG players, and shows like Critical Role showcase the best elements of RPGs. The subject is a fascinating one and we spend a fair amount of time on the subject.
We follow another tangent into running RPGs. Specifically we talk about the implications of adding special guests into the game as an adversary instead of a temporary ally. Care must be taken by the GM to prevent the guest from dominating the narrative. A GM’s responsibility is to make sure everyone involves has fun. We speak at length on this subject.
A Modern Setting
Next I ask about the setting of Arthur Lives, why he chose the modern day as the setting for the game. He wanted a grounded story in a familiar setting for the players that draws from current events and headline news. Jason feels current events is an endless font of adventure fodder. We go deeper in depth on the subject.
My next question for Jason is what his favorite version of Arthurian Legend. Jason immediately goes on the defensive as he can’t pick just one. I restate the question to allow for several options. Jason’s first picks come from film, starting with Excalibur. Out of everything available Jason holds the original work by Malory, La Morte de Arthur, as the best example. I share one of my favorite versions as well, the Merlin mini series.
Pay and Go Games is launching a Kickstarter Campaign to fund a limited publishing run of Arthur Lives’ second edition starting on April 2nd. Anyone who backs the project at the $5 level will receive the digital version of the game. The campaign will fund a paperback print of the book as well as commissioned artwork from many big industry talents. Stretch goals include adventures written by veteran writes from the Fate staff. The link will be posted here when the campaign goes live!
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