Friday, February 8, 2013

Bruce Heard Interview by Random Wizard

TSR D&D Mystara Bruce Heard
About Bruce Heard
Bruce Heard was hired by TSR after meeting with Gary Gygax in France. His career there stretched from 1983 up until 1997 (When WotC acquired TSR). If you are a fan of the Basic Dungeons and Dragons Gazetteers or the Rules Cyclopedia, you have Bruce Heard to thank. He was kind enough to answer the questions below.

RW: According to your blog (About Bruce Heard) You were originally hired by Gary Gygax as a translator. After two years, your position changed to Acquisition Coordinator and you also did game design. In 1985, the adventure M1 Into the Maelstrom was released. Into the Maelstrom is a very unique adventure that introduces the concept of using floating wooden "ships of sail" in space. This predates Spelljammer by four years and is the first instance of such a concept in a Dungeons and Dragons product that I am aware of. What inspired you to come up with the concept? Did Jeff Grub utilize your idea when making Spelljammer? What was the development process like?

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6 comments:

  1. Great interview, but no mention of Glantri? :D My favorite part of the interview is where you are talking about your current Alphatia project. :)

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    1. Yes! There is a life outside Glantri! :D

      Hope you readers aren't getting too fed up with this Alphatian marathon, or with Ar for that matter.

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  2. Hardly, I love that someone else is helping to get more detailed information about the Known World after all these years. Thorf was doing the bulk of the work and it was mind blowing how much he had gotten done, but it is a monumental effort I am sure. Mapping an entire game world in 8 mile hexes is probably something that no one has ever done before and that speaks volumes about the dedication that Mystara fans espouse.

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  3. Great interview. Thanks!

    I'm really curious how well the Rules Cyclopedia did sales-wise. Did it do well? Do you think that in today's market an all-in-one book like that could be viable for an RPG company as compared to the traditional three books (players, DMs, monsters)? Or would you advocate both: first releasing separate material and then pulling it together into one volume?

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    1. Sales for RC were very good at the time and it was well received by D&D players. I think there's room on the market for both approaches. I don't otherwise have enough data to tell specifically whether one is better than the other. I doubt that many publishers would be willing to publish one version of their core rules one way and republish a second version afterward. In the case of the RC, it was the existence of not three but 5+ different books that made it a necessity.

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    2. Thanks, that is great to hear. 3E was followed by 3.5 and then by Pathfinder, so there is certainly reason to believe fans will pay for new versions of the same thing. And 4E's Essentials line is somewhat along those lines, though the vision seemed to get confused along the way. And then there are the many versions of intro boxed sets we have seen over the years. The black D&D Game box, the two different 3E boxes, the board game style boxes, the Essentials intro box... there have been a lot of re-castings. I'm not sure those have been very successful, however. I'm very curious whether D&D Next will depart from the older model of three core books.

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