A pleasant interview article with Wade Dyer (talented Australian creator of the Fragged Empire RPG.)
Let’s do this, with relish.
Multiverse: Hi Wade! Did you enjoy a nice winter?
Wade: I did. Here in Melbourne we have a running joke that we can enjoy all 4 seasons in 1 week.
Multiverse: Oh yeah? Which was your favorite 1 of the 4 seasons this week?
Wade: Summer during the day, and winter during the night.
Multiverse: What was the inspiration behind Fragged Empire?
Wade: That’s a big question! I draw inspiration from a lot of different places. I grew up playing the HERO System RPG, so I love d6 dice and classless systems, but this gave me a distaste for points-buy systems. I love computer games like Xcom, Guild Wars, Baldur’s Gate, and any strategy game. So bits of those got in there, including some art ideas (as I really like computer game and movie concept art). I’m a graphic designer, so my games have a very strong emphasis on visuals; both mechanically and in terms of book layout.
I also have a very keen interest in human cultures and differing human ideologies. So many of the themes that I commonly think about are explored in my games; such as ‘our relationship with our creator’, ‘what do we live for?’, ‘societies need to be well-rounded (economics, family, culture, order+chaos, innovation, etc…) to survive’, ‘nature vs nurture’, etc… I myself am a conservative Christian, and think that has shaped the types of questions that I like to explore.
I have refrained from revealing too many answers about Fragged Empire, as unanswered questions make for great GM/PC ideas! The core motivation of a good RPG world builder is to provide fuel for other people’s creativity, not to tell people what kinds of stories they should play.
Multiverse: What is it about Fragged Empire that sets it apart from other post-apocalyptic RPG settings?
Wade: I think that fact that I have no Humans in FE, while still remaining relatable helps to give it a small edge, along with it having a strong focus on culture building.
But I think the main point of differentiation is that my setting is a post-post-apocalyptic setting. It is a universe at the dawn of a new age/civilization, set just after a more classic post-apocalyptic time period.
Multiverse: Where have all the Humans gone in FE?
Wade: After reaching a technology singularity and spreading out throughout the galaxy, humans fell to a very old problem; genetic erosion. This is when a limited gene pool lacks the genetic diversity needed to remain robust. Humanity gained so much, but due to apathy and comfort they stopped reproducing and traveling/mixing in the required amounts.
By the time they worked out there was a problem, it was already too late.
While there were many partial solutions (ie: digitizing their minds), the primary solution that was developed was to genetically engineer a new race to replace them after humanity dies out. This new race would be known as the Archons, and would be the race that would end up creating most of the playable races within Fragged Empire.
Multiverse: What more can you share with us about the Archons?
Wade: Archons are purposefully not discussed in great detail. Most of the lore in my books is from the point of view of people currently living in that world; many would paint the Archons as bad parents/creators, favoring some of their creations over others. While others might describe the Archons as simply doing the best they could to populate the universe with stable/flourishing races.
Multiverse: When did you first discover the hobby of tabletop RPGs?
Wade: As a teen I first discovered D&D at a mate’s place when I filled in for a player who did not turn up. I role played a dwarf, and the other guys at the table didn’t trust me to help them with a young black dragon (who they thought was a drake, and who they negotiated an alliance with) so they made my dwarf hide behind a rock for the entire game. This first session blew my mind, despite me not doing anything!
Anyway, things got interesting when my dad turned up to pick me up. My parents were new Christians and had been hearing a lot of things about the evils of D&D… so I got into a bit of trouble. But over time my parents (and I) got a better idea about what RPGing is, and that it’s ok.
Multiverse: What do you enjoy most about world creation?
Wade: Exploring interesting questions about the nature of human existence, and fueling other peoples’ creativity.
Multiverse: In your mind, what are three of the more interesting questions about the nature of human existence?
Wade: 1) What do you live for? We all live for something.
2) How does your perspective on the nature of your creation (ie: creation of humans, but also your parents and upbringing) shape your outlook on life?
3) How can people with very different world-views and genetic inclinations prosper together in harmony?
Multiverse: Without giving away too many of your secrets, what can you share with us about Fragged Aeternum, Fragged Kingdom and Fragged Seas?
Wade: These are my 3 non-sci-fi settings (gothic horror, fantasy, and pirates). Each has a very different tone, both in terms of their settings and the rule adaptions.
Multiverse: Which works of literature and/or film would you say have influenced RPG settings of yours?
My gothic game draws from a lot of old vampire/werewolf/Victorian-era/detective styled themes. But it probably most strongly draws from the Bloodborne game.
My sci-fi game is very space fantasy (ie: Star Wars) in feel, but with a heavy dose of hard science (ie: I like to explain how things work, and expand on real word speculations about science and the universe). I cannot really pin it down to a single (or even many) source of inspiration.
Multiverse: What can you share with us about the ambient audio that’s available at your website as a free download?
Wade: These were created by Tabletop Audio. We both liked each other’s work and they approached me with the prospect of doing a collaboration. I’m a huge fan of all types of creativity so I thought this was an awesome idea.
Multiverse: What was the wildest thing that you ever saw happen a gaming convention in Australia?
Multiverse: What hasn’t happened in the world of tabletop gaming that you’d love to see happen next?
Wade: I would like to see more interesting quality indie RPGs.
Most indie RPG creators are writers, first-and-foremost. This is reflected in the nature of their creations. RPGs make use of a HUGE range of skills and I would be keen to see people from a wider range of vocations make games (ie. visual artists, scientists, programmers, philosophers.) Allowing a set of key interests to form the core of your game + being able to make the game all-around good (ie: good rules + good writing + good visuals) is VERY difficult, and yet it is the key to making a good game.
Multiverse: Which of the indie RPGs do you especially enjoy, and why?
Wade: Oddly enough, I like to play anything rules light. As this gives me a mental rest from own work, and I don’t like to jump into other people’s work too heavily. But opportunities to enjoy other people’s
games are rare when you have your own product range.
Multiverse: What can we expect to see from Fragged Empire in 2019?
Wade: I’m currently creating 2 new Fragged region books; one for Fragged Empire and one for Fragged Aeternum. These books will have LOTs of maps, factions and location write ups, along with a splash of new and optional rules. The Empire book will be focused on the jungle world of Mishpacha, while the Aeternum book will be focused on a MASSIVE market.
Here is a sneak peek at one of my sci-fi maps:
The current plan is to Kickstart these next year, and if things go well I hope to also do a Fragged Kingdom region book.
Multiverse: Tell us more about your vision for a Fragged Kingdom region book?
Wade: My hope is to set my Fragged Kingdom book around a large magical forest. This forest grew up around the old Kingdom’s capital city, and is the final resting place of the Arch Druid (the big bad evil guy who destroyed civilization).
Multiverse: What goes on inside this large magical forest?
Wade: Lots of very nasty monsters and plants that want to kill you, and the treasures of the world’s greatest kingdom.
Multiverse: What can you share with us about the massive market for Fragged Aeternum?
Wade: It is a massive market that would take many hours to cross and gathers in normal trade goods, but also many magic and rare items from distant and wondrous lands. The book itself will go into close detail on many of the factions (city guards, gangs, etc…) and locations (parks, holy sites, ports, plazas, etc…) within the market.
There is also a massive draconic Fiend who lives in a cursed area of the city along the east side of the market. This is called Drachengier Palace. The Fiend does not bother the people in the city in too many
obvious ways, but many suspect its nature is seeping into the minds of the people; its greed, selfishness and penchant for violently protecting its claimed land and property is also mimicked in the merchants and shoppers of the great market.