Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Five or So Questions with Jason Morningstar

I interviewed Jason Morningstar of Bully Pulpit Games! Thanks to Jason for his time. 

You've been way successful with Fiasco. What's been the best part of that success?

I'm really proud of the game and love to hear people's dumb Fiasco stories, particularly when it serves as a gateway drug for people new to roleplaying. I love to see the places people take it, and how they make it their own. That's very satisfying.

Tell me about Night Witches. Who would enjoy it? What do you want people to get out of the game?
Night Witches is a game about Soviet women who served as bomber pilots during the Great Patriotic War. It's a crazy focused setting and provides a really interesting feminist window. While as players you experience the terror of conducting actual combat missions in shitty, 20-year-old biplanes, the real heart of the game happens between missions. The Red Army is massively sexist and wants these women to fail, and in many ways that is the greater enemy. There's a constant tension between retaining your female identity and functioning within this massive masculine war machine. Since it's an Apocalypse World engine game, that tension plays out directly and mechanically as the fiction unfolds for your group. I have no idea who will enjoy it. I'm always surprised. I take great, great care to make sure you don't need to be a history nerd to get into it, though. I've been working on Night Witches on and off since 2007!

What other projects do you have in progress?
I always have a few things cooking. Beyond Night Witches I am poring over my back catalog of projects that really needed economical short run card production to be viable. Expect to see some of that come out. Medical Hospital, the medical game of medical melodrama, is back on track and in semi-active development. We've commissioned a guy you might know, Mr. John Sheldon, to do some art for us. More Fiasco material is coming out in 2014 for sure. I'm also helping with a few Kickstarters and supporting my friends.

The Climb has gotten a lot of great feedback. Do you have plans for more LARPs?
I'm really gratified that people are playing and enjoying The Climb. I remain super excited about the potential of live action play and continue to push at the form, using what I know about tabletop generally and GMless play specifically to inform it. I'm working on three different live action games right now. One, Villa Air-Bel, will get its first playtest at Dreamation. It's about a bunch of weird American expats who smuggled Jewish intellectuals out of Vichy France in 1940, a true story. Another is a sort of thematic companion piece to The Climb that takes place on a commercial fishing boat in the Gulf of Alaska. A third (man, I need to focus!) is about Mexican villagers coming to grips with the looting of their ancestral tomb.

What is your biggest goal as a game designer right now?
My #1 goal right now is to really understand what live action roleplaying has to offer and cross-pollinate lessons learned between larp and tabletop. This is a tremendously exciting area with many, many opportunities for cool new stuff. Thanks for your questions!

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What a great interview! I'm looking forward to seeing what Jason brings out with Night Witches, Medical Hospital, and more LARPs!