Thursday, August 7, 2014

Five or So Questions About Snow White

I interviewed the creators of the module, Snow White, now on Kickstarter! Excuse the brevity, we're running against time - this Kickstarter is almost over!

Tell me a little bit about Snow White. What has you excited about it?

The story of Snow White was originally old Hessian folklore from Deutschland (Germany) and was later adopted and altered by the Brothers Grimm. Finally this tale made it to the stage and big screen through Disney who continued to alter the original tale getting even further from the roots. We wanted to go back to the beginning of the tale and pay homage to the old folklore while at the same time providing a new and unexpected twist (or three).

Many of the Grimms’ tales feature “strong and active characters,” as opposed to “strong (usually males) and helpless (usually females)” participants. Who is good and who is bad also flows back and forth, with no one type of person depicted as good and another as bad. Snow White is especially good at this mixing and matching, and the various tales depict all kinds of people, of both sexes, in all their glory or infamy.

We looked at the original tales - Albanian, Armenian, Indian, and Russian for example - and could see some wonderful elements for an immersive rpg. We thought that our greatest asset would be that GMs know the story, will expect certain faerie and magical elements, and then look to see (and hopefully accept!) the additional thoughts and ideas. At the same time we thought that our greatest problem would be that players know the story, and if they get wind of what it is they are playing, expect a certain set of encounters and potentially grumble at anything that deviates from the story. So knowing that the various tales have many similar components, but a few different elements, we found that we could introduce some exciting variations and mysterious new events that would keep players on their toes. And so this prove to be, as our Snow White drew together some wonderful parts from assorted faerie tales and wove them into one grand adventure. -Jonathan & Stephen

What inspired the title of the adventure?

It was difficult to move away from the faerie tale title, although we wanted to disguise this from players. We also wanted to make it clear that this isn’t the Disneyfied version of events - no whistling while you work here, as the intelligent sinkhole will hear you - so the slightly blood-soaked version on the adventure cover came to life. Then we also wanted to make it clear that this wasn’t just an adventure-by-numbers, with the well known, “obvious” ending the only possibility. In fact, we included 8 possible endings, and acknowledge that there could be more! So the tagline, “Not all fairy tales have happy endings” became an important part of the title, as it makes it clear that this could all go horribly wrong if the players aren’t careful. Of course, no matter if they are successful or unsuccessful, at least one person will be very happy and another very angry. Who display which of these emotions all depends on what the players do, and when. So these ideas, based on the elements of the various tales mentioned i the previous answer, all contributed to the way the title turned out. -Stephen

What have you done to be more inclusive with your project?

None of the players are cast as "Snow White" or her "Prince Charming," which I think opens up the door for inclusivity by not pigeonholing either male or female players and their characters into certain roles. As Jonathan said previously, we wrote eight possible endings to the story. This allows the players to make the decision as to how the tale will end, instead of the adventure itself. We hope that there is an ending for everyone, but if not, the players can make up their own. -Will

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