Monday, February 8, 2016

Five or So Questions with Dabney Bailey on Tavern Tales!

Today I have an interview with Dabney Bailey on Tavern Tales, which is a really cool game that is currently on Kickstarter. When I played Tavern Tales last year, I ended up getting so entranced with my character that I started writing fiction blurbs on my G+ account. I love the game, and I hope you check it out on Kickstarter! (Also, this art is AMAZING!)

Tell me a little about Tavern Tales. What excites you about it?
For me, the most exciting thing about Tavern Tales is the sheer number of possibilities it offers. I built TT from the ground up to be as versatile and flexible as possible. The game bends to fit the needs of the players rather than the other way around.

The character creation system is incredibly flexible, allowing you to build virtually anything imaginable -- I'm constantly being surprised by the builds my fans over at the forums come up with. In fact, just a few weeks ago, someone figured out how to create a gigantic fantasy robot that the whole party could pilot together. The possibilities truly are staggering.

Tell me a little bit about the character creation system. How did you build in flexibility, and what kind of characters can you make?

Most other RPGs tell you what you can and can't play. They'll give you a list of options like "This is the wizard class. If you're a wizard, these are the only options available to you."

Tavern Tales abandons this approach in favor of a more organic method where the players get to define their characters, rather than the game designer defining their character. Character options are divided into Themes, which represent archetypes like Thievery, Undeath, or Arcane. Then, it's up to the player to pick and choose whatever options they want with no limits. If you want to be a conventional wizard, you can go full Arcane. If you want to be a magical necromancer, you could combine Arcane and Undeath in interesting ways.

Tavern Tales gives players the freedom and options to build the character they always wished they could play.

What kind of settings can you play in for Tavern Tales - is it just fantasy, or is there more to find?

It was originally designed to be a fantasy setting, but it's flexible enough that it can easily be adapted to fit other settings. In fact, there's a section of the rules that encourage you to reflavor your character options to fit whatever aesthetic you like.

I'm currently playing a sci-fi version of Tavern Tales and it the systems runs smoothly.

What was your process for creating the system, and what inspired you?

I think my inspiration was all of the character ideas I had in my head that I could never play. I started to get really frustrated by games that forced me to play certain characters in certain ways. So, I decided to build a game that would free me from the limitations that I had grown frustrated with. I built TT to be kind of like Legos. Rather than me building a complete toy and giving it to others to play with, I give players Legos and let players build whatever they want out of the pieces.

How can players get involved in the community for Tavern Tales, and what can they get out of it?

I released TT into open beta in April of 2014. Since then, the community has been instrumental in helping TT grow. I am a very verbal designer, so I'll typically post new mechanic ideas to the forums to hold a public discussion before I implement anything. In fact, some of the ideas in the book came straight from fan suggestions. If anyone out there is interested in game development, I highly encourage you to join We'd love to hear from you!

Thanks to Dabney for the interview, and I hope everyone checks out Tavern Tales on Kickstarter

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