Friday, October 13, 2017

Five or So Questions with Eloy Lasanta on AMP: Year Four

Today I have an interview with Eloy Lasanta on his continued project, AMP: Year Four. It's currently on Kickstarter and has a legacy over the past years of AMP: Years One, Two, and Three. Check out what Eloy has to say below!


Tell me a little about AMP: Year Four. What excites you about it?

What excites me about it? First off, it’s the continuation of an ongoing story within the game line, and it’s the penultimate book (since I began with a five year plan). With every book, I’ve been adding more player options and really upping the ante story wise.

This time, we are adding magic to the setting, something we’ve been hinting at for a while and the fans have really wanted. I love that we’re able to deliver to them in an epic way that will change the setting forever.

Tell me about the origin of AMP. What sits in the soul of the game? Where did it come from?

The origins of AMP are pretty humble. I always wanted to do a superhero RPG and I started getting ideas. It was important to me to check out as many other superhero RPGs around to make sure my ideas weren’t just parallel development. So I spent about a good year playing as many as I could, and discovered that my idea has a niche to fill!

In comes AMP: Year One, where I decided to detail what happens when superpowers hit our society. A few other games did broad strokes, but I wanted the development of the setting to be intimate, so we lay out each month, giving dates and important events, that players can jump off of to start their own stories. I also took that opportunity to tell my own stories as well. There are character running around in the AMP setting that are doing some amazing things, changing the world for better or worse, and it’s been an honor to see so many people engaged with the story we are telling as well.

The soul of the game is that it is not really a superhero game. It’s a game about people with superpowers. Everyone is a person, not some caricature, not some cape-wearing vigilante. They are faced with real threats and problems from society, the government, other AMPs, the dead! So many things to contend with, and yet they need to make sure they keep their heads on straight. 

In AMP: Year Four, it's the Year of Invasion. What does this mean at the table? 

Throughout the storyline, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs in terms of tone and subject matter. During Year 2, it got kind of bleak, leading to a group of AMPs literally leaving Earth. They blinked and were just gone, but no one knew where they went. This group, the Orphans, have returned in Year 4, however, and are waging all-out war on Earth. 

At the table, this means a few things. The Orphans have returned with the ultimate power in their hands… magic! This is new to the AMP gameline, as we’ve been centered on scientific and Earthly abilities up to this point. That also means that there is a new player option called the Rebel Orphan, making them playable if a player so chooses. The timeline for Year 4 deals with the invasion, the climactic battles that take place, and what happens when old enemies and new friends must all come together to fight a threat capable of destroying everyone. 

What are some of the challenges of doing a series of games that span years? Is consistency an issue, or maybe variety?

Consistency is definitely an issue. We don’t want power creep in the books, but we also want to give something new every time. Any new game material we come up with follows its own ruleset, but also fits nicely within what is established already. Energy beams from your eyes, martial arts, power suits, and now magic all have their own inner workings, but are purchased the same and work within the same rules. It’s a tough way to do it, but it’s important. I’ve seen some games treat every power like it’s own subsystem, and that can be very annoying and often broken really fast.

Variety is a thing too. I, and the AMP writing team, have worked hard to have a consistent story to tell, but gamers aren’t the patient type. They want that new rule NOW, even if it doesn’t make sense in context. That’s the best part about being deep into the setting now, we’ve introduced things that just weren’t there in Year One.

Year One was just AMPs, because no one knew about them quite yet. Year Two added rules for playing normal people, and a new power, Gadgeteering. This let you play a Batman-esque characters and made sense for the setting, because this was humanity’s first response to knowledge of AMPs. Year Three bumped up the dial to 11, when both sides became more powerful. AMPs began developing mutations, and normals developed power suits. On their heels, we also introduced a new player option called the Twice Born, people returned from the dead, and really heralds of the magic that was to come.

What are your favorite new mechanical and flavorful things coming from AMP: Year Four? Tell me what you're looking forward to sharing!

As mentioned, the inclusion of Rebel Orphans as a player option is going to be fun! As is now having magic, which is something the fans have wanted for a bit. We’re working with a couple version of it, but it’s looking awesome so far. Also, the new core powers for AMPs are getting a magical touch. Even if you don’t want magic per se, you can now pick magic-inspired powers like Mother Nature or War. I’m very excited for those. 


Thanks so much for the interview, Eloy! I hope you'll all check out the Kickstarter for AMP: Year Four today!

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