Monthly Archives: June 2018

The New Guard: Nathan Dowdell

While I was at Origins this year (2018), I had a conversation with Eric Simon about awards speeches. We discussed what makes a great awards speech, and Eric’s opinion was quite interesting to me. He said that one thing he would love to do in an awards speech is not just acknowledge those who had mentored him, but to also promote the young, up-and-coming creators he believed would be soon on the same stage.

This idea got me thinking about several creators that I personally know–many of whom are good friends–and how I could promote them and their work.

This is the first of a new series of blog posts celebrating the “New Guard,” talented game designers, developers, artists, and writers who are–in my opinion–destined to be standing on awards stages for our tabletop hobby. Eric deserves his own mention here, but I’m going to single out a very deserving friend for this post: Nathan Dowdell.

I first encountered Nathan during my time working on Dark Heresy. Nathan had a very interesting blog where he was creating additional fan content for Dark Heresy on his own time. I saw quality work there, so I invited him to do some work with me on the FFG 40K lines.

This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Nathan Dowdell is a highly talented and proficient writer. He’s also a great creator, and from the work I’ve seen from him at Modiphius, he’s got serious chops as a developer as well.

In addition to all that raw skill, Nathan is a seriously all-around good guy and professional. He and I have worked together numerous times, and I would love to work more with him again in the future.

What humbles me about Nathan is his generosity. He was very giving of his time and advice and feedback when I visited him in Nottingham last year. He’s been a tireless crusader for my own work, Wrath & Glory, sallying forth on Reddit and other sites to defend my creation and explain his opinions of its quality. He did all this AND ran my game on Free RPG Day!

I am not the only beneficiary of Nathan’s generosity, either. Ask any of the writers, editors, and proofreaders working with Nathan on Star Trek Adventures or any other project he’s led, and you’ll find a lot of loyalty and strong positive feelings there.

Nathan’s an up-and-coming creator in our industry. I have no doubt that I’ll be clapping for him to receive many accolades in the years to come.

Origins 2018 Report

Hello readers, this time around I’m here to discuss my visit to Origins Game Fair 2018. As usual, Origins takes place during Pride week, and the parade goes down very close to the convention center. There were people showing off their rainbows all over, and it was great to see.

Origins has been called “diet Gen Con” by some attendees, and I can understand why — it’s got that great “Gen Con vibe” without the huge crowds. There’s plenty of games to see and play, plenty to shop and explore, but the halls are never packed shoulder-to-shoulder and everything just feels a bit more relaxed.

This year, I was present to demonstrate the new Wrath & Glory RPG for its world premiere. This was also the same weekend as Free RPG Day, and Ulisses North America was presenting a Wrath & Glory quickstart to show off how the game works. Written by John Dunn, the adventure is quite fun — and I ran it about four times over the weekend, while also manning the booth area in Studio 2 and going through various business meetings.

Wendelyn Reischl and Stephen Rhodes were also there running games with us — Wendy ran about six games total, in fact — and our fans were exceptionally pleased. I got to meet several happy Warhammer 40,000 players who wanted to know more about the new RPG I had designed. Eric Simon performed heroic deeds managing the booth and keeping all of us on track throughout the weekend.

Primarily, I will remember this year for the people that I am very fortunate to call friends.  Wendy, Stephen, and Eric are all fantastic people — and we have a ton in common. Sometime I think it would be great just to grab a cabin in the mountains of Colorado and game for an entire weekend with these folks.

I also got a chance to sit down with James Layton, who is one of the hosts of the Grim Dark Podcast. Not only does James have a fascinating history of his own, he’s a very passionate gamer and has a talent for helping me come up with cool ideas for my game lines. Tim Huckelbery was also present — a close friend who I have known for 15 years now! — and it was great to reconnect with him.

We had a party at the Three-legged Mare on Saturday night, where we showed off some sneak peeks at the Wrath & Glory Starter Set maps, chatted about the game line, and met many new friends. I even got to embarrass Tim a bit by getting him a standing ovation from the attendees for his work on Dark Heresy 2nd edition.

Origins was a lot of fun, as it has been every year I have attended: this was my third. I will remember it fondly, and especially this year as one where the company of my friends was warm and inviting, a memory I shall cherish.

One sour note came from another poor experience I had with “living campaign” games. I’d like to write more about this at length, but the short version is that every time I’ve sat down to try out some kind of organized play in RPGs, the game itself has been very disappointing.

Here’s hoping next time I get to try out some new games in a different format!