Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Lost Citadel Kickstarter Campaign and an Interview with the Creator, C.A. Suleiman

I first met C.A. Suleiman (aka Colin) when I was doing a series for The Black Gate on Middle Eastern fantasy (and no, I did not just go email him because of his name, we were put in touch by someone who knew about my assignment ;-) For all who are unfamiliar with who he is, he's developed content and IP for franchises like White Wolf and Dungeons and Dragons and headed up the creation of Mummy: The Curse. Nowadays he is the Creative Director of Make Believe Games, Mark Rein-Hagan's game company (he's one of the co-creators of D&D). Their current property is I Am Zombie, a role playing game that turns the concept of zombies on its ear.

Because this is apparently not enough work for him, he's also spent the last three years developing The Lost Citadel, which is a post-apocalyptic take on Tolkein fantasy. Here's the nifty Kickstarter video about it:

Now go back the campaign already. 

Or if you're not yet sold, here's an interview I did with Colin - timestamp links to all of the topics we cover are below, so you can jump to whatever parts interest you. We discuss not only the Kickstarter, but Colin's career to date and the world of RPG development in general.

The Facebook Group for The Lost Citadel is here:

Guide to the Interview

We begin with Colin introducing himself and outlining his career in gaming and IP development to date, including his stings at White Wolf and Dungeons and Dragons.

The Lost Citadel

1:16 Colin introduces the world of The Lost Citadel and its Kickstarter campaign, which was 3 years in the making. This is a shared world anthology set in a traditional western fantasy setting that has gone through an undead apocalypse. 

3:00 He explains the scope of this first anthology, Tales of the Lost Citadel, which will introduce people to the world of The Lost Citadel.

4:52 A discussion of the trans-media aspect of the anthology, and the art and music that backers can unlock if enough money is pledged.

5:21 The work done on this anthology as of the beginning of the Kickstarter, and a link to some teasers on Facebook.

6:00 Colin describes the expansive potential future for the Lost Citadel shared world, including more anthologies, role playing games and so on. A comparison to Thieves World.

8:12 The mechanics of the shared world, and the power the writers have to shape the milieu

8:47 A list of the rewards available to backers of the Kickstarter campaign, including art, a soundtrack, and a copy of the writer's bible that would be exclusive to writers and backers.

14:00 Going beyond the elevator pitch, a glimpse into the hard work that's already been put into this project.

C.A. Suleiman's Career to Date

14:29 How he got started writing game content and novels. 

15:39 He discusses his time at White Wolf and his first big break in the field.

17:26 Becoming the "undead guy," and his work with Dungeons and Dragons, then The Mummy (which he was the chair for).

18:32 Colin explains how the work in this field mixes mediums and formats, so a writer must be very versatile.

19:36 His work with Dave Arneson, the creator of the role playing game and co-creator of D&D.

20:25 Colin's work on Mummy: The Curse and his resulting award nominations

I Am Zombie, developed by Mark Rein-Hagen

20:55 The genesis of Make Believe Games and Colin's position as the Creative Director.

21:35 An introduction to the world and concept of I Am Zombie, a fresh take on zombies

26:55 Colin explains his role as Creative Director of a company staffed by telecommuters all around the world.

29:02 How Make Believe Games, and game companies in general, are structured, how many games they tend to develop and how many concepts the tend to focus on.

29:32 Make Believe Games science fiction take on zombies.

31:00 Colin discusses heading up two major projects at once, and working in the quickly evolving field of trans-media.

31:29 The philosophy of trans-media and what it encompasses.

33:28 Colin discusses the axiom system of I Am Zombie and gives us a peek at some of the very cool materials that are already out.

How to Get a Career in RPG design and IP Development

38:18 How to tell whether a job offer is worthwhile.

39:18 How to ensure you get good and interesting work to do.

40:08 How to pick winning projects/companies to work for.

43:01 Payment, how to set appropriate expectations without being taken advantage of.

45:26 Mentors and lessons learned in poor projects.

46:23 Where to get started finding a mentor or job in the field.

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