Maybe you’ve noticed, but lately we’ve been doing ALL THE THINGS. And in order to do all the things–and do them well–we need awesome people. Brian Engard is one of them; he’s a writer, game developer, and all around awesome guy. (He likes Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels, which makes him an automatic bestie in my book.) You might have seen his work in Bulldogs! He’s also currently writing his own game, and he’s got his nefarious paws in a lot of upcoming EH products, including Fate Core, The Paranet Papers, Fate Worlds, and Strange Tales of the Century. Looking at that list, I’m beginning to wonder if the man ever sleeps, but I neglected to ask about that in this interview. My bad.
But here’s what I did ask…
How did you come to the Hat?
I came to the Hat via Galileo Games. Way back in the early oughts I wrote a supplement for the d20 version of Bulldogs! for Brennan Taylor (don’t bother looking, it’s no longer in print). Then several years later, when Brennan wanted to do a Fate-powered second edition I replied and told him I was interested in helping. I was the only one who did so with any speed, so he let me co-write the thing. After that I put my name on a post where Fred maintains a list of Fate freelancers, which got me some more work with Rite Publishing. Shortly after that, Fred offered me a job doing some system development on Strange Tales of the Century, which led to a lot more work.
What’s your dream project?
Honestly, how am I not already working on my dream project? I get to work on Dresden Files RPG stuff, I’m writing my own game, I’m helping out with Fate Core stuff; these are all dream projects in some form or another and sometimes I can’t believe I get to work on them! I have this long-standing notion that at some point I’ll get to write a Fate-powered game based on Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series of novels, but that’s more a pipe dream than anything else. It’d be cool though.
What are you working on now?
For the Hat, I’m finishing up my work for The Paranet Papers and Fate Core and right in the thick of writing stuff for the Fate System Toolkit. Outside of the Hat, there’s The Demolished Ones for Rite Publishing, which’ll be going out to Kickstarter backers pretty soon, and I’m working on my own game, Becoming, which I’m planning on Kickstarting in a month or two.
Tell us about your best gaming moment.
It was the first Metatopia, and I was eating dinner at an Italian place across the street from the Morristown Hyatt with Fred and Rob. We were talking about general gaming stuff and Fred says, “How are you with setting stuff?” I’m all, “Good, I guess. I mean, I’m writing a setting for this other game. I’m comfortable doing it.” And Fred says, “Yeah, we need to get you on something for The Dresden Files.” That was just freaking awesome; I’m a pretty big Dresden nerd.
Who would you rather take on in a Fight, Kirk or Spock?
This depends on whether I’m taking on the version from the original series or from the new Abrams movies. Shattner? Yeah, I might be able to take him. But the new guy? He seems like a scrapper. I doubt I could take Spock in any reality, Vulcan neck-pinches being what they are. So I guess Shattner, that’s my answer.
How would you survive a zombie apocalypse?
I have a friend who’s been thinking about this question for a while now, so I’d probably go to his house. He’s got guns, he’s in good shape, he used to be in the National Guard, and his wife’s a universal donor. I’d . . . uh . . . maybe provide a car? Or something?
If you were a Fate character, what aspects would you have?
I think I’d have to put Write All the Things on there, but I don’t know if it would be a high concept or a trouble. Maybe something like Enthusiastic but Shy. My trouble would probably be something like Depression, Insecurity, Anxiety; I’ve battled those demons like many of my fellow nerds and creatives have, and even though I mostly feel like I have them licked, sometimes they rear their heads. I guess that makes the first aspect a high concept or something.