INTERVIEW WITH TODD VANHOOSER - The Ragged Man Project
Tell us about this new project, "The Ragged Man."
The Ragged Man is a stand-alone module to play with the Adventures Under the Laughing Moon role-playing game. This is a pre-written adventure that invites gamers to play through a specific plot that offers numerous encounters, new characters and villains, and numerous possible outcomes. It's full color book that showcases some incredible artwork and offers up new material to expand upon the Laughing Moon gaming world.
Why this story for your game expansion?
I wanted to offer something fun and unique to our gaming fans, and The Ragged Man felt like a good fit. It incorporates many elements that Laughing Moon fans are already familiar with, while at the same time expands the story in new directions. We play-tested this adventure at a local AZ convention in September and players absolutely loved it.
Your Laughing Moon role-playing game has been focused on fantasy, but this expansion is clearly bent toward horror; why the change in genres?
Horror is a part of any genre, so it's not really a change at all. Fantasy and horror have always been kissing cousins, and even from our childhood the first fantasy-based stories we hear are fairy tales--most of which have powerful elements of horror layered into them. With the Ragged Man, I wanted to embrace that notion of a good old-fashioned campfire story that takes on life. Our heroes find themselves trapped in a gypsy camp where they first hear the legend of the Ragged Man, a scarecrow creature bent on revenge. Surrounded by a bank of fog, and betrayed by one of the gypsies in the camp, the players find themselves in a desperate race against time as the Ragged Man steps out of myth to terrorize everyone trapped in these lands.
Do you think your usual target market will embrace this expansion as they have your fantasy based RPG?
Our gamers and fans have been asking for something like this for quite a while, so I wanted to make sure that I offered them something special. This adventure has a great story, amazing artwork, and other elements that make this not just a piece of a game, but a real collectible piece, as well.
Tell us about the artist you are using for this expansion.
I discovered Scott Alan Gregory at an event in Mesa last fall and was immediately taken with his art and style. Once I began to lay out plans for the Ragged Man, I quickly decided that he was not only the best, but the only man for the job. The pieces that he has created for the project have the ambient horror I wanted the story to embrace. They range from the beautiful to the horrific to the tragic. Since his involvement in this project, many of the Laughing Moon gamers have fallen in love with Scott's style and have commissioned individual character-based pieces as well. I'm very excited to have him on board and I can't wait to see what the future may hold.
Do you think there is an increase in dark RPG's? If so, why do you think this may be a trend?
I think that gamers are attracted to this type of storytelling, and dark RPGs have long had a place in this industry. Many fantasy stories tend to go down a dark path to begin with, so it's only a slight nudge to get a foot into the horror genre. A good horror story is about ambiance, tension, suspense and a slow build toward release. To incorporate those elements into a tabletop RPG takes the entertainment beyond just reading. Players are able to feel the suspense on a much more personal level.
What made you decide to try a Kickstarter for this project?
Kickstarter is a great way for independent creators like myself to fund a project that would otherwise not be easy to achieve without the support of friends and fans. One aspect that I love about Kickstarter is that it truly involves the fans, and allows them a sense of "buy in" with something they are also passionate about. Although I am independent, I like my products to stand up against the best in the industry. Anyone who has taken a look at Adventures Under the Laughing Moon can see that we settled for nothing but the very best. Using Kickstarter on a project like this makes it much more viable to include a talented artist, do a full-color interior, and ultimately provide a product that I'm very proud of.
It looks like Laughing Moon has helped with other groups attempting to fund their projects; can you tell us about them?
We're fairly new on the Kickstarter scene, but I'm a very loyal person and I try to help those who help me. Most of these that we have supported are in the local AZ talent pool. We've supported new projects including an upcoming gaming convention, a new AZ-based graphic novel, and some specific RPG projects as well. It's a tough mountain to climb when you're independent, and I have a great deal of respect for those who follow their dreams. I like being a part of something creative, and I'm eager to see these dreams realized.
Tell us about the Pledge amounts and how people can help with this project?
I wanted to create rewards that would get people interested and involved. It was also important to have some type of incentive for every type of donation, so we started at $5 and worked all the way up to a $2500 donation level with great rewards at every level in-between. We have PDF copies of game materials at the lower dollar amounts, and signed books and art prints as you progress. For larger donations, we wanted to include personal opportunities to join the Laughing Moon crew at the launch of Ragged Man at Phoenix Comicon, or maybe get a personal art commission. My favorite reward is the "God Level," which promises a published novella-length story based on a character or story by the supporter. The cover art would also be based on the backer's character design. It would be a fun way to get immortalized in the Laughing Moon world! Honestly though, for a project like this, every pledge counts and gets us closer to the goal. I feel pretty confident about our offered rewards and really feel like our supporters will get something they will enjoy in exchange for their support.
You can support the project by visiting the Kickstarter page here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1823664075/laughing-moon-the-ragged-man-adventure
Updates on all things Laughing Moon can be found on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/laughingmoonadventures