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Episode 0: The Coatli Stone
RPG Industry Professional Interview: Zach Glazar
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
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Zach Glazar is the Managing Partner of Lesser Gnome - a small press game publishing company in Arizona. He, along with John Hammerle, are the authors of ENnie Award Nominated Whisper & Venom and a second short adventure, Bird of a Feather, based in the same regional setting. Whisper & Venom was successfully funded on Kickstarter on July 5th, 2013. The primary fulfillment was completed in December 2013. A fan requested Pathfinder version was released in May 2014.

Prior to fulfilling his lifelong dream of publishing high quality RPG products Zach spent many years working in government and politics. He is a graduate of Arizona State University (School of Business). He has also worked in the video game industry and as a Microsoft Support Engineer.

Zach is also a member of the RPG Geek Community:

Zach Glazar
United States
Arizona
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1. RPG Designer: Zach Glazar
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
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Any other gamers in your family? How did you get into the hobby?

Actually no, I am the only gamer in our sense (I have a mother who likes casino games and a brother who occasionally plays Xbox games). I got into the hobby in 1981 after playing TSR's Dungeon! with a friends older brother. I then begged, pleaded, and made promises of unlimited chore duty to my mother in an attempt to get a basic set. When I finally got it (Moldvay/Cook Set) I devoured it from cover to cover. This obsession ran through my graduation from high school.
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2. RPG Item: Mugshots Number 2: Taking Care of Business [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
United States
Allen Park
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Did any of your previous jobs or education help you become a game designer?

Yes, but in unexpected ways.

The actual design sense comes from years of loving the types of products I wanted to make. The skills to make a complicated product with many inputs came more from my -up until last year unused- business degree. I found a great deal of relevance from what I learned applied professionally to working with the artists, sculptors, vendors, and everyone one else in a surprisingly large supply chain.

I also found that customer service and promotional skills came from my years doing political work.
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3. RPG Item: Whisper & Venom [Average Rating:10.00 Unranked]
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
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What was the first project you worked on? What was that like?

Whisper & Venom was the first game product I ever wrote (setting aside personal campaign work when I was a teen). It shipped as a box-set that contained both an adventure and regional setting guide. It also included miniatures, dice, folded maps and more game related accessories. I have dreamed of writing one since I sent away a SASE to Dungeon Magazine in 1987. I started writing it within days of discovering a renewed interest in RPGs in 2011.

What was it like? Heh, it was an enormous amount of work. I am fortunate enough that my day job allows me great flexibility and my wife has infinite patience. Many weeks I easily worked 80+ hours, I doubt I have had a week with less than 40 hours dedicated to Lesser Gnome since February of 2013. I have been fortunate to work with many talented people throughout the process, many of whom I now consider to be friends.

I loved every minute of it though even the tedious parts (like learning InDesign from scratch). As Whisper & Venom was so well received my memory glosses over the hardest parts. Which is probably for the best since we are about to do another complex product launch via Kickstarter.
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4. RPG Item: Bird of a Feather [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
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What’s the most recent project you’ve worked on and what’s great about it?

My most recent product (and our second release) was a short module called Bird of a Feather. It featured new NPCs, Monsters and Locales even though it was based in the same sandbox setting we designed for Whisper & Venom.

It was produced entirely in the old TSR style from around 1979-1982. It was challenging from our perspective to contain all the elements we felt necessary within 16 pages and still focus on the quality of the writing. We prefer our writing provide many of the elements that are often put into bullet points and tables, 16 pages made that goal more difficult than we expected but I think we succeeded very well.

We nearly sold out of our initial print run within about one week back in May. I think right now I have 1 copy left.
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United States
Allen Park
Michigan
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What games influenced you?

Obviously early editions of Dungeons & Dragons though I took a great deal of inspiration from the Rolemaster & Middle-Earth RoleplayingMiddle-Earth RoleplayingMiddle-Earth Roleplaying products I played in the 80's. Lately I am more influenced and interested in small press releases from the early 80's (Midkemia products and anything by the Companions are the best examples). As far newer games I think highly of Dungeon Crawl Classics and just about anything written for it by Michael Curtis and Harley Stroh.
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6. RPG Item: The Price of Freedom [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:6481]
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
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What are you playing right now or most recently?

My Roll20 group is starting The Price of Freedom by West End Games. Other than that I expect to play a great deal of Dungeons & Dragons 5e in the hopes for a reasonable open license. The only other game that I have played recently that wasn't at Con is the wonderful Swords & Wizardry by Matt Finch.
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7. RPG Designer: Frank Mentzer
United States
Allen Park
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Who is one of your favorite RPG Designers?

Wow, that is a hard question. All the TSR guys are like minor deities to me and I know a number of them quite well thanks to a busy convention schedule. Each one of them has broad influence in how I think about RPG writing and design. Frank Mentzer, Tim Kask, Rob Kuntz and Jim Ward have all shared unbelievable advice. I am also a big fan of Greg Costikyan, Bill Webb and Matt Finch.
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8. RPG: The One Ring [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:11]
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
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What RPG do you wish you had designed?

Hands down I wish I had been part of the team the designed the One Ring by Cubicle 7. I love Tolkien in a quasi-religious way and it would have been immensely satisfying to work with them on that excellent product.
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9. Board Game: Ogre [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:916]
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
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What non-RPG (either card, board, or video) games do you play?

I play far fewer than I should. Steve Jackson's 6th Edition OGRE is the most frequent (I play against my writing partner John Hammerle). I was the 2013 NTRPG Con Circus Maximus Champion- I really love that game as well.

As far as video games are concerned I have almost stopped playing them entirely due to time constraints. I like Skyrim a great deal though.
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If you had to point someone to an overlooked RPG product, what would that be?

Skyrealms of Jorune. Any non-traditional fantasy games are a hard sell, but Jorune has so many qualities that set it apart.
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11. RPG Item: B8: Journey to The Rock [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:6718]
United States
Allen Park
Michigan
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*Bonus Question* What are you drinking right now?

Rock Star Sugar Free Energy Drink
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