August 22, 2001
Interview With Rings
RPG Game Designer
Hi, can you tell our readers who you are, what you do, and what type of background do you have?
Steve: I'm Steven S. Long, and I'm a professional game designer and writer. I've been working as a roleplaying game designer since the early 1990s, and been doing it full-time since 1997. I have written or co-authored over 70 roleplaying game core rulebooks, supplements, and related products. In the past I have worked for such companies as Hero Games, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Last Unicorn Games, Wizards of the Coast, White Wolf Game Studios, and more.
In regard to the LOTR RPG, I've been a Tolkien fan for well over 20 years. My interest in Tolkien's works extends to such things as teaching myself his Elvish languages and writing. So you might say that getting to work on this game is like a dream come true for me.
How would you describe the RPG to the average gamer, and what are some of your goals for the project?
Steve: I think that the average gamer - one who has played Dungeons & Dragons, but probably not many other games - will find this game as easy to understand and use, if not easier, than other rules systems he's used to. As its basic mechanic it uses a familiar roll + skill + stat modifier system, similar to ones in many other games, but with our own little twists and improvements. The average gamer should be able to create a character and start playing in just a few minutes.
My goals, and Decipher's goals in general, for the project are twofold. First, we want to create a system that's easy for gamers to learn and use, but sufficiently detailed to handle the many situations that can arise in a roleplaying game adventure. Second, I want the rules and rulebook, and thus the game as a whole, to exude that distinctive "Tolkien feel" that the fans know and love. I don't want it to seem like just another fantasy roleplaying game, one that you could carry over to another setting and use with no alterations. I want people who read and use it to find that it not only inspires them to create characters and games suitable to the Middle-earth setting, but that through its rules and conventions it actively encourages that style of play.