Hercules: Greetings Miles! Thank you very much for granting this interview and sharing the tales of your creative journey. Thank you also for answering questions about theSuzerainsetting and its Dogs of Hades realm.
Let us begin! Were you into game playing as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite games?
Miles: I was born a gamer. From my earliest days I remember playing cards with my family, plus basic board games. I also loved the fantastical and extraordinary, tales of aliens and dragons. I was a Doctor Who kid.
When my brother came home from school with his friend and a box of D&D back in about 1977, he realised that he’d need at least one more person. He grabbed his kid brother (me!) and we went down a dungeon. I killed a giant rat, earned 8 copper pieces, and my life was changed. I was seven or eight at the time.
Later he discovered girls, handed me the D&D box, and never looked back. Neither did I.
Hercules: What was it about RPGs that hooked you?
Miles: The settings and the stories. I was enchanted by the idea that I could be a part of creating those things. It empowered me like nothing else. It was also a game, and games are my passion to this day. I gave up being an accountant to become a games journalist, then a consultant to gaming companies, then set up my own… and that’s where the first edition of Suzerain came from. It was 1997, 20 years after I first fired off a magic missile.
Hercules: What was the mission or vision that led to the founding of Savage Mojo?
Miles: Savage Mojo was the second company I had for publishing Suzerain after a few years doing other things. It was something that came out of meeting with my friend Aaron Acevedo (Hi Ace!) in 2007. Yeah, I have a thing about dates with a 7 at the end apparently.
Aaron and I decided to set up an ethical role play publishing business where the creative people were looked after and given a fair slice of the pie when products sold. We would be family, rather than just co-workers. A decade later and that’s still the mission statement for the company, and we still call everyone “the Savage Mojo family”. There are over a hundred members of the family at any given time, so it’s a big family too!
The aim was always to create interesting realms for Suzerain, which is an umbrella setting based on the real world but asking, “What would the world be like if magic existed?” By extension that meant gods and great spirits, and all that entails.
Dogs of Hades is one of the earliest books we wanted to do. When Magnus (Nygaard, the author) came to us with his idea of a science fiction version of ancient Athens, it seemed like a natural fit for Suzerain. He and I worked together on it for months, deciding what story we wanted to tell in the plot-point campaign and how much influence the gods should have… or not. You have to let heroes be heroes, right?
Hercules: I love the concept of ‘Dune meets the Spartans in Outer Space’. Even with the occasional ‘but wait, there’s more’. It kind of says it all…
Miles: Thanks. Pretty much everyone who plays it has a great time in the setting. From the One Sheets on it’s clear there’s something special here.
Hercules: What is the tale behind the One-Sheets? I find them fun and entertaining.
Miles: Kudos to Magnus for those – his idea of nested stories, where you could play a couple of them from both sides of a situation for instance, was inspired. We always try to do One Sheets for our Suzerain realms so that players can try the setting out and as easy convention scenarios, but the Dogs of Hades One Sheets are particularly fun.
Hercules: Please explain the realms of Suzerain a bit more. I was intrigued by what I’ve read so far.
Miles: Suzerain represents our whole universe, including the spirit world and the god realms of the Maelstrom. Within that a realm can be any land or world you can imagine, from ancient China to a deep space colony in the far future, from an alternate reality Victorian London to Mount Olympus. Fantasy realms and post-apocalyptic realms and horror realms and… you get the idea. It’s all there.
While you can set your game in one realm exclusively there’s also the opportunity to open up realm-hopping to a group of heroes. Those adventures can be a lot of fun and serve another purpose: when your group gets burned out on one setting, you don’t archive your characters and start new ones in the next “must play” world. After investing all those hours in characters, getting to know them, to watch them grow? No way! Instead, take the same characters to your new setting, and have them carry on their adventure.
Hercules: What is your ultimate vision for Suzerain?
While I’m not backing away from doing more of those, I feel like we’ve laid the groundwork for what the Suzerain Continuum can be and it’s time to go to Stage Two. That’s the point where we reveal there’s an overarching plot between these realms and a bigger story at play. It could mean the end of the universe, and we’re asking gaming groups to be a part of that.
How are we going to do that? Well, we’ve long wanted to open up the future to the public, to give you all the chance to decide what happens next, and for us to publish that as canon. As such, we can’t say what will happen and how it’ll end – that’s up to the community to decide by the games you play.
So, if you’re reading this and want to be a part of a game where you get hand-moderated help from the setting’s creators to tailor your campaign with personalized content, where your story actually impacts the published lore, then get in touch. Together we’ll choose a realm as a jump-off point that suits your gaming group and go from there. It’ll be a lot of fun.
Hercules: That is truly awesome and a unique opportunity for gamers! What is the best way for folks to contact you, about this or anything else?
Miles: I’m miles.m.kantir on Facebook. You can get me there, or click on “Contact Us” on the Savage Mojo website. That’ll get to me too. I’m happy to talk – as you can see, I’m pretty passionate about this stuff.
For real, everyone, come and say hi. I love talking to gamers and since 2017 is a year with a 7 at the end, you can bet this is an exciting time to be a part of the Suzerain Continuum.
Hercules: Thank you very much Miles! I greatly appreciate your granting this interview, and wish both you and the folks at Savage Mojo the greatest success!
My Olympian Mission is to promote life-long personal development, human empowerment, out-of-the box thinking, creative self-expression and a dedication of one’s unique talents to community service.
All of my Labors in this lifetime celebrate the Hero’s Journey in myth, legend, spirituality, popular culture and in daily life.
I firmly believe that the human spirit is essentially heroic and always seeking ways to express its innate nobility and greatness. And that a life fully lived, dedicated to actualizing the Highest we can conceive, is the noblest expression of human existence.