Hercules: Greetings Michael! Thank you very much for granting this interview. I am looking forward to learning about your creative journey and the origins of Chimera Press and the Mythic RPG system.
Most gamers I’ve spoken to started playing, and loving, games early in life. What were some of your favorite games as a child?
Michael: When I was young there wasn’t much in the way of tabletop games. My favorite game was a series of PC RPGs called Quest for Glory. A charming hero, dastardly villains, epic adventures, basically just some good old fashion fantasy fun. I still have copies of the games and play them even today.
Michael: While on a family trip to England to visit with family and see some castles, I became fascinated by some D&D material owned by one of my cousins. That year my parents got me a copy of the original Red Box for D&D as a birthday gift. Once I had the chance to read through the rules and learn what pen and paper RPGs were all about I was hooked. I’ve been a fan of RPGs ever since.
Hercules: What did you love most about them?
Michael: I’ve always loved creating worlds and fantastic adventures, but traditional writing felt so static and isolationist. The stories never changed once written, and they exist only for the reader. Pen and paper RPGs are just as creative, but far more social. You can get a whole group of friends involved in the story, and the story will change every time you play through it. It was these aspects that made me fall in love with pen and paper RPGs.
Hercules: What other vocations did you entertain or explore before you boldly entered the gaming industry?
Michael: Mostly I just took random odd-jobs that never really lasted very long. The only job that sort of stuck was when I opened my own retail store. I had a large selection of gaming merchandise, ran weekly adventures, and hosted the occasional tournament. But even that only lasted a couple of years.
Michael: I’ve been involved with gaming for most of my life, but for some reason it never occurred to me to take it professional until a friend of mine suggested it to me. I don’t get to play much any more, so I haven’t had a reason to write settings and adventures. Going professional so that others can make use of the books that I write has given me a new reason to do one of the things I love most, writing RPG material.
Hercules: What prompted you to found Chimera Press?
Michael: It was suggested to me early on that I should look into self-publishing the books I write. I also intend to expand into doing more freelance writing and graphic design work. Establishing Chimera Press and building it up right from the start seemed like a logical thing to do.
Hercules: What is Chimera Press’ mission and guiding vision?
Michael: Chimera Press exists to give myself and my associates a way to combine our creative and artistic skills to do something we all love to do, whether that’s creating art, writing stories, or developing game mechanics. Our guiding vision is for each of us to follow our passions.
Hercules: Your love of mythology shines through the pages of the Mythic RPG. How did the myths first enter your life?
Michael: Ancient mythology actually didn’t enter into my life until much later on. Before that fantasy and medieval history captured my focus. However, I always thought that fantasy and medieval history felt a bit flat and a bit over-saturated, especially in gaming. So, I started looking further back into history and that’s when I discovered the world of ancient Myth. The gods, the magic, the monsters, the heroes, everything was so epic, so vibrant, so totally awesome. I’ve been in love with ancient mythology ever since.
Hercules: What games did you create or develop before Mythic?
Michael: Before I started work on Mythic I was on a game development team that a friend put together. I helped create an RPG setting called Legacy of Mana, and a board game called Albion’s Legacy. Other than that I’ve developed dozens, if not hundreds of settings and adventures for different kinds of games for personal use.
Hercules: What inspired you to create Mythic?
Michael: Ancient mythology is my favorite genre, and has been for a while now. When it was suggested to me that I should write a proper setting and get it published, Mythic was the first to come to mind. I’ve dabbled in mythological settings and adventures before for personal games so I had plenty of material already made up. Putting together all those bits and pieces and turning it all into a polished setting with supporting expansions and adventures felt like a dream come true.
Hercules: Can you provide us with a brief overview of the game?
Michael: Mythic takes place on a world similar to Earth, but isn’t Earth. It combines several ancient cultures and treats their mythologies as if they were real and part of every day life. Some elements were left as they are in real world history and mythology, but a lot of elements are unique to the setting. This allows for some familiarity, but gives more creative freedom to do things like allowing different cultures to exist at the same time even though on Earth they were separated by thousands of years. The collection of very different cultures and mythologies allows for some incredible variation in both character archetypes and adventures. The setting is designed to emulate the feel of ancient myths and legends where big heroes fight big monsters, deal with meddling gods, and go on epic adventures.
Hercules: And what about The Shadows of Apep?
Michael: Without spoiling too much, the basic plot of Shadows of Apep is that a long time ago a powerful priest almost succeeded in summoning Apep, god of darkness and chaos, into the world. The priest was killed and everyone thought the world was safe. Fast forward a couple hundred years and the mummy of this ancient priest awakens to begin the ritual anew. The heroes are on a race against the clock to figure out what’s going on and defeat the reanimated corpse of one of the most powerful enemies the world has ever known. If they fail the entire world will fall under Apep’s evil shadow.
Hercules: I imagine that you have releases planned for the other two cultures as well. When can we expect them?
Michael: Adventures for the other two cultures included in the core setting book are being worked on. The plan is to run a Kickstarter campaign early in 2017 to help fund the completion of these books. If all goes well at least one adventure will be ready to release soon after the Kickstarter ends. My goal is to have a trilogy of adventures, one for each culture, completed and released during 2017.
Hercules: I very much enjoyed the Wedding Crashers One-Sheet Adventure on your website. Will there be more One-Sheet Adventures?
Michael: Definitely, I love the idea of one-sheets. I have tons of ideas for adventures, but not all of them are enough to fill out an entire adventure. Rather than simply tossing out the smaller ideas, they will be turned into one-sheets. They’re fantastic as minor diversions dropped into a longer running campaign, or as seeds GMs can take and expand on.
Hercules: Are there plans to expand the Known World with other ancient peoples and their mythic pantheons?
Michael: The three cultures in the setting book form the core of the Known World, but there are tons of other cultures and mythologies I’m dying to add to the setting. In fact, an expansion is already in the works and will be the focus of the Kickstarter campaign planned for 2017. This expansion will add two new cultures and mythologies, one based on ancient Mesopotamia, and one based on early Vedic India. This will be just the first of several expansions planned for the setting.
Hercules: What is your ultimate vision for the Mythic RPG?
Michael: I would love to see Mythic turn into an entire range of books which will including things such as adventures, plot point campaigns, and expansions to add more cultures and mythologies to the Known World. Who knows, at some point there may even be a line of miniatures for the setting.
Hercules: And for Chimera Press?
Michael: The plan for now is to focus on expanding the Mythic setting. Then at some point in the future I’ll start to add additional RPG settings, as well as expand into other kinds of games such as board games, card games, and even miniatures games.
Hercules: How can folks best learn about your products and new releases?
Michael: All announcements and updates will go up on the Chimera Press web site . The site also includes a list of available products with brief descriptions for each, and downloadable content such as the one-sheet adventures.
Hercules: Beyond Mythic and Chimera Press, what is your personal universe like?
Michael: Currently I’m far too busy to have much of a personal universe. What little free time I have is spent painting miniatures, playing computer games, and even hanging out with friends every now and then.
Hercules: And what is the next in the unfolding dream of Michael Edwards?
Michael: For now I really want to get Mythic to a point where I’m happy with it, then I’d like to begin work on a second setting I’ve been keeping on the back-burner. I figure those should probably keep me busy for a good long while.
Hercules: How can your fans best contact you or keep updated on your career?
Michael: The Chimera Press web site is going to be the home of all my work for the foreseeable future. Not only will it include all my self published work, but I’ll be adding sections related to other freelance work I’m doing, both on my own and as part of Chimera Press. The site includes a contact form that allows people to get in touch with me directly.
Hercules: Thank you Michael! I wish you much success with Mythic, Chimera Press, and all your other creative endeavors!
Text (c) Hercules Invictus