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Interviews: Paradigm Concepts

Interview by Joe G. Kushner

Paradigm Concepts has been working diligently in the D20 industry for a few years now, and has really hit its stride in the last several months. Paradigm's Eric Wiener fills in some details with OgreCave's Joe Kushner.

Who is Paradigm Concepts?

Paradigm Concepts is a group of young IT professionals that share a passion for gaming. Quite frankly, we basically started on the question, "Wouldn't it be cool if we made games?" The answer was yes and we've grown from there. Right now Team Paradigm is: Henry Lopez, Nelson Rodriguez, Pedro Barrenechea, Jim Beck and myself.

Why are you doing a Living campaign for the Arcanis setting? Do you feel that it adds another level of involvement with the players? What's Paradigm's level of involvement with it?

Living Arcanis keeps the love of the campaign world fresh in our minds, even when we are working hard to produce the next title. This is a world that we get to shape along with thousands of players worldwide. Our players get to impact what we produce and in return we try to give them the best value for not only their money but also their time. So we actually get all the joy out of being a DM and do so with our own rules and with people from all walks of life and from all across the world.

We provide all of the adventures for the Living Campaign, at our expense. So for the price of, let's say, a copy of Codex Arcanis, the player gets a continuous supply of free modules.

There was a dry period from Paradigm for a while there. Was that just bad karma or something less sinister?

It was a large variety of factors ranging from bad luck to bad choices on our part. But we've resolved them and have systems in place now to prevent the same problems. Doesn't mean we won't come across new ones, but we are still new at this stuff.

I'm a big fan of the whole Interlink idea. Who first came up with that? Where's it going? I see future books already lined up, but will they only be the races series, or will we see some other crossovers?

The OGL Interlink concept was a true group effort between Green Ronin Publishing and Paradigm Concepts, Inc. The name for the new brand was from the fertile and sage marketing mind of Nicole Lindroos and the dual cover idea came from Pedro, our Living Arcanis campaign director and resident stat monkey. We are very pleased with the plan as of now as Green Ronin really came through with the high quality of Hammer & Helm and we feel that Lords of the Peaks matches that high standard.

At the con, I saw the poster for the first OGL Interlink pair, Hammer & Helm and Lords of the Peaks, and the second poster with Eldest Sons and Wrath and Rage. These are fantastic prints. Any chance of seeing some posters for sale?

Jim Pavelec (Hammer & Helm / Lords of the Peaks) and Marc Evans (Eldest Sons / Wrath and Rage) did a great job on these covers. We are very pleased with how they came out and as I understand, so is Green Ronin. As for the posters, as a small press publisher, posters represent a cost that is significant and we tend to avoid non-material costs at this point. I would not be surprised to see the authors offer prints of these works, so you may want to keep an eye out for those.

What do you feel Paradigm brings to the D20 table that other companies have failed to so far? Why buy into the Arcanis setting?

We are moving in another direction with Arcanis than most fantasy worlds. Even in such epic tales as the Lord of the Rings, fantasy literature and games tend towards black and white situations; we prefer tough choices for the characters. For example, we avoid assigning alignments to Gods, as they do not talk to men any longer and haven't for centuries. In that time individual churches have chosen to represent different aspects of the Gods and they interpret the teachings in different ways. Much like one sees in the real world. Many times PCs will have to make a choice between what is proper, what is best and what is right.

Are there any authors you'd like to have working on Paradigm books?

There are many authors I would like to have write for us, we are still fans as well as publishers and want to see our favorites in print under our nameplate. Really, there are too many to list and I wouldn't want to inadvertently insult anyone by omitting them.

How was this year's Gen Con? There were a ton of new Paradigm products there. Something like what? Six? What's up with that?

Three of the products were SpellDecks titles and were slated to release together anyhow. Also, Lords of the Peaks was set to release at GenCon as well. Other than that, Carnival of Swords and Forged in Magic were delayed by a variety of factors and are only now in our possession to send to distributors. So this is really directly related to the big gap you have already mentioned.

GenCon itself was amazing, our fans are the best, the turnout for the Living Arcanis special event was large and the response to the LA campaign in general was impressive. Our sales far exceeded our expectations as well. GenCon was a rousing success all around.

How will Gen Con moving next year affect you? How do you think it will affect the Con itself? I'm hoping that it'll be able to house and host more people than ever before and that our new city will welcome us with open arms.

I will miss Milwaukee. I have several GenCon traditions that cannot continue. I no longer go to Maders for dinner as I have every year since I began attending the show and can't have the annual blowout at the Safe House. As I understand, the Midwest Express Center could not handle any more attendance than it already accommodates and Indianapolis can handle more than three times the current attendance. There are some concerns about culture shock, and I doubt Indy has any idea how much food gamers can consume, but I don't expect any large problems in the new home.

Will the SpellDecks get updated as more and more spells and other goodies come out? Will there be a deck anything else like Magic Items or Monsters?

The plans for SpellDecks do include updates with other d20 companies, many of whom came up to us and asked why they weren't already in the set. I would also look to see other accessories that will speed up game play and make everyone's life a lot easier.

What's next for Arcanis? Will we see the last modules in the original series? Any regional sourcebooks? Monsters of Arcanis?

Fires of Insurrection and In the Shadow of the Devil are slated for release this year and we intend to continue with the Sourcebook/Adventure model we began with Carnival of Swords. Basically 1/2 of the book is a location sourcebook and the other half is an adventure that is also playable by Living Arcanis characters at home.

Region sourcebooks are already in the works and will begin to appear in 2003.

We are not going to do monster books in the purest form, but there will be books that provide a great many foes for your characters to face off against. Lords of the Peaks is a prime example of this approach.

Also, there will be some big news regarding Arcanis in the near future.

What's next for Paradigm? Any plans for more Interlink products with companies outside of Green Ronin?

No OGL Interlink print products are currently in the works with any publishers other than Green Ronin, but the idea for OGL Interlink is to bring in other companies willing to complement instead of compete.

As for Paradigm, we have just secured a licensing agreement that we will be announcing as soon as the ink is dry.

Are there any plans for non-D20 products from Paradigm?

Yes. I can't divulge them due to licensing agreement negotiations.

What games do you wish Paradigm had done?

If we had a time machine, from the whole team: Legend of the Five Rings, Deadlands, Call of Cthulhu, and Werewolf.

What role do you see the web taking for Paradigm in the future? More PDF expansions?

There will likely be several PDFs that serve as web enhancements to print products, but we are kind of old fashioned, we like books we can hold. For example, we have a PDF web-enhancement for Carnival of Swords that is designed for use by Living Arcanis groups, but it still provides stats for higher-level characters so that with the free enhancement, Carnival can be run for a wide variety of character levels.

Any final thoughts?

Just a bit of a soapbox here. I'd like to see more companies work together. The d20 pie is big enough for everyone, as long as we don't fight over the same piece.

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