The Fabled Appendix – F. Wesley Schneider (Part 1)

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Fabled Appendix continues! Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing Pathfinder Managing Editor F. Wesley Schneider and Developer Sean K Reynolds about the sources of inspiration they would include in Paizo's very own Appendix N. Both had very different replies, which was fun to see. I'll begin with Wes, whose early experiences with console RPGs and later introduction to horror literature have coalesced to form a unique style all his own.

Alas, today is my last day as an editorial intern, so these Appendix N blog posts will be the last I write. With any luck, however, future interns will continue where I leave off!

David: I understand that World of Darkness, Ravenloft, and Call of Cthulhu were some of your first loves when it came to roleplaying settings. How much were those influences on your game design today?

Wes: Those games and settings both were and weren't influences. My majors inspirations tend to come more from the things that inspired those worlds than from the games themselves, from authors like Walpole, Lovecraft, Shelly, Stoker, Poe, Le Fanu, and Crane. I really enjoy finding the more obscure early horror writers, people who wrote when horror wasn't even truly considered a genre and their tales were more often regarded as ghost stories or dark romances. I've also always been very interested in mythologies from a wide variety of cultures and time periods. What began as a childhood fascination with Greek myth took the typical evolution into Norse and Egyptian legends, and gradually turned into an interest in folklore in general–especially South and Eastern Europe, Middle Eastern, and East Asian.

Also, having been the young guy at Paizo for a long time, I've always felt that I come from the generation after a number of my coworkers. Talking to Erik and James, it becomes clear that their background is in 1st edition D&D and the literature listed in the Dungeon Master's Guide’s original Appendix N. But I didn’t start playing D&D until mid-2nd edition. Although I have great respect for it and the origins of the game, I never played in Greyhawk, getting most of my early D&D exposure through the Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Planescape, and their novels. Even before these, though, probably my earliest introduction to RPGs came with the Nintendo Entertainment System in the late '80s. I remember getting a NES for Christmas and it coming with a coupon for Nintendo Power magazine, and if I used the coupon I could also get the game Dragon Warrior for free. Of course, Dragon Warrior led to Final Fantasy, which led to Shadow Gate and the D&D “Gold Box” games, and so on and so on to this day. So, for as long as I've been a D&D gamer, I've been a computer and video game player.

This concludes Part 1 of my interview with Wes Schneider. Stay tuned for Part 2, in which he discusses how Golarion is like a melting pot of ideas and lists his favorite, most recent sources of gothic horror!

David Eitelbach
Editorial Intern

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