The Fabled Appendix – Sean K Reynolds (Part 2)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Here follows Part 2 of my interview with Developer Sean K Reynolds, game designer extraordinaire and all-around nice guy, in which he discusses how he differentiates Golarion's deities from the gods of Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms, and gives a list of the works that most influenced his game design.

David: Is it hard to make Golarion's gods different from those of other campaign settings?

Sean; My technique is to approach the gods like they're people, with their own motivations and agendas. In fact, many of Golarion's deities were once mortals themselves; and, because the world itself is so old, often I can just ask myself, "What would these deities have been doing this whole time?" I really try to explore each god's niche. In terms of making them different than the gods of Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms, the history and cosmology of Golarion naturally differentiate them. A good example of this is Oerth's Pelor and Mayaheine versus Golarion's Aroden and Iomedae; the structure of the relationship between the deities is similar (an older, male deity mentoring a younger, female warrior deity), but a few obvious differences are that Pelor is a benevolent god while Aroden is more neutral, and Mayaheine is a defensive deity whereas Iomedae is an active crusader against evil.

David: Briefly give me a list of some of the most influential works you've encountered.

Sean: As a younger kid, the books that made the most impression on me were Lloyd Alexander's books about Taran the Wanderer, which discuss old magic, learning your place in the world, and the apocalypse; Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time series (which includes super-science and biblical references), Anne McCaffrey's Pern books, and Piers Anthony's Xanth and Incarnations of Immortality series. In my teens I chewed through Edgar Rice Burroughs's Mars books, Norman Winski's The Sword and the Sorcerer, Larry Niven's linked fantasy stories ("The Magic Goes Away," "What Good is a Glass Dagger?", and so on), Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords series, Robert Asprin's Myth series, some collections put together by Isaac Asimov (Wizards, Witches, and so on), and the Thieves' World books (also edited by Robert Asprin), as well as anything by Stephen King and Clive Barker.

Growing up the in '80s, we also had a lot of cool, weird, and bad inspirational fantasy and SF movies as well: Clash of the Titans, Conan the Barbarian Labyrinth, Hawk the Slayer, The Sword and the Sorcerer, The Dark Crystal, Barbarians, Dragonslayer, Krull, the Rankin-Bass version of The Hobbit, Highlander, Blade Runner, Akira, and Ralph Bashki's animated features (Lord of the Rings, Wizards, and Fire and Ice).

This concludes my interview with Sean K Reynolds. Thanks for reading the Fabled Appendix, Paizonians! I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I've enjoyed interviewing the fine game designers at Paizo!

David Eitelbach
Editorial Intern

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