Hello everyone, a few weeks back, I had the good fortune to be able to ask Eloy Lasanta of Third Eye Games a few questions regarding Wu Xing. Given that Wu Xing is getting its next kickstarter funded project up and running, this will be a great way to get to know the man behind the books.
1) Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us, Eloy. First off, could you give us a quick introduction to yourself and how you got into business of making games?
It’s a standard question, but one with a lot of history. I wrote for a while for a White wolf webzine called Ex Libris Nocturnis (nocturnis.net) and went on to do a few freelance jobs for pay. But honestly i was not really getting the creative freedom that I wanted out of those. I got tired of playing in others’ sandboxes and decided to make my own. So, I started Third Eye Games in an attempt to get out all the ideas I had. They just keep coming, so it’s turned out for the best.
2) What were your inspirations when it came to game design?
In terms of game design, I looked a lot to White Wolf for how they approached game design in terms of presentation, but my mechanics (at least the DGS used for API and Wu Xing) are mostly inspired by martial arts movies. I kept trying to find a game that could emulate the back and forth you find one of those movies, but there just wasn’t anything. the Dynamic Gaming system (DGS) is my attempt at that and I seem to have succeeded. So that’s good.
3) Wu Xing is a unique game that stands apart from a lot of the usual games out there in the market today. What’s your Elevator Pitch for the game to get people to try it out?
First off, glad you liked Wu Xing. The pitch is pretty simple: Players take the role of ninja of rival clans forced to work together or be wiped out. All for one and one for all, except for the centuries of rivalries between the clans. the Emperor wants all ninja wiped out and only by working together with your worst enemies can you truly survive. There’s a lot of different angles you can take during gameplay, which helps out with creating a well-rounded game.
4) I noticed that the default tone of Wu Xing is a semi-lighthearted tone similar to Avatar: the Last Airbender and Naruto. Was there a deliberate decision to avoid delving too deeply into the darker and more macabre themes and elements of revenge, tragedy and Ninja sex-magic that are more common in the likes of anime such as Basilisk and Ninja Scroll?
I feel of the game is one that can go a lot of different directions. Some of the clan fictions are light-hearted (like the Blazing Dancers), while others are just plain sinister (like the Will of Iron). The fact that the game takes place during a war automatically creates a tension unlike anything else, so having that as a backdrop means that the characters are likely going to strive to not wallow in it. It’s all about human nature. Players are welcome to take it in that direction though, it’s set up to handle it definitely and the fights are deadly enough to have all the spaying blood needed. Sex magic… probably not though.
5) Of all the provinces in the Empire, only the Land of Seed and Blossom has had its own supplement. Do you have any concrete ideas at this point as to what you’d like to reveal next about Wu Xing’s setting, and the strange Ninja Clans therein?
Of course. I’m always thinking ahead as far as I can fathom. The Wu Xing gameline is being released in a Clan, Nation pattern. The next book after Land of Seed and Blossom is Truth and Lies, touching on the Hidden Strands of Fate and the Will of Iron (Kickstarter link http://kck.st/QIzW8C). When that books done, we’ll begin development on Land of Crashing Waves. There’s a small preview to each nation in the corebook which should give an idea of what kinds of clans you should expect to see.
6) Finally, what advice would you have for anyone looking to try making their own RPGs?
Wow. That’s a big question. First and foremost, i’d say that you need to decide whether you are doing it for creative reasons or for money. If it’s for money, you’re barking up the wrong tree. If it’s for creative reasons, I suggest making sure that what you want to do isn’t already out there on the market. That’s how 3EG has survived this long, producing games that no one else has thought of. For more advice, listen to my podcast with is about this sort of thing exactly, Rolling 20s (http://eloythesaint.com/category/rolling20s/).
Thanks again for taking the time to talk to us about your work Eloy. For those interested in Wu Xing, the Kickstarter for the Truth and Lies supplement has some very good pledge levels that can get you caught up with the entire line for a very reasonable price!