Project “Raptor” Spotlight: Keith Baker!
Q: When did you start designing games?
A: I picked up my first D&D book when I was around 8 and began creating and running games when I was 11. My first published work was “Dreaming on the Verge of Strife” in Forgotten Lives, an adventure anthology for Atlas Games’ Over The Edge published in 1997.
Q: How did you get into roleplaying games?
A: I’ve always enjoyed creating stories. One of the things I love most about RPGs is that even as the DM, I don’t know how the story will end; every time I run a session, I get to experience it along with the players.
Q: How would you describe your gaming style?
A: First and foremost, I’m interested in collaborative storytelling. I want to explore a world with the players. This is something that is strongly reflected in my own RPG, Phoenix: Dawn Command, but it’s also part of Eberron; from the beginning I’ve emphasized that canon is a starting point, but that you should always be prepared to make it your world.
Q: What is your main muse or subject matter?
A: There’s no one thing. Many of my projects—from “Dreaming on the Verge of Strife” to Eberron—have explored dreams and conspiracies within dreams. More than anything, I suppose what inspires me is exploring the logical effects of changes to the world… what are the logical consequences of arcane magic functioning in a scientific manner? What could you do if you had a nation of monsters?
Q: What game(s) are you currently playing?
A: D&D fifth edition; Pillars of Eternity; and a new RPG my Phoenix co-designer Dan Garrison is developing.
Q: What advice would you give someone just starting out?
A: In world design? Study history, mythology, and folklore. One of the critical elements to making a fantasy world feel real is to understand OUR world: how nations rise and fall, how stories shape culture and vice versa, and the magic people actually believe in. With that said, in creating history and culture, always be conscious of how your work can actually support a story. Why should anyone care about the twelve kings of Someweyr? Why will a player or reader want to know more? If you can’t think of any way a particular element could drive or support a story, you’re probably going too deep.
Q: What is the one thing people should know about you?
A: I wear the hat. It doesn’t wear me.
Q: Where is the best place for people to contact you or check out your work?
A: Currently, Keith-Baker.com and twogetherstudios.com.