Evil Genius Gaming Interview
Kierra, Gio, Evan, and Jeremy had an amazing opportunity to speak with Dave Scott, the creator of Evil Genius Gaming about their upcoming tabletop RPG, Everyday Heroes.
While SwitchRPG primarily covers RPG video games, many of our staff writers also have a deep love for tabletop RPGs. So, when we were presented with the opportunity to speak with Evil Genius Games about their new tabletop RPG based on the Open Gaming License for d20 Modern, we were definitely curious to learn more about this project.
Everyday Heroes campaigns can be based in either the current day or near future. With the opportunity to choose from 6 character classes (Smart Hero, Strong Hero), 50 professions and backgrounds (Fireman, Chef, rich kid), 18 sub classes (Markman, Scientist), and much more, players have much to look forward to with the core rulebook. Even more interesting, many of the creators of d20 Modern have returned for this project, including Jeff Grubb and Stan!. Taking what they’ve learned throughout the years with their combined video game and TTRPG knowledge, the team aims to make Everyday Heroes an experience to remember.
Here are some of the questions we were curious about, answered by the Evil Genius Games team:
For our readers who don’t know your work, could you give us a little introduction? How did you start gaming, where have you worked, what have you worked on, and what do you play currently (video games included)?
My name is Dave Scott and I have been playing tabletop roleplaying games since I was 11 years old. I remember that fateful day at sleepaway camp when I was introduced to Return to White Plume Mountain and my world was changed forever. Today, I regularly play Pathfinder 2.0. I’m in a game of Strength of Thousands now, and I play two 5e games – Dungeon of the Mad Mage and Odyssey of the Dragonlords. Although I’ve been playing tabletop games most of my life, I’ve never been a part of the industry – I’m more of a tech entrepreneur. Over the years I founded NextPlanetOver.com, the world’s first ecommerce site focused on selling comic books, and Laughly, a streaming comedy app that won several awards including a Webby.
Video Game Answer
I have been playing video games ever since the TSR 80 was released. I remember playing games like Zork and Swords & Sorcery, but my favorite game of that era was The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. To this day, I still call aspirin a buffered analgesic. I love meaty RPGs. I enjoy games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, The Witcher, and Cyberpunk 2077. I also play New World. My favorite game of all time is Star Wars: The Old Republic. I dream of the day when HK-47 will make his appearance on The Mandalorian.
What inspired you to create Evil Genius Games?
I’m the guy who sits in the back of the movie theater and yells, “Don’t go in there!” “Don’t let him escape, he will come back in the sequel!” “Why are you kissing, there are only 3 seconds left on the bomb!” So, I decided, maybe I should be my own hero like in the action films I love. That was the spark that ultimately led to Everyday Heroes: The RPG for the Modern World. While there is nothing like EDH in the tabletop world, video games do this very well with franchises like The Last of Us, Tomb Raider, Uncharted, and Assassin’s Creed. We seek to emulate the excitement that these video games bring.
Does anyone on the staff have any history with the video game industry?
Yes, Jeff Grubb, our celebrity designer, was not only the original designer of d20 Modern, but he is also the lead game designer on many Amazon Game Studio projects. He’s the one that convinced me to play New World. He also worked on Guild Wars: Nightfall and many other video game titles.
With DnD gaining so much popularity, have you done anything for entry level players?
Yes, we are working on a lot of entry level content. In D&D, you can take your character to level 20, but we’ve decided to cap our game at level 10. This is because it’s called Everyday Heroes, not Everyday SUPERHEROES. We want to keep our product grounded for now.
I’ve seen that there are several additional titles coming to Everyday Heroes, but I did not see a bestiary. Will that be a separate title or is that incorporated in the core rulebook?
We will have over 40 foes in the core rulebook. They range from corrupt cops to mafia crime lords. We will soon announce a robust set of campaigns that will allow us to introduce a bunch of great villains. We’re mulling around the idea of creating an Evil Mastermind expansion to run campaigns with complex antagonists.
What are some things that you created in d20 Modern in 2002 that you were looking to improve with Everyday Heroes?
Jeff has now worked on both d20 Modern and Everyday Heroes. He was excited to rethink a lot of the concepts including the redesign of the chase mechanics entirely. And since d20 Modern was based on 3.5, he was keenly interested in how we would refresh certain concepts like prestige classes and talent trees.
Was there anything that you found easier to conceptualize compared to working on d20 Modern? Anything more difficult?
The world has changed since 2002. Now you can order something online and have it at your house the next day. Everyone has the power of the Internet in their hands all of the time. Security cameras no longer record on VHS tapes. These types of modern marvels completely change gameplay and were a challenge to design around.
What are you most excited to show with Everyday Heroes?
I’m really excited with what we’ve done with the 18 subclasses. There are so many interesting and varied ways to play the game. We’ve also worked hard to make sure that every character class was fun to play. As it turns out, Smart Heroes are quite useful in the modern world. Who knew?
How does approaching dungeon design differ in a modern setting? Any specific challenges?
Believe it or not, fantasy and modern settings aren’t much different. In Everyday Heroes, we may have an encounter where a party of heroes need to sneak into an office building to “liberate” some top-secret files. In D&D, we would have an encounter where a party of heroes need to sneak into an Orc’s lair to “liberate” some captured villagers. The fundamentals are the same, well, except for the advanced security cameras that are streaming into the cloud and tied into the police communications network.
Has the video game medium provided any inspiration to any aspect of Everyday Heroes?
The video game industry absolutely has been an inspiration. The level of storytelling in games like The Last of Us or Uncharted show how fun the modern RPG genre can be. It’s surprising that the tabletop world is lagging so far behind.
Is there a specific place where people can go for community support?
And that just seems to be the tip of the iceberg for Evil Genius Games and Everyday Heroes. Along with the initial release, there are several expansions coming out after the fact, including Weapons Locker and Ultimate Garage. Check out their website, Kickstarter, Facebook, and Twitter for more information if your interest is piqued!
And thank you so much to Evil Genius Games for the opportunity to interview the team! We’re definitely curious to see what Everyday Heroes has to offer, as well as the future of Evil Genius Games!