Today, we're interviewing Steve Russell, of Rite Publishing. Rite Publishing garnered two separate ENnies nominations this year, both for Heroes of the Jade Oath BETA and To Kill Or Not To Kill. Right now, especially for you, Heroes of the Jade Oath BETA pdf can be had for the sale price of $19.95, with a free upgrade to OMEGA when released. If you're a fan of Oriental Adventuring and Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved, this will be a product you won't want to miss! This deal runs through August 7th, and Steve asks that if you like what you see, support Jade Oath by voting in the ENnies for this small-press dynamo.
In our interview, I asked Steve about the ENnies, his Diceless Patronage project Lords of Gossamer & Shadow, his upcoming work for the Pathfinder RPG, Rite Publishing's relationship with Cubicle 7, and more:
Steve, congratulations on the ENnies nomination! You've got two nominations this year: Heroes of the Jade Oath and To Kill Or Not To Kill, both in the Best Electronic Book Category. Were you surprised both were nominated? If only one could win, do you have a sentimental favorite?
I was blown away by getting two nominations! They say you only have a 2% chance of getting a nomination, and the adventure that proceeded To Kill or Not To Kill (A Witch's Choice) did not get nominated last year, so I know "the agony of defeat" I feel like I rolled two natural 20s in a row at the penultimate showdown with The Dragon.
I am the designer, developer, and publisher of To Kill or Not to Kill. While I did some additional design (1 chapter), and am the publisher of Heroes of the Jade Oath BETA. So I would like to see Heroes of the Jade Oath BETA take the gold. But really the honor of being nominated is huge.
Will you be at Gen Con this year, and if so, where can people find you?
I will be at GenCon this year but I am attending as a fan and as a nominee. We are still a micropress with a permanent staff of 1 (me) with a vast array of dedicated and talented freelancers. We are running a few pick up games for our patrons, but your most likely to run into me in seminars and I will definitely be at the ENnie award ceremony.
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow, your patronage product using Erick Wujcik's Diceless Roleplaying, has definitely excited the interest of a lot of Amber fans (including me!). Can you give us an update on how the project is progressing?
Well we blew away our patronage goal nearly doubling our threshold goal, The Wide Open patron brainstorming thread is going strong, The patrons and designer (Jason Durall) are discussing of inspirational material beyond Amber, how Attributes will be handled, and Jason has posted his initial outline for the book. Jason also came up with a nice idea for the play examples in the book using the first names of our gold level patrons.
On the publishing side of things I have secured a print/distribution deal with Cubicle 7 to see that the product reaches your Friendly Local Gaming Store as a full color interior product, though the final price still won't be less than the cost of a bronze patronage. So becoming a patron is still the better deal. And yes, patronage is still open.
Do you think we will see more patronage products from more gaming companies?
I think you will see more of them from micropess companies with a small but dedicated fanbase. It gives them the ability to produce a product of the same quality as WotC or Paizo without the huge financial risk. In reality, a patronage project is just a preorder except you get to go behind the scenes and help create the product, this input helps increase the quality of every part of the project.
Plus, just look around at the companies already using it; there is Open Design (Streets of Zobeck), LPjr Design (A Place Beyond Hell), Machine Age Productions (Maschine Zeit), Otherworld Creations (P20 Modern), Happy Birthday Robot...the list goes on.
You've been working on the Pathfinder-compatible Book of Monster Templates. How's it progressing, and what can people expect from this product?
The book is 50%+ complete and I have enough preorders so far to print about 88 copies (we have only been accepting preorders for about two weeks), as this is the first book I am attempting to put in the print distribution channel on my own, so we are are doing a direct only preorder through our website, The preorder will be available until Oct. If your really want to know what to expect I would recommend checking out our Free Preview. Preorder customers get a new exclusive free preview every week, also one of our preorder customers is performing an interview with me on our website. But what I hope to provide DMs with a tool to keep even their most veteran players off balance, with templates like the Tax Collector Creature, the Boundfury Creature, and the Exemplar Creature templates.
It seems like Rite Publishing has really increased in terms of notice and recognition for their product work in the past year, especially in 2010. Looking back, are you doing anything differently, has there been any changes in the makeup of the hobby you've noticed, or is it just hard work finally paying off?
I think its a combination of things, our recognition at the ENnies comes from hard work done back in 2008 and 2009, but also "Fortune Favors the Prepared Mind." We were in a position to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came our way. From early access to the Pathfinder RPG, to the license for "Powered by Erick Wujcik's Diceless Role-Playing", which then lead to our partnership with Cubicle 7.
I know you're working in a partnership with Cubicle 7 now--what does that relationship entail? What else is coming up for Rite Publishing?
We provide the product, C7 prints and distributes the product, we split the profits. That is the most simplistic way to put it, however they do much more than that, and distribution through the 3-tiered system alone is a hell most fans can't imagine. C7 also helps us with marketing, playtesting and demoing our products; This is a new relationship for us so I expect there will be even more to come, and our first product with them Coliseum Morpheuon (PFRPG) is on track for a November release.
What else is coming? A lot! We are wrapping up we are working on the patron exclusive adventure for Jade Oath, the Omega version for Jade Oath, a conversion for Pathfinder RPG, Ceremonies of Sacrifice, the 4th adventure in the Rituals of Choice Adventure Path (To Kill or Not to Kill was adventure #2). The Breaking of Forstor Nagar our Virtual Tabletop adventure for Pathfinder RPG is in final edits, We release a new part of the 101 Series on the 1st of each month (I am working on 101 3rd Level Spells right now).
As I look to the horizon, our patrons want me to do do a patronage project for my Pathfinder RPG Homebrew/Default setting Questhaven, The Evocative City. For our Arcana Evolved fans we are hoping to do a Faen racial book, and there is also support for a Kaiden patronage project (a Japanese ghost story); and when it comes to wild speculation there is a Super Heroes Diceless game.