Interview from Saturday, November 7, 2015:
Hi there. I’m Chris Bell, RPG editor here at The Geek Initiative. I’m here at Metatopia 2015, and as part of our continuing series featuring women in RPGs, sitting with me is Cheyenne Wall-Grimes, a 30 year old cisgender female from West Virginia. She is one half of the team that is Glittercat Fine Amusements. She’s a game designer whose recent works include Bunny Money Gunny, His Man Friday and their latest creation, Laser Kittens!
Women in RPGs: Interview Transcript
Chris: Tell me a little bit about your company and products.
Cheyenne: Glittercats Fine Amusements is the design studio that I run with my partner, Stentor Danielson. Follow the link above and check out our site and all of our fine products! You can download PDF versions of most of our games.
In addition to what you listed above, we’re also working on a new game called Fool’s Journey, a storytelling game based on the major arcana of the tarot. That’s currently in development.
Chris: Wow, that’s a line up. Tara Clapper, our mighty chieftainess (whom I shall refer to as in all blog articles), really likes the idea of using the major arcana for a storytelling style game.
Cheyenne: Thank you! Also, In February we’re taking Laser Kittens into crowdfunding via Kickstarter! We’re super excited about that!
Chris: KITTENS WITH LAZERS. It’s like a Knife Party song!
Cheyenne: We’ve had terrific experiences with Laser Kittens in playtest. It’s for ages 6 and up, and we’ve playtested it with all ages.
Chris: Can Kittens hurt people with their laser powers?
Cheyenne:…well, no, but in one playtest we did have a kitten erase an object from reality.
Chris: I’d love to hear that story. Moving on, what is the biggest issue that female RPG designers face today?
Cheyenne: Hmmm… There’s so many. But I would have to say that the biggest issue is establishing credibility. While there’s not quite the pay issue that you find in other creative fields (pay is generally awful for everyone here), you’ll find female designers here at Metatopia wearing penny bracelets – “I already have my two cents, I don’t need yours.”
Chris: As a comrade, that’s a movement I have to support.
Cheyenne: Things are getting better, since there’s generally been a lot of pushback, and people have been getting organized. It’s more of an issue with the larger houses, and I won’t name names. But there are lots of stories. I work with smaller outfits so I have not directly encountered the issue regarding women in rpgs as regards to the industry.
Chris: What do you really dig about the RPG and tabletop gaming hobby?
Cheyenne: I love telling stories! I don’t like win or lose conditions
Chris: Staying on topic but pivoting to RPGs for a moment, to paraphrase indie RPG authority Ron Edwards, do you think rules matter?
Cheyenne: Yes I do, having enough constraints to be creative. Constraints are necessary for creativity.
Chris: So, would you say that a win/lose condition a necessary constraint, and that conflict is necessary for storytelling and drama – needs to be fulfilled?
Cheyenne: I don’t know if I would agree with that. But there has to be movement and energy inside the narrative. But does it always have to be conflict?
Chris: Moving on, what would you say that your current biggest challenge is, as an RPG developer, right now?
Cheyenne: Personally, trying to figure out how to make a living in this field, and reigning myself in and stop designing.
Chris: As a GM, I know that feeling, to get out of the world building head and to get to actual table play.
Cheyenne: Exactly. Designing is addictive!
Chris: And here’s the last and best question! Tell me your wackiest gaming story!
Cheyenne: Aw man, that has to be when I was play testing kittens and lasers, it was really scary. When I was doing research for Laser Kittens, I made sure to play and read all the other cat themed games out there. Call of Cathulu (sp?) was an obvious departure and while it’s a fun game, was not a concern about running into similar themes. I needed to play John Wick’s great RPG Cat, which is about cats and magic, and ended up finally getting to play it when Matt McFarland’s 9 year old daughter ran it for me. It was her first time running an RPG and she did such a good job! It was lovely to get to do some of my research with a budding new GM and see the hobby continue on to new fans.
Editor’s note: Matt McFarland is the lead developer of both the Chill 3rd Edition project and have been named the lead developer for the Changeling:The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition Kickstarter project. RPGs run in the family, obviously.
Chris: Wow, this was great and loads of fun. Everyone, don’t forget to visit Cheyenne’s site! Support women in RPGs by supporting your favorite women designers!