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Interview with Elizabeth McCoy

Posted on May 6, 2005 by Flames

How did you get into gaming?

Amusingly, through the TV movie “Mazes and Monsters,” depicting how LARPing in caves can cause mentally disturbed people to be a bit… odd. I don’t remember much of the show, but I do recall that it sounded like a very interesting sort of game, and upon being told it was “based on” D&D, went out and got a boxed set and a couple of booklets (including Keep on the Borderlands, as I recall).

Several character sheets and years (and no gaming group) later, I got the ElfQuest RPG, and from there, went to GURPS. GURPS and In Nomine are now my steady pair.

What do feel is the biggest issue facing the gaming community today?

Hm. Probably getting more people in, and adapting to far-flung gaming groups. A lot of gamers seem to be getting into MMORPGs like EverQuest (EverQuest for the Mac is amongst my addictions…), which offer limited problem-solving, lots of hack and slash, pretty graphics, and text-interaction with other MMORPG gamers at all times of the day or night or timezone.

My own GMing has become almost exclusively online tabletop, in various MOOs and MUSHes. My playing, alas, is mostly EverQuest and a free-form, journal-based In Nomine Superiors game some friends are moderating. (I’m doing Jean, Archangel of Lighting, in that one.)

I don’t think that “online is killing face to face,” but I do sometimes worry that MMORPGs are bleeding off younger gamers, seducing them with fancy graphics and canned NPC quests. And catgirls.

What has been your most challenging work in the RPG industry?

Authors. [grin] I’ve actually had lots of different challenges. Taking on the job of Line Editor for In Nomine was a big one, that took me a while to get comfortable with. Then each book I personally edited provided new challenges. So in a way, my most challenging work tends to be, “The last big project I did.” Merging two very different authorial styles in the most recent one, the Ethereal Player’s Guide, was very challenging.

Being co-authors with my spouse, Walter Milliken, on GURPS Illuminati University and GURPS In Nomine, were very challenging to the marriage. We only squabble when we’re both working on the same book. The more recent GURPS All-Star Jam 2004 has a chapter where I managed to get the outline from him and wrote the rest myself. That was easier.

But dealing with authors is probably the most challenging on a continuing basis.

What has been your most rewarding work in the RPG industry?

Hmmmm… Personally, all the books I’ve gotten something in. I’m also incredibly pleased with myself for giving G. R. Cogman her first professional work. (She’s done a lot of work for White Wolf, too, recently.) Seeing an author one has “discovered” go on and get even more work — it’s very rewarding as an editor. You get to be smug over your perceptiveness and
happy that a good person is getting more deserved fame.

Has In Nomine had any sort of fallout from using Biblical mythology themes?

Amazingly, very little. I get some… interesting email periodically, but that’s about it. (My favorite is the person who asked how to learn Satanic rituals. I fear that I did not take that with the usual seriousness that I treat most of my Weird Email (www.livejournal.com/users/archangelbeth/9977.html has the email and my reply).

I don’t think even Jack Chick has noticed us.

What’s next for you?

Well, as noted in the recent GURPS 4th Edition announcement, “(Right, we still have no ETA on e23 , but it’s moving forward.)” I aim to make sure that when they get e23, there will be a nice amount of In Nomine material in it.

For more info on Elizabeth McCoy, visit her website at www.io.com/~arcangel.

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