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Interview with Stuart Renton

Posted on January 6, 2005 by Flames

JW: Will you please summarise the Darkness Rising setting? What makes it particularly interesting and exciting?

SR: The Darkness Rising setting is an old story: evil fighting evil with the PCs caught in between. It’s interesting because it focuses exclusively on a number of warring factions: the minions of the Void, the forces of Creation, and the Powers of Light. These three highly detailed factions are enough to draw any PC into the war. It’s exciting because it’s very new, with an emphasis on role playing and choices. Nothing you do in the DR setting is without consequences. Become a vampire – but you could very easily lose your soul – what makes you unique – to the Void. Become an Arcane Lich and gain great power, but you become a target for the minions of the Void.

Everything in the setting is like that.

JW: Your books – Vampires, Liches and Zombies – have all received excellent reviews and are considered high-quality productions. Now you are publishing the first novel in the setting. How do you see Bottled Imp progressing from here?

SR: We need to release a lot more cool and exciting products, as well as further increasing our production values. We want to get every book looking just right style-wise. We went a lot of the way there with Zombies, but there’s still some improvements that can be made.
Our next release will do just that, but no! I won’t say what it is – yet.

JW: What do you find to be the biggest challenges as a writer and publisher?

SR: As a writer, I think the greatest challenge is the considerable amount of time it takes to actually write RPG products. It can take me six months to finish a 128 page game book, while I can finish a novel in fewer than six weeks. I’m always fiddling here and there, and always asking myself ‘is that really good enough?’

As a publisher, the greatest challenge is to actually get retailers to buy our books. Naturally, they want good sales, and with the vast glut of d20 products of a few years ago, they are burned and rather cautious. Where before they might have bought a book to test the water, now they don’t buy anything but the trusted companies, which, while great for them, is terrible for new companies like Bottled Imp Games.

JW: More and more companies are entering the market through online offerings only. How do you see the industry developing in the next few years?

SR: It’s hard to predict. Certainly, there’s an awful lot of competition for what is essentially a very small market. I think fewer companies will be releasing print products and we’ll see more diversity in each print company’s range. Already we are seeing many companies break away from D20 and concentrate on their own games.

JW: What are you working on now?

SR: Book Two of the Darkness Rising trilogy – called Blood Dawn, and our next release…

John Walsh, September 2004

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