Categorized | Interviews

Interview with Micah Skaritka

Posted on May 21, 2004 by Flames

Translated from his native language.

How did you get into gaming?

I was a big fan of Choose Your Own Adventure books, Lone Wolf, Car Wars, Steve Jackson, and Sniper. When I was eight I wrote a story for a company looking for new CYOA writers. They told me it wouldn’t fly because it wasn’t a “Choose your Own Adventure”, even though I was trying to exhibit my skills. I revived my interest in gaming when my dad bought me the original Monster manual. I then pretended to play D&D. We pretty much just rolled dice and talked about creatures. We never knew the rules or what we were actually doing, but it was fun. At the age of 10, I was a full blown D&D first edition addict; Fiend folio, Manual of the Planes, etc. Life went on and at the age of 15, I got into horror movies and industrial music.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing the gaming industry today?

I think the D20 system is creating a generic world of hack-and-slash idiocy. It takes the creativity away from potential writers, and forces them into the constraints of a pre-made system. Half the fun of making a game is creating a system for it.

What do you feel are the biggest differences in working for a big publisher and being small press?

I have never worked for a big publisher (because they turned me down when I was 8). However, working for a small press has many benefits. One benefit is that you have complete artistic control over your product. Another example of a benefit is that you have the ability to diversify products, as I have done with Cruciform Injection and clothing products.

Where/how do you find your authors and artists for Apophis Consortium?

I met R.K. Post and Michael Sutfin who studied under Mark Nelson at NIU. They were, at the time, working on a game called “Armageddon.” All the artists that were working on the project eventually became disillusioned because their original work was sold without their knowledge, and without profit. Because I established a relationship with the team, they sold me secondhand rights to a few digital pieces. From that point, with such established artists as Post and Sutfin, it was easy to attract other, great artists.

As far as the authors go, Dav and I are the core writers for Obsidian. The introduction in the core book was written by Robert Weinberg, also known for his work with Mage and Vampire novels and president of the Horror Writers Association. I met him when he taught at Columbia University. I was a huge fan of his so it was exciting for me to work with him.

What advice do you have for hopeful authors trying to get into the RPG industry?

If you are going for a specific game, know the game and the system very well. Know how to write, and show a lot of enthusiasm for the product. Obsidian , in specific, has a very detailed setting, any potential writers would have to exhibit a fine knowledge of it.

How did Obsidian: the Age of Judgement evolve? Where is it headed?

It started as “Bleak Future” which was a post-apocalyptic game of anarchy. The antagonists were “The Law” and the players created a character in the form of an anarchist Wastelander. From there, the game developed into “The Law” that is present in the Obsidian setting. The introduction of hell and its circles came later in product development. From there, the game takes the form of the finished product.

The future of the Obsidian universe depends upon its fans. This summer, a live action version of Obsidian will be published through Twilight Games. Hopefully that will stimulate sales through the paperback version.

Has there been any fallout from using Biblical mythology in Obsidian?

If you replace “Hell and Circles” with “dimensions” or “planes of existence,” and, if you replace the term “daemon” with “creature” or “otherworldly entity,” ninety percent of the evil aspect of Obsidian is lost. Overall, I had assumed that there would be controversy. In reality, there was none. In retrospect, I am glad that people are so open minded. In my youth I am sure I wanted people to be angry about it.

What is your favorite Ethos in Obsidian? Why?

Kultist. The cool thing about the Kultist ethos is that there are seven different types to choose from. It is the broadest of Ethos, next to the Citizen Ethos published in the Zone supplement. At the same time, it is difficult to play.

Do you consider horror a mood or a genre? Why?

It’s both. As an example, the genre of Obsidian is horror, and the best way to run Obsidian is with a horror mood. I wrote an essay on horror in the Wasteland supplement that details my perspective on horror RPGs.

What makes for a good night of horror gaming?

If the narrator can enforce a player/character’s mortality, the concept of horror is more prominent. In other words, a player has to fear his character’s death.

What can you tell us about Cruciform Injection?

Cruciform Injection as a band has been around since 1996. Through many incarnations, Cruciform Injection has finally settled into the mold that I have always foreseen it to be. The new album, “Epilogue”, is by far the best work we’ve ever done. We are working on the next album, which is a “best of” album with a twist. All the songs are going to be redone to update the Cruciform sound.

What’s next for you?

Lately I’ve been concentrating on the music label I acquired called “Negative Gain Productions.” We recently signed Yavin 4 (side project of Evils Toy). Also in our arsenal of bands are Filament 38, Emergence, and Alaska Highway. Hopefully soon, I will refocus on Obsidian to produce online *.pdf adventures.

For more information on Micah’s work, visit and

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