Losing Our Interviewginity

2009 August 20
by Vanir

This week, we’re going to be catching up on product reviews, letting you listen in on our interviews (when we get them transcribed), and telling slightly embellished Tales of Gen Con Adventure. Today’s post falls firmly within the third category. Gather ’round the campfire, it’s story time!

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

Wow, what a ‘con this year. We got to see lots of old friends, met so many new friends, got crazy high on hypercaffienated root beer, and generally had the time of our lives. We’re in a very strange situation where when we say where we’re from, most people go “Stupid Ranger? What’s that?” — but there were some people with WotC shirts on that went “Stupid Ranger! I’ve heard of you guys!”. It was like a splash of water to the face – people do know about us. I forget who it was referred to me as “the Tarrasque guy”, but I am simultaneously somewhat mortified and yet pleased to see my legend lives on. At any rate, I think I speak for the three of us when I say we’ve got a considerable morale bonus going on right now.

My other cohorts had the foresight and will to blog their Gen Con experiences while there. This is probably due to the fact that they stayed in the Marriott, close to everything. It was my intention to stay in the Marriott as well. Which is a damned shame because my brain told me that wonderful hotel was the Sheraton – which is a fine hotel located a mile away from everything. PROTIP: when the only exercise you got over the last year has been lifting an infant out of a crib, get a hotel close to the con. It took a great deal of careful diplomacy, but I did manage to talk my feet out of writing their congressman.

Shelly Is The Bomb

Those of you who have been with us awhile might have noticed that we haven’t done any interviews before. Thusly, we were very excited when we scored an interview with someone from WotC. Friday morning, we were walking about the sales floor and we met up with a very nice woman a few of you may have heard by the name of Shelly Mazzanoble. We talked to her for a little while and then the topic of what else we had going on that day came up, and she tells us that she saw our names on the interview lineup, and she was pretty sure we were going to be with Andy Collins and Bill Slavicsek. It was then that I saw all the blood drain from Dante’s face. At this point, all we knew about our interview was we’d be speaking to “someone from WotC”. We figured, being a small blog, we were going to get some intern who could answer some broad questions about their new products. The names hadn’t registered in my mind yet, but I knew Shelly had just dropped a bomb on us.

It was only after we sat down and started looking up the things our interviewees had written that we both felt our sanity crumble. We didn’t just get some talking head from a game company or the guy that used to get coffee for the WotC helpdesk. We were interviewing one of the guys that wrote the 4e PHB, and the director of R&D at WotC. This was the dream. If we pull this off, I could travel back in time to meet 12 year old me and tell him what I’d been doing, and he would look back at me in wonder and say either “gnarly” or “totally radical”.

Stupid Ranger, of course, was cool as a cucumber as usual. Mostly because she’d had the foresight to schedule being on a “Women of RPG Blogging” panel with E from Geek’s Dream Girl during the time we’d scheduled the WotC interview, leaving the two of us to handle it. You know, back before it became infinitely terrifying.

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

And so it was that Dante and I found ourselves in the lobby of the Marriott, furiously writing questions that we thought were incisive, yet not too offensive. Questions we thought they would enjoy answering. Questions that would bring enlightenment to geeks everywhere and solve world hunger! Also I was trying to convince Dante that it was a good idea to let me ask them some really weird crap because that’s who we are, dammit. Fortunately, he talked me out of most of the strange ideas I was having, but we did decide to try to answer one long-standing argument from the archives. (You’ll just have to wait around for the interview to find out how that went).

About a half hour before our appointment with the lords of gaming, Bartoneus from Critical Hits finds us. He asks us why we appear to be making repeated FORT saves, and we explain our situation. He tells us he has interviewed Andy before, and that he is very nice and talkative and easy to interview. He’s met Bill, but never really got a chance to talk much to him and hopes we can find out how he got into the business for him. Smiling as if without a care in the world, he rides a sunbeam over to the nearby Starbucks kiosk. Bartoneus has clearly been around the interview block a few times. One day, we will be like that too – if we can survive the next hour.

Our time nearly spent, we race up to the big ballroom where all the RPGA events get held (and, as it turns out, interviews). We approach the counter only to find nobody there. We see our friend Shelly nearby, so we ask her. She calls someone and they’re not sure either, and a very nice fellow standing next to her offers to take Dante’s number and go down to the sales floor and give him a call back when he finds out. We realize we have just spoken to James Wyatt, one of the other names on the front of the 4e PHB, as he walks away – and we feel like total dumbasses. Fortunately we do not feel that way long. Right then, Shelly’s phone rings, and it’s the WotC rep we were going to meet with originally – and Andy and Bill are on their way.

It’s go time.

The Exciting Conclusion!!!

Well, you’re just going to have to wait until we post the interview! Don’t worry, we’ll have lots more stuff to keep you entertained in the meantime.

Unti then, tune in tomorrow. Same Stupid-time. Same Stupid-channel!

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