Monday, September 14, 2009

Interview with Bob Liddil: Part 2

Part 2 of the interview with Bob continues with his views of today's gaming industry and an exciting announcement.

SHORTS: Do you follow the gaming industry today? And if so, what's your opinion of the state of gaming?

LIDDIL: Hasbro owns Wizards of the Coast, which owns Dungeons and Dragons. Four words; big boring corporate suits. I moved on from the game publishing industry when WOC burned the world down with Magic Collectible Playing Cards. It was comparable to “the day the music died” in Don McLean’s classic song, “American pie.”

Until recently, I never looked back. All the hard work that the hard noses and stiff necks put into destroying gaming was wheel spinning. In the end, it was corporate greed; big dollars that sunk gaming, as I knew it. In the end, the card and dice industry were the winners and literacy was the big loser.

As for my opinion of the state of gaming today; I believe that in today’s world, Dungeons and Dragons and the peripheral publishing that went with that genre would not stand a chance against Internet, instant movies, 500 channels of TV and video game consoles.

America is on a downward spiral toward functional illiteracy. There has been such a “dumbing down” of youth as a result of educational laziness that I doubt if 3 in a thousand youths challenged to do so could tell an original story equal to a two hour dungeon game.

It’s disheartening that we are “tweeting” our way into a literary abyss where Perez Hilton being called a pedophile by Demi Moore makes the front cover of the LA Times.

Still, when I published via print on demand 100 copies of “The 30 sided fantasy and Other Tales,” last year, 94 sold immediately and recently a copy showed up in Europe with an asking price of 40 odd euros. So maybe I am wrong and Gaming has simply ceased to be a mass-market prospect for the likes of corporate giant Hasbro, who thinks that “GI JOE” should be a movie.

I hope so, because "Little Shop Of Poisons and Potions 3 - Apothecary in Dungeon Deep," my new book scheduled for the winter of 2010, the news of which is exclusive to this blog, is gonna need an audience who knows how to laugh, kill and die.

SHORTS: It's great to hear you're publishing a new gaming supplement. What prompted to return to publishing gaming supplements?

LIDDIL:I had been noticing a surge of interest in my older works on forums here and there and that there was some interest still out there. So, beginning with The 30 Sided Fantasy and Other Tales, a completion of the “30 sided trilogy,” I began to think in terms of a new project. Noble Knight did so well selling the 30, I am wondering how they would do with a 3rd Poisons and potions book.

That it would be a new poisons and potions book; the idea came from you. You are working in an active campaign in a hard to grasp world. Into ever life a little vial of potion must fall.

I plan to send # 1 of the new first edition to you personally, signed and numbered, with a thanks for the inspiration.

SHORTS: What can we expect from your new book?

LIDDIL:The new poisons and potions will be a little more death intensive than last round. The Assassins’ Guild chided me for not being “killer friendly enough” and did not accept my explanation that Grimm has been studying exotics for these last years. There will be 30 new objects associated with poisons and potions and a “side effects page that will make freewheeling dungeoneers much more cautious in their imbibing habits

SHORTS: Will Little Shop of Poisons and Potions 3 include short stories like the others?

LIDDIL: Yes. The further adventures of Fleet O Feet, the erstwhile alchemist’s apprentice is shaping up nicely. Several stories are completed and several more are rattling around in my head.

Below is an actual entry from the new book, which I present to your readers for their campaigns. It comes in a little blue crystal vial with a symbol of an octopus on it.

# 10 Essence of Octopus

Of all the creatures that swim in the warm waters of the Boiling Sea, few are more terrifying than the Giant Octopus. These titans of the deep have been known to attack passing ships and grab Nauticals and men alike right off the decks, dragging them screaming to their graves wrapped in huge tentacles.

There is another octopus though, a miniature one that is little known outside practitioners of the arts of alchemy. It is known as the Blue Striped Pigmy Octopus. Its signature blue and white parallel stripes distinguish it, a bold statement that says, “Don’t tread on me. I am very, very poisonous.”

Two liquids are harvested from this creature by specially trained (and not too smart) Nauticals. The INK that it ejects when frightened is particularly useful when mixed with magnetized iron filings to form thick writing ink.

The contents of Blue Striped Pigmy Octopus’ venom sack are a natural 2-step poison that assassins covet hungrily. There is no known antivenin for “Essence of Octopus.” Administered through puncture or edged wound, (often by dart), it is a guaranteed death sentence.

Classification: Lethal Cocktail of hemotoxin and Neurotoxin
Cost: 4,400 GP per 1 oz vial
Number of Applications: 1 by volume but it can be stretched due to toxicity
Mixing Agent: Counterintuitive to mixing
Special Properties: Paralysis or “Living Death” precedes actual death

Thanks for inviting me on your blog.


  1. Thanks for the interveiw - looking forward to the new book!

  2. Thanks for Part 2.

    Essence of Octopus. Nice.

  3. Hey, Bob, it's good to see you're still neck deep in fantasy and tale-telling!