The following article is the first of two new features I will be adding to the blog this week. In what I hope is the first in a series of interviews with various players, gamemasters and other members of the roleplaying-game community, I present Ego Check. Ego Check will be a place to learn more about the people who you may have interacted with briefly on Twitter or through Comments on a variety of blogs. It is an opportunity for me to conduct a long-form interview to gain insight into how active members of the role-playing community are influenced and think about current topics and trends throughout the gaming world. The first Ego Check is focused on Jeff Gupton of Blackbyrne Publishing.
In the interview, he recounts his journey as a young player of roleplaying games and how this eventually led to him creating his own publishing company. He speaks about the trials and tribulations of 3rd Party Publishing (3PP), and advocates for greater unity in the 3PP community. I hope you enjoy the following interview as much as I did conducting it!
Can you please introduce yourself, and talk a bit how and when you started playing Dungeons & Dragons?
Greetings and Salutations! (ok, normally I don’t talk like that, but wanted to show off) My name is Jeff Gupton and I am the owner of Blackbyrne Publisher, a third-party publisher for both 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, as well as Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
It was the spring of 1981 when I saw some of my 5th grade classmates playing this odd game with no board, no pieces and these weird shaped dice. Then I heard what they were saying, almost telling a story of sorts, so I sat and listened. I heard about spells being fired off, monsters being slain and treasure being found and was instantly hooked. That summer I saved all of my allowance and walked the four blocks from my home to The Hobby House and bought my first boxed set for Dungeons & Dragons. (not the Red Box everyone knows, but the one just prior, yes I’m that old) That fall when I returned to school, I had my box in my backpack, filled with characters I’d written and adventures I’d planned, and was ready to fight the good fight. It’s the feeling that I had when first playing the game that I hold on to as I write the adventures for Blackbyrne Publishing, hoping to convey or pass that along to the new fans of today.
As a side note, normally these were the same people who teased me about my weight issues and only kept me around to make fun of or play tricks on. But when we were playing D&D, that changed, there were no jokes at my expense, we were a team, and I think that says a lot about the game itself.