TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
I love open-ended questions like that; they always leave me searching for someplace to actually begin. In fact, that specific question reminds me of the Vorlon Inquisitor in Babylon 5 asking Delenn over and over again - “Who are you?” - and never being satisfied with an answer.
That's how I tend to feel when I have to talk about myself. No matter how long I think about it or how much I write, I am never content with the answer I give. I mean, I can give you a few facts as reference on me. That will have to suffice, I suppose, until I finally figure out a better way to express who I am.
I was born in Saudi Arabia on a US Air Force compound and spent the first ten years of my life overseas. We travelled a great deal, my father's job putting us in dozens of different countries for months at a time. I've seen Paris, London, Cairo, Tokyo, Berlin (both sides of the now non-existent Wall) and more, though I was too young to appreciate what a great blessing that was.
The year we permanently returned to the United States was the same year I discovered roleplaying. It was this small white box in a clearance bin at Hobby Lobby, ignored and forgotten. I sympathized with it, also being lost and having no real friends yet, so I bought it and took it home. The three little books pretty much set the course for the rest of my life.
Flash forward to now and I am still living on the path set by that simple cardbox box with the words Dungeons and Dragons on the front. I write constantly, often typing up page after page of things no one will ever read, and when I'm not abusing my keyboard I am roleplaying.
So maybe that is the simple answer. Like the other fine, talented people on this blog, perhaps I really am what I do and what I love.
I'm a gamer.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO GAMING?
After I found that D&D box, I consumed it utterly. I took the booklets to school, reading them over and over whenever I had the chance. With no real friends I was forced to game alone for a long time. Some of the stories I still tell today come from those quiet hours in my room, using a TI calculator to roll random numbers.
Eventually I branched out, finding a few like-minded friends, a few places to play (thank you, public libraries!) and actual dice. I built up a collection of books, graduating to Advanced Dungeon and Dragons and even branching into Top Secret and Star Frontiers.
From there it has been one group after another until landing in Louisville, Kentucky with the gang I have now. My favorites include them, of course, my first real group in Oklahoma City, the ultimately dysfunctional but always entertaining folks in the Campbell household on Tinker AFB and my short-lived but intense Star Wars quartet in Crossville, Tennesee.
Ah, good times…
WHAT IS IT YOU FIND SO APPEALING ABOUT GAMING?
This one is easy to answer. I have always considered roleplaying to be a powerful form of expression. Gaming allows us to leave ourselves and our world behind for a few hours and just BE someone else. That's a gift, it can be very enlightening and, as a special bonus? It's a Hell of a lot of fun.
SHARE A FAVOURITE GAMING MOMENT WITH US
Picking just one isn't easy. So many moments stand out, so many incidents and accidents, that a single favorite is hard to choose. I'll just go with the first one that comes to mind.
I was running Dragons of Despair, the very first module for Dragonlance, the same month it was released. We were in the school library, back in the media room where no one ever came, and my friends were all choosing their characters. I was re-reading the introduction and the instructions to new DMs because they still didn't make any sense.
The moment I remember the clearest is that instant when it all clicked for me. It's that split second when, looking at my friends and reading the text, I got what the module was trying to explain - script immunity, vibrant NPCs that were more than just stats, a magic staff that was so much MORE than just a healing stick… all of it.
I really think that's the moment I stopped just running games and started telling stories.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY PLAYING?
I have four campaigns going at the moment with others that phase in and out, one I run and three I enjoy as a player. My campaign is science fiction, based on a setting and rules set I've written in house. It's been going for more than a year now and is just now reaching the third and final chapter of its overall plot.
The other three are Shadowrun, a Rogue Trader game and a Victoriana Steampunk setting with magic and mecha. Even though two of those only run once every other week, the total makes for a lot of gaming.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT YOUR FAVOURITE GAMES ARE?
Given my past, I don't think anything will ever supplant D&D as my favorite game. It is just too near and dear to my heart. That said, I have a lot of appreciation for the World of Darkness, White Wolf's original over-all game system. I have logged many memorable hours both tabletopping and LARPS in that setting.
I also want to give some credit to Marvel Super Heroes. The MSHRP saw me through several years of school and showed me just how flexible character creation and combat could be when the system is simple and the story is imagination-driven.
WHAT WAS THE LAST GAME YOU PLAYED?
That would be my science fiction game, Living End. Every session lets me get a little more work done on its basic rule set, something we call the Endgame Engine. My players enjoy it and they aren't afraid to tell me when things don't work.
WHICH PRODUCTS HAVE YOU HAD YOUR WORK PUBLISHED IN?
Just to offer a quick list: Star Wars, Lone Wolf, AD&D, D&D 3rd Edition, D&D 3.5, Pathfinder, Babylon 5, Conan, Paranoia, Judge Dredd, Traveller, Starship Troopers, multiple scenarios for the RPGA and some undisclosed Bioware work that should publish soon.
How did you come to work in the RPG industry?
It actually comes back around to Mongoose, really. I had done a few things, small submissions for Dragon Magazine and the RPGA, but I'd never written anything for mainstream publication. After hearing that Mongoose Publishing was looking for a few freelancers, I submitted an idea for a book about Enchantment magic. They accepted, gave me an assignment and I wrote the book for them. A couple more freelance assignments from them and they took me on as a staff writer. The going wasn't always easy but I learned a lot during that job and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. That got me into the industry and now I really cannot imagine myself doing anything else.
You wrote one of my favourite d20 system games (Lone Wolf) for Mongoose. How did that come about?
Lone Wolf is a personal favorite of mine too. As I mentioned before, I moved around a lot and lived in a lot of different countries. I was actually introduced to the world of Magnamund (Lone Wolf's setting) through a copy of Fire in the Water I picked up in a depot gift shoppe. I must have carried that book around for weeks, refusing to read it after I discovered it was the second one in a series. Once I got Flight From The Dark, it was game on and I was hooked.
Once again we flash forwards many years and I am in England working on a source book for Babylon 5. We all went out to eat at a local spot in Swindon and Joe Dever, the creator of Lone Wolf, accompanies us. That's where we met and it was a real pleasure. He is a great guy just on a personal level and brilliant to talk to about just about anything. We chatted politics and business and the art of roleplaying way past dessert. It wasn't until after I'd written the d20 adaptation of Lone Wolf that they told me Joe had specifically requested me for the job. That was a real honor.
Of course, the biggest honor was getting to work with Joe and his personal notes about Magnamund. Some of the files and pictures I got are things that no one has ever seen outside of Joe and a handful of his friends. That was a real experience, I can tell you!
ARE YOU WORKING ON ANY GAMING-RELATED PROJECTS AT THE MOMENT?
I am currently writing rules, scenarios and promotional materials for Wreck-Age, a post-apocalypse hybrid game for both roleplaying and miniatures skirmishes.
DO YOU HAVE ANY WEBPAGES OR SOCIAL NETWORK ACCOUNTS WHERE FANS CAN FIND YOU?
Indeed I do. I am on Facebook as myself (August Hahn, none of that silly 'special game designer page' nonsense), Twitter as Mherduwynn (because my name was already taken, sadly) and my homepage is www.augusthahn.com for anyone who wishes to drop in.