Creator Spotlight: 5 Questions with Hayley Gordon

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Storybrewers Hayley Gordon and Vee Hendro

Good Society is an intriguing roleplaying game currently live on Kickstarter. This week we are taking 5 with Hayley Gordon from Storybrewers Roleplaying to tell us more about herself and her work.

What are you playing/reading/watching right now? Movie-wise, we have a keeping up with the Joneses thing about the IMDB top 250 list so basically whatever is on that. The last one we watched was Dangal which is an incredible movie based on an incredible true story. That’s all I’m going to say about it – no spoilers. Game-wise we are hardcore obsessed with Mini Metro which has you puzzling over how to best lay down efficient train tracks so that you avoid repeating the mistakes of Sydney’s rail network. It’s very addictive, with smooth game play and a minimalist visual style.

What is Good Society? Why is it important? Good Society is a collaborative tabletop roleplaying game inspired by the work of Jane Austen. Which means basically that you and your friends sit down together, make regency characters for yourselves, and use the game to create your own Austen story.

The game revolves around romance, scandal, family and money. There’s balls, estates, sly glances, and turns about the garden – but really it’s a game about longing, social ambition, and the difficulties of getting what you want in a very restricted society.

Both the mechanics and theme are a bit unusual for a roleplaying game. Instead of dice, combat, and monsters, the main mechanics of Good Society are reputation, connections, and family background. Part of our drive to get this game out there was to show that stories about relationships, romance, and social pressure can be just as interesting and fun to explore as those involving heroes, fighting and leveling up. There’s a lot of great work right now coming out of the indie RPG scene about that very idea, and we’re lucky to be able to contribute to it.

The game is on Kickstarter until 6 March and we’ve unlocked all kinds of crazy stretch goals like a live action version of the game (where you dress up and play in real time), and a pulp hack of our own game.

Apart from your games what should everyone be looking out for in local Australian Pop Culture? Muriel’s Wedding the Musical! We love Kate Miller-Heidke and Muriel’s Wedding is just about the most Australian thing I can possibly think of right now – combining the two is basically a dream come true. We had the good fortune to catch the musical last year – it is very worth it. The original cast soundtrack is out now, get your ears on it! Our favourite song from it is Can’t Hang, which is basically Mean Girls in a song.

Other than that, the convention scene is just exploding! We’ve got about eight lined up this year, with EttinCon (Blue Mountains) and GammaCon (Canberra) coming up soon, and that’s just the ones that do tabletop RPG stuff. If you’re not sure whether cool tabletop stuff is happening near you – it is! Go look for it. Conventions are an especially good way to start wading into tabletop roleplaying territory, if it piques your interest but you don’t know how to get started. There are experienced Game Masters running plenty of beginner games, which makes it easy to show up to the table and just enjoy the experience.

Major prediction for Pop Culture 12 months from now? The line between video game, board game, and tabletop roleplaying game is going to get fuzzier and fuzzier – people will start moving seamlessly from one to the other without even knowing it. Also surely it’s time for movies with real people and animated character crossovers a la Space Jam and Roger Rabbit to return?

Best last thing you ate? Have you ever had soft shell crab in a taco? If you haven’t, leave the house right now and eat it immediately!

And that’s 5! Check out Good Society on Kickstarter, follow Storybrewers on Twitter, or check out the website for more info about Good Society and other Storybrewers games.