Venger Satanis does not shy away from the controversial… He is the author of Alpha Blue, an RPG that places sexual themes into a spotlight, and his new Adventure Writing Like a Fucking Boss puts an expletive directly into the title of each book. Regardless, his distinctive style provides content for a niche in the RPG industry that most RPG authors leave empty, and Venger has recently released Adventure Writing Like a Fucking Boss to empower fellow writers in creating their own unique creations.
To help motivate writers to put his tips to use, Venger is running an adventure writing contest. Winners receive $500, and their adventure will be published for free on OneBookShelf (art, editing, and layout provided by Kort’Thalis Publishing). To learn more about this contest and the man behind it, I went straight to the source for an interview.
Why are you running this adventure contest?
I want to show the utility of my little guidebook – Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss. The proof is in the pudding. If someone can read it and write an awesome scenario because of the wisdom I imparted, then I’ve done my job.
Also, this will be good feedback for me. A teacher needs to know how his students are progressing if he’s going to keep up with the learning process. Eventually, I’ll come out with an Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss part 2.
Is there one thing in particular that you’d like to tell folks who are submitting adventures?
Keep it personal, but also something you can see other GMs picking up and wanting to run. Few things are as disappointing as an extravagantly wrapped Christmas present and when you open it up, it’s socks. Don’t give me socks – give me something that’s going to fire me up!
One concept that I’ve brought up on my blog is the phrase: needs more tentacles! That’s my way of saying the adventure could use more of that special something that not only sets it apart from the masses, but gives it a quality of awesomeness that’s darker, stranger, and sexier than people expect.
Is there a specific inspiration for the Boss series of gaming advice books? I imagine many people come to you for gaming advice.
The specific (and yet pretty general and vague) inspiration for the Boss series would be this: make it awesome! Everything else is secondary.
These days, they don’t come to me for advice, they just buy my books. I guess that’s good because it frees me up to write or whatever, but I miss the personal emails that I used to get before the books came out.
You touch on style in your book on adventure writing. You seem to write in a more casual style, avoiding a sterile textbook feel. Was this a conscious choice, or something that just came naturally?
Casual, conversational, and stream-of-consciousness (for lack of a better term) is who I am. It takes awhile to create that kind of naturalism, like acting or other art forms, I suppose. But, yes, that’s me. That’s how I talk, though I’m a better writer than conversationalist.
I’m impatient and bore easily, so maybe that’s why my personality and writing style are adverse to the sterile, textbook feel. Someone who’s more formal and precise, that wants to write for readers who also enjoy that style, should stick to his guns and do what’s natural for him.
Sexual themes are a focus of Alpha Blue, and you allude to sexual themes in your adventure writing book. When most RPGs shy away from anything involving the subject, what drives you to include these ideas in your work?
I love sexual themes – romance, sleaze, exploitation, raunchy humor, porn, etc. That’s just who I am. Perhaps, it has something to do with my French background? I don’t know, but I was definitely born this way.
About once a week, I think to myself “Man, I probably should have become an adult filmmaker! Why didn’t I do that?” Now that I’m married… with children, exploring sex in RPGs is even more important to me, there’s an even greater drive for me to explore sexual themes.
The fact that there’s a sexual void in RPGs is a marketing opportunity, as well. So few people are doing that, it leaves the landscape wide open for me to operate.
Obviously, it makes my products even more niche than they otherwise would be. However, I’d rather service a teeny-tiny slice of the RPG pie and give gamers what other publishers can’t, than deliver a larger slice of pie that’s similar to what everyone else is doing.
Is there something about old school games that is particularly appealing to you? Why do you blog about old school games in particular?
How long do you want this interview to be?
Yes, there’s a big divide between old school / OSR and everything else. Briefly, old school gaming lets you do more while latter gaming experiences lock you into certain modes, systems, rules, and paradigms. I don’t want to be imprisoned by the games I play. I want to be free to do whatever the fuck I want. Maybe that’s interpreting the few rules I’m given for myself, letting players decide the course the adventure will take via their characters, or giving everyone an immersive experience that’s closer to movies like Krull or Heavy Metal or Beastmaster than some kind of bastardized Tolkien “adventure-path” without those much-needed tentacles.
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