AMA with Shanna Germain (author, editor, co-owner of Monte Cook Games, lead designer of No Thank You, Evil!)
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    AMA with Shanna Germain (author, editor, co-owner of Monte Cook Games, lead designer of No Thank You, Evil!)

    Starting June 1st, 2015, Shanna Germain will be holding an AMA right here on EN World! A writer, editor, and instructor for more than 20 years, Shanna's award-winning short fiction, essays, novellas, articles, poems, and books have been widely published. She is the co-owner of Monte Cook Games, LLC and the creative director for Numenera, The Strange, and the Cypher System Rulebook. Currently, she is the lead designer for No Thank You, Evil!, an upcoming RPG for creative families. Before she became a full-time writer, she worked as a bartender, plant wrangler, ice cream topper, firefighter, paramedic, house sitter, and groundskeeper. She owns a rescue dog named Ampersand and an invisible dragon named Interobang.


    I'm going to be popping in and out to answer questions as I have time, so feel free to start throwing stuff at me! I'm happy to talk about anything (except for my superhero alter ego. We don't talk about that). See you then!

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    Hi Shanna! In recent years, gaming has become fragmented between those who might be called advocates for free expression and those who favor diversity at all costs. MCG has seemingly tried to encourage both free expression and diversity, and has taken flak from both sides. Do you see any way to resolve this schism in gaming?
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    Hello. I love both Numenera and The Strange, I also helped kickstart The Strange. I am also looking forward to the new Cypher system rulebook. I would love to hear about any future products, I have heard that there are some secret ones. Can you give some information on how much product support these products will receive in the future. Thank you for your part in these products, give my best to Monte and Bruce as well. I am greatly looking forward to what you all have coming in the future.

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    What RPG have you played recently beside Monte Cook Games? If none, anything out there that's tempting you?

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    What have you found to be the primary challenges in engaging kids to play RPGs? Have any expressed surprise at a non-video game RPG, or are they all on board with the concept?

    From a design perspective are there any elements, other than simplicity, that you try to include when writing for kids?

    Do you plan to write an RPG for dogs? My dog is feeling left out!
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    Can you reveal something about MCG scheduling for this year?
    When are we going to see the "Worlds Numberless and Strange" supplement? Also is the strange compendium supplement going to be published this year?
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  7. #7
    Hi Shanna,
    I am also wondering about the focus for MCG. Each year you have had a product, starting with Numenera, then The Strange, and this year the Cypher System Rulebook and No Thank You, Evil!
    I know there is ongoing product development for the current lines (I was a KS Strange Superfan Backer, so there is still a ton of books in the pipeline just on that project alone).

    The Strange gave up about any setting a player can imagine, and the Cypher System Corebook is giving foci and descriptors to all sorts of Genres, again, either complementing The Strange or holding their own as homebrew settings.

    Are we likely to see another Corebook+ Setting like Numenera from MCG in 2016? Any hints?
    i LOVE that you MCG gives the fans all the tools, and at the same time, I say to myself "Oh crap, they gave us all the tools, what could be left?"

    OR another way to tackle the same type of question: What genre has MCG not tried yet?

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    Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Shanna.

    Do you guys see the Cypher system as a universal system (a la GURPS, Fate, Savage Worlds)? If so was that the initial idea, or is it something that developed naturally?

    I've seen you tweet about negativity on the internet. Is that something you struggle with? Either individually or as a team?

    Cypher is fairly light on the mechanics to start with. What got trimmed out for kids in NTYE?

    Do you guys have roles at MCG? Like I see Bruce Cordell as more science fictiony, Monte as more weird stuff (meant in a good way), you as championing inclusivity. Or is that just a weird filtered perception of my own?

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    Hey Shanna,
    I am looking for a little inspiration and a good book always helps. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing your favorite books and authors. Maybe a list by genre (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Science, Fantasy, fiction) and why you like them?

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    When you have three designers (plus other members of MCG) like you, Bruce, and Monte, are there ever areas of contention, design-wise? For example, is there ever a tendency for one of you to want to go a certain way and the others have to pull it back a bit? Is that a way a team dynamic can complement each other?

    I'm trying to think of examples. OK, bearing in mind I'm just making this up, so it's not an example based on reality. Say Monte had a tendency to want tons of random tables, and you guys are like "random tables are cool, but let's keep the number down"; or Bruce wants to put mathematical equations in his work, and you guys are all "Bruce, it's a game, not a textbook". Those are really silly examples, I know. I just took two things I tend to do and attached Monte and Bruce's names to them. But the short version of the questions is: are there any individual tendencies that teamwork tends to help smooth out?

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