AMA: Richard Baker, author of lots of stuff!

Rich Baker

Hi, there! I'm game designer and author Richard Baker. Starting Wednesday on May 4th, I'll tackle an Ask-Me-Anything here on EN World! I’ll answer your questions for 3 days, wrapping up at noon PST on Friday, May 6th.

You may know me from work such as:

  • Birthright Campaign Setting (2e)
  • Alternity Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
  • 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons
  • 3rd edition Forgotten Realms (I was the creative director)
  • Dark Sun Campaign Setting (4e)
  • Gamma World Roleplaying Game (4e)
  • Lost Mines of Phandelver (5e)
  • Princes of the Apocalypse (5e)
  • Primeval Thule Campaign Setting (lots of editions)
  • Conquest of Nerath and Axis & Allies Miniatures
  • A dozen Forgotten Realms novels, including the LAST MYTHAL and BLADES OF THE MOONSEA trilogies

Oh, and I am currently Kickstarting my brand-new boardgame Ultimate Scheme. Check it out at:

Stop on by and ask me anything!

Richard Baker
Sasquatch Game Studio


Hi Rich

I will be the first to say what a great honor it is for you to be here.

Question: GW 4E--did they make you put in that collectible card component, or did you see that as intrinsic to the game?


Good Morning. I loved Alternity, but thought it may have been a bit ahead of its time. Can you talk a little about how the idea came about and if there are any plans for Alternity moving forward?


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Looking forward to Ultimate Scheme. Can we expect some D&D or Gamma World Easter eggs in the game? Maybe it would break the flavor of the game, but there are certainly some fantasy ultimate-scheme tropes one could have a lot of fun with.


Good Morning,

I really love Primeval Thule (5e)... are you guys planning any follow-up product to this campaign setting?
Bill W.


Why in the Forgotten Realms are there no Human Empire builders (Like a Barbarossa or a Napoléon Bonaparte) as part of cannon? I understand that it makes the fantasy setting pretty clear cut Good vs Evil, when Orcs, Undead, and Shades try to do it


Love Birthright, still my fav setting even though no support since years.

Question 1: Is Game of Thrones inspired by Birthright?
Anduiras symbol is Golden Lion on a Red Field (Lannister)
Iron Throne (Iron Throne)
Ed Stark (Ned Stark!)

Question 2: How would you handle Bloodlines, Blood Abilities etc in 5e, without using feats?


A huge fan of Alternity and Birthright here:

1) Have you ever thought about coming back to Alternity?
2) What would you change/improve if you could do Alternity 2e?


Another big fan of Alternity here. I'm also curious what you would do for a theoretical Alternity 2e given the opportunity. What were your favourite things about Alternity? What didn't work as well as you expected?


And about Birthright. Do you think AD&D 2e was a good fit for Birthright or were the setting domain mechanics constrained by the AD&D rules? Do you think any current RPG fits with Birthright domain level rules/gameplay specially well?


Hi Richard,

Big fan and a collector/owner of a lot of your work. Namely Dark Sun 4E, Birthright, Alternity, Conquest of Nerath, and various D&D 3rd Edition products.

Just a couple questions for you:

1. What was your inspiration for the Star*Drive campaign setting for Alternity?

2. I loved the changes you made to Dark Sun 4E (despite not liking the 4E rules). They seemed very logical and nothing felt forced. My question therefore is, if you could re-write the Pristm Pentad storyline in this new Dark Sun world, what changes would you make to it?

3. Conquest of Nerath was a recent purchase of mine, and one that I actually justified by both the well written board game rules, fancy pieces as well as the liking the background information presented in Dragon and Dungeon magazine on the Nerath "points of light" setting. Are there any "editing room floor" bits of information you could share on the Nerath setting (even ones tied to just the board game) that didn't quite make the cut to production?

4. Birthright is an amazing game but I think it has suffered a long time without any kind of update or new articles/products. Would it ever be considered for a new product, something akin to Ed Greenwood Presents the Forgotten Realms? I would buy that in hardcover in a heartbeat.


Just want to say thanks for Phandelver. Its the best thing Wizards has produced for 5e, AFAIC. Id love to see similar products from Sasquatch (small, handful of level, sandboxy things).

Enjoyed your FR work and love what I have seen of Thule as well


I second that, I would buy a hardcover Birthright, actually 2, one for the shelf, one for play. I have all the older stuff but it feels like it just got chopped off right when it was getting good. I REALLY hope Wizards considers this, I mean look how popular Game of Thrones is right now.


I crit!
I love the Gammaworld D&D 4e rules. I still play that game despite not playing any other 4e, I think it's arguably the best version of those rules. What inspired you folks to do the dual class/race thing instead of skill based or class based race and class?


Big fan of your Dark Sun work. I have a couple questions about it:

1) Obviously, some of the changes had to be made, as dictated by the 4th edition design theory. Were there changes made that you would not have made if it was your choice, or were there things kept the same that yo wanted to change?

2) If you were to do Dark Sun for 5th edition, what would you do that you didn't do for 4th?