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Battlefield Press International Continues: An Interview With Adam R Thompson

Jonathan’s brother, Adam, is now helming the company that they co-founded, Battlefield Press International

Jonathan Thompson, co-founder and President of Battlefield Press International, passed in February of this year. His loss was felt by friends and fans alike. Over the years, I conducted several interviews with Jonathan (linked at the end of this article), he included my short adventure in The Dinosaur Protocol (SWAdE), and we coordinated an in-person meetup at Gen Con, which can feel like a logistical miracle. Like so many, I miss Jonathan’s presence in the industry.

In June, Jonathan’s brother, Adam, announced his plans to continue Jonathan’s legacy by helming the company that they co-founded, Battlefield Press International. I spoke to Adam about his brother’s creations, the company they started, and his intentions to honor Jonathan’s memory while continuing the work he began.

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EGG EMBRY (EGG): Adam, I appreciate you talking with me about Jonathan and Battlefield Press International. His family, friends, and the gaming industry still feel his absence from the gaming table. I hope this isn’t too much, but I want to open this celebration of your brother with your fondest gaming related memory of Jonathan?
: There are too many to call one my fondest. When we were kids, I was 5 and Jonathan was 12, we lived in rural Arkansas. Our uncle bought him the [Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Players Handbook and Dungeon Masters Guide] for Christmas. With no one else to play with, Jonathan taught me. From there I played games with him as much as I could, we built many friendships that way. One of the funniest however was a Battletech game at Gen Con. He had drawn a battlemech that was useless but couldn’t get it destroyed for anything. Made for a long night in the mini’s hall.

EGG: That’s awesome! Games that go sideways make for the best memories! You’ve decided to continue Jonathan’s publishing work and keep Battlefield Press in business. Let’s talk about BPI. How old is the publishing house, and what was your role with the company prior to 2023?
: Battlefield Press celebrates 25 years in 2023. All of my roles have been minor (at least by my view), co-founder, business advisor, playtester, sounding board. He would pick my brain for things that I held particular interest in. I have found our discussions on the Crusades and on the Royal Navy of the Victorian Age written into settings he created. I may hold the indie press record for the number of additional materials credits by someone that didn’t know they were contributing to a game book. My day job most of my adult life has been in aviation and I helped facilitate a lot of Jonathan’s travel for conventions.

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EGG: What are some of the roleplaying projects that BPI is known for?
: Gaslight Victorian Fantasy (co-written with Stephen J. Miller) is our flagship product. We also publish Pulp Fantastic (co-written with Chris Halliday), a game I was recently tracked down at a con by someone and told was “the best written role-playing game they had ever owned”. We also publish Eldritch Skies by John Snead (a seriously talented game designer that I am thrilled to have publishing with us). Eldritch Skies has seen a massive increase in popularity this year due to an RPGnet article about it. Those who have seen us at Gen Con have likely played Ninja High School and Mighty Tiny, both games set in universes created by Ben Dunn and we currently publish Robotech: Macross for Savage Worlds. Those are probably our best-known games at the moment.

EGG: That’s a great list. BPI has done a solid amount of prose, as well. What is the best known book BPI has published?
: Sisterhood of the Blade is the fiction anthology Jonathan was the proudest of. It did well in the Kickstarter and has continued to sell well. We hope to expand on fiction publishing in the near future.

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EGG: You’re taking over BPI and I know many friends, fans, and freelancers are excited to hear that you’re keeping this publishing company alive. Let’s talk about some of the challenges that you’ve faced in taking over BPI. Beyond the loss of your friend and brother, what’s been the hardest part of taking over the business?
: Getting cooperation from the entities I’ve needed it from. Kickstarter, for example, refused to respond to my initial email about changing over the account for eight weeks, despite several other publishers and industry professionals also contacting them on my behalf. Once they did respond, they continued to pile on requirements that were presented as those items or the login credentials. Once I acquired the credentials, they then started restricting my use of the account that I had credentials for. I wish I could they were the only problem, but I can’t.

EGG: I’m glad you’re working through the challenges. What are your short-term plans for the company?
: Short-term plans are to fulfill past projects and continue to release the things Jonathan was working on. I found a ready to go 5E update of Sherwood: The Legend of Robin Hood (original OGL release co-written with Will Upchurch). That will be released soon.

EGG: I’m not speaking ill of Jonathan with this question but I need to set the stage. Due to Jonathan’s illness before his passing and other complications, several of the Kickstarters he’d begun have yet to fulfill. This was not ill intention on your brother’s part, but more of the tragedy of his loss. You plan to fulfill these campaigns, correct?
: We do. In fact, those fulfillments are underway in a piecemeal fashion. I have sent updates to the backers letting them know what is going on and updating as I know more. Many of these projects are now coming with unpromised bonus items as a thank you from me and our team for the understanding and patience the backers have shown. There was a fire in our childhood home, where Jonathan lived during Gen Con 2019, the relocation to a hotel during the repairs slowed down a lot of his work. In addition, it is obvious now that he was sick long before the hospital stay in October. Jonathan loved creating and entertaining people. It is why his pledge tiers were always so cheap and products undervalued. This left little room for surprises, like the cost of shipping tripling in 2020 due to the loss of belly capacity while passenger airlines grounded flights and general inflation since then.

EGG: That’s understandable. Which Kickstarters are outstanding? Do you have timelines to fulfill them?
: Terran Trade Authority: Starships (40th Anniversary edition) has a few books that seemed to have not been shipped, I expect to take possession of the remaining books and get them shipped by the end of June, but admit that may slip into July. Ponyfinder: The Savage Age, this book should be completed and in the hands of backers [as soon as] some extras that I didn’t know about because it took so long to get control of the Kickstarter account. I have had great support from David Silver (Silver Games, whom we license the property from) and cannot thank him enough for his help getting this project finished. Kaisers Gate (SWADE and 5E) is ongoing. This project has hit a few snags, sick editor, unconverted bonus items, and it looks like we must reconstruct the 5E version of the book as I haven’t been able to find the 5E version in the storage items I’ve had access to. Terry Mancour, the writer of the Spellmonger novels, the IP owner and just a generally amazing human being, has been extremely patient, understanding, and helpful. [The RPG delivery is] TBD. While we work to make sure this project gets to backers and hits store shelves, I would highly recommend that if you have pleasure reading time available, that you read Spellmonger. Savage Worlds: Bloodshadows [is] TBD. Quintessential Fighter for 5E (under license from Mongoose Publishing). We have sent out the QF raw version and hope to have it in layout and in the hands of backers in short order.

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EGG: Do you have a new crowdfunding planned?
: We are expecting to launch a new edition of Gaslight Victorian Fantasy for 5E and SWADE on 31 August if all goes well. We recognize that when this is launched, we will still have other projects outstanding, but not as many as we do now. On 5 June, I presented an open letter to the community explaining our need for liquidity to move forward. New projects are necessary to help generate revenues to get the projects I inherited fulfilled.
Sherwood: The Legend of Robin Hood 5E: Adventures in the time of Robin Hood is going to be released this month. We’ll do a crowdfunding campaign.

EGG: You’re going to Gen Con 2023. What are you planning to share with the gaming world at the con?
: We have a seminar scheduled for 4pm on 3 August at the Crowne Plaza (Grand Central D). We plan to discuss our product line, which will include a lot of rereleases in the next 18 months or so, our 25th anniversary, how we ended up here, and where we go from here. Stephen Miller (Line Developer, Gaslight) and I discussed the need to have people hear directly from us rather than social media etal. We are being joined by Chris Halliday (Line Developer, Pulp Fantastic and Dinosaur Protocol), James Potter (Line Developer, Antarctic Press properties), and August Hahn (Manager & Coordinator, Freelancers). We are also hoping to be joined by Chris Burke, who is developing our webstore.

EGG: Thanks for talking with me about your brother and what he meant to you. For those that want to learn more about BPI, where can they follow your work?
: Battlefield Press Facebook page, which I’m trying to keep up with. [Battlefield Press’ website] should be up again soon. DriveThruRPG has all of our titles available on it. Our discord channel is quiet but we would like to see people there and watch it liven up. We do hope to maybe do a company blog in the future or regular mailer the way some large companies that publish everything in a single system do, but we’re not there yet. 😊

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For more details on some of BPI’s titles, here are my interviews and quotes from Jonathan M. Thompson about:

Sherwood: The Legend of Robin Hood 5E from Battlefield Press International
End Date: July 12, 2023 on

Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.

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