Matthew Sprange, Mongoose Publishing, Discusses Traveller and Paranoia

Seventeen years of writing and publishing RPGs like Conan, Babylon 5, Traveller, Legend, and Paranoia. Through Mongoose Publishing, Matthew Sprange continues to create RPGs designed to be played and enjoyed.


Starting with the d20 supplement The Slayer’s Guide to Hobgoblins, Matthew built Mongoose into a continuing publishing success. Looking into the future, Matthew sees social media like Twitch and YouTube playing a huge role in shaping RPGs.

Kickstarter also has an ongoing effect, as established designers can expand a planned project without the risk of creating additional content without a guaranteed audience. Matthew released two big boxed sets, Element Class Cruisers and Deep Space Exploration, for Traveller along with adventure support made possible through successful kickstarters. The Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society went from three volumes to six via kickstarter.

While Matthew started with support for D&D, his current plans focus on Traveller, Paranoia, and other RPGs. A new license is about to be announced and new material for Legend is being considered. Mongoose also publishes Victory at Sea, a naval wargame. Much of Mongoose’s back catalogue remains available in PDF.

The Traveller Companion just released with optional and additional rules and a long requested aliens line of books is on the way along with additional hardcovers to support home games with new rules and content. 2300AD, using the Traveller rules but taking place in a different time and setting, is getting updated to the second edition this year. 2300AD will focus on frontier living rather than Earth with a heavy focus on exploring the Chinese arm of stars and planets.

In addition, Mongoose has launched a fiction line with Traveller short stories being released electronically most Wednesdays. Matthew said these stories are canon and cover topics not easily handled or discussed in roleplaying games. These short stories will cover a wide range from Aslan expansion to King Oleb’s court to the murky underbelly of interstellar corporate espionage.

One project Matthew would have liked to have worked on but has not would be developing a Star Wars RPG. He would enjoy not only adding to the setting but also simply playing a character in a galaxy far, far away.

I asked Matthew what was the best thing he’s experienced as a publisher and he couldn’t list just one. He valued working on Babylon 5, Starship Troopers, and Conan. In addition, he had the chance to meet the actor Claudia Christian who played Commander Susan Ivanova on Babylon 5.

Matthew also appreciates the ongoing hard work being done on both Traveller and Paranoia. Paranoia is a unique RPG that is wonderful to play after a longer more serious campaign wraps up. D&D players might give it a try as a break between longer campaigns. Traveller has been around a long time and Mongoose continues to break new ground for the venerable RPG and fine tune both the setting and mechanics while also expanding into new areas. Legend has also been successful and remains popular.

While I listened to Matthew and took notes I couldn’t help but see and hear his joy and pride in the work that Mongoose is doing. I see this a lot during interviews and with Matthew the positive emotions were particularly strong. Publishers like Matthew value the settings and RPGs they are developing as much as GMs and players enjoy playing in them. He genuinely wants to produce great games and he wants players to enjoy playing those games.

Matthew’s final words to EN World readers was an encouragement to have lots of fun in playing your games. He invites gamers to swing by Mongoose Publishing and check out the RPGs, miniature games, and fiction.

This article was contributed by Charles Dunwoody as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. Please note that Charles is a participant in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to DriveThruRPG. If you enjoy the daily news and articles from EN World, please consider contributing to our Patreon!
 
Charles Dunwoody

Comments

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Was hoping for an interview. This reads more like an infomercial. That criticism aside, I do like hearing from the creators of TTRPG products and do want to encourage more of these articles. I would just hope that they are more substantial.
 
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Nate1970

Villager
"2300AD will focus on frontier living rather than Earth with a heavy focus on exploring the Chinese arm of stars and planets."


​Firefly will never die.. :)
 

mockman1890

Villager
While I wouldn't go so far as to call this an infomercial, I agree with the other commenters that this would be a lot more interesting if it was a full transcribed interview (ENWORLD: "Tell me about your games" MATTHEW: "Okay, I will now talk about a game"). Or at least if it had full quotes from Matthew mixed with text, like a newspaper article ("This game is coming out. Matthew says "This game is awesome"). Sorry, it just doesn't read well like this.
 

Koloth

Villager
It reminds me of what you might get in high school when the teacher says "Please submit a 1 to 2 page report on the topic of your choice. Please interview someone as part of your research." Also hard to pin down whether this was a quick review of Mathew or of current and future Mongoose products.
 

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