Zeck's Shoppe of Riches: An Interview With Philip Reed

Philip Reed, longtime leader of Steve Jackson Games as well as his own company, has three RPG zines on Kickstarter. Phil answered my questions about the zines, his thoughts on this campaign’s stretch goal [HINT: another zine], and his recent move at SJG.

Zeck's Shoppe of Riches, A Collection of OSR Magic Items.jpg

EGG EMBRY (EGG): Phil, thanks for talking with me. What is Zeck's Shoppe of Riches?
PHILIP REED (PHILIP)
: Earlier this year, I created Marco’s Market of Magical Merchandise as a part of Kickstarter’s Make 100 event. That 40-page book is a collection of 100 magic items and 100 rumors, every single one of which is intended to inspire the gamemaster. The stats are essentially agnostic, assuming you’re running an edition or variant of the classic ampersand game. OSR-inspired and driven, you might say. The response was so strong to Marco’s Market that I wanted to craft a second volume. The format of the two is almost identical, with the newer book eight pages longer than the last one.

EGG: What’s Tischler's Tome of Treasures?
PHILIP
: Well, sometimes there are more ideas that need to escape into the world. Tischler’s Tome came about because I wrote the last entry in Zeck’s Shoppe of Riches . . . and I wasn’t done! So, with the creative engine still chugging, I kept myself at the computer until this second work was also written and ready for crowdfunding.

EGG: Despite two zines, you’re offering a third as a stretch goal. The PDF version of the third zine, Fichte’s Rumors of Lost Treasures, is nearly unlocked. The print version will require a mighty push to unlock (roughly doubling your current funding as of the writing of these questions). What inspired you to add this zine and set a print option?
PHILIP
: I knew I wanted to offer something as a stretch goal, but I also had to make sure we wouldn’t lose money on printing. I also had no interest in offering stretch goal content that wasn’t also 100% ready for editing, so I needed a few days to settle on the proper third title. I know people love to get as much as they can for their buck, and I try (when possible) to pack even more than initially promised into campaigns. It isn’t always doable, but this is a time when the stretch goal was ready and fitting to the main focus of the project.

Zeck's Shoppe of Riches, A Collection of OSR Magic Items - Tischler's Tome of Treasures.jpg

EGG: When you run these campaigns, what tends to be the most popular add-ons?
PHILIP
: Definitely the Fantasy City Sites and Scenes and D100 Hooks series, often at the same time. As near as I can tell, GMs can never get enough ready-to-drop-n-play locations and they always want more random ideas.

EGG: Let’s discuss artwork. Your project tend to be very visual. Does Philip Reed Games have an A.I. art policy?
PHILIP
: I am not interested in using A.I. art, which has made working with stock art more challenging than ever before. After reading Dave McKean’s Prompt I’m starting to think of A.I. art in a different way, but it still isn’t something I’m looking at. I only hope that it doesn’t become so widespread in use that we lose some great up-n-coming freelance artists.

EGG: Let’s turn away from Philip Reed Games and talk about Steve Jackson Games where you were CEO for many years. You recently stepped back from your position as the CEO of Steve Jackson Games. Before asking the why of this, let’s start with this: You’re still a part of SJG, correct? What’s your new role?
PHILIP
: I’m going to mostly help the company on their crowdfunding efforts and, at times, weigh in on art and graphic matters. It’s a limited bit of time every week, leaving more of my day to focus on myself and my own works.

Fichte’s Rumors of Lost Treasures.jpg

EGG: What prompted the move?
PHILIP
: Exhaustion, both physical and mental. Devoting dozens of hours a week – too many most weeks of the last three years – and dedicating the majority of my energy to the company was tearing me down. When health becomes an issue because of work, and if you’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity, it’s best to step back and reevaluate. I didn’t want to abandon the team, though, so Steve and I settled on the current approach. We’ll see how I do.

EGG: With this new focus, what does that mean for Philip Reed Games? What projects are you planning?
PHILIP
: I’m currently writing an A5-sized hardcover that’s outlined as 128 pages in length. Ferenec’s Folio of Fearsome Fiends is a collection of over forty undead monstrosities, each including both OSR-light game stats and random encounter ideas. At the moment, I’ve also sketched out sections for D100 Corpses and D100 Rumors in the book. I’m also working on a new third-party Mörk Borg card deck that quickly generates characters that can be used as PCs or NPCs. Drawing four cards gives you the character’s name, stats, gear and weapons, and some background information you can use as roleplaying hooks. I also have a solo third-party Mörk Borg adventure pack in the works and hope to take that to Kickstarter later this summer. Part of the immediate future is just giving myself the mental and creative space to attack whatever comes to mind. I’ve finished six tracks for a new album and have some ideas of the game content to go with the music, so maybe that will leap to the top of my mind. I can rarely tell what’s next.

EGG: You do an amazing amount of games! Thanks for talking with me. Where can fans learn more about your project and keep up with you online?
PHILIP
: Thanks for making the time! You’re always overgenerous with your time when it comes to my projects, and I appreciate the spotlight. I only hope that my engagement is entertaining, if not informative. Following me on Kickstarter is the best way to keep up on my latest projects. To find already-existing projects, my PDF and print-on-demand catalog at DriveThruRPG is always open.

Zeck's Shoppe of Riches, A Collection of OSR Magic Items from Philip Reed Games
  • End Date: Mon, May 15 2023 5:00 PM EDT.
  • “This book of D100 magic items and D100 rumors was designed for use with many fantasy OSR roleplaying games.”
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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Egg Embry

Egg Embry

JohnA

Explorer
The thing I love about Phil's work, in addition to the quality and usability of the content, is that he DELIVERS. I'm still waiting on some KS rewards from other creators two years later and Phil has delivered to me almost a dozen products in the same amount of time. And, I can't believe the volume of quality output, simply amazing.

Keep it up Phil!
 

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philreed

Adventurer
Supporter
The thing I've never been able to understand is how Phil has so many great creative ideas!

Seriously, Phil has more creative ideas in his left pinky than I do in my entire body! :)
Thanks! I guess the trick is Always Be Creating? I have been lucky that the world encourages me, because I feel most useful when I am creating something. Almost anything.
 

philreed

Adventurer
Supporter
The thing I love about Phil's work, in addition to the quality and usability of the content, is that he DELIVERS. I'm still waiting on some KS rewards from other creators two years later and Phil has delivered to me almost a dozen products in the same amount of time. And, I can't believe the volume of quality output, simply amazing.

Keep it up Phil!
I've had some stumbles. The trick I have found works best for me -- even if I sometimes deviate from this -- is to have everything written before launching a Kickstarter. Including any stretch goal content. It means writing this stuff is a little risky -- what if a project fails? -- but I always feel better with a Kickstarter when the writing is finished before I get a single dollar from backers.
 

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