Hercules: Greetings James! Thank you very much for granting us this interview.
What first ignited your passion for gaming?
I really can't remember. I've always been a gamer ever since I
was a small child and playing Chutes and Ladders and eventually
moving up to games like Checkers and Battleship. I've always had an
affinity for games and gaming, but I can't nail down any specific
moment or thing.
Hercules: How did you first stumble upon RPGs?
Ah, now that I can answer definitively.
I used to have to spend the summers in a day camp while my parents
worked. One day one of the guys brought in the Players Handbook for
2nd Ed. AD&D and it was on from that point forward. I still
remember my first character: a half-elf ranger. I also remember a
mummy killed him on a train (hey, we were young and it seemed to make
sense at the time).
Hercules: (LOL) Before establishing yourself in the gaming industry, what other
careers did you consider?
I'd hardly call myself "established"
but I wanted to be an artist from a young age. I even went to college
and got a degree in graphic design but I quickly realized that I
wasn't as good at it as others. However, I've always been a huge and
voracious reader so I went and got my Masters of Library and
Information Science (MLIS) and have been working as a librarian for
seventeen years now.
Hercules: How did you break into the gaming industry?
used to write reviews of free RPGs for rpg.net many, many years ago because I got tired of seeing the same products
reviewed over and over and over again. It was during this time that I
ran across the 1PG games from Deep7. I was bored on the desk at work
one day and wrote up a quick submarine adventure for Deep7's 1PG
game, Battleforce Bravo. Todd (Deep7's head honcho) liked it so much
that I wrote a few more and then I got ambitious and pitched an idea
for a new 1PG that became Dime Heroes. I've been working off and on
for Deep7 for years now.
Hercules: What were your thoughts about Pax Gladius when you first heard about
the project from Todd Downing?
My first thought was that I'm not sure I
can do this. While I've seen my share of "Sword and Sandal"
movies, I wasn't as comfortable with the genre.
Hercules: What is your role as Deep 7's 1PG System's Line Producer?
I write support material for existing
products as well as new 1PG games.
Hercules: Can you provide us with an overview of Pax Gladius' approach to the
Sword & Sandal genre?
Sure. Pax Gladius is, like all 1PGs,
designed to emulate genre movies. They're not designed to have real
world logic but film reality (all cars explode, heroes can get in
fist fights for minutes that would have rendered normal men a bloody
mess, etc.) so historical facts can and often are glossed over.
Hercules: How does the Pax Gladius Action Pack you authored expand the game?
It just provides new adventure scenarios
for groups who have played through all the ones in the main rules and
want more adventures.
Hercules: Will there be additional supplements, modules, expansions or
Yes! All the 1PG games are slated to get
at least one Adventure Pack. There are no plans for a second round of
Adventure Packs unless demand is there for more. There is a steampunk
1PG that I keep on meaning to get around to working on.
Hercules: What games have you worked on since Pax Gladius and what projects
are you currently working on?
Yikes. I have no idea. That's been a
long time back. I'm currently working on fiction for an upcoming
anthology of stories set in the world of Deep7's Airship Daedalus
Hercules: Gaming as a hobby versus gaming as a profession... what are the
pluses and minuses?
I had the good fortune of meeting Dave
Arneson before he died and he told me a joke: "what's the
difference between a game designer and a large pepperoni pizza?"
.... "the pizza can feed a family of four."
Hercules: Which of your projects has offered you the greatest challenges?
That's easy - The 1PG Companion. You
come up with a new rule that seems cool, only to find out that it
breaks or overpowers the game. I probably put more time into that
thing than everything else I've done combined.
Hercules: Which of them has granted you the greatest level of creative
The ones that I got to design from the
ground up and not just an expansion of an existing 1PG
Hercules: And which
of them has provided you with the greatest level of personal
Wells' War of the Worlds. It was written quickly after the death of
Todd's wife, Samantha, and I wanted to do something in her memory. It
was also the first 1PG that strayed from emulating movies.
Hercules: Beyond your work with Deep7 and Heyoka Studios, what is the rest of
your personal universe like?
Writing. Lots of writing. I'm trying to
branch out more into fiction. See previous joke about the pizza.
Hercules: What's next in the unfolding adventures of James Stubbs?
I have no idea. Hopefully nothing too
Hercules: How can folks learn more about you and your creative projects?
I'm pretty low-key but you can find me
on Facebook as James William Stubbs or you can look for my author
page under the pen name J.W. Stacks. I'm also on the cesspool that is
Twitter at @JW_Stacks.
Hercules:Thank you very much James! I enjoyed interviewing you and wish you
the very best on all of your creative endeavors.