Hey there and welcome to another TTRPG Community interview! These are low key, prewritten interviews which are available to fill out on this page. If you are a part of the TTRPG space in almost any way at all, there should be something for you!
Today, we’re hearing from Rich, a TTRPG Writer/Creator from the UK!
Please introduce yourself and the content you create!
My name is Rich (HatchlingDM) and I’m the director of Hatchlings Games. We publish ttrpgs for all ages of player and are best known for Inspirisles, which teaches sign language.
How did you get started making TTRPG content? What motivated you to begin?
I started running an afterschool D&D group for local teens we called Hatchlings. After a year playing through pre-written modules, the kids encouraged me to design something of my own. At the time, I was working for a Deaf charity and woke up one morning with the idea of combining my hobby with sign language learning. One Kickstarter later and the rest is history!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I studied creative writing at University and specialised in writing for young people. I got to read so much young adult fiction during that period, it would’ve been difficult not to be inspired. I was also writing my own YA novels with a leaning towards the coming-of-age genre and the supernatural. I think this, combined with a love of media such as Studio Ghibli, truly informed my future.
What was the first thing you ever made? Are you still proud of it?
We launched the Inspirisles Kickstarter with my own amateurish art and clunky video, but I’m still proud of the work I put into our first crowdfund. It’s amazing to look back at those rough character designs and hold them up against a professional artist’s interpretation. It’s also a nice way to gauge how far you’ve come as a game designer.
What’s your favourite TTRPG system to create content for?
Having a background in creative writing, discovering solo journaling RPGs was a revelation. It took me a while to find an SRD to fit my concept for Dragon Dowser, but I eventually found the Carta system by Peach Garden Games. I also started reading and playing Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) RPGs and quickly realised their roleplaying-first approach was perfect for our other games.
What motivates you to create content for this system specifically?
Two reasons, both very different. The first is the appeal of a system that leans heavily towards roleplaying and collaborative storytelling, which is particularly great for games involving character teamwork and investigation. The second is to do with reach and impact. Because we publish with no affiliation to D&D or Pathfinder, PbtA is amongst the next most popular system.
What other TTRPG systems do you enjoy playing?
D&D5e, Monster of the Week, Mouseguard, Quest RPG to name a few.
AI has proved to have a huge impact on the TTRPG community. As succinctly as possible, what is your general opinion on the use of AI for writing/content creation?
I have a very strong negative stance when it comes to AI. I believe it is theft and undercuts professionals trying to make a living in an already competitive industry. Hatchlings spend thousands paying their wonderful artists and some illustrations (sign language material) couldn’t even be replicated by an algorithm!
Are you a part of the LGBTQIA2S+, BIPOC, AAPI, Disabled or any other marginalised community?
If yes, do you reflect this in the content you create? How important do you think it is for folks of all identities to feel recognised within the games they play?
Though I’m not a part of those communities, my wife and daughter are and I spent over 12 years working with the d/Deaf community. I think these factors have had a huge impact on our design philosophy and we continue to be recognised for the accessibility and inclusivity of our games.
What’s the next project people will see from you?
Dragon Dowser is up next. The Kickstarter for this solo journaling game launches towards the end of May.
Of all of the things you’ve created, which one is your personal favourite?
Inspirisles may always be my favourite because it represents so many ‘firsts’ and also pulled me free of a period of low mental health. Eventually I think it’ll be replaced in my favour by Cryptid Creeks, a deeply personal and nostalgic game for me.
Tell us about your process when creating. Do you have any tips or tricks for other creators in the same space as you?
Start with a theme and build around it. Anything that strays from that central concept should probably be cut. And get a cover done! I can’t tell you how important this is. Not only does it give you a constant frame of reference, but it will help with focusing on the design process, which can often feel isolating. Beyond that, beautiful cover art will always help market your project. I think I backed Wanderhome before even reading the Kickstarter!
Shout out a fellow creator! Who in the TTRPG community inspires you? Why do you admire them/their work? Please provide a link to their website/social media.
Scriv the Bard has been a constant inspiration and support since we started 3 years ago. They have so much passion for family-friendly experiences and teaching young people storytelling. Their game Bard RPG will be published in June. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scriv/bard-rpg
Are you playing in any TTRPG campaigns at the moment? Tell us about your favourite character!
I play Bom in Heroes of Iyastera, a firbolg druid with a kind heart.
What’s your favourite book, TV show, or film?
I love the manga Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind, the Hilda series and Stand by Me.
Tell us a fact about yourself that others might struggle to believe.
I used to sail with Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history.
Which subject do you wish you knew more about?
Hmm… probably mathematics so I could design my own game mechanics.
What is your favourite smell?
If you could listen to only one song for the next 7 days, which one would you choose?
Ordinary World by Duran Duran.
If you could give the current chapter of your life a name, what would it be?
What is the worst gift you have ever received?
Liquorice. I absolutely loathe it.
What is the strangest food combination you enjoy?
Cheese and Apple toasted sandwiches.
If time, money and skill were no object, what would your ultimate cosplay/Halloween costume be?
Old man Link from the Zelda games.
Would you rather own a horse the size of a cat or a cat the size of a horse?
The first, as the latter would be far too dangerous.
Where should folks go to find out more about you, and/or check out your content?
You can find out more about our games on our website at www.hatchlingsgames.co.uk and we're @HatchlingDM on most social media platforms.
Disclaimer: The information and answers contained in the interview posted above represents the views and opinions of the interviewee only and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of myself (gothHoblin). The appearance of an interview on this website does not constitute an endorsement of the interviewee or their statements.