JP On Gaming

Sunday, September 18, 2016

[Interview] Meet Loren Peterson

After yesterday's big announcement, I thought it would be good for you to get to know him better. So I decided to run an interview for you guys to get to know him!

JP: Who are you?

Loren Peterson (LP) Well for starters my name is Loren and I am a California native with a healthy appetite for beer and science fiction. I am a freelance writer, avid rock climber, amateur game designer, and lover of cats.

JP: Where are you from?

LP For all of my 25 years I have been a SoCal native. I grew up and still live in Orange County.

JP: How did you discover gaming? What drew you to it?

LP I was maybe 9 or 10 and back in 1999 and I was playing super smash brothers with a few friends when one got bored and asked if we would like to play Dungeons and Dragons. The rest of us had never heard of it before and decided it sounded fun so we said sure. He took on the role of dungeon master and explained the game usually has dice and books but he didn't have them with him so we would just tell him what we wanted to do and he would tell us what happened. We ended up killing a gnome and taking his magical blue dagger that shot beams of light and I think we killed a skeleton with it, it was a long time ago. I became obsessed with storytelling and tried to find the books, but when a Wizards of the Coast store employee showed them to me they were far too expensive so I continued to just tell stories as I had, by making everything up with no rules. Eventually, in 2005 while waiting for some friends to get out of a showing of Serenity I picked up the 4th edition core book for Shadowrun in a Barnes and Noble and fell in love with the cyberpunk aesthetic and grabbed as many friends as I could into a game. From there it sort of took off as we jumped from system to system almost always with me as the DM and for the last decade we have had more adventures than I can count.

JP: There are table top RPGs, MMO Rpgs, Video RPGs, LARPS, CCGs, board games and war games. Which of these vices to you indulge in regularly?

LP I have been a video gamer for as long as I can remember, playing Donkey Kong Country with my grandmother at an early age and it still remains one of my favorite games. In the past, I dabbled in wargaming and trading card games but I could never keep up with them financially. Today I still play video games but I am a much more avid Tabletop gamer, I enjoy telling stories and crafting worlds, often time I am participating in one to two games weekly.

JP: Writing/ GMing/ Organizing, which one do you prefer?

LP Writing is by far my favorite part and world building in particular. I love being able to build something from the ground up and breathing life into it, populating entire worlds with characters and tiny details. My current obsession is my two campaign settings I am working on called “The Floating Isles of Karkaton” , a sort of post-apocalyptic magitech world filled with airships and political intrigue and a game I am tentatively calling “Throwdown” , set in a dystopian cyberpunk Hong Kong blending hip hop with martial arts schools.

JP: What other products have you written for?

LP Mostly I have written Pathfinder products for 3rd party publishers. I have done a lot of personal conversions and work commissioned by friends.

JP: What is your favorite game system?

LP This question is always tough for me to answer because the system I had the most fun with was 4th edition, but looking back on it I hated the system itself past 12th level. You could call it nostalgia or rose colored glasses but I really did have a blast running and playing 4th edition. Conceptually speaking I really love Legends of the Wulin and feel that no other RPG has quite captured martial arts action films like that game does.

JP: What is your favorite game supplement?

LP My favorite game supplement is the Dark Sun campaign setting. I was told about it by a friend who remembered it, not very fondly I might add, from his AD&D days and I remember thinking how weird a desert planet with no gods would be to play in. When Wizards re-released it as a supplement for 4th edition I snatched it up right away and poured over it. All that was in that book; art, the rules, stories, all of it inspired so much in me that it quickly became my favorite campaign setting.

JP: If you had a perfect RPG, what would be its most unique features?

LP A perfect RPG, for myself, would be a space opera or science fiction RPG that is neither rules light nor bogged down with clunky mechanics, with nonlinear character progression and great cinematic space combat rules. I have yet to find something that does space opera this well, although Edge of The Empire comes pretty close.

JP: If you ran a perfect RPG adventure or campaign, what would players remember a decade later?

LP Well, a decade after our first D&D game my players still remember the grand battle they had with a Kraken and several Kua-Toa worshippers of Dagon on a 3d model of a ship I built from plywood, that was the culmination of our 4th edition campaign and while it wasn't perfect I think it’s the closest I will get. We sat around the table for hours as tentacles thrashed and moved players around what looked like a 3d chess board, we still tell the tale of the Dragonborn warlord who valiantly fought the kraken with nothing but tooth and claw.

JP: What got you started doing freelance work?

LP Well I was 21 and jobless going to college and studying literature and gaming pretty actively and thought to myself maybe there's a solution to this predicament. At the time a lot of the stuff I was implementing in my home games was coming out in Pathfinder products two or three months later so I figured I was on the right course and started with the RPG superstar contest. That didn’t go so well. I kept at it and eventually saw that LPJ Design was looking for freelancers so I shot him a resume and some writing samples and a week later he gave me a project. The rest is history.

JP: You have done some freelancing before, what product(s) did you work on that people might know you for?

LP People might know me for my work on LPJ Design’s undeFEATable Alchemist or the Claw of Xon from treasure of NeoExodus, but those who are familiar with the NeoExodus campaign setting would recognize me as the designer of the Crown Council (JP: This last book remains unpublished).

JP: How would you describe your writing style?

LP My style is straightforward, although another way of putting that might be lacking nuance. When I write it's usually for practical reasons like outlining an adventure or filling in stat blocks and abilities so I tend to focus on getting information across concisely. When I do delve into fictional stories I rarely write out of the first person and like to load them up with vibrant details, I have been told I focus a lot on the sense of smell.

JP: When writing something, where do you start?

LP When I go about writing or creating I think about the kind of story or stories I want to tell, is it going to be pulp adventure, cyberpunk espionage, or good ol’ swords and horses fantasy? From there I create a mental image, a sort of visual theme and begin collecting images on Pinterest that match it. Once I have my concept board I may throw some music on a playlist to get my in the right headspace and then I start using those images and sounds to help me put ideas on paper. From there I form them into bullet points and begin to assign mechanics like classes and encounters until an adventure outline or campaign setting takes shape.

JP: Why FOE?

LP Well to be honest, I had been away from the writing game and from the 3rd party community for a while and when I saw that FOE was looking for someone I figured it would be a good opportunity to get back into the industry.

JP: What do you want to do with FOE?

LP I plan on doing a bit of everything here at FOE. My biggest focus right now is on increasing our social media presence, answering questions from the fans, and helping to really bring our products to life for them.

JP: What would be the first project you want to drive forward?

LP While I am not sure what projects FOE has in the pipeline I am most interested in delving into the world of Saggakar and really fleshing it out, bringing the whole thing to life.

JP: What will you do for FOE?

LP My overall goal is to do for FOE the best I can, bring my skillset and experience to the table and really help FOE develop its product line.

JP: What do you like best about Saggakar?

LP The concept of slavery and ownership that is prevalent throughout the Saggakar is a new niche I haven't seen before as one of the major focuses in a campaign setting and I found that to be really cool. Every campaign setting has its schticks and the “you are never truly free” angle is usually reserved for more science fiction/contemporary settings so it has been cool to see it implemented in a fantasy setting and reminds me a lot of some of the themes in Dark Sun

JP: What needs to be improved about Saggakar?

LP Saggakar is well on its way and right now I believe the setting still needs a boost but such is to be expected at this stage. Golarion, Eberron, Greyhawk, etc. these were all built up over years by dozens in not hundreds of people, in time Saggakar will get there.

JP: What is your favorite race in Saggakar?

LP HALFLINGS! Hajit if we are getting specific. I really like their origin and how different it is from every other setting, it’s just fresh.

JP: What race needs some love/attention?

LP I personally would like to see the role of the Ptahn and their history fleshed out more. They intrigued me a lot in the NeoExodus setting as a very unique and different race so it would be interesting to see how much they differ in Saggakar.

JP: Do you have any experience with Organized Play before?

LP From time to time and con to con I have played in organized games for 4th edition, pathfinder, and 5th edition but never for any lengthy or extended periods of time. It was hard to find a consistent group that I meshed well with at the table.

JP: What can we expect you to do on the Legacies front?

LP You can expect me to be fun and engaging (Plenty of gestures and funny voices) as well as dedicated. I have a firm grasp on rules and ultimately strive to create an environment that is not only fair but fun for all involved.

JP: Do you have any planned appearances at any local conventions?

LP Not currently but the future will likely change that and hopefully I will be Attending PAX or Gen Con next year.

JP: Where can we contact you?

LP You can reach me at with any questions, comments, or concerns. I also plan on starting up threads on the Pathfinder and enworld forums in the near future in case you have larger topics that need addressing publicly and of course feel free to e-mail me anytime if you see something deserving of my attention or input. You can also get in contact with me on my rarely updated blog Taverns and Tankards where I talk about alcohol, festivals, and taverns in fantasy fiction.

JP: Any last words of wisdom?

LP It’s all a game, so make sure you have fun with it, roll some dice, play some characters, laugh, love, and be merry, and power attack that orc as hard you can.

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