Yohann: Hi Fabian, last year, you organized a smaller version of THE KRAKEN which served as a Gaming Retreat between two Gaming Vacations. I was lucky enough to attend and I really had the time of my life, game-wise. What about the organizers? After all these months that have passed by, what are your fondest memories of THE KRAKEN 2015?
Fabian: Oh boy, that is really hard to decide (Laughs). Maybe it was listening to Sandy telling funny stories of the heyday of Chaosium. Or his second Forgotten Secrets of Glorantha panel with his discovery of the Chaos Mostali and their uranium weapons that give their foes maximum damage AND cancer (watch out for a future Chapbook)? Or wait, it was learning about the Godlearner Secret only to find out later through Greg Stafford that my source remembered it incorrectly. But we also had tons of fun playing Axis & Allies again and hanging out with Ken Rolston and Chris Klug. Another highpoint was visiting the Panzer Museum in Munster with Sandy as a guide after THE KRAKEN. Tricky question, Yohann, there was so much going on. We always strive to make the next KRAKEN the best one. But I am really happy you enjoyed yourself as well. What did you think about the atmosphere: the fireplaces, the lighting and the cozy table and seating arrangements?
Yohann: Truth be told, I loved it. I’m used to large conventions with a blander gaming environment. So when I arrived at The Schloss, where everything was so quiet, tidy and warm, I really felt intimidated. I didn’t want to break or stain anything. Next question Fabi. This year, you’ve decided not to come back to the regular one-week-long summer gaming holiday but to organize another three-day-long gaming retreat in October. Why?
Fabian: I am glad that you were not in the break-stuff-at-conventions-business that time (Laughs). The decision to host another Gaming Retreat instead of a Gaming Vacation in summer this year is mainly because of the birth of my daughter and my restricted time because of that. But we also found out that the date in October, a week before SPIEL in Essen, is really a plus because many people and Guests of Honor will combine coming to THE KRAKEN and then going to Essen SPIEL. So the timing is really fortunate. Also the date marks the end of the wedding season at The Schloss and they really want THE KRAKEN to be their end-of-season celebration. This year we give our Krakeneers the option to book an extra day (and help the team behind the scenes) – we will see how much the retreat will eventually morph into a vacation (Laughs).
Yohann: One constant feature at THE KRAKEN is the presence of Sandy Petersen. Could you give us some hints on who might some of the other Guests of Honor be, just to try and make me regret not being able to attend this year?
Fabian: (Laughs) Well, Sandy had to pull out at one point because of a critical project for Petersen Games this fall but thanks to a change in timing he could reverse his decision and still attend this year (never underestimate the power of THE KRAKEN). Sandy really loves us. And we are truly and deeply happy about that. The other guests are just Robin D. Laws, Jeff Richard, Michael O’Brien, Jason Durall and Ian Brumby from Fenris Games (Laughs). But this is just the official roster. With the addition of Rick Meints and Neil Robinson we basically have the whole Chaosium management present and with Phillipe Auribeau and Grégory Privat we have some pretty well known figures of the French gaming scene. There will also be some exciting German game designer present. Chris Klug couldn’t make it back just yet and Ken Rolston will be back next year — he was confused that we had changed the biannual schedule and was already booked for this year. But we also have many creative people in attendance who are working on unofficial or private game projects and are there to show of their prototypes. That is really exciting. Just have a look at our website (www.the-kraken.de). But hey, we will really miss you there, Yohann.
Yohann: Thanks Fabi, and believe me, I’ll really miss The KRAKEN too. But with the recent birth of my daughter (yeah, looks like there’s a pattern here) and some professional commitments, this October is really impossible unfortunately. And trust me when I say that I would have loved to come. I had such a great time last year! But, oh! Well, I’ve had the chance to read this year’s KRAKEN’s Fundraiser Chapbook, and as usual I’m quite impressed. So could you remind the readers what a KRAKEN’s Fundraiser Chapbook is, why the KRAKEN organizes a fundraiser each year, and most importantly, what this year’s Chapbook is about?
Fabian: With delight, our Chapbooks are up to 40 pages and feature a single theme by one author. We want the quality of the content to be superb, so we hire (or convince) industry top shots like Robin D. Laws and Sandy Petersen to write them for us. The physical Chapbooks are nice ‘homemade’ books with a clear and beautiful layout and a very limited print-run. They are true collectors’ items. Rick Meints, the CEO of Chaosium, a huge collector, already announced he is coming to collect his due in form of our Chapbooks (Laughs). They are available as PDF’s (http://www.chaosium.com/licenses-heroquest/) as well, of course. You see, we really need some additional funds to finance THE KRAKEN so these Chapbooks are a wonderful tool to achieve that. They are much easier to produce than our Ybots (Ye Booke of Tentacles) – the fundraiser magazines of our Tentacles Convention. It is so much easier (and more pleasurable) to do a single topic publication instead of a magazine. This year we have the immense pleasure to publish not one but six (6!) Griselda short stories by the great and beloved Oliver Dickinson. They will all be separate Chapbooks but each will be cheaper than usual since the stories have different lengths. Do you like Griselda? How would you describe the stories?
Yohann: I’m a huge fan of Griselda. Her stories give a radically different take on this world from what is usually known through RuneQuest and HeroQuest Glorantha. With Griselda, we’re not reading about a “zero-to-hero” saving the world and the day, but about a cunning woman and her gang of unreliable friends in Pavis who all live fun adventures under the Lunar occupation. All the short stories contain a lot of humor and are a real blast to read. Alright, another question now. 2016 is Glorantha’s 50th anniversary, and I’m sure you’ve thought about some ways to celebrate it. Could you give us some hints on what’s in the pipeline?
Fabian: Jesus, let me just make a quick list. (Laughs) We will have a Skype event with Greg Stafford (note from Yohann: Fabi, should I tell you again how frustrated I am not being able to attend this year?), we will run the Glorantha FreeForm White Bear and Red Moon: The Hero Wars Begin, the new RuneQuest will be introduced, we will have the full prototype of Glorantha: The Gods War with a lot if not all the miniatures, we will demo the Glorantha card game Khan of Khans, we will play with the new Trollball miniature game and the new Dragon Pass board game, there will be a Chaosium BBQ, we will have news about the Glorantha Skirmish game, Robin D. Laws will host his Sharper Adventures in HeroQuest Glorantha workshop and he will run an exclusive HeroQuest Glorantha game (which will become one of our next Chapbooks) as well as a Glorantha Hillfolk game (!)(note from Yohann: Fabi, you’ve decided to have me die of envy or what?). Gianni Vacca will introduce his Glorantha card game Glorantha Realms and we will hear about 13th Age in Glorantha, the computer game 6 Ages and RQ2. Looks like you even got some unannounced scoop here. (Laughs) I have to admit that making you regret not to come is a huge source of inspiration. (Laughs) Oh, wait another thing: We will have (fingers crossed) a truly KRAKEN exclusive Glorantha fundraiser item (!) that I worked on with Greg Stafford. It is something with truly historic dimension that goes way back to the discovery of Glorantha. It is something that I convinced Greg to finally do (I heard about it from him years ago) and we got permission by Chaosium and are doing it now. I am afraid I can’t say more right now.
But you who are reading this interview can also help to celebrate the birthday of Glorantha with THE KRAKEN initiative #DuckArmy. We are mustering a Duck Army and sending it to Greg Stafford to thank him for giving us Glorantha. You can check it out here (http://www.the-kraken.de/duck_army.html). It is a nice way to give Greg Stafford some love and it involves sending him one of the most hilarious Glorantha creations – Ducks (or Durulz) – as a pre-drawn illustrations (by some of the best Glorantha artists). You can use the empty speech bubble next to the Duck to write your thanks or something hilarious.
Yohann: I agree, the #DuckArmy initiative is a very pleasant one, and I took some real pleasure sending a picture of a duck to a man I’ve never met but who’s made me dream so much with Pendragon and Glorantha. So, thanks a lot for this interview Fabian. It looks like this year’s KRAKEN will be an event not to miss (*sigh*) so I’m counting on you to take A LOT of pictures, save some Chapbooks for me, and most importantly to have an awful load of fun.
Fabian: Will do. But who will bring us our bottle of Kraken Rum this year? (Laughs). Thanks for the interview, Yohann.
This year, THE KRAKEN will take place on October 7-10, 2016.
More info here: http://www.the-kraken.de/