Peter Adkison has been in and around the gaming scene since 1978, so suffice to say he knows his stuff when it comes to the world of gaming. If you do not know, Peter is the founder and former CEO of Wizards of the Coast along with the current owner of GenCon. Most of us might be content to rest on our laurels having accomplished so much, but Adkison is always looking for new ways to expand the gaming experience. At GenCon2015 I had the opportunity to talk to Adkison about his next project Chaldea (pronounced kal-dee-a).
GeeklyInc: Chaldea. What can you tell our readers about it?
Adkison: Chaldea is a fantasy world, and that’s what we’re doing: creating a fantasy world and stories within that world. All of it is on worldofchaldea.com and as we post episodes they will be posted there for free. We’re publishing in a mixture of literature, comic and film, but all in a digital format.
G: Will it just be a conglomeration of all three, or will it look more like the Marvel Knights motion comics? How will you be combining all three forms of media?
A: The fiction stuff you would read on a kindle or something like that. The comic you would watch it scroll across a screen with sound effects, voice-overs and music. The end product is pretty pleasing to watch. Film is pretty expensive and we’re a small team, [with a] small budget so every once in a while a few of the episodes will have a film sequence. We used the same actors from the comic [as in the live action sequences] so you’ll see the characters look alike in both.
G: Continuity from comic sequences to film sequences is a great idea, I can’t wait to see how it all works out. You have so many projects under your belt, but what excites you the most about Chaldea?
A: Well, it’s great working on a film series. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a story that’s based on my own D&D campaign, so that’s very gratifying. I love working with actors, as the director I think that’s the most fun part of working in film. I feel like I’m really happy with the [level of] quality we’re hitting. I like fantasy and fantasy worlds. I think we’re telling a great story that people will like.
G: A film series based on your own campaign is the dream pretty much any DM/GM. What systems did you use it in? Do you still run the campaign?
A: I’ve run it under several editions of D&D, also Burning Wheel and Fiasco. I’ve run it under several gaming system. It started back in 1981, and I still run it from time to time. Not as much as I used to. When we were young and in college we played a lot more than we do these days, but yeah, I’ve been running this game on and off since 1981.
G: That has to be one epic campaign setting. As far as Chaldea goes, what exactly are we looking at as far as genre? High Fantasy? Historical?
A: It has a lot of your traditional elves, dwarfs, [and] dragons, that sort of thing. There’s also some pretty high magic. Game of Thrones is a pretty good style comparison, it’s pretty dark with some dark character, but I also have some really good heroes too. I like to create a dark world, so when you have a really good hero, a good person, they shine that [much] more brightly in contrast to the dark world [around them].
G: Can you tell us a little bit about one of the characters in the pilot?
A: We have a guy named Reiswitz who, within the context of Chaldea, he invents wargaming. He is a also the commander of an imperial legion, so he’s kind of a Roman legionnaire style. In this film he goes to the old toy maker to get him to make miniatures as a birthday present for his father.
G: That’s a great take on the history of gaming.
A: It’s an homage to all this stuff we’re seeing here at GenCon. It all ultimately traces back to wargaming. Dungeons & Dragons came out of historical wargaming, so it’s a bit of an homage back to the roots of this hobby we all love. Also Reiswitz is inspired by a real world guy named Reiswitz who was a Prussian aristocrat who had the unique idea of taking soldiers from a square grid board and putting them in a sandbox.
G: It sounds like you’ve definitely created a detailed world. What will the release schedule be for episodes of Chaldea?
A: The pilot episode is finished, and we’ll be showing that at GenCon. We’re going to post that on the website before the end of August, and then we’ll post episodes as we finish them.
The pilot episode is out on worldofchaldea.com. Check it out and tell us what you think!