I love small companies that are making great products to make our D&D games better. Nord Games is one such company and they currently have a Kickstarter going that will give you more village and settlement options for your game.
But before you plop down your hard earned money on the Kickstarter, I knew you’d want to learn more about Nord and the quality of their products.
So I captured Chris with a charm spell and brought him back to Nerds on Earth HQ. He was questioned thoroughly, then released (mostly) unharmed.
An interview with Chris Haskins of Nord Games.
Clave: Chris, what got you into gaming and how did that lead you to a career in developing RPG products?
Chris: I was introduced to D&D by my Uncle, an old school grognard who had been a dungeon master since 1st edition. I was hooked after one game, then immediately started running games.
My brother and I decided on a whim to try our hand at making games. Let’s just say that there were many mistakes made and a lot of dead ends we pursued, but in late 2015 / early 2016 we finally struck gold and our business took off.
Clave: Let’s talk more about that business, Nord Games. It’s you and your brother, yes? So it’s a “family business.” Tell us about the joys (and maybe not joys) of that experience.
Chris: My brother and I started the company, but we employ around 10 people including writers, artists, graphic designers, game designers, etc. We all tend to wear many hats, but at our core we are avid gamers.
Every day of work has it’s joys and challenges, but the challenges never outweigh the joys. Even today we were dealing with fulfillment issues. Yes it’s a pain in the neck mostly because our customers aren’t getting their orders in a timely manner. But we got it sorted out and we’re on to the next challenge.
Clave: Give us your elevator pitch for Nord. What are your company values and how are those values displayed in the products you create?
Chris: Nord Games is a collection of passionate gamers making content for other gamers.
Clave: I like that!
Chris: Yeah, we’re committed to producing quality content to enhance the gaming experience. We’re also committed to supporting the friendly local game store by selling direct and taking in feedback. This attention to our customers’ needs helps to shift our development direction to the most popular and profitable products for the benefit of all parties in the gaming industry.
Clave: Describe your process for creating those products. You obviously want to bring value to the table, making it easier and more enjoyable for folks to play D&D together. But where do the ideas come from and what kind of products do you want Nord to be known for?
Chris: All of our products are created out of our personal desire to have them. It might sound selfish, but we start by thinking of what we want to see on our table. We determine the fun factor, value, marketability, and profitability of each of our projects before any R&D takes place.
Once we determine that a product could be fun, valuable for the end user, marketable, and profitable, we begin the process of developing the prototype further and putting it in “The Pipeline” as we call it. Each product goes through a similar process when it comes to development, playtesting, artwork, revisions, etc.
Once we have a mostly finished product we typically go through Kickstarter to fund the first production run. Kickstarter acts as both a funding and publicity tool and it’s worked out very well for the past few years.
Clave: You currently have a KS going, which coincidentally is right up my alley and highlights what I feel is one of the most underapprecatied aspects of roleplaying games. Tell us a little about it, if you would.
Chris: Spectacular Settlements is a tool designed for game masters who want to create incredibly detailed settlements for their fantasy themed RPGs. The book contains chapters for 8 different settlements types which vary in size and purpose.
Each chapter includes a settlement builder for that settlement type as well as pregenerated settlements which can be dropped into any adventure with ease.
There is also a chapter detailing points of interest such as shops and service establishments. Lastly the book has a chapter of over 100 interesting NPCs which are designed to populate your settlements and make them feel more alive.
It’s a great tool for any game master and not only saves time, but also is a wonderful inspiration.
Clave: That’s cool. I love D&D villages and stuff like that. I’m backing, for sure, and I bet many of our readers will as well! OK, one last question. I understand you’re crazy busy with D&D but what else are you nerding out on?
Chris: Oh, I’m onto Lord Of The Rings and Tolkien lore in general, Star Wars, Marvel comic and movies, video games like the Fallout series and the Elder Scrolls series. I love epic adventures and tales of heroes overcoming great challenges. I think it gives so many people inspiration and something to strive for. Maybe a better version of ourselves?
Clave: Chris, thanks so much. I’m going to let you go so you can get out there and make more cool RPG products.
Nerds everywhere, here is the Spectacular Settlements Kickstarter. Just a few days remain, so hurry! It funded in 3 hours, so we’re in sweet stretch goal territory!