My very first interview.

After hearing, or reading that is, about his monster project “Lava and a cup of java” for weeks I finally got to talk to Ben from Ben’s RPG Pile last week about his dungeon delve. I’m not all that great at this whole interview thing but Ben was such an enthusiastic and energetic guy he almost made me feel like I was doing a good job.

I actually wrote about 3/4ths of this post about a week back and ended up deleting (or saving over it) by accident. I was already having a bad day and somewhat pressed for time so I scrapped the whole idea and had to put it on the shelf. Now I have a bit more free time and I really want to show off Ben’s group effort into the world of published delves.

Ben was kind enough to send me a recap of our conversation, proving that he is much better at interviews than I. So many of the answers to my questions will come directly from Ben’s post conversation notes. With out them I fear I would have grossly miss-quoted him on many occasions.

For anyone who has not see the “Lava and a Cup of Java” module Ben’s PRG pile has a nice post all about it. It was not only a printed delve but a huge 3d dungeon created by the team over at Ben’s RPG Pile. The end result is really impressive. While you can’t really get a hold of the dungeon its self you can download the module and run it at home. They have also recorded a developers video blog which you can find here.

I really envy Ben, who is employed at an advertising firm. He enjoys working with a whole team of creative minds. They actually get to go over their design ideas while they carpool to work. I just get to listen to D&D pod-casts as I drive my solitary ass to work every day. He is also part owner of a gaming store which is a dream for many of us gamers, my self included. If I ever get through medical school I know where I’m going to invest my doctor money (don’t tell my girlfriend Stephanie, she wants a house in the south of France).

With no further ado here is my brief interview with Ben:

ThadeousC: Who is the Ben’s Rpg pile team?

Ben: Well there is me; Ben I contribute a large chunk of the written content. Rob, he does the work on the video prod-cast. Gabe does all of the website design and layout. And Jason is a designer extraordinaire.

ThadeousC:Why did you decided to begin such a huge project?

Ben:  We really looked at this Comicon module as an exciting challenge for us to put our own home-brew spin on dungeon delves. This invaluable experience also gave us an added appreciation for what the crew at Wizards of the Coast does for its fans. We wanted to live every step of that process first-hand.

ThadeousC: What kind of time/effort went into the creation of LCJ?

Ben: There were a lot of blood, sweat and tears during this five-month-long project. It took a lot of car ride convos, lunch hours, extra late nights and jam packed weekends to get everything done in time for the Con. The mounting pressure turned out to be quite the adrenaline rush.

ThadeousC: I noticed that you never charge for any of the game aids your create including LCJ, whats up with that?

Ben: We’re currently not too focused on any money specific initiatives. We’re kinda worried that business stuff would sour everything. Meeting fellow gamers, trying new things, and exchanging cool ideas is worth plenty. Plus, the ol’ Confucius line kinda says it all, “If you enjoy what you do, you will never work another day in your life.” The dollars stuff always seems to eventually work itself out if you build great content and products.

ThadeousC: Did you do much play testing of the module?

Ben:  Yes we actually tested it every Friday for 8 weeks. We had to get it to run in exactly 1 hour. We spent a lot of time narrowing it all down.We made it mug larger than it needed to be and had to cut it down room by room.

ThadeousC: How was the actual con experience?

Ben: Well about 14,000 people showed up to the comicon, there were the usual work shops which were amazing, but the booths were kind of a second thought. It’s not like Gen con or Pax where the demo floor gets all the attention. We were actually the only Dungeons and Dragons game running that weekend. We were really popular because of it, we ran 8 games a day on both Friday and Saturday and took Sunday off to enjoy our selves. We had people come up and ask to be put on a waiting list in case groups didn’t show up; at one point the waiting list was 6 pages deep.

ThadeousC: What’s next for your team? Do you have plans for another delve/module like LCJ?

Ben: It seems like a given that we’ll soon begin working on next year’s Comicon Event. Now that we’ve conquered a mountain-side dungeon, we’re rather intrigued with doing a city-style timed event.

With the Con over, we’ll get a little break over the summer to go back and do some more weekly product blog entries (with our usual twist). We also love our monthly iTunes video podcast and are looking for new ways to make that sing even more. Also, we have a fun Mage Night Miniature series video coming up on our YouTube channel and just started development on a whimsical daily iPhone app.

Thanks a lot to Ben and his whole team for putting out such an outstanding free product. I am always impressed with the level of creativeness over at Ben’s RPG Pile. If you have not checked them out yet you really should click right here and start digging through their archives. You can also catch their weekly game play podcast here or on Itunes. I’m hoping to get Ben and his whole crew to be guests on the 3 Geeks 4th Edition podcast when we get it off the ground so be watching for that.


Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.


About Thadeousc

Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.

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