The first in a series of brief interviews with the team, Community Relations Coordinator LaTia Jacquise talks with Designer Sean K. Reynolds about his history with Monte Cook Games, his favorite titles (hint: all of them), and his curious morning habit.
(This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)
LaTia Jacquise: Hello, everyone out there on the internet! My name is LaTia Jacquise and I am the Community Relations Coordinator for Monte Cook Games, and I am here with just a short little interview/informational thing with one of our designers: the wonderful Mr. Sean Reynolds! Hi, Sean.
Sean Reynolds: Hello.
LJ: How are you today?
SR: I’m great; how are you?
LJ: Good! So, we’re just doing this super informal interview sort of thing to celebrate, as some of you may know, and as Sean is very helpfully drinking from our tenth anniversary mug, Monte Cook Games turns ten this year! So yeah! Ten! All ten fingers, all ten toes. We just kind of wanted to, I don’t know, have everybody get to know everybody on the team and what makes them tick, and what it’s like being a part of Monte Cook Games as we roll into ten years of wonderfulness and go for ten more and ten more and ten more.
So Sean, why don’t you let me stop talking and tell everybody how you came to be a part of this awesome team.
SR: Well, I’ve known Monte since 1995. We worked together at TSR and Wizards, and in the context of MCG, when they were writing Numenera and I was working for a different company, Monte said, “I would like you to develop the rules of this Numenera game, because I know that you’ve got a really good head for game rules,” and so he gave me the Numenera rules, did a development pass on it, and fast forward about three or four years, and I found myself no longer employed and looking for other work, and they had a position open, which happened to be the community manager position which you’re very familiar with, and they hired me to do that, and I did that for about a year and a half, did a brief stint as project manager, and then just got pulled back into design and development, like I always do.
LJ: So how long… yeah, kind of basically, you’ve been at least a part of the company in some way, shape, or form since its inception, more or less?
SR: Since before it was even a thing, I think when they did Numenera, there was just still just Monte and Shanna. Everybody else was kind of on a contract basis.
LJ: So, you’ve kind of had your hand in a lot of different positions in the company over the course of these ten years. What do you like doing most? I know you’re a designer now, is that what you like doing, is that where your heart is?
SR: It’s where my normal inclinations for kind of puttering with things lie, so I’ll watch a movie or TV show and it’s like, “Oh how would I represent that in a game,” “How would I build that sort of character in a game.” When I was a community manager, I enjoyed that a lot because I liked interacting with people, and I like doing things with Photoshop and memes and putting together videos and stuff, so I do miss aspects of that, but my normal inclination is to be looking at text for RPGs.
LB: And you still get to do that a lot, like I mean, now that I have the reins on the social accounts, I will still retweet the funny things that you do, like the series of pictures that you did for Planebreaker, for example, and all the funny little meme things you did, so at least you still get to dabble in that a little bit, right?
SR: Yeah, I think I get to be a little weirder on my own accounts than I would on the MCG accounts, that’s nice.
LB: For sure, for sure. Of the various properties that we have done over the last ten years, which one has been your favorite to work on?
SR: Well, I mean so many different things are powered by the Cypher System, so that’s kind of a broad category. I’ve worked on a lot of Numenera stuff and some of those are really fun projects, but I also got to write Stay Alive! and Claim the Sky for regular Cypher System, which can be used for any settings. So those are nice. But I also worked on Invisible Sun Prop Set 2, which was actually the first time I got to do some actual “I am producing something” for the official Invisible Sun line, so that was pretty awesome. It’s like trying to pick your favorite child; which of them is your favorite? I can’t really say in front of any of them because the other ones will feel bad.
LB: That makes sense. There’s… in my time being here, and the various games and different forms of the Cypher System that I’ve gotten to play, there’s so much about literally everything that I can’t really… like if someone asked me, I probably wouldn’t be able to pick a favorite either.
So, let’s move away from… let’s just talk about you. I wanna know, Sean, how did you… tell me about your crows.
SR: [laughs] So, I am very much an extrovert and my fiance is an introvert and she enjoys having quiet time around the house, so I made it a point in late summer/early fall last year to start going on walks in the morning so she would have the house to herself for a while. And that is when I noticed that [on] my walks to and from my coffee shop, there were a lot of crows in the neighborhood. So I read up a bit on how to feed crows, and I started carrying peanuts in my pockets, and now I order a 50 lb. box of peanuts about once a month, and I feed a bunch of crows as I walk to and from all my various journeys and errands in the morning. I am actually known as “The Crow Guy” to some people who have seen me walking around and doing this, and every now and then I will confuse a random passerby when I just happen to spill a bunch of peanuts out of my pocket, and they’re like “Why on earth do you have 15 peanuts in your pocket?” Well, I’m a Crow Guy. Having the crow hoodie on does help people understand.
LB: Nice. I think that’s the coolest thing. I wish I had crows near my house that I could feed and befriend. I think that’s one of the coolest things about you, to be honest.
LB: So what are you looking forward to as Monte Cook Games moves into its second decade of life?
SR: Well, we have more fun Numenera stuff coming up, and more fun Cypher and 5e coming up; Bruce and I just wrapped up design on the first Path of the Planebreaker book, and last week during our summit, we talked about what our mid-year Kickstarter’s gonna be, and I’m not gonna spill the beans because they will, you know, throw angry glances at me, but fans of our games will be very excited to hear about the weird stuff that we are planning. I like to be able to fiddle with different kinds of game mechanics and on various projects so we always have something cool and weird on the horizon; that’s something I’m… As a person who has worked as a freelancer before, I train myself to think there’s the Current Project, there’s the Next Project that I’m excited about, and then the Next Next Project that is just a glimmer on the horizon, but like “ooh, when that one gets up that’ll be really really fun,” so it’s mitigating and managing my excitement for the current thing and the upcoming thing.
LB: Yeah, and then looking forward to what’s on the horizon. That is awesome, and because I work with you and know what’s coming next, I can also say that fans of MCG and people who don’t even know who we are will be excited for what we’ve got coming up down the pipeline.
Thank you, Sean, for taking a little bit of time to talk with me about everything and nothing! I think that’s it!
SR: I want the listeners and viewers to know that actually LaTia and I have a meeting like this just about every day and she always asks me the same questions, so why she decided to record this one, I don’t know; but it works!
LB: It’s just crazy, random happenstance. I just decided that this one was the one that… I felt that today the answers would be just slightly different, and I wanted to reflect that on video.
SR: That is a normal quality of February 17th, yes.
LB: Yes. Thank you all so much for watching and tune in next month to see who else I will be asking very pointed questions at. Have a good day!