Author Topic: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!  (Read 1142 times)

Offline Gav Thorpe

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Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« on: May 05, 2017, 04:24:35 PM »
Hi Everyone,

For those who don't know me I was ‘lead designer’ for Inquisitor, which meant that I was involved in nearly everything from the early game concept, through designing the rules and background, to planning the miniatures range, the art plan and producing the rulebook.  You can read more about my involvement over on my website: https://gavthorpe.co.uk/games/inquisitor/

I'm happy to answer any questions you may have about the game, and I'll answer as best as my memory will allow!  I'll also combine the Q&As into a resource/blog post for my website if everyone is happy with that (if not, just let me know on your post and I'll leave your question out).  As for timescales, I'll answer the questions as soon as I can, although depending on deadlines it could take several weeks.  Feel free to nudge me on Facebook or Twitter if I'm taking too long  :)

Cheers,

Gav
Gav Thorpe
Writer, Games Designer, Daddy
www.gavthorpe.co.uk
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Offline realitybytes16

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2017, 08:23:57 PM »
Well this is surprising - welcome to the 'Clave, and thanks for creating Inquisitor!

I don't expect you'll be able to answer this with 100% transparency (unless of course the answer is simply 'no') but can you give us any insight as to whether GW plan to ressurect Inquisitor at some point like they did WQ and Necromunda (in Shadow War)?

I don't think any of us here consider it more than a pipe dream at this point, and I think we all suspect that if they did it would probably be 28mm rather than 54mm, but since we have the designer himself here I thought why not hazard the question? :D

Also, do we have any chance of seeing your own warbands on here at some stage? Because that would be fun :).

Offline Cortez

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2017, 09:32:12 PM »
I'd just like to say thank you for creating my favourite of all the GW games.

If you could turn back the clocks; is there anything about Inquisitor that you would have have done differently?


Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2017, 10:52:05 PM »
For those who don't know me
Around here, that seems... unlikely.

~~~~~

This is hard to phrase as a question (and we partially covered this when we talked at Salute) but I'll just put it out there and you might be able to find some way to respond to it.

Two of the rules that detractors of the game describe as "bad" or "unnecessarily complicated" are the randomness of the action mechanic and the level of detail in the injury system. Personally though, I find both to be some of the best mechanics in the game.

To me, the action mechanic is broadly similar to what you get in many RPGs. Most RPGs tend to slice things up so a turn is how long it takes a character to do about two "things" - two moves, a move and an attack, that kind of thing. It means characters can't do too much before anyone can respond. And Inquisitor's action mechanic does much the same - an average Speed 4 character will do about two actions per turn.

However, the problem with a completely predictable two actions per turn mechanic is that it means that a player knows a character can make it across the street before the sniper gets to shoot again, or he knows he definitely can't draw his pistol and shoot the two men in front of him before they react. That leads players and characters to act unlike people would in real life. The randomness Inquisitor adds in its action mechanic means that players can't make those unrealistic predictions about how much their characters can do with their turns. Sometimes they will be punished for making assumptions, sometimes they will be rewarded for taking risks. To me, that's far more interesting.

I also assume that part of the reason this choice was made was because of the Player-vs-Player (or PvP) nature of the game. Unlike the Player-vs-Environment (or PvE for short) of a traditional roleplaying game, where a team of players takes on a GM antagonist, the system is not about "beating the game"

That same PvP approach presumably drove the injury mechanics. In a PvE RPG, you want the players to be able to weather a few hits in a fight and don't want to be doing a load of bookkeeping for each individual goblin - hence, a basic hit point mechanic is generally the go-to choice (with few, if any, penalties before the character runs out of HP and passes out).

In PvP play though, the players want to feel like their hits are doing something. In something like Warhammer 40,000, this feedback comes from killing off squad members, reducing the enemy's fighting capacity, even if the unit as a whole is still active. But with players generally having four or fewer characters in an Inquisitor game, eliminating characters wholesale is clearly not fun or fair for the opposing player.

For me, the level of detail in the injury mechanics - allowing characters to be penalised but not out - seems to be key to making Inquisitor viable as a game, and (presumably) deliberate.

Sorry about phrasing that as a wall of my assumptions about what you were thinking, but I spent ages trying to phrase it as a question and just had to give up.
I'd be interested to hear if that reasoning is broadly correct and (if you can remember) what process lead you to making those choices - were they just obvious choices, or did these mechanics only show up through playtesting and refinement?

~~~~~

This is possibly one you can't answer for tactful reasons, but was there any area in which you felt your creative control of the game was overridden? Aspects that someone else (be it another member of the studio, a GW executive, etc) insisted were included?

~~~~~

What are your thoughts on how the game's grown out of what was originally envisioned, especially after the decline of Fanatic and the Specialist Games? (Although that's not a question I thought of, that's something the TheNephew suggested).
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 09:49:51 AM by MarcoSkoll »
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Offline Lord Borak

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2017, 09:19:17 AM »
I had seen you join but figured it must just be some internet random. How wrong was I? Or are you an impostor?........ I'm not sure. Can we trust you? ((TRUST NO ONE!)).

The one burning question that is my mind. After all these years after GW canning Inquisitor and this place dying down to just the die-hards we have left here. Why make a return now? Is something going on? Or have you just opened your Inquisitor models case and become reminiscent?

Lastly........ I don't suppose you have some spare models lying around? I need to complete my collection!! :D

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2017, 10:32:44 AM »
Or are you an impostor?........ I'm not sure. Can we trust you? ((TRUST NO ONE!)).
It's either Gav Thorpe or a very well researched Callidus Assassin; We had a fairly in-depth talk about Inquisitor at Salute, where he mentioned he'd be coming on at some point.

Quote
Or have you just opened your Inquisitor models case and become reminiscent?
That'd be an interesting question - How often do you still play?
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

GW's =I= articles

Offline mcjomar

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2017, 08:53:40 AM »
Wow, this is pretty cool and impressive.
Massive thanks for your work on Inquisitor in the first place, and for taking the time to join these boards  :).

I think some of the questions I might have had have already been covered (though I would also posit Cortez's question in regards if you were involved in a hypothetical new edition also).

I would also end up wrapping in the details from Marco's question in regards a more basic "Is there anything from modern RPG/wargaming sensibilities that you would bring in to add to/replace existing Inquisitor mechanics, and if so what, and why?".  Possibly by extending it with "if you were to alter the game, would you try to swing the needle more towards the RPG end of the spectrum, to ensure it remains different from things like Kill Team 4th edition, Necromunda/SW:A, etc?".

And slightly separately, related to the ready reckoner, in a hypothetical new edition, would you try to add in a better/different balancing system rather than the inherent "gentleman's agreement" that has been built up in this and probably other Inquisitor communities regarding relative warband sizes/skill levels/balance etc?

I will note that Marco's comments regarding the injury mechanic added to my mentality that it is in some way related to the Battletech hit charts (albeit with battletech adding in left torso and right torso, but not abdomen and groin)
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Offline TheNephew

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2017, 06:05:26 PM »
To expand on the question Marco asked for me, it seemed like the very initial intention was for ][ to be a semi-pick-up game, where you might build you characters with just a handful of linked scenarios in mind, rather than the ten-year exploits of Black Leaf the D&D thief going from first to fiftieth level.

The White Dwarf issues in which you were running the short campaign (among the few physical copies I still own, of the hundreds I accumulated over the years) was a solid blueprint for a simple-yet-characterful advancement system that fitted well with the apparent philosophy of the game.

Was that an organic evolution from playing a narrative game, or was it always the intent to have it be character campaign based, but just difficult to codify an 'experience' system for a raw story-driven game?


Completely unrelated - obviously the whole aesthetic of the world was very Blanche-y, but how much was stamped out by you and then illustrated by him, and how much was fleshed out fluff from Blanche's pre-existing art?

One of the strengths of the world building in the back-alleys and data archives and such was, for me at least, that it was very grim and dark and fairly Kafka-esque and all that without ever quite veering off into the self-parody that the current generation of 40k fluff gets a lot of flak for, or into the original Jaq Draco Inquisitor novel trilogy's flirtation with quite-normal-sci-fi.

Another aspect that I liked was the world-building while leaving a lot of negative space - a lot of small-scale scenes and stories and character biographies that can all jigsaw together as examples of what life in the Imperium can be like, without being restrictive in terms of what else is possible.
Is this the same sort of thing you enjoyed about your work with VoodooWorx and Parallax?

As a final note, to call back a couple of months, I'd register my vote for Stumppunk as the Kharadron's own subgenre.
I think they're probably the best miniatures GW have released since the AoS switch, as a former Dwarf player from three or four WHFB editions ago.
Also Grudge Bearer and the Last Chancers were really good.

/ramble

Offline Shard

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2017, 01:08:43 PM »
This is my first login for years, great blast from the past (and thanks to Ruaridh for the heads up on the AMA)

So, Inquisitor stuff...

- were there ever any plans to do a Warhammer Fantasy equivalent?

- how did you come up with the Inquisitorial factions in the first place?

- how do you feel that Inquisitor has given us at least two 'famous' personalities in 40K? (Eisenhorn, and Artemis - he has a model!)

- how would you update the game if there was an Inquisitor 2nd edition?

Thanks!  :)

Offline Charax

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2017, 01:41:08 PM »
Honestly, you guys have no respect for tradition, where's the Big Yellow Welcome?

WELCOME TO THE CONCLAVE!

Glad to have you join us, I think Adam Troke's still around somewhere under his old Inquisitor Rex moniker, so maybe we can get some chatter going up in Lenton about our dear old game.

I'm sure we'd all like to know what level of interest there is in bringing Inquisitor back to the fore, but other than that I'd like to know your impressions of this place. We're the only surviving legacy of the old, old official GW Inquisitor forum, which then came on to become the Specialist Games (and then Fanatic) fora, and upon their demise struck out on our own. We have kept a continuous vigil since the game was conceived and we've arranged the GTs and campaign days to maintain interest and grab new players. hell, a couple of us have even sculpted whole new models to provide to the community and keep the flame alive.

We are, in a very tangible sense, your Inquisitor legacy, have we done you proud?
The guy with his name at the bottom of the page

Offline Adeptus Noob

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2017, 10:16:36 PM »
Honestly, you guys have no respect for tradition, where's the Big Yellow Welcome?

WELCOME TO THE CONCLAVE!


A good start, Charax, but this man is a living legend. Surely we can do better than 24 pt?

WELCOME TO THE CONCLAVE!



On a more serious note - thank you so much for creating Inquisitor! I don't really have anything to ask, I just really wanted to thank you :) This game has brought me hours upon hours of enjoyment, even if I haven't had the chance to play in quite a while now.

Offline Heroka Vendile

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2017, 12:10:11 AM »
Honestly, you guys have no respect for tradition, where's the Big Yellow Welcome?

WELCOME TO THE CONCLAVE!
I wondered how long it would take for someone to do the traditional welcome.

Anyway, I guess I have two questions:
1) How do you feel about Inquisitor in relation to it's spiritual successor, Dark Heresy? Obviously DH is a purer RPG compared to the "narrative gameplay" of Inquisitor, but what were your thoughts on the way Black Industries/FFG developed the groundwork you laid?

2) Are you aware of any other game that's tried to fill a similar niche as Inquisitor? To my mind an obvious example of combat granularity is Infinity, but how much else have you ever come across (before or since) that's emphasised character and storytelling without being a "full-blooded" RPG?

Cheers
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Offline mypunkrockisbetterthanyou

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2017, 12:52:34 AM »

First off, a big thank you for doing this. All the old guys are coming out of the woodwork.

Any way, Mr. Thorpe, any insights you can give into models that were planned or produced by never released?

We are all grateful for your efforts, and appreciate how unique and open Inquisitor was, and is, as a gaming system.

Miss you all.

Regards,
Rick

Offline Van Helser

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2017, 01:33:31 PM »
It's great to have an opportunity to talk about Inquisitor with its creator, so I'll add my thanks for doing this Mr Thorpe.

The plug was pulled on the Specialist Games just as the Thorian Sourcebook was due for release. It was fantastic to get it provided as a free download however. Were there plans in place for sourcebooks for the remaining factions?

Inquisitor Kessel was described as a Chaotician. What methods and means did you envisage members of that faction to use?

As someone who contributed to fan-created versions of the Istvaanian, Amalathian and Xanthite sourcebooks I'd love an inkling to how far wide of the mark I was with my interpretations!

Oh, and one last question has come to mind - when and why did Istvaan become Isstvan? I'll always use the former as the Inquisitor rule book decreed!

Ruaridh

Offline TheNephew

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Re: Gav Thorpe Here - Ask Me Anything!
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2017, 08:47:23 PM »
Welcome!

Well reminded, returned Dark Overlord.

Gav: I'd also love to hear about some of your own unpublished or never-expanded ideas that never got released in time - as I said earlier in the thread, the tangle of un-pulled threads is one of the most interesting parts of the Imperium back-end fluff.

Obviously there must be a bunch of them, but it'd be interesting to hear about ideas of any scale - the CIA did Istvaan III, or the life of a street rat ab/in-ducted into the Redemptionist cult, or anything in-between.