Patrick O’Duffy and non-standard definitions of fun.

“I got into the Vampire RPG in around 1992, goth clubbing at around the same time, and Magic: the Gathering in 1993. Vampire: the Eternal Struggle (or Jyhad at the time) was the obvious overlap of all my interests when it came out in ’94.

I was working at the time in a comics/game store in Brisbane, Comics Etc., so I was able to get discounts on CCGs for myself and some friends. My V:TES friendship group were pretty separate from the larger scene. We played against each other a lot and didn’t interact much with the people playing tournaments.

Thinking back, I was probably playing V:TES semi-regularly until the end of 1996 and The Sabbat expansion. It started falling off my radar after that; life became complicated, and the local playstyle was changing. I preferred a focus on dealing, bleeding, intrigue and tone; those were strong up through Ancient Hearts or so but became less prominent as action/combat decks became more effective and powerful. As my local group’s games focused on throwing sewer lids at each other, my attention drifted away.

Around the time I left the V:TES scene, I started game writing. It kicked off doing small amounts of stuff for Steve Jackson’s In Nomine. A couple more little jobs and open calls trickled through, and then around early ‘99 Greg Stolze found me through the Unknown Armies mailing list and asked me to comment on the Australian-ness of some early Hunter: the Reckoning content. From that, I started writing properly for White Wolf around late ‘99 or early 2000 and was churning out books for them until 2006.

I’ve seen the V:TES Nights of Reckoning minions, but I don’t think any of them were characters I created in my Hunter work. All of the major and signature characters were in place before I got there. I got to create a few new faces in the First Contact and Utopia sourcebooks, but I don’t think they popped up anywhere else.

While I worked extensively on Hunter, my favourite work with White Wolf was Demon: the Fallen. That game line has its share of issues – it came right before the end of the World of Darkness and White Wolf couldn’t really work out what they wanted from it – but it was fun to write and we did some books I’m very happy with. I’m particularly proud of Earthbound, Time of Judgment and a Dark Ages book called Devil’s Due.

I’ve got some interest in card games like Netrunner and Arkham Horror, and I still do a lot of roleplaying. I don’t do much RPG writing any more – just when specifically asked by friends. My last gig was contributing to the second edition of Greg Stolze’s Reign fantasy RPG that was Kickstarted in 2018. I cowrote a managerial modern horror campaign called LEVIATHAN. It’s set in Australia and it’s a little like XCOM – you send agents to their awful and unnatural deaths, rather than getting your hands dirty. It was a lot of fun! (For specific, non-standard definitions of ‘fun’.)

Beyond (badly) playing my Nosferatu or Tremere decks, I’ve got fond memories of V:TES. A lot of what I loved was the tone. The mechanics were good and made play more complex and scheming than Magic. But it was the flavour that readily clicked for me; the way card play could create similar stories to the RPG.”

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