Alan Bahr is the owner and lead designer of Gallant Knight Games and has published multiple excellent role-playing games like Tiny Frontiers, Tiny Dungeon, and more. Alan took the time to talk with Bleeding Cool about his latest project, which brings one of our country's original super-heroes to table tops everywhere!
BC: Good morning, Alan! Thanks for taking some time to talk with us!
Bahr: It's my pleasure, thanks for having me
Please tell us a little bit about your latest project!
Happy to. So currently on Kickstarter, we've got Zorro: The Roleplaying Game! We've teamed up with Zorro Productions, Inc., and West End Games to bring this famous cinematic character to the tabletop in a beautiful full color book! It features a new licensed edition of the famous West End Games D6 Edition, as well as being a significant text on Zorro, his history and the setting of Spanish California.
So, when you say the West End Games d6 edition, you're talking about the classic system from the '80s? Like the one from the old Ghostbusters and Star Wars RPGs?
Absolutely! This is a new edition of that ruleset, built on the chassis of the classic Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and more, but revamped and retooled with some modern design elements.
Wow! How did that come about? That's one of the big, legendary game systems!
Well, I've worked part-time at Nocturnal Media for over two years, and they own West End Games. I approached them about the project, and they were wonderful and let Gallant Knight Games take on this project.
I know you're a pretty big geek when it comes to RPG systems, that must have been a real rush for you!
Hah, yeah. It was exciting, then daunting, then overwhelming, but we're back to exciting! There's a lot of history there, and a lot of history to work through. We played a lot of the old WEG products, trying to learn everything we could, and it was a wonderful experience. We're proud to be able to be part of such a storied legacy.
Right? Zorro is one of the first American super-heroes, how did you decide to go with that property to re-launch the game system?
Well, as part of the plan for West End Games D6 2e, we wanted to marry it to a cinematic, action-packed IP (sort of paying homage to the Star Wars and other such IPs), as our first project. Zorro came up in discussions and it felt like a natural fit!
I was surprised that we hadn't seen Zorro in this format before. How are you handling the history around Zorro? That time frame was really influential on American politics and how we evolved as a country.
Well, we've engaged with freelance writers and historians who specialize in California, Mexico, and their histories. We're making sure we have experts on the team, working on the project (doing the literal writing) to ensure we do it justice, and present it with as much accuracy as we can, while still keeping the swashbuckling fun in it!
That sounds amazing. I can't wait to see how you take on Los Angeles in that setting!
It'll be exciting! On the Kickstarter, our last two updates actually detail with some of the contents of the book (both by location and by chapter). We also have several rules previews up on there!
I was looking through the Kickstarter last night, and I have to say the art is fantastic. It's not just good art, but evocative of the pulp style that was so popular during the character's heyday. Tell us a little about your art team?
So, actually, a lot of our art is drawn from the archives at Zorro Productions! They're letting us directly use classic pulp art to evoke that nostalgia feel, so these are all classic pieces from the history of Zorro.
Oh, wow! That explains a lot! What else do you have in store for the West End Games system?
Well, after Zorro is delivered, we've got plans for a generic core book, as well as genre-specific expansions (similar to how Monte Cook Games' Cypher System rolled out.)
Nice! I noticed Gallant Knight Games has a new project?
Well, we partner with several indie game companies to provide distribution for them into game stores, and one of our partners is Christopher Grey. He launched a new Kickstarter for a storygame called The Great American Novel! It's all about following the beats and character archetypes noted throughout classic Americana.
I don't know where you find the time to work on your own books, let alone helping other people get their work to print. What's next for Alan Bahr?
Well, we've got a few more partner projects and some other things that will be announcing shortly! But I've been hard at work on the next TinyD6 game "Tiny Cyberpunk", as well as a few other smaller projects (and a few big ones!)
I have Tiny Dungeon and Tiny Frontiers, and they're both excellent books. I really love how your rules-light systems work, so a Cyberpunk setting makes me pretty happy.
Thank you so much! It's been a blast to work on
So, with all that being said, what's your favorite RPG right this minute?
Right this absolute minute? It's a toss-up between Pendragon 5.2 from Chaosium and Star Trek: Adventures from Modiphius.
Both solid games! I'm really enjoying what Modiphius is doing with the Trek license. That wouldn't be as easy a project as some might think!
Not at all. They've done a top-notch job, and I can't praise them enough for it!
How much time do you have left on the Zorro Kickstarter?
The Zorro Kickstarter ends on Friday, so roughly 3 days!
You're already funded, so I imagine at this point you're pushing out stretch goals. What's next in line?
Well, we've got a dice bag and then some adventures! We're very close to the dice bag (the mid-Kickstarter lull has had us tiptoeing that line for a bit!)
The last couple of days tend to pick up a little, but regardless, it's exciting to see this system back in play! Alan, thank you so much for taking the time to talk role playing games with us, have a great one!
You too! Thanks, Leigh!
Zorro Productions, Inc. controls the worldwide trademarks and copyrights in the name, visual likeness and the character of Zorro. The brand is represented worldwide for all media and ancillary products direct and through a network of agents. John Gertz, President and CEO, has been guiding the brand for over forty years through major films, television, stage productions, videogames, publishing projects, licensing/merchandising, and promotions with thousands of licensed products. The corporate offices are located in Berkeley, California.
Leigh George Kade is a writer, illustrator, and sculptor who lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and two small Skrulls. Leigh has also been a panelist on the wildly popular Geek Show Podcast since 2008. He has been an Entertainment Writer for Bleeding Cool since 2018.