Jul 13

2021

Author Interview: Eddy Webb, Pugmire: Treasure of the Sea Dogs

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Will you be a good dog, or a scurvy sea dog? In this swashbuckling furry adventure, when nefarious pirate cats murder your mentor and steal the famous Corgi pearls, you’ll chase the cats across the seas to fetch and recover the treasure!

Pugmire: Treasure of the Sea Dogs is a 100,000-word interactive nautical tail by Eddy Webb, author of Ratings War. I sat down with Eddy to talk about transferring the world of Pugmire to interactive fiction, and of course, pugs! Pugmire: Treasure of the Sea Dogs releases this Thursday, July 15th. You can play the first three chapters today.

I love the Pugmire world. Tell me how it came about, its origins, and all about the TTRPG this game comes from.

I’m glad you like it! That always means the world to me when I hear it.

The short version of Pugmire, for those who don’t know, is that it’s our world, but in the distant future. Humanity has gone… somewhere… and uplifted animals altered by technology are left behind to pick up the pieces. They view their mistaken archeology through a fantasy lens, so it’s kind of “Lord of the Rings” meets “Planet of the Apes,” but with dogs and cats.

The world partially came because, as a TTRPG designer, I knew I eventually wanted to make a fantasy game, but a lot of fantasy games are heavy on lore dumps or reliance on knowledge of other fantasy games. The other part came from a time when I was walking my two pugs at the time (Puck and Murray), and I started comparing their contrasting personalities to Dungeons & Dragons classes. When I got back home, I started playing with the idea of how far I could take that analogy. It turns out, quite a distance!

I did write and publish a short story in the world, but the editors asked me when the TTRPG would come out, so I quickly pitched the idea to my friends at Onyx Path Publishing, who eagerly greenlit the idea. It went on to a successful Kickstarter in 2015, it’s been reprinted a couple of times, and now there’s even a version in Japanese! I made the TTRPG to be familiar to fans of D&D, but also easy to approach for new gamers. So if people love the world in “Treasure of the Sea Dogs,” there’s a lot more to find at realmsofpugmire.com!

How does Treasure of the Sea Dogs fit into the larger canon of Pugmire?

As I started work on this novel, I was also working on the first big supplement for the TTRPG, “Pirates of Pugmire.” So as that book evolved, I went back and adjusted the novel to fit seamlessly into it. For example, the two central characters of Pirates of Pugmire (Sabu and Pally) have significant roles in this novel, and some small details in the novel get mentioned in PoP. I naturally had to take a few small liberties to make an interesting Choice of Games title, but I tried hard to make it as seamless as possible.

What inspired your anthropomorphic creatures? Is there a pug in your life? Can I see a picture if so?

There were two pugs in my life who were very inspirational during the initial creation of the game, and even get referenced in the novel. Murray, our black pug, appears as Seneschal Murra Pug, and his brother Puck briefly appears at King Puckington Pug. Luckily, the cover artist for the novel (Claudio Pozas) has also worked on a lot of Pugmire books, and I was able to hire him to make Pugmire-ized versions of them for my own personal use. They have both since passed on, but I’m always happy to share pictures of my boys!

This is a real departure from Ratings War, which I feel is one of our really underrated Choice of Games titles. Tell me what you’ve learned about narrative and choices since writing that game.

I’m glad that there are Ratings War fans out there! I still have a soft spot for that game, but I’ve learned a lot since then. For one thing I was never happy with the abrupt ending for Ratings War, so I worked hard on this to make sure the ending was more satisfying. Some of the beta readers had even more great insights, which helped refine that as well. But I also learned a lot more about how to make each choice compelling, even if they weren’t all deeply impactful. And I learned a lot from y’all! Choice of Games has really figured out what their audience likes and were able to articulate those details to me both at the start and throughout the process.

What else are you working on right now?

At the time I’m writing this I’m getting ready to launch the next big Pugmire Kickstarter for “Squeaks in the Deep”, featuring mice and rats, and there are a lot more Pugmire-related things happening in the background. I also do a lot of freelance work, most recently on the official Transformers TTRPG, as well as other tabletop games like Blackbirds and Trinity Continuum: Anima (a cyberpunk game that Ratings War fans might enjoy!). I’ve also been writing scripts now and then for Extra Credits, a YouTube show about game design. I try to keep everything I’m working on up at my professional website, so folks can head to pugsteady.com and find everything I’ve worked on!

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