Interview – Chris Dias (Dias Ex Machina Games)

Chris Dias is the founder and co-writer of Dias Ex Machina Games.

First off, let me thank you for taking the time to be interviewed for the ENnies. I truly appreciate you taking the time to talk about the ENnies.

Starting off with a more personal question, Dias Ex Machina Games was founded in May of 2007 to focus solely on the Amethyst RPG. Soon after, you made the switch 4th Edition D&D. So what keeps you going? What keeps you enthusiastic about working in the RPG industry?

Because I’m still a gamer. If I stopped running games, I’d stop writing games. Amethyst began as a D20 setting six years before I started writing the first published edition. With few breaks, my campaign has run every week since. There is a lot of content there; the first books have only touched on the first “season” of our first campaign. Our campaigns last four seasons, and I’m already on my third campaign. I enjoy writing fluff more than crunch, and thankfully using OGL or SRD rules allow me more freedom to write that.

In 2008, Amethyst received an Honorable Mention for Best Setting. What did you think of the ENnies when you found out?

I was overjoyed, but I’m also my worst critic, so I began immediately analyzing why Amethyst didn’t get a full nomination. Most of what I do is for the attention and praise, not the profit. I’m a compliment whore. :)

Did your Honorable Mention affect short-term sales? How about long-term sales?

They boosted short-term sales to be sure, but it never really affected long-term sales because Amethyst D20 was taken off the shelf when we signed the GSL. It’s coincidental that you bring it up though. At the time I’m answering these questions, Amethyst D20 was just RE-listed on RPGNow for PDF download after nearly two years comatosed. You damned right I still boast about the Ennie praise.

What projects do you have on the schedule; anything you can talk about?

The one project most people know about is Ultramodern4—a universal sci-fi/modern 4th Edition/GSL-compliant rule system based off of the Amethyst system and refined through three years of playtesting. After that, Amethyst branches into Pathfinder, so hopefully, come next season, Amethyst will be one of the few systems available for every edition of D20 rules (3.0, 3.5, 3.75, and 4.0). After that, sales will depend on if I pursue further books with Amethyst. Additionally, if Ultramodern4 does well, we should have a cyberpunk setting for that ready next year (NeuroSpasta).

Now that we’ve been around for over a decade, what do the ENnies mean to you both personally and professionally?

To be honest, I don’t know. To get nominated is awesome, but I was really hoping Amethyst Foundations would get mentioned in 2010. When it failed to do so, I concentrated on making my fans happy as well as myself. I stopped concerning myself about whether or not further DEM products get nominated…but that’s how it is with any award. The people that do it out of love are the ones recognized. The ones working for awards never get them…unless you’re Harvey Weinstein.

Last question; if someone who had never heard of the ENnie Awards walked up to you today and asked, “So what are these ‘ENnies’ you keep talking about,” how would you answer them?

“Who are you, why are you asking me, and why are you squeezing the pleats out of my pants?”
Seriously, I would say that the Ennies are like the Emmys for role playing games, including all that entails. Some people love them; some people hate them…but I’d still rather one of those than a Gemini.

I guess you would have to be Canadian to get that one… :)

For more information about Dias Ex Machina Games, visit their website at www.diasexmachina.com.

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