Interview – Rone Barton (Atomic Array/WereCabbages)

Rone Barton owns a successful pet sitting service in Westchester, NY. He’s written for many RPG companies and currently creates/hosts many podcasts.

Starting off with a more personal question, you are currently the co-host on Atomic Array and RPG Countdown, as well as a member of the WereCabbages, a freelance group of RPG designers. What keeps you going? What keeps you enthusiastic about working in the RPG industry?

Quite often I’m offered RPG writing assignments right as I’m trying to get something important done, be it a move in business or a creative endeavor in another medium designed to yield a bigger payday. Despite my promises to resist, I surely succumb.

It’s like, “Keep your eye on the prize today! Focus! You’ve got screenplays to write and major diseases to cure and… ooo, shiny dra-gons!” The distracted child inside me will not be denied. An RPG writing assignment boils down to this: Someone out there thinks my escapist daydreams are worth something. And in agreeing to pay me for my offerings, they’ve loaned me Peter Pan’s unfettering license to sit back, close my eyes and just imagine.

In 2010, Atomic Array was nominated for Best Podcast and The Great City Player’s Guide by 0One Games, which you co-authored, was up for Best Electronic Books; both won Gold. What did you think of the ENnies when you found out that you were nominated?

I thought, “I’m so glad we didn’t forget to enter again this year!” In 2009 my co-host on Atomic Array Ed Healy and I both thought the other was handling our ENnies submission. Two heads are only better than one when said heads are not filled with fruit jelly. It was our show’s first year and I wanted to ENter with every fiber of my being. It was such a disappointment to miss out. So when the submission date rolled around this year I became a continuous siren in Healy’s ear, “ENnies… ENnies… ENnies…”

What did I think of the ENnies themselves when upon hearing of our nomination? I thought your brilliant judges proved their discerning taste! 😉 I spent quite a while on cloud nine. Still haven’t been able to floss all the cumulous fluff out from between my teeth.

Did your nominations and wins affect traffic to your site? Has it brought you new opportunities to write?

Was there an ENnies bump? Most assuredly. Six minutes after Atomic Array won Gold Ed received a text from a publisher we were courting, “Congratulations on Gold. Maybe we should talk about coming on the show, after all.”

My ENnie award winning friend Ben McFarland showed me his business card the next day, saying, “You can put ENnie award winning on your card, y’know.” And don’t you think I won’t!

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

What it means personally reports inwardly with such magnitude I’m not sure I’ll have words left for what it means professionally.

What felt so strange about winning the awards was the realization that time won’t reverse itself and strip them away from me – though the ENnies Morality Committee still might. Something as simple as winning an award makes me feel like I’ve actually arrived at one of those lofty destinations for which I so often aim, which leaves me stunned, overjoyed and more than somewhat surprised.

The ENnies are a nod from the industry and from RPG lovers everywhere that what you’re doing matters to a lot of good people. And that knowledge right there is the truest prize.

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?

I explain that they’re the tabletop RPG’s industry’s big fan-based award – our own Oscars or Emmys – and that they’re put on by a committee that started with the EN World website and Gen Con. Then I would tell them about my personal experiences at the show. Especially the cool lil dude with the purple Mohawk who hung medals around the necks of we, the kneeling knights of ENniedom!

What do you consider the best work you’ve ever done, ENnie winning or not?

As far as RPG writing goes? Hands down my two high fantasy urban adventures with co-writer Louis Agresta, The Bloody Fix and Puncture the Blackened Vein for 0one Games. I think we brought the epic epicness and player feedback has been extremely enthusiastic.

What projects do you have planned for the future? Anything you can talk about?

Let’s see… Louis Agresta, Ed Healy and I are taking our Iron GM tournament out on the road. We’ll have regional semifinals at other big gaming cons around the US that have agreed to send their Iron GM winners to compete at our Gen Con final. All expenses paid!

Lou and I will soon pen an adventure for a 2010 ENnie winning company taking its first steps into adventure publishing, and Ed and I are considering a move into publishing under the Moonstew Games banner. Ed and I are also producing The Traffler Chronicles: Controlled Burn, a multimedia charity project for Mindstorm Labs set in their Alpha Omega setting. The Traffler Chronicles: Controlled Burn will benefit Habitat for Humanity. Emmy winning director/producer/actor Don Scardino is co-producing.

Ed Healy and I are currently project managing a Traveller setting book for Terra/Sol Games.

PS: That was my mohawked son, Duncan, handing out awards. He thinks it’s really cool you remember him.

That one will go far.

Thank you to Rone Barton for answering my questions. You can learn more about Atomic Array by visiting their website at http://atomicarray.com. RPG Countdown can be listened to at http://rpgcountdown.com. The WereCabbages, a group of freelance authors and artists, have a webpage here: http://werecabbages.com.

One Response to “Interview – Rone Barton (Atomic Array/WereCabbages)”

  1. Ed Healy says:

    Rone gives good interview. I’ve worked with him for years and I actually learned something new here!

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