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CRAIG COCHRANE (Eternity Publishing, publishers of the Immortals Handbook) September 16, 2007.
Q: Do you mind answering some Mystara-related questions?
Craig: Fire away. Flattered anyone would value my opinion on such things. :-p
Q: I was glad to see your Immortal Relativity chart includes the Mystaran Immortals scheme. To what degree did the Gold Box and Wrath of the Immortals influence your Immortals work?
Craig: To be honest it probably didn't have that big an impact. Firstly, if you can believe it, I don't own the Gold Box (although I have been meaning to pick one up on eBay) and I think its been about 20 years since I have read it.
I do own Wrath of the Immortals though.
Bizarrely we never played using those Immortals Rules, we used our own custom rules (The Worship Points System) as an extension of 1st Editions Deities & Demigods (and 1st Edition's Manual of the Planes which had extra rules for deities).
Regarding Wrath of the Immortals, certainly there is a passing similarity between Power Points and my own Quintessence although I like to think the latter is somewhat more far reaching as it includes worship and other elements. I think if we borrowed one idea from Wrath of the Immortals it was that of tests and trials to become immortal. Also the idea of Strokes and Master Strokes is something I indirectly built in to the Worship Points System for the Immortals Handbook: Ascension, albeit within a system to govern any possible Event, so again I hope I have expanded upon it. I also must mention the Draeden. Easily my favourite monster ever, my character (in tandem with the rest of the Norse Pantheon) fought and defeated an advanced Draeden that was about to destroy Oerth (only my character Thrin and the god Tyr made it out in one piece, the rest had their manifestations destroyed, reforming back in Asgard). As a homage I created the Cogent (aka. World Flayer), creature from the Far Realm in my Immortals Handbook - Epic Bestiary: Volume One. Which, although much smaller than a Draeden and different in many respects is something of a 'love letter' to the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set.
I am also doing two chapter illustrations in my new book (Ascension) that homage the Gold Box and Wrath of the Immortals covers. In fact all my chapter headings evoke the covers of D&D's immortal based offerings throughout the years.
So although we occasionally role-played on Mystara (including my character Thrin's epic battle against Vanya, when he attempted to become the War God of Thyatis, he failed by the way, though I maintain she got lucky), the Gold box nor Wrath of the Immortals had that great an impact, as much as I love the latter.
Q: I noticed you have several reviews of Immortal and Deity-related products at your site. Do you have any opinion about the quality of the OD&D Immortals rules, and about the difference between the Gold Box rules and the Wrath of the Immortals rules?
Craig: A review of the Gold Box will have to wait until I have a copy in my possession.
I should probably do a review of the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set. It would certainly get a favourable score. I would have it within my 'holy trinity' of RPG Immortal references, the other two being Deities & Demigods (1st Edition naturally) and the Pantheons of the Megaverse book by Palladium, which has so many ideas its fantastic.
Q: Do you have any general or specific suggestions on how your Immortals series may be used with the World of Mystara?
Craig: I have a few.
I think tying the Spheres with my Dimensions would be interesting (although I know the word dimension is used in a different manner to what I am implying). They are already fairly similar (I have Fate and Spirit instead of Energy, so its six in place of five). Or perhaps introducing a dimension (possibly Fate) as a new Sphere, and just juxtapose Energy and Spirit. I plan to eventually detail various dimensional races, the Angels (natives of the Spirit dimension) were detailed in the Epic Bestiary. So you would have a race, akin to a Pantheon who are the direct guardians of each Sphere.
Although I go on to explain and detail Overgods/Old Ones and such powerful beings, I generally propose that they be 'locked away', and only appear sparingly. I always loved the idea that you would have to retire as a Hierarch and then work your way up to Hierarch again to become an Old One, though for practical purposes I don't see it being a winner amongst many players. :+)
If I can think of anything else I'll give you an email.