Baptism of Fire: World War Two Role Play – Interview with Michael Burnside
Baptism of Fire: World War Two Role Play: Interview with Michael Burnside
I wanted to take the players through a continuing story, and there was no game that did that for World War 2 – so I created one.
Richard Martin interviewed Michael D. Burnside, designer of Baptism of Fire: World War Two Role Play, for ArmchairGeneral.com.
Richard Martin: There have been a few role playing games set against a World War 2 backdrop but very few. How did you come up with the idea for an RPG set during World War 2?
Michael D. Burnside: I was watching Band of Brothers on television and rushed out to buy the DVD set. I then re-watched the whole series in one week. I wanted to capture that experience in a game. Now, most games that I’ve played have been one-off battles or limited campaigns. I wanted to take the players through a continuing story, and there was no game that did that for World War 2 – so I created one. Also, my dad was a Vietnam vet, and he told me many war stories. Those influenced me a lot. I wanted to create a World War 2 game with a more intimate scale than what was out there.
RM: Why use the D20 system?
MDB: I wanted to focus on researching and creating the environment of the 1940s instead of creating a whole new game system. I was playing the Star Wars D20 RPG from Wizards of the Coast and thought that it would be a great system of rules for what I wanted to do. The one thing I wanted to stay away from was the “heroic” fantasy aspect of Dungeon and Dragons or Star Wars games, where you can get hit by a bazillion arrows and still fight on. I wanted it more grounded in reality.
RM: What is your favorite game right now?
MDB: I love Dark Heresy but I have tons of favorite games; I’ve been gaming for over 30 years – since 8th grade. I wrote tons of scenarios for other games I’ve played such as Battletech, Star Frontiers and Mech Warrior. Baptism of Fire: World War Two Role Play is my first published game.
RM: How long did it take to write?
MDB: Two years on and off. My “real job” is tech writer. This game gave me a great excuse to buy World War 2–era weapons and tons of great books.
RM: Any plans for expansions and scenarios?
MDB: If there is enough interest in this game I’d love to do an expansion for other fronts such as the Russian Front. People can go to the Blackclaw Games website for scenarios, such as a Tobruk scenario, errata and expansion rules.
RM: Thanks for the interview.
MDB: I hope everyone likes the game.