Jeremy Crawford Interview – Gen Con 2015

The four days at Gen Con started off great! On the first day, I was able to sit down and speak with Jeremy Crawford. Jeremy is one of the lead designers of D&D 5th edition. Tribality readers should also recognized Jeremy Crawford with his great efforts on Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition and Blue Rose.

We met in the Gen Con Hall D Dungeons & Dragons game area, and we were surrounded by people that were playing D&D Adventurers League games through Baldman Games, and Jeremy had just completed a meet & greet with Mike Mearls for D&D players.  We were joined by Matt Lemke of Through Gamer Goggles.

I was full of fan-boy excitement and nervousness when we met. I am happy that he was able to see through some of that and decipher my questions. His answers were superb! Below is a transcript of the interview, with some edits from the original (mainly my word stumbling).

Jeremy: I’m Jeremy Crawford, one of the two lead designers of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, here at Gen Con 2015.

Matt: He almost said 2012.

All: Lol

Jeremy: I was traveling back in time.

Matt: It’s okay. Last year I was a year early. I’m Matt Lemke with Through Gamer Goggles and we’ve got

Michael: I’m Michael Long with Tribality.

Jeremy: Great to talk to you both.

Michael: Thank you.

Jeremy: You can go back and forth. You guys want to …

Matt: I don’t know where to start. I know you did … historically, you did one fourth edition book, right?

Jeremy: No. I, as a game developer, worked on many, many books for fourth edition. If you’re thinking of books that have my name on the cover, there’s Player’s Handbook 2. There’s also the rules compendium for fourth edition, because I was the … For fourth edition’s final few years, I was the rules manager for that edition. I also was one of the designers on the two essentials player books. Also one of the designers on the DM kit for fourth edition.

Then again, sort of too many books to name them all. Worked as either one of the developers of the mechanics or as the lead developer. These included books like Heroes of the Feywild, Heroes of the Elemental Chaos, etcetera. It’s funny, I also worked as a developer and editor on the very last third edition book.

Matt: That’s what I was thinking.

Jeremy: That was the City of Stormreach. That Eberron book which is the final book for third edition. I went straight from there to work as one of the two editors on the fourth edition Player’s Handbook. As a part of that work, I did the final development of the fourth edition combat rules and really, was already sort of transitioning into what would become my long standing role at Wizards, and that was as a rules developer.

Before coming to Wizards of the Coast, I co-designed the role playing game Blue Rose. Did some writing for the role playing game Mutants and Masterminds, for the second edition of Warhammer Fantasy roleplay, et cetera.

Michael: Blue Rose just had the Kickstarter that was successful.

Jeremy: Yeah. A new edition of Blue Rose is coming.

Michael: Did you have any input on Blue Rose, the new one, or just ?

Jeremy: No, although a lot of the original design-

Michael: Was it carried over?

Jeremy: Yeah. It’s one of those games that’s both a campaign setting and also a system. A lot of that setting will be carried forward. Then I transitioned from working on fourth edition to overseeing the development of all the game material for fifth edition. I ended up also overseeing the creation of the books themselves as their managing editor. I’ve worn many hats.

Michael: So right now you’re the managing editor of all the future work that’s going to come out?

Jeremy: Yeah. I am sort of the producer. It’s my title, producer for the tabletop role playing game. That includes serving as the managing editor for any books we create, and then I also continue in my capacity as rules developer and I also contribute material as a designer. That is a fairly normal thing; whenever a person is working as a developer, that is a part of the development process, where you’re refining the rules written by others. You will often end up designing additional material to accompany the material you are developing.

Michael: Is there anything, that additional material you can discuss that hasn’t been talked about at all?

Jeremy: Right now, I am putting the finishing touches on the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide which we just announced. That is the book coming out after Out of the Abyss.

Michael: That’s not ready to print though, right?

Jeremy: Right.

Michael: The print runs probably September or October?

Jeremy: Yeah. We still have a little while, where we’re going to be putting the finishing touches on the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.

Michael: Sword Coast is your current work. Do you have anything for 2016?

Jeremy: Nothing that we’ve announced yet. We are already working on products that extend all the way through 2016. We already have products planned in 2017. But we like to focus on what’s just about to come out and what’s coming up next after that, rather than talking about the next six things coming out.

Michael: I understand.

Jeremy: Part of that is to create a common experience among D&D players, so that everyone knows this is what’s going on right now with Dungeons & Dragons. It also allows us to be nimble, because we rely so much on playtest feedback. It means that we can actually respond to that feedback and adjust our plans accordingly. Our stories in the table top role playing game are also often coinciding with stories we’re telling in video games like Neverwinter, in the upcoming Sword Coast Legends, and even tie in to things like the Temple of Elemental Evil board game.

D&D is sort of this connected web of different storytelling expressions. That’s how we view it; the worlds of D&D are rich with story and are really stories that can be told in a variety of media.

Michael: You said a connected web of different storytelling ideas? Is that right?

Jeremy: A connected web of worlds that can generate a variety of different stories.

Matt: That’s a good way to say it. I’d agree with that. Connected web.

Michael: I just wanted to make sure I had it right.

Matt: To genres and storytelling devices. You got all the different board games and miniatures line,

Jeremy: Dice Masters.

Matt: I forgot all about Dice Masters.

Jeremy: Yeah. There’s the Attack Wing from WizKids, the miniatures.

Michael: What happened with the Gale Force Nine? There was a little bit of negativity that came out against Gale Force Nine with the spell cards, and then they had to go back and correct some of those things. It was manufacturing. I’m not talking about ideas, it was mainly manufacturing. I don’t know. Because with Gale Force Nine, they already have products out there that have cards, Sons of Anarchy. Then, they came out with these cards that aren’t really quality. I didn’t really understand why didn’t Hasbro use the resources they had. Actually, they recently got rid of the card manufacturers. They’re now going to outsource on cards, so was that a preemptive to prepare for something like that?

Jeremy: No. Really, a company like Gale Force Nine that’s interested in doing a licensed product will often come to us with ideas and see if we’re interested in pursuing those ideas. Or sometimes we have an idea and we’re like, “Hey, is this something you would be interested, WizKids or Gale Force Nine, are you interested in pursuing?

Matt: I mean, It wasn’t a bad idea.

Jeremy: Their spell cards are still going strong. I actually just saw a bookshelf full of them in the exhibit hall.

Michael: They fixed a lot of the issues they had. A little bit of misprint, missing cards, and they had the sharp corners. I wouldn’t say it’s aesthetics; it seemed like it was knowledge base they didn’t have for cards.

Jeremy: It’s, unfortunately, not really I can speak to because that’s something they manage. I know some member’s of my home D&D group like to use those cards.

Matt: What would you say your favorite mechanic is in fifth ed?

Jeremy: That’s a good question. There are several I like.

I love the advantage and disadvantage mechanic, because that allowed us to basically vacuum up a bunch of little bonuses and penalties that D&D has had in previous editions and express them in this one rule that also has a great visceral quality to it. What we found in the play test, the visceral quality, that people love to roll dice and there’s this great feeling when you have advantage, “Ooo, I get to roll two d20’s.” then it’s kind of also dreadful when, “Oh, no, I have disadvantage and I have to roll two d20’s.” There’s just a great sort of gameplay feel to that.

I also love our concentration mechanic in spells. This allowed us … The concentration mechanic allowed us to still give spell casters some spectacular abilities but make there be a cost. Make there be a risk that some of these enduring effects, because most spells require concentration create an enduring effect of some kind. Whether it’s an area of effect like cloudkill on the battlefield or it’s a buff of some sort that makes a member of the party stronger. It means there’s a risk that could get shut off if the spell caster is too badly injured.

And it also meant, because you can only have one concentration ability going at a time, that the game could be faster. Because, suddenly, it became impossible for a single spell caster to have five simultaneous effects going at the same time. One of our big goals for fifth edition was to speed up play as much as possible. The concentration mechanic actually does a lot of that work for us on the spell casting side of the game.

I have to say, those mechanics aside, probably my absolute favorite thing is not a particular rule; it’s simply how open ended we made things. Because, at heart, as a dungeon master, I’m a story teller. As the official keeper of the rules, as the sage of sage advice, I always view rules as sort of like the butler or the servant of the dungeon master.

The DM is not there to serve the rules; the rules are there to serve the DM. I like the rule set to be lean but I like for what’s there to be solid, so that, as a dungeon master, I can improvise very easily. When I DM, certainly I follow the rules of the game but I also make up a ton of stuff on the fly. I will do ad hoc rulings, I will sometimes override rules in the very books that I helped write. I think that’s really the prerogative of every dungeon master.

Again, since I’m at heart a storyteller, I’m always looking for what’s going to bring a smile to my player’s faces. What’s going to suddenly make them feel dread because of how dangerous a situation has gotten. If it means I need to nudge the game system in a particular direction, to really achieve that happiness in my players, I’m always willing to do it. I like that we’ve built a version of D&D that’s very agreeable to that style of play. While, at the same time, if a group likes a much more tactical game, the tools are still there for them to have that kind of D&D experience.

Michael: That was a lot. Haha

Jeremy: It’s a good thing you’re recording.

Matt: Yes, because I can’t write that fast.

Michael: I got a lot of it. I asked my table what one question they would ask you. They said, well … I think you had a shirt. It said, “Don’t ask what’s my favorite character.” They said, “What’s your favorite character?” What’s your favorite player character class to play?

Jeremy: During the playtest process, I ended up playing every class. There’s something I love in every single one of them. The thing I love about D&D, and this is something we tried to achieve in our design of fifth edition, is that every class is almost like a mini game. Each class has a different mood, a different set of abilities. Certainly, there’s some overlap between classes. The overall feel of the classes really hitting its design target, feels again, like a little mini game. You know that, if in this campaign I’m going to play a barbarian, it’s going to feel very different than the wizard I played in the last campaign.

Now, as far as the classes, over the many years I’ve been playing D&D, because I’ve been playing D&D since I was about five, six years old. No, no, no, a little later than that, probably around eight. Elementary school, I’ll say that.

If I look at my history of play, I frequently come back to spell casters. This includes not only the cleric and the wizard, and I played a ton of clerics and wizards, but this also includes paladins. One my go-to classes, when I’m in the mood for a character to be up on the front lines, often I end up playing a paladin.

Although I have to say, in fifth, I also love playing a barbarian, which is kind of unusual for me. Typically, if I play a non-spell caster, I would in the past usually make a fighter who sort of a bit of a duelist or an archer. But Man, I love the fifth edition barbarian.

Michael: That’s what my son plays. We got new players at the table and they’re like, “Ohhhhhhh, he just rolled three D12s!!!

Jeremy: They’re like, “Wow.”

Matt: Did you say a halfling barbarian that you play?

Jeremy: I go back to the barbarian. I didn’t say which race. In the end, I almost always end up back with some form of cleric or some form of wizard.

Matt: I’m actually playing a cleric with ADHD right now. It’s funny.

Since your day job is the rules and being creative, what do you do to exercise yourself to stay creative?

Jeremy: One of the main things is run my D&D campaign at home.

Matt: That has been the number one answer throughout every role playing developer I have talked to with that question.

Jeremy: I have to say, because you can imagine someone working on D&D full time; you could reach a point where playing D&D at home would just be, “Oh, my gosh. It’s work at home.”

Once in a great while, like when I was deep in development on fifth edition, I might have a few weeks where I’m like, “You know what, I can have a few weekends where I don’t play any D&D.” Because I was playing D&D all the time at work, because we were play testing – nonstop. But during a normal month, one of my favorite creative outlets is preparing for my next D&D session.

Matt: Preparing?

Jeremy: I love actually DM-ing and the improvisational storytelling that occurs but I just love to prepare, because I do all of my adventure design myself. My entire home campaign is something I’ve designed from the beginning and it’s in my home group setting that I’ve been using since late first edition.

Michael: Have you ever thought about publishing it?

Jeremy: You know, it’s funny. I was asked that in the last round of interviews I did. Occasionally, just for fun, we’ll talk about that sort of thing. Like, “Oh, what if we took one of our home settings and publish it?

Whenever I think about it, I think, “Well, the thing I love about it right now, is it’s my setting, and as soon as you publish it, it really then belongs to everyone who plays D&D.” There is a freedom in having this world where I can do anything I want. I’m constantly adding more and more detail to it and just like so many DMs, who have either created their own world or who use a world like the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk or Dragonlance, but really make it their own.

We often talk about the Forgotten Realms in the singular, but, and this is, again, this would be true of any D&D setting; there are actually innumerable Forgotten Realms, because every DM’s version of the Forgotten Realms is different.

Matt: Not everybody is going to remember the history perfectly.

Jeremy: Right. As soon as a group starts telling their own stories in an official D&D setting, it’s become their version of that world. One group’s Dragonlance is different from another group’s. One group’s Greyhawk is different from all of the other groups. The same is certainly true for the Forgotten Realms, given it’s vast size and tremendous amount of detail.

Matt: Okay. When might we see Eberron hit the shelves? You knew it was coming.

Jeremy: Nothing to announce. We’ve already shown some Eberron material through Unearthed Arcana and you will continue to see bits and pieces of our various worlds through avenues like Unearthed Arcana.

Also, there are bits of all of our big settings in the core rule books. You’ll remember that in the Player’s Handbook, for instance, we give you even the gods of these various settings and talk about them all being a part of the D&D multiverse. That should give you a clue of how we view our worlds. We view them as being a part of this one massive setting; the D&D multiverse. Again, beyond that in terms of product, nothing to announce yet.

Talking with Jeremy at Gen Con 2015

Michael: We’re finally get a setting book in November.

Jeremy: Yeah, with the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.

Michael: Everything has been open so far. If there was an Eberron, that’s a big if, hypothetical, would the Adventurers Leagues stay Forgotten Realms or would they switch over to a new setting?

Jeremy: Too early to say. To even guess. Especially given the fact that FR is so vast that Adventurers League could easily stay there for years. Just the area covered in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide is the size of a couple North Americas, and that’s not even the entire Forgotten Realms. It’s often easy to forget, looking at an FR map, just how big it is.


Matt: It’s hard to do that with any map.

Jeremy: Yeah, but FR, just in terms of the land mass covered, is so much larger than Greyhawk or Dragonlance.

Michael: When I walk the halls with people that are not playing D&D. This is a lot, but there’s a lot more playing other games. They don’t really see the presence of Wizards of the Coast being here. We see Baldman Games here, but they don’t see Wizards. They don’t see a booth. They don’t see someone in the exhibit hall sitting selling Wizards product. Do you know why? Why is that?

Jeremy: Our focus at Gen Con has become gameplay. Every convention has sort of it’s own spirit and it’s own focus. What we’ve found over the years is that Gen Con, people mostly come to play games. Our focus has become partnering with Baldman Games and having this large play area. That’s also why we decided to have our meet and greet that we’re doing each day, me and Mike Mearls. We’re doing it right in the heart of the play area. Basically on the ground, with the many people here playing D&D.

For a few years, we haven’t had a booth in the exhibit hall, largely because we don’t come to sell things. Part of that is because we don’t actually want to compete at a convention like this with many of the vendors who are actually selling our books. There are a number of vendors in there now selling Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Manual, Princes of the Apocalypse, Tyranny of Dragons, the whole nine yards. Basically, we don’t want to compete with our retailers.

This is a contrast to how we handle, say, the two PAX’s here in North America. Although, now, there are three. In PAX Prime in a few weeks, we have a slate of panels we’re doing because, because at PAX, attendees are much more likely to go to panels. We’ll get hundreds of people who show up to our D&D panels there. Then, of course, many hundreds more who’ll to go the Acquisitions Inc. games run by Chris Perkins.

Again, we’re trying to have a tailored approach to each show.

Michael: How many of the Wizard’s staff from the D&D side are here? Is it just you and Mike? Because last year, there were a lot of your because of the introduction of 5th edition.

Jeremy: Yeah. This year, Mike, Chris Tulach, and I are here. Chris Tulach oversees Organized Play.

Matt: Good. I want to talk to him.

Jeremy: Yeah. He’s our main contact with Baldman Games.

Matt: Okay. Back to game mechanics. I have a little bit of a concern with growth. I kind of feel that the base skills might not be enough. As in, as you grow and add more classes or even more races, that it might get redundant. I mean, I know there’s a lot of skills there and there’s a lot of patterns, but are there plans maybe to add a few more skills? It just seems a little light. That could be because I played a lot of D&D 3.5, and there was, like, 48, I think. 48 skills in D&D 3.5 at the end? There was a lot.

Jeremy: Yeah. Skills are actually a part of the game you would be highly unlikely to ever add to. Part of that is because they’re so fundamental to the game’s infrastructure, but one of the tools that we use a lot in our home games is actually mixing and matching which skill is paired with which ability skill.

I often, when I’m DM-ing, will do the usual thing. Like I’ll say, “Hey, give me a, for instance, a charisma intimidation check,” but, in the very next scene, I might say, because of how a player has described their character’s acting, I might say, “This time I want a strength intimidation check.” Because you’re intimidating this guy not with your personality but because you’re this massive half-orc and, just through your imposing physical presence and flexing your massive muscles, it’s actually your physical strength is feeding into your intimidation.

Our lean skill system is meant to be used in that very flexible way and that variant of changing which ability score a skill is paired with is one that is right there in the Player’s Handbook and then we touched on it as well in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. What I found is that it’s really opened up in play how my players think of their skills.

Matt: That’s fair. That’s good.

Jeremy: What that really gets to is, and this was a big part of how we thought about the design of the fifth edition. We wanted to bring in mechanics that were flexible, which I talked about before, so that a DM can improvise, but also so that it’d be easy for players simply to describe what it is they wanted their character to do, and then the DM to have an easy toolkit to say, “I can now easily tell you how your character is doing that.” And that mixing and matching of ability score and skill is one of the great ways to be able to do that.

A person might say, “I want to wow this crowd,” let’s say it’s a rogue. “I want to wow this crowd of villagers and I’m going to do it in this inn by leaping up, grabbing the chandelier near the fireplace and landing with a flourish right near the minstrel who’s playing as you.” To see if that rogue can pull it off, I might say, “All right. Give me a dexterity performance check,” even though performance is normally tied to charisma. Suddenly, because of how the rogue player described to me what they’re going to do, there’s a new skill interaction that we’ve created in play.

Matt: I don’t think I thought of it like that.

Michael: That’s how we do it. You tell the DM what you want and then the DM gets to figure out how that would be used with the skills… I just take a character sheet and I use it like a matrix. You have the physical abilities and mental. I was going to ask you what was the biggest surprise to come out of the release of fifth edition? At least something that you didn’t expect it to happen.

Jeremy: That’s a good question. Some of the bigger surprises were before the release, in the play test process. One I often mention is we weren’t sure, when we sent out the advantage and disadvantage mechanic in the public play test, if people would even like it. Because it was a new thing for D&D. It appeared in a variety of forms in the past, like, most recently, in fourth edition, it was actually a mechanic used by the avenger class. It was something we experimented with for the game as a whole but we were prepared for the player base to reject it because it was this unusual thing for the core system.

We were pleasantly surprised when the play test feedback came back and the majority of people were like, “Hey, yeah. We dig this,” and so we said, “Well, we’ll keep experimenting on this.” Because we were so committed to analyzing play test feedback, we were ready for several rounds on the play test to pull it out of the game if, suddenly, the play testers sort of, you know, and the majority of them are like, “Nah, this doesn’t feel like D&D. Take it out,” and we would have.

Michael: Wow. Pretty Big.

Jeremy: Yeah. Because, again, when we first introduced it, we didn’t realize how fundamental it would become. We knew the role that it could have. We saw, very early on, the great promise it had for the whole system. But e didn’t know until we sent it out, were people going to actually groove on it. Were they going to say, “Yeah, this feels like D&D. This feels like something good to add to the game.” We had to be ready throughout the play test process basically to kill our own babies, because there were a number of things we designed.

Michael: Was there anything that you pulled out?

Jeremy: Actually, a great example of something we pulled out is it was actually at Gen Con, where we introduced a new version of the Warlock and a new version of the Sorcerer. We were really pleased with the design of both of them, but play testers in the majority felt that our new versions have drifted too far from what they thought a D&D Warlock and D&D Sorcerer should feel like. We ended up scrapping a lot of our design and drafting something that we thought would get closer to what people expected for those two classes.

Because with D&D having a 40-year history, it’s always very much in our minds that, sure, we’re the designers of the current edition but this is also a game with a beloved legacy and, if we’re going to be faithful stewards of that legacy, we have to make sure that we are listening to what our fellow fans think about this game. Because we want, as we often talked about leading up to the release of fifth, we wanted to make sure people could feel like this is a modern version of the game but one that is clearly connected to the game’s roots, extending all the way back to the 70s.

I think, so post-release, even though we had so much play test feedback, even though we knew overall people were really liking what we were doing, there was still the open question, once we pulled it all together, we created the books; we weren’t sure, are they going to give thumbs up to the finished product? Are they going to say, “Yes, you succeeded. This is truly a new edition of the game, but one that clearly is touched by the previous editions“?

For us, the feeling of relief was, once it was out there, to see if people did actually feel that way. That, yes, this was indeed a new edition of the game that honored where it had come from while paving a way forward for the game in the years ahead.

Michael: What I have noticed is that we did a poll, with about a thousand of the users responding, to see when they actually joined D&D. You see a large decline in players, starting after the 70s. That was a big movement and it’s been slowly declining for 30 years now. Now it’s on the upswing.

Jeremy: Which actually connects, now that you say that, actually connects to what I would say is the true surprise, following the release of the game. That is, and it started at last Gen Con. Right around when the game released, the thing all of us from Wizards kept saying to each other that we were blown away by is the number of people who came up to us and said, “I haven’t played D&D since first or second edition, and fifth edition is what brought me back.” We were basically wanting to make sure we had a place to land for people who’d been playing third and fourth. What we didn’t realize is that we were creating a version of D&D that would bring back these people who hadn’t played sometimes in several decades. That’s been really exciting.

Michael: I’ve been an off and on player for years, but it pretty much brought me back. I was able to get my sons involved and now all their friends, and they’re like, and I sat down and talked to them. I was like, “You know, all those video games you play are all in a funnel. You can’t move outside of that box. D&D, you can.” I played with my son and they go to the game stores and play adventurers league, which is still kinda in that box, but now they get exposed to D&D they come, and they realized that this is so much better than a video game and they can use their imaginations. I think there will be probably a connection with computers, playing something like Minecraft. There’s a big movement with Minecraft and D&D and probably is going to be the next thing. That will be three-dimensional. You can’t get past a real sit-down game and try to get the same thing with a computer.

Jeremy: Yeah. As you guys know, there is this really simple magic at the heart of D&D, and that is a DM, in a split second, could create something that would take months and potentially millions of dollars to create in a video game, and it could just take seconds for the dungeon master. That’s really powerful. In my games before, I have created entire cultures over the course of minutes, simply because I might have thrown out some detail and then the players latched on to it. They’re like, “Tell us more about that.” I realized, “Huh, I don’t know much more about that so I’m going to make some stuff up,” and BAM! Whole cultures created. Again, that is an amazing, magical quality of D&D.

Michael: The teenagers and young adults, they haven’t seen a lot of the things on television or movies that we have; and you can bring things up they’ve never heard about. You’re like, “This is common knowledge at my age.” They’re like, “Oh, just awesome!” You know, just throw in movie stuff out or something from a book that you know they haven’t read before.

Jeremy: Yeah. D&D can often be this big melting pot.

Michael: Just throw anything out there.

Matt: Yeah. That is good for that.

Michael: There are a lot of dads now and they’re introducing their children to playing D&D. I think, 10 years ago, nobody would have foreseen that with D&D.

Jeremy: We have definitely seen an upswing in reports of parents playing with their children. That’s another surprise, because we didn’t set out to create a game specifically to bring in younger players. Our goal was just to create a version of D&D that would appeal to everybody, so it’s been immensely gratifying to find out about all these kids coming in.

Michael: Yeah. I can easily play with an eight-year-old or a teenager.

Jeremy: Right. A college buddy sent me a photo of one of his sons and his sons group of friends playing the fifth edition starter set, with one of the kids as the DM. They were just running it themselves.

Matt: It’s good, though. That’s what it was designed to do.

Jeremy: It’s also super gratifying because, I mean, I’m a lover of text. Again, I’m the guy who oversees the creation of things like the core books. Sometimes, there’ll be pressure of like, “Well, do we need to simplify things more for kids?” I’m often the guy who puts his foot down and says, “Hey, I was able to figure out first edition D&D when I was in elementary school. There are kids out there who can figure this stuff out.” Because I always sort of wanted to give people something they can aspire to, rather than talking down to, so it’s really gratifying when that goal of creating something that doesn’t talk down seems to be working.

Michael: I was going to ask another but it’s an opinion, personal. I don’t know if you want to go into this. Back in the beginning of the year, there was a discussion with the Indiana law and Gen Con. What is your opinion on what was going to happen with that law? (Indiana – Religious Freedom Restoration Act)

Jeremy: There were members of our team who said that, if the law was maintained the way it was originally passed, they would not want to come to Indianapolis.

Michael: Yeah, I was considering backing out too.

Jeremy: Because Wizards of the Coast believes very much in preserving diversity, particularly because the players of our games, whether it’s D&D or Magic: The Gathering or Axis & Allies, are players coming in all shapes and sizes. We have players, we have men, we have women, we have people of all ethnicities. We have gay people, we have straight people, and our games are for everybody. It made definitely a number of members of our team uncomfortable, this idea of being able to come to a place where members of our player base could be declined service. We were relieved when that law was changed.

Michael: Also, I was just like, “Where would you hold this?” This is pretty central to United States.

Matt: I missed the change. How do I miss the change?

Michael: I don’t even know where you would go, to hold something like Gen Con. I mean, people are talking Chicago or going out west but then you cut out a lot of people.

Matt: We don’t want this in Chicago.

Michael: Yeah, I know. This is pretty centralized but I hear a lot of people, they’ll drive 10 hours away. Or take a train from out west …

Matt: Yeah. You don’t want this to go to either coasts, either.

Michael Long & Jeremy Crawford

Michael: Yeah, you would decentralize it. You’d lose a lot of the appeal.

Jeremy: I mean, because PAX and Comic Con, they sort of have the coasts locked down, and then other big conventions like Dragon Con or what not. So with Gen Con, it’s nice to have a biggie in the heartland.

Jeremy: Thank you, guys.

Michael: Thank you very much.

Jeremy: My pleasure.

Thank you Jeremy for the great interview. You are truly a scholar and gentleman.

You can also reach out to Jeremy on twitter in case there is a question that you want to ask him @JeremeyECrawford

– Michael Long


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