Women in Tabletop Gaming Month #20: Chaosium interviews Jo Kreil
Posted by Michael O'Brien on 25th Jun 2018
Lynne Hardy interviews Call of Cthulhu RPG writer Jo Kreil for Women in Tabletop Gaming Month
Serious ones first:
1. What is your background?
My day job is a receptionist for a property management company, though I admit my long-term goal is to get into the gaming industry full-time. I studied Film in the UK at a school in London where I lived for almost four years. I am originally from, and live in, Pennsylvania. Inside the gaming industry, I work as a freelance writer/game designer for a variety of companies, though the majority of my work is with people who publish for Call of Cthulhu. I have worked with Chaosium, Cthulhu Reborn, Golden Goblin Press, Stygian Fox, Arc Dream, Sixtystone Press, and Great Scott! Games.
2. How long have you been gaming? What attracted you to it in the first place, and how were you introduced to it?
I have been gaming for over 20 years. My first experience was originally because of my cousin, Jason. He used to play a D&D game which was always set up on his gaming table downstairs in his family’s den. I remember being fascinated by the maps and the miniatures that were set up downstairs. For Christmas one year, he bought me a Basic D&D box set which was my first exposure to roleplaying games. I started reading a gaming magazine called Inquest and it was there I was first exposed to Call of Cthulhu. I bought the 5.5 edition and was very quickly hooked!
3. How did you get into the gaming industry?
I had an idea for a monograph for a Call of Cthulhu setting which surprisingly had not been done yet, despite there being some interest. However, not having much experience in such things, I posted on the Yog-Sothoth forums asking for some suggestions, and I was approached by both Kevin Ross and Adam Crossingham. Kevin was nice enough to take me under his wing and help point me in the right direction. He also had me pitch him a scenario for the Down Darker Trails setting which should be released sometime down the line. Adam also asked if I would be interested in turning the monograph into a full book, so I wrote it and turned it in. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been released yet. Hopefully it will see the light of day soon. It is one of the first things I worked on and I am incredibly proud of it.
4. What was the first gaming product you worked on, and in what capacity?
The very first thing I worked on was a short monster article for The Unspeakable Oath, “The Children of Madam Yi.”
5. What was the last gaming product you worked on, and in what capacity?
I am currently doing projects for Chaosium and Cthulhu Reborn. One is a setting book and one is an adventure book. Sadly, I can’t reveal a lot just yet!
6. What has been the most challenging gaming product you’ve worked on, and why? (Alternatively, this could be the gaming product you’ve learned the most from working on)
“Toil in the Fields” for Tales of the Caribbean by Golden Goblin Press—in particular, the first draft I turned in for this book. I had asked for the island of Haiti but I struggled to find the perfect idea, and my first attempt was a step-by-step draft of what not to do. It was the investigators getting lucky and following each plot point precisely, with few—if any—deviations. Oscar Rios was beyond patient, though, and really helped me to firm up a more solid submission which turned into “Toil in the Fields.” It really was a learning experience.
7. What has been the most enjoyable/rewarding gaming product you’ve worked on, and why?
Fear’s Sharp Little Needles for Stygian Fox. The challenge was to write very short, quick scenarios that are not only good stories but that also pack a punch while still allowing room for the Keeper to slide them into their own campaigns. I had to be very concise in what I was describing and in the detail I was adding to the scenario. I am incredibly excited for this book to come out.
And now for some more frivolous ones:
8. Just how large is your dice and/or stationary collection?
I have a large amount of dice which I keep In a D20 Burlesque dice bag. I only have two complete sets: a set of Carrion Crown dice (perfect for Ravenloft games) and my Horror on the Orient Express dice. All my others are incomplete due to losing them over the years. I also have more D6 than I know what to do with because, when I first got into gaming, I raided every board game at my parents’ house that had dice in it. Also, I have been lovingly mocked by friends because despite playing magic-users, I only owned one d4 for the longest time.
9. What is your favourite gaming snack?
My favourite gaming snack is probably a bottle of cider or a Roy Rogers with Munchies snack mix, or some kind of chocolate.
10. What’s the most unusual/exotic location you’ve gamed in? Or that one of your games has been played in?
Not many; I prefer gaming in my own home or a gaming store/convention. I would have to say the most unusual for me was a pub. In America, we don’t typically play in the pub, but when I lived in London, I found it was a fairly common occurrence.
A self-professed Anglophile, JO KREIL will talk about queer design, transgender rights, and game design to anyone who will listen. Sometimes even to those who won't. Her favorite hobbies involve rolling dice, gazing up at the stars, and cursing at her gaming console. Her writing is powered by copious amounts of Roy Rogers and Lady Grey tea.