Réalisée le 25 Juillet 2005
TOC : Who are you ? Age, origin (geographical and cultural)
MCL : I'm Michael LaBossiere. As of this writing I am 39 years old. I was born in Maine and I reflect the colonial heritage of the state-I'm French, English, and Mohawk. There are some rumors about some unnatural aspects to my background, but I can neither confirm nor deny such speculation.
TOC : Can you tell us more about your french origin, and Mohawk too (french people doesn't know them) ?
MCL : On the French side, my ancestors came over from France around about the 17th century. Apparently, they came to America to trap and kill the local wildlife. During the Revolution, they wisely chose the America side
The Mohawk Nation was part of the original Iroquois Confederacy consisting of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and the Seneca. This nation was founded sometime between 1000 and 1600 ad. In the 18th century, the Tuscarora joined the Five Nations, which remained known by that name.
The Mohawks held the lands in the east and were known as the "Eastern Doorkeepers." The name "Mohawk" was actually given by the Algonquin Nation and later used by the British, Dutch, French and Americans. Mohawk people referred to themselves as the "People of the Flint."
The Iroquois nation still exists within the borders of the United States and is recognized-it even issues its own passports.
TOC : How did you discover Lovecraft ?
MCL : My first encounter was when I found a battered and tattered paperback in the library when I was around 13. As I recall, I read "The Thing on the Doorstep" and it had a significant impact on me-I couldn't sleep that night because I was worried something would show up on my door step. In 1980 when I bought the first edition of the Call of Cthulhu game I also bought as many books as I could find that had his work in them. I was very pleased when they started publishing his stories in collected volumes.
TOC : How did you discover the role playing games ?
MCL : That is actually my mother's fault. She is a guidance counselor and had read that D&D helped children develop social skills. So, she bought me a copy of the basic set. I was initially a bit skeptical-after all, how often does your mother want you to do something cool ? Their job is usually to keep you away from cool and corrupting things. Once I figured out how to read a four-sided die, I was hooked for life.
TOC : How did you discover Call of Cthulhu ? (did you first read the novels and then discoved the RPG, or was it the opposite ?)
MCL : I read one of Lovecraft's stories before the game came out, but didn't really start reading his stuff seriously until after I started playing the game.
TOC : Do you play other RPG ? Which ones ?
MCL : Yes. I've played, original D&D, AD&D, basic D&D, Tunnels & Trolls, Gamma World, The Fantasy Trip, Top Secret, Boot Hill, Bushido, Villains & Vigilantes, Champions, Star Trek, Runequest, Space Opera, Traveler, Traveler 2300, Megatraveler, Marc Miller's Traveler, Traveler the New Era, Dark Conspiracy, Twilight 2000, and many more.
TOC : Which monster of the Mythos would you be ?
MCL : According to my players, I'd be Nyarlathotep.
TOC : What is your estimation of your SAN level ?
MCL : On a good day, probably 70. During finals week after listening to students explain why they never came to class, yet still should get good grades, around 25. After accidentally watching some reality TV show, probably 5.
TOC : Are you rather investigator or keeper ?
MCL : I've never actually played CoC as an investigator, but I'd say Keeper. It is better to give than to receive, especially when it comes to madness.
TOC : According to you, what are qualities of a Guardian ?
MCL : I'm not sure.
TOC : According to you, what are qualities of an Investigator ?
MCL : There are many ways to be a good player, but imagination is probably a key factor. Some players are careful planners, other fly by the seat of their pants. Also important is the ability to get into the story and the roleplaying. Unlike D&D which rewards players with loot, level advancement and magic items, CoC is all about the story and role-playing.
TOC : According to you, what are qualities of a malicious cultist ?
MCL : First, she is in a cult. Second, she is malicious. I tend to use a variety of qualities to create them. Some are just cannon fodder who are just out to get the investigators-with no real explanation. Other are more complex-people who were corrupted by power, or mislead by someone or something they believed in, or those who knew they wanted to be very bad and chose that path.
TOC : What do you think of the future of RPG ?
MCL : Well, the obvious path seems to be more and more connection to computers-perhaps even a Cthulhu MMORPG. Of course, I suspect that people might turn back towards traditional gaming-the computer stuff is fun, but lacks the social interaction of actually seeing people in person.
TOC : According to you, what have been the main stages of the evolution of CoC since the beginning ?
MCL : As a game, CoC has been fairly consistent-it has gone through several editions, but the basic core is the same. In terms of stages, I suppose that they would be the beginning in which there was just the basic book, then the middle phase in which there were various supplements and then now in which there is a whole bunch of stuff for the game-plus plush Cthulhu toys.
TOC : Why is this game still as vivid as ever ?
MCL : Elves, hobbits, and cyborgs go in and out of style, but horror is eternal.
TOC : What was your first "job" on CoC ?
MCL : Back in the early 1990s I wrote several CoC adventures for Challenge magazine, which was being published by GDW. Unfortunately, GDW took Challenge down with it and most of my adventures did not end up in print. My first major job with Chaosium was writing "Blood Moon"-a science fiction setting for CoC. This lead to the Strange Eons project with Pagan Publishing. After I and many other people did a great deal of work, Pagan left us out in the cold. Since then I've done some monographs (End Time, Raising Up, The First Book of Things) for Chaosium. I've also made about 50 adventures available via their web site.
TOC : Do you work alone ?
MCL : Yes. I've tried to get my husky and my cats to contribute, but the lack of opposable thumbs and language keeps impeding their efforts.
TOC : According to you, what are qualities of a good CoC scenario ?
MCL : First, it has to have a plausible hook to bring in the investigators. Second, there needs to be an initial mystery with layers of mystery beneath that-the scenario should unfold with the investigators getting deeper into the madness and further from the mundane world. Third, the technical aspects all need to be well developed-plausible characters, carefully planned events, a coherent plot, and, of course, events that create horror.
TOC : Tell me your worst memory of game ?
MCL : I was at a convention and played in an adventure that was so bad, almost everyone left after about twenty minutes. The DM had no clue what he was doing, had only had six sided dice and no DM's guide and started by asking us to give him money.
TOC : Tell me your best memory of game ?
MCL : A few years ago I ran a mini-campaign that had several excellent twists. One of the investigators, "the major" was actually dead and had been revived by a military project (lead by his ex-wife) and didn't know it-until he saw the tapes of his "resurrection." Another investigator was actually a mi-go "sleeper" agent who found out what he really was in the final adventure-when the mi-go had what they wanted and had to tie up lose ends. In the end, everyone ended up in mi-go brain cylinders.
TOC : Can you tell us the story of the publication of the MULA version ?
MCL : After a long hiatus, I sent a rough version of the End Time material to Chaosium. They initially posted it as is. The rough version was refined under the masterful hands of Gottardo Zancani and Chaosium liked it so much that they released it as a monograph.
TOC : Which is the return to the level of the success of the supplement (web and MULA) ?
MCL : I don't have any numbers, but the End Time seems to be doing well-it has often been in the top listings on their web site.
TOC : And what do you expect some ? Glory, profits, test for yourself,...
MCL : Profit would be nice, but I'll settle for eternal fame.
TOC : More generally, which of your work (not only Coc) had the better success ?
MCL : It depends on how you define "success." In terms of money, my best was Protect & Serve, a book I did for RTG. In terms of my favorite, I'd say that it was "Blood Moon."
TOC : Have you any project for End Time in the futur ?
MCL : I do have some plans for additional adventures and other material.
TOC : Have you got any other projects in the future ?
MCL : Always. I've been working on another science fiction CoC project consisting of several adventures. I'm also running a D&D 3.5 edition campaign now, so I'm cranking out material for that.
TOC : Is there a question noone ever asked you which you would like to answer ?
MCL : Why are you so cool ? :)
Dr Michael C. LaBossiere, thank you.