While visiting my parents over the weekend, I had a chance to briefly chat with Tracy Hickman for a few minutes about some of the projects he's currently working on. He was out doing a yard sale with his wife as is customary with much of the local community every May.
He sounded pretty excited about Garriot's Shroud of the Avatar project and has been putting a lot of work into making it as great as it can be. He also hinted about a new story-based boardgame he's going to be kickstarting very soon which sounds pretty awesome. This got me talking a little about how I thought it was great that I share the same vision for player-driven content with him and that I thought it was awesome that he was trying to push such innovations on a market that seems to be stuck in a bit of a rut lately. Before I left, he gave me a signed copy of The Immortals which was great.
We will never know for sure, but without the contribution to D&D from Tracy Hickman, table-top RPGs as we know them may have never truly caught on as a mainstream phenomenon in the United States. For the first time, the title of Dungeons and Dragons was being widely seen on store shelves, not only in hobby-shops, but in your average bookstore. Even though this is the point where D&D began to become more commercialized and bloated by rules and supplements, I can't argue that without this metamorphosis, many, including myself, may have never even heard about the game. So in a round-about sort of way, Tracy Hickman led me to this game through his work and I greatly appreciate him for that.
I hope to have more chats with him in the future, it certainly helps that he lives almost directly across the street from my parents in Salt Lake County. I'm excited about his new projects and hope I can get some personal insight into his work. Rubbing shoulders with one of the great RPG pioneers is an awesome opportunity.