I had the privilege of getting to review one of his products that he had recently released on RPGNow, called The Cheese Shop.
This scenario features the Golden Wheel Cheese Shop and Jim gives you a story hook to work with for either a small side quest or possibly something bigger. Now what I liked most of about this product was that Jim took the time and added just the right amount of detail, but still allowing you the DM enough leeway to make the scenario your own. In this scenario you will find a map of the Golden Wheel Cheese Shop.You will meet the proprietor and Lorna, his wife and learn about some exotic cheeses and there selling prices.
There are three areas of play in this scenario, which includes the shop, a barn and a yard. This gives you the flexibility to expand the scenario and not only be limited to the shop itself. Jim has even included a side quest that could be fleshed out into something bigger at later stage. I personally like this and feel that it could be used at all levels of play depending on how much you as the DM would like to expand upon it.
I like the conflict that Jim has introduced between Morgan and Lorna, which would reveal itself when he learns of Lorna's "problem." Then there is Lorna and how she learns of her transformation and learns to deal with her changes. How will she feel when her beloved cats turn on her? But this is all left for the DM to work out in as much or little detail as is needed for his game.
I am looking forward to seeing more of Jim's City Block Series. So if you are interested in seeing Jim's other products why don't you head over to RPGNow and show your support by purchasing one of Jim's products. I know I will be.
Section One: InformationWhat is your name?
My name is Jim Beach
Where are you from?
I was born in Newport, Kentucky but Dad was career army so raised everywhere
How old are you?
I am 54 years young right now
What do you do for a living?
Presently I work part time as Inventory Specialist for an auto parts store
What are your hobbies or interests?
Gaming is my all consuming hobby. I also like to read and my tastes are rather eclectic, I read scifi, fantasy, westerns, war stories whatever strikes me at the time.
Do you have a blog or website?
I have recently started working on doing a blog The DM's Notebook
When and what was the first roleplaying game you played?
I started with the little brown books and the blue box set back in 1979. We quickly graduated to AD&D and its been on ever since. I have been playing for 33 years.
Do you prefer to be a Player, Game Master or Both?
I prefer to be the DM. I love making the games and setting the encounters and watching the enjoyment my players get. Not many thrills bigger than a group of guys telling you, you are awesome for the game just ran.
What are your favourite roleplaying game(s) to run?
I have been a D&D fanatic from the beginning but I have started running more Pathfinder games now. I like some elements of Shadowrun but not really thrilled overall. Atomic Highway is a great game too.
Has playing roleplaying games had an impact on your life?
Yes. I was always kind of shy as a kid and even later as an adult. Playing D&D and the social interaction of an RPG helped me to develop people skills.
Section Two: You the Game MasterWhen last have you been a Game Master in a roleplaying game and what adventure did you run?
Last adventure I ran was a short one shot for some of my son’s friends online. It was a longer version of the Coffee Break Adventure I published called, Here Kitty, Kitty. They all seemed to like it and things went rather well.
Do you prefer to referee a small or large group when running a roleplaying games?
Small groups are better but to me a small group is around 8 players.
How often do you get to be a Game Master in a roleplaying game?
Every chance I get. Whether its online or around my game table at home or at a convention.
What do you think is your biggest weakness as a Game Master right now?
Not having enough time to actually game. It slows me down a bit with my writings as I call my work. I get together either online with a group or in my home with some of our regular players when I can.
What could you do to improve your game as a Game Master?
Win the lottery so I have infinite time to devote to my game
Describe your perfect session as a Game Master in a roleplaying game:
No one dies and everyone has fun, that is what counts the fun part.
How would you describe the group that you currently GM to?
I really don’t have a group per se. I hit one shot games when I can usually with different people each time just to playtest something I want to use in a published adventure. If it were my group I had when my kids were growing up they were all wild and unpredictable. They played their hearts out and could go for hours. It never seemed to matter how well crafted I made an encounter they would figure a way through, around or over it. Great bunch, "The Flaming Chaos Crew."
Do you have a memorable moment that you would care to share as a Game Master?
Way too many of those. I don’t have any gazebo stories or “I attack the darkness” players but over 33 years I have seen some doozies. Maybe one day I’ll sit down and write them out.
What do you do as a Game Master to prepare for your usual game sessions?
Cackle maniacally a lot, jot down notes and play it pretty much by ear. After playing with Flaming Chaos for so long I learned players will quickly subvert your most well laid plans and head off in a direction you did not plan for at all and have nothing prepared for. I finally gave up and run it all by ear now. I know some players will call a DM on something and demand to see where they wrote that down but thats something my players understand I write hardly anything down and I WILL change anything in the books to suit the story at the time.
Do you use published material or create your own?
I use published material and strip it to its bare bones. I might like a map but usually not the written parts. If there are bits of that I like I will just chew them up and redo them to suit MY group MY story.
Have you had any of your own material published?
I have War Games South and I publish short adventures and other gaming stuff on DrivethruRPG..
What gaming aids do you use when you play roleplaying games?
At the table I use minis, large scale maps,home made terrain just whatever it takes to make the whole gaming experience fun and exciting for my players.
Do you make your own maps or props for your gaming sessions?
Yes I make my own terrain and dungeon props.
Do you have any advice that you would care to share with new upcoming Players and Game Masters alike?
Read all you can. Know your game know your character class. Have fun cause thats what really counts.
Section Three: The IndustryHow did you get into producing RPG Products and When?
Couple of years ago I met Sean Patrick Fannon at a con party. He was representing OneBookShelf and DrivethruRPG at the time and we started talking and I got his card and by the time I had sobered up the next day I had forgot the meeting. Later after returning home and getting clothes ready to wash I found his card. I thought about it for several weeks wondering if I was really up to making the plunge then finally contacted Sean. He helped me out quite a bit and is a regular at the cons I work for. Long story short and no where near as funny and interesting as it was that is how I got into publishing my own stuff.
Where does the name War Games South come from?
I wanted something with Dragon in the name but everything I tried was taken. Years ago I used to order all my gaming stuff from a company called War Games West which is now defunct and I wanted to be as customer friendly and as knowledgeable and helpful as I recall those folks as being so I took the War Games SOUTH name in honor of their skills. RPGNow - War Games South
Do you have any big projects in the pipeline for War Games South?
I am in the process of creating an entire city block by block with maps and writeups on all the businesses and people running them.
It seems like that you have been around the block with RPG's, what is your take on DnD Next?
Jim thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me and I wish you all the best with your city block project.