Hi, I asked a few of my "Team Eldritch" people their opinions too, especially since some of them are quite familiar with Savage Worlds, so I'm posting them here too. Note that my team's opinions (as well as mine) may differ from that of Goodman (i.e. we're not speaking for him here).
1. The first cut of reading about it (more narrative, stats measured in dice) seems a bit like Savage Worlds. Why a new system and not use SW or something else? What differentiates it from "the pack" of SW, C&C, OSRIC, Pathfinder, or the other options out there?
Dan Cross: Sure, Eldritch, like Savage Worlds uses the ascending ranking according to polyhedral dice, which is found in other games as well (Earthdawn, Sovereign Stone, etc). Why a new system? I believe my character creation and action system, as well as the "layered defense" combat lend themselves to a different "feel" in play. It's difficult to explain further without demonstrating (which is why I'm getting that Quickstart out ASAP).
Jason Toney: ERP is it's own system. Truly, you have to play it to see it (which will be possible soon with the Quick Start Rules). Active defense and Passive defense allows for more engaging fast-pace combat. Other systems have a role and see approach (exchanging blows until someone dies or runs), where as ERP has a role and participate approach, allowing the players to truly chose a defense to a GM's attack. Your fate is a shared story between the player and the GM, not just the GM.
Seth Clayton: Also, the action system lends an incredible amount of flexibility, allowing you to easily and intuitively take your character in directions the rules don't specifically cover.... This can let players really define the character they want without having to wade through a dozen books to find just the right rule... There is no rule interpretation involved... Look at your sheet and if you've got it, you've got it.... AND you know how to use it (very few sub-systems or 'mini-games' )
2. To what degree does Goodman look to support ERP vs. D&D 4e? I see that you've carefully said "we're not going to NOT support 4e" but is this intended to be your preeminent fantasy line? Guesses on future adventure count splits 4e vs ERP?
Jason Toney: Only Goodman can answer this question, but as a rule, if the game sells well the support will be there because it is profitable to do so.
Dan Cross: What he said.
3. Why not open from the get-go? It seems like with Wizards being bungholes about 4e there's a lot of fragmented fantasy games coming out, and if it was open then, since you're very early to market, could get more publishers rallying around it potentially.
Randall Petras (co-author): It is a good question, and the answer is, we did look into things like OGL, and actually found it to be a bit restrictive to where we wanted to take the game. Our skills system and combat system are unique, and that is something we wanted to maintain.
Jason Toney: OGL is a wonderful tool for a large company trying to "claim" the market, but isn't prudent for a small company trying to at least make its money back (although, we are gamers who have a passion for gaming, money is the necessary evil). We are being careful with ERP to release quality products, and to ensure this we have to have control of the license. Otherwise, we could become associated with mediocre or sub-par versions of ERP. The future of ERP depends that "quality" reigns, not mass quantity of material.
4. I'm intrigued by the references to interpretation-sharing between DM and player. How much? We talking indie-game much, or just "more than D&D," like a Feng Shui level of player authorship?
Dan Cross: I don't think it's really "indie" in design, if that word implies "way off the beaten path". The interpretation-sharing comes in a great deal in combat, where the players choose their mode of defense against each strike, but without a formal "to-hit roll", they then interpret how harm is mitigated. In contests of skills I'd say the "interpretative" part is no different than other RPGs, but in character creation you can definitely create a persona according to whatever fantasy vision you wish.
Randall Petras: The system was meant to be flexible. One of the things that separates pen and paper RPGs from video game RPGs is the ability of the players and the GM to adapt the system to their needs. The rules were designed to allow the player a large range of character description through the selection of skills and abilities. In fact the rules, rather than pigeonholing you into stock, often useless, skills allows the selection of skills to form a deep and robust character with which the player can identify.
Jason Toney: In D&D a player's fate is complete in the GM's hands once combat begins. ERP strives to allow a player to "actively" challenge his fate! Players are also not "tied down" to a "class" as none is tied to a class in real life. One major problem with most class based games is they assume characters are 2 dimensional. ERP assumes the opposite, people are not 2d, so the characters we create shouldn't be 2d either. Just because a character likes to swing a sword, doesn't mean he isn't adept at arcane knowledge, or a skillful thief. Other systems spend to much time "balancing" classes, thus creating a video game approach versus the true intent of Role-playing games, Role-playing.
5. What kind of "feel" are you going for? With the limited info and art it kinda says "Midnight" to me. Or, I just found the description of Ainereve - hmm, more Pendragoney or even... What was that French fantasy game... Reve the Dream Ourobouros (http://www.malcontentgames.com/index2.shtml
)? Hmmm, that's actually a little problematically close - y'all aware of that one?
Randall Petras: The setting, like the game engine, is adaptable to the players. The "dreamworld" nature of the setting allow for quite a bit of adaptability on the part of any one specific game group. It also allows any game group to come up with as much of their own stuff as they wish, but still use the stock setting materials should they choose to do so. In some games I've played I often felt trapped in their setting. While I could add my own flavor, I could never break out of the stock setting of their game.
Dan Cross: I'd say the game engine itself was designed to "feel" like the original fantasy role-playing game, before the line ultimately morphed into something more of a tactical skirmish extravaganza.
Jason Toney: Eldritch itself has no feel, as it currently exists as a "toolkit" which can be used to design your own fantasy, Scifi, or pulp adventure. Your reference is to Ainereve, which like all settings shares things in common with many other created settings, and of which share things in common with ancient mythology and lore. We are a product of our upbringing, and are therefore influenced by the myths and legends we knew growing up, so therefore this makes similarities appear in any newly created setting. Ainereve is a dream world, but it's not the dream world of Reeve the Dream the similarities end at the word "dream". Midnight is a dark fantasy setting in which evil has won, and good is few and far between. In Ainereve the world is of yet undetermined to that level. Pendragon is King Authur, nothing in common here other than the influence the Authorian Legends has on any fantasy creator.