Lee Williams is one of the stalwarts of Dark Conspiracy, having been involved or contributed to numerous DC products and companies over the last two decades. It was with great pleasure that DCtRPG.info was able to have a brief chat with Lee about the game, and his current role (as of 2012) as a 3Hombres editor and proofreader.
[DCtRPG] – Hi Lee, thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at DCtRPG.info. Before we start the interview proper, care to tell the readers a bit more about yourself?
[Lee] – I’m a slightly atypical working-class English bloke, as I don’t like football (soccer) and I know what atypical means! Seriously, I am 46 and from more or less the middle of England. Always been into science fiction, fantasy, thrillers and so forth. Apparently I could read unaided without talking out loud from the age of 3 or so, which has to have some bearing on my lifelong love of reading and other general geekyness!
[DCtRPG] – Always good to meet another geek! I guess also that you’re a life long roleplayer?
[Lee] – I was in a wargaming club as a teenager, and one day I saw this bunch of people sat around a table talking their way through a fight rather than shifting models around. This intrigued me greatly, so the following week I had a chat with one of the guys and he explained what it was all about. Soon, I couldn’t get enough roleplaying! The very first session I was in was original AD&D, and somewhere I still have the character sheet. He was a second level fighter I think. Not long after this, I purchased my very first RPG, which was the classic Traveller three-books-in-a-box. Never looked back since!
[DCtRPG] – Another one hooked by the bug I see. But what about Dark Conspiracy, how or when did you discover this great little game?
[Lee] – I had seen ads for the game in Challenge magazine and just thought it looked kind of interesting. A few months later my friend Dave (aka Ferret) organised a game weekend at his place, and Dark Conspiracy was on the agenda. He happens to be one of the best gamers I have ever met, both as player and GM, and the game combined with his home-brew scenario to grow into something special. Within weeks I had ventured to Dungeons & Starships in Birmingham and bought every Dark Conspiracy book that had been released by that time. On reading the main rulebook it struck me that there was a similarity to classic Traveller, in that the rules were a framework upon which you could build your own individual take on things.
[DCtRPG] – And so what was/is it about DC that really appealed?
[Lee] – More than anything else, it is the wide spectrum of styles that the game supports. Low-life drug dealers slaughtered by monsters from outer space? Check. Corporate espionage and dodgy deals in the boardroom? Check. Escaped genetic mutations just trying to survive? Check. Facing off against eldritch horrors from twisted alternate dimensions? That too! It’s all there waiting to be used. Of course, as Lester Smith himself said, GDW’s basic premise behind the original game was “monsters blow up real good”. He gave us plenty of other avenues to explore though, and that is where we as fans have gone with it.
[DCtRPG] – Damn straight! But it does lead me to ask, what was or is the least appealing aspect of the game or its system?
[Lee] – Hmm, well I guess we all know which of the rules are fiddly and over-complicated (automatic fire, I’m looking at you!) or just slightly too simple (Initiative). We should remember that the rules were held over from Twilight: 2000 v2 and a later version, used in Traveller: New Era and T2K v2.2 fixed a couple of things. Hopefully the optional rules we have in mind for the 3 Hombres edition will help things. As for the setting, the only problem I ever had was that there are so many disparate parts to it that they don’t really gel together at first.
[DCtRPG] – As I stated in the introduction, you are a well known contributor to the Dark Conspiracy line. What was it exactly that got you to start contributing?
[Lee] – When GDW went bump I just started to jot down anything that came to mind that could be dropped into a DC session or adventure. After reading a few novels the idea of the Republic of Britain came to mind, so I started laying that out just for myself. I happened across Demonground just after issue 2 was released, having only just discovered the internet at that time. The reason my name was all over the next couple of issues is because you guys were kind enough to accept EVERYTHING I had written for DC over the previous 4 or so years! After issue 4 or so I started writing brand new material, which was most enjoyable. I met a lot of good people through Demonground and still keep up with most of them. That’s all down to yourself Marcus, and I can never thank you enough for that late night phone call!
[DCtRPG] – Aw, shucks! Thanks for the kind words. Getting back on track, however, I have to ask, out of all the writing you have done, what would you say is your favourite?
[Lee] – People still tell me their favourite thing of mine is the Republic of Britain, but for me that is just something I wrote! I don’t really have anything that stands out to me, but what I enjoy most is creating new equipment. I’m not a rules person, but inventing items and writing background is where I am most comfortable.
[DCtRPG] – Well we should do what we enjoy the most, as they say. And was it through your writing that you got involved with 3 Hombre Games and DC III?
[Lee] – After TGC’s [that was The Gamers’ Conglomerate – DCtRPG] effort sadly came to nought (and it was a damn fine attempt!) things were in limbo for a while. Once again it looked like Dark Conspiracy was cursed, but eventually Norm Fenlason chased the licence and managed to cut a deal. Right away he asked me and Tad Kelson if we would go with him on the journey to DCIII. Having known them both for some time, I jumped at it, and having collaborated with them both in the past we know which of us is the best at certain tasks. For DCIII I am mainly a proofreader and editor in practical terms, as well as being a sounding board for the others to bounce ideas off. In fact we all do that to each other.
[DCtRPG] – Excellent! Where there is a will there’s a way, as they say! So, what can we expect to see from the new DC?
[Lee] – Right now we are concentrating on the rules and setting material for DCIII. We have several adventures already written and on the back burner, which will be released when DCIII is finished. This is so they can be statted for the new rules rather than being new material for the old version, as our previous material has been. There will be cross-compatibility of course. There is also a slight chance we may develop our own simple ruleset, which would enable us to offer non-DCIII material in future.
[DCtRPG] – Well I for one am looking forward to what this new era in DC will bring! Finally, before I let you go, I just have ask, if you have a free hand, and an unlimited budget, of course, where would you ultimately like to see Dark Conspiracy go?
[Lee] – If Call of Cthulhu was D&D then I’d want DCIII to be Pathfinder! Apart from that…I don’t know really. I guess I just want it to carry on and for new material to be done properly. The ability to offer things like full colour hardback print versions would be cool though.
[DCtRPG] – Thanks, Lee! It has been great having this chance to chat about the past present and future, and I’m sure that the readers will all join me in wishing you and the rest of the team the best of luck in your endeavours!