Geoffroy Hassoun and Samia Aci-Sèche are the authors of the RPG Les Oubliés. I had the opportunity to ask Geoffroy a few questions, here are his answers.
What was your first roleplaying game experience?
I was 7 years old, there was a TTRPG session at the recreation center. I did all I could to be accepted, they kept telling me I was too young. Finally I participated and it was simply magic. I am not sure, it probably was Dungeons and Dragons.
Then, I came across an old issue of Casus Belli in a bookshop and it started for real...
What is so far your best experience?
The finale of an epic Warhammer 1st edition campaign that I was mastering.
The battle was fought all out. At that point, the characters had become heroes, they were giving all they had. Not all in the party survived, the players who lost their characters were almost crying.
How were born "Les Oubliés"?
I mastered a long time on Agone. At the end of a session, I felt the need to create my own universe. Samia, my co-author on "Les Oubliés" was present at the table.
I threw all the ideas at a Word document. Later, in the car on the trip back from the summer break, I started to explain to my wife the beginnings of "Les Oubliés".
A few weeks later, an association started a contest for RPGs, the time limit was short. I decided to take my chance and I started cleaning up and reworking that Word document. Samia did the correction work.
I did not win the contest. I put "Les Oubliés" on the side, but, a few months later, Samia came back to me, telling me that this universe had to be developped and that she was up to the task.
That was the start for "Les Oubliés".
Aside from "Les Oubliés", what games do you play?
I am currently mastering a big "Les Oubliés" campaign with two different groups, but on the side, I play a serpent-man, a thief on Roll20. The game is "Héros et Dragons" (A french RPG based on Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition). It feels good to be a player, it's rare for me.
Is there a game you'd like to try, but it always falls through?
Nephilim. We filled the character sheets, it took us two sessions, but then, we never played.
Books, comics, movies, what are your favourites?
Ah, movies, it's complex as well, I love movies. I especially 70s and 80s movies like Marathon Man, Rollerball, The Deer Hunter, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Godfather. Well, I love films by Martin Scorsese, Milos Forman, Michael Cimino, ...
Before COVID, I would go at least once per week to the morning session at the cinéma, right after having dropped the kids at school. I am crazy about movies.
Where are you on the Way of the Illustrator?
Ah, the way of the Jedi. I draw what I like. It's bit difficult for me to enter this "milieu", but I haven't yet said my last word (laughs).
Any future projects you can share with us?
I would like to close "Les Oubliés" with a huge campaign, an epic saga that'll turn the characters to legends.
With Samia, we also have a comic book project, it should be set in a contemporary universe. Stay tuned.
How was the work on "Les Oubliés" distributed among you and Samia?
It may look confusing. We live far away, I even think we never worked on the project while in the same room. We have long phone conversations about the universe and the scenarii. I write down everything, then I develop in a Word document that I send to Samia. The back and forth begins, Samia rewrites all of it, she gives a structure to the ideas, integrating questions and comments. A back and forth that lasted almost ten years. There were many breaks due to our respective jobs, births, etc ;)
How did the relationship go between you, the authors, and the editor?
Our adventure was not a walk in the park. We signed with a first editor, working on a summary their Art Direction had validated. Unfortunately that was the first and last time we all rowed in the same direction. They started focusing on other projects...
We then met the XII Singes and especially Frank Plasse who took over. We had written a thousand pages, he printed them all, laid them on the floor and together we reworked it all. It clicked nicely and in a few months we did it.
Regarding the rules, well, rules aren't my forte, same thing for Samia. We only knew that we wanted the influence of Dream and Nightmare on all the actions. Franck proposed to adapt the rule system of Trinité to our universe. We were enthused, we said yes. The double d12 system (one die for the Dream, one for the Nightmare) gave substance to the game, it colours the actions, depending whether one chooses the dark dice or the light dice.
For instance, let's say I try to sell an object. I throw two d12 (a dark one and a light one), if I decide to use the result of the dark dice, I have to roleplay cheating the buyer, if I use the result of the light dice, I trade fairly. And it applies to all actions!
Since it came from a robust and battle-tested games we felt totally at ease.