Interview with Misha Bushyager of New Agenda Publishing

Today we’re going to be talking about the upcoming game Orun, currently up on Kickstarter! Misha Bushyager of New Agenda Publishing was kind enough to answer a few of my questions but let me cut to the chase: you should go and back this Kickstarter. I did and then I listened to the episodes on She’s a Super Geek and was glad I did so. Then I read this interview and I was doubly-glad I did so. It’s great and I recommend you check it out!

Misha Bushyager is a long-time GM and author; you can check out her writing at BlackGirlGameworks.com. She’s also one of the lead authors for Orun as well as a marketing manager and she’s the GM featured on She’s a Super Geek‘s campaign linked above. She’s really funny and has been doing an awesome job keeping up energy on the Orun Kickstarter. Read on to see what she has to say about the game and why you should back it!

Mephit: How did you get started playing and writing RPGs? Have you and your team always been interested in sci-fi games or is this a new thing for you?

Misha Busyhager: I started playing in college when a group of guys invited a buddy and me to play in an Earthdawn campaign they were starting. Over the years I’ve played Shadowrun, RIFTS, Cyberpunk, as well as tons of high, urban, and weird fantasy, horror, and everything in between. I started writing as an extension of running games and fan fiction, specialized settings, detailed back stories. You know, the usual.

The team came together as an extension of a Black Game Designers group on G+. The three of us geeked out over our mutual love of Star Wars and Star Trek and the rest is history

Orun - Space Station
Image © New Agenda Publishing

M: Give us the elevator pitch for Orun: what are the games inspirations and what sorts of stories can you tell in the game?

MB: In Orun, you play an envoy of the Oluru, beings who ascended but came back to help the rest of the worlds, called a Djali or Luminary. Not quite ascendant themselves, the Luminaries travel to different worlds as advisers, troubleshooters, and peacekeepers in a galaxy that hit its peak and then lost the secret. They explore lost star systems and ultimately help enlighten worlds and their people with problems but small scale and large.

M: Orun is described an a “Afro-Centric Space Opera,” which is a very intriguing term. Why was it important for you that the African aspect of Orun be listed as a central part of the setting? What are some examples of how the Afro-Centric part of Orun comes out in the game?

MB: All three of us wanted to create something different from the usual quasi-European model that so many games follow. We clicked early on the idea of using our own African roots as inspiration and incorporate a lot of Yoruban and Igbo influences and concepts. The Orisha, Oluru, even the name Orun, which mean “heaven” all came from our research.

M: The term “Post-Apotheosis” also appears in the description of Orun. What does “Apotheosis” mean to you all and how does it fit into the big picture of Orun and how player characters interact with the galaxy?

MB: An apotheosis is the pinnacle of development or an ascent to deification. In Orun, the worlds were given the secret to ascend to higher planes of existence, but then lost it and are now trying to rediscover it. The players are not only trying to reach that goal personally but are trying to help everyone else reach it as well. Their small-scale actions have far reaching effects.

Orun - Ringed Planet
Image © New Advantage Publishing

M: What are some unique things about the game mechanics in Orun? How did you write the function of the game to reflect the end result you hoped to see?

MB: We wanted to balance the crunchier style Eloy [one of the other authors] has with the more narrative style I have so we kept the system simple. The Horizon System uses 2d10 + a skill + an aura with a sliding scale of difficulty. We wanted to allow the system to tell all sorts of stories so we kept the skill list and auras flexible. Basically, if you can make a case for using a particular skill and aura combo, go for it.

M: There are an awful lot of options coming out in the stretch goals for this Kickstarter campaign. How do you weave so many different threads into a coherent whole?

MB: The species were something we wanted to include from the beginning, same with the art, With the additional writers, we gave them some loose guidelines on things we wanted to see, and let them come up with ideas they were passionate about but that could be done with a few pages.

M: All those species sure are exciting. There are ten different ones by my count! What’s one of your favorite places, people, or things in the bewildering universe of Orun?

MB: Why don’t you ask me to pick a favorite child? Under duress I’d say the Karok, because I have a soft spot for mechs and small cute critters with over-sized bad attitudes, and the B’Bocci, because they are unlike any other aquatic based species I’ve seen.

M: Sorry about that! I didn’t mean to put you on the spot: every parent has a favorite but you shouldn’t have to say it publicly. Hope the end of your Kickstarter blows up!

Orun - Species
Image © New Advantage Publishing
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