Creator Interview

On Generators and RPGs, Part 2 with Russ Morrissey of EN World

Duncan Thomson
I've always loved writing random tables, and my games are crammed full of them, whether they are creating planets, creating monsters, creating names and all sorts of things.

The second part of a two-part interview with Russ Morrissey (Morrus) of EN World. Following on from questions about generators I asked about his generators engine and his RPG What's O.L.D. is N.E.W (WOIN).

OGRE and WOIN Q&A with Morrus of EN World

What made you create OGRE?

(OGRE was the Online Generic Randomizer Engine at EN World. As of Aug 2019 it is no longer available)

I've always loved writing random tables, and my games are crammed full of them, whether they are creating planets, creating monsters, creating names and all sorts of things. The idea of putting those ideas into an electronic format just naturally made sense so that in one click a GM or a player can just pull up...a random planet with a star systems, a tavern, a pub meal or something like that just in one go. So it is literally an evolution just to go from writing random tables for my games and putting them into a convenient and suitable format"

What made you want to support What's Old is New (WOIN) with random Generators?

Largely the same reason really. I always create these things because I need them. So when I'm running a game and I'll think "oh God, I really wish I could just quickly whip up a planet right now. So over the next week or so I'll write a generator and then I've got that generator there for my own use and I've always kind of viewed it as - I wrote these for myself and then they're there for other people to use if they want. If no-one uses it, that's fine, I've still got them for myself, it's always still there.

So it's not like an altruistic thing. I write them because I feel I need them and then I figure that if I need them then...maybe someone else will need them, who knows?

How do you think that generators have affected the take up of WOIN, or the support?

So I've got no way of measuring it, so...I'm not sure. I think the fact that WOIN is generously supported in various ways, whether that's articles or supplements or generators. I think the whole additive mess of support definite helps. Well I think that helps any game! A well-supported game is more likely to be a popular game. I don't know if generators themselves are a large part of that but it's certainly part of it.

Is there something else you want to do with WOIN?

...So many things...

So we're bringing out Judge Dredd very soon, which is based on WOIN. We're also bringing out a whole series of pop culture homages. We did one called Xenomorphs: The Fall of Somerset Landing recently, which is literally just a take on the alien myth models. We've got one which is Buffy-esque, we've got one that's kinda based on the Exorcist, one that's Star Trek-ey. We've got a whole bunch of these sorts of things and they're coming out as settings for adventure books, about 60 pages so they're not massive but when you dip into a certain subject and show that WOIN can do that genre.

What are you proudest about with WOIN?

Hmm..I think one of my favourite things is what is now the Official Sponsors Stream but I originally stumbled across it was a stream of WOIN called warped. They've been doing it for about two years now so they've got hundreds of episodes under their belt. They're funny, they're hilarious, the GM is clearly on top of the system and runs a great's got a great cast. I mean they're no the size of Critical Role but they're just wonderful.

Watching other people play your game is perhaps the most exciting thing a creator can possibly experience.

Further Reading

You can find more about What's OLD is NEW at the main site

We cover where to contact Morrus in the first part of the interview