FFORGED IN THE FIRES OF WAR, RAISED IN THE CARNAGE OF BLOOD AND STEEL, DRIVEN BY AVARICE AND VENGEANCE…THIS IS THE WORLD OF FANTOS, THE SETTING OF A NEW CARD GAME FROM IMP HOUSE, WHICH HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO LIFE BY ILLUSTRATOR MIKE LARICCIA. SOME OF YOU may recognize Larricia’s name from his phenomenal run on Grayskull Grindhouse the we featured here on the site back in 2015 (if not, do yourself a favor and check it out asap). We recently caught up with the artist to learn more about his latest project and what fans of both weird fantasy and tabletop games can expect from Savage Planet: The Fate of Fantos.
WELCOME BACK, MIKE! LAST WE SPOKE YOU HAD JUST WRAPPED UP YOUR WORK ON GRAYSKULL GRINDHOUSE. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO SINCE THEN?
It has been a busy couple of years. After I finished Grayskull Grindhouse I became a full-time Dad and freelanced in the evenings. I started writing a follow up to Grayskull Grindhouse when I was contacted from a boutique game company in Fort Worth, Texas called Imp House Games. They had seen GSGH and really loved the style. They told me they had a game they were developing which had an 80’s nostalgia vibe, with influences from Jack Kirby and Heavy Metal Magazine. This began my relationship with the world of Savage Planet: Fate of Fantos… two years later, here we are staring at a successful Kickstarter which is currently still climbing.
CONGRATS! LESS THAN 15 DAYS THE CAMPAIGN HAS ALMOST DOUBLED ITS ORIGINAL FUNDING GOAL. HAVE YOU EVER WORKED ON ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE?
ML: This is my first time doing something [like this] professionally. I made a card game for my son but it was just silly activity.
SO WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE GAME?
ML: The game is just AWESOME. Rather than butcher the storyline and gameplay, which is thoroughly explained over at Imp House’s website, I’ll speak about the world the game sets up. [Essentially] Fantos is an exotic world which has elements of Eternia and Conan in it. There is technology but it still has a sort of medieval flavor. You will see barbarians, magic, monsters, [and so on], but the difference with this game, on a visual level, is that Imp House wasn’t interested in creating something that everyone has seen before. I give them a lot of credit for taking that chance. The art I created truly stands out because I wasn’t trying to mimic the traditional Magic the Gathering style we see a lot of… I’m not placing a judgement on that [by the way]. I [just] think the market is getting saturated by new games and those that strive to be more original have a greater chance at attracting gamers who have seen it all.
YOU SORT OF ALLUDED TO THIS ALREADY, BUT IS THERE A LARGER NARRATIVE AT WORK OR IS IT MORE UP TO THE PLAYERS TO CREATE THEIR OWN?
ML: There is, which essentially speaks about the planet Fantos that is rich with an energy source called iridium. All of the of creatures and people are trying to, get this stuff for different reasons. Through war, plagues, and over mining, the planet is dying. There is this cosmic warden called Zodraz who hears the cries of the planet and basically states that the only way to save it, is to cleanse it. So, he decides that only one citadel (city-state) will be allowed to stay on the planet to nurse it back to health. Everyone else is going to be wiped out.
THE KICKSTARTER MENTIONS THAT THE GAME IS “INSPIRED BY COMICS AND CARTOONS FROM THE 80S”. WERE THERE ANY SPECIFIC SOURCES OF INSPIRATION YOU PULLED FROM WHILE WORKING ON THE CHARACTER DESIGNS AND ARTWORK?
ML: He-Man [and the Masters of the Universe] was a big influence but more conceptually. I was about 4 when He-Man came out so that imagery is pretty much branded in my brain. I always loved the old Heavy Metal magazines but more for the European artists…I was definitely channeling Moebius and Philipe Druillet in these images, but also the scale of Jack Kirby whenever I could.
IT CERTAINLY SHOWS. SO, DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE CARD/CHARACTER?
ML: That’s a hard one. I loved so many of these. The ones that were more complicated were a lot of fun like the Feral cards for the mercenaries and the bandits. There were a lot of the Cult cards which I thought came out well, but truthfully I am proud of all of them. They are all my babies.
ANY CHANCE WE’LL SEE A COMIC BOOK TIE-IN AT SOME POINT?
ML: You would have to ask Imp House about that. It’s something we discussed way back in the beginning. There is definitely enough story to make something, and I know I have read comments from current campaign backers who want to see more of this world. So…fingers crossed.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE LEARN MORE ABOUT SAVAGE PLANET?
ML: They can go to the Kickstarter page [where] there’s tons of additional information about the game including all of the artwork I did.