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Meet the Publisher: Diogo Nogueira

Updated: May 25, 2022

Well, I don't even know where to start with this one. Diogo Nogueira needs no introduction. As Old Skull Publishing he's written some of the OSR's best, including Solar Blades and Cosmic Spells, Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells, the newly released Primal Quest, and last year's Ennie-winning Halls of the Blood King. Oh, and he's also a fabulous artist!

Question. You write on such a wide range of topics and genres. Can you talk a little bit about your influences and inspirations? Does your writing influence the art, the other way around, or a careful blend.

Answer. A few months ago I think I would probably say I am mostly influenced by the pop media of my childhood and teenage years, you know. I think I’ve always liked these fantastical worlds of cartoons, movies, comics, TV series, and they made a huge impression on me. Then after studying art and having art classes about comics, games, and other things made me see these things in a new light. And now I pretty much try to find inspiration in anything I can see something interesting to steal from. But yeah, underneath it all, my childhood and early years’ passions are still there. Dinosaurs. Sword and sorcery. 80s cartoons. And now new stuff from philosophy to videogames.

Q. Tell us about Primal Quest. I'd watched you post concept art online, and then within the span of what seemed like a month or two you'd released the final product. The speed at which you work is breathtaking, and I'm curious to know what was going on behind the scenes. Was it a subject that just grabbed your attention and you ran with it?

A. Well, yes and no. I always love dinosaurs. When I was a kid I dreamed about having a velociraptor as a pet. Cats and dogs seemed so ordinary. I collected everything I could about dinosaurs. Stickers. Magazines. Books. So, these themes have always been there in the back of my mind. And recently I’ve been toying a lot with making games that work with the Old-School Renaissance mindset of play, but with modern and more narrative rules. I made Sword Quest last year, and I played it a lot with my family and a few friends (the pandemic really scared us here), and after watching Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal on HBO Max, all these memories came flooding back. So I started experimenting with drawing a map, and reinterpreting sword and sorcery again (as I did with Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells and Dark Streets & Darker Secrets), but now in a mythical stone age world. And then Primal Quest was born. I am totally in LOVE with it.

Q. I'd like to hear your take on the vibrant Brazilian gaming scene, especially what is now being called LATAM. How much do you all work together and feed off one another's ideas? How has the Brazilian rpg scene evolved?

A. Well, these are all different things. There’s the Brazilian RPG community inside Brazil, which do not interact that much with the outside world; There’s the Brazilian RPG indie community that interacts with the international community (some of which I don’t know - there are a lot of us); and then there’s RPGLATAM community, which would be the equivalent of the last one combined with the equivalent community of every other country in the Americas except for the US and Canada, except there are a lot of people with roots in the Latin America in those countries as well, and why not even all around the world.

All of these communities are very rich. With many talented creators, which I believe have all seen a rise in the number of new creators, innovative projects and more out-of-the-box ideas. I have many great friends in all of these communities, but have to admit I am not very active in the Brazilian RPG community inside of Brazil, as I focus on connecting with people all around the world (I am not a big fan of borders). And yes, we talk to each other and these 3 communities interact too, with people partaking in 1, 2 or all 3 of them sometimes. I intend on trying to get as many talented creators we have here in Brazil to show their marvelous work to the world as I can with the Primal Quest line. Wish me luck.

Q. Can you talk a bit about any upcoming projects you might have? Are you going to continue to work on Primal Quest, or is there something totally new that has captured your attention?

A. Wow… Now it’s me who doesn’t know where to begin. Let’s see. If I am not mistaken I have 7 completely written games in line for publication. So after Primal Quest and The Cave of Our People (the introductory adventure for the game), Kosmosaurs (my Dinosaur Space Rangers game) will be released and it will look fantastic. The game is super fun and inspired by wacky adventurous 80s cartoons of dinosaurs doing amazing things and features art by Łukasz Kowalczuk, layout by Guilherme Gontijo and fantastic sheets by Francita Soto. And right after we will be releasing The Primal World of Thaia, a regular zine that will support Primal Quest and will bring the same content for Old-School Essentials, one of my favorite OSR games out there.

Q. For those of you unfamiliar with your work, especially your older products, can you recommend one or two that you think really stand out?

A. That’s always hard to do, but I’ve made a rule to help me out. First, check out my latest work, but since that’s Primal Quest and we’ve already talked about it, go check out my trilogy of minimalist Horror and Survival RPG games in zine format: The Dead Are Coming, Screams Amongst The Star, and Running Out of Time. They reflect much of the way I like to design my games. They are concise, easy to use, easy to run and improvise for, and come with a plethora of tools to help you play more with less. The other one would be to check out my gold Ennie award-winning adventure Halls of the Blood King for Old-School Essentials, as it will showcase how I create adventure situations, scenarios, encounters and reinterpret the classic fantasy we love but are a bit too used to today.


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