Recently the master of the gonzo apocalypse himself, Reid San Filippo, joined us for a chat about his mad world of future ruin for Dungeon Crawl Classics, what he’s been up to lately, and his upcoming plans for third party publisher Shield of Faith Studios. Reid’s wild post-apocalyptic setting of Umerica is brutal and bizarre in equal measure, and has proven popular with DCC fans looking to take their games in unexpected directions — like chainsaw-wielding-cyber-Tyrannosaur directions!
Who are you and what makes you a member of the DCC Community?
I am Reid San Filippo, a.k.a. Reidzilla, the owner of Shield of Faith Studios LLC. I am the creator of the Crawling Under a Broken Moon zine and the Umerica DCC books.
I am proud to be a member of the DCC community, a collection of most excellent mutants, miscreants, and murder hobos.
Tell us about Umerica. Where did it come from?
It came from many different sources of inspiration: from my early years with my face glued to the TV watching Saturday morning cartoons, to my teen years abusing my VCR with every Mad Max rip off movie I could get my hands on, and my love of Gamma World – The first RPG I bought with my own money.
Umerica has a distinct look to it. Where did that come from and who are the artistic influences on the series?
The distinct look absolutely comes from my demented brain and the talented artists that have helped me since early on. First and foremost is the amazing Nate Marcel, who has created an oil painting for each of the covers of the Umerica books and numerous illustrations within the books’ interiors. But, one man alone cannot express the mutated wonder that is Umerica! These brave souls have also poured themselves out to make Umerica the visual feast that it is: Aaron Robinson, Anna Costa, Andrew Walter, David Coppoletti, Diogo Nogueira, Frank Turfler, James Yoder, Karim Gouyette, KJ O’Brien, Matt Hildebrand, Todd McGowan, Thomas Novosel. My apologies to any of the artists that I’ve worked with that I somehow have forgotten to add to this list. Sometimes the glow affects my memory…
With CUABM having been around for quite some time, I’m sure that you have some interesting anecdotes from conventions and games past. Care to share one (or two) with us?
One of my favorite experiences was an after hours game in the hotel lobby at Gameholecon. When I asked the players what they wanted to do they lamented on the lack of high level play they had experienced. So, I led them through a quick character creation of 8th level characters, which we dubbed the Wandering Kings. The Kings traveled in style, each one having their own off road capable RV and several zero level roadies to assist them. While they enjoyed a impromptu barbecue dinner after a random encounter with a tasty beast, alone biker messenger barreled up with news that a community that they had saved numerous times was yet again in peril. Like true heroes their first thought was “what is in it for us?” After the messenger assured them they would be well rewarded, they packed up their camp and headed out to help.
Along the way I threw numerous, ridiculous encounters at them, each one more murderous than the previous. Having never seen high level characters in action I was a bit surprised as they mowed through them no matter how numerous or powerful they were.
The final encounter was on the Isle of Doctor Mammon, in the good doctor’s lab arena. Even an oversized, cyberneticly enhanced T-Rex with chainsaws stood no chance against the party. The only thing that really damaged the party at all the entire game session was terrible dice rolls!
I know that you had a bad bout with Covid-19 earlier this year. Do you want to go into any details about your experience?
Well, I caught covid in January and needed to go to the hospital. In total, I’ve spent more than a month in the hospital this year and several months off of work recovering. Unfortunately, it also left me with some serious chronic medical issues that will prevent me from attending a game convention anytime in the near future.
Stay safe folks, YOU DO NOT WANT THIS!
How did that impact your business and publishing with Shield of Faith?
I was planning to run a Kickstarter for the Maximum Mutagenesis book in January of 2021 but that has been delayed until next year. Luckily, that is the only major impact the business had as everything else ran smoothly.
What’s in the future for Shield of Faith?
I’m still planning on writing and publishing more books, just probably on a much slower pace. Hopefully, I’ll be launching a Kickstarter early 2022.
Thanks for taking some time out and speaking with us. We can’t wait to see what’s in store!
It was my pleasure to be interviewed. Remember my fellow mutants that anything is edible with enough determination and hot sauce! May all of your hits be crits and all of your fumbles be fantastic.