As we toast to the New Year and enjoy another glass of sparkling grape juice, we proudly shine our Publisher’s Spotlight on our friends from Evil Hat Productions. Best known for their award-winning Fate Core RPG System, this Maryland-based company earned its name from an online chatroom conversation between founder Fred Hicks and his friend Lydia. During the conversation Lydia posted: “Fuzz perches on Iago’s head like an evil hat.” (Fuzz and Iago were Lydia and Fred’s Screen names respectively.) Fred thought to himself, “Evil Hat sounds like a great brand name!” Shortly after he obtained the name and the domain and began running scenarios at Ambercon Northwest in Portland, Oregon. According to the company, the first version of Fate was created on a road trip in the year 2000. We’re told that many a snack and caffeinated beverage were consumed in the design process!
Evil Hat Production became official in 2005. Fred Hicks and Rob Donoghue had received an offer from an old friend, of no small fame, by the name of Jim Butcher, to compose an RPG based on his New York Times Best-selling book series The Dresden Files. Fred and Rob had some great rules based on their free online FATE rules, but were new to the publishing game. So they started the company and put out their first game, known as Sprit of the Century, to test the waters before working full tilt on The Dresden Files RPG.
Evil Hat Productions believes that great passion creates great games. They always strive to treat their customers, retail partners, and talent fairly and respectfully. One of the priorities of the company is their transparency. They love to give sneak peaks into the highs, but also the lows, of game-publishing and the whys behind each decision they make. If they ever have a problem, or make a mistake (which happens, because being a human is hard!), they always talk about it openly and honestly as they work to fix the problem.
The company is best known for their Fate Core RPG System and the Dresden Files RPG. Fate Core is a setting-less Story Telling System that can be used to tell any story in any genre you wish. This almost limitless flexibility makes this unique roleplaying system appeal to almost every type of roleplayer! The Dresden Files RPG uses the fate system, but is set in the modern magical world of Jim Butcher’s bestselling novel series.
The company is currently working on a new family card game that will come out early next year. As of the writing of this article, Evil Hat Productions isn’t ready to announce the name yet, but they are super excited about it! They also have new Fate Projects in the works, including Uprising which is a Fate RPG set in the same dystopian future world as the hit board games: Coup and The Resistance.
The next time you visit The Malted Meeple or Ravenwood Castle, raise a pint and tip your hat to the wonderful folks from Evil Hat Productions!
Karington Hess is a lifelong gamer whose passions for hospitality and all things game-related led him to Ravenwood Castle, where he served as an Innkeeper before joining The Malted Meeple. When not pouring beers, crafting milkshakes, or teaching boardgames, Karington can be found behind the DM’s screen, weaving intricate stories for his fellow gamers.