Rolling for Awesome: Jim Zubkavich to Write 'Baldur's Gate' Miniseries | Fanboys Anonymous

Rolling for Awesome: Jim Zubkavich to Write 'Baldur's Gate' Miniseries

Posted by Sarrah October Young Thursday, July 17, 2014
Anyone who has ever picked up a pencil and set of dice and rolled a character for a tabletop role-playing game knows how hard it is to create a player character that will survive the upcoming quest. It's even rarer for those characters to transcend the genre and pop up in other forms across a variety of platforms. Jim Zubkavich, the writer behind titles as Samurai Jack, Figment, the upcoming Wayward series, and too many Pathfinder issues to count, has been given the opportunity to put his own spin on a couple of characters near and dear to our hearts.

Minsc and Boo standing proud and/or confused
Minsc and Boo. Holy crap.
Zubkavich has been tapped to write an upcoming comic book miniseries for Wizards of the Coast that's set to tie in with the Forgotten Realms Neverwinter comic. It's set in Baldur's Gate and features the beloved Minsc and Boo.

I know. Just breathe with me.

I had an opportunity to ask Zubkavich a couple of questions about the upcoming project. While he couldn't give me any spoilers (really though, would you want them? I don't.), he was able to speak about the process and his excitement about being able to work on such an amazing project.

October Young: You're an avid D&D player, having played for many years. Tell me what went through your mind when you found out that you would be writing the Baldur's Gate miniseries, complete with Minsc and Boo.

Jim Zubkavich: The idea of using Minsc and Boo came up during a larger conference call about the comic, and I think Mike Mearls or Greg Bilsland might have suggested it first, but it really energized the whole conversation. Based on everything I've seen so far, D&D Fifth Edition is balancing the past and the present to be a streamlined modern game that doesn't lose its crucial and beloved legacy. Bringing back fan favorite characters like Minsc and Boo works well with that mission. That said, it was exciting and intimidating to realize I was being entrusted with Baldur's Gate, a vision of D&D that millions of people have played over the years.

cover art for issue 1 Baldur's Gate
Cover Art for Baldur's Gate
OY: There have been many examples of the kind of impact Minsc and Boo have had on the role-playing community, whether it be tabletop, in story form, or in other video games. Have you personally come across any homages to the duo, and what are they? Or just comment on their popularity, because I like them and want to know.

JZ: Before I start any new project, I always dig in and do research, even when I know the subject matter. I want to familiarize myself and get to the core of what makes the whole thing tick, so I can be sure I'm building on the proper foundation that's been set up. Researching Misc and Boo was a bit of a shock. These secondary characters from a 16-year-old video game are still near and dear to the hearts of so many people. Fan art, fan fiction, fan sites, lists of quotes, and articles about the impact they made on players. It kind of blew me away, actually. It really shows the quality that Bioware put into that game series.

OY: One could assume that anyone reading your work would have some familiarity with the genre; you wrote many issues of Pathfinder, also based on an RPG. Is there any concern for first-time readers? How will they find the storyline if they have no experience with the Forgotten Realms?

JZ: That's a totally valid concern, and something I wanted to make sure was clear right from the get-go when we got this started. Having Minsc and Boo in this story is a real treat for fans of Baldur's Gate, but I wanted to make sure our overall comic story was new reader-friendly. Minsc's courageous confusion works well without much backstory explanation, and the new threats he and his friends face are laid out clearly for readers. It's a sword and sorcery story that both longtime fans and new players alike can pick up and enjoy without any prior knowledge of Baldur's Gate, the Forgotten Realms, or even D&D.

OY: Will the Baldur's Gate miniseries rely on established characters and situations from the video game, or have you decided on a new direction that will match up with the next Neverwinter installment to be released in August?

sketch of Baldur's Gate
Sketch of Baldur's Gate. 
JZ: Our story takes place after the "Murder in Baldur's Gate" community adventure released last year, and in the midst of the "Tyranny of Dragons" events that coincide with the launch of D&D Fifth Edition. But, again, you don't need prior knowledge to dig in to this comic story. Over 100 years have passed since the events of the Baldur's Gate video game, so Minsc is going to be even more confused than usual, but there will be some fun nods to his past adventures. All of it is "in play" in some form or another.

OY: Realizing that she is part of the Neverwinter storyline, any chance we will see TIAMAT anywhere in the series? Please say yes, even if it's only a flick of her tail.

JZ: She keeps showing up in all that game promo art, doesn't she? I can't really say more than that at this early stage, sorry.

OY: Can you give us a hint as to who else might show up during the series?

JZ: There will be a couple long-lived familiar faces from the Baldur's Gate game series, and some of their progeny as well. Character creation is such a crucial part of D&D, and I didn't want to miss out on introducing some new characters that I hope readers will grow attached to as the story progresses. Getting a chance to be a part of Dungeons & Dragon's 40th anniversary and the rollout of a new edition is an absolute honor. I hope readers jump on board the story that artist Max Dunbar and I are putting together.

With the possibility of a Tiamat sighting and the inclusion of two of the most beloved characters ever to come out of a tabletop RPG, I cannot wait for this to be released.

What do you think? Will you pick this book up once it's out?

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