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RPGBOT.News – Garycon 14

Show Notes

In this episode of the RPGBOT.News, we discuss Garycon 14 and share some pull-aside interviews with the wonderful people we met at Garycon.

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People Interviews in This Episode

Interviewees are listed in order of appearance.

For more of our Garycon 14 coverage, see our Text Review of Garycon 14.

Transcript

Randall 

WELCOME LAKE GENEVA WISCONSIN. That’s right. All right, so we’re here live at Garycon 14.

Random 

Yeah. We sure are.

Tyler 

I wish I’d been warned about that so I can have something to respond with. Here’s some stunned silence.

Randall 

Nailed it. So this is the second podcast episode that we’re recording live on a single mic together in person. Once again, we can high-five. And we did. Um, yeah, no. So the convention’s been really cool. So far, we actually have our families here. So we’re bringing folks around. My children have bought lots of plushies, which, incidentally, about three years ago, plushie he was not a word I even knew. They used to be stuffed animals.

Tyler 

You know, that’s been some really good marketing, because they had to expand beyond animals. Because when you buy a plushy trio of marshmallows on a stick, how do you call that a stuffed animal?

Randall 

I would have, but you raise a good point, actually. Incidentally, yeah. So toasted marshmallows on a stick as a plushie. And one of them is slightly burnt, but not really, because that’s… actually you know, it, I’m suddenly terrified that my kids are gonna, like, put this over the fire in the backyard.

Tyler 

Oh no.

Random 

And I’m just gonna say, this is the RPGBOT content I’m here for. Fabulous discussion of toasted marshmallow stuffies.

Randall 

No, I mean, there was other stuff at the convention, too. So actually, okay, no kidding. We did pull-asides. So we brought… we’ll post a picture of it on the internet. I had what looks like a drowned rat tail, which is actually a microphone that I carried around and talk to people. And the way that I would approach people are saying, like, Hey, I have this rat in my pocket and I would like to interview you. And most people said, yes.

Random 

Yeah. Which you know that… with a lead in like that, you have to believe that you’re at a convention of people who are used to role playing and oh, hey, we happened to be that.

Randall 

Yeah, there sure was a lot of “Yes, and”-ing. So we talked to a lot of great folks. We talked to Daniel Fisher of Hammered Game Tables.  I’m Randall James. We’re walking around the floor of Gary con 14. And we’re here with Daniel Fisher with Hammered Game tables.

Daniel Fisher 

Hello, how are you?

Randall 

Good, good, how you doing?

Daniel Fisher 

I’m doing fantastic.

Randall 

Awesome. So we’re looking at your tables and these things are amazing. So it’s a… it’s a modular table design, and your’re, like, hand fixing all of the wood here, you’ve got your cupholders, you’ve got dice holders.

Daniel Fisher 

Yeah. So the design itself is set up to really focus on the player itself, and then also on the terrain, giving the ability to utilize multiple levels and stages of terrain inside the six inch deep vault. As far as the woodwork, this is considered our tavern series table. And in the tavern series, the idea is, is that we have transported a medieval table that’s, you know, 5, 6, 1200 years old, into present day for your players. And so in order to do that, I actually go through and I’ve hand hewn all the wood. I’ll carve it out with different chisels and whatnot. I use claymores. I use maces. I have a blowtorch that I have affectionately named “Torchwind.” It’s a dragon. And I actually will seal the wood with the flame. And that’s what gives it that burnt appearance.

Randall 

Well, and it is beautiful. Like you talked about the idea of I’m bringing you a table from the 12th century. It 100% Looks like it but you’re you’re making these today in Wisconsin.

Daniel Fisher 

Yes, correct. In River Falls, Wisconsin. We’ve got a shop and we hand hewn we use. We also use some newer technologies, too. CNC machinery to make sure that the table is precision and will fit together well, and is completely expandable because the table itself is modular. So…

Randall 

And that’s an amazing design. When you talk about the CNC machine, so I see in like the dice trays which fixed to it, you have different, like, I see a d20 and I imagine you could almost do anything with that.

Daniel Fisher 

Yes. We leave it up to the client, they can go ahead and choose whatever imagery they want. We then feed that into the machine and then the machine will go ahead and you know timeout based on what design they actually want. If they want to scroll work vines all the way around the table, dwarven runes. There was one table that we got to do, which was a lot of fun. The client wanted something similar to the Lord of the Rings, door of Moria.

Randall 

That’s cool.

Daniel Fisher 

And so on the top of their table, we actually hand carved out a replica of the door of Moria and then we backfilled it with a glow in the dark resin from a company that that produces these pigments that you can put into resin and it actually glows in the dark and is UV sensitive so it’ll hold up to 11 hours worth of a charge.

Randall 

That has to be so cool. So like the, you know, the sun’s out, it lights up, it charges, I turn off the lights and I walk in.

Daniel Fisher 

Exactly you walk in, and there is this glowing door of Moria in the top of the table. And we could do that in any imagery that you would want on the top of your table.

Randall 

Okay, I’m going to talk to Tyler about getting an RPGBOT.logo.

Daniel Fisher 

Yes, we could definitely do that. Okay, that would be a lot of fun.

Randall 

That is awesome. All right. Daniel Fisher has been great to talk to you. So you can find more at HammerGameTables.com?

Daniel Fisher 

Correct.

Randall 

Awesome. And we’ll put a link in the show notes. So folks want to take a look at this. You can go on and find it.

Daniel Fisher 

And you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and also Instagram.

Randall 

Awesome. All right. Thanks a lot for your time.

Daniel Fisher 

Thank you.

Randall 

We’ll also, we’ll post some pictures on Twitter.

Tyler 

Oh, absolutely.

Randall 

Yeah. And and there will be links in the show notes for every, you know, all the folks that we talked to, we’re going to have a large smorgasbord of links that you can go click. So if you see something, you hear something, you’re like, that actually sounds kind of cool. I just want to see what that looks like. There will be a link to it so that you can find it. But that means that yeah, Daniel Fisher’s tables were absolutely amazing.

Tyler 

Yeah. Podcasting, not… famously not a great medium to show pictures through. But the… they’re modular tables that you can expand with more sections. And there are like attachable drawers and dice trays, and the inside is hollow, so you can hide terrain in it and then, like, put the surface on top and still have a regular table that you could do, like, eat and have normal not D&D stuff happening atop that table. Every time I asked him like, have you thought of X to solve this problem? Like the dice trays, I asked him, Hey, I have metal dice. I don’t want to mess up these really, really nice dice trays. And he’s like, Oh, no, you don’t want to put felt in it because it’s causing this problem. This problem this problem instead, we do this really durable lacquer and he hands me a dice tray that he’s been rolling metal dice in for years. Looked brand new. Spotless.

Randall 

Yeah, no, absolutely. And even he talked about the… all of the wood is hand hewn. And he has the special woodworking tools to actually like pull out sections of the wood to give it a nice texture. And then he actually goes after it, like, he has a claymore that he beats his board. So to give you the texture for that he talked about like, it has such a fine lacquer on it, that a lot of people look at it. And they’re like, you know, alright, you know, this is really beautiful, but it’s almost… Yeah, talking about the process of like going hand hewn with this. Like he’ll he has the parts that he can like carve things out of it and he goes after it’s like, yeah, I’ve got a machete that I hit it with. And I’ve got a claymore than I hit it with. And then I put the lacquer on top of it. And the whole point is like exactly like you said, you want this thing to be durable. You don’t want it to get damaged. And so this way, it’s super well protected. It’ll last, you know, practically forever. Those tables were absolutely beautiful.

Random 

Yeah. And you know, we will post if we can pictures in the show notes just to show you because or maybe it’ll be on the Twitter and then links to the Twitter. But, man, they were something else.

Randall 

We talked to Yolanda and Co from the birthplace of D&D.  All right, I’m Randall James. We’re walking around the exhibition hall at Garycon 14. I’m here with Yolanda Frontany.

Yolanda Frontany 

Hi, Yolanda Frontany and I’m the current owner of the birthplace of D&D.

Randall 

Awesome. And so what are you folks doing?

Yolanda Frontany 

So today, we’re informing everyone, letting everyone know that the home exists. A very important historical home where it all began. Roleplaying began. And I bought this home 17 years ago, having no idea. I was drawn to it, and since then, I’ve opened my doors to all gamers from all over the world. And we want to continue on this mission.

Randall 

So this this house is the birthplace of D&D.

Yolanda Frontany 

Correct. It’s where Gary Gygax and his family lived, when he co-created Dungeons and Dragons.

Jeremiah 

My name is Jeremiah, I’ve grown up in the area. I’m 24. I spent probably the last 15 years playing D&D. And it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I realized this place existed. So after, you know, an adventure and staying at the house, I wanted to get involved and just see what different directions we can take it. Obviously, the house looks like, you know, it’s right out of the 70’s. It’s 100 years old or so. And it is just a blast from the past.

Randall 

And so the plan is to turn this into a museum. Kind of a forum so people can kind of come see both where it started, but also a bit of the history of D&D.

Austin 

Yeah, I think this is Austin. By the way, the the purpose of our I guess our main mission is to preserve the historicalness, the the actual legacy of gaming and the Gygax name, while being able to make it utilized with contemporary gamers. We want to merge the two, bringing in several generations and be able to have someone come in, stay with us, game there, where it was originally created, and yet be able to feel like they’re immersed in the time when it was created.

Randall 

Awesome. And so what’s next for this project?

So right now we have a campaign. Friends of 330. And the campaign is basically we’re trying to preserve the home. There are some things that are happening, unfortunately, you know, the home is very, very old. And there’s some trees that are creating all kinds of plumbing issues, and they’re, they need to be removed, and then we can get some of the plumbing done. Just some things that will help preserve the home so that we can do some other things and make it safe. We definitely want to have a safe place that people can come and game. Include everyone, as Austin said, everyone, all generations and be very inclusive to everyone. Yeah.

Randall 

Awesome. Cool. Well, we will have links in the show notes. So you’ll be able to find this if you want to take a look at the birthplace of D&D. So we’re going to have our very own destination to travel to. This is actually kind of a cool story that I didn’t realize was a story until we got there. I guess we should stop. So we’re talking about Garycon, Garycon is a convention celebrating the life and contributions of Gary Gygax, the creator, er, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s something put on by the Gygax family. So, you know, Luke Gygax, famously is still publishing. Actually some of his work was there and available for purchase at the convention.

Random 

Luke was also there available at the convention as a Wizard. Not for purchase, but definitely still there.

Randall 

Yeah, you could you could offer high-fives if you were into it. And so yeah, they’re, the family’s putting this on. It’s in Lake Geneva. So D&D was created in a house because if they were doing an office building, that’d be terrible. And yeah, Yolanda and Co, what they what they want to do is they want to turn the house that Didi was created into into a destination where people can go and learn about the game, enjoy the game, play the game, and just feel like you’re embedded in the 70’s. I guess one of the things that she said that I kind of laughed at is that at this point, when you walk into the house, it actually still feels like you’re walking into the 70’s. And that’s great, but also…

Random 

And listeners, you couldn’t see the shrug, but it’s the 70’s.

Tyler 

Now, if I understood them correctly, they do want to keep the house looking like it did in the 70’s to keep that feel, but they’re they’re renovating it so it’s still safe to occupy and they’re turning it into a space where you can go and play games. So you can play D&D in the place that D&D originated.

Randall 

In the basement with “Game Room” written in pencil on the door. Okay. When I think about this, what it really makes me think about is does everybody remember the opening scene to ET? I think, like, the pizza just arrived, and the kids are like trying to get the pizza. And I think they were playing D&D at the time. The room was filled with smoke because apparently we didn’t know about secondhand smoke was bad for you at that point. But like I see that scene and that minus maybe the cancer that is the thing that I want to recreate. Looking forward to it.

Tyler 

Those kids still have better terrain than I do.

Randall 

That’s fair. Well, it was Spielberg, right? longtime listeners of the show will remember we talked to the folks from Griffin and Gargoyle way back when we talked to them.

Random 

That’s… wow. I… You know…

Randall 

This is the reporting you come to the RPGBOT.News for.

Random 

Right. More RPGBOT content that I love is completely useless truisms.

Randall 

I’m Randall James. We’re walking around the exhibition hall of Garycon 14. I’m here with Daniel Colwell.

Daniel Colwell 

Hey guys!

Randall 

Bill.

Bill Supplanta 

Welcome.

Randall 

And Michael.

Michael Paylor 

Hello!

Randall 

From Griffin and Gargoyle. Longtime listeners to the show will remember, this was actually one of the first RPGBOT.News is that we did. We talked to these folks about this amazing establishment that they’re building right here in Wisconsin.

Michael Paylor 

And we’re still so grateful for the chance to have been able to share that with you and your listening community. And we’re excited to connect with you today.

Randall 

Awesome. So what’s going on?

Daniel Fisher 

Well, a lot of things behind the scenes right now right now we’re really in the nuts and bolts section of getting this process built. We are expecting groundbreaking to take place in this coming fall. But right now the fun meetings are whether or not we annex the property into Lake Geneva proper to get city water and sewer. So all those sexy questions.

Randall 

Yeah, that honestly feels like the worst part of roleplay. I’m gonna go and just say it out loud.

Daniel Fisher 

Are you for real? That’s my favorite part you go in you negotiate the city ordinances. Bylaws. Those are the checks that really make a game

Randall 

Yeah, but like in 5e gold doesn’t matter we joke about all the time in this case, I’m expecting I’m anticipating this probably is costing quite a bit of gold.

Daniel Fisher 

Yeah, I’m really hoping gold doesn’t matter in this particular case.

Random 

I feel like if you’re going to try and… I feel like if you’re going to try and bribe someone, bullion definitely thea good way to go, right? It’s got that nice weight to it.

Randall 

To be clear, we’re only pushing for bribing in game. In game only. Just getting it out there.

Daniel Colwell 

It’s perfectly okay. I have been assured that imaginary RPG money is not going to get this project funded. So…

Randall 

Okay, well,

Michael Paylor 

We certainly explored that issue.

Randall 

How can we make it happen? So we didn’t have Bill with this last time. Bill, tell us about your role in the project.

Bill Supplanta 

Hi, my name is Bill Supplanta. I’ll be the director of food and beverage for this wonderful project. It’s so much fun creating everything over here. We’re going through draft after draft, doing a lot of research. And it’s going to be the best food. It’s a 350 seat restaurant. We’re going to include catering, and a lot of surprises. And not only the food, but the beverage. Not only a great tavern, but we’re gonna have the gnome Alchemist over here, which will be talked about in a little bit. And the experience is just going to be awesome. Everybody in character. Everybody following a storyline. And the fun part of this is creating this and making it all happen.

Randall 

So you say going through draft after draft. Is that, you know, stout draft? Is it a porter draft?

Bill Supplanta 

Well, that’s the creative draft that I do in the back room just to make sure that I’m properly motivated. And the testing on that just goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on. But more ideas just keep coming on there. So it’s just keep adding to it. And a new idea comes in play and we hear about something different, we see something different. We put that in the mix. And by the time draft 25 comes in, I think we’ll be a lot closer to it. It is just the funnest thing to do.

Randall 

Here’s the deal. I keep trying to pay for those drafts with my fantasy gold and I feel like it never works out. So you talked about the gnome alchemist. So first of all, we’ll have links in the show notes. Griffin and Gargoyle has posted renders of several of the rooms that are going to be in the restaurant. I gotta say it looks really awesome. I will say my favorite that I saw was the gnome alchemist. It looked really really cool. Bright room, lots of windows. Green against the fantasy background of everything else that’s there. And yeah, it actually looks like a potion lab. It’s really cool.

Michael Paylor 

We’re really excited about it. The whole space is steampunk themed, but it’s based on our character Dubinross, who is the gnome Alchemist. He’s kind of a renaissance gnome and so he has inventions throughout the space. He’s he’s the one providing that steampunky vibe to the venue. But the architects really did a fantastic job. I told them to draw inspiration from the Biltmore Estate. And they really pulled in some of those great elements for the conservatory, central bar area, which you can see online on our website,

Randall 

And then the table. So actually, hammer game tables is also here at the convention. My understanding is they’re going to be doing some work for what you have in the restaurant?

Michael Paylor 

Yeah, Dan Fisher was one of the first people I talked to, outside of Michael and I about this project because he’s had an ongoing D&D campaign that takes place in his own fantasy tavern called the Hammered Anvil. And his philosophy is that all of his board game tables, he doesn’t make them, he just goes and travels to the hammered games, and then he takes them back and then brings them and delivers them to people. So he was excited to chat about that. And he will be providing all of the not only the gaming tables that we’ll have for our private gaming areas, but all of the the bar and all of the tables in a restaurant as well.

Randall 

No, fantastic. So what is the next big thing for Griffin and gargoyle?

Daniel Fisher 

I would say there are a lot of big things that we’re working on right now. I think the biggest piece of news that we’ve got to share today is going to be the Kickstarter that we’re looking at launching a little bit later this year. Definitely keep your eyes out, it’s going to be probably late fall just in time for you to surprise your favorite gamer for Christmas with some wonderful rewards. But that’s something that I’m particularly excited about as we’re planning out what that’s going to look like and what we’re going to be able to deliver to people’s homes to give them a little piece of the Griffin and Gargoyle to take home with them.

Randall 

Awesome. So at that point, we could back the Kickstarter, and then maybe have something to put under the tree to go with it to let folks know what’s coming with Griffin and Gargoyle?

Daniel Fisher 

Absolutely.

Michael Paylor 

For sure. Yeah, we’re really excited to share some of these visions we have for the product lines that we’re going to be hosting in the curated curiosity space. And we can’t wait to share them with all of your listeners and you.

Randall 

Awesome. All right. Well, thanks, guys very much. It was great to talk to you again. And yeah, we look forward to next time.

Daniel Colwell 

Thanks so much.

Bill Supplanta 

Thank you.

Random 

It was great to see them again and to actually see them in person, we got to talk to not only the two who were on that original podcast, but additionally, their director of food and beverage who went on at length about all of the cool stuff that you’re going to be able to do like with catering. All of the work that’s gone into all the menus, the beverage creation, which there’s a lot and some of those are going to be featured in a thing that we can actually show you some of. Once again, we’ll try and post links in the show notes but they have had some renders done of what the space is going to look like. And it is absolutely gorgeous. You know, they’re talking about like a 350… I don’t remember it’s a 350 seat or 350 table eating area, but either way, it’s a lot of space. The spaces themselves are gorgeous. Not a Curiosity Shop. I don’t remember what it is. The gnome Alchemist, I do you remember what it is. We actually got to see what that’s gonna be like and…

Randall 

It’s a bar.

Random 

It’s a bar in, functionally a plant draped glass observation tower. It’s so cool.

Tyler 

And if you’ve been following the project since our previous episode with them, they do have a bunch of new renders, some of which aren’t on the site yet. So we did get to see some really cool Garycon only stuff, which hopefully they’ll share with the world very soon.

Randall 

And also, I think we heard the news that they will have a Kickstarter coming later this year.

Tyler 

That’s the plan.

Randall 

Alright, so we’ll check back in we’ll let you know more details about that when we have it. Special. Thanks to Daniel, Michael, and Bill for talking to us. We get to talk to Alexander Stangroom from Kobold Press.  Hey, it’s Randall James. We’re walking around the floor of Garycon 14. And I’m here with the director of operations for Kobold Press, Alexander Stangroom.

Alexander Stangroom 

Thank you very much for having me.

Randall 

Yeah. So what’s going on Kobold Press? What’s new?

Alexander Stangroom 

Oh, where do we start? So many books. Right. What month are we in? End of March. So we have just got coming out the end of this month, the Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding Volume Two, building on our incredibly successful Kobold Guide series. This is a new series of essays from experts in the field about the concept of worldbuilding. This isn’t just 5e. This applies to any sort of space within TTRPG or just creative writing in general. What I’m really excited about with this book, as well as standard authors within the TTRPG sphere, like Keith Baker, creator of the Eberron campaign setting, we’ve actually brought some people in from outside from the young adult and sort of sci-fi societies. So we have Veronica Roth, New York Times bestseller author of The Divergent Series, which was made into that series of incredibly expensive and well made Hollywood films you may have heard about.

Randall 

No, yeah, my family. My older boys especially really loved those. Like, they’ve read them all.

Alexander Stangroom 

We’ve got Gail Simone, DC, comic writer of Batgirl and too many other things to list. We’ve got Ken Liu, again, another New York Times bestseller from the Dandelion Dynasty series of books. So hugely excited about that.

Randall 

Awesome. No, that’s exciting. And then I think you just had a Kickstarter close too, right?

Alexander Stangroom 

We’ve always got a Kickstarter. No, the one that just finished his Tome of Beasts 3, our latest in the the very chonky series of monster books that we do. I think this has taken us up to about 1600 monsters across our four monster books. It was our most successful Kickstarter, both in terms of dollar amount, but more importantly, in terms of backers.

Randall 

Awesome. I picked up Tome of Beasts 2 yesterday here at at Gary con, and started flipping through. I’m extracting monsters to torture these people with. So I’m really excited.

Alexander Stangroom 

Did you see the Ogrepede?

Randall 

I have not yet. Ogrepede. That’s the words you said. Yeah, you take an ogre and then you take another ogre and then you take another ogre and just keep doing that for a little while, and then cut them into bits and then stitched them together and then animate that. Okay, no, that sounds terrifying and I’m looking forward to it.

Alexander Stangroom 

It is. I’ve, I’ve just been at another events d3 at Sea on a week long caribbean cruise running dungeon dragons. And I use the ogrepede is one of my tables. The players did not like that.

Randall 

Wait, okay. The characters didn’t like it and the players loved it, or everybody was just…

Alexander Stangroom 

Nobody liked it. At no point did anybody like it except myself.

Randall 

Okay, that’s good. That sounds like a good gaming session then. Right? Yes. Well, I love is when I’m running games to see the disgust on the players faces when I’m describing things to them. That’s really what warms my little heart. Awesome. And, and then also total heroes, right? You’ve got the big banner I’m looking at right now. It’s looking beautiful.

Alexander Stangroom 

Yeah, so, so we do big monster books. We did Deep Magic, which is our big book of spells. Vault of Magic came out, which is our big book of magical items. Tome of Heroes is the big book of subclasses and character options and feats. So that’ll be coming out later on this… I’m going to say this month, yes, July. So a couple of months. But with this, we’ve got some fully fleshed out gunpowder rules. Okay, so it’s gonna be… a lot of people very excited by that.

Random 

Yeah, that’s a big contentious point for for fifth edition. So I’m really excited to see how you guys handle that because in general, I’ve been very happy with your stuff. And so character options, a big deal for the site. We’re looking forward to that

Alexander Stangroom 

With the gunpowder rules. The important thing is to not make it just another weapon, because otherwise you can just have a crossbow, call it a gun and then just run with it. So we’ve got… and I don’t want to give away too many spoilers. We’ve got a new mechanic that we’ve done that’s designed specifically for this. So when a thing happens, something cool happens and you get to roll more dice than you were expecting. So.

Randall 

That always feels good.

Alexander Stangroom 

Yeah, more Twice is always better.

Randall 

Unless they’re against you then it’s terrible.

Tyler 

Now I know you guys have a few unique races to your Midgard setting. I believe there’s bear folk and squirrel folk I think it was. A couple others.

Randall 

Yes, we have a little hedgehog people we have the taskuli who are a race of insectoid creatures that come from a hive mind down in the south lands.

Tyler 

And are those going to be in Tome of Heroes, or are those still in just in the setting books?

Alexander Stangroom 

So the… we have got some of the options that are available in our player guides, where the Gnolls for example. Tome of Heroes is predominantly focusing on class options rather than racial options.

Randall 

Awesome. We’re really excited to see it, I’ll ask the question, is there a particular class or subclass that you’re super stoked about?

Alexander Stangroom 

There was a on the Kickstarter, we put a couple of fantastic pieces of art and again, Kobold Press is known for just the quality of the art that we use. But there’s one picture of a mage standing hands outstretched, and they are being orbitted by a number of Flintlock pistols as they use, as they use telekinesis to shoot multiple pistols at the same time.

Randall 

Arlight, I want that. I’m excited. Alright, we’ll find a link and we’ll put a link in the show notes so folks can find that art and also find the Kickstarter as well. Yeah, that would be fantastic. Yeah. So that’s everybody who wants to use a gunslinger or a Cleric with a firearm or a Wizard with a firearm, you know, you’ve not got long to wait. Alright, that is awesome. All right. Thank you so much for your time. And yeah, well, links in the show notes for all this. So folks, check it out. Kobold Press.

Alexander Stangroom 

Thanks very much.

Randall 

And that was really cool. Tome of Beasts 3 is..

Tyler 

The Kickstarter just finished. Successfully, of course, it’s Kobold Press. If you’re not familiar with Kobold Press, they are one of the largest third party publishers for D&D. They got really big a couple of years ago with Tome of Beasts, which is a massive, very exciting book of additional monsters for fifth edition D&D. They are now on top of these three Kickstarter just completed, like we said, they’ve got a bunch of other cool stuff that we talked to them about. Just honestly great work and fantastic people to talk to.

Randall 

Yeah, I think I was most excited about the world building book like a, a guide by authors that you’re familiar with. The woman who wrote that Divergent Series participated in this, for instance. But a guide to world building, which is useful not just for building worlds as idiom. But if you’re a person who likes doing creative writing, which is something I’m very much into. Yeah, I’m really happy to have picked that up.

Random 

And then of course, if you are as into the character optimization as we are, then you should not be surprised that we are very excited about Tome of Heroes, which is a thing that should be coming out from them soon. Lots of character options, which we will undoubtedly tell you more about in the future.

Randall 

Yeah, actually, okay, you get to listen to that, but there was some really cool stuff and yeah.

Tyler 

Yes.

Randall 

100% we’re gonna talk to Bill Webb and Zach Glaser from frog God. Alright, hey, it’s Randall James. I’m walking around Garycon 14 and I’m talking to Frog God games. I’m here with Bill Webb and Zach Glazer. Hello, I’m

Bill Webb 

Hello, I’m Bill .

Zach Glazar 

and I’m Zach.

Randall 

Yeah, so we were looking at some of the content you come out. You have a Kickstarter going right now?

Bill Webb 

We do. We have a Kickstarter going right now it’s very a large 14-part adventure?

Zach Glazar 

11 part adventure and background material based in our our setting, the Lost Lands. Written by Jeff Harkness, who is one of our editors and partners. And it’s a huge sweeping adventure that ends in fighting like a demilich piece by piece. There are like 12 temples you go and visit across… it’s like a tour de fantasy, and it’s on Kickstarter right now. It’s, it’s very excellent. We have a it has a cover that has a dragon with a witch riding on it. It’s the most dungeon and Dragon II cover ever made.

Bill Webb 

And it begins with a missing chicken.

Zach Glazar 

It starts with a chicken.

Randall 

It all starts with a missing chicken. Okay. At the end of it, I can imagine like the dragons coming at you with a witch writing on and it’s like, I don’t… how did this happen? What levels does the book span?

Zach Glazar 

1 to 18, right? Yep, 1 to about 18.

Randall 

Oh, that’s really awesome because there’s really not a lot of 5e adventures that are actually going you know, be on let’s say one to 13 one to 14 So the fact that you can actually get all the way to 18, that’s pretty awesome.

Zach Glazar 

It’s quite high and actually it can get really worse because even at 18, you can actually lose at the end if you don’t make smart decisions. There’s no, there’s no right way to win it but there’s a wrong way to end there. Basically

Randall 

There’s plenty of ways to lose it but there’s a couple of ways to win it?

Zach Glazar 

In a big, big way there’s a city of the dead and the the dead all that easy to kill and there’s a whole lot of them. So you have to get to the point to actually I believe defeat the the main enemy to clean out the city. And I didn’t write it, though I talked extensively to the guy who did and he’s real proud of it. We produced it a long while ago Pathfinder one, and it was expanded with even new material with a whole new adventure everything else, so it’s a great product.

Randall 

Awesome. No, I’m super excited. So we’re, that’s on Kickstarter now, right? So we will put a link in the show notes to the Kickstarter. So folks want to take a look at that at home, they could do it. We were also looking at the Tome of Alchemy. That looks really interesting to me.

Zach Glazar 

Tome of Alchemy is very interesting. It has like all kinds of ways where you can create your own potions that are in your game, but it has even cooler stuff like mishaps. We were just looking through this morning and there’s a mishap where everything within 2000 meters gets like a 20, 2d20 force damage. And one where you grow a turtle shell.

Bill Webb 

Yeah, you grow a turtle shell.

Zach Glazar 

Your character tries to make a potion and fails, and grows a turtle shell.

Bill Webb 

Now the interesting thing with that book is that I’ve spent almost 20 years finding somebody to write that book because it’s kind of hard to. You had to be really, you know, it’s a little tedious to think of all the different magical formulas for you know, how do you make a, how do you make a displacer beast cloak, right? And so in this case, to do the displacer beast cloak, you might need powdered mercury, and a displacer cat pelt, and uh…

Zach Glazar 

Displacer beast is Wizards of the Coast IP. We don’t have that in there.

Bill Webb 

Oh, okay, we don’t.

Randall 

But it’s a, it is a blink cat, right? It’s a blink cat.

Bill Webb 

Something. Yeah, something like that. Yeah, something like that. I’m not sure… I think we can have displacer cloak. But

Zach Glazar 

I love to interrupt him when I can. It’s my job.

Randall 

No, so a displacer cloak. And displacer cloaks are great. And WotC that really cool creature out of Displacer Beast, which might give you an explanation of what’s actually happening,

Bill Webb 

Something like that, yeah.

Zach Glazar 

We’re very, very careful not to violate anybody’s IP. So no, but we have it, you have all kinds of ways you can do poisons, salves, balms,f various other things, not just potions. So you can make it with like water, water elements, aerelon. It’s sort of magical elements of death elements, life elements. And it’s all described, where you find these things, kind of creatures that you can make it from. I mean, when you say it out loud is not in this kind of space. It sounds terrible. But you actually are finding ways to find the essence you need to create potions, but then there’s the mishap options. And there’s all kinds of really interesting ones where the fizzle options are in there. It’s a great tool for people who like to tinker with the game rules, and it’s very expansive.

Randall 

Yeah, you talk about it’s a terrible thing to talk about aloud. But then you think about all the people who go murder hobo in their games and all the things they kill. Honestly-

Zach Glazar 

You can get yourself murdered. It’s the best part. Fizzles will self murder you in ways that are epic.

Tyler 

Well, that’s what makes it fun. And yeah, we are people who love to tinker with the rules of the game. So this sounds like a thing that I think we’ll both really enjoy.

Randall 

Yeah. And so the idea with it is that you have whatever 5e homebrew you have going, you could buy this book, and then you can add to it the ability for your characters to build potions.

Bill Webb 

It’s definitely it’s definitely world agnostic, you can use it for any 5e game. It’s, it fits well, no matter what your setting is, or anything else. Of course, we like our own setting. But that’s, you know, that’s there’s that.

Zach Glazar 

And we also, it’s the same series, we have a Book of Lost Spells, which are additional 5e spells for your campaign that, you know, expands your home game. We have one of those I think it has counted up 355 spells, something like that. It’s it’s a lot. And it’s it there’s a lot of fun because you can go ways you didn’t expect. Make scrolls et cetera. So we we do a lot of things like that under Necromancer Hames in Frog God Games do a lot of adventures.

Randall 

Okay, awesome. All right. Well, Zack, Bill, thank you so much.

Bill Webb 

Thank you.

Randall 

It’s been great to talk to you. Appreciate it.

Random 

I was very excited to talk to these folks. Inmy wandering to the internet, I don’t remember how I came across Rapan Athuk. But it’s an enormous… I mean, it’s technically a dungeon, I guess, but calling it just a dungeon is kind of damning with faint praise. It’s a book to rival the player’s handbook in size that is just one hardcover adventure.

Tyler 

It’s almost 700 pages. So like it is two players handbooks, plus a little bit of extra appendix inside. If you held it up next to the Pathfinder, Second Edition core rulebook, similar in size.

Random 

Yeah, they have a lot of really cool stuff. One thing that I was really really happy about to see from them, they have a book, which I’m not going to try and recreate the title of, but it’s functionally about creating magic items in fifth edition. Like, it’s a rule set for fifth edition to create magic items and we haven’t really gotten anything like that yet. And I took a leaf through it and it’s, I mean, it’s like yeah, you know, harvest bits off of this monster, harvest bits off of this monster, put them together and congratulations, you’ve got an item. And like it finally gives… it feels like it, A), finally gives us a way to make items and B), finally gives us a use for money.

Randall 

Well, it’s so you’re talking about the Tome of Alchemy, right?

Random 

That’s the one.

Randall 

Okay, so the total document was about creating potions and creating, like, consumables. What’s interesting, they also have another book coming out now which is recruiting non consumable magic items.

Random 

It’s all in the same book.

Tyler 

That was my understanding as well.

Random 

Like, I read through it.

Randall 

I’m learning live.

Random 

There are there are permanent items. I mean, it tells you how to make standard permanent items. Because of licensing things they’re not like your standard D&D, like in the you know the DMG items, but there’s definitely like a lot of standard dungeon fantasy flavor stuff. And you’re like, oh, yeah, I put this together, I put this together. Boom. Item. Very cool.

Tyler 

How many seagulls do I need to put into a blender to make winged boots?

Random 

Uh, well…

Randall 

All of them.

Random 

Unfortunately, winged boots are not SRD. But I appreciate where you’re going with it. And you’re-

Randall 

What about boots have wings?

Random 

Well, funny you should mention that. That actually requires about at bear tongues. Don’t ask questions.

Randall 

That’s fair. Okay. We get to talk to Alex Kammer. So previously of Gamehol Cone. But also has some adventures that he’s working on together with Frog God games.  Hey, it’s Randall James. We’re at Garycon 14. And we ran into Alex Kammer.

Alex Kammer 

Although it was great to run into you guys. I am the director of Gamehole Con, an annual tabletop gaming convention that takes place in Madison, Wisconsin each year. I’m one of the owners of the True Dungeon attraction. I’m also a freelance author, game designer with a bunch of things that I’ve working on and have worked on.

Randall 

Awesome. And so yeah, we’ve done True Dungeon, the three of us, I think we actually talked about it. When we did the PAX West episode. It was a really good time. It was a great way to experience it and like bring people who maybe weren’t familiar with any kind of roleplaying and say, Okay, we’re gonna go do a thing.

Random 

Just be like, yeah, you know, it’s, it’s an escape room, and then you get there and maybe there’s some people in some costumes that you didn’t really expect and you have shuffleboard. It’s great.

Randall 

Actually, even that dynamic, I thought was really, really awesome. Yeah, you got a lot of other cool stuff going on these days, too.

Alex Kammer 

Yeah, I fortunately just published a new book with Ed Greenwood and Greenwood is the founder the creator of the Forgotten Realms. We released a book called Thay Land of the Red Wizards. People have been clamoring for more red wizards material for years. So we just released this book and it’s been selling like crazy on the DMS guild. You happened to run into me here. We’re sitting in the Frog God games booth. I popped over because these are my some people I work with. I have a book coming with them this fall set in their Lost Lands setting. It’s set in the region called the Haunted Steps. So predictably, there’s some terrible things happening there and adventures will go there to be terrorized. And so that book has to be what we kickstarted this fall sometime. TBD. But sometime late summer, early fall.

Randall 

Okay, so you say 100 stuff so like, I’m gonna have it goes playing like mischievous tricks, moving candles on me. Is it that?

Alex Kammer 

No, it’s It’s, it’s, it’s unfortunately, more terrible than that. It’s more cosmic horror, you know, like, reality is starting to uncommon done, time itself is being, you know, starting to be affected. It’s bad.

Randall 

Actually, that sounds like a great time, though.

Alex Kammer 

It should be really fun. It should be really fun. I’ve been a big Call of Cthulhu fan for forever. And so I wanted to bring that bent to fifth edition dungeon dragons. That’s the mission here. And we’re inventing some new mechanics for that. In fact, my friend Mike Mearls right now has those and he’s looking at them to make sure that they make sense, that they’re balanced. And so we’ll see. Yeah, that’s pretty fun.

Random 

So to just bring up some Call of Cthulhu stuff. I did see in some of Frog God’s, like, Tome of Horrors, that they do have some definitely Cthulhu Mythos inspired things. Is that some of that from you? Or..

Alex Kammer 

Partially, partially. I’m the fact that they have initially been willing to go in that direction was very encouraging, because that’s what I wanted to do. That got that got me it was easier for me to say yes to their proposal that will you write a book for us. So well, can I play with this stuff? And they said, Yes. I said, Can I really play with it, though? Like, could really affect your setting kind of stuff, you know? And they said yes. So the other book that I did for them that is, that well, you’ll see in their bestiaries and stuff, I wrote Sea King’s Malice, which was published two years ago. And so a lot of those nasty creatures are in show up in their books. So.

Random 

I was about to say, I saw Dagon in there. I was like, ah, that’s the name I recognize. Okay.

Alex Kammer 

Yeah. No, you don’t wanna mess that dude.

Randall 

Awesome. Yeah, we actually… I’m clamoring for more horror in 5e. So we did a, we did an episode arc last October. We were talking about like, no kidding, how do you take what is meant to be this like, power fantasy and actually make players feel less empowered. Of course call the Call of Cthulhu game series does a great job of that. But I’m super excited to see how you would integrate that with 5e mechanics.

Alex Kammer 

You’re absolutely right. It’s a superhero game, Dungeon and Dragons. There’s no other way to put it. And so to take it to, to, to impose real danger without breaking the game and, and basically destroying characters. I mean, that’s you can, you know, D&D characters to be killed. But that’s not the point. The point is that there is a gradual corruption is what we’re trying to accomplish. And with meaningful decisions that can affect the direction of that corruption, that’s what we’re trying to accomplish, that actually affect the characters and the outcome. And how how, you know, how you how the ending goes depends on how you conduct yourself throughout the whole adventure. So it’s a it’s a it’s a challenge, challenging, right. But it’s been fun to work on.

Randall 

I’m really excited to see how that story goes. All right. Well, thank you very much for joining us, Alex. We will have links in the show notes, some of the materials that we just talked about. Yeah, well look forward later in the fall. This book coming.

Alex Kammer 

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. The this Yeah, hopefully. Certainly by Gamehole Con by that. So that’s October 20 through 23. We’ll have I hope to be running full on. I’m playtesting now, but hopefully it’ll be running actual events for the Haunted Steps book at Gamehole Con.

Randall 

Okay. That will be awesome. Thank you so much.

Alex Kammer 

You bet. Pleasure to meet you guys.

Randall 

Absolutely.

Tyler 

Yeah. If you’re not familiar with Alex Kammer. Very cool guy. He both runs Gamehole Con and true dungeon, which we have experienced before. When we went to PAX West, it was awesome. I strongly recommend True Dungeon if you ever had the chance. So yeah, very nice guy knows a lot of people. He’s working on a fun adventure that we talked to him a little bit about that’s planned to come out in I believe they said October, November.

Random 

I know it was late this year.

Randall 

Yeah. So it’s yeah, no dates committed, but later this year, and yeah, you know, right, you’ll get to listen to the interview with him. But that being said, super excited about the horror conversation, because I think, you know, we talked about it all last Spooktober, bringing horror, to fivey is difficult. And I’m really curious to see what they came up with.

Random 

Yeah, the way that he was talking about it makes me really excited for what he managed to accomplish, because, you know, he really did go in with the understanding of this is a power fantasy, so I need to figure out a way to take power away from the players in a way that is meaningful, and not just like, Oh, my character is dead, because like, this is D&D, you just roll up another character, but no, I mean, the way that he was talking about it, I am very excited to see what he managed to pull together.

Randall 

Yeah, and of course, the theme that lots of folks play testings happening now. Hopefully it goes well.

Random 

Exactly.

Randall 

Breaking news! One more with Luke Gygax.  Alright, it’s Randall James. I’m walking around the halls of Gary con 14, and I happen to have run into Luke Gygax.

Luke Gygax 

Hey, how’s it going?

Randall 

It’s pretty awesome. It’s great to talk to you. The Convention has been fantastic. How’s it been this year for you?

Luke Gygax 

It’s been a extreme pleasure. A real joy. Because there’s three year break between conventions, and sure we did virtual, and that was amazing, but there’s nothing like being here and feeling the buzz of so many excited people whether they’re meeting old friends, making new ones, shaking dice, swapping stories about the adventure they have round table, that’s the big payoff for me.

Randall 

Yeah, it’s been really cool. So the panels have been amazing. The live gaming, like, you have so many folks here running different games. I was particularly excited to see there were actually like the new Dark Souls game was available. 5e compatible, so people were out playing that. Yeah, have you got a chance to play much? I know it’s been busy.

Luke Gygax 

For me, this is not like a pleasure  trip.

Randall 

Okay, that’s fair.

Luke Gygax 

I don’t get to play a whole lot. I did play a couple two games yesterday of Dungeons and Dragons for a stream and tonight I’m gonna play Advanced Dungeons Dragons or 1e with my friends Stephan Pokorny in our bingo short work adventures where I’m bingo shortwick, halfling maker, nevermind the dagger and sticky fingers. That’s just by coincidence. But yeah, so that’s been a lot of fun. Really looking forward to that. See all my old friends. Oh my gosh, I almost forgot something that was totally amazing. On Thursday, I got to officiate my first wedding. I was able to officiate Satine Phoenix and Jameson Stone’s wedding right in the lobby here. And it was absolutely amazing.

Randall 

Yeah, that was, that was really cool to see. Yeah.

Luke Gygax 

Yeah. So other than that, I’m about to go to our charity auction this year, we’re supporting Wounded Warrior Project. So we have some Wounded Warriors project people here as long as well as a wounded warrior. So I gotta get moving here pretty quick. But because I like to juggle not just one or two things at a time, but like 50. I also launched a Kickstarter at noon today. We’ve already made over seven times our funding goal. If you want to check it out, it’s the Heart of Chentoufee, which takes place in my world setting the world of oak rim, you can go to KS.GaxxWorx.com. Again, that’s KS, like Kickstarter, dot GAXX WORX.com.

Randall 

Awesome. And we will have links in the show notes. So folks who want to take a look at it, they’ll be able to find it. When will that Kickstarter close?

Luke Gygax 

It closes in 21 days, if my memory serves.

Randall 

Awesome. Alright, so it will absolutely be available. Go take a look at that right now. Luke, so much. It was great to talk to you.

Luke Gygax 

All right, yeah. Thanks for coming, guys.

Randall 

Yeah, it was really great to talk to Luke. It was really cool to hear that he has a Kickstarter going for the new adventure happening in his world, Okkorim. And I’m really maybe looking forward to an opportunity to play test or play that live in the real world. So throwing it out there. Yeah, it was really great to talk to Luke. The, the con is fantastic. So Garycon was wonderful. The folks that are there. The love for the game, the history of the game that’s there, like, you have a lot of folks there from the TSR days. And so seeing the art that they worked on back then, talking to them about kind of what they’re still developing, what they’re writing was really cool. Lake Geneva as a town is amazing. Like the downtown is beautiful. Lake Geneva and Lake Como next door are both wonderful. We stayed on a house right on Lake Como, went to Oak Fire Pizza had one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. I couldn’t believe, like, people always talk about the chew of good dough. It was there. Yeah. I think it’s definitely a convention worth attending. And yeah, hope see you next year. Okay, so now’s the time where somebody has to do something.

Tyler 

Oh, you want me to say something funny to put in after the credits?

Randall 

I think if you could…

Tyler 

Am I, am I a performing monkey? Take me to conventions and make me perform and say things that are funny?

Randall 

Dude, you literally do that every the entire weekend.

Tyler 

That’s true.

Random 

We all know each other the whole weekend.

Randall 

Hey Randall, quick, show me your rat!

Tyler 

I did like your fun performing rat that you pulled out of your pocket.

Randall 

Oh god, it ran away, I’ve gotta go find it!

Random 

And then, listeners, Radnall was never seen or heard from again.

Tyler 

RPGBOT is an online tabletop gaming resource. We have both a website and a podcast, and we’re devoted to helping people be better players so they can get more out of their games.

Random 

Wunderbar.

Tyler 

Now we can just describe verbally.

Random 

Yeah, no, wait, hold on. Hold on. Can I borrow this for a second?

Randall 

Yeah.

Tyler 

The weirdest ASMR.

Randall 

Automated speech recognition, ASR.

Tyler 

What… what? How did you how did you get that?

Randall 

I thought your said ASR.

Tyler 

Oh! ASMR.

Randall 

ASMR.

Tyler 

How did yo get that acronym?

Randall 

ASR. Automated speech recognition.

Tyler 

I don’t think there’s an M in speech. No.

Randall 

We’re all together now.

Tyler 

Yeah. All right. I think we did it, folks.

Randall 

We did it it. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. That was good.

Tyler 

All right. I don’t want to knock over Dan’s coffee. Stuff.

Randall 

That feels realistic.

Tyler 

Stuff?

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