Today we have an interview with Richard Davis of Explorers Guild Publishing. We're very excited about his new project on Kickstarter, Kobold Quest: Draught of the Dragon. We love that it can be used with so many systems, including Basic Fantasy for us grognards.
The project looks really fun and we are also particularly fond of kobolds, including them in campaigns as henchmen and such whenever possible. We just had a kobold fatality and maybe we'll find a replacement henchman in "Kobold Quest".
D&D 5th Edition, Pathfinder 2e, Pathfinder 1e, Basic Fantasy, Cogent Roleplay
Special Features: You play as a group of Kobolds, new monsters, new magic items, optional rules, a system for 5e to craft traps
The group play as a party of kobolds where they complete the trials to become champions of their tribe with no small amount of cheating and backstabbing. After this, they complete a few tasks to ensure the safety of their tribe from various small threats. The adventure culminates in a heist on a gnome fortress where an item of extreme import is taken. Finally, the players must set up traps they design in their own dungeon tunnels to delay the gnomes to give them time to activate the artifact and lay waste to the approaching threat.
A light-hearted fantasy 6-8 sessions averaging 4 hours each (before any relevant stretch goals).
We asked Richard some questions about gaming in general and about his current exciting project.
Q. We see that your latest adventure, as well as some of your past releases from Explorer’s Guild Publishing are for multiple game systems; D&D 5E, Basic Fantasy and Pathfinder 1E and 2E. Aside from broadening the appeal of your adventure, why do you feel it’s important to publish material for multiple systems?
A. It depends on the system I translate the material into. 5e is the base because it’s the most supported. The Pathfinder 2 community is much smaller, but everyone I’ve seen in that community truly loves their game and will advocate for it. I respect the fervor on behalf of their system.
I was directed toward basic fantasy for its ease of play and greater freedom, which I appreciate. Pathfinder 1 is… just me being selfish. It’s my favorite system.
Q.You’ve probably been asked this a bunch of times, but we’re always fascinated. How did you get into TTRPGs? Did someone initiate you or did you learn on your own?
A. When I was 5 years old, my dad started all of my siblings and I on an adventure. It was very basic of course, we were 4-8 years old at the time. But the idea of having a game with the unparalleled freedom of D&D (advanced 2nd edition at the time) was incredible.
We only got to play for a handful of sessions, but every year or so I bug him to finish the adventure with us.
Q. What games did you play as a child?
A. Apart from the aforementioned AD&D 2e, we played all kinds of games. As far as board games go, I specifically remember Heroquest, RoboRally, Warhammer Quest, 40k, and things like that.
I played a ton of videogames as a child, which was great because I landed perfectly in the best era for JRPGs with Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, and Super Mario RPG.
Other than that, we did plenty of indoor and outdoor games as well as making up several of our own. In the video for the Kickstarter, I mention one specifically that inadvertently lead to Kobold Quest.
Q. Kobolds seem to have become almost everyone’s favorite “monster” character recently? What made you decide to center an adventure on these little rapscallions? Are you familiar with the adventure “Monsterquest” in Dungeon Magazine #10? The party plays as a group of “monsters” well, on a quest. It’s quite fun.
A. Well… I don’t want to repeat too much from the Kickstarter video. A few pieces not mentioned in it, however, include several games that prominently featured kobolds as either the initial enemies or the rare occasion where one would be your companion. I specifically remember a game, Neverwinter Nights for the PC I think, where you had the option to take a kobold bard named Deekin. No matter how poorly he synergized with my build, I would always take him because he was fun.
Come to think of it, I also tend to give my D&D parties the chance to team up with kobolds for no specific reason. Yesterday, I talked with one of my old players about the Kickstarter, and he brought up a kobold hireling named Kabagge.
No, I'm afraid I've never heard of Monsterquest. I'd never heard of another adventure like this one, but the idea didn't strike me as a particularly new one, so I figured something akin to it had been done before.
Q. Who is your favorite author and what work of theirs is your favorite?
A. My favorite fantasy author changes from time to time. For a long time, it was a tough fight between Margret Weiss/Tracy Hickman and Christopher Paolini. But at this point, if I’m honest with myself, it has to be Brandon Sanderson. The Mistborn trilogy and the Stormlight Archives. Currently, I’m going to go with the Mistborn trilogy, but the further I get in the Stormlight Archives, the more it inches that direction.
Q. What is your favorite polyhedral and why is it the d20?
A. I’m going to have to say the d20. The shape is very aesthetically pleasing, and it allows a large area for passing, failing, and everything in-between.
I will give a shoutout to the d6, for prominently featuring in mainstream games and also giving just the nicest bell-curve for stats.
Q. What book would you add to Appendix N in the 1E AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide and why?
A. Personally, I would go with Mary Shelley or Bram Stoker. There are different kinds of horror that Lovecraft doesn’t cover. Even if it’s very difficult to actually do in some TTRPG systems (looking at YOU 5e), a horror adventure was my first Kickstarter ever (Wolves of Steadwick).
Q. Favorite movie or TV show.
A. I have no clue what my favorite TV show is, but my favorite movie is The Lion King quickly followed by The Lord of the Rings trilogy (which is cheating, as it’s 3 movies).
Q. Do you game in person these days or with a VTT? We only game in person, have never ventured into the virtual gaming world.
A. I very much prefer in-person, but I’m split about 50/50 right now. One of my two major recurring groups has a member in North Carolina, so in person would be… rather challenging, as I’m near the west coast.
Q. What is your next project after this adventure is launched?
A. Okay, I’m not going to lie to you. I’m legally not allowed to tell you my next big project. So let’s go with the conventions. I’m scheduled to go to 5 before the end of the year, and the number will likely increase as that cutoff approaches.
Q. It seems like Kickstarter has really opened up the TTRPG creativity spigot. Or at least it’s given an opportunity to get funding for all sorts of niche products that WotC or TSR would never have produced. Which product have you really enjoyed that would not have been available without Kickstarter?
A. I’m really excited about a Humblewood campaign a friend is going to run at some point. On a less TTRPG related project, Hollow Knight was funded on Kickstarter and that is one of the best games I’ve ever played.
Q. What pastimes do you enjoy outside of TTRPGs?
A. Among the things I’ve already mentioned, I really like hiking. It’s probably not a surprise, but I also do a lot of writing. I’ve done the past… wow, probably 12 NaNoWriMos at this point? They're terrible, of course, but that's the magic of NaNoWriMo.
Q. Where do you hope to see Explorer’s Guild Publishing doing in ten years?
A. I have a wife and (currently) two kids. My greatest professional dream at this point is to be able to support us with these projects I love. Of course, I hope it doesn’t take ten years to get us there! Beyond that, I also have a role-playing system I’m tinkering with that addresses a lot of my gripes with other systems out there. Unfortunately, it seems one must make a name for themselves before releasing a system, since there are literally hundreds, and I’d prefer it not just be one more forgotten name.