<+William_Cronk> (Link: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/298637/Rattle-the-Sabre-Shake-the-Spear)https://www.dmsguild.com/product/298637/Rattle-the-Sabre-Shake-the-Spear
<+William_Cronk> Hey all, my names William C. Cronk and I was lucky enough to do a Forgotten Realms module with none other than Ed Greenwood.
<+William_Cronk> The module finally released to DM’s Guild over the Christmas holidays after being in production for about 18 months
<+William_Cronk> It is a bit of a sandbox who done it that takes place in the Saffron City, Ormpur.
<+William_Cronk> I also drew all the maps for it. Its weighty at 88 pages, and is intended for Tier 1 play and beginning DM’s.
<+William_Cronk> I’m also a writer (just getting into that) and working on a game setting for a friend’s RPG UNBOUND by Mayhem UNited.
<~Dan> Thanks, William_Cronk! The floor is open to questions!
<+William_Cronk> Hit me with anything game related and I’ll do my best 😉
<~Dan> First off, can you describe Ormpur?
<+William_Cronk> Ormpur is a merchant’s city, along the ocats of the Shaarlands, which used to be the hot bed for the cult of Tiamat.
<+William_Cronk> Because Ed was doing this project outside of WoTC, we stayed away from alot of the IP and went as generic as possible.
<+William_Cronk> (Link: https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Ormpur)https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Ormpur
<~Dan> How would you describe the culture?
<+William_Cronk> based very loosely off of Morroco, though as Ed continuously told me, its not Earth, so the cultures are different. Its a desert setting, so a lot of the desert clime nuances work their way into the setting.
<+William_Cronk> The people are also more interested in individual pursuits, and although there are family ties, they are more interested in self
<~Dan> (Howdy, GKG_Alan!)
<~Dan> What is the premise of the adventure?
<~Dan> (William_Cronk, GKG_Alan there is head of Gallant Knight Games, and an all-around cool dude.)
<+William_Cronk> A wealthy merchant’s heir and daughter has gone missing and it is believed to be the work of her rival. The character’s are asked to bring the daughter back before things escalate
<+William_Cronk> (hey CKG_Alan)
<+William_Cronk> Sorry for the spelling oops
<+William_Cronk> So, as the adventure continues, there is a time track that ramps up the escalation between the two families
<~Dan> And this is a first-level adventure?
<+William_Cronk> Tier 1. The idea is the merchant doesn’t want to use her normal means as tongues will wag. She is looking for discreet. There is alsoa small plot twist as to why Tier 1 characters have been involved as opposed to more experienced characters
<~Dan> Forgive me, but what does Tier 1 mean in this context? It’s been a while since I’ve messed with D&D.
<+William_Cronk> Tier 1 are characters between 1-5 level.
<~Dan> That’s okay! I’m the one behind the curve on that.
<+William_Cronk> All good.
<~Dan> Does the adventure lend itself to any particular races and/or classes?
<+danhunsaker> I was wondering the same thing all last night, actually. Should have asked then.
<+William_Cronk> Because the adventure is a sandbox, the characters can go all over the place
<+William_Cronk> The skill based classes will do better (rogue, bard, et al) but we have played it with a group of combatants and they figured it out… busted some heads, but figured it out.
<+William_Cronk> the usual mix of characters will do well (the classic fighter, cleric, wizard, rogue) and every play test we did was with six players.
<+William_Cronk> It is a thinking module, but combat is there
<~Dan> Is it entirely city-based?
<+William_Cronk> It is a complete urban adventure, though one play test group took it the high sea
<~Dan> How did that happen? 🙂
<+William_Cronk> The initial contest was for an urban adventure with Ormpur
<+William_Cronk> They followed a red herring and ended up so far off the beaten path that they lost sight of the prize… they came around eventually.
<+William_Cronk> There’s a rumour table in the adventure and one of teh NPC’s is a merchant
<+William_Cronk> The merchants ahs ships and warehouses and the players put two and two together and came up with fifteen
<~Dan> Heh. Don’t you love it when that happens? 🙂
<+William_Cronk> I live for it. I really love it when the players take things sidewise
<+William_Cronk> It keeps me on my feet as a DM
<+William_Cronk> The original adventure was to be released by TEGG (The Ed Greenwood Group)
<+William_Cronk> but they folded before it came time to produce. Everything ahd been written and ready for publication, save artwork
<+danhunsaker> Always disappointing when a good company folds.
<+William_Cronk> So, the original editor Geoff Gander (a great guy, you should look him up) and I decided to go ahead an publish anyway (with Ed’s approval) once we were free of our contractional agreements
<+William_Cronk> It is danhunsaker. they were great people to work with
<+William_Cronk> Its been a hell of a learning curve, and well worth it
<~Dan> How much of the writing is yours and how much is Ed’s?
<+William_Cronk> Ed was the font of knowledge, so other than the fore ward by him, and a quote from his novella that was to launch with the module, i wrote the whole thing
<+William_Cronk> He guided the course of actions, yay and nayed the setting and the maps and had over all vito rights
<~Dan> (Howdy, Wondy!)
<+William_Cronk> (hey WonderRat)
<~Dan> Vito rights? He’s Italian?
<+William_Cronk> He’s an amazing guy to work with. Very down to earth, and very reseptive to ideas.
<+William_Cronk> LOL, no, Canadaina, I just can’t spell
<+William_Cronk> As you can see
<+danhunsaker> You mentioned a contest?
<+William_Cronk> Yes. TEGG had started an annual contest where the winner could write a Forgotten Realms module with Ed. He wanted to explore those areas of Faerun that weren’t part of the current mainstream setting.
<+William_Cronk> I was the first one, and only one, to win
<~Dan> What did you have to submit?
<~Dan> And congrats on that, by the way!
<+William_Cronk> Thanks. We had to enter a pitch as to what our adventure would be. I was really nervous having never written a pitch before, but Jim Zub’s blog has an amazing article on pitches. It help me get the gig
<+William_Cronk> And I submitted four pitches which helped.
<+William_Cronk> Two of them made the top five
<+danhunsaker> I hear great things about Jim Zub.
<+William_Cronk> he’s an amazing guy. His brother is one of my regular gaming group
<~Dan> What’s his claim to fame?
<+William_Cronk> He is a comic book writer and is currently doing the young adventurer’s guides for WoTC as well as the Rick and Morty comic and DnD setting and the Baldur’s Gate comic
<~Dan> Very cool.
<+William_Cronk> He’s very focused on the hobby and the people within it and a great all around human being
<+William_Cronk> He also cosplays a mean Dr. Strange
<~Dan> Nice. 🙂
<+William_Cronk> So, the module has emboldened me to reach out and try new venues as well
<~Dan> Oh? Like what?
<+William_Cronk> I started writing short stories and I am hoping to do a ‘steam punk’ setting for a buddies RPG
<~Dan> What RPG is that?
<+William_Cronk> The setting is Carnival Row meets Shadowrun
<+William_Cronk> Its fairly new, called UNBOUND, by Mayhem United… I can get you a link if you want
<+William_Cronk> (Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/291818/Tactix)https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/291818/Tactix
<~Dan> I think that’s the wrong link…
<+William_Cronk> This is for their miniature based game. The RPG will be released in the near future. They have a presence on Facebook
<~Dan> Ah, gotcha.
<+William_Cronk> So, anybosy have any questions?
<~Dan> Is this your first RPG product? (Sorry if you already mentioned that.)
<+William_Cronk> All good. It is. I’ve been a gamer for decades (1982) and a table top war gamer just as long.
<+William_Cronk> I’ve created over fifty settings for my friends to play in and I currently run seven games either biweekly or monthly
<~Dan> It’s doubly impressive that you’ve been able to work with Ed Greenwood right out of the gate, then!
<+danhunsaker> I wonder if that was part of the point of making it a contest.
<+William_Cronk> Tell me about it… It leaves one feeling a little overwhelmed… but it also meant I got to see the way the industry worked from a professionals point of view. Its a hard place, but so worth it.
<+William_Cronk> I think it was danhunsaker.
<+William_Cronk> It sure helped me.
<+William_Cronk> I just wish the company hadn’t dolded.
<~Dan> What most surprised you about the process of getting published?
<+William_Cronk> Mind, I did work for Games Workshop Canada for eight years, part of that in their promo department, but Canada is a small market compared to the US
<+William_Cronk> The amount of legal work that was involved, and the sure amount of overall work involved. It really opened my eyes to how much goes into a single adventure
<+William_Cronk> And how many people worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make it come to light
* ~Dan nods
<+William_Cronk> It was a real eye opener
<+William_Cronk> It also hooked me
<+William_Cronk> If I could, I’d design worlds and adventures all day every day
<+GKG_Alan> oh! I booth share with Jim Zub at GenCon
<+GKG_Alan> small world
<+William_Cronk> He’s a great guy isn’t he GKG_Alan
<+William_Cronk> Did you meet his brother?
<+GKG_Alan> I believe I did in passing last year
<+William_Cronk> He’s even more amzing than Jim if you can believe it….as a side, we ran the module in the steam punk setting a
<+William_Cronk> few nights ago, and it worked like a charm
<+William_Cronk> being a 5e adventure, its rather easy to run, which is nice
<~Dan> Can you say a bit more about your steampunk setting?
<+JamesGillen> and how does that work with 5E?
<+William_Cronk> Sure…. it takes place on a fantasy world I have been designing for over twenty years.
<+William_Cronk> The main part of the setting is a city that has been the seat of power for a multitude of empires, think Istanbul
<+danhunsaker> (not Constantinople)
<+William_Cronk> Currently, a huge war is raging between three of the worlds powers and the city has become the jumping off point of the local forces,a s well as a refugee haven and overall trade hub.
<+William_Cronk> (Istanbul was once Constantinople, now its Istanbul…)
<+William_Cronk> The city is divided into three tiers, The wealthy who are all spellcasters in the high town
<+William_Cronk> The artisans and trades people in the centre part of the city known as the standards
<+William_Cronk> and the shanty towns and slums that have been built up known as low town
<+William_Cronk> The game’s primary setting is in an area where all three ‘meet’ known as the Cusp.
<+William_Cronk> Every dnd race, for the most part, is playable within the setting, but it has technology equivalent to the early 1900’s
<+William_Cronk> So you have magic and tech and tech based magic and magic based tech
<~Dan> What are some examples of the latter two?
<+William_Cronk> black markets and monsters and just about anything you can think of from the Victorian age and Dnd
<+William_Cronk> There are different rounds for weapons that are mana driven, many of the day to day items in the wealthy area are minor magic items, such as lamps that are ever burning, carriages that are self propelled
<+danhunsaker> (“You’ve heard of Victorian Age Vampire. Now, prepare yourself for Victorian Age D&D!”)
<+William_Cronk> There are telegraph systems that use spirits instead of wires
<+William_Cronk> (thats pretty much it)
<+William_Cronk> spirit infusion is the key to a lot of the mana tech
<~Dan> Are there aircraft?
<+William_Cronk> There are items that are far more advanced metallurgically speaking because of magic alloys
<+danhunsaker> I imagine the spirits themselves have some things to say about being used to infuse tech like that…
<+William_Cronk> Air ships are a thing, as are simple balloons and gliders and the rudimentary ideas of aircraft
<+William_Cronk> They do danhunsaker
<+William_Cronk> which adds to the fun of the setting
<+William_Cronk> Spirit and faerie strikes because of working conditions is a thing
<~Dan> Unfairy work practices?
<+William_Cronk> the idea of steam power has been replaced by magic
<+William_Cronk> Yes Dan that is a truth
<+William_Cronk> there are also clockwork people as well
<~Dan> What are they like?
<+William_Cronk> It has an Eberron feel at first, until you look deaper, and then its far from it
<+William_Cronk> Literally cogs and wheels, like a clockwork golem. theya re used by many of the wealthy as ‘slave’ labour
<+William_Cronk> They are also available in numerous sizes and makes, such as dogs and horses and carriages, etc
<+William_Cronk> all driven by mana gems instead of steam
<+William_Cronk> because mana driven tech is common place, you get ‘ray’ guns and personal flying apparatus as well… think bat wings that strap on your back
<~Dan> That’s nifty. I love rayguns. 🙂
<+William_Cronk> and to answer danhunsaker question, we used the unbound system but kept the basics of the module and its premise. It worked well in the city setting
<+William_Cronk> so do I
<+danhunsaker> (I think that was JamesGillen asking that one…)
<+William_Cronk> And the fact that their is a military black market moving through the city the players are able to get their hands on all sorts of items, for the right price.
<+JamesGillen> I’m sorry, what was Unbound?
<+William_Cronk> (oops, sorry)
<+William_Cronk> Unbound is a D6 driven RPG being released this year by Paul Stevenson of Mayhem United
<+JamesGillen> oh ok
<+William_Cronk> It was based originally on the West End Games system, but has been modified substantually since
<~Dan> I hope he’ll stop by for a Q&A himself!
<+William_Cronk> I’ll connect you with him
<+William_Cronk> We used to work together at Games WOrkshop
<~Dan> Please do!
<+William_Cronk> Just sent him a PM
<~Dan> Have you had any thoughts about making a full-blown game of your own?
<+William_Cronk> Who hasn’t?
<+William_Cronk> But yes, I have one in development, and would love to take it to the next level, but right now its a time contraint
<~Dan> What’s the premise?
<+William_Cronk> between a day job thats 60 hours a week, and writing
<+William_Cronk> Generic open game
<+William_Cronk> something that can be used for any setting
<+William_Cronk> a Fate meets d6 sort of game
<+William_Cronk> basically you gain a d6 for each point in a stat and skill and roll to beat a target…
<+William_Cronk> I’d love to release it with the steam punk setting I am doing, but I am unsure how long the extra work would take
<~Dan> What sorts of special abilities would this system cover?
<+William_Cronk> Any and everything…. the games allows the players to customize characters in similar way Fate does. So, you create aspects for the character that add dice to stast and skills, tricks of the trade that allow advantages and disadvantages, aces up your sleeve that work in special circumstances
<~Dan> Will it be able to scale well enough to handle superheroes?
<+William_Cronk> and pieces of kit which are trademark items that help the character like Indian Jones hat
<+William_Cronk> It can yes…. the basic idea is if the characters are super heroes, than the average person would have a dice pool of say one to three dice, depending on the severity of the heroes
<+William_Cronk> likewise, the caps on the stats and skills can be made to whatever level the GM wants
<+JamesGillen> Yeah, “Customize characters” and “scale well enough to handle supers” – that’s called Hero. 😉
<+William_Cronk> so for example, a standard game the pc’s have a stat of 1-4 and a skill of 1-4 with an add on from aspects et al of an other 1 or 2
<+William_Cronk> true JamesGillen
<+William_Cronk> So a GM can add more aspects and increase the dice pools if they wish
<+William_Cronk> There is also the ability to ‘break’ the rules with an aspect, so the GM can allow that as well.
<+William_Cronk> Magic is an aspect that ‘breaks the rules’.
<+William_Cronk> We’re currently using it in a cyberpunk / shadowrun like setting and it seems to be wroking fairly well
<+William_Cronk> Including a character who is a physical representation of a magical AI
<~Dan> Cool! I wish you the best of luck on that one. Sounds promising!
<+William_Cronk> If it goes anywhere, i will fire you a copy 😉
<~Dan> Heh. Thanks. 😀
<~Dan> As an aside, what’s your day job?
<+William_Cronk> So anyone want to pick my brain on anything? danhunsaker you going to ask THE question
<+William_Cronk> I sell tractor parts for a John Deere dealership
<+JamesGillen> How much does that pay?
<+danhunsaker> Oh, I always ask THE question. Eventually. 🙂
<+William_Cronk> Monday to Saturday, an hour commute each way….
<+William_Cronk> Woot, I have been looking forward to it ALL NIGHT!!!!
<~Dan> Wow, that’s pretty rough.
<+William_Cronk> It cust into gaming 😉
<+William_Cronk> I run three biweekly games
<+William_Cronk> and four monthly game
<+William_Cronk> and play in two monthly games
<~Dan> Wow. That’s impressive!
<+William_Cronk> It keeps me sane
<+William_Cronk> How many of us enjoy gaming for that reason, a chance to escape
<~Dan> Very true.
<+danhunsaker> I just love stories.
<+William_Cronk> ditto danhunsaker, I game instead of watching tv
<+William_Cronk> its what i tried to keep in mind when I wrote the module
<+William_Cronk> people take time out of their schedule to play games, so make it worth the time
<~Dan> That’s a fine approach.
<+William_Cronk> challenge them, but don’t defeat them
<+William_Cronk> make it memorable
<+William_Cronk> and with so many systems out there, I tried to make the module ‘liftable’
<~Dan> How did you go about that?
<+William_Cronk> you could set it in any desert city in any setting if you truely wanted to
<+William_Cronk> the way the lay out in the game works, there isn’t a lot of actual DnD rules. A GM with a little experience can tweak the module and use it whole sale
<+William_Cronk> Its laid out in acts, with a timeline
<~Dan> I see. That’s handy.
<+William_Cronk> it also means that there is a natural flow to the action which is easy to follow
<+William_Cronk> like I said, I had the idea of a first time GM in mind (and as it was my first module, that was rather easy)
<+William_Cronk> a little gift for you
<+William_Cronk> (Link: https://www.deviantart.com/kiltedfiend/art/Generic-Version-of-Ormpur-824344537)https://www.deviantart.com/kiltedfiend/art/Generic-Version-of-Ormpur-824344537
<~Dan> Very nice!
<+William_Cronk> This is the map I did for the game…
<+William_Cronk> It was fun
<~Dan> How long did that take you?
<+William_Cronk> Hey might as well plug all my skills… LOL
<+William_Cronk> The map took me a few days to do…. it was worth it
<+William_Cronk> In the galleries you can see an earlier version as well as some of the setting maps
<~Dan> That’s a pretty intricate map!
<+danhunsaker> What tool did you use to make it?
<+William_Cronk> Its pretty much there as a reference for the GM to do with as they see fit
<+William_Cronk> Whole thing was made in GIMP
* +danhunsaker whistles.
<+William_Cronk> Pretty much everything I do is in either GIMP or Wonderdraft
<+William_Cronk> and no brushes.. all free hand
<+William_Cronk> I am a sucker for punishment
<+danhunsaker> We’re just suckers for puns, here.
<~Dan> You are talented is what you are, IMHO.
* +William_Cronk blushes
<+William_Cronk> danhunsaker i can relate, I have a punning Clan
<~Dan> danhunsaker: I’m about tapped out for questions at the moment. Want to ask yours? 🙂
<+danhunsaker> I’ve been debating what to ask it _about_!
<+danhunsaker> We’ve talked about a number of different things, tonight…
<~Dan> Well, let’s circle back to his adventure, why don’t we?
<+William_Cronk> shotgun Q&A
<+danhunsaker> Fair enough.
<+danhunsaker> What was your least favorite part of working with Ed Greenwood while making this module?
<+William_Cronk> Good one!
<~Dan> That’s a rough one even for you, danhunsaker! 😀
<+William_Cronk> The distance….
<+danhunsaker> When the guest has had time to think through an answer, I have to get creative.
<~Dan> You fiend.
<+William_Cronk> He is a very private man, and a very busy one. So, even though he lives two hours from me, everything ahd to be scheduled via phone call
<+William_Cronk> (I love you guys)
<~Dan> (Howdy, ArdentPurpleToo!)
<+William_Cronk> Which meant you lose a little of that one one one if you know what I mean
<+William_Cronk> That answer your question?
<~Dan> (I assume you meant one on one?)
<+William_Cronk> LOL, yes, One on One
<+danhunsaker> Beautifully. I’ll have to be more fiendish next time. You answered too readily. 😀
<+William_Cronk> I’ve been prepping all night!
<+danhunsaker> Should have gone a different direction, then. Such as What’s your least favorite thing about the final module?
<~Dan> How did you meet our mutual friend, author Barbara Letson?
<+William_Cronk> It really was an amazing experience and I have met some awesome people from it
<+William_Cronk> Thats an easy one as well… the cost. Everything for the module was done out of pocket, so the artists and the editing all had to be farmed out. The thing will never make me back what it cost me, but you know what
<+William_Cronk> its worth it
<+William_Cronk> Barb and I met through TEGG
<+William_Cronk> She’s also the person who set me up with my current Short Story writing
<~Dan> That’s great!
<+William_Cronk> still under construction but links
<~Dan> She seems like a truly kind person.
<+William_Cronk> (Link: https://www.kiltedfiend.com/)https://www.kiltedfiend.com/
<+William_Cronk> She is awesome
<+William_Cronk> met her in person at Ad Astra a few years ago and she was amazing
<~Dan> I hope to meet her in person myself some day.
<+William_Cronk> In hoping you meet her
<~Dan> So in the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
<+William_Cronk> Anybody need help with a setting, or a game or maps, or or or
<+William_Cronk> I love gaming. I love immersing myself in another world and exploring the cultures and themes presented there in
<+William_Cronk> I only hope that anything I lay my hand to, the people receiving it can gain that same feeling
<+William_Cronk> After all, its what I love
<+William_Cronk> got another hard question danhunsaker?
<~Dan> Oh, before I forget, usual reminder to folks: If you’ve enjoyed this Q&A and would like to treat me to a coffee or two, you can do so at (Link: https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe)https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe . Anything’s appreciated! 🙂
<+William_Cronk> Thanks for having me Dan. I appreciate it
<~Dan> Thanks for joining us!
<+William_Cronk> Thanks to all of you who took the time to listen to me exude as well… Like I said, I love gaming, and I love to talk about it
<+William_Cronk> Who’s on tomorrow night?
<~Dan> James Hargrove (Bastard Sword)
<+danhunsaker> (I thought he was on first?)
<~Dan> (Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/267927?fbclid=IwAR0e0cx7bkgpxx7j2NbPv6H__5ZZy88xc9bJg6ym5ukYzA5nxkjU9AuSCps)https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/267927?fbclid=IwAR0e0cx7bkgpxx7j2NbPv6H__5ZZy88xc9bJg6ym5ukYzA5nxkjU9AuSCps
<~Dan> Another online buddy of mine I’m trying to help out.
<+William_Cronk> Cool, I’ll be here to ask questions
<~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute here, I’ll get the log posted and link you!
<~Dan> And cool, re: tomorrow!