Note: you can read the first part of the interview here.
here we are with the second part of the interview with DeepDark Designs about their KS Legendary Adventure, Volume 2! Let’s start straight with the questions. We remind you, from the first part, that the pictures are all by courtesy of DDD and, some of them, were never seen elsewhere before.
7. Could you tell us a little bit more about the 4 new adventures? I’m sure people will want to know a bit more about them.
Okay, well there’s four of them so we could be here awhile. I’ll tell you what, I’ve spoken quite a bit about Harrowing Heights elsewhere in the past so why don’t I focus on Quarantined for a change instead and talk about that one in a bit more depth?
The basic premise of Legendary Adventures: Quarantined is that the PCs become trapped in a seaside port town during a quarantine because a virulent and deadly disease has broken out there. This adventure is essentially a full-fledged sandbox, but on a manageable scale. With that in mind, we present the settlement, Eastport, in detail; including a lot of information about its history, societal structure, and the prominent factions and personalities who reside there. Once the outbreak starts and the people of Eastport, including the players, become trapped there – this information can be used to identify where the players might go, who they might encounter, and what other competing factions might ally with or against them -but we go much, much further than that.
We also present charts and tables to track the value of resources as the outbreak progresses. So, looting valuables might seem like a good idea for the first few hours, and shelter is an obvious priority – but as the hours, days, or even weeks pass – food, blankets, and clean drinking water might become a much more pressing concern. One thing we’ve tried to do is show how the respective value of these resources might change in relation to each other, rather than attaching an arbitrary value to them or coming up with a really dense, mechanical system. Just to make things more interesting, every faction has guidelines regarding where they might hole up, what resources they might possess or be able to easily acquire, and what they might be willing to do to obtain what they need – but beyond that it’s up to the game master to really figure out how the factions change and evolve throughout the game.
Likewise, it’s up to the PCs to decide where they’ll base themselves, if they’ll share what they have, and whether to find friends and allies in Eastport, or use the cover of random events from our charts to covertly ambush or take out competing factions. Although the gamemaster can choose whether the adventure’s pacing unfolds over days, weeks, or months, a key element of the adventure is that as the availability and value of resources keeps shifting, the behaviours and priorities of each faction should naturally and organically evolve as well. For example, the fisherman’s guild might be left alone for the first few days because they have little of value but as food becomes scarce others will have a greater need for what they provide. And, unlike wealth, you can’t simply kill a fisherman and take his skill or talent like you could a trinket, so other factions would have to handle them differently. All of this should combine to make Quarantined something experimental, refreshing, and different.
With regards to the plague itself, the PCs are not necessarily immune to its depredations. We’ve also got many, many charts that cover things like natural immunity, susceptibility, exposure, phases of infection, how and when to handle escalations of the disease, and there’s a couple others too. As you’d hope with 5th-edition, we’re trying to make things thematic and fun rather than bogging the action down in endless tracking of the disease – but it’s definitely a bit more involved than what people might be used to. Between running the factions, managing infections, and other stuff, it’s probably more challenging to run than some of our other Legendary Adventures and more squarely aimed at more experienced gamemasters – but I don’t feel like that’s a bad thing.
In addition to everything else, there are also random events, a predator haunting the streets, and a metaplot of sorts to contend with. If the players are proactive, they also definitely learn a lot about the disease from observing it, we’ve got something like a 100 or more secrets about the disease that can be uncovered through observing it and interacting with the other factions – all of which could aid uninfected PCs in remaining disease-free. Researching the contagion, gathering data, and feeding it back to a plague doctor who has arrived in the settlement also helps him develop and test a cure – which is where the metaplot and quests associated with it come in.
Lastly, Quarantined’s appendices include statistical information for several key characters from the adventure, 26 brand new NPC archetypes which are perfect for use in any nautical setting, and journal extracts from the ship that brings the disease to Eastport which the players can recover during the adventure if they choose to do so. It’s a pretty ambitious product, but I think we’ll be able to pull it off in a satisfying way.
If that sounds like an awful lot to fit into a single adventure, it is. While Quarantined is the most ‘experimental’ adventure from the current set, each of them is similarly ambitious and we honestly feel that, for the price of admission, we’ve got an awful lot to offer.
8. Are these new adventures easy to insert into different, existing settings like the previous ones were?
Yes, just like with the previous Legendary Adventures, it is very easy to pick up any of the new ones wholesale and drop them fully into another setting. Even though there is a thread of consistency running through them all, we’ve taken great care to ensure that everything you could possibly need to know to run any of them is contained within that adventure only.
9. Is there a relationship between all 8 modules, are you planning to create a whole world or setting that connects them for example?
Yes, there definitely is a certain theme or structure that runs through all of them. If you look closely, you’ll notice a few references in each that relates to other products. However, and this is where it gets fun for us, we don’t consider ‘all’ of them canonical. So, for example, while we’re using certain adventures to flesh out the landmass of Habrilyn or the continent of the Vind’l Svar, how and where others are based is really up to interpretation. I think the fans will be able to figure out what is and isn’t canon, but it isn’t necessarily clear and we’ve definitely peppered a few ‘red herrings’ in there too.
10. Is there any benefit to owning several or all the adventures together?
We’ve really tried to let people pick and choose the ones they want over feeling that they ‘have’ to buy everything. So you really can just pick out the ones that appeal and buy those. That said, Eastern Highlands, Buried Alive, and Quarantined are all based on the same landmass (Habrilyn) so you might ‘choose’ to get those ones to continue fleshing out that region of the world if you’d like to, but you certainly don’t need to. Similarly, Lost Ruins and Vind’l Svar are both based in the same region of the world. And, just returning to my previous comment about not all adventures being considered canon to us, no, just because different adventures might feature in the same geographical locations, that doesn’t mean that we necessarily consider all of those adventures to be canon.
I’m a stickler for honesty, and what I’d say to people who are strapped for cash is that, the Volume 2 adventures cost the same as the Volume 1 adventures and they have much, much higher production values. If you can’t afford both, just buy those with peace of mind that you’re not missing out anything that’s super important to your enjoyment of what you do have. The only possible exception to this is Legendary Adventures: Eastern Highlands from Volume 1, Legacy of Baird Arden, our next ‘big’ release will involve revisiting the eastern Ironhills and having that product will give you a lot more options for adventures in the region.
11. Regarding distribution, if I had missed the first Kickstarter, where can I obtain the first 4 adventures?
You can obtain all 4 of the Volume 1 Legendary Adventures through our new Kickstarter, individually in digital formats or collected together if you’d prefer physical print. They’re 100% finished and we’ll send them out two weeks after the completion of the Kickstarter, along with the digital copies of Legendary Adventures: Harrowing Heights. We’re also going to make them available through DriveThruRPG at the same time, who will be handling fulfilment of our digital and print-on-demand orders moving forward.
12. How do you see (or what do you think of) the crowdfunding market for RPGs in general?
I definitely think crowdfunding has a role to play in the continued growth of tabletop roleplaying. Consumers seem to be wising up and becoming shrewder about who and what they decide to back, which is definitely a good thing, and I’m in favour of anything that provides more routes into the industry for those who prove to be deserving of an opportunity. I personally used Kickstarter as a campaign backer long before I became a campaign creator and I can see lots of examples of incredible projects that wouldn’t exist without it.
13. Now, a tricky question, addressed to possible future competitors, do you have some advice to give to a group of people that wanted to follow a similar path? Maybe someone like us of Entire Party Killed for example!
I guess one of the biggest things (which I should take more note of myself) would be to keep it simple. Our Legendary Adventures series is probably a good example of something that’s a little bit ‘too dense’ for crowdfunding. With Legendary Adventures: Volume 2, we’re selling 8 separate, unrelated adventures individually in digital, and in 2 volumes when collected together – immediately, that’s 10 products and they can be bought together in every possible combination. Then on top of that, you get a variety of digital versions if you back for digital. It’s not very complicated, but it’s enough to put off a casual consumer who’s browsing with nothing more than a passing interest. I’d also recommend not launching too early -have something meaty to preview, do as much preliminary work as possible, and launch with something that can be played or experienced by potential backers; especially if it’s your first campaign. Lastly, communication is key. A backer would probably rather have a product a week late with updates and apologies, than a day late with radio silence.
Quite convincing words indeed, thank you DDD! We are at the end of our, quite long, interview (first part is here if you missed it) and we are convinced that it was time and space well spent. We have not so many other things to say, you should have understood how much and why we like this project and we only hope to have risen your curiosity. We want to wish good luck to DeepDark Designs for their endeavors, both this second Kickstarter project and the rest of their activities and we hope that you support them, as they deserve!