We have our own Kickstarter, live now: Island of Moaning Voices. Enjoy and back us if you like it!
Although I often look around the Dungeon Master’s Guild for new and interesting homemade products and the weekly DnD Classics releases, I have to be honest when I say that I have never heard of Cawood Publishing before I knew of the World of Myrr Adventures Kickstarter.
So, when I was assigned to write this interview I looked around a bit for some of their products and, as I most often fill the shoes of the DM, I picked up The Dungeon Master Handbook from the Dungeon Master’s Guild to give it a little read so I could have a better understanding of Cawood Publishing’s works. What I found was a 96-pages handbook full of useful tables for DMs, ranging from encounter tables to critical hit tables, and then again a ton of npcs and monster stat blocks suited for any occasion your players might get into. Although the layout isn’t that great, The Dungeon Master Handbook is a must have for any Dungeon Master. It is known that tables are classics when it comes to old school gaming, and this handbook is witness to Cawood Publishing’s will to pay homage to this “Gygaxian” way of playing.
But it is now time to directly ask to Andrew Cawood, the main author of the World of Myrr, some questions about himself, the world he created and his publishing company.
Hi Andrew, this is Nicola (well, just call me Nick) from Entire Party Killed, and this is the first question I have for you. How did you get into role-playing games and, more specifically, into D&D?
I started playing D&D in about 1978 when I was about nine. We would go and play at a friend’s house and take breaks to play American football. It was very new and not many people knew about it at the time. It lit my imagination on fire. I played for a couple of years and then started being the Dungeon Master.
What are the main sources of inspiration for the World of Myrr? Is there any established fantasy world that has deeply influenced you?
The World of Greyhawk by Gary Gygax is my inspiration. There is something very special about that setting and I don’t think any of the other settings have even come close. Like many people, the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are other sources of inspiration.
Tell us about the World of Myrr, what are its strengths? Why should I buy it?
The campaign setting is maybe the most detailed setting you’ll find. It’s a classic fantasy world like Greyhawk. If you want a great foundation to run any campaign this setting is a perfect start. You could easily build any story into the existing structure or use the lore from the book. The other continents in the world have more extreme conditions and more bizarre monsters…Myrr is the traditional fantasy setting with the iconic monsters. There are nine continents in all, Myrr is the continent in the center of the World of Myrr. The continent of Myrr has been at peace for many years. However, that perfect balance has ended! Factions from the continent and other continents are all trying to take power. The most powerful is the evil Alliance, led by vampire nobles and devils. The detail includes every single settlement, every single faction, and even every single inn and tavern! Other continent settings from the World of Myrr will be released over the next couple of years.
What is your opinion about Fifth Edition D&D? Are there things you would change about it? What are the strengths and weakness of this iteration of the world’s most famous tabletop rpg?
I believe 5E is the best edition ever. It takes the best of the original version and makes the game run much faster, much smoother. I’d say there are still a few too many rules. I don’t think the game needs rules for how much water players must drink, for example. The story should be the most important part of the game and the new rules allow this to happen more than ever.
The Dungeon Master’s Guild has given the opportunity to publish homebrew rules and adventures to anyone, and you have already used it to publish several products. What do you think of it? What are the pros and the cons of Wizards of the Coast’s newest platform? What would you change?
I like the DMs Guild. The pros are being able to use all aspects of the official game and having access to the fans. The cons are the high commission for the publisher and creators who charge nothing, or really low prices. I would want the commission lowered to about 30% instead of 50% and have a minimum cost, around $2.99.
Let’s talk about the Kickstarter. Why have you decided to use crowd funding for a series of adventures? Why did you choose to add the Between Dungeons Handbook to the “adventure path”? Are they related somehow?
We feel we make really good products with useful, inspiring content. At the same time, we’d like to have a more professional look to our product. To hire an editor, include more graphic design and art will be expensive. We have a huge amount of adventures ready to write about, all based on our Sunday night gaming sessions. The Kickstarter will include six of those adventures. The Between Dungeons Handbook is for any Game Master wanting to add depth to their game. It will include events tables, encounter tables, inns and taverns, tavern menus, new monsters, new magic items, etc. The handbook will take some of the ideas from our other Game Master handbooks and then add much more.
Is this your first crowd funding campaign? How is it going? What are the reaction from the backers and the other people supporting you? Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
This is our second Kickstarter. We’re almost half way there and have about 20 more days to go. We have a number of supporters who can’t wait to see us write adventures. They are really happy with our seven products this year and want to see what we can do with the adventure module form. I feel the Kickstarter is a really good deal. The reward levels go from $5 to $100 and the backer will receive a great bang for their buck. Copies of the campaign setting and our first Game Master’s handbook are included as rewards. That campaign setting pdf will be revised, but is currently 332 pages. That’s a good deal in my opinion.
To close the interview I have one last question, do you have any future projects? Both using crowd funding or the DM’s Guild? Can you give us some insight about them?
We have so many projects, I might have to hire more staff and get more artists. There are at least 50 adventure modules that are already written up in story form, we also have eight more continent settings, plus we have a number of other handbook ideas for Game Masters. If this Kickstarter is successful we’ll be positioned to be even more productive than we were in our first year. Half of the projects will be for DriveThruRpg and half for the DMs Guild. We’ll make adventures for the Forgotten Realms, and a number for the World of Myrr setting. We have some very unique story ideas for the modules. I don’t think anyone has seen anything like them before.
Thank you Andrew for taking the time to answer our questions, we wish you the best of luck regarding your current, and your future projects. And as a big fan of the World of Greyhawk myself, I will undoubtedly check out the World of Myrr. Let’s remind our readers of the World of Myrr Adventures Kickstarter campaign and to support independent publisher like Andrew!
See you soon!
Nicola “Omega9999” Ricottone