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Meet the Publisher: Thick Thief Games

Updated: May 13

Welcome to the new Thursday column: Meet the Publisher. This will be appearing every Thursday and will feature an interview with a publisher of one of the titles that appeared in that Monday's News Roundup. My goal is to try and feature interviews with new publishers or those that haven't gotten much exposure.

The first is Kelly Bean, one of the authors of The Skills to Pay the Bills. They were kind enough to answer a few questions in a brief email chat.

Question. You've writte a supplement called The Skills to pay the Bills. Can you tell us a little bit about why you wrote this?
Answer. I got my start with 3rd edition D&D, and agonizing over which skills to bring to a certain character was a very fun part of that system. Nowadays I prefer smaller games, but I'm running those games for new players. They had trouble deciding how to overcome obstacles, or what to do with downtime. we decided letting them pick and choose what their characters are good at would give them more tools to interact with the gameworld.

It's also a bit of a beta test for my heartbreaker game, Adventure-pocalypse. I'm trying to whittle the list down to a point where the skills available will give you an idea of what kind of world I'm running. Knowing the most common abilities, knowledge, and crafting proficiencies available will let you know what kind of people become adventurers in the far future.
Question. You look to be selling exclusively through itch.io. A lot of people aren't aware that itch has physical games. Can you talk about your decision to use itch, and what it has been like so far?
Answer. I didn't even know about physical games on Itch until the big Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality back in june of 2020. I can't believe it's almost been two years.
The first game that brought my attention to Itchfunding was bones deep, a Troika game about skeletons exploring the ocean floor. It successfully funded a physical copy in just a few months or so. What sealed the deal was Kickstarter's weird crypto announcement last year, which I think is silly and bad for the environment. They also pushed back Zinequest this year, but did not announce that until like a month and a half before Zinequest was supposed to start.
I've jumped on the Zine Month bandwagon. Zine Month is a community driven alternative to Zinequest. The Zine Month website links to crowdfunding initiatives on any site, from Itch to Gamefound and Game On. I think Kickstarter submissions will be allowed this year, but not going forward. I think it's great that we can hype the alternatives, and I think it will make the indie TTRPG scene stronger in the long run. Plus the Zine Month discord is full of nice people, and they're all helping each other make awesome games!
Question. Do you have anything planned to follow up with your first release, and, if so, can you give us some broad strokes of what you're looking to do?
Answer. The Skills to Pay the Bills will actually be the first in a series of zines, that once finished, will be a complete, modular game system. Anybody will be able to print them out, put them in a binder and have the beta test version of Adventure-pocalypse. Think Dying Earth meets Adventure Time, but all the humans are dead and you play as cute mutated animals.
Question. Finally, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business? How long you've been gaming, how you got into gaming, what sort of games you like to play, etc.
Answer. I'm just a nerdy gal from down south, blessed with a decent comic shop. I started writing during the pandemic, or at least sharing my writing. My first contact with nerddom was White Dwarf magazine, stolen from my friends older brother. I had never seen anything like it, but quickly found a cheaper game to play in Battletech. I got into D&D soon after, and then Pathfinder in high school. Then I found my current love, Apocalypse World, and OSR games. My favorite at the moment being Rogueland. I'm currently playing Mothership on Roll20 and I'll start a game of Into the Odd Remastered over discord soon, which I plan to report on my blog at https://themidding-lands.blogspot.com/
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