James Andrews of Dapper Rabbit Games is launching Tales from Dungeon Deep on August 1st.
Question: Give us the elevator pitch for your project to start things off.
Answer: Tales From Dungeons Deep is a fantasy adventure role playing game inspired by old school RPG play, but with its own identity. It’s a little dark, a little weird, and takes a lot of inspiration from rogue-like video games and procedural play.
Q: Is this your first ZineQuest? If not, can you talk a bit about your past experiences?
A: This is not the first ZQ project. Last year, we had a successful Kickstarter Project, Stories From the Slough, that raised over 3500 dollars from its asked 500. That kickstarter was us sort of testing the waters, getting to know how the process worked. Had some hiccups, but everyone ended up with their books eventually haha.
We decided to host another Kickstarter a few months later. That kickstart was Tales From Dungeons Deep, the same kickstarter we are hosting again. Needless to say, that one failed. But, we were not dismayed. Instead, we put our heads down and edited the project scope. Instead of one large book we split it into zines for zinequest. We also added more art to the project and finished some of the stretch goals!
Last ZineQuest we had too many versions of the game. The main zine, the stretch goal zine, and a compiled hard-copy version of everything. This led to some confusion. So, this year we are just going to stick to the four zines, if all goals are reached. We also went through a local print shop to print the books. Which meant that we had to handle all the shipping ourselves. That was a nightmare, so this year we are going to have everything go through DrivethruRPG.
Q: Tell us some aspects of your project that have you really excited, that may not to be apparent to a backer.
A: So, Tales From Dungeons Deep is an old-school inspired full RPG. Race as class, dungeon delving, the works. But, I avoid calling it an OSR game because of how different it is beyond that. I will go through some of what makes the game special.
Rogue-like Influenced Characters and Death: Characters gain random advancements as they level up, so players do not know exactly what their characters can do later on. The characters also die quite easily, so you will always be exploring different characters. Speaking of which, when a character dies, their current experience can be spent on goodies for their next character. If you don’t want to buy anything special for that character, however, then that left over experience will be added to future XP gain. So while your character might die, you as a player are never left behind.
Quick Max Level and Other Progression: Max level is 10, and you can reach that pretty quickly compared to other games. But, the way I see it is that level 1-10 is the exploring of your character. At level 10, that is when their real story begins. They may continue to grow in strength, of course. This is done by a magic weapon system where you spend XP to increase your item's power, up to +4. These weapons are as influential as a class in the long run. Sure, you are just a fighter. But you are a fighter that wields the legendary “tooth and claw”, so you can also transform into a beast once a day. Strongholds are another way to increase in power. Not only do you get bonuses from building mundane buildings, like a throne room or a pub, but you can also get magical bonuses from enchanted buildings. Each class has 2 unique to that class. For example, dwarves can build a heart forge that allows them to modify and enhance weapons and armor.
Lore: One of my favorite little things in the game is lore. Instead of a knowledge check or anything like that, players can spend a resource called lore to learn things about their environment. They can identify magic items, learn about public figures, know more about the ruins they are searching for, and so on. Lore is found while adventuring in tomes and scraps of notes.
Procedural Play: You do not need an adventure to run TFDD. The game comes built in with a random campaign generator with a built in encounter table that pairs with random monster generation rules to create a full game. Currently, there is no random dungeon generation in the game but I plan to implement that in the future for a full dungeon delving campaign.
Important Inventory: You can only carry 8 to 10 things on you at once, so deciding what to leave behind for treasure is a common occurrence. But this only works if every item is interesting. So everything, even your cooking pots and bedrolls, is helpful for your adventure.
There are a lot of other things that are unique and fun about this game. Madness, alchemy, tavern rules, surgery mechanics, how combat difficulty is handled, and so on. But I want to save some surprises for the game itself.