A Word in Edgewise… with Dale C. McCoy, Jr. of Jon Brazer Enterprises

with Dale C. McCoy, Jr. of Jon Brazer Enterprises
By Aaron T. Huss

The following interview originally took place at Gen Con 2012 and is being transcribed here for publication. Roleplayers Chronicle editor-in-chief Aaron T. Huss, shown below with the prefix RPC, is speaking with Dale C. McCoy, Jr. of Jon Brazer Enterprises, shown below with the prefix DM.

RPC: Why don’t you kind of talk about what you’ve got planned. You can talk about Shadowsfall and anything else you have in the works.
DM: Pretty soon we’ve got the Player’s Guide coming out. It’s going to be a 32-page book entirely devoted to players. If you’re GM is running a campaign entirely in the plane of shadows, you’ll have everything you need and nothing you don’t. It won’t be campaign spoiler-ish. It gives you enough to operate in the world to understand: What this city stronghold has versus this city stronghold. It gives you traits, new races, class options, magic items, artifacts, things of that nature.

RPC: Describe the setting a little.
DM: The basic setting itself is the plane of shadows. It’s in every campaign setting, but very few have actually detailed it in any serious amount. So I thought, “I’ll take up that challenge.”

RPC: What’s unique about it?
DM: The plane of shadows is a dark, twisted version of normal reality. While you may have a city on the material plane, you’ll have a series or ruins on the plane of shadows. The plane is overrun by zombies, skeletons, and other type of undead. In the same way the material plane is good for life, the plane of shadows is good for death. The few living people are huddled together in city-strongholds, basic walled cities that fortify and protect them. However, even though they’re relatively safe in them they’re still constantly under attack by roaming undead and undead that are actively trying to destroy them. You still need people outside of the cities to make food, you still need adventurers to protect people on the outside. Whenever a horde of zombies comes and destroys a village, the survivors need someone to protect them all the way from where they used to live to whatever ruins they’re going to now. It’s kind of zombie survival horror in fantasy.

RPC: You’ve come out with a couple releases so far. What is your full suite, or at least your currently planned full suite? [Please note this interview was in August and new releases have arrived since then.]
DM: So far out right now we have the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane. It’s the monster book for the plane of shadows. It’s a 48-page book detailing all the monsters – it has a significant number of undead, it also has a few more kytons, devils native to the plane of shadows. It has a few new psychopomps, which are true neutral ferriers of the dead to the afterlife, trying to keep them away from being undead. There’s a great dodo, because the dodo has gone extinct on the material plane, so it’s still alive on the plane of shadows. There’s plenty of monsters like that. [Monsters of the Shadow Plane] was released earlier this year.

Up next is the Player’s Guide. We’re hoping to have that out by the end of September. It’s going to be either the end of September or early October. [The Player’s Companion was released in early October] If it’s early October, then at the end of September we’ve got Shadowsfall Favored Class Options. In the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, if you take a level in your favored class you can either take a Hit Point or a Skill Point or you can take one of the favored class options. The Advanced Race Guide and the Advanced Player’s Guide has detailed those pretty extensively for the core races, but the Advanced Race Guide expanded on those for anything other than the core book races. But they only did a few. I went and did all of Paizo’s classes for a number of Advanced Race Guide races that are frequently found in the plane of shadows. Plus I also did a number of psionic classes and a few of Super Genius Games’ classes.

RPC: You’re bringing in the Dreamscarred Press material?
DM: Absolutely.

RPC: Are you going to print the Player’s Guide?
DM: Yes, the Player’s Guide will be printed and it will be in game stores. If you don’t see it on your game store’s shelf, tell your game store owner that you want it there.

RPC: Do you have other products planned at this point? Or are you planning as you go along?
DM: We’ve got the Gazetteer. The Gazetteer is going to be the GM focused book. That’s going to have a lot more campaign hooks, all the locations fleshed out a lot more than in just broad strokes, there will be NPCs in there, a lot more maps, a really nice book for GMs.

RPC: Do you want to talk about your experience with the Free RPG Day?
DM: Our Free RPG Day adventure was Shadowsfall: Temple of Orcus. It was a 5th level adventure for the Shadowsfall setting. We didn’t have enough money to print that by ourselves, so we did a Kickstarter and it was phenomenal. We went for a goal of $1,000 and we got around $2,000. Our backers are awesome!

RPC: How many did you print? Did you do the minimum 600?
DM: We got enough for three in every box, that’s 1800 all together. That was our stretch goal. We got three in every box and all of our backers above a certain level got the printed book early.

RPC: What do you have coming next? What’s new and big? Do you have your eye on the new Traveller? You put out a Legend supplement, are you going to do more?
DM: I experimented with [the Legend supplement]; we’re still deciding if we want to do more on that. We’re not entirely sure yet. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibilities. For Pathfinder, when I first started Shadowsfall I wasn’t sure if it was going to take off, and it has nicely, but I wasn’t sure so I wanted to have a back-up plan.
RPC: It’s a nice campaign setting that you can slot-in next to all the other settings available.
DM: Exactly. We’ve been preparing a series called the Book of Heroic Races. Paizo’s Advanced Race Guide did a really nice job with the hobgoblins, orcs, and those kinds of races that everyone has seen in D&D and Pathfinder before. I wanted to do something that’s much more off-the-wall. For example, Marie Small, she wrote the Seedling race. They’re a tree-people race that live in the deep forest; they can turn into a tree once per day, and so forth. They have a lot of variations based on if they’re a birch or more of a desert tree. After that we’ve got the half-faerie dragon written by Todd Stewart. The half-faerie dragon, as you can tell, is a half-dragon, but it’s a small humanoid race with wings.
RPC: With dragon-like wings or fairy-like wings?
DM: Faerie-dragon-like wings; they look like butterfly wings. Let me just say I have not laughed so hard on a single book in quite some time. That is one awesome book and I am really looking forward to seeing that one come out. Beyond that we’ve got a bear-folk race, a rabbit-folk race…
RPC: So you have a whole series planned?
DM: Right we have an entire series planned. They’re going to start out as PDF and if the series does well enough then we’re going to compile them all together [and release a printed version].

RPC: Are you going to continue doing Traveller supplements?
DM: Not at this time. It’s always a possibility, but at this point in time… not right now. We’re a little focused on Pathfinder right now.

That’s it for this interview. I’d like to thank Dale C. McCoy, Jr. for taking some time to speak about Shadowsfall and giving us all a look at what’s coming from Jon Brazer Enterprises.

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