Adam Rose, the owner of the indie publisher, kindly agreed to make time for a Q&A interview. He’s been generous with his answers, and we confirm;
- Folklore From the Black Diaspora is the first in a series of products.
- A collaboration with Felix Miall is underway, but not what for.
Grim & Perilous are also active in the Twitch space, and as we’ll see in the interview, interested in your own channel if you’re streaming. As usual, you’ll find the links to profiles and products at the end of the spotlight.
An introduction to Grim & Perilous
We kicked off with the basics, an introduction to G&P and its relationship with Andrews McMeel. It’s McMeel that publishes the RPG that G&P seems to be named after, or is it the other way around?
Who are Grim & Perilous Studios
Grim & Perilous Studios (abbreviated G&P) are a group of independent contractors who collaborate on creating, reviewing, and playing games for ourselves, as well as other companies on a for-hire basis.
Are you part of Andrews McMeel and the Grim and Perilous RPG? How does that work?
G&P works with Andrews McMeel Universal (abbreviated AMU) on a contract-by-contract basis, as we are the Studio that created Zweihander: A Grim & Perilous RPG. Its Lead Designer and former owner of G&P, Daniel Fox, took the opportunity of a lifetime to work in the RPG industry full-time at AMU.
Daniel Fox sold G&P to me, and we continue to work with him as contractors for AMU to develop rules, create art, proofread, etc. We even host games at gaming conventions for AMU and Zweihander! We also run the Community Content section on DrivethruRPG, where anyone can sell their own creations for Zweihander, Dark Astral, and very soon, Flames of Freedom.
What’s important to Grim & Perilous Studios?
We believe in creating quality works that are fun, engaging, and appealing, no matter how long it takes. Out of a vast number of amazing works to choose from, we want to be among them, and will take our time to get it right. We have been working on a post-apocalyptic supplement for the Zweihander system for a few years.
Although, it is my passion project and the finish line is in sight, I often have to tell anyone asking about its release, the dreaded response of ‘soon’.
Fortunately, for those who are curious, I share advanced content to our Patreon to help people get an idea of what is in store. We also value helping others bring their creations to fruition.
We recently announced we are working with Kene’h Oweh from By the Fire podcast, to help bring her folklore tales to life by turning them into threats you can face in Flames of Freedom RPG. She has been a pleasure to work with as an author, and we couldn’t be more excited to be able to show more people her creativity and talent.
Lastly, We want to have fun and engage with our community through our reviews, Discord, and gameplay sessions on Youtube and Twitch.
We currently play games on Twitch with some wonderful streamers (Defenders of Kobold, The Lollygaggers, and our former Twitch Director that now works for Free League Publishing, Matt Jowett). They were kind enough to extend us an invitation to play with them, and we currently play in Daniel Fox’s game sessions which get published to YouTube and our Patreon. Combined with our weekly video game sessions on Twitch, these are some of the ways in which we want to stay engaged with the community, which we value immensely.
On the success of new games
There’s been a flurry of news from G&P and allied studios, including Joe Manganiello reading for Blackbirds.
In our chat, Adam and I talked briefly about some of the new games. I was interested in why things seemed to be finding such a loyal fanbase.
You’ve recently announced Folklore From the Black Diaspora. We know it’s due out in November; what else can you tell us about it?
I can tell you that if it weren’t for Ken Duquet, it may not have ever happened. After he directed our attention to the By the Fire podcast and we listened to their episodes, we knew this was an opportunity that couldn’t be ignored.
If you enjoy compelling storytelling, you really should give it a listen, as we have based all of the monster statistics off of her writing. With her direction and feedback, the monsters have been tempered to represent the story in what I believe to be a compelling set of threats for a GM to engage their players with.
I can also tell you that it will be the first in a series of upcoming products, and we will be releasing previews of them to G&P Patrons and Ko-fi supporters of By the Fire before anywhere else.
You’ve released art packs for Flames of Freedom, too, with Andrews McMeel. Is that part of a plan or just great minds thinking the same things at the same time?
Plans within plans is how we operate. sly wink In all seriousness, we have released an art pack, and we will be releasing templates soon (if not already, by the time this interview is published).
G&P will be the hosts for the Flames of Freedom Library on DrivethruRPG, the Community Content portal for all things Flames of Freedom.
We are excited to see what people will create, and if anyone has the desire to create an adventure, profession, or supplement set in the late 1700s, now is the time!
It’s clear that your work, and Zweihander in general, hits a chord with some people. It seems to be precisely what they’re looking for. Do you have any theories as to why that is, and do you lean into that at all? I mean, do you make products to chime that chord as well?
In my opinion, we strike a chord with those looking for some retro-inspired works, with some aspects of modern design and pop-culture littered throughout.
As far as theories to why, I can only speculate based on my anecdotal experience. I just hit 40 years old this year, and the nostalgia bug is strong in me. Radiator, for instance is about the future that the 80’s imagined actually occurring, then being blown to smithereens. spoilers The artifacts found in the game reference buzz words like “turbo” on everything, and even some Professional Traits call back to the time period, such as the Profession, the Betamaxer, having a trait called 3-2-1-Contact.
Ken Duquet leans into the retro aspect of the hobby heavily in the cover, layout, and design of our products.
For example, in the credits of The Dark Below Edessa adventure, our pictures look like they are taped onto the page. When I open the book, I feel like I am being transported back to a gaming store in the 90s.
In regard to whether or not we make products to chime into that chord, we don’t specifically set out to do that alone, but find that the creations lend themselves to that aesthetic well.
Some of our future products will deviate from that design choice though, as we are just getting started.
Grim, Perilous and Streaming
The name “Grim & Perilous” carries pretty strong vibes with it. It describes the setting of the campaign world and the tone of adventures.
I wondered whether or not that dark and sombre mood was a good fit with the lockdown trend of virtual tabletops.
Do you think Grim and Perilous adventures have the same mood with virtual tabletop or Discord play as they do face to face?
By and large, the answer depends on the group, and their preferences. I have played them in both contexts, and if the group is a more humor-based group around the table, it will largely be the same online. If it is a more serious and dramatic group, there can be a temptation to allow potential distractions to derail the scene, or even lessen it.
I struggled with that at first, and what I found worked for me was to listen to some ambient music I knew would put me in the right frame of mind. This helped me get to the same level I am normally in person, and some of my favorite memories now include virtual game sessions.
I think there are clear advantages and potential disadvantages, and I feel extremely fortunate I have the capability to do both.
Are there are any streamers, in particular, you’d love to see play Grim and Perilous content?
Yes! Anyone reading this interview who streams.
We are thrilled people want to play our games and are supporting us. We also want to support anyone who has decided to stream our content, so if there’s a product that a streamer wants to showcase, I am fond of giving complimentary copies of certain products out to streamers.
Do you think tabletop gaming will change as lockdowns ease and, hopefully, bio-security fears/plagues retreat a little?
Yes, I do. We have witnessed a change throughout the pandemic to incorporate digital play.
I don’t think the online aspect will go away, and it will be another option now, particularly for conventions.
We have had great experiences running games for GenCon Online and look forward to seeing where it leads. It may take a lot longer than we want, but I think the industry will recover, even if the practices themselves change.
I admit I am an optimist and I choose to believe we will be able to travel and gather again, so long as we conduct ourselves responsibly, and with compassion for our fellow people.
Future Grim & Perilous products
I don’t like to miss the chance to ask a publisher about future plans… and Adam was kind enough to half-confirm something here.
Speaking of tabletop gaming, are there any other areas of the hobby that have your interest? Any favourite board or card games?
Yes! Just about any aspect of gaming interests me. I can’t say I have a favorite game in any medium, but I have games I am currently enjoying or eyeing.
For video games, I am really enjoying Tribes of Midgard, which I play with G&P every Tuesday night on our Twitch Channel, and Loop Hero, which is a great game to do those pesky chores that have piled up in between loops.
For card games, I like Boss Monster, Red Bean: Dragon Slayer, and Escape the Dark Castle/Sector. Escape The Dark Castle/Sector has been a staple for introducing people to the hobby, and I love it!
For board games, I’ve been playing Root fanatically (particularly with the Clockwork expansion), with Jennifer Ford-Rose and Mike “The Boss” Bossaller.
I have showed it to other members of G&P because the asynchronous gameplay fascinates me to no end. I recently started playing Kingdom Death: Monster again with the G&P crew, and I’m rediscovering why I think it is a masterpiece.
For RPGs (besides Zwei, of course), I’ve been enjoying Alien RPG and Forbidden Lands, and desperately want to try out Heart. I mean… when you have a class that’s an Apiary which allows bees to consume you then put you back together again after passing through a crack in the wall, you have me sold!
Might this be an area that Grim and Perilous Studios might produce something for? Would the talented illustrator Felix Miall perhaps be involved?
I have been shamelessly replying to his Tweets, and while no official announcement has been made yet… I can confirm here first that we have been collaborating, and it will not be an RPG. Even though I desperately want to say more, all I can say is keep an eye on grimandperilous.com as there will be some exciting announcements coming soon.
Grim & Perilous
- Grim & Perilous’ website.
- Grim & Perilous on Patreon.
- Grim & Perilous on Discord.
- Grim & Perilous on Twitch.
- Grim & Perilous’ podcast.
- Grim & Perilous on Facebook.
- Grim & Perilous on YouTube.
- Grim & Perilous’ Adam Rose on Twitter.
Latest Grim & Perilous Products
You can find Grim & Perilous on DriveThruRPG, and so we can list recent updates to the catalogue.
- 12th October 2021: Art Pack: Flames of Freedom (Flames of Freedom Library)
- 20th July 2021: Cambion – Ancestry for Zweihander RPG
- 2nd March 2021: Entreat The Darkness – TTRPG Safety Tool For Zweihander RPG
- 31st March 2020: Dark Astral: The Dark Below Edessa – Adventure for Zweihander RPG
- 28th February 2020: Animal Commands – Monster for Zweihander RPG
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.