Go check them out. The purpose of the Spotlight is to shine a light on creators, publishers and others in the tabletop RPG hobby that might want some more.
Alan Bahr of GKG was kind enough to take some time, fitting flexibly around the ruins of my timetable, to answer some questions about the company. Yes, that Alan Bahr. You may well have heard of him through either Gallant Knight or other projects he’s masterminded. In this Q&A-style interview, though, it’s all about GKG.
What do we talk about? How virtual reality might transform the tabletop RPG experience. That’s not a topic I would have expected!
An introduction to Gallant Knight Games
Starting at the beginning has established itself as a good way to open up an RPG Publisher Spotlight piece. Not a surprise there!
But I was curious to know the basics – like how many people are there at GKG? Is it all Alan and his incredible output? I
Who are Gallant Knight Games?
Gallant Knight Games is myself (Alan) and my wife (Erin)! We also work with a team of recurring freelancers and artists who help us make GKG what it is.
Where did the name come from?
Honestly, I don’t recall specifics anymore. We bounced on names for a while, and I wanted something that evoked my love of heroes, knights, and paladins. We just kinda ended up here.
What do you think you’re best known for?
Probably TinyD6 and its associated genre games! They’re definitely our bestsellers, and continue to carry us forward.
What would you want to be known for?
Oof, big question and that’s a lot harder. I want to be known for doing a good job, treating people fairly, and paying a livable wage. I care deeply that I leave the game industry better than it was when I started, even if it’s just for a little quadrant of it.
Good games, bad bread
On the theme of surprises, I’m pretty sure Alan’s answer to “What makes a good game?” will not surprise you. We’ve already mentioned the TinyD6 range, and that sets us up nicely.
What makes a good game, in your opinion?
I think a good tabletop roleplaying game is easy to teach, easy to learn, and easy to get into. Gaming shouldn’t be difficult. It can be complex. It can be challenging. It can be emotional. But it should never feel difficult. I think there’s a subtle, but important distinction between all those things, and the balance in how you find it is what makes each game unique.
How on Earth did the “Night of the Living Bread” come to be?
Hah! That’s easy. Robert Denton, the author, reached out and asked if we cared if he wrote it. He’s the brain behind Tiny Taverns, so we let him write the adventure and get after it! He loves all manner of puns, humor, and cookery related shenanigans, so I’m not shocked he brought it up.
What’s important to you?
Doing my best by people, flat out. I don’t need to be perfect, or well-known, or award-winning (though all those things would be nice on some level.) I just want to that folks understand I’ve always tried my best and I want to do better each day, each project, each release.
Gallant Knight Games and the community
Dear readers, I wasn’t on the ball this month. If you listen to the Audio EXP podcast you’ll surely have noticed how I begin each one apologising for not yet got questions over to Gallant Knight.
Who saved the day? Alan. He found time to take part. It’s clear to me that community involvement is important to GKG.
You’ve a good and precise line on cons and harassment. Are conventions still worth your time?
Absolutely! I love conventions (though some can be a lot of work… *cough* GenCon). They’re a great way to meet people, find out about new games, meet freelancers and artist, and just have a good time. Gaming is a community, and a convention is like a pseudo-family reunion in a lot of ways.
We’ve never had to deploy our harassment policy at a convention, so this is more a “I’d rather have the tool in my toolbox” than something that grew out of an event at a convention.
You’ve also got a good and generous Patreon with over 100 subscribers. How much time does that take, and is it worthwhile?
It’s a lot. I work hard at it (though it’s constantly bouncing back and forth.) There was a sharp growth (as we launched it well into our GKG career), but it’s hard to grow it further and maintain it. The TinyZine has been popular and well received though!
What’s next for Gallant Knight Games?
Well, in November, we’ve got Things That Go Squeak In The Night coming out in partnership with Jim Davies on Kickstarter, followed by more material with Diogo Nogueria/Old Skull Publishing! Early next year, more TinyD6 Kickstarters are coming, and patrons are in line to get Tiny Spies soon enough!
What’s next for the tabletop gaming community?
I do not know if I’m qualified to answer that! I think the tabletop gaming community is a collection of smaller communities that often intersect, but are actually quite separate a lot of the time.
Technology is changing gaming though, and I imagine there’s something after streaming that’ll hit soon (VR maybe.) I have some friends who work in VR and the stuff happening there is insane!
Fragmentation and the future of RPGs
Frankly, I was already impressed at the twin quality and quantity of Alan’s output. Until now, I hadn’t fully appreciated just how much extra work went on with projects like the TinyZine.
“Is this sustainable?” I wondered. Do RPG publishers have to be everywhere, with content for everything, and somehow make a living?
Does that patchwork of small communities make it easier or harder for publishers to find commercial success? Let’s say “can pay themselves a sensible wage” is the definition of “commercial success” in this case.
I think it can, though I also think it can make it easier in some ways. It’s easier to communicate to a limited audience, rather than trying to hit everyone, and mastering that particular subset cna be easier! However it does make growth and breaking out further much harder, so I suppose it’s one of those “some good, some bad” kinda elements to life.
With that in mind, is Itch.io a welcome addition to the retail landscape?
GKG doesn’t use itch (we’re exclusive with DTRPG), so unfortunately I have very little insight into itch aside from what I’ve observed or learned second-hand. If itch has the same high-level of marketing tools and reach DTRPG has, then I think it’s absolutely helpful.
And would you say streaming can be glue or a woven thread that holds the community together? Could VR do something similar? Or is it all about the immersion?
I think there are actually two answers here, based on how you view streaming: if you view streaming as a TV show, something to watch and enjoy with a fandom (as many do), then you likely are going to focus on a very limited set of streams that hit those niche interests for you. I think you see this with the more closed off ecosystem around 5e D&D streaming, as well as the very localized fandoms that have cropped up around those streams.
On the other side of the coin, you have the folks who use streaming as a medium to learn or enjoy the games they play. They watch streams to gather information about how to utilize a game AT their table. These folks are going to bounce between streams more, as they’re focused on the games they’re trying to play at home.
I think both approaches are valid uses of streaming (and I think there’s a lot more grey area than I’ve laid out of course, I’m speaking very broadly. I bet a lot of viewers are somewhere in between the two on the spectrum of streaming.) For GKG and myself, when we launched our streams (Thursdays at 9:30 EST on twitch.tv/gallantknightgames!) We focused on folks who wanted to see GKG games in action. We do shorter 12 episode campaigns, we alternate GMs, genres, and games, and we try to have breaks to talk about how we utilize the game in play. I’m not sure if we made the right move (we’re only 18 episodes in, and it’s not D&D 5e, so it’s hard to say), but I like that we at least have a plan.
Gallant Knight Games
- Gallant Knight Games’ website.
- Gallant Knight Games on Patreon.
- Gallant Knight Games on Discord.
- Gallant Knight Games on Twitch.
- Gallant Knight Games on Twitter.
- Gallant Knight Games on Facebook.
Latest Gallant Knight Games Products
We talked about retailers in the Q&A and discovered that GKG is exclusive to DriveThruRPG. If we pop over there and sort by most recent, we can see those new additions and updates.
- 19th October 2021: TinyZine Issue 39 (published alongside a few more).
- 10th October 2021: Night of the Living Bread.
- 31st May 2021: Destiny of Tides: Mer-May Special 2021.
- 26th May 2021: Expedition to Underhill: A Tattered Magicks Supplement.
- 14th June 2021: Temples & Tombs.
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