Developer Spotlight: 2CGaming
PAX Unplugged was an unforgettable experience that granted me unfettered access to some of the hottest, newest, latest, and greatest board games in the industry. It is my great joy to bring these experiences to all of you and open the gates to new hobbies and pastimes. In this series we will learn more about the industry and different companies directly from people in the thick of it. These will be released in standard Q&A format with answers transcribed from audio taken during Unplugged. Some answers may have been edited for clarity as the actual interview was done in a discussion format that gave the developers, designers, and staff more room to talk about their ideals and products.
This is our Developer Spotlight series, please enjoy!
Now Interviewing: Stephen from 2CGaming
Q: Why don’t you tell me a little bit about your company and the things you guys work on?
A: We make supplements adventures and add-ons for Dungeons & Dragons. As you know, the hardest job at the table is the Game Master. They have to do the most work before the game and during the game and after the game. So all of our stuff is geared towards making the GMs life easier. We do these in 2 ways. The first is our adventures modules which have everything you need, we try to cater to people who play online so we offer maps and tokens and soundtracks for things like Roll20. Purely digital to accompany the physical books. The other way is for people who like to make their own content, so we have the Total Party Kill Handbook. It’s a collection of 25 set pieces with different difficulty settings. Scaling of encounters is our main thing which focuses on adjusting how smart the monsters are.
For example, on an easier level, the monster will run straight at the monster and fight whoever aggros him. But on a harder difficulty (lethal), the monster will dart around and focus on separating the party or pulling people away to pick them off, etc. We consider “how intelligent is the monster” and we treat this as our balance mechanism. Are they really powerful but really stupid or slightly less powerful but really clever?
One of the examples I like to call this out with is one where you have merfolk riding sharks underwater. They’re not very powerful, but it’s often awful for the party because they’re underwater. So that’s a movement penalty. But the merfolk are in their element. It becomes clear to the party what they’re getting into also because it’s underwater. The party can choose to prepare and get gear to allow them better movement, etc, or they can dive in and the encounter can become very tough on them.
Q: Wow that’s a lot. How do you get started with all of this?
A: In terms of how we start with book creation, we can take a look at the Total Party Kill Handbook. There was a book like this for the 3rd Edition of D&D called the Book of Challenges. I looked at this and thought, I wish this existed for 5th Edition. A bunch of people agreed with me so we looked at reviews and checked out what people liked, disliked, wanted from the 3rd Edition book, and then set out to fix that with our book. People wanted scaling, traps, plug-and-play content. So we did it. It took about a year from start to finish with a handful of people working on it.
We have custom monsters but it’s also fun to take established monsters and put them in environments they thrive in. We have something like a sunken lake and we put this water nymph in it. Water is great because it’s a simple but hard to deal with threat. And this nymph will drag players down into the aquifer with her. By the time players are 7th or 8th level they aren’t usually worried about it, but suddenly in this environment it becomes more of a challenge.
We hope our work fascinates people. Our adventures also have this scaling. The puzzles also scale, such as a refracting light puzzle which can scale from huge to very small for different parties. We put a lot of time into providing this option. We hope that it allows people to flip through and use it for whatever they need.
Another thing we brought in that has gotten a really great response is our Trap Guide. The 5th Edition only has about two pages of trap rules, so we created an entire rulebook to expand upon those. You can pick and choose different elements to create different traps and the book includes descriptors, numbers, effects, everything you might need. It’s a comprehensive trap building system. This compendium is not D&D exclusive either, it can be used for multiple systems. The numbers might not be applicable, but many of the situations can carry over.
We did dabble in Pathfinder however our main sales are 5th Edition. We sell 5E to Pathfinder from 5 to 1 usually. So although we are certainly interested in expanding to other systems, there is still a high demand for D&D 5E that we’re working on filling.
Q: That’s really great. Anything else you’d like to share?
A: Well, speaking of, on December 2nd we’ll be doing a Kickstarter for Epic Legacy, a book intended to expand upon the 20th level and beyond. We also print and ship locally on an international level, which means we can offer extremely low shipping rates no matter where in the world you might be.
For more information and to keep up with any new updates, make sure to check out 2CGaming’s website here: http://www.2cgaming.com/projects.html