Death Saves: Fallen Heroes of the Kitchen Table is already fully funded and successful on Kickstarter, but we have an interview with a few of the creators that helped on the series. First is SM Vidaurri talking about "Destiny", followed by Kevin Budnik talking about "Crit Fail" and lastly Matthew Blake with his tale "Roll Vs. Dungeon Master." If you're interested in the project (you should be) then head over to kickstarter where there's still plenty of time to take advantage of the rewards and check out the projects stretch goals!
SM Vidaurri (Writer) "Destiny" - It's about the great aspirations we have for ourselves at the tabletop, versus their reality.
Kevin Budnik (Artist/Writer) "Crit Fail" - (Crit Fail) is about the end of the very first campaign I was a part of. We were investigating a cult that took over a goblin fortress. Our entire party ended up dying right before the last room of the adventure, thanks to some really poor rolls, and a living mouth in the floor of the dungeon.
Matthew Blake (Artist/Writer) "Roll Vs. Dungeon Master" - My story is about a DM who rolls everything randomly on Random Dungeon Generator tables, ultimately leading to a strange assembly of monsters greeting the players and wacky combinations that never would happen realistically.
CB: Was there anything from your own experiences that you drew upon for the story?
SM Vidaurri - Role playing games take a lot of imagination. Teenagers have that in spades, but they also take concentration and patience, which was lacking with my particular group of friends. We would have fun setting up a game, but then by the next session, we'd either lose all our characters, or someone would quit, or what have you. So yeah, the story is basically a little love note to my high school tabletop days.
Kevin Budnik - It actually, not actually because D&D is a fantasy, happened.
Matthew Blake - Several times over my career as a DM I decided to use Random Dungeon Generator tables when time was scarce or we were throwing an impromptu session together on the sidewalk between classes in college, and it led to similarly outlandish scenarios. Most of the players loved it, but there was always a lawyer or two that had to put his two cents in about how improper a certain combination was. It was entertaining to say the least.
CB: What’s the appeal of working on an anthology like Death Saves?
SM Vidaurri - Anthologies are fun because you get to work with a lot of really cool artists! I was really happy to work with the artist Joshua Zingerman and Ayşegül Sinav, I had met them at NYCC and was really impressed with their work.
Kevin Budnik - I've been addicted to RPGs since that first game, which was only a few years ago. Since I started playing D&D and Pathfinder, I've found a lot of my friends in the comics community are also big fans. I like that overlap between artists and gamers. The game itself appeals to me because of it's natural lean towards collaborative storytelling, which is a big part of comics.
Matthew Blake - I love working on comics in general because of the collaboration involved. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea that five people would come together and fashion what you see before you. While “Roll vs. Dungeon Master” was a solo comic, I still felt part of a collaboration because it is sandwiched in between a bunch of other stories, all put together by people just like me. We all came together and gave something. We all put something on the table. For the same reason that at a roleplaying table all of the players come together, lay their parts on the table, and everyone walks away with a bigger, more amazing experience than they could have fashioned alone, I feel like we did the same with this book. Every last writer, artist, and otherwise all came together, played their part in the adventure, and ultimately we have an amazing result. That’s why I started doing this, and that’s why I will always love doing this.
CB: Do you have any good D&D stories to share with us?
SM Vidaurri - My story is mildly inspired by the time my friend Brian got into an argument with the GM. The GM had decided, in an effort to seem unbiased, roll a d4 to see who would be attacked by our enemies (there were 4 players). So, Brian's number kept coming up, and because he was a rogue, he didn't have much HP. Eventually he was knocked unconscious. Instead of attacking the warrior, barbarian or wizard (who were blasting him with spells) the orc decided, due to an unlucky toll, to dispatch Brian's rogue from this world. Brian left the game and drove home. I left too. Brian was my ride.
Kevin Budnik - Nothing specific. Just the sentiment that it's so cool to take ownership of a character, to have a hand in creating something that's ultimately just playtime for grown-up kids.
Matthew Blake - One of the most memorable moments I’ve had roleplaying was when I was a Dungeon Master over a table of four or five players and we were several months into a campaign that was going fantastically. One week, one of our players (typically the voice of reason) took a night off for personal reasons, and we continued without him, coming to the agreement that his character was asleep in the inn for the duration of the session and everyone would come back for him.
Long story short, the players found themselves in the common room of the inn gathering information. In what should have been an opportunity for exposition and leading into a little about the plot itself, a mysterious wood elf introduced herself to the table. The encounter swiftly devolved when a misstep in dialogue offended our sorcerer and things escalated, soon causing the sorcerer to toss the table aside and start throwing spells, eventually leading to the burning of the inn and ultimate arrest of the party. The look on the missing players face when he came back the next week to find that the inn was burned down (someone dragged him out) and the entire party was arrested, all while he was asleep, was priceless.