Rone Barton (Interview)

When I learned Rone was one of the contributing designers to the Mini-Dungeon Tome from AAW Games, I decided to ask him a few questions…

Ed: What can you tell me about what you’re creating for the Mini-Dungeon Tome?

Rone: It’s called Sanctuary of the Slaughtered, a Cappadocia-like underground church intended to shelter a persecuted religious sect. Bugbears and goblins overran the place recently, and all that’s left of the human inhabitants are frescoes, statues, a reliquary, and a whole bunch of meat-stripped, splintered bones.

Ed: Were you able to do pretty much anything you wanted, assuming Jonathan approved the pitch? Or were you handed an idea to run with?

Rone: Complete creative reign. He handed me a really simple map and I had to fill it with a 1,000-word Pathfinder mini-adventure, then create a 5th Edition build as well. The idea content was all mine.

Ed: Which are more difficult for you – short adventure seeds like the Mini-Dungeon you’re creating, or longer form material like you created for The Great City?

Rone: Short adventures are easier to write because they’re farm to table in a trillionth of the time it’d take me to craft a long adventure, but they’re harder for me in the earliest stages of conception because there are only so many moving parts I can use to construct a memorable, compelling experience for players.

Ed: What do you find most compelling in an encounter / adventure? Engaging NPCs? Unique locations? New and challenging monsters? Riddles?

Rone: I like any adventure that allows me to see things I’ve never before seen and do things I’ve never before done. And I’m a certifiable treasure hound. I quite enjoy finding magic items that have a unique look or function because they’ll lend a freshening extra-dimension to my characters. +2 Baby Pacifier of Reforestation? Why not. I’ll find a use.


Ed: What unique items do you have in your house that would make unique magic items?

Rone: Decades ago, an NBC sports researcher gifted me a porous, black, volcanic stone from Mount Kenya that came fitted snugly inside an orange dyed antelope hide bag.

I’m pretty sure it’d make an ideal rock of fire drinking.

When the rock of fire drinking is thrown into any conflagration the size of a house fire or smaller, the hundreds of tiny holes on its surface suck in the flames and contain them with only the slightest residual warmth to the touch. But one full day later, upon command, the flames can be spat back out as a cone of fire doing 1d6 x 4 hp damage, else the rock can be dipped in water to quell the flames in a puff of dark smoke.

Not only will a rock of fire drinking inhale 50% of any fire damage suffered by anyone holding it, this item is the absolute bane of elemental creatures of fire, as its mere contact with such creatures does 1d6 x10 hp damage.

After 48 hours, the rock harmlessly absorbs any flame yet retained within it.

Probably worth mentioning the rock can only absorb 150 hp of fire damage total in any one day. And on a day it shoots fire or is extinguished, it may not drink fire again for another 24 hours…

Ed: Any future projects you have coming soon you care to drop hints about?

Rone: I’m throwing my hat into the RPG publisher ring with Louis Agresta! The first week of November 2017, our new company Iron GM Games launches our sci-fi horror setting Grimmerspace on Kickstarter. It’s Starfinder compatible and we’ve got top talent attached, truly stunning artwork, and a few other surprises to boot. It takes as much time to analyze effective and responsible Kickstarter procedures as it does to actually create the products you’re pitching. It’s been quite the learning experience and I’m hungry to get on with it already. Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of crowdfunding!

I want more!

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