A Grim Hollow “Ask Me Anything! with Shawn Merwin!
May 27, 2021
Over the last month, the third instalment of our Grim Hollow series; Grim Hollow: The Monster Grimoire was live on Kickstarter. In light of this, we wanted to give some time to our community, to help answer some of their burning questions on this new addition to Etharis! Our Executive Game Designer, Shawn Merwin took to Twitter to answer questions related to all things Grim Hollow (and to a greater extent, Ghostfire Gaming), we wanted to highlight his answers for those of you who would have loved to get involved but were unable to make it.

All of the below questions were asked by our Twitter community and Shawn answered as many of them as possible. We hope you all enjoy these highlights from Shawn’s time on Twitter!

Our first question: What is Grim Hollow?

It’s a dark fantasy 5e setting that really leans into the idea. Not only are the stories told there true to that aesthetic, but the player options also support it as well. Curses. Twisted Transformations. Dark options for all! Currently, the Campaign Guide and the Player’s Guide are out in the wild, detailing the world of Etharis, and how to make characters that fit into it. The Monster Grimoire will give the GMs many options to challenge and tempt the players in the ways that grim tales do best.

 

Shawn Merwin AMA Image #1I understand Grim Hollow is a campaign setting. Are you folks building storylines/adventure paths to go with it?

The Kickstarter includes 20 lairs that can act as short adventures. As a habitual adventure writer and fan myself, I can’t imagine working for a company that made this great a setting and doesn’t at some point provide adventures. 🙂 #grimhollowama

 

Oh! Also, can I add any possible or proposed minis? Can you share any of them as of yet?

Our art director @SHelmigh is amazing and talented, and she works with some of the best in the business. I’ll see what I can share from what she and our marketing gurus have at their fingertips. #grimhollowama

 

Chiropteran Behemoth Image by Stan Kolev

Chiropteran Behemoth Giant Miniature: sculpted and designed by Stan Kolev.

 

Any plans to run some public Grim Hollow games for folks to check out the setting? I’ve enjoyed checking out occasional “other setting” games at the recent virtual weekends.

That’s definitely on my radar. I want 5e fans to see what Grim Hollow offers to get a taste, and convention games are a great way to show that through pre-gen characters and one-shot adventures. As in-person conventions wind up, it’ll be a priority of mine. #grimhollowama

 

Congratulations on the Kickstarter! It’s a rarified air with the most successful RPG Kickstarters ever. Question: I’m looking forward to using these monsters in my own custom domain of dread, can you highlight any of the monsters that would fit well with that kind of campaign?

Thanks! And great question! As there are many kinds of dark fantasy, so will the Monster Grimoire provide monsters to hit those types: gothic horror, body horror, cosmic horror, slasher horror, etc. are all represented in the setting and the Grimoire. #grimhollowama

A favourite of mine so far is the Daemon Oak. If you just look at the mini for it in the Kickstarter, you can see how it means business. Our design team left no stone unturned when coming up with monsters useful for all types of dark stories. More importantly, since the characters can become just as dark as the setting itself, there are options for this like twisted steeds, haunted familiars, unusual allies, and the like.

 

Monster Grimoire Book Image #1

 

What was the most difficult monster? In concept, in developing, and in playtesting?

The higher the CR, the more careful you’ve got to be with balance and playtesting. We’ve got a few CR 20+ monsters that have received extra attention. I’m personally working on designing a few high-CR unique NPCs or monsters in the setting, like the Chiropteran Behemoth.

 

An offline question about salvage rules.

Etharis, for me, is a world where no one is going to ride in and save you. Magic items that save the day are not made in every city. Salvage rules let you make your own equipment, including magic, from what you kill. #grimhollowama That gives the players a reason and a mandate to think things through, makes their victories sweeter and teaches them not to neglect character abilities like tool proficiencies and other skills that might be necessary for survival in a hostile and mysterious world. #grimhollowama

 


 

That’s all we had time for! We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to get involved and send through their questions. If you have any questions you’d like to ask us (that weren’t covered in the AMA) please leave them in the comments section below this post and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Big thanks to Shawn Merwin too for giving these insights into the world of Grim Hollow!

9 Comments

  1. Nicklas Kjær Orelius

    have you made any thought towards the stats of the several legendary/mythical magic items in the story? for example the items granted to the bürachian emperor. and if so, how would you go about making them?

    • Ghostfire Hannah

      Hi Nicklas

      These items are not currently on our development roadmap, although they are obviously something cool that individual DMs could add to their stories 🙂

      – Hannah

  2. Alex Gurdian

    I love, LOVE the Grim Hollow setting and the new books coming out soon (backer of Player’s Guide and Monster Grimore).

    I was curious if there are any plans in the future for modules or an entire campaign book? It would be wonderful! 🙂

  3. Travus

    Any plans or possibilities to get some of your products available on virtual tabletops, like Roll20, Foundry, Fantasy Grounds, etc.? A lot of groups are playing remotely with the pandemic and it would be a huge time-save to have at least the Grimm Hollow monsters from the Monster Grimoire ready-made. Statting such things manually can take a lot of time and effort.

    • Ghostfire Hannah

      Hey Travus

      This is absolutely something that is on our list to look into. At this stage, we have commitments to a number of projects which are our priority at the current time, but VTT is on our radar and something we will be exploring in the near future.

      – Hannah

  4. Aaron Haney

    When will your products be available on Amazon or Drive-Through RPG? I would like to purchase your hardback books, however shipping to the US is excessive. Thank you for your time.

    • Ghostfire Tyler

      Hey Aaron!

      At the moment, we don’t have plans to have our products on DriveThruRPG or Amazon (although the idea isn’t off the table).
      We’ve recently been working on stocking up a warehouse in the US, though. This should allow us to drop US shipping prices by a fairly substantial amount,
      due to domestic shipping rates within the US being MUCH cheaper than international -> US.

  5. Barbara Coetzer

    I know this is a little early, but do you plan on continuing the Grim Hollow production line with a fourth major kickstarter in the future?

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Grim Hollow: The Monster Grimoire offers over 400 new monsters, tailor-made for a dark fantasy campaign.