Tag Archives: hankerinferinale

14
Apr

Creator Spotlight | An Interview with Hankerin Ferinale of Runehammer about Crown and Skull

Fantasy RPGs are a dime a dozen, but Crown and Skull promises a refreshing experience. In this interview with Hankerin Ferinale, creator of the system from Runehammer, we delve into the unique mechanics, world-building, and design philosophy that sets Crown and Skull apart.

Ferinale sheds light on the inspiration behind the game, how it challenges player interaction with the world, and the exciting future planned for this evolving system. So, grab your dice, and prepare to be enthralled by the evocative world of The North Holds!

Crown and Skull feels like a fresh take on fantasy RPGs. What inspired you to create this unique system?

I played Fantasy Hero (1st Edition) for years in high school. The system didn’t age terribly well, but its foundational thinking was great. After 8 years of RPG publishing, I wanted to both look back to my origins and forward to a few current inspirations like Cairn and Into the Odd. That’s just the mechanics. The WORLD and TONE are where I’m the most excited. I’ve been working as a writer and artist for over three decades now, and I started to feel real, emotional, moody, evocative stirrings in this setting. I hope all the readers feel as deeply connected to THE NORTH HOLDS as I do. That humanist connection is teh core inspiration of the book(s).

The “skill as tool” approach sounds intriguing. Can you elaborate on how this changes player character interaction with the world?

For ages now, we’ve been taught that our stats/attributes can solve any problem with a die roll in role playing. Removing stats from the mechanics and being strict above the use of skills only, forbidding attempts by the unskilled altogether, is the biggest step toward substantive character differentiation I have seen. So different, in fact, I find many players and GMs a bit dazed at first, then very excited. As for interaction with the world, there’s far more think-before-act. The player can’t simply roll a stat to get out of a bind or overcome a challenge.

The phase-based combat seems like a strategic twist. How did you develop this system and what are its advantages for players and GMs?

I didn’t! I reduced Fantasy Hero’s 12-phase system into a 5 phase setup. The advantage is almost entirely offered to the GM. These 5 phases allow room to build truly challenging foes against even large parties of heroes. A single foe might take action(s) on up to 3 phases, while heroes are always limited to one. This lets the monsters expand into vastly larger realms of challenge and variety, compared to traditional initiative systems.

Crown and Skull is known for its emphasis on player skill over character stats. Can you talk about the design philosophy behind this approach?

As mentioned above, stats blend all characters together. By removing them entirely, and forbidding attempts by the unskilled, the differences between heroes becomes extreme. MUSCLE is a skill, not a stat. No muscle skill? You can;t even ATTEMPT to move the boulder. This differentiation enhances one of the key visions of the hobby’s framers: that characters need each other to thrive.

We’ve seen some discussions about the lack of traditional “gold” mechanics. How does Crown and Skull handle character progression and rewards?

In CROWN, you earn hero points. Gold is seen as banal and uninteresting, though present if your table wishes. Hero points replace gold, and adjudicate the finding of usable loot. They come in all kinds of reard packages, from deeds of renown, to the dire and unavoidable choice of THE CROWN, OR THE SKULL?

Crown and Skull is still evolving. What are some exciting things you have planned for the future of the system?

There are 4 more volumes of CROWN and SKULL coming. These volumes introduce new mechanics, world material, and tables. The coolest part of the forthcoming volumes, though, is portraying ongoing epochs of the world, influenced and shaped by the actions of all of CROWN’s players and GMs. It is a 6 year experiment in a truly living world… another core dream of our hobby’s mighty originators. Achieving a truly living world is not easy! It requires a DAILY interaction habit with the player community.

Do you have any advice for GMs and players who are new to Crown and Skull?

Join the Runehammer Discord! This isn’t a sales pitch at all, but a call to engage with a living, breathing community that is building a world brick by brick. It’s also a great resource for those odd questions or sticking points as many 5E players seek new horizons.

Thanks for the interview, Obsidian! FOR THE CROWN!

-Hankerin Ferinale

Crown and Skull is produced and published by Runehammer. Visit them on social media:
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