It’s not every day we get to enjoy the reading of a delightful interview article with Tyler (Tylermo) Morrison, so let’s do this, with relish.
Multiverse: Greetings, Tylermo! Did you enjoy a nice summer?
Tylermo: I certainly did. I spent a considerable amount of time with my children, and attended a handful of classic rock concerts. I also spent time gaming (rpg and board,) bowling and attending gaming conventions for Troll Lord Games.
Multiverse: Nice! Which classic rock concerts?
Tylermo: Styx / Tesla / Joan Jett. I’ve seen Styx 17-20? times since 1991. Also, Foreigner / Whitesnake / Jason Bonham‘s Led Zeppelin Experience, as well as Paul Rodgers / Jeff Beck / Ann Wilson. I think that’s all of the summer concerts. I had never seen Jeff Beck before. He’s at least 73 years old, and it was quite the musical experience. Of course, there were other concerts earlier in the year, as well as upcoming shows.
Multiverse: Which is your favorite Styx album, and why?
Tylermo: I’d probably go with The Grand Illusion. There are at least three other albums on the heels of this one. Equinox, Crystal Ball, and Pieces of Eight. In the end, however, The Grand Illusion wins out. In addition to hit songs like Come Sail Away and Fooling Yourself, the band managed to craft their quintessential album with other offerings like the title track, Superstars, Miss America, Castle Walls and The Grand Finale. The album comes together nicely with the band’s signature pomp/prog sound. Top-notch vocal harmonies, keyboards and dual guitars! The Grand Illusion, along with Pieces of Eight, began a string of four consecutive, multi-platinum albums. Styx was the first band to do this. On a side note, Castle Walls is the perfect song for an rpg session.
Multiverse: When did you first discover the joys of Castle & Crusades?
Tylermo: I attended Egyptian Campaign for a number of years in Carbondale, Illinois. I first met Stephen Chenault and Todd Gray (with TLG) in 2003 and 2004. In 2005, they had released the first printings of the Players Handbook and Monsters & Treasure. I played in Todd’s demo game, and was hooked. I bought the books immediately.
Multiverse: How would you describe Todd Gray’s style as a Castle Keeper?
Tylermo: I live in Missouri and Todd is in Arkansas, so it’s mainly been a handful of convention games largely prior to 2010, and one hotel room game during a recent Gen Con. It’s been awhile, but I’d say Todd is a very descriptive CK. He keeps players immersed in the game and he spins a good yarn. It’s not surprising, as Todd is one of the pillars of Troll Lord Games. He’s been a long-time contributor (the PHB, Adventurers Backpack, et cetera,) and co-authored our adventure, The Heart of Glass.
Multiverse: Without giving too much away, what can you share with us about The Heart of Glass?
Tylermo: The Heart of Glass has been around as far back as TLG’s D20 days, and was later converted to Castles & Crusades. The adventure is set in the Sea Town of Ihlsa (one of the many locations in Stephen Chenault’s world of Aihrde.) Adventurers have to contend with thieves and assassins in a city campaign. There’s a great deal of mystery and intrigue, as it relates to an magical artifact sought by Malcolm of Helliwell. I believe it’s 60+ pages. It’s a nice break from the usual overland treks and dungeon delves.
Multiverse: How is the Saluki Con in Carbondale treating you?
Tylermo: This was our first year at Saluki Comic Con. We had a great time, and sales were good. Most of our customers were new to C&C, and a couple were new to gaming in general. I was accompanied by a friend of 5 years (and C&C supporter,) Andy Schwartz. A couple of young ladies joined us for one of Andy’s demo games. They really enjoyed the session. I’m relatively certain TLG will return to Saluki Comic Con next year.
Multiverse: Do you have any tips for those who are new to the tabletop RPG hobby?
Tylermo: First of all, I’m always excited to see new people embracing this amazing hobby. I would advise first time Players/GMs not to let themselves be overwhelmed. Seeking out a simple, playable game system is always helpful. Most of all, don’t worry about getting everything right at first. With continued GMing, playing and studying the rules, everything will eventually fall into place. Last but not least…Have fun!
Multiverse: What hasn’t happened in the tabletop RPG industry yet that you’d love to see happen next?
Multiverse: Extraordinary! Captain Chaos is yours (for the Cannonball Run rpg.) Who are you calling dibs on for the Smokey and the Bandit rpg?
Multiverse: With so many tabletop games to choose from these days, which are of your favorites, and why?
Tylermo: Castles & Crusades is my all-time favorite fantasy game. C&C gives me the feel of older D&D, while using the appealing Siege Engine mechanic for attribute rolls and savings throws. Quite simply, it’s the heart of C&C.
Another favorite of mine is Amazing Adventures. It’s 100% compatible with Castles and Crusades, while being the best way to play pulp, action/adventure, modern, sci-fi, post apocalyptic, and more.
Since about 2004, I’ve also played various settings for Savage Worlds (Pinnacle Entertainment Group). Like Troll Lord Games, Pinnacle is comprised of good people, quality products, and SW is simple and unique.
I’m well-acquainted with the fine folks at Goodman Games, and own the bulk of their DCC fantasy products, Mutant Crawl Classics, and Metamorphosis Alpha.
I also have picked up most of the material for James Ward and Stephen Lee’s 77 Worlds rpg. Then again, I buy most anything Jim puts out. There might be a few others, as well as numerous board games.
One can’t buy everything, you know.
Multiverse: What do you enjoy most about Troll Lord, and why?
Tylermo: First and foremost…My association with the people who make up TLG. I started out as a customer, and became a fan. I met Stephen and Todd three years in a row, then Peter Bradley (artist), Davis Chenault, Mark Sandy, and eventually others who joined the fold. Tim Burns, Jason Vey, et. al.
There are also others who have worked on projects for Troll Lord…Jim Ward, Chris Clark, Jeffrey Talanian, Brian Young, John Siebel, Luke Gygax, Ernie Gygax, Jr., Mike Stewart and Casey Christofferson. It has been my honor and pleasure to call them friends, as well their peers in the industry.
After being a customer for 5 years, I emailed Stephen (in 2010), offering to sell and demo C&C for the company. He readily accepted, and I’m eternally grateful to him. Liking Castles & Crusades was a no-brainer, but the connection to this amazing group of individuals means even more to me.
Lastly, I’m very fortunate to have so many friends from our customer base.
Multiverse: Which of the Troll Lord adventure modules is your favorite, and why?
Tylermo: One that instantly comes to mind is A0:The Rising Knight. Davis Chenault wrote this one, and it was initially released in our C&C white box in 2004. The town of Malforten is being terrorized by a gnoll. The townsfolk have been paying tribute to him with no resistance. While in Malforten, the PCs have an opportunity to assist the community.
There are so many things going for this adventure. Malforten is full of numerous fully-fleshed out NPCs, and there are some good overland travel encounters. If the players manage to find the gnoll lair, it becomes evident that there’s far more going on than just the extortion of the town. The Rising Knight can be played standalone, or it continues on with 16 more adventures. Even more are slated beyond that.
Other contenders that come to mind, A1:Assault on Blacktooth Ridge, Shadows of Halfing Hall and a plethora of others.
Multiverse: Which character class are you most looking forward to roleplaying next, and why?
Tylermo: Presently, I’m playing a multi-classed rogue/cleric. A gnome named Jamric Farkel a.k.a. Brother Farkel. As for my next class…I’d probably consider one of the 13 new classes offered in our recently-released Adventurers Backpack. So many to choose from. Maybe the archer, the rune mark, or the warrior priest.
Multiverse: The rune mark class sounds very interesting. What can you share with us about that class?
Tylermo: The rune mark originally appeared in our Rune Lore book, featuring the class, rune spells, geographical information about a particular part of Aihrde, and a 16-part adventure path. The geography and adventures will appear in a new book, and the rune mark joined 12 other classes in Adventurers Backpack.
Essentially, the rune mark derive their power from runes, as opposed to casting spells like other magic-using classes. They are a bit limited as to what armor they can use, but they can use any weapons. Some of their abilities include alchemy, language mastery, trace rune, vocalize rune, among others. Their ability to wield power by deciphering ancient carvings greatly appeals to me.
Multiverse: The vocalizing of a rune is a fascinating idea. Who created these new character classes for the C&C RPG?
Tylermo: The rune mark was created by Stephen Chenault. Mark Sandy was responsible for the primal druid, and Mac Golden (C&C co-creator) worked on the thief. Other contributors included Neal Chenault, Davis Chenault (C&C co-creator,) Todd Gray, Gerald Buldak, and Jason Vey. Lets’s not forget the fantastic artwork of Peter Bradley and Jason Walton.
Multiverse: Which of Bradley & Walton’s art pieces are you enjoying most?
Tylermo: Peter and Jason have so many wonderful pieces, and it’s hard to remember them all without flipping through every book. That said, I think I’ve narrowed it down.
For Peter, I’d have to go with his artwork for the original Castle Keepers Screen. The image says it all…You get the complete adventuring party (warriors, magic users, and a rogue-with most of the traditional races represented) in pitched battle against a giant beastie.
Even after 12 years, I always come back to this one.
As for Jason…The one that does it for me as of late, is his alternate cover for the PHB (7th printing). Two adventurers prepare to take on a dragon-like creature, while the third member of their party is facing the other way, kneeling in a pile of treasure. Jason delivers the goods once again, and this piece makes me wonder how it’s all going to turn out. Do they lose their lives, while an armored warrior (NOT a rogue) is going through an treasure-laden chest. I suspect he’ll never know what hit him.
Multiverse: If you were going on a Norwegian fjord tour tomorrow, with just enough space remaining in your knapsack for three books, which three books would accompany you?
Tylermo: That’s easy. The Castles & Crusades Players Handbook, Monsters & Treasure and the Castle Keepers Guide.
Multiverse: What can we all look forward to seeing from Troll Lord in 2019?
Tylermo: It’s my understanding that upcoming titles will include Tome of the Unclean (a book of demons and devils,) an expanded re-release of Harvesters, an Egyptian book for our mythological series, a new version of Jim Ward’s Of Gods and Monsters, PHB (8th printing,) Monsters & Treasure (5th printing,) Castle Keepers Guide (3rd printing,) a C&C collectors box set, among others.
Stephen Chenault is your best source of information as it relates to releases.
Multiverse: Share a humorous Stephen Chenault story with us?
Tylermo: I’m not even sure where to start. He constantly calls everybody “Smokey”, or exclaims “Holy Carolina!”. I’m certain it’s an Arkansas thing. I remember Stephen driving Troll One (his pickup truck) to Wisconsin, as we pulled into a hotel parking lot. It was dark and snowy, thus affecting his vision a bit. He couldn’t see the parking lot entrance, so he made his own roadway, driving over grass.
Stephen has a penchant for torturing FB friends with his select music tastes. It’s not uncommon for Stephen to share youtube videos of Alan Jackson’s I Still Like Bologna, or songs like Pontoon. Then, he really comes at us out of left field with videos of a German yodeling family, or some Finnish folk group (from the 1970’s). To add injury to insult…he doesn’t really care for Rush. Seriously??
In the last couple of years, Stephen mentioned he had watched Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan for the first time in many years. It turns out he realized that he likes The Motion Picture more than Wrath of Khan. Controversial for some, but I can respect that. I like both. Either way, Stephen said he had trouble getting past Ricardo Montalban’s/Khan’s chest and those “ear worms”. If you ask me, I think Stephen has repeated nightmares about Khan’s chest, and wakes up in a cold sweat each time. There are probably a million other stories, but I’ve roasted him enough for now.
Multiverse: Cool roast! Kindly let Stephen know that we said hello?
Tylermo: I’ll certainly pass that along. Playful roasting aside, he’s been a good friend for many years. I look forward to traveling with him and the others to Wisconsin (twice a year), as well as to other convention locations. We’ve toured the world, and elsewhere!
Fear not! I’ll definitely torture him with 16 round trip hours of conversation on the way to Gamehole Con in November.
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As you can see, Tylermo is both a rocker and a roller. When he isn’t busy saving the planet, you’ll find Tylermo at gaming conventions where he excels as TLG‘s trusty Convention Sales-and-Demo Rep.