Interview with Rob Twohy of DM's Guild & Fantasy GroundsBy Duncan Thomson on
"I'm a nerd, so I have a spreadsheet of EVERY SINGLE DAY of sales. I know how many of each title sold, how much money I've made, how many copies of each title sell on average per week, the blood type and social security number of each title... Ha! I KEEP METICULOUS RECORDS is my point. Sometimes things get askew, and there have been exactly two times that the count was off vs. what DMs Guild says I have"
Delving into the realm of DM's Guild and Fantasy Grounds with creator Rob Twohy
How did you get into creating for the DM's Guild?
I had a liver transplant in August of 2014. I had been a stand-up comedian, but when I got sick I had to move back to my hometown of Spokane. Once I had my transplant I decided not to go back to comedy.
During my recovery, I discovered the Fantasy Grounds VTT (Virtual Tabletop). I started to involve myself in games, and eventually, in October of 2015, I started streaming. I did not know ANYTHING about streaming, I just got a Twitch account, downloaded OBS, and turned it on.
In January of 2016, I just happened to hear about the Dungeon Masters Guild. I made a couple of gaming aids to assist with character-building both in PDF form AND for Fantasy Grounds. I uploaded them as PWYW (Pay What You Want). I didn't expect anything. At one point Matt McElroy at the DMs Guild told me, "Hey you've got some great material here, put a price on it." I did. ...And now we're here.
What projects on DM's Guild are you most proud of creating and why?
Oh, I am absolutely most proud of my Fantasy Grounds "coding packages". They allow players to have automated codes for every spell, feat, race trait, class feature, and (magic) item in the game.
In the Fantasy Grounds Community, that's what I'm most known for. I get one or two emails/PMs per day from people thanking me for making their games faster/better. Very proud of that accomplishment. It represents about 1000+ hours of work (and when new WotC (Wizards of the Coast) material drops, they are always updated).
What are the most painful lessons you've learnt from creating on DM's Guild?
Ooooo. Probably the "most painful" are ones dealing with accounting (for me).
I'm a nerd, so I have a spreadsheet of EVERY SINGLE DAY of sales.
I know how many of each title sold, how much money I've made, how many copies of each title sell on average per week, the blood type and social security number of each title... Ha! I KEEP METICULOUS RECORDS is my point. Sometimes things get askew, and there have been exactly two times that the count was off vs. what DMs Guild says I have.
To be clear, the money amount has always been correct to the penny, but the number of copies sold got skewed twice in the last four years. The lesson I learned was to adjust the numbers and let it go. It is VERY hard for me to do that, but stressing over something that ultimately doesn't matter to the bottom line is a waste, so I taught myself to calm down.
As far as creating, it was hard to learn to say no to people. In four years, I have built a team of people, and I now have 175+ titles on the Guild. Many are other authors' works converted to Fantasy Grounds. So I get a lot of opportunities, and it's tough to tell someone no, but too much work is a good problem to have.
What is the appeal of creating random tables?
People love random tables.
I'm not sure that's my favorite thing about planet earth, but for some IT IS. People love it. And depending on the situation, those can be very useful/powerful.
How do you use random tables yourself?
Oh wow! I use them every day.
Random Wizard spellbook, Random Encounter Creator, Random PC Creator, Random Monster Tables, Random Trap Tables, the list goes on... All within Fantasy Grounds.
How did you get involved in doing conversions for Fantasy Grounds?
I just dove in. I just became interested in it.
I converted a couple of small ones for practice with a friend with only the intent of doing it for myself. Then quite by accident, someone asked me "could you do this for me?".
I did. And (again) now we're here.
I currently have 45 titles in the SmiteWorks (Fantasy Grounds) store and Steam. They dual publish on both their website and Steam. Some of the titles are Acquisitions Incorporated (WotC), the three Essentials Kit Sequel modules (WotC), Creature Codex (Kobold Press), many more...
What are the challenges of getting random tables to work with Fantasy Grounds?
Only two for me...
And the same problem you have when programming any type of computer stuff - one character outta place and that shit's gonna break. But once you get it right, it's golden.
What is the most interesting rpg generator or tool you've seen?
Either the PC generator or the random encounter creator.
But we're working on a newer version of that in Fantasy Grounds that will allow people to create an encounter with parameters that include CR, type, environment, whether you want multiple kinds of creatures, do you want a "boss", etc., etc. It'll be fantastic, and if you know Fantasy Grounds, you know what a tall order that is. But it will be the epitome of randomness.
What are your next big projects (DM's Guild or otherwise) that you can talk about?
Actually I just finished converting the Fantasy Grounds version of Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons and Dragons. It comes out on 11/19/19.
Where can people find you on social media?
...and of course the DMs Guild
Is there anything else you would like to talk about?
Only to let people know that using the Fantasy Grounds VTT has literally changed my life.
I am still enjoying producing for DMs Guild and if anyone ever wants to talk to me (or the other 600 people on my Discord), drop by and say hello, there are people talking about Dungeons & Dragons and Fantasy Grounds there 24/7, and I'm very accessible. Always up for answering questions about FG, or if you are a DMs Guild creator who wants your material converted, I'm your guy.
You can find more more Creator Interviews on Rand Roll.
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