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Dungeon Degenerates: Hand of Doom – GTA But if it Was a Fantasy Game

Described as “a heavy Punk, Metal & Stoner vibe” RPG, I was compelled to learn more about Dungeon Degenerates: Hand of Doom (DDHoD) upon learning of its existence and how long I’d been out of the loop. Shortly after getting all caught up, I got the awesome opportunity to do a Q&A with the game’s Creator and Art Director, Sean Äaberg, so I could ask what inspired DDHoD and what playlist I should choose to play in the background during gameplay.

The Kickstarter has blown past its $50,000 goal, sitting at a little over $160,000 at the time of this writing. It ends on February 25th, so be sure to check it out and help Sean and Goblinko reach their super cool stretch goals.

Without further ado, here’s the Q&A:

Jeffrey Venture: I haven’t had the pleasure of learning that Dungeon Degenerates: Hand of Doom was a thing until just about a week ago. For the newbies like me, what is this game?

Sean Äaberg: It’s a board game to simulate what it felt like playing an RPG in the 80’s. It’s a game built on emotions. Distinctly low fantasy – it’s like GTA but if it was a fantasy game.

JV: The art is obviously a really important part of this game – can you tell us a little about your influences for the art style?

: As an adolescent in the 80’s, I was seeing the integration between RPGs, video games, and board games, and the art across those mediums really stuck out to me. I think of Warhammer, all kinds of comics… artists like Robert Crumb… and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! As a kid, seeing [TMNT] start out underground and get big – I thought it was selling out at first, but now I can appreciate the rise of alternative art making it big. And, of course, 60’s psychedelic art was a big influence.

In between these questions, Sean talked a lot about the DIY Punk Methodology and how it influenced him to take on a lot of the work of making DDHoD happen in the first place. He talked about how he almost looked down on things he hadn’t made himself, and how it was a new experience to have more funding than he knows what to meet with stretch goals in this highly successful Kickstarter.

JV: So tell me about the Kickstarter! What are you most excited about coming out of the funding to the project?

: Well, we just busted the $150,000 goal, which is really exciting. That unlocked miniatures. We’re working with Jaycee Fairclough, which is great because her style of sculpting is really complimentary to my art style. Other stretch goals got us a box to collect all the stuff, four new booster packs for encounter cards, two t-shirts, and two new books. We’ve got a neoprene gaming mat coming if we get to $175k, but I honestly haven’t figured out what we’ll do yet if we past $200k.

JV: Can you tell us a little bit about the difference between solo play and group play?

: Playing solo is a bit more like reading a book. You get a personal relationship to the story. It’s almost a meditative experience. You can also play a bunch of characters by yourself. True solo, playing one character – you’ll get your ass handed to you. Playing as a group, the game is a lot funnier. We bake absurd scenarios into the game – the story that emerges takes on a life of its own. More serious when you’re playing by yourself, and hilarious when you’re playing as a group.

JV: Alright, last question, a fun one: What artists and albums would recommend having going on in the background during gameplay?

: Well, the default is Black Sabbath. The game is called Hand of Doom, so all those records are great, even the ones with Dio singing. Also protometal, like Rainbow and Uriah Heep. Manilla Road, Iron Maiden… Lots of 70’s and 80’s stuff. Dark Throne, Emperor, Immortal… I also really like those metal covers of early Nintendo game music. Castlevania and Ghosts n’ Goblins songs. Also, I was really into this Japanese metal band called Animetal, which does thrash metal covers of Japanese anime intros.

Sean was super fun to talk to, and I’m really excited and impressed by what he and the team at Goblinko have put into the Dungeon Degenerates: Hand of Doom Kickstarter. Be sure to get in on the Kickstarter while you still can before it ends on February 25th.

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Jeffrey Venture
Jeffrey Venture
Jeffrey Venture (he/him) is a Dungeon Master, SDCC Badge Holder, Writer, and all-around giant nerd. He mostly posts here about Dungeons & Dragons stuff, as well as Comic-Con updates and comic book reviews. You can catch him on TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube for more D&D stuff, including his #DnDifyIt series.

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