We recently found ourselves in a conversation with author and designer Stefan Surratt. His first release under his own publishing company, Merchants of the Multiverse, was a smash success. The master of monsters was gracious enough to answer a few questions and help us understand the world in which he lives…
Who are you and what makes you a member of the DCC/MCC Community?
I found out about DCC in late 2018 when I saw a Reddit post about how Mighty Deeds solved the issue of boring fighter classes and was instantly hooked. I couldn’t get a local DCC game going, but in late 2019 I started running online games and trying to make a space for other Judges to run one-shots. I’ve met loads of people in the DCC/MCC community and have gotten to introduce a lot of fresh faces to our little community as well!
Tell us about Merchants of the Multiverse. Where did it come from?
It all started with my home game. Thanks to some interplanar shenanigans, the players had their DCC characters transported to the world of Terra AD. They had a fair amount of gold and nothing to do with it and I needed to solve that problem. I wrote up a single merchant, some weird artifacts, and a math equation to help determine the sale price of those artifacts. From there it grew, as I was needing some travel complications and communities for the PCs to interact with but didn’t feel like the MCC core book provided the guidelines that I wanted. I did what any good Judge does and homebrewed to have more fun.
A huge portion of the art in Merchants of the Multiverse is by Boson Au. It gives the book a distinct look and feel. What can you tell us about his art?
Boson is a great guy. He’s got more of his work at Instagram.com/typicalbreakfast. We first met when working on QuaranZine 1 and 2, but I really got to know him when I edited and did layout for his adventure in QZ2. He is great at depicting these very evocative faces. He was super eager to do the zine and accomplished an amazing amount of art and also wrote an adventure in a pretty short deadline.
When you were working on the book, which came first: the art or the write-up?
The writing comes first for me. Sometimes I’m inspired by art, whether some random image online or looking through an artbook on my shelf, but the idea and the writing usually comes first for me. That said, I’m stealing ideas from everything. Every movie, book, meme, or silly internet post is fair game for inspiration.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your gaming and publishing?
Right before the pandemic started, I had just finished running a level 1-20 D&D 5e campaign, but I’d also begun running online DCC games and playtesting there. I first published an adventure called Dead Dragon Peak in the 2020 Gongfarmer’s Almanac. I learned so much from having an editor and then also doing layout for one of the GFA volumes. It was so fun that I just wanted to create more and more content like that.
What’s in the future for Dragon Peak Publishing?
Next up is a couple of adventures for Weird Frontiers that will be titled The Brimstone Cradle and The Hills That Hunger. They’re separate adventures but will be published together in the same module. The Brimstone Cradle is a level 2 Christmas-themed adventure centered around the PCs having to protect a baby from demons until… It draws some inspiration from movies like 3 Godfathers and Drag Me To Hell. The Hills That Hunger works either as a funnel or a level 1 adventure and is more inspired by The Hills Have Eyes. Hopefully, it’ll be on Kickstarter in October 2021.
Thanks for taking some time out and speaking with us. We can’t wait to see what’s in store!
Thanks! I always love talking about games and hearing folks talk about their games.