D&D General Grim Hollow: Valikan Clans – An Interview With Nick Ingamells (Ghostfire Gaming)

Ghostfire Gaming, a member several times over in the “Million Dollar TTRPG Kickstarter Club”...

Ghostfire Gaming, a member several times over in the “Million Dollar TTRPG Kickstarter Club”, offers up a new project via Kickstarter for their well loved Grim Hollow setting. This time around, they’re bringing a book from the frozen north of their dark fantasy world, the lands of the Valikan Clans. Nick Ingamells, General Manager – Operations at Ghostfire Gaming, agreed to answer my questions about the project and touches on how the OGL crisis impacted their plans.

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EGG EMBRY (EGG): Nick, I’m glad we get to talk. Ghostfire Gaming has a new Grim Hollow project coming to Kickstarter, what is it?
: Thanks for having me, Egg! We’re super excited to be bringing Grim Hollow: Valikan Clans to the world. This campaign focuses on the frozen north of Etharis.

EGG: For those that don’t know the overall setting, what’s the pitch for Grim Hollow? What is the tone of the setting like?
: Grim Hollow is our flagship dark fantasy setting. A world where the players act as a bright spark of hope in a world of darkness; if they want to that is. Grim Hollow escapes the trappings of heroic fantasy, and presents players with difficult decisions where even the player characters might need to be morally grey. Valikan Clans is an example of this, requiring PCs to survive one of Etharis’ most dangerous realms.


EGG: Two books for the Valikan Clans of the far north of Etharis. What can fans expect in each book?
: Yeah, we wanted to do an exceptionally deep dive into this region and so couldn’t contain it all in just one book. The two books are The Raider’s Guide to Valika and Saga of the Seasons. The Raider’s Guide to Valika acts an entire setting guide for Valika, featuring all the lore, adventure hooks and NPCs a DM would need to run a campaign in Valika. It also hosts a swathe of new player-facing rules, including a brand-new martial maneuvers system available for ALL classes. There are new subclasses, many of which will take full advantage of the martial maneuvers. There’s more advanced backgrounds, transformations, new weapons and equipment, and there’s Valikan raiding mechanics which are our take on tackling mass combat in 5e. There’s even more, as well, this book is really packed with content. Saga of the Seasons is an entire campaign length adventure designed to take players through an entire year living in Valika. The adventure starts at 3rd level through to 11th level. Players will be charged with the survival of their very own Valikan clan, responsible for gathering resources, growing their clan, and raiding others in preparation for the upcoming winter.

EGG: The land of the Valikan Clans are divided into several provinces – Thrull, Kandar, and Grarjord – each with different cultures and politics. What will these books detail about those cultures and politics?
Each of the three major regions, Thrull, Kandar, and Grarjord, are distinct. But they don’t behave like kingdoms or provinces in the way southern realms in Etharis might expect. Each region is a coalition of clans that neighbour each other and may share general values and beliefs. But each clan is still a distinct culture, and so cohesion in a single region can still be challenging. The Raider’s Guide to Valika will detail the culture of each clan individually, as well as their role within the larger coalition they are part of. In fact, there are rules for players to choose which clan their character originated from, and therefore how that culture influenced their starting skills and abilities.

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EGG: The north has several cities, fortresses, and islands mentioned in Etharis’ lore. Of those, what are some of the standouts that will detailed in these books?
: In addition to exploring the culture of the Valikan clans, there is plenty of detail about the locations and geography of the lands they inhabit. There’ll be closer looks at places like Tyburn, home to the Prismatic Circle, and Cold Iron Keep which most Valikans fear to speak of. Certain adventures in Saga of the Seasons may even see players explore outside of Valikan territory, into neighboring wealthy Empires.

EGG: Of all of the lands of Etharis, why pick the lands of the Valikan Clans at this time? What made them the right nation to cover now?
: The Valikan Clans have always been very popular among fans of Grim Hollow. The influences from Norse mythology and Viking cultures makes the region very evocative and we wanted to give Valika the sense of detail and scale it deserved. We’ll always want to return to telling stories in Grim Hollow with our audience. The Bürach Empire is often the main stage for Etharis and players visited the Ostoyan Empire in Citadel of the Unseen Sun. We knew we wanted to explore a region that hadn’t received individual attention yet, and Valika is what got us most excited this time.

EGG: Who’s working on this project with you?
: The lead designers on this project have been Shawn Merwin and James Haeck. Shawn’s done an incredible job making The Raiders Guide to Valika the supplement the northern realms of Etharis truly deserve. Players will feel their characters are really embedded in Valika, thanks to the detail in both new rules and lore Shawn has made. James meanwhile has woven a mythic and personal adventure with Saga of the Seasons. I believe gaming groups will be retelling tales of their own Valikan clan long after their time with the adventure ends. James has perfectly balanced player investment, a sense of epic scale, and the foreboding darkness of Etharis perfectly.


EGG: With the recent OGL crisis, Ghostfire Gaming made a statement about their plans for the future. Now that the worst of the storm has passed, what’s next for Ghostfire regarding 5e?
: We’re glad to see the storm passing so we can get back to what we love doing, which is producing awesome content for our community. There’s a lot in store for Ghostfire Gaming in the coming months and we’ll be releasing a tease of our intentions in the Valikan Clans Kickstarter.

EGG: Recently, Kobold Press announced Ghostfire Gaming as a partner for Project Black Flag, their 5e stand-in. Since the OGL crisis, several companies announced 5e companion/replacement systems. What made Kobold Press and Project Black Flag the right partner and product for Ghostfire Gaming to join?
: We’re really excited to see how Black Flag is shaping up and assist our friends at Kobold Press however we can. We’re really hoping this post-OGL world will shape up to be a more diverse TTRPG landscape and we’re excited to broaden our content as much as we can to make it available and accessible to all TTRPG fans, regardless of their choice in specific game.

EGG: Beyond Ghostfire proper, are there any upcoming partner projects through Forged with Ghostfire?
: We’ve got some great plans for upcoming partnerships and we’re working on one of our most expansive collaborations so far. We’re not ready to spill all the details just yet, but we’re going to continue doing our best to help bring the incredible creations of the TTRPG community to life.

EGG: Thanks for talking with me. Where can fans find out more about Ghostfire Gaming and this project?
: As always the best place to find us is [the Ghostfire Gaming website] and you’ll find everything Valikan Clans related at [Kickstarter].

Grim Hollow: Valikan Clans from Ghostfire Gaming
  • “A TTRPG supplement and adventure that takes you through the land and clans of Etharis' Valika!”
Egg Embry freelance blogs for Ghostfire Gaming. He is not a part of this project.

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Egg Embry

Egg Embry


Pet peeve: when creators can't even make crowdfunding "posters" without spelling errors on them (see "5E Compatable"). It makes me question how thorough the proofreading and editing will be, which is a shame, because I should be interested in this kind of product.

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