Kobolds Ate My Baby: An Interview With Chris O’Neill (9th Level Games)

9th Level Games is bringing back their much loved RPG, Kobolds Ate My Baby, this time using the polymorph system. I’m a fan of the system, which I’ve played, run (“MAZES at Midnight”), and done a number of interviews about (MAZES, Return to Dark Tower, The Excellents, and Venture Society). Combining two of 9th Level Games’ strengths is worth looking into.

Kobolds Ate My Baby!.jpg

EGG EMBRY (EGG): 9th Level Games is bringing Kobolds Ate My Baby back for its fifth iteration, correct? For those that don’t know, what is KAMB?
: So, KAMB – is Kobolds Ate My Baby! Which is our now classic roleplaying game that flips the idea of fantasy roleplaying on its head. Instead of being powerful fighters and awesome wizards going down into a dungeon to slay monsters – you play the monsters, specifically Kobolds, who have to raid out from the dungeon into the nearby village to bring back food for King Torg (All Hail King Torg!). It’s like Wile E Coyote, the Smurfs, and Dungeons and Dragons were blended together. And yes, this is the fifth – Original Flavour, Third Edition, Super Deluxx Edition, In Colour!, and now – THE ORANGE BOOK.

EGG: All Hail King Torg! You’re using a different, but familiar engine with the polymorph system. What else will this crowdfunding project bring to the game?
: So, the primary motive for this campaign is to bring Kobolds up to date with a change from the BEER ENGINE to polymorph™. Kobolds runs on a modified version of the same rules from the late 90s, and we want to get it in line with all of the other modern RPGs that run on polymorph™. But, we are using this as an opportunity to do a lot of silliness – as KAMB is going to be 25 YEARS old. We are looking to clean up years of adventures, into a complete set of modules. We are going to have the Mörk Borg compatible – SMÖRKÅS BORG zine – utterly ridiculous. Dice. I think? Oh, and we’re are going to make a PLUSH! (We are super excited about this. The plush is based on our spokeskobold Yeet, and he's the cutest.)

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EGG: I love the polymorph engine, I’m quite the fan of MAZES, and I was at Level Up Games in Duluth, Georgia recently and almost bought a friend a copy of MAZES from their collection. Despite my love of the engine, in your words what makes polymorph right for KAMB?
: Well, we used to think that KAMB was easy to play. And, now, we have these polymorph games – that are WAY EASIER to run and play. Our goal is to make KAMB the easiest, fastest, deadliest, and dumbest game ever. And polymorph is the way to go.

EGG: You’re producing the adventures with dual stats (polymorph and the BEER ENGINE), correct?
: We are going to produce digital adventures that have the old system stats, as well as the polymorph stat blocks (which are really easy).

EGG: This is a "beer & pretzels" roleplaying game. For those that don’t know, what does that tag signify?
: Back in the day (I’m an old man, lol) the term “beer and pretzels” just meant super casual. When we started making KAMB back in the 90s, the whole thing was that everything took itself way too seriously, and we were making a game that sneered at all that. Over time, it grew from being a puckish joke into a game people enjoyed. Part of the original joke was just being topical and snarky – but as time has gone by, the beer and pretzels have moved from casual fun to fun for casuals….
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EGG: On the Backerkit page, you mention “Opportunities for SUPER KAMB FANS to get involved”. What opportunities are those?
: A girl has to have some secrets, Egg. You gotta come over and find out

EGG: Dang it, Chris! Now I have to read the Backerkit page! Kobolds Ate My Baby is pushing 25 years old, yes? Is this like The Simpsons or Family Guy and is the, uh, eaten baby never going to grow up?
: Totes! Part of the joke is that the Kobolds are really bad at everything they do, including eating babies. Wile E Coyote never gets the Road Runner. Cartoon is the right vibe – so no, the Kobolds are never growing up.

EGG: This project is coming to Backerkit. Why that platform over, say, Kickstarter?
: This is a great question. The first time we used Kickstarter was for our 2013 KAMB campaign, and as part of that campaign, we used a new service called BackerKit (when it was just a company in their living room). BackerKit came to us and wanted to include us in the beta launch of their own crowdfunding platform. We are really hoping to use all of the functions on the new platform to do some really dumb things as part of the campaign. I’m very happy with the backend tools that we are seeing here, and I can’t wait to see how it goes when we launch.

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EGG: Beyond KAMB, what else is 9th Level Games working on?
: Our primary activity right now is getting RETURN TO DARK TOWER Fantasy Roleplaying and VENTURE SOCIETY (other polymorph games) to the printers and into people’s hands. Later this year, we’ll be back to Kickstarter for BEYOND THE CITY OF SKULL for Mazes (which is gonna be rad), and we have some smaller projects from other writers coming out through Zine Quest. I do love me some Zine Quest.

EGG: Where can fans learn more about Kobolds Ate My Baby and 9th Level Games?
: As always EGG, you can find me personally on the internets @AllHailKingTorg. The best place to find 9th Level Games is on our website, or you can find us on the all of the socials (including Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, everywhere) as @9thLevelGames.

Kobolds Ate My Baby Plush & New Edition by 9th Level Games
  • End Date: Feb 23, 2023 at 3:30am PST.
  • Kobolds Ate My Baby is a cult classic "beer & pretzels" roleplaying game. It all started WAY BACK in the late 1900's with the 1st edition in zine form. Fast forward to 2013 when the then new Kobolds Ate My Baby in colour edition dropped. Well that was 10 years ago. 10 YEARS MAN! Seems to us that it's time for YET ANOTHER edition!”
Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.

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