We haven’t announced our next Patreon goal yet for The Gauntlet, but I wanted to go over it a bit here and get some feedback from folks. It’s called Degoya County and it’s comprised of several components: 1) A horror actual play podcast with a focus on high production values; 2) discussion and debrief episodes in the same podcast feed; and 3) a quarterly zine featuring original fiction set in the same world, as well as supplementary material for the games played on the podcast. I want to briefly describe those three components of the project, as well as say a few things about how and why we are doing this.
A high quality horror actual play podcast
The centerpiece of the Degoya County project will be an actual play podcast that will feature musical cues, sound effects, and high-quality cast audio. The podcast will be an anthology-style horror joint that will take place in a small, fictional county in New Mexico. Over the course of the series, we’ll use different games to explore major events in the county’s history, anchored by a present-day storyline told with Monsterhearts 2. Some themes I hope to explore with it include Native and colonial history; modern-day Mexican-American culture and urban legends; Satanic cult shit going down in the desert; and looming, throbbing Lovecraftian horror in the background. Each episode will be introduced by Big Man, my well-loved character from Mercy Falls, in a short Log Lady/Cryptkeeper-style vignette.
Game discussion and series debrief
There will be support episodes of the podcast for each new game series we play: a discussion episode where we talk about the system to be played, and a debrief episode after the game is finished. People love our Mercy Falls series on Pocket-Sized Play, but a regular critique is that there isn’t any surrounding discussion about the AP, either substantive discussion of game mechanics or feedback/debrief sessions from the participants. The reason for that is because Mercy Falls was not originally recorded with the intention of being shared in a podcast format. But with Degoya County, we want to do something different. Some of our strengths in The Gauntlet include deep analysis of game mechanics and a strong, supportive play culture. These auxiliary episodes of Degoya County will give us the space to incorporate those strengths.
The quarterly zine
The quarterly zine will launch a few months after the podcast and will contain original horror fiction set in Degoya County. The idea here is to explore and expand upon characters and ideas from the podcast. We will also publish supplementary material for the games featured on the show. At The Gauntlet, we like to feature the work of new and marginalized creators, and the quarterly zine will allow us to do that, while further developing the rural, folk-horror universe of Degoya County.
Why this project? And why now?
Degoya County represents something of a culmination of everything we’re good at in The Gauntlet. If you look around the community, you can see hints of its various components: we run horror anthology game series like my Mercy Falls and Cat Ramen’s Kingsport; we are very good at putting out high quality discussion podcasts; we have experience publishing stellar zine content with Codex; and we play A LOT of games, meaning we know how to use them to create strong, compelling stories. In some ways, everything I, personally, have been doing in The Gauntlet has been leading to Degoya County. It’s an idea that has been simmering in my head for years, and we’re getting close to being able to realize it.
Degoya County will be a pretty expensive project if we’re going to do this the right way, and, as such, will be set for a fairly high Patreon goal (probably $5k, but I’m still looking at the numbers). We’ll also have to clear a few things from our plate to make room for it. But if we can do it, it will be something very, very special in ttrpgs—and something only The Gauntlet could pull off. My dream is that Degoya County can be the sort of thing that penetrates into the mainstream. That’s a real moonshot kind of thing, but if we can manage it, it will be great for The Gauntlet, but also great for indie ttrpgs.
Anyway, this is the early idea. There are still a lot of logistical decisions to make as we approach a possible production schedule, but I’m curious to hear what people think.