Interview with Erik Bernhardt

Erik Bernhardt is part of the team behind Crone, a role-playing game where you play as witches.

To start off, tell us about yourself and your history in gaming.

My name’s Erik, I’m the Product Manager for Crone, and I’ve been making my own games ever since I was 12 years old and couldn’t afford the upgrade to 3.5e’s manuals. Working with me are my friends Marek and Michelle. We’ve been designing games together for about two years now, though Crone is our first major release. Our artists are Jamie Kinosian and Meghan Penton, and our Graphic Designer is Byron Swain.

Describe Crone for us in the form of an elevator pitch.

Crone is a roleplaying game about witches. You and your friends work together to cast powerful spells, go on adventures, and turn the occasional hapless peasant into a frog or maybe some sort of fowl.

What works of fiction helped inspire Crone?

Everything from The Little Mermaid to Strega Nona. I think we were all told stories about witches as kids. Sometimes they’re the villains, sometimes they’re more helpful and friendly, but they’re always powerful and always interesting. I think there’s a lot of inspiration from classic fairy-tales in Crone, but we do put a modern spin on a few things.

I’ll give you an example. “The Magister” class is based on old, story-book and Disney-style witches. The kind of witch that would turn a prince into a beast for not letting her into his castle. Her visual design is reminiscent of Malificent, with a lot of high collars and flowing gowns. She very much plays into the role of the witch in relation to justice. In a lot of fairy-tales, the witch tends to mete out some form of judgment, whether it be rewarding Cinderella with a gown and turning a pumpkin into a coach, or whether it’s dishing out a suitably ironic and malevolent curse to someone who has transgressed. That’s the kind of witch the Magister is.

Crone is described as a card-based RPG. Does this involve a standard poker deck or a special set of cards similar to the Torg Drama Deck? How would it be employed in gameplay?

Crone uses a set of cards similar to what you might find in a game like Sentinels of the Multiverse or Magic: The Gathering. Cards are used exclusively during combat, transforming Crone from somewhat of a free-form roleplaying game into a fast, fun, and tactical card game. Players use the cards to cast spells, launch attacks, or manipulate their environment. One thing we’re especially proud of is that all the game’s rules can fit on these cards, and they all use the same standard 3d6 plus modifiers resolution as the rest of the game.

What aspects of Crone do you believe cause it to stand out from other settings on the RPG market?

I believe that Crone‘s themes and play-style will make it stand out. There’s a lot of great games out there, some of which you can use magic or play as a spellcaster, but none that I know of are really about witches. Even more specifically the kind of elderly, immensely powerful witches that Crone focuses on. In Crone, the player is given a tremendous amount of power right off the bat; you aren’t hunting down bandits or killing dire rats, you’re laying judgment down upon cities while slaying dragons and ogres! I suspect that Crone will feel a lot more “epic” than a lot of other games.

If Crone proves to be successful, are there any additional supplements you would like to publish for the setting?

Right now, we’re focusing on making Crone the best game it can possibly be. That being said, we do have a number of stretch goals on our Kickstarter where, if we reach them, a number of awesome writers and designers will help us add additional lore and adventure modules to Crone.