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CUTTING SILVER PASS: Interview with author Scott Janke

cover1. Why should I read Cutting Silver Pass? 

Cutting Silver Pass offers a little something for everyone – monsters, puzzles, exploration, history, negotiations & a fast-track river run.


2. What makes Cutting Silver Pass unique?

It has an old western boomtown feel instead of medieval Europe basis. It features a sandbox approach allowing players to explore at their own pace & interests.


3. What neat stuff is in Cutting Silver Pass?

Haha! What’s not? The engineering projects? A silver dragon? Lost wizard’s underground tower?


boomtown4. Which part of Cutting Silver Pass was the most fun to design?

Keeping the sandbox aspect proved challenging as well as adding 1800’s mining town to fantasy. I loved watching Chorboden’s backstory develop from a plot point into a full on character with ambitions, allies & enemies.


5. Is there a specific part of Cutting Silver Pass that you identify as your favorite? 

Well I got to add earthbending to a dwarf. The Hobbit is the book that turned me onto reading & fantasy. I hope the homage(s) gives due credit to that story. I was also able to work in a dragon without (spoiler alert!) making it the BBEG. I keep reptiles (turtles & two prehensile tailed skinks). The idea of having to kill every one you come across saddens me, but from a gaming point of view they are just some awesome foes. 🙂


6. What kind of gameplay was the focus for Cutting Silver Pass?

Exploration & Sandbox. The greatest times my gaming groups have had were taking over that borderland keep, or turning the abandoned crypt into a home base, or building defenses to protect that coastal town from a pirate attack. I even remember building a canal across part of Greyhawk back in AD&D days.


7. Did you have any inspiration for Cutting Silver Pass?

Several. The mines of Moria did not get explored enough for me & Gimli never got Legolas to the caverns under Helms Deep. I wanted to explore both those places. Stephen S. Greer & Gary Holian’s  Tides of Dread (Dungeon Magazine #143; February 2007) showed how a series of encounters did not have to be geographical or even chronological.  


8. If any theme Cutting Silver Pass, what would it be?creature

Earth magic mining, what every adventurer hopes to retire to. 


9. Are there any particularly interesting monsters or NPCs in Cutting Silver Pass? 

Absolutely. Scrilmeiias, a noble personage looking for a cause & Red Bear was fun to build. Chorboden grew from the plot of magic transport to an earth mage, engineer, explorer with real plan to change the world & a hero to the people of Imarlap. 


10. What part of Cutting Silver Pass did your playtesters enjoy most?

All the folks who helped me found <redacted> to be particularly fun. The sandbox nature of the adventure appealed to everyone as well.  


11. Is there a specific scenario in Cutting Silver Pass that is going to stick with me?

Roleplayers will like negotiating with the neighbors. The river run has traditional dungeon crawl combined with a high speed chase aspect. Puzzlers will enjoy deciphering Chorboden’s plans. Hopefully the underground river & other locations will stick with the storytellers & directors alike.  


orc12. In one sentence, what can I expect from Cutting Silver Pass? 

A face paced roller coaster ride from an isolated mountain town through the heart of the mines with dragons, were-bears, & giants along the way!


Scott currently owns & runs the local used bookstore and is probably one of the few English majors working in his field. His interests include strolling with the pups, bagpipes, mountains, movies, books, painting minis, and ‘herping.’ His love of dragons led him to keep reptiles and he knew he found the right woman when she agreed dragons looked better than a plastic bride and groom on their wedding cake.