Catching up with the creator behind Tales from the Firelit Gathering
Updated: Feb 13
Tales from the Firelit Gathering is a new hardcover expansion for the 5th-edition Dungeons and Dragons. It’s Gelatinous Cubicles’ most ambitious project to date and it launched on the 7th of February.
We talked to the creator behind this fantastic project, who has been an avid gamer his entire life. From family game nights to trading cards in the early aughts.
“I was basically brought up on Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Magic: the Gathering. Especially the latter was a bridge into Dungeons & Dragons and my everlasting fascination with TTPRG (for the uninitiated:Tabletop Role-Playing Games). There’s something magical about the collaborative storytelling that takes place at a TTRPG table, and being able to facilitate and inspire that is a pleasure.”
How did you get into publishing games?
“Gelatinous Cubicles is a team of three that has been going strong for a few years now, so although this is our largest project yet, it is by no means our first. We’ve got several small-scale, very concentrated expansions focusing on concepts from magical familiars to zodiac star signs. We even had a previous kickstarter, a sleek softcover called ‘Curious Cryptids’, that adapted cryptozoological classics to Dungeons & Dragons.”
What makes this project stand out from its competitors?
“Tales from the Firelit Gathering patches some much-needed blind spots of the 5th edition. The book will be chock full of player options that allow you to play characters that you may have never before considered, or help you realize character ideas that the 5th just didn’t accommodate before.
There’s some quality-of-life improvements throughout the book, obvious things that are nonetheless very important, such as revamped resting rules, as well as heavily expanded options for martial characters, that is your fighters and rangers and such. There’s also plenty of off-the-wall stuff, like a new skeletal player race, a literal coat of arms, as in a coat that grants the player additional arms, and plenty of other surprises.
We’re generally just expanding the horizons of the 5th edition, and part of that is challenging long-standing stereotypes of who an adventurer can be. While the 5th community is by all means a pretty inclusive space, it seems to us that the game material just isn’t quite keeping up. So we’ve made it a point to include art that shows all kinds of different people, including lesser-represented queer and disabled adventurers.”
“Our hope is that the book helps players build characters that feel uniquely theirs.”
“I mentioned expanded martial options, and I’m happy to say we’ve got arms from all over the world to help build on 5th’s western-oriented weapons. We’re even including a huge character-building section, both for players and NPCs, that really lets you get into the details of your characters — from scars to fears to gender identity and everything in between. The whole concept of the book is built around the “Firelit Gathering”, a traveling event run by an eccentric orc host, Kazaan. His gatherings feature tales from people all across the world, and they attract a similarly disparate audience. Our hope is that the book helps players build characters that feel uniquely ‘theirs’.”
Who would particularly enjoy this book?
“This book is designed for 5th players with an adventurous spirit, who want to rekindle the magic of the 5th edition. We want to really provide something of value to 5th-edition players that helps push the game forward and create unique, positive experiences for tables everywhere. After all, at the end of the day, isn’t that what TTRPGs are all about; experiencing new and exciting things with your friends?”
Why are you launching now?
“Gelatinous Cubicles has been around for some time now, and we felt we were ready to take things to the next level. Having released material for several years now, our favorite responses to our work were always people excited to try something new. People would say stuff like ‘wow, I always wanted to play a character like this, and now I can!’ and that just puts a huge smile on our face. So, having now done the preparation necessary to take on a premium hardcover project like this, we knew we wanted to focus on that feeling. Months of planning and design later, we’re really excited to finally have the chance to bring dreams to life once more!”
Can you tell us a bit more about the connection with the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons?
“It’s an expansion for the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, so it exists within that ruleset. What sets it apart are the new ways we’re allowing folks to play. For example, we’ve found a really clever solution to the ‘magical barbarian’ in the Primal Sentry subclass, which allows barbarians, who normally can’t use magic, to adapt and cast spells in a uniquely barbarian way. Speaking of spells, we’ve got all kinds of them on the way that focus on underserved schools and ideas within 5th, from massive, town-affecting enchantment spells to new spells for underserved damage types like acid and cold. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! (pun intended)”
What did you specifically enjoy while doing this project?
“It’s certainly been inspiring to work with as many artists as we have, and some of their pieces have really floored me! There’s such a massive number of talented folks out there, and I feel lucky to work with even a handful of them. We finally had the budget to work with some awesome artists, and they really helped bring our off-the-wall ideas to life. Among my favorite pieces are the brawler orc by Maria Monticelli, which really ties together this old-school, working class mechanic vibe alongside some pretty powerful butch energy, and the shield of shouting by Beto Lima, which turned out about as hilarious as the name sounds.”
And what was the most challenging part?
“As fun as it can be, nothing about being an independent creator is easy. We’ve worked long, thankless months on end to get this project ready, but we’ve pulled through because of our sheer passion for the book and for working with one another. In many ways, this book is a manifestation of our friendship, as corny as that might sound. Aside from that? It’s never easy getting the word out about a project, but we’ve been working with some very talented folks who are helping to shout out our voice. Wink wink”.
Want to find out more? Go to gelcubicle.com, or visit @gelcubicle on Instagram and Twitter. Or say hi on Discord and of course back their Kickstarter for more updates.