An Interview with Ashe Armstrong

Much love to the Fantasy Inn folks for letting me yammer on.

The Fantasy Inn

Today, we have with us Ashe Armstrong, author of Grimluk, Demon Hunter series.


Hello Ashe, welcome to the Inn! First of all, how are you and how have you been?

Doin’ alright. Think I’m finally getting over the last of this lingering cold.

Let’s kick off with a bang. You write books about a big ol’ demon-hunting orc. For those you might not be familiar with those, can you tell us a little bit about Grimluk and how he came to be?

Grimluk was originally going to be a swashbuckling orc with a claymore. An idea I still may use but I was discussing the idea with a friend one night and I just went, “Hey, so, what if I make him a gunslinger?” My friend’s response was “Fuck yes!” and then ideas just started pouring out.

It’s been around three and a half years since your debut novel, A…

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New Patreon Content

Hey y’all. I just wanted to post a little update talking about some of the new stuff up on my Patreon. For the past little while, I’ve been working on the much-maligned Ranger class for D&D fifth edition. I recently posted the first pass for a chunk of the subclasses, with two more to come individually. I also tried my hand at giving the Storm Herald subclass for the Barbarian an overhaul, along with a few other Fighter subclasses. I will also be starting an adventure module this year that I’ve had bouncing around my head for a while. It’ll be big on story and very orc-centric. Because I have a brand.

For fans of Grimluk, though, I’ve posted a few snippets from what I’ve been writing on Grimluk 4 (and the first draft is now over the 10,000 word mark), along with a worldbuilding post on time, and a new post today that will start a series of worldbuilding posts on the races of Arkod, beginning with elves!

On top of all that, I’ll be trying to get some new cooking posts going and I’m hoping to start a new trend revolving around Fantasy foods, along with any diabetic friendly foods I find. I’m going to try and begin doing fantasy foods by doing a potentially easy recipe from The Demons Within: goat jerky. I’m pretty sure I can get goat meat from a local butcher, so it should be doable.

And a reminder, I do take requests for content. I recently added a new request tier for $5 where I make a magic item for your game. I still have the idea request tier, too, where you can request a story or a topic for me to talk about for $25. You get access to all content for just $1, though, and my gratitude.

So come check it all out and feel free to leave comments and questions!

2018 r/Fantasy Stabby Award Nominations!

Hey all! With it being Christmas weekend, I figured I’d take a moment to remind everyone of the group Holiday Sale going on right now and also inform the reddit savvy of you that r/Fantasy’s 2018 Stabby Nominations thread is live! You can nominate for The Demons Within for Best Self-Published/Indie Novel of 2018 and/or nominate the cover, from the ever talented Bob Kehl, for Best Artwork of 2018! Voting will begin on December 29th and then maybe we can get me a damn KNIFE AWARD!

Holiday Sale

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Hey, y’all! I’m pleased to announce that I’m teaming up with some fine folks to run a sale for the month of December. From now until December 31st, A Demon in the Desert is 99 cents and Demon Haunted is half-off! For those new to my writing, the Grimluk, Demon Hunter series is about the titular orc and his adventures in a fantasy western land. A reader once described Grimluk as “the lovechild of Clint Eastwood and Hellboy”.

Next up is Brandon Draga with The Summerlark Elf, the first in his Four Kingdoms series. The book “introduces readers to compelling characters in an engaging world of swords and sorcery, personal turmoil and political intrigue!”

Erica Linquidst (who co-authors with her husband) has a slew of books on sale for you. Her sci-fi post-apocalypse book, Whisperworld, is 99 cents, along with volume 1 of her Lily Quinn erotica series, starring the titular Lily, a half-succubus monster hunter. And make no mistake, this series is graphically sexual. Last, My Guide to RPG Storytelling, a friendly guide to becoming a Dungeon Master!

And finally, we have Edward M. Erdelac with book one of his fantastic Merkabah Rider series, High Planes Drifter, about a Hasidic Jewish gunslinger on a mission of vengeance, and his short story anthology of weird fiction and horror, Angler in Darkness.

Between the four of us, you should be able to find something that makes your December just a little bit better. Happy reading, y’all!

Orctober – Grimluk in D&D 5e Updated, Homebrew

There’s a few major differences to Grimluk’s homebrew sheet this year. Last year, I held pretty closely to the RAW sheet, but included my homebrew Monster Hunter subclass for the Fighter, my homebrew overhaul for Orcs and Half-Orcs, and a Crossbow Expert style feat called Gunslinger. This year, we’re gonna make a couple of changes to each of these and then add a few things.

The updated sheet.

To start with, the aforementioned homebrew elements remain, with a few updates. My orcs overhaul was recently updated, removing Aggressive as a racial trait for orcs altogether and making Powerful Build standard. Half-orcs were updated as well, though that was mostly after realizing how hard I overthought the “orcish ancestry” trait. Instead, half-orcs once again just have Relentless Endurance. I also expanded the alternate half-orc features but that still needs a proper rebuild along the lines of half-elf ancestry and tiefling ancestry.

The Monster Hunter class is being updated as well. Firstly, I’m renaming one feature, The Hunter, to Hunter’s Strike and tweaking the rule for it. It was originally based on the Colossus Slayer feature from the Hunter Ranger but I decided to do away with the “below hit point maximum” ruling. Secondly, I’ve updated the Veteran of the Hunt feature. The more I’ve toyed with class design since last year, the more I realized that giving the Monster Hunter both a free d8 of damage once a turn AND a free d8 to an attack roll once a turn was too much. So now, once a turn, you can add that d8 to either an attack roll or use it for extra damage.

Finally, the Gunslinger feat is getting a small update as well. The original reads:

GUNSLINGER
Thanks to extensive practice with handguns, you gain the following benefits:

  • You can ignore the reload property of handguns you’re proficient with.
  • Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.
  • If unsurprised at the start of combat, you can perform a quick draw, giving you advantage on your first attack roll.

That last bullet didn’t quite sit well with me. I figured, given it’s a feat, I do something a little better. The update reads:

GUNSLINGER (Updated)
Thanks to extensive practice with handguns, you gain the following benefits:

  • You can ignore the reload property of handguns you’re proficient with.
  • Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.
  • At the start of combat, if you haven’t drawn your handgun, you may perform a quick draw on your turn, allowing you to make two attack rolls.

Advantage on your first attack roll is good but the whole point of a quick draw is that you’re drawing quickly. So a double attack at the beginning of combat seemed pretty fair and thematically solid. Crossbow Expert gives you a bonus action attack with your crossbow so it’s more in line with that now.

With those elements out of the way, we come to the last major updates. First, Grimluk is now Monster Hunter 9/Hunter 3. Why did I remove the level of Barbarian? Well, that brings me to the second, and biggest, update: I just flat fucking gave Grimluk physical damage resistances. Because he’s the Protagonist. I also gave him Prestidigitation for the campfire spell. It made sense. Like I said, this homebrew was gonna be bigger.

So that’s the new and improved Homebrew Grimluk for your viewing pleasure. Now, Orctober is nearly at its end.