Sunday, July 23, 2023

Milestone achieved

Yesterday, a bit over two years after work-in-earnest began (though the original outline was actually done back in 2017), I finally finished writing up the last encounter area for my D&D adventure/campaign book (working title Brink of Calamity), officially completing the first draft. 

It ended up being even more massive that I had originally intended, with the current draft clocking in at about 133K words and 167 pages (including 20 pages of maps). The original plan was to cover levels 1-6 but a few of the tougher areas may actually go beyond that (playtesting will tell). Here's how the contents break down:

  • Roughly 8,000 square mile wilderness area with 30+ detailed locations
  • 1 detailed town & 2 detailed villages
  • 5 dungeons (including Melonath Falls and the Perlammo Salt Mines) with 16 combined levels (+ several mini-dungeon lairs)
  • 3 dragons
  • 7 new monsters
  • 4 new magic items
  • Over 130 named & detailed NPCs
  • Extensive rumor and random encounter tables
  • Dozens of potential plots and character interactions
  • Enough material to fill at least 20 sessions of play

Playtesting is still ongoing (including a couple public sessions in August if anyone reading this is in the L.A. area and interested/available), as is editing/revision/layout work, so it will be still be a while before it's actually available for sale, but for as long as this thing has been gestating and as many fits and starts as I've had writing it just having a complete draft already feels like an accomplishment, so I wanted to take this opportunity to crow about it a bit.

And, while we're here, here are a couple other small things I created recently while procrastinating over finishing up the book draft:

1) An AD&D character sheet incorporating all of my additions and house rules from The Heroic Legendarium and Foster's Miscellany. I will always love TSR's old goldenrod AD&D character sheets, but it was becoming an increasingly large hassle, especially with new (or new to 1E) players, having to tell them to ignore this and add that and to put in X where it says Y. This sheet is purely functional and doesn't have the fun graphical elements and flourishes that I love in the goldenrod sheets, but (at least IMO) their increased ease of use makes up for that. For my own games I've printed them on light blue paper.

2) Even more randomly, a sheet of Character Background Detail Tables for Twilight:2000 1st edition characters. I never owned this game in its day and just recently acquired it (and being a dyed-in-the-wool grognard I of course chose to pick up the vintage 1984 edition rather than the current one published by Free League) and mostly loved it but also found it odd and frustrating that the characters' non-military background and lives and personalities were essentially completely undefined, so I decided to fill that stuff in myself with some Mekton/Cyberpunk-style lifepath tables. I suspect later editions (which I haven't seen) also cover this stuff, rendering this exercise kind of pointless and redundant, but I had fun coming up with it so I've got no regrets.  


  1. So essentially an entire damn campaign setting centered on Boss Bowlton’s Warnell? I could not be more stoked!

  2. That's exciting—and thanks for the character sheet! Very useful.

    Are you still doing your stuff in Google Docs? I got my hardcover of THL recently and I love it, BUT it could reeally use a gutter margin, which I don't think Docs can handle. Love your work though, keep it coming, and good luck with the play testing!

    1. Yep, still using Google Docs which does not support gutter margins, which is very frustrating to me. I'd love to be able to do this stuff using an actual layout program, but learning that would be a whole new skill-set. Having to do 100% of this stuff on my own isn't easy.

  3. Kudos! I'll definitely check out "Brink of Calamity" once it's available.