Monday, March 8, 2021

What I am Working on Right Now

This month I'm trying to do lighter weight work for my blog so I can focus more on writing Adventure modules and other content. Since the second lockdown, life got really busy at home and I haven't been able to put out a new module since The Bloody Engines of the Dinosaur Men back in October. 

So in the name of making myself more accountable, I wanted to tell you all what I was working on at the moment, so people can ask me how it's going or give me feedback on my ideas. The rest of the month will be dedicated to discussing the learning curve on turning your ideas into modules, and why you might choose to do it.

II have a nearly complete Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG module. I originally wrote it as a follow-up to Sailors on the Starless Sea in my own home campaign. I have play-tested it more heavily than anything else I have ever written. Right now, all it lacks is art. I need to rewrite the intro so as to make it usable even if you have not played Sailors. I call it Vikings on a Starry Sea

I have another Dungeon Crawl Classics module called Grimki's Jewel, about a magical Diamond created by a legendary dwarf artificer to win the favour of Gulveig, the Norse goddess of greed and status obsession. (Yes, she is a real mythological figure.) That one is about 80% written oh, and also needs a lot of Art.

Art particularly stymies me right now. I'm not a bad artist, but I am not happy with a lot of what I create. I'm also doing all of this with zero budget, and so there is no way I can afford to get someone else as an artist. It has left me in a state of perfectionist procrastination about those two modules.

Japanese Castle from 2-Minute Tabletop

Back in the Spring, I created a series of articles (pts. 1, 2, 3, 4) walking through how I used my emoji based plotting tools to write Adventures for role-playing games. It focussed on creating a Kabuki theatre inspired ghost story with a twist of Rodger Zelazny called The House of Amber Lanterns. That is about 70% done being written and formatted. That one, I am using mostly 17th, 18th, and 19th century Japanese art. I'm getting to the point where all I really need for that one are maps. However, the map I borrowed from 2-minute tabletop for the blog is not licensable for use with the module. I need to create my own map that is not an imitation, and may need to rearrange some of the encounters to fit.

II have a nearly complete Dungeon Crawl Classics Christmas module - a level 0 Funnel, no less, called Red Tidings at Yule. I was unable to test it in time to polish it for the holiday season. I intended to run it a few times in the fall and hopefully have it up in November. I call it red Tidings at you'll, and it focuses on the Kelly cancer Roy Christmas goblins and they figure of belsnickle from central European Christmas Laura.

I intend to take all of my notes on the city of Baddenach and turn it into a miniature gazetteer for people who need a place to serve as a hom ebase in evil and monstrous campaigns. That campaign is currently in process, and so the setting is still evolving.

The thing that would be easiest to get out in the next month is a single room level 0 funnel concept I came up with that could also be used as a tutorial for the basics of old school play. I call it Brawl in the lazy Cockatrice. That one I'm building on a generic OSR frame using my old Rules Cyclopedia.

Prototype Cover for The Lost
Amphora of the Wine Lord

And then there is my baby: the piece that is taking me forever. I started writing The Lost Amphora of the Wine Lord in July. It is a nearly complete campaign, including 8 dungeons, a city setting, a hex crawl, and several unique mechanics inspired by the corrosion tables from the Ultraviolet Grasslands and Black City by Luka Rejec and the chaos index from What Ho, Frog Demons! by Chris Kutalik. Right now, I'm about halfway through writing the encounters for that module. In the end, it will probably be about a  120-page look reminiscent of something like Hot Springs Island or the Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence. This is also being done in a generic OSR structure, although I blundered into using stat blocks almost identical to the ones used in Old School Essentials.

All of this is being done as an Army of One. I'm producing my own art, doing my own editing, as well as my own format and layout. And so, it can be quite time-consuming. At this point, I have to sit down and tackle each project one at a time, focussing on low-hanging fruit as best I can.

II have back burnered a couple of projects as well. Including an entire adventure series originally designed for Lamentations of The Flame Princess about the fallout of drama among a group of necromancers. I have a series of pamphlet ideas for tent pole adventures , and I have the skeleton of a Dungeon Crawl Classics module heavily drawing on Abraham Merritt's Creep Shadow! 

On top of that, I am also in negotiation for writing some material for an existing game system where the publisher will handle the art, layout, and marketing. Which, sounds like heaven to me.


  1. Have you read/played Stephen Newton’s Creep, Skrag, Creep adventure? It’s partially based on Merritt. I got to play it with Stephen and had a blast!

    1. It is one of the only DCC modules I don't own, sadly.

      With that title, I expect the Merritt influence to be pretty pronounced!