New Map for A Fey’s Lair

Here’s a sneak peek at a tactical map that will be included with my next production.

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Play Test Musings

Last evening I had the pleasure of running a play test for a new Dungeons and Dragon’s adventure that I hope to publish later this summer. I had one scheduled player drop out at the last minute but I was lucky enough to coerce a pair of friends to join in and keep the group at a reasonable size.

Whenever I DM a game , I find it usually takes me a few minutes to become immersed in the story and feel connected with my players. For this play test I had to spend some time summarizing the backstory from previous adventures that have led to the events of this session.

As I did this,  I was surprised to notice a welling of self-doubt that I don’t often deal with when playing my favorite game. I had to consciously beat down this flare up of “impostor syndrome”. I find that I am often reluctant to sharing things that I’ve created with the people who are close to me, so perhaps having friends participate made me more self conscious than usual. Whatever the cause, my players helped me moved me past this insecurity.

This session reminded me of how much fun DM’ing is when you’ve got good players at the table. They were all engaged and worked together as a team, trying to let each other’s characters shine throughout the night.

Overall the play test was a success. The game’s run-time was pretty close to what I’d hoped and my players seemed engaged throughout the duration. The group confirmed many of the design ideas I’d incorporated, while also inspiring me with ideas on how to enhance them encounters. What I found exceedingly valuable was that the players revealed interactions I hadn’t considered during my initial design. My finished piece will be that much better because I’m able to include a few components that may address some of these previously unforeseen interactions.

I can’t wait to get back to work and finish the new publication. I hope others will enjoy the finished product as much as I’ve enjoyed crafting it!


Attached Art: A little self-reflection in this post made me think of this classic image from The Ghost Tower of Inverness by the late great Jim Roslof.

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Kind words are nice to hear

I was thrilled to receive some feedback today from an internet friend who’d picked up my two published side-trek encounters from the DM’s Guild. Here’s what they wrote:

I read through A Fey’s Anger and just got A Fey’s Evil. I really like both adventures- twists, seldom-used foes, and interesting encounters that give the players (and DM) a lot of options. I will incorporate A Fey’s Anger into a group I’m forming with some people at work. 

Congrats- and I’m looking forward to A Fey’s Lair!

Being a newbie to this writing game, I can’t think of a better thing than to hear someone’s enjoyed what you’ve put work into. And given it’s a gaming product, to hear they intend to use it for their own game is just fantastic.

It’s inspiring to think that somewhere in that vast ocean of online readers, a couple folks might actually like what your doing.

What a great way to end the day.

David Trampier’s classic image seemed to be a perfect fit for this post.

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DMs Guild Sale?!?!

Wow. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the two modest publications I currently have available for sale on the DMsGuild are included with their Chrismas in July promotion. It appears the site effectively cuts their cut of sales for a couple of weeks, and has done so for almost 1/2 of all the DMsGuild products currently there. I’m rather interested to see what effect this may have on sales.

If you were considering picking up one of my productions and have’t yet had a chance, now might be the perfect time to do so a the reduced price. I believe the sale will end at the end of July.

** correction: it appears I had sold a few units right before the sale started at full price, and had mistakenly thought those purchases occurred during the promotion. I see i was mistaken and the effective price of the product was reduced by 25% but the commission structure remained untouched.

treasure

a great image from the inside title page of 1e’s Unearthed Arcana 

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The Wassail Wand

Here’s a new magic item that I included with A Fey’s Evil, my second published side-trek encounter now available on the DM’s Guild.

The Wassail Wand

Wand, Common (requires attunement by a spellcaster)

Fashioned from an apple branch, this short wand is believed to have been fashioned by one Hobb Nosthinger, an eccentric halfling sorcerer with a strong love of hot mulled cider. It is said he loved the drink so much that he invested a great deal of time and effort to craft a wand that would allow him to enjoy the beverage at any time.

This wand has 7 charges. While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 of its charges to permanently turn any single pint of water-based liquid touched by the wand into an equal amount of steaming mulled cider. This transformation will not remove any magical, disease or poisonous effects that may already affect the liquid.

The wand regains 1d6+1 expended charges daily at dawn. If you expend the wand’s last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the wand disintegrates into ash, leaving behind a strong rotten apple smell.

 

 

(art “The Alchemist” by the great Erol Otus from the D&D Expert Rulebook by Cook and Marsh.)

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A Fey’s Anger Sales Report

This past March I published my first dungeons and dragons adventure, A Fey’s Anger, cover - final -thumbnailon the DM’s guild. It is a single encounter, but one that is wrapped in a larger backstory as it’s the first of a three-part series. My original intent was to craft a larger, multi-encounter module, but the realities of work and family life limited time I had available to invest in my hobby. I’m happy that I changed my approach and focused on smaller encounters because the reduced scope allowed me to finish a creation rather than continuously fret over a larger unfinished work.

Since completing my modest publication, I’ve been intrigued by articles that Teos Abadia has written on his own experience selling his creations on the DM’s Guild. His first post on the subject can be found here. This article inspired me to keep careful watch on how my own efforts would fare. But before I examine my sales numbers, there’s a few distinctions that I should make between the experience Teos presents and my own.

Teos is relatively well known in D&D circles, and for good reason. He’s been an active member of the gaming community for many years, overseeing organized play for Living Greyhawk, Living Forgotten Realms, and Ashes of Athas. He’s worked with Kobold Press, Baldman Games, and of course Wizards of the Coast. With this respectable body of work behind him, his words carry significant weight. Something Teos produces rightfully garners the attention of the d&d community at large.

I, in comparison, am a newcomer. Although I’ve played the game for years, it’s been among a small group of friends, not with a larger gaming community or at any grand convention events. On social media, I’m currently a tiny voice in a sea of content. There’s no way I can expect my initial offerings to be as successful as those that Teos has written about. But I’m more than okay with that. I see this as a beginning, and Teos as a great example of what can be accomplished if you’re a nice guy who works hard. His success is something I aspire to achieve.

With that said, what’s my own experience so far?

As I’m just starting out, I’ve purposely limited my expenditures with this effort. The art was free as I  used either from public domain sources or pieces made available through the DM’s Guild site. I also leveraged a small gaggle of friends and family to edit my product, yielding a net outlay of $0.  Certainly I invested a lot of time, but no cash out lay thus far.

In terms of promotion, its been limited. I’ve mentioned my offering in two gaming groups I belong to. I’ve also made a few posts on twitter, and have been thankful for the retweets by my online connections to a wider audience.

My first publication went live on March 23, 2018.  In the thirteen or so weeks since then, I’ve had 24 sales. With my $1 price and a 50% commission rate nets me a modest $12 in total commissions from the product. This is certainly not a get-rich-quick scheme, but I never expected it would be. This has certainly been a labour of love.

Recently I reached out to Merric Blackman, a prodigious reviewer of D&D adventures to see if he might review my product. If you haven’t come across his blog, you really should take a look. To my astonishment, Merric very quickly answered yes, and posted his review in a remarkably short span of time. His review can be found here. I am eager to see if his review will have an effect on my product sales.

So after three months, I can honestly say I’m quite pleased with my results to date. Though my sales are modest in comparison to those presented in Teos’ article, I’ve still managed to squeeze out a number of sales in a crowded set of offerings on the DMs Guild.

I’m also extremely grateful to what I’ve found to be a very welcoming and helpful D&D community. I’m continually impressed by the warmth, support and encouragement  I’ve received so far, and I look forward to seeing where my future endeavors may lead.

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Part Two – A Fey’s Evil – Published

 

Woo hoo! I’ve managed to stick to my schedule and get part-two of my side-trek encounter series finished and uploaded to the DMs Guild.

The encounter is called A Fey’s Evil. It picks up shortly after the encounter presented in A Fey’s Anger, which I finished back in March. If all goes well I hope to have the final part of this series ready by the end of the summer.

The biggest challenge for me on getting this one competed was setting aside time. My wife and I are lucky enough to have a pair of great kids who keep us busy shuttling them to various activities. On top of that I have a full-time job that can be stressful. The event’s of the day often don’t “turn-off” when I finally get home. It can be difficult getting myself into a mind-space where I have a chance to focus on the next piece of my creation.

What I believe has helped me push through these every-day pressures is following through on a commitment to do a little each day, something as adding a single sentence to the growing document may not seem like much, but after a few weeks this effort can quickly add up. Given that both of my finished products are relatively small (approximately 7800 and 9700 words each), it’s fairly easy to keep the end-line in sight.

My next challenge is to bang out out part three of my series, to be titled – “A Fey’s Lair”.  This time however, I will be creating something from scratch as opposed to writing and fine-tuning rough-notes of work I’d previously used in a game. I expect this to take a lot more effort, but I think I’m up for the task.

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