Sample Monster – Mur-Zhagul

The layout and production work on my campaign guide to the Great Dale region of the Forgotten Realms is nearly finished. Just some final read throughs and typo fixes planned for this weekend and then I hope to pass the files along to get proof prints done.

Here’s another sample page from the bestiary section of the book. It’s the nasty demon trolls, the Mur-Zhagul. These vile creatures are infused with demonic blood and infest the dangerous fiend-infested regions that taint portions of the Great Dale.

The illustration is stock-art created by Dave Allsop and purchased from DrivethruRPG. I think its a perfect fit for these demon-trolls.

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Draft Layout and Sample Page from the Great Dale

For those who’ve followed my infrequent posting this summer, you should be aware I’ve been focused on finishing a campaign guide to the Great Dale region of the Forgotten Realms. This is by far the largest writing effort I’ve undertaken and I’ve been incredibly lucky to receive help from a number of other talented folks to finish this book. I’m thrilled to say this week Travis Legge, my talented layout artist, finished a first draft with the entire book pulled together.

Wow! I’m so happy to be able to see everything pulled together. Text. Maps. Art. I think it nicely fits together. I believe it’s rare for a creative undertaking to end up looking exactly like your initial inspiration, but I’m pretty happy with what we’ve ended up with.

Unfortunately, we’ve hit a minor bump in our timeline because Travis just got hit by a Tsunami of work that must take priority to the stuff he’s been helping me with. What that means is the last adjustments and tweaks to our layout will probably take a bit longer than I’d hoped. Still, the finish line is in sight and I’m looking forward to when I’ll be able to announce it’s availability on the DM’s Guild.

As a teaser, take a look at a page describing cultists of Eltab, a demon lord who has left a mark on the Great Dale. Eltab is fully described in the book and can make for an epic villain for players to face at the end of a long campaign in the Great Dale.

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Finishing the Forgotten Realms campaign guide to the Great Dale

I’ve posted very little this summer as I’ve been consumed with finishing up my Forgotten Realms campaign guide to the Great Dale. I’m dove into the effort with little expectations and soon found myself coordinating the efforts of fourteen different writers and artists who’ve each contributed to this production.

Thankfully, I’ve benefited from the editing talents of Christopher Walz and I’m just about to hand off all the text and art to Travis Legge to work his layout magic. What a fantastic experience.  I don’t yet have a timelines for when this will be available on the DM’s Guild as I expect we’ll need a few rounds to get the layout right for our print version as the print and digital versions will be released at the same time.

We’ve ended up with the following 11 chapters:

  1. Peoples – including 1 new player character race
  2. Classes – 11 new class archetypes
  3. Backgrounds – 3 new character backgrounds
  4. Feats – 6 new feats
  5. Spells – 18 new spells
  6. Items of Interest – 13 new magic items
  7. The Lands – a full description of the Great Dale including Dunwood, The Dale and the Forest of Lethyr, as well as a summary of the neighboring regions. We’ve got a new map showcasing the Great Dale and one of the recovering town of Uthmere.
  8.  History – a brief history detailing events from the arrival of dark elves during the elvish Crown Wars to my interpretation of events up to the year 1490 DR.
  9. Factions – an outline of groups that have influence in the region
  10. Friends, Foes and Creatures of Interest – a bestiary detailing 15 NPCs, 13 new monsters including my interpretation of the Demon Lord Eltab
  11. Adventure Ideas – story ideas for DM’s to transform into adventures for campaigns in the lands of the Great Dale.

As a teaser, here’s a piece of art produced by the talented Petar Penev illustrating one of the archetypes, a Nar Demonbinder.



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Finished Cover Art… Title TBD

… why not share a couple of things today?

A few months back I started a writing an adventure with two other talented D&D writers (Karl Resch and Jeff Stevens) The work on that production continues, though we’re now getting close to play testing some of our work. I’m pleased to say the experience so far has been great. I believe we each feed off of each others strengths and I’m positive the result will be an exciting adventure that folks will enjoy playing.

Here’s a mock-up of the cover for our production. We still have to finalize the title for the adventure, but we’re so lucky to have fantastic cover art by Petar Penev.

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… and now for the heavy lifting

Back in April I started a collaborative effort to create an updated campaign guide for the Great Dale area of the Forgotten Realms. I’ve now received most of the submissions for the project, with only a few pieces that will trickle in over the next few weeks.

I’m now at the “what have I gotten myself into” stage of the effort. I now need to consolidate a great collection of work by a number of talented contributors into a finished document. I’m both excited and a frightened as its the first time that I’ll be working with  an editor (Christopher Walz) and a layout artist (Travis Legge) to help me create this production.

There’s still so much to do, but I’m now able to see to see the structure of this beast that I started beginning to take shape..

… and speaking of beasts, here’s a piece of a commission currently underway by the talented John Latta. It’s of a powerful demon lord who will most likely continue to influence the events in eastern Faerûn for some time. Care to guess who it is?

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New Cover Art – Petar Penev

Work continues on the collaborative adventure I’ve got underway with Karl Resch and Jeff Stevens. Completing the adventure is still a ways out with our current target publication date being at the end of the summer.

However, we just received the final draft of our cover art from the talented Petar Penev. I won’t spoil the full image yet, but here’s a tight crop showing a hero in a dangerous spot. Compare it with the first sketch I shared back in my early april post. I pretty happy with how the imaged turned out.



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Draft Cover – Great Dale Campaign Guide

I’m incredibly excited with the progress made on one of the collaborative efforts I have underway. We’re creating a D&D campaign guide, updating The Great Dale area of the Forgotten Realms for 5th Edition. Our current timeline has us publishing this later in the summer. In future posts I’ll share the remarkable collection of writers who are helping me with this effort, but for now, here’s the current mock-up of our cover – art by Nastya Lehn.

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