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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New Project and Artist Spotlight – Nastya Lehn

One of the exciting things that grew out of my adventure writing effort with Jeff Stevens and Karl Resch is a second DM’s Guild project. We chose to locate our adventure in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. This setting is a sprawling world created by Ed Greenwood and which now serves as the basis for most of the Wizards of the Coast’s published D&D adventures. I chose a location that was well documented in on of the previous D&D editions. Unfortunately I grew frustrated trying to find any 5th Edition updates for this area. So what does a writer do when he doesn’t find what he’s looking for? He makes it up!

I decided to write my own update for this region. As I jotted down my ideas, I realized they would make for a great new DM’s Guild publication. I reached out to a number of DM’s Guild authors and was incredibly surprised that nearly everyone was interested in helping out. I now have a team extremely talented writers working with me to flesh out this new production. Expect to hear more about the team and our effort in the coming months.

What I wanted to share in this post is the artist who I commissioned for the cover art for this new project. Nastya Lehn is a talented digital artist whose art already graces the cover of a number of DM’s Guild products. I highly recommend you check out her ArtStation site to see samples of her work.

Below is a tightly cropped image of the cover art she created for this new project . She did a great job capturing the ideas I wanted to portray on the cover and I can’t wait to showcase the full image when we get closer to publication!

nastya lehn - sneak peek

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Artist Spotlight – Fez Inkwright

I’m at that challenging point in adventure writing where I’ve laid out the story elements I want to include, and I’ve got the structure of my document pretty well defined, but now I need to actually string coherent sentences together to bring it to life. This is the part of writing I always find challenging, the point right before I dive in and do the heavy lifting to get real words onto the page.

So what does one do when face with this terrible situation? Why procrastinate of course!

What better way to procrastinate than to start showcasing some of the great artists I will be using in an upcoming work I’ve got underway with the talented Jeff Stevens and Karl Resch (see my previous post HERE ). We won’t have this ready for publication until the end of this summer, but I’ve already acquired some wonderful art that we’ll include in our finished work.

This week I’d like to showcase some work I commissioned from Fez Inkwright .

Fez does wonderful b/w line work and is particularly good at incorporating natural elements into her designs. For our production, I wanted some images to add as watermarks or to include in a page border. Here’s what she came up with. I think she did an incredible job of capturing the ideas I’d sent her way.

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