A Walk in the Dark A look in to the mind of an RPG designer



In the Works

I can't help it... I have more and more ideas popping in to my head, and part of me really wants to write them up in a module but there's another part of me that questions what edition to do it for. After all, some would argue that 4E is on its last breath, but 5E is still too far away to create anything concrete for it.

So, at least until I get around to writing some of these, here are the projects I have in the works:

DM2: The Fields of Bone and DM3: The Den of the Dark Mistress

These two modules are a continuation to my level 0 adventure DM1: Death's Edge, which was released as part of the May of the Dead blog carnival.

Part of the reason I haven't continued work on this, besides there not being enough hours in a day (man, if every day had 57 hours in it I'd be unbelievably productive!), is that the latter half of The Fields of Bone is virtually identical to the Reavers of the Harkenworld adventure that comes with the DM's Kit. I mean, the similarity was amazingly uncanny considering I hadn't even looked at Reavers until recently.

I've been considering doing a Kickstarter for this, but I've already expressed my concerns regarding that.

Unnamed Lair Assault style adventure

I got this idea from Twitter in a roundabout sort of way, and it was one of the ideas I had submitted to DDI last cycle only to be told "no".

Premise: The players are all kobolds. While they are away a group of level 1 adventures attacks their lair and kills everything inside, and the kobolds return before the party has left. They must reclaim their lair and get their revenge on the adventuring party that dared attack them!

Part of the design involves giving the kobolds the ability to "buy" traps, creatures, obstacles, etc... that they can place throughout their lair in order to thwart the intruding adventuring party. So basically the DM decides the path the adventures are going to take, the players then buy the traps using resource points (similar to Attack of the Tyrantclaw, I think), and the DM resolves whether those traps caused any damage to the adventuring party. Then the kobolds go in and try to kill the adventurers, which consist of the stereotypical five PCs (fighter, cleric, wizard, rogue, ranger), one animal companion, one familiar and at least two henchmen.

I thought it would be an interesting idea to have the participating players pretend that they themselves are Tucker's Kobolds, and it'll be an experiment to see whether the role reversal - players as monsters and the DM controlling PCs - will work without being too big a headache for the DM.

Module's about 70% written and still needs a map of the lair. I'm walking a thin line because kobold PCs are not exactly GSL compliant, but I think it will be OK.

Unnamed Epic Tier adventure

Preliminary synopsis:

Nobody knows where they came from; ten foot tall shards of reddish-blue crystal were appearing across the land, and these crystals defied all magical explanation, were impervious to all damage and could not be moved by even the most powerful forces. They remained motionless, seemingly inert, hovering a few inches above the ground, without any rhyme or reason...

...until the seventh day. Without any warning, the crystal and everything surrounding it vanished in the blink of an eye, leaving behind a massive crater over two miles wide and almost half a mile deep. All that remained was gaping hole in the earth; no destruction, no debris... Just emptiness.

In the past the crystals appeared in seemingly random locations - in the middle of a barren field, hovering above the ocean surface miles offshore, atop distant mountains and deep within swamps - so the locals had no reason to be concerned. But now one of these crystals has appeared in the town square of the most populated city on the continent, causing widespread panic and jeopardizing the residents, their homes and their way of life. Something must be done before time runs out and the city is consumed, leaving nothing more than a lifeless crater where it once stood.

I have never done an epic tier adventure. Actually, the only epic tier stuff I've done has been bits and pieces of my Items of Legend supplement. The reason: I am very bad with D&D lore. Epic tier usually involves interaction with gods and primordials, other planes of existence and a lot of things that require detailed knowledge of the world that is D&D. I'm just not comfortable with that as a designer and as a DM.

This adventure is meant to be for the early epic tier - around level 21-23, I'm guessing - which means I can get away with not dealing with a lot of the lore that comes with epic adventures. Yes, a majority of the adventure will take place in the Elemental Chaos, but it won't be bound to much lore there beyond the plane of existence itself.

I'm still debating whether to make this a straight up adventure or something that leans towards the Fourthcore style of play (which is something I've been wanting to do for some time). And, since I have the story in my head but haven't done any actual design work for it, it seems like a good candidate for "DnD Next". Still don't know... Need to think about it...

Untitled RPG or Campaign Setting

For quite some time I've had an idea to create a somewhat post-apocalyptic RPG, or at least an extensive campaign setting. This idea of mine has been somewhat motivated by the fact that I can't legally create Gamma World (*writes check!*) content, so rather than complain about not being able to use the system I thought I'd create my own system and do with it as I please. I haven't decided what engine to use - I've considered d20, AGE, FATE and others - or whether I'll roll my own system, so my plans are still quite up in the air.

The setting is not quite Gamma World (*writes check!*), but it's close. It's a post-apocalyptic world, and although there is a certain extra-terrestrial influence it is "down to Earth", if you will. I have ideas for space travel and other adventures along those lines, which might take it beyond the d20 style of play to something more tactical or more resource-driven (my life has been heavily influenced by Star Control, Starflight, Master of Orion and similar game mechanics), but I don't know if I want to take the core that far "out there".

Writing your own RPG or campaign setting is, needless to say, a helluva lot of work. I'm not sure if I have the time or resources to take on such a thing, and I'm fearful that anything I create might be lost in the sea of RPGs currently out there. And, like I've said before, I'm horrible when it comes to writing "fluff"... and that's kind of important in a project such as this.

So maybe, some day, I might actually make some progress on this. Don't be surprised if I throw up a real Kickstarter to develop this some day.


So stay tuned for my next creation... whenever that may be. 🙂

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