Monday, December 19, 2016

2016: the year in review.

The numbers:

Games run: 0.
RPG books written: 2.
RPG books published: 1.
Fledgling OSR publishing companies founded: 1.
Cons attended: 2.
Online artist accounts deleted: 1.
Online artist accounts put into use: 1.


2016 has been the year of Avremier and Mothshade Concepts. For the entire year, I've put aside my fiction efforts in favor of this crazy 0e project I've embarked upon. I created an homage to the original Greyhawk booklet, using my own Avremier setting, and people wanted a copy. Thus, the spark was ignited. Today, there is a production schedule to carry me well into 2018. My wife even sees me doing this full-time by then.


I'm writing. I'm editing. I'm drawing. I'm doing layout. And proofing. And publishing. And managing. And shipping. And marketing. And networking. And planning. And meeting deadlines. And going back for more.

There will be a Mothshade Concepts shop online for PDF and Print-on-Demand. There has been talk and consideration of plushies, shirts, prints, and mugs. It's insane over here.

In truth, it all started with my personal OD&D compilation project. That's where I take all the 0e material I can find in the original three-volume set + supplements, The Strategic Review, and The Dragon magazine - then I compile it all, edit for content and clarity, then organize it all into three full volumes for a comprehensive 0e rules guide. Then, I give it away as a free PDF. The first volume should be coming in the first quarter of 2017.

Because the limited print runs of the Avremier booklets keep selling out soon after they are announced, each booklet will have to be offered through online retail such as DriveThruRPG. Mothshade Concepts is not intended to be a print publisher. It is also a one-bug operation at this time.

Let's see what 2017 brings.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Lay of the land - Dhavon

Not the full map - mostly the County of Brising
The Avremier campaign setting has been in development for over 30 years. In that time, I've set down few details that weren't necessary to run the ongoing game. Even my maps were fairly rudimentary, and subject to change as needed. Now that Avremier is being published, all of that has changed. It is time to set it all down in hard and firm detail. So, for the first time ever, the entire region of Dhavon is arranged and labeled. This process involved some difficult decisions. You see, the setting has gone through a number of iterations that have manifested as distinct points in history. I am now deciding which era of the campaign is appropriate for this project. Not to mention all the mapping.

Included is a screenshot from the working manuscript file. The Counties of Dhavon begin to take actual and permanent shape.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Avremier in Print - How We Got Here and Where We're Going

This entry will attempt to address all the questions and curiosities offered by those who have been following this project, and those who continue to support it today. Some of what follows has been said before, but I would like to put everything into perspective, as well as make an attempt to cover it all. It won't be short.



This is my first and only campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons game. Development of what would evolve into this setting began around 1982. Truthfully, there were glimmers even before then, but I consider 1982 the point at which it all started to come together as a place for gaming. I've never run a game in a published setting and I've never run a module. It's just been Avremier. Not that I don't have other settings and adventures on my shelves. Not that I haven't run characters of my own in the worlds and dungeons of others. I've just been developing Avremier for my entire life.

Until this year (2016), Avremier existed entirely as semi-organized and piecemeal notes intended solely for my own use. Nothing was written for others to read, understand, or utilize. In recent years, I've been looking back to the beginnings of the D&D game. My nostalgia was probably rooted in a longing for something I've long admired, but never owned: the original rule booklets first printed for the D&D game. The first three in the boxed set, plus the supplements that followed. Then, a reprint collector's set was released. Though I've had PDFs of the original booklets, my desire for physical printed copies was great. So, I ordered a set for myself. That was probably the trigger. That - and being introduced to Ernie Gygax.

My exposure to D&D has included every edition of the game, except 4e. I've read the 4e books, but had no desire to play. Every other edition, I have played - and enjoyed. Now, I find myself appreciating the pre-2e versions of the game more and more. With the growing OSR movement, I find myself in excellent company. Old-School is in fashion once again and I couldn't be happier. After acquiring the reprint set, I realized I still didn't have everything I felt I needed. The reprints were nice, but they weren't all faithful to the originals. That wouldn't do. Not for what I had in mind. So, I set about finding and buying excellent specimens of the original booklets for my collection and my reference. The surge of excitement and satisfaction as I completed the set with a pre-edit copy of Gods, Demigods & Heroes is hard to describe.

Now, I have long wished to have been there at the beginning. Those early days when this entire hobby/genre was being born and shaped. Holding those early booklets and reading through them takes me right back to that time - even though I was only about five years old then. Hell, I started writing my first fantasy story soon after. I have always been here. At the time, I hadn't seen any compilations of all the early rules in one convenient volume. All the rules and added options from The Strategic Review and The Dragon magazine. Everything that would become AD&D and beyond. So, I set out to do it myself. I started to research and compile all the information I felt was necessary. I started to write my own compiled and edited edition of the 0e rules.

At some point, I felt compelled to set my own Avremier campaign down in a coherent form. Mostly for myself. But also with some intent to share it with those who expressed interest in seeing it all for themselves. Some of my players. Some of my online friends and fellow gamers. The time felt right. In the end, I decided to create an Avremier volume in the format and appearance of the original Greyhawk supplement. It just felt right. Besides, it also seemed like less work than setting it all down in some later rules format - though, that is planned for future development.

The booklet started entirely as a personal vanity project. I wanted to see Avremier as a "little brown booklet" with the look and feel of the originals. I wanted to hold it in my hands. I wanted to see if I could even do such a thing. Yes, I can write. I can even draw. But, I'd never seriously delved into desktop publishing. I'd never put my own work into print - but, I was employed in a professional print shop. I obtained kind permission to do a small print run with my own paper and files. As is my wont, I posted a brief announcement on my Facebook page...because there are people that follow my projects - often to my great surprise. Well, they managed to surprise me further.

People wanted printed copies of my little Avremier booklet. People that had never played my game. People that have never played D&D. People that have never played RPGs. After I recovered from the shock, I realized there was significant planning to be done. The print run had to be expanded - I'd only planned on about ten copies. One for me, one for my current players, and a few to give away as gifts. Suddenly, I had cause to double the count. Actually, there was cause to triple it. Suddenly, I was a small, independent RPG publisher.

A wee bit of panic ensued. I didn't want to refuse anyone. People were seriously clamoring for copies. People were excited. That got me excited. It also got me a little anxious. This was no longer personal. People were telling me to take their money in exchange for my work. Suddenly, I had to produce the best little booklet I possibly could. I had to give everyone as close to their money's worth as possible. Yes, I HAD to. In my mind, it was essential. That's just how I am. It's an honor thing. As a result, I had to become something else - something more. I had to become Mothshade Concepts.

Yes, I created a tiny little company of one frantic guy and a home desktop PC. I got organized. I created a Facebook page for Mothshade Concepts. I outlined a production schedule. I started doing drawings for the book. I had my wife pose for a reference photo for the cover art - I wanted the cover to be as close to great as possible. I taught myself how to draw a hippopotamus - flying. I set up a rudimentary shipping process from my home office. I edited the hell out of my manuscript to make it as perfect as possible - even recruiting a few generous volunteers to help. Otherwise, it was all me. It had to be. This was my rite of passage. I needed to prove to myself that I could do it - from start to finish.

And I did. On-schedule. I was stunned again. I had reached a place I'd honestly doubted was accessible to me. I was a self-publisher. And, when I say "self-publisher," I mean it exactly as written. I published myself. I wrote it. I did the layout. I did the overall editing. I drew every piece of art. I created the PDF file. I printed the pages and cover. I put them together into a booklet. I packaged and addressed the finished booklets. With help from my amazing wife, I saw those bastards shipped throughout the world - yes, the world. There are people in Canada, UK, Denmark, and Australia with copies of this thing.
 
The rush was even greater this time. Mothshade Concepts was born and Avremier had been set loose upon the world. But, it was only the beginning. It is impossible to cram even a small portion of the entire setting into one little booklet - even one that included more pages than the originals. Avremier was only the first of a set. I had to create and publish the rest. That's where I am now. The second volume is nearly done, with at least three more to follow. My production schedule beyond that is daunting, to say the least.

The Avremier project is a heartfelt homage to the original rule booklets published in the 1970s. To own them does not mean you can sit down and easily run an Avremier game. That was not the intent when I started down this road. Things have changed drastically since. I will need to reach higher. There has been talk of Kickstarters. I'm making plans for that. Avremier will need to be released in a fully compiled volume that includes everything needed to actually run an Avremier game or campaign. There will also need to be editions compatible with later editions of the game. These are also scheduled to happen - eventually. As long as I am an army of one, it is hard to say how long this will take. I have detailed outlines of the foreseeable future of Mothshade Concepts' output. I am making contacts and friends in the OSR/RPG industry. I am learning as much as I possibly can along the way. I am taking this very seriously. Someday, I hope to employ minions to help make it all happen. I refuse to ask anyone to work for free - except myself.

Mothshade Concepts will be more than just Avremier. It will probably remain OSR-oriented, at least for now. Other products are already in the works. Everything from adventures to t-shirts. Referee and player aids to plush toys. Whatever our supporters want. Yes - "our." I have to think of myself as an entity now. It's about the only way I'll get through this without my head exploding.

  




Sunday, November 20, 2016

Three Years Later...

Before embarking upon the Avremier 0e project, I delved into research of the very first published D&D rules for my own education and reference. For various reasons, I decided to create my own books that encompassed everything I felt was essential or relevant to 0e, then compile it all in a more organized fashion - for my own use.

That was over three years ago.

The first volume (Men & Magic) is almost finished. All that remains is to compile and detail all the Cleric, Illusionist, and Druid spells. The Magic-User spells were finished a few minutes ago. The work is time-consuming, but not terribly difficult. It would be done by now if not for Avremier 0e.
In other words, this is the "base rule set" that Avremier 0e is based upon. Nothing is updated or altered, just compiled and presented in an organized fashion - with my own wording.

Now, the intent is to offer these compilations as free PDFs when they are finished. While I've compiled and organized all this information, none of it is my own work. As always, you will be notified through this very forum when the finished product is available. For the sake of clarity, here is what the project entails:

SCOPE:
Totally unauthorized mockup cover.
This presentation of the rules will provide full coverage of the game, as originally presented. Any changes or edits are included for clarity and completeness. All relevant rules or additions from supplements and magazines (The Strategic Review and The Dragon) are also provided, in proper place and context. For the sake of brevity and continuity, Chainmail is not used as a reference, as those rules were modified for Dungeons and Dragons in the earliest supplements, and these rules incorporate the alternate combat system.



Monday, November 7, 2016

Back and Forth



Back from GameholeCon and looking forward to ringing out the year with a new Avremier book. We even have an incomplete mock-up to share. The final product should have some adventurers on the ground, running for their lives.

This year's GameholeCon was outstanding. Played in Ernie Gygax's Hobby Shop Dungeon session. Played the Ghost Tower of Inverness with Alan Hammack himself. Met folks. Made contacts. Made friends. Commissioned a piece of art for a future Avremier product (stay tuned). Bought games. Good times. Going back next year.

The next Con for Mothshade Concepts will be GaryCon IX - our first attendance ever. Such excite!             

More news to come. For now, enjoy a brief sneak peek at the forthcoming Dhavon supplement.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Gamer Friends Relief Fund Update

The fundraising effort has concluded successfully. All twenty books have sold and about $500.00 raised for the relief effort. Some even contributed more than the cost of the book. Mothshade Concepts is beyond pleased to have the opportunity to use gaming to assist those of the gaming community in need. Thank you to all who contributed. You are true heroes.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Gamer Friends Relief Fund


Some good friends of Mothshade Concepts (me) are in dire need. Fellow gamers. Mothshade Concepts wants to use gaming to help out.

Twenty new print copies of Avremier 0e will be made available for purchase, with 100% of the proceeds going to the relief fund. If you've wanted a copy, this is your chance - with the added bonus of helping others at the same time. In the hope of selling out quickly, we're offering some special one-time incentives.

First: Shipping is free. Yes - free. Anywhere in the world. For this event only.
Second: In honor of the cause, this will be an "alternate cover" printing, with the much-beloved Owl Wizard art. As you can see from the attached image, the art is progressing nicely.
Third: There will be a small 10-12-page bonus preview of the Dhavon book (Supplement I) included - for free. This is unedited, has no art, and will very likely change a little during the final draft.
Update: This third point failed to happen, due to time and resource constraints. Bad Moth.


Please respond here if interested. Arrangements will then be made via PM (facebook.com/david.a.hill.39) or email (mothshade@yahoo.com). Your purchase is greatly appreciated. When these twenty copies are gone - they are gone.



For those who don't know what this is, the product details are:

Avremier 0e is the first of a planned series of 0e-format booklets set within my personal campaign setting of more than 30 years. Inspired by the Greyhawk supplement, this volume is setup with a similar layout and design aesthetic, right down to the cover.
The booklet requires 0e-compatible rules to use and does not encompass the entire Avremier setting. Meaning, one cannot "run an Avremier game" with this one booklet. There simply isn't enough room for it all. There are at least four volumes to come.
Avremier 0e is an 82-page volume, written, illustrated, edited, bound, and published entirely by me. It was a personal vanity project that increased to meet unexpected demand. There were 30 signed and numbered copies printed - along with an undisclosed number of additional (unnumbered) volumes (these are nearly gone). Future printings (and a PDF offering) are in the works, but not in the immediate future.
Each book is printed on 24# high-quality paper, with a 110# card stock cover. Printing was done on a Xerox iGen4 press.

Please do feel free to spread the word. Thank you!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Against the darkness - after the end. Part One.

A great evil is rising, gaining power and support, poised to realize its great plan to take over/remake/destroy the world. What greater adventure is there for a hero than to thwart this terrible effort?

What, indeed?

Have you ever been reading a book, or watching a movie/show where the villain is just so compelling or cool, you just can't help rooting for him/her? Where you find yourself imagining what things would be like if the bad guys won?

How much more epic could it be for a new group of heroes to rise against the victorious darkness? While this isn't an entirely new idea, it is one with a lot of unrealized potential. The concept is used quite a bit, usually on a smaller scale. Ever start an adventure where you and your companions are prisoners that need to escape to get things started? Kind of the same idea. Often comes off as contrived and can be difficult to pull off.

Much like the classic plot of stopping the evil villain before all is lost. After a while, the idea of hacking through legions of harbingers, foot soldiers, scouts, spies, minions, lieutenants, pets, evil twins, and second-in-commands can start to feel contrived. How often do the heroes arrive just in time to stop the main villain just moments before the completion of whatever ritual, ceremony, sacrifice, opening, or button-push that will plunge the world into eternal darkness? Big climax. Big finish. Big heroes.

Ever been following a story where the hero has to keep the villain from assembling the scattered pieces of an ancient artifact to keep them from victory? You know when the hero gets one of the pieces, but the villain gets away? You ever find yourself yelling at the page or the screen? "Why do you need to chase after the villain? You won!" Because, that's why. Just, because. The artifact won't work without all the pieces, but neither will the story.


Next time, we'll discuss the ways in which the heroes can become involved in the adventure after evil has won and all is lost.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Design & Development

Hard at work on concepts for the next supplement. Deciding on a gold piece cost for this sucker.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The All-New Adventures of Mothshade Concepts

So, I've become a commercial entity. Did not see that coming.

What started as a little, personal 0e vanity project has become the launch of a fledgling indy RPG venture.

I swear I never thought for a moment that a flimsy little stapled booklet designed after the original 0e Greyhawk supplement, for my own campaign setting, would pique anyone's interest. I mean, who plays 0e D&D? Who cares about my home-brewed Avremier setting? Who would pay twenty buck plus shipping for this thing? So far, about thirty people. Many of whom aren't even gamers. Hell yes, I'm flattered. In fact, I'm overwhelmed.

But that's not all.

Real names and publishers in the RPG industry are taking notice and offering support. That's one of the things I love about this community. I won't be dropping names, but you'd recognize a few. I can't recall when I've felt so honored...so vindicated for thirty-plus years of scribbling, reading, drawing, mapping, DMing.

And, this is just the start. A new chapter, I suppose. My glorious wife is going to make me into an LLC. She's already talking about having tables or booths at conventions - and I have one product to my name. She's scheduling trips to various cons in the next year-or-two. My friends are clamoring for more - and many of them don't even have their copy of Avremier 0e yet. Newly-made pals in the RPG industry are offering me advice and support. Complete strangers are Liking the Mothshade Concepts FB page.

I've actually MADE a Mothshade Concepts FB page. Mothshade Concepts - something I toyed with a decade ago (so I already had a logo designed), but let anxiety and crippling self-doubt sideline the whole thing. Now I made a little booklet and BANG! 

So far, all of this is me. If there is anything to complain about - lay it on me. I wrote it. I did the layout. I edited it. I illustrated it. I did the final proofing. I converted it to PDF and failed to note the little shifts and changes made along the way. I printed it. I put it together. I shipped it. This is quite simply, my baby. I am proud, terrified, and exhausted. I got so utterly sick of looking at the manuscript before the end, I almost started to hate what might be my biggest RPG accomplishment to-date. If this had been only about me, I doubt I'd have continued. But, then came the supporters.

While I've no doubt someone will review this somewhere and let the air out of my head in the process, I've already done what I was sure I could never do. I self-published an RPG product. And, when I decide to self-publish, I take that $#|+ seriously. I wanted to learn it all - so I did. I wanted my hands on every aspect of the product - and they were. Greyhawk was my inspiration and my guide. Avremier has been my only D&D campaign setting for as long as I've played the game. I've had many players in my Avremier games. Now, I want to share it with everyone else.

This is only the first treatment of the setting. Like Greyhawk (Supplement I) itself, the book does not give you the Avremier setting to run. It offers bits and pieces of Avremier. Options and setting-specific stuff. Unlike Greyhawk, it does cram in as much setting detail as I was able to fit. It has more pages than the original books as a result. It is the first of five planned volumes, with a number of optional books to come. The references in Avremier 0e alone should give an idea of the number of books still in the works. The setting is big and detailed. These little booklets cannot contain it all comfortably.

Yes, there are plans for Avremier 1e. There are plans for Avremier D20. There are plans for Avremier Pathfinder. There are plans for Avremier 5e. Sadly, I currently AM the Mothshade Concepts Design & Development Team. I can't pay myself, much less freelancers or actual employees. The day may come, but I make no assumptions. But, I'm not saying never. Avremier 0e took me about five months to produce. I'm hoping future volumes take even less. I'm hoping for a bunch of cash to magically appear to finance all the projects to come. I'm hoping to live long enough to realize the full Avremier product line. I'm hoping all of you make the journey with me.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Achievement unlocked.

As prophesied, the Avremier 0e booklet is finished and ready to ship.



This has been an arduous, but fulfilling, journey into the wilderness of self-publishing. The original project was merely a nostalgic treatment of my personal D&D campaign setting, inspired by the original Greyhawk supplement. Through the interest and support of no-less-than thirty other people, the project grew into the start of something greater. For that, I am immensely grateful.

So, this is now the first of a series of booklets for the Avremier campaign setting. I will keep the world updated through this blog, and the Mothshade Concepts FB Page. Website pending.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Happy Gary Gygax Day 2016

In honor of the man that inspired so many adventures, friendships, and treasured memories, I'd like to announce the official release of the limited print run for the Avremier 0e project. Avremier is my lifelong home campaign setting and this booklet is inspired by the original Greyhawk supplement. This is my homage to the one that started it all, and the first of a series to come. We miss you, Gary.





Saturday, July 23, 2016

Giving 0e F***s

As I wrap up the manuscript for the Avremier 0e booklet, so many thoughts and memories assail my fevered brain. In an effort to relieve the pressure, I'd like to share a few with those of you that stop by from time to time.

Coasting through my mid-40s, I find myself taking so much with less gravity or severity. My writing is including more humor. My gaming material is showing more concepts for the sake of fun, rather than drama or conflict. I'm recalling more from my childhood reading and gaming experiences. Hell, I included the Flutterpotamus in the Avremier book - with detailed illustration!

My willingness to invest in sandbox-y adventure rather than episodic gloom-and-doom campaigning comes as no surprise to myself, but I find that I am taken away from D20 gaming in favor of "old-school" rules. Simple-and-fun becomes more and more of a priority for me. While I enjoy Pathfinder and 5E, my creative efforts are focused more on 1E and before.

"But, dude, you've said this before." I hear what you're saying and you're absolutely correct. I have - because it is important. I have this blog that is focused on pre-D20 (and even pre-2E) D&D gaming. I am now venturing into OSR publishing with the Avremier 0e project. Surely, I can achieve greater success by writing for D20 gaming. Probably so. I just don't enjoy it as much.

"Nostalgia," some snort dismissively. Sure. Why not? What's wrong with nostalgia? I may not have many fond memories of my early days, but I treasure those I do have. I use those memories to inform some of my current creations. Some of my very popular current creations. "Old" does not always mean "tired." Stuff I loved as a kid appeals very strongly to kids today. Consequently, "new" does not always mean "improved." Often, "new" is just "different."

I've done new. And different. Enjoyed them both. Along the way, I've not lost my craving for adventure, wonder, or magic. Avremier is my fantasy gaming world. It always has been. There are elements of "classic" fantasy meshed with newer aspects of the genre(s). There is myth, legend, and fairy tale. Also, here and there, can be found elements I like to think of as distinctively "mine."

It is 2016 and I am creating the stories and games that I want. To my delight, I'm finding a great many others who want them too. My worlds, and welcome to them.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Gotcha Covered (Avremier 0e update)

The Avremier 0e project is almost ready to go to press. Here is the final front cover, next to its original inspiration - for reference. Avremier is the one on the right.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

2016 Convention Schedule

Because I'd hate for anyone to miss the chance to meet me (yes, ME!) in the flesh, I am attending two gaming conventions later this year.

http://www.conofthemountain.com/
Clifton Forge, VA’s 2nd Annual Gaming, Cosplay & Comics Literacy Outreach!
Sep. 30 – Oct. 2 2016 ~ Church Street 500th Block, Clifton Forge, VA  24422

https://www.gameholecon.com/
Nov. 4th - 6th, 2016
Alliant Energy Center
Exhibition Hall
Madison, Wisconsin

Hope to see you there (and/or there)!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

My Appendix N

Despite your opinion of the worthiness of the AD&D DMG's Appendix N, the listing of inspirational works is of great interest to a gamer such as myself. In fact, I've compiled a similar listing of works that had some influence or impact upon my own Avremier campaign.




APPENDIX N
INSPIRATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL READING THAT SHAPED THE AVREMIER CAMPAIGN SETTING:

Alexander, Lloyd. "The Prydain Chronicles."
Barrie, J. M. PETER PAN.
Bauer, Steven. SATYRDAY.
Burne, Charlotte Sophia. THE HANDBOOK
   OF FOLKLORE.
Cook, Glen. "The Black Company" Series;  
   "Dread Empire" Series; et al.
Cooper, Louise. "The Time Master" Trilogy.
Dexter, Susan. "The Winter King's War" series.
de Lint, Charles. THE HARP OF THE GREY
   ROSE; THE RIDDLE OF THE WREN;
   YARROW; et al.
Farmer, Philip José. "The Dungeon" series.
Gantz, Jeffrey. THE MABINOGION (trans.).
Garner, Alan. ELIDOR; THE WEIRDSTONE
   OF BRISINGAMEN; et al.
Gentle, Mary. RATS AND GARGOYLES; THE
   ARCHITECTURE OF DESIRE.
Hamilton, Edith. MYTHOLOGY.
Herbert, Frank. "Dune" Series.
Holdstock, Robert. "Mythago Wood" series; et
   al.
Hyde, Lewis. TRICKSTER MAKES THIS
   WORLD.
Kay, Guy Gavriel. "The Fionavar Tapestry"
   Series.
Keyes, J. Gregory. "The Age of Unreason"
   Series.
LeGuin, Ursula. "Earthsea" series; et al.
Leiber, Fritz. "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser"
   Series; et al.
Lovecraft, H. P. esp. the "Dream Cycle" Stories.
McKillip, Patricia A. "The Riddle-Master of   
   Hed" Trilogy; THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS   
   OF ELD; et al.
Mills, Matt (writer) & Bisley, Simon (illustrator). SLAINE: THE HORNED GOD.
Moorcock, Michael. "Corum" Series; "Elric"
   Series; "Hawkmoon" Series; GLORIANA; et   
   al.
Offutt, Andrew J. "War of the Gods on Earth"
   Trilogy.
Pini, Richard and Wendy. ELFQUEST; et al.
Saberhagen, Fred. "The Books of Swords"
   Series; et al.
Tepper, Sheri S. "True Game" Series; et al.
Tolkien, J. R. R. THE HOBBIT.; "The Lord of
   the Rings" Trilogy, THE SILMARILLION; et
   al.
Van Lustbader, Eric. "The Sunset Warrior"
   Trilogy.
Wagner, Karl Edward. BLOODSTONE, DARK
   CRUSADE, DEATH ANGEL'S SHADOW; et
   al.
Wolfe, Gene. "The Book of the New Sun"
   Series.
Zelazny, Roger. A NIGHT IN THE
   LONESOME OCTOBER; LORD DEMON;
   LORD OF LIGHT; "Amber" series; et al.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

From 0 to 1 (Avremier 0e update)


As many of you already know, the Avremier 0e booklet is written and in the proofing stage. During this time I am struggling to produce the last of the graphics - the cover art and inside cover map. I expect to go to press by the end of this month for the very limited print run. All copies have been claimed and I do not have immediate plans for another print run at this time. I do have some thoughts on future print runs, but would rather not make firm commitments just yet.

Avremier was "Supplement 0" for this series and "Supplement 1" is already in production. This will detail the Dhavon region of the setting and should be the first of numerous volumes to come. There's over 30 years of Avremier to compile and transcribe.

For those keeping tabs, the original "0e compilation volumes" are still in the works. I refer to my exercise in historical research and nostalgia in the form of three volumes that compile all the rules and options that I can find for 0e D&D - gathered and edited into a somewhat coherent form resembling the original. Volumes with information from supplements and magazines organized into lovingly faithful compilations. Men & Magic is essentially finished and contains classes, rules, combat options, and spells from the original rulebooks, Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry, The Strategic Review, and early Dragon magazines. Those are coming more slowly as the work involved is considerable.

Stay tuned for more updates as time and motivation permit.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

How I Did It - Into the Middle Kingdom (Junior High School)

Continuing from http://3d6trapsandthieves.blogspot.com/2016/03/how-i-did-it-from-infancy-to-about-6th.html.

Around 5th or 6th grade, I officially discover D&D - meaning, I actually know what it is I'm playing. At the local toy store, I find the Monster Manual. Having no idea what Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is, I pick it up for all the great monsters I can use in my own game. A few weeks later, I get the Moldvay Basic Set. Then, the Expert Set. It would be almost a year before I find other players.

During that year, I start creating my own game setting. I read and re-read those D&D books. Eventually, I abandon my homemade game for D&D - never looking back. Why create my own setting? What choice did I have? I never saw Greyhawk in my local stores. Besides - it's kind of my thing. At first, I drew a small map centered on my dungeon of Whitefalcon Castle. What?! I was, like, eleven or twelve at the time! I liked the name. It worked for the me of that time. Moving on...

Expanding my world with maps became my priority. At first, these came mostly from my favorite fantasy novels. In fact, I started buying books based on the inclusion of a map at the beginning. The 80s were good to me in that regard. But, that didn't last long. I wanted an entire world of my own. Otherwise, why bother? Besides, I only really liked specific elements of those worlds. I was reading a LOT of books. McKillip. Leiber. Cook. Wagner. Moorcock. Brooks. de Lint. Aspirin. Wolfe. LeGuin. Zelazny. Lustbader. Howard. Lovecraft. Garner. Alexander. Baum. Tolkien. Cooper. Lewis. L'Engle.

My mother bequeathed one of the two hall linen closets to me for my growing library. It was filled in a couple of years. During that time, I was learning how the pros built their fantasy worlds. Look - I suffered from a sever lack of confidence. In fact, I'd later be diagnosed with anxiety. This possibly led me to research heavily before tearing off on my own. What seemed to influence or inspire these writers was of great interest to me. What they included. What they left out. What details they focused on. How their characters worked. How much magic. What kind of magic. High Fantasy vs. Low Fantasy. Tolkien vs. Pulp. Charting my course.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Avremier 0e - Chugging Along Into April

Still more pages from the ongoing project. Considerable effort spent in transcribing bits and pieces of existing campaign setting notes, as well as researching details among original D&D booklets and later pre-AD&D TSR sources. Organizing and balancing. Editing and layout.





Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How I Did It - From Infancy to About 6th Grade

I threatened to do this - and I tend to follow through on my threats. With that out of mind, let's dive right in. Don't worry, there will be more self-indulgent nonsense and boredom to follow.

·          
       My memories from childhood are spotty and disjointed. I am bad with numbers - including years and ages. So, here goes...as best I can - because none of you demanded it!
·         I was born in December 1970. This is given only for reference...you know - mathy-stuff.
·         Born in MD, I lived in NC from infancy to the 2nd grade - I think. Some of that could be wrong. I recall being told I started to draw (well) at age 3. This could also be bullshit - I really don't recall. I do remember starting my first novel at age 5 or 6. It was a ripoff of The Hobbit called A Martian Adventure. Basically, "The Hobbit - on Mars." I don't know why. The Rankin-Bass animated version of The Hobbit is my first fantasy influence - that I recall.
·         I am moved back to MD in time for 3rd grade. I start making up my own games with drawings. Later, I add plastic knights and monsters.
·         By 6th grade I've read The Hobbit a dozen times and started creating my own fantasy world map, with monsters and stuff. There are giants, dragons, goblins, dark knights, and "rambeasts" - like minotaurs, but with the heads of rams instead of bulls. In my current setting, these are "criotaurs." Again, I don't know where "rambeasts" came from...but I was big into Greek myth and also recall a cool book of mazes I had where one was in the shape of a ram's head - like Aries. Maze...labyrinth...minotaur...ram's head maze..? That was, as far as I recall, my first "original" monster or monster variant. Try as I might, I can't find an image of the maze on teh internets.






Saturday, March 19, 2016

Avremier 0e - Monster Reference Table

Here is (probably) the official Avremier Monster Reference Table for the core booklet(s). The choices were not all easy ones. I wanted a good range of types and challenges, while offering what I felt to be "representative" creatures for the setting - monsters that seemed (to me) good "Avremier" beasties. 
 


There are some "normal" animals and creatures you'd find in domesticated or captive circumstances. There are setting-specific examples of existing creature types like dragons and lycanthropes. There are entries I consider "weird" and "fun" that I just liked sharing.

What you will not generally find are creatures from other planes or truly alien monsters. There are also very few monsters that I consider specific to a particular region or place. The intent is to offer a range of creatures that could be useful in many adventures or campaigns. Some dungeon denizens, some wilderness encounters, some urban dwellers, and just a few that could pop up almost anywhere.


The Attacks and Damage Table is nearly done, but probably won't be as important to many. Most of the creature descriptions/listings to come are pasted from my original notes and sources, but require some editing to suit the 0e format. That should be done pretty soon.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Avremier 0e - Chugging Along

Before we get into the actual entry, I'd like to assure those twos of fans that the original 0e D&D compilation project is still ongoing. I'm wrapping up the Men & Magic volume and will happily share it in all its compleat glory in the near future.

For now, I am adapting my Avremier setting to the OD&D format. It is an ambitious foundation project intended to lead into future updates in later rule sets. You see - I've never set down rules and options for my campaign setting in any form other than notes for my own use.

In any case, here's how that project is going so far.