Saturday, April 14, 2018

From head to page


Development questions are fun for me to answer. I get to see what people are interested in, and I get to share my thoughts and ideas with those who appreciate them. Also, during some of these exchanges, I get to examine my own creative process in a different way. By analyzing how I explain a concept to someone, I find myself looking at the concept from the outside-in. 

I've been asked how some of the process works for me. I smile at the thought of having an actual process, but I get the gist. Most of the time, it starts with quick and incomplete notes for a concept - often hand-written in my notebook. Don't bother about the page titles - they're usually just for fun. At a later point, the notes are transcribed into Word archive files for eventual translation into publishable material.

Below is an example of the initial concept outline for a bizarre creature due to appear in the Avremier setting at a later date. From these initial impressions will come a stat block and official description for game use. It is also entirely possible that the name will change. I'll also need to determine where the creature will have a place in the Avremier 'verse. The notes below are about a half-hour old and are being shared here for the first time.

Shadowlight Horror: Naturally-invisible creature of arms and tendrils – similar to a spiny starfish with many more arms. tentacled horror. Casts light instead of shadow – toward a light source, not away from. Difficult to look directly into the creature’s cast light. No way of knowing facing or specific anatomy beyond arms and tendrils – some with feathery extensions that are probably sensory organs, and some with stinging spines that look pretty much the same. Hardly any weight, the creature moves lightly across any surface without a sound. When grappling with arms, the horror may permanently steal a victim’s shadow. This somehow renders the victim “less-substantial,” permanently reducing HP, STR, and CON by 1. They are also uncomfortable in bright light (-1 to attack rolls for first three rounds). One stricken adventurer had her shadow restored after dying and being raised. There is no other known way of undoing this effect. Many living creatures find those with lost shadows somehow unnerving or unpleasant to be around.

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