“I can edit myself” is probably one of the biggest myths in writing. Fortunately, it’s not something I have deluded myself into thinking. I know I need an editor, and I’d like to introduce you to mine for the Citadel at Nordvorn: Emily Blain.

She came recommended to me through Smunchy Games. We chatted, and I asked her my most important question: “Where do you stand on the Oxford comma?”

She fired right back: “How many spaces do you put after a period?”

Asked and answered, and we knew we’d get along.

She did a quick test-edit of a few thousand words of the manuscript, and named her price. I told her that was unacceptable and doubled it. Good work is worth paying for.

In any case: Meet Emily!

Revised by Emily

Emily Blain is a detail-oriented perfectionist who gets way more annoyed than she should about errors in supposedly professional publications. She graduated from Luther College in 2012 with a liberal arts education, a music major, and an education minor. Since then, she has worked as an administrative assistant and Communications Director in addition to teaching private music lessons.

After moving and leaving her part-time job in spring 2018, Emily decided to combine two things she enjoys (proofreading and gaming) into one grand new business venture. While she originally planned for Revised by Emily to be a general proofreading business specializing in board games, she quickly realized that there were far more games being designed than there were editors/proofreaders available to analyze the rulebooks. She started “cold calling” designers, mostly via Facebook message at first, offering to look over and edit their games. Her first project was the Greek board game Theosis which successfully funded in July of 2018. This has blossomed into the first of multiple ongoing partnerships with various game companies.

Prior Work

Emily also works closely with Sky Relics Games. Sky Relics completed their first Kickstarter in January of 2018 and is inches from the finish line of getting the game out to backers. They are also working on their second game, Relic Hunters, a co-op dungeon crawl, and Emily is excited to be in on this one from the ground level. She took a prototype to Protospiel MN in January 2019 and got a little bit of experience on the design side of things! Despite feeling like her brain was full to bursting every night, Emily had an incredible time and loved getting to meet more designers and hear their perspectives on game making.

Emily’s newest long-term partnership is with Smunchy Games. Her first project was the novella, Paths: A War Drum of Death. When Sean, the author, told her it would be available at Barnes and Noble, she was more than a bit nervous and surprised, but it was a great experience and a project she’s very proud of. That collaboration expanded into the Paths RPG materials which will be coming to Kickstarter in April 2019.

In her free time (yes, despite multiple ongoing projects, she makes time for fun!), Emily enjoys playing both board and PC games with her husband and friends. Their current favorite tabletop games are Spirit Island and Aeon’s End: Legacy. She always relishes smashing all the things to bits with her Warhammer as Gurdis, her D&D 5e Dwarf Fighter. She’s also looking forward to the day when she can play more games than just “Go Away Monster” with her adorable two-year-old daughter!

https://www.revisedbyemily.com/
https://www.revisedbyemily.com/
Morning! As we head into what will be a heavy writing weekend for me on Citadel at Norðvorn, I wanted to leave you with two podcasts.

Roleplay Rescue (Che Webster)

Che and I talk for about an hour, and cover gaming stuff both old and new.

Game Night on Geek Gab

I return to their show for the third time. We cover what’s gone on at Gaming Ballistic since HoJ, being nice to customers, and group stealth rolls . . . plus a bunch of Nordvorn sporadically through the show.

I’ve updated the Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) PDF to correct some errors I noticed while looking at the proof. This should be the final file, though doubtlessly in the future someone will point out something I missed. This is the change log.

You should be receiving a Backerkit distribution of the file. I’m currently spooling out a new interior file for the printer(s), and that will be uploaded slightly later today. They actually prefer changes in the form of single page, but since both of the printers (UK and USA) also support POD, a new, full file is sensible.

Change Log u20190215

  • You’ll never notice this, because you’ll only get this version, but I’m upgrading the cover to 12pt/300gsm instead of 10pt/250gsm. The heavy paper on the interior needs an appropriately stout exterior.
  • p.iii – changed the ampersand in Swords & Wizardry to a different font, because it looked stupid in PR Viking
  • p. vi – adjusted the image and text to bring an orphan line where it belonged. It’s a hard-knock life.
  • p. 11 – Removed some underlines that were a legacy of the paragraph style used in the Pack Animals table
  • p. 18 – the borders went MIA in the Lowland Encounters table. They’re back.
  • p. 30 – a colon was used instead of a period in a run-in title. Colonectomy performed, period.
  • p. 41 – Way too many titles in the map-as-art. Now just reads “Dire Straits,” which gives more room for Dire Wolves to eat the PCs. Talk about clean plate club.
  • p. 42 – changed “When Norðalfar Attack” to “When Goblins Attack” in the art, and fixed a find/replace artifact (Goblinoids–>Goblins) in the text. A goblin is something different in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, so my faerie goblins got renamed to norðalfs, plural/generic norðalfar.
  • p. 45 – removed an underline in the table that didn’t need to be there.
  • p. 49 – changed “ore” to “more” because typo, dammit.
  • p. 50 – expanded the map to very nearly fill the entire page. It’s slightly offset to the left in the PDF, because in print there will be paper lost to gutter.
  • p. 52 – Added details of “Trap D,” which managed to go MIA for several versions of the book. Yay, poison gas!
  • p. 54 – also expanded the map. This page was the bad print error page, so it would have been fixed regardless
  • p. 56 – Italicized Muspelheim.
  • p. 60 – changed paragraph style on “Varieties——>” to make it match other section heads
  • p. 92 – Changed map title to just read Dire Straits
  • p. 93 – Changed “Norðalfar” to “Goblins”
  • p. 102 – fixed a few layout errors and emphasis mistakes in the One Page Grappling section
  • p. 103 – fixed the ampersand in Swords & Wizardry so it doesn’t look silly
  • Back Cover – there are no ready-to-play characters in Lost Hall 2.0, because Dragon Heresy, 5e, and S&W Characters are very quick and simple to make at Level 1-5. That needed to be removed.

That’s the list!

The next installment in the licensed adventures for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG is starting to really come together. Look for The Citadel at Nordvorn soon! I’ve got over 42,000 words written so far, and in super-dense text format (no art, only the barest of layout, and a very temporary background) I’m at 650 words per page and 66 pages. The usual with-art layout is 500-550 words per page, which means the final document would be something like 78-86 pages were it done.

Which it’s not.

A Mini-Setting for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG

In Hall of Judgment, I set up Isfjall as “Town,” where you buy and sell your stuff, and it served as a jumping-off point for the quest to find the titular Hall.

Nordvorn is going to be a bit different. Yes, there’s Town. And nice GMs will tell the players which that is. But there are many other potential settlements to explore, and all of those are very much not Town.

There will of course be monsters to fight, ruins to explore, and bandits to kill and take their stuff. There will also be a tapestry of personalities and culture to play in, and if you liked what you got with Isfjall for Hall of Judgment, well, you’re going to get a whole lot more of it with the Citadel at Nordvorn.

Bear in mind that everything about the presentation of this will probably change. The image is just a simple background of a castle done up in Photoshop; the real background and graphic design will be similar enough to Hall of Judgment that you will know they’re related, but different enough to set it apart.

But it’s much easier for me to pick apart words on a page than it is to stare at a screen, so I dumped it into layout and now I can see what’s going on.

Nordvorn Itself

Nordvorn itself, both the Citadel and Laegribaer, the lower town. I cannot wait to get an artist to detail this up. I’ve got a really crude sketch of the city and town in, well, PowerPoint.

I’ve also got notes on what braethralag (brotherhoods devoted to the same god) cluster where, temples, craft districts, etc. Note that the Citadel is not necessarily “Town,” and that betrayals, violence, and things that aren’t rest, study, and buying and selling stuff can happen there!

There are five inns in the city, and each is located and described. There’s a fun section on shopping (and shipping, for that matter), of course. Plus even more festivals, some familiar, some new:

Geitur Dag (October). A festival peculiar to Norðvörn—and peculiar in general, really—Goat Day. Each year, the Lower Town goes absolutely mad for goats. Goat costumes, fermented goat milk, goat races, head-butting competitions, and the animal husbandry competition to see which pair of goats will be dubbed Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr (the goats that pull the Thunder God’s chariot) for the day. Alas for the winners, at the end of the day, they get eaten by the Hamar and Steðji of the Thunder God’s temple.

More than One Town

Two neighboring towns, one of which very much is “Town.” The other is Ainferill, and there’s . . . a lot going on there. Little of it good. Violence, betrayal, cult activity, and a tangled web of intrigue. Plus folks to kill and stuff to take. Good times.

This is a piece I commissioned a long time ago for Dragon Heresy . . . but from the moment I set it down, I knew it was going to be one of the plot points in Citadel at Nordvorn.

There’s also Longbru, which is home to a dwarf-made bridge that spans the Jotunnain river for over a mile (thus: Long Bridge), and the opposite end terminates at one of the few sallyports in Audreyn’s Wall. Naturally, Longbru hosts many adventures seeking glory in the Endalaus Forest . . . and can be considered “Town” as per Exploits!

Coming Soon

With the relationship web already written, and the nouns coming together (Places, People, Things), I’m hoping to get to the point where I feel comfortable launching a project in a few weeks. That will be the first of three Dungeon Fantasy RPG projects, all set in Nordlond, and all planned for PDF delivery, if not print, in 2019. I’ve got some finalization to do on another project first, but when that’s done, it’s all Citadel, all the time when it comes to writing.

Unlike many of my prior projects for the last bit of time, though, Nordvorn is going to feature virtually zero re-used art from prior books, unless it’s absolutely on point. So you’ll get to see the graphic design and maps and imagery take shape more or less at the same time as I do.

Stay tuned! I hope you will have as much fun exploring this, which is the beginning of an extended look at Nordlond, as I am having writing it.

Convenient Aircraft Carrier for Scale.

I’m busily writing The Citadel at Nordvorn, Gaming Ballistic’s next return to the world of Nordlond (known as Torengar in Dragon Heresy). This one’s a mini-setting, focusing on the events and interactions between important players (including the characters!) in the lands surrounding this vital town. I am having ridiculous fun putting these towns together.

I just finished the description and detailing of Nordvorn itself. I am moving on to the other two important towns in the book, Ainferill (Riverbend) and Vegghofn (Sallyport).

The compact nature of the towns – Ainferill and it’s roughly 1,000 inhabitants sits on a chunk of land and water about 25 acres in size. That’s a circle about 350m in diameter, which is basically the size of The O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome) in England. That is, the entire village would fit inside it.

Even the much larger keep and town of Nordvorn is only 7,500 residents and its longest dimension is only three times that of Ainferill.

These are little places, relatively speaking, which means they can truly come alive with detail.

I certainly hope that you enjoy visiting them as much as I am writing them.

Excerpts

Some fun bits from the draft. Subject to change, of course. Presented entirely lacking context or structure.

Lyfta Road

The “lift road” is named for its terminus at the great lifts coming from the docks and the lower market and shipyard. After one leaves the market proper, one can find all sorts of ironmongery and shipfitting crafts: Sailmakers, blacksmiths, armorers, brassworkers, and weaponsmiths. The armorers and weapon-makers are closest to the Ring Road, mostly to reduce the noise. Any goods coming upstream, or going downstream, by ship must pass through the lift. As such, some call Lyfta Road “Skattgötu,” or “tax street.”

Eternal Bridge

A name like that invites hubris, but the Eilífur Brú has the chops to merit the name. The walls are over 20 feet thick, the columns, supports, and span magically melded with the strong rock of the river gorge. It has stood up to wind, weather, and thrown boulders from trolls and hill giants, as well as projectiles from siege engines.

The bridge begins with a massive structure known as The Terrace Gate, which as its name implies houses a series of massive doors each on a different level of the structure. The Terrace Gate actually enters a hundred feet or so below the top of the eastern gorge wall, and the winding staircase with interlocking gates, murder-holes, and other defensive emplacements is called The Spiral.

The town side of the Eternal Bridge ends in a large walled enclosure as well. There are barracks, training grounds, and defensive emplacements, and the entire structure would rank as one of the notable fortifications in Nordlond if it weren’t immediately adjacent to the Citadel itself.

The Hunting Gate

The closest tower and sallyport to Little Rock. Even more than the other city gates, the Hunting Gate is constructed to be used, and frequently, for war. It is staged to allow sorties from within the Lower Town when needed, as well as the point of departure for those thegns, huskarls, and Wardens who attempt to keep the people and goods coming out of the Hunted Lands safe. Or at least safer.

Sigurtákn

Thievery is forbidden. Sneaking around and taking someone else’s property is punishable by outlawry and thralldom. However, challenging someone to combat over a coveted possession, or facing them in some sort of fight, real or provoked, allows the victor vast leeway in claiming spoils of battle (in some cases this can include property and in older times, even family). Property obtained in this manner is called sigurtakn, (“victory token,” or “trophy”) and is considered honorable. Well, at least valorous. Dangerous, perhaps? A man bedecked head to toe in armor and weapons that are all sigurtakn is a man to be kept at arm’s length. Such people are called dýrð-óðir, or “glory-mad,” (behind their backs) and given the same sort of respect you give a scorpion, venomous snake, or feral dog – admiration for their deadliness, but not someone you turn your back on. Ever.

 

I am making slow but steady process on The Citadel at Nordvorn, my first of three upcoming supplements for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. It’s set in the same world as Hall of Judgment, but will easily be portable to any other game world with the right tweakage. I can see Nordvorn as it takes shape, and each area of the Lower Town, and the interesting places the PCs can visit, is plunking down on the map with ever-increasing certainty.

Citadel is not an adventure, as such. It is a web of locations and interactions, in which the players can find adventure. So it’s more of a mini-setting.

But it is, by far, the most detailed and specific thing I’ve done. Not “detailed rules,” because it’s not that sort of supplement. But the GM and players will know/can find out where to find all sorts of stuff. I was impressed when Rob Conley had all the rich descriptions of what shops and trades we were walking by in his Harn-inspired city that we played in way back when.

I think Nordvorn will be like that. I’m really looking forward to the maps.

As seems to be frequently the case, when I’m in heavy writing mode there’s not much time for much else. The Citadel at Norðvörn needs wordcount!

Writing the Content

I’m trying to write an average of 1,500 words per day, which is non-trivial but I want to get this out there. I’m working from a healthy mind-map of the setting relationships, so it’s really a matter of picking one of the lines or dotted lines and expanding on each bit.

There are no pre-conceived outcomes here. Citadel is about a situation, and every group of PCs, along with the GM, will take this mini-setting and run with it.

The mind-map will be included in the adventure in some form or another, for easy reference. I was able to pretty much improv my way through a Dragon Heresy session with such a map, and with the creatures in the main DH book and those included in the adventure book if needed, plus the extensive guide to key personalities that’s going into the Citadel book, you can probably “just play.” That’s the goal, anyway.

Citadel, though, is the first of three planned Dungeon Fantasy RPG releases in 2019, so I want to get on it fast, so that my Inner Team can playtest it and see what holds up and what needs expansion (or trimming).

Right now I’m at about 8500 words into a document that needs a minimum of about 44,000 (roughly 80 pages) and a maximum of about 71,000 (128 pages). I think 80 pages will be the best based on the last Kickstarter’s performance, as a nice blend of “I can deliver an equally-good product” and “not go broke.” Still, if there’s more content – and there can easily be more content – and the KS does very well, I can add it.

Art and Maps

This one’s going to need some serious art help, though.

At least three city maps, likely four or five: Northwatch (Norðvörn) citadel, the lower city, and the towns of Ainferill (Riverbend) and Vegghofn (Sallyport). Probably a map – really an encounter location – for another village that forms a major nexus of conflict for the area.

Lots of character art. Not every NPC gets drawn up, of course, but some of the main ones need detailing. Lots of opportunity for folks that do character sketches here.

A few full- or half-page scenes of key conflicts. Like this one:

So please forgive me if my blog content is a bit muted, or only happens in fits and starts: I’m head down at the keyboard.

But if you really want to help me get a jump on things, especially the city maps, you might consider supporting the current Kickstarter for a shelf-worth print run of the Dragon Heresy version of Hall of Judgment. Every now and then, I get a short spell of orders for Dragon Heresy; that makes for some serious help in buying art, paying writers, and generally making more new content.

As always, I try and post an update summarizing current progress on the Hall of Judgment Kickstarter and what’s to come each Monday.

Campaign Progress

I can’t put it any other way but to say that the Hall of Judgment campaign has exceeded my expectations and is rapidly closing in on my hopes as well. My “don’t be irrationally exuberant” math was “the usual number of folks for a Gaming Ballistic KS pledge 50-50 for print/pdf,” which would have been 250 backers and $5,000.

Well. Well, well, well.

You guys are speaking very loudly. This is one of the kinds of support you want for the product. The louder y’all speak on this and other places, the better the odds of doing more.

And I’d love to do more.

As of this update, we’re nearly at 300 backers (THIS! IS! DUNGEONfantasyrpg!) and have passed $8700. This is behaving very much like my other three KS, and frankly, is looking a LOT like the DFRPG KS in terms of rates. That carries with it implications for total number of backers and total funding rate that are . . . impressive.

Writing and Progress

Over the weekend I did a lot of work on the town of Isfjall. It’s currently sitting at about 6,400 words and will get a bit longer as I flesh out a few more sections, and I’ll be looking to do that tonight. I suspect that the section on Isfjall will wind up being in the neighborhood of 16 pages on a town that you can transplant to anywhere in any campaign that supports a vaguely viking-esque culture.

Why this much? Town is important in the DFRPG, and can serve as an important part of a campaign in more expansive Dungeon Fantasy or just GURPS Fantasy campaigns. While “Town” is geared to the needs of the DFRPG, the outline and model I’m using is the most excellent Dungeon Fantasy Setting: Caverntown.

Rest assured, though: once this is done (again: hopefully tonight) the next section is the wilderness journey. I’ve got a map for that already, so writing this section is really a matter of random encounter tables.

Finally, I’ve started to provide more art direction to Glynn, and that’s the other thing that needs to happen in the next 2-3 days. I’ve sent him notes on the “zoom-in” map of the area around the Hall itself, and now I need to give some direction on the three new encounter maps – basically small dungeons. I know what these have to be, and that will let him do maps and me write the encounters and challenges that will be faced within them. Two are easy; the third will take more thought but things are gelling well.

We also had two full-on blindtests of the Fantastic (Dungeon) Grappling rules. One by a group that didn’t typically use the GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling rules in any form, and another long-standing, long-running DF campaign that has been using a stripped down, suitable-for-DF version of TG for years to good success. I learned great things from both groups.

Then there are two more tasks: get the existing adventure edited and tweaked to fit the new map and layout, and then do the hardcore numerical conversion work for the adventure proper. This is both harder and easier than it sounds.

Form Factor

I ran a quick Google Forms poll on form factor and geography. The results thus far with 126 backers (roughly 42% in that survey alone) are running about 60-40 in favor of “make it fit in my DFRPG box!”

I have received POD and now digital larger-volume printing quotes for both 8.5×11 and 8×10 form factors, and prices per book for the quotes thus received are so close to each other in some cases that it’s literally pennies per book. So there’s no pricing justification either way. I don’t need to make the “real” decision until the manuscript is done and ready for layout, but unless things change radically I will look strongly at an 8×10 format.

Also: a full 30% of those answering the survey are from “not the US,” which influences my “where do I wish to print?” decision a lot; international shipping is so horrible that if I can use Royal Mail or Korean Post to fulfill those orders I want to do so, and the quantities involved are significant enough that I can explore a dedicated “not the US” run from out of the UK and still beat the DriveThruRPG prices, all while delivering 140gsm silk/matte paper instead of the more typical 105gsm from DriveThru.

No promises, but shipping is a painful part of these Kickstarters, and I try and be as open as possible about what options I’m considering. The higher the backer count for physical books, the better those options get for all of us.

GameHole Con

In a few of the comments, I mentioned that I was working to secure a table at GameHole con to try and host a game or two. Thanks to the SJG MiBs currently working that convention’s setup, I will be able to do so.

At 10am CST tomorrow (Tuesday June 26) I will open up 6 spots at a table. The game will be held on Friday November 9 from 4pm to 8pm. The $250 reward level will contain:

  • Space at the table for the game
  • A copy of every printed book Gaming Ballistic sells, including Hall of Judgment (it should be available by then no matter what the shipping route), plus PDFs on a USB stick
  • Credit in the book at the GameHole Con level (or some other appropriately-named tier)
  • You may also submit a pre-gen character as per the “A Thegn of Your Own” level

There will also be two spots at the table left open on a “first come, first served” basis. The level does NOT contain badges, transport, hotel, food (though I’ll share anything I have), t-shirts, pets, hats, or badge pins.

The Coming Week

I’ll be on Nerdarchy with Dave Friant this coming Friday at 11am Central. The chat window is lively and you can pass on questions.

I’m not flooding the zone with podcasts like I did with Dragon Heresy; I think folks (including me) got a bit burned out. But if there are any podcasts that cater to Not That Other Game (5e and the OSR) that would like to have me, I’ll gladly be on them.

If you want to ask me more immediate questions, you can always hit me up on the Gaming Ballistic Discord channel.

For the rest, it’s write-write-write plus more art notes to Glynn.

That’s enough! Thanks for all the support thus far, and please take the time this week to drop a few notes in your social media channels plugging the Kickstarter. Every time I think I’ve surely saturated the airwaves, I find someone I know plays the DFRPG or GURPS who reacts “Kickstarter? What Kickstarter?” and I have to be sad.

But then I go write a really lethal encounter that will make my fellow GMs smile, and that makes me feel better.

Good gaming!

Well, as I’ve said before, and I’ll say again before the end: Thank You! The support you’ve shown so far has allowed me to proceed with great confidence. It’s nice to be able to err on the side of “more!” whenever there’s a choice.

Funding Progress

I’m a bit of an analytical guy in my personal and professional life. So here’s what I can say.

From an absolute perspective, we’re four days into the campaign and have raised just over $7,800, an amazing 260% funding level.

Looking at my three prior Kickstarters and that of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, one can see some pretty clear trends.

  • There are three funding zones. Day 1-2, Day Last and Next to last, and The Giant Ocean of Pain in between
  • The Day 1-2 pace tends to set trends. If one sets the average funding rate per day at 100% for Day 1-2, the last two days tends to be about 60-70% of that level (per day), and the entire middle runs at 13-16%
  • The Hall of Judgement campaign is 25 days long, with four fridays in it

Our funding rate for Day 1-2 was just over $3,000 per day. This suggests a finishing rate of $1,500-2000 per day, and a daily rate of roughly 1/8 to 1/6 of the initial total, or $375-500. That suggests an amazing $16-20,000 for the entire campaign.

That’s awesome, but it’s not the most important number.

Four Hundred Seventy Five

This is. What is this? It’s roughly the point in terms of total number of backers where it would be foolish of me to not do a full-on offset print run of at least 1,000 copies. That’s the minimum order with the company I’m working with on Dragon Heresy, and given the price and quality difference for a sewn offset softcover (both cheaper and nicer), is the tipping point where there’s really no decision to make.

Sewn offset softcover?

Yes. Get your copy of Adventurers or Exploits. Hold it up sideways. You’ll see this:

Each group of pages is a “signature,” made by printing a bunch of sheets and then folding them up, and binding them in the black glue near the spine.

Now open Adventurers to pp. 54-55. I’ll wait. Got it? If you look inside where the pages meet, say, roughly to the left of “Choose 15 for a tendency,” on p. 55 on the bottom left, you’ll see an obvious hole or puncture, maybe even thread.

The signatures are sewn together to keep pages from falling out.

This is a very high quality softcover book. I’d like to make Hall of Judgment the same way, but it’s going to take more help to do it.

Nose, Meet Grindstone

A amazing as this last week has been for me to watch, it’s time to get busy. What have I done?

I’ve taken the entire final version of Lost Hall of Tyr and re-exported it as a text file. I’ve cut that up into the new outline (which hews to what I promised in the main campaign itself). I’m spending the majority of the weekend writing, revising, and expanding the text. I have no real upper limit on what I intend here: the book will be as long as it needs to be.

Fantastic (Dungeon) Grappling

I’ve completed a really good revision of the grappling subchapter, and this one took and incorporated the entire grappling section from Exploits to eliminate questions on “which rules apply?” It runs four pages, including art.

Here are two pages from the middle of the layout. This is the third and fourth page of the section.

This will continue to be tested in actual play in blindtests (that means that I’m not around to correct or nudge folks; it gives a clearer view of what’s left uncertain or unclear). I’ve got some great folks on it, and you’ll see playtest reports in the coming weeks.

Maps and More Maps

Glynn Seal, author of The Midderlands and The Midderlands Expanded, did my main map for Nordlond and the adventure material (previewed in the main campaign page). The KS smashed the goals so quickly that I was able to, with full confidence, order four more.

You’ll get a zoom-in of the area around the Hall, a complete micro-location with map and potentially life-threatening things to do, plus two more dungeons to explore.

As I said: this is going to be bigger and better than Lost Hall.

Isfjall

Sean did such a good job making Caverntown a living, breathing place to visit that I felt I owed it to DFRPG fans to do the same thing. And with the release of Pyramid #3/116: Locations, there’s yet another template/method for presenting interesting places to go and get killed.

Sorry: go and kill things and take their stuff. Ignore the glint in the GM’s eye and just keep telling yourself that’s the plan, Mr. Jenkins.

Pre-Gens and GameHole Con

What templates will be in the book as pregenerated characters?

  • Barbarian (but how can you tell ’em from the Nordlonders?)
  • Bard (Skald)
  • Cleric
  • Holy Warrior
  • Knight
  • Scout
  • Wizard
  • Wrestler

All will be 250 points, hew to the DFRPG core rules or Pyramid articles, and be inherently approachable to beginners and fun for experienced hands. I’m working on layouts for characters and monsters now, and will post pictures as I make progress. And we’ve already got two takers for the fan-contributed Pre-Gens, and I hear a spear-wielding swashbuckler is in the works.

GameHole Con

I will be at GameHole Con from Nov 8-11th, and have booked a room. The most excellent Men in Black are working with me to secure at least one 4-hour game session, probably in the Dorkstock area.

One session is confirmed, and I’ll post that reward level this coming TUESDAY at 10am. You will need to secure your own badges, transportation, hotels, etc. I will provide the game, and a hardcopy of every book I’ve made from Gaming Ballistic including Hall of Judgment. Even if we go full offset, with 14 weeks lead time, I should have hardcopies by then to hand out.

No matter what, I hope to see you there!

Go Tell The Spartans, Passerby

That’s it for the update today! That being said, a brief story: late the other day, with us hanging out comfortably north of $7000 funds raised, a fairly frequent poster and contributor to some of the forums I frequent was surprised to learn that there was a Kickstarter running.

So: please share the link and spread the word! The usual and unusual RPG forums. Reddit. Facebook. G+. Twitter. Other places I don’t know about. We’ve got the SJG Forums pretty well covered, both in the DFRPG subforum and the GURPS subforum.

But a small a community as we think we are . . . we’re not so well tied together that we can assume everyone that would like to hear about this has already! Want to help? Share!

So here we are. The last week before the interior files get submitted.

What did we do, and what does that mean?

Production Process

We’re really down to two basic tasks at this point: art insertion and proofing.

Proofing continues. It’s a big document and we keep finding things. Most are small. Some are annoying. Much like Pokemon, I’d like to catch ’em all.

I need to regenerate the spells index and the monsters index, which requires saving a new file and doing a “local” index, then copy/pasting that into the document. It’s no big deal, and right before the files get exported at full resolution for printing, I’ll regenerate both the Table of Contents and the Index one last time.

The art is the last thing. I’m down to the last few pieces and these are easily accomplished by a responsive team (see prior gushing update).

The COVER is the farthest along. I decided that dangit, I want round-back rather than square back (think ACKS or Symbaroum rather than Shadows of Esteren, GURPS books, or the DnD hardcovers), and I had to regenerate the cover to fit the new template. Then the spot-finish files. That didn’t take long, and the printing company is looking at them today and should tell me “yeah, these are good” tomorrow.

The hyperlinking is done. The active ToC is done.

I made a few usability changes to the style, so conditions are now bolded as terms of art. So (as an example), two creatures might have each other grappled, but one is restrained, while the other is only grabbed. Bold for game-mechanics, plain-text for plan-language use.

PDF Rewards Distribution

Net/Net: I plan on spooling out the PDF for final reward distribution this coming weekend. That means next week (June 18-22) your PDFs will be sent out, which if I can get that done on Monday, will mean PDF is 6 weeks ahead of schedule.

This also means I’ll do a brief clean-up on Lost Hall of Tyr and Dungeon Grappling PDFs for those that ordered them, and get all of the PDF rewards out next week. I might distribute these through DriveThruRPG – at-cost downloads for PDFs are really easy, and the updating and archiving of DriveThruRPG products is just easier and better than backerkit.

Printing Timeline

As noted before, it’s a 12-week process by design, plus another 2 weeks for in-the-USA shipping. So if the official “go time” for the printer is Monday June 18, we’re on track for all backers to have their book the last week in September (by Sept 24). We’ll see if we can hold to that schedule or beat it; there are 2-3 weeks of potential pull-in, and of course infinite possibilities for delays.

Still: I think you’ll get the books in September rather than October, so that meets my goals of “on or before the promised date.”

Hall of Judgment for Dungeon Fantasy RPG

If you like Lost Hall of Tyr and are also a fan of Steve Jackson Games’ Dungeon Fantasy RPG (Powered by GURPS), then you might also like to know that some time ago, I was granted a license to convert Lost Hall to the DFRPG system.

This is the first license of its kind for the DFRPG. I am pleased and humbled.

That being said, Lost Hall could use some improvement. It is a fairly linear convention scenario designed to show off the Dungeon Grappling system for 5e and OSR games. When played as a one-shot or at a convention, it works beautifully for that purpose.

However, putting it into a living campaign it suffers a bit. Too many constraints.

Well, Hall of Judgment will fix that.

First, I’m updating the interior look a bit to clearly differentiate it from Lost Hall.

Second, there will be a lot more “agency” in the game, with Isfjall (in DFRPG parlance, “Town”) getting a more detailed treatment modeled after the information presented in Sean Punch’s wonderful “Caverntown” mini-setting.

There will be a new map, courtesy of The Midderlands’ Glynn Seal, that will feature both GM and Player-centric views.

There will be no fewer than three new “mini-dungeons” to explore, to allow some things hinted at in the Lost Hall of Tyr version to bear full fruit in Hall of Judgment.

Monsters will be updated to DFRPG standard, with intent to not duplicate existing creatures. Pre-gen characters will also be provided, likely 6-8 choices.

The Kickstarter for this version of the product is set to launch June 19 (next week!), and once the upgrades are done, I will back-convert the new edition of the scenario to Dragon Heresy. If you got Lost Hall of Tyr as an add-on to the Dragon Heresy KS, you’ll get a free copy of the new updated Dragon Heresy PDF if you back the new Kickstarter, and and discounted copy of the Dragon Heresy PDF even if you don’t back it.

I’d appreciate it if you backed it, though.

Future Dragon Heresy Plans

I’m not even remotely done with Dragon Heresy.

I have no fewer than four concepts on the drawing board.

The mini-setting tentatively called The Citadel at Northwatch was given some visibility on the Roles to Astonish Twitch stream. It’s a solid adventure with several connecting parts, playable as a sandbox, that is designed for beginning adventurers. It will likely fall between 16-48 pages, ideally 24-32.

A much larger setting project called The Hunted Lands will cover many interacting things going on in this very dangerous area.

A To-Be-Named third-party scenario, again as a mini-setting, will look at an area closer to the coast.

Finally, a player character expansion with more backgrounds, classes, and races is on the docket to fill out level 1-5 of all thing things I wanted to put in the book but couldn’t fit.

That’s just what I’m working on right now. There’s lots more in me noodle.

Thanks for coming with me this far, and I look forward to giving you your PDF rewards next week!