This is a week for new beginnings, a time of both excitement and terror. Today is the first of March, which means that my pleasant post-Stonehell rest period has officially ended and it’s time to get back on task. Work officially begins on the sequel as of now. You will hopefully be seeing the finished product around November, which is the same time the first book was released last year. I know what goes into writing a book of that size now and that knowledge will help cut back on the production time—I hope.
My return to Stonehell actually began earlier this week. In preparation for the Eldritch Frontier campaign, I’ve done a little remodeling and rewriting of the surface and first level of the megadungeon. Two of my future players own copies of the commercial release of the dungeon, so I’ve put the kobolds to work rearranging the place and ordering new monsters. I’m obviously not redoing the entire dungeon, but the tweaks will create something the substantially different from the book. For those of you keeping tract, this means I’m now on the third iteration of the dungeon.
Speaking of Stonehell, rmckee78 of the Circle of Dar Janix is running his players through the dungeon using OSRIC. He’s been posting session reports on the blog and this week his players finally started poking around the Gates of Hell. As much as I enjoy it when people take the dungeon and run with it, as the designer I also get a kick out of when things happen as you imagined they might—which is exactly what happen to this crew.
Still, the biggest beginning of the week is that it looks like the Eldritch Frontier campaign is a go. Yesterday’s meet up resulted in the group reaching a total of three players—the minimum I was requiring before starting. On top of that, I’ve got another player joining up in just a couple of weeks. Four is a nice number but I’m still keeping the “vacancy” sign lit for now. Next Sunday will be game session #1, meaning that I’ve got some work that needs to be done on top of the Stonehell sequel launch.
Ever since we confirmed the start of the campaign, I’ve been thinking a lot about the tone of the campaign and my referee voice. Perhaps it’s my literary background but finding one’s referee voice is as important as an author finding his or her writer’s voice. Every referee needs to do their damnedest to cultivate a unique style, atmosphere, setting, and method. To create both a way and a world that is easily recognizable amongst the many. Humorous, unsettling, or gonzo—it doesn’t matter so long as you find it. Since it’s been awhile since I’ve spent more than a few brief moments behind the screen, it’s going to be interesting to try and find mine again. I’ve done a lot of thinking about this hobby of ours over the last year-and-a-half and I’ve personally undergone a lot of changes since I last did a steady ref’s gig. My new voice is likely to be very, very different from my previous one. The quest to find it anew will undoubtedly be exhilarating and downright terrifying.
I can’t wait.