Yes, it really has been twelve weeks since I wrote one of these. I took a month off to prepare scenarios for the 2013 convention season, did three cons in four weeks, and then lost of month to post-con recovery, a final winter cold, and various other small projects and obligations. But that’s all behind me now and progress has begun once again on the long-delayed sequel to the Stonehell magnum opus.
The good news is that on April 10th I wrote the following phrase in the Stonehell 2 manuscript: “Here Ends Stonehell Dungeon.” The final five levels of Stonehell have been officially keyed, noted, and hand-drawn maps exist for all the dungeon’s final twenty-six quadrants. In effect, the dungeon itself is complete, something I had occasional doubts of ever seeing. With the majority of the draft finished, it’s time to move along to the punch-list of tasks needed before I can call the sequel done.
Beginning this week, my main goal is to transform the hand-drawn quadrant maps into Photoshop images suitable for printing. It’s been several years since I last did this, so I cannot yet provide an estimate on how long this chore is going to take. In a perfect world, I’ll be able to create one or two maps a day, meaning at minimum we’re looking at slightly under a month’s work to finish the map series. Once those are finished, the lion’s share of hard work on my end is done.
After the maps are finished, I have the following tasks remaining:
1) A complete re-reading of Stonehell Dungeon: Down Night-Haunted Halls to ensure I didn’t miss anything I hinted at years ago that I wanted or needed to address in the sequel.
2) Write the introductory chapter containing important details regarding the lowest levels of the dungeon, Labyrinth Lord advice, and rumors.
3) Complete the appendices. I estimate there will be four in total. Two are already started and the remaining two are dependent on your input (more on this in a moment).
4) Write the afterword to the book. This is a short one or two page chapter wherein I bid a fond farewell to Stonehell, address the success or failure of my efforts, and talk to you gamer-to-gamer before saying goodbye.
5) Assemble a working layout of the book for revision and editing purposes. I’ve made tentative steps in this direction already, but can’t work on it in earnest until the maps are done.
6) Solicit, find, and insert the artwork required for the book.
7) Revise and complete the draft based on any missing information, typographical errors, or improvements discovered during steps 1) and 5).
8) Hand the book off to my as-yet unknown editor.
9) Final revisions/edits.
10) Final layout.
11) Printer’s proofs.
12) Final corrections sent to printer and final proofs.
After all this is complete and I’m satisfied with the results, the sequel will then be made available for purchase.
My goal was to have the sequel available by the weekend of June 7th to coincide with the North Texas RPG Convention. This deadline is still possible, but has edged into the realm of improbable. Rather than get wrapped up in getting it finished by then, I’m choosing to focus on getting the book completed to my satisfaction. If that coincides with the beginning of June, wonderful, but if not, I can live with it. This is to be my Stonehell swan song and I want to make sure the notes are pitch-perfect.
So what can you do to help see Stonehell 2 out the door? Glad you asked!
There are two appendices which I require the fans to assist with. One is a necessary evil and the second is something I’ve had planned since the dungeon was in its infancy.
I’m going to include a (in theory) short errata section in the appendices to address anything I missed or needs correction in the first Stonehell Dungeon book. I’m aware of one missing entry on Level 2A (Feature D is missing), but there may be others I missed. If you are aware of anything like this or something that is blatantly unclear (but unintended) in the text, please let me know by dropping me an email with the subject “Stonehell Errata” to email@example.com. I’m not worried too much about any misspelled words or punctuation errors, but you can include those if you wish and maybe I’ll correct them in a revised version of SH1 someday. Mostly, my goal is to address missing game information to make the job of adjudicating the dungeon easier on the referee.
Secondly, I’m looking for a roster of those adventurers who’ve entered Stonehell Dungeon so far. If you have a PC or PCs that explored Stonehell, regardless of game system or campaign world, both the dungeon and I want to know about them. There is a room deep in Stonehell that knows these things and one of the appendices is a roster of those who’ve tread its halls. If you’ve explored the dungeon from either side of the referee’s screen and want the name of your adventurer(s) to be recorded for the ages, please send me those names in an email with the subject header “Stonehell Roster” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any name sent to me before the final revisions are finished will be included in the appendix and therefore known by the dungeon itself.
And that’s it for this week’s update. I’ll see you in a week with (hopefully) more good news.