February has turned out to be a quiet blogging month here at Ye Auld Grog & Blog. Rather than pull up the old blogger excuse list, I simply mention that my recent scant free time staring at the dim glow of the monitor has been spent catching up on posts around the D&D blog circle.
While I haven't been posting articles, I have been working on a follow-up article to Delvers Delve for Fight On!. The first article was penned back in late November and submitted in early December. Delvers Delve is hopefully going to become a series of ongoing suggestions, observations and options focusing on dungeon crawling. It evolved from my Cover to Cover series, and it became of particular note to me as many of the my ideas within the article seem to be independently shared by others. In particular James at Grognardia reached many of the same conclusions in regard to revisiting the Thief based on actually reading what was written about the class in Greyhawk, and by that other James over at LotFP when he was reading the Holmes Basic volume. It suggests that many of us do in fact think in the same manner, albeit often in different styles.
The second article, which I am currently putting together, offers up a collection of options I have dubbed "Extended Crawling". Many I have been using for years, others I just started using, and some are simply clarifications of loose ideas that have been around in my games for decades.
I prefer to not spill the beans ahead of time with articles which may find their way into print in the future, so keep an eye out for that first Delvers Delve in the upcoming issue #4 of Fight On!. Everything indicates that it should be available from Lulu very soon.
It's interesting to see how articles submitted for print differ so much from blog posts. I get immediate responses and comments here, while things printed get virtually nothing. On the other hand, much of what I post online is forgotten very quickly, the exception being the Entourage Approach which was cobbled into a submission after being tossed about at the blog here. Articles which find print are something to be proud of in that they seem to have some measure of longevity.
As long time readers know, one of my high water marks since I started this crazed collection of random thoughts (aside from the Entourage Approach and the One-Page Dungeon) was the level I put together for the ongoing Fight On! project, The Darkness Beneath. Spawning Grounds of the Crab-Men created some buzz before it was printed, but not much since. In retrospect I feel I could have done a better job with that adventure. The level was written with a definite theme in mind, which I feel was conveyed nicely, but I still must put my work under the magnifying glass and offer up a few critiques of my own. Hindsight is always 20/20, as they say. Not enough empty space. Too few traps. Not nearly enough tricks. Virtually no misdirection. The dreaded Big Bad Evil Monster cliche. I'm afraid the whole thing might seem too restrictive and lacking that quality I personally enjoy so much in other adventures, creative elbow room. Let's just say I don't feel that I "let it all hang out" with the offering. I haven't heard any feedback on the adventure, so that alone speaks volumes.
I also submitted a small game option for the first issue of Knockspell way back in mid-November which found its way into print. The Thrall is a low level option for beginning characters. I like to think of it as an Anti-Entourage Approach. Rather than one character slowly gathering a following and amassing a stable of adventurers, the player begins with a few untrained delvers and ends up with a sole surviving character to call his own. I used something very similar in the past in a more wide open version which I stripped down to a rudimentary foundation in order to align itself with the original rules.
All of this leads me back to looking for input here on some of these non-blog offerings. For that reason I will be adding the original unedited submissions I made in PDF form over at my OD&D Orbitfiles page. None of these submissions will be added there until they see print, in all fairness to the editors. I'll wait for Fight On! #4 before I add these, so I can link to Spawning Grounds, The Thrall and Delvers Delve all at once. The Bogbears and The Entourage Approach which worked their way into Fight On! started here at the blog, so there's no need to add a PDF of those.
I'll be sure to remind readers to check out the Orbitfiles page once I've added to it. And yes, the promised new One-Pagers for The Dismal Depths are still in the works, as are my various other ongoing projects. Damn this is starting to feel like a job.
A dream job, nonetheless.
~Sham, Quixotic Referee