I don’t like Mondays – Dolmenwood Character Generation

It’s Monday morning and Gavin Norman of Necrotic Gnome has been kind enough to include me in the playtest for his faerie-tale setting of Dolmenwood, inspired by Chicago Wiz’ tales of him and his wife’s 1-2-1 game I’m going to be running a similar game set in Dolmenwood for Hannah. In this episode we’re generating a Grimalkin character for her.

If you get time check out the Necrotic Gnome Discord: https://discord.gg/s7Bg29K

Making my own Dolmenwood Map

In my current Midderlands game the player started off in the City of Lunden but–seeking a cure for a virulant plague–they were part of an expedition to the Island of Emeraude. In Glynn Seal’s excellent Midderlands setting Emeraude serves as a placeholder for another OSR setting, the mystical forest of Dolmenwood as created by Gavin Norman of Necrotic Gnome.

My PCs have been in Dolmenwood for a while and we’ve been using the following map (drawn by Brian Richmond) as our Roll20 map of the area:

Brian Richmond’s Dolmenwood Players Map

This is great however it does have a number of things listed on it that I’m not too sure I want the players to necessarily know about straight away.

Recently Gavin has released a preview of the upcoming map from the in-progress Dolmenwood Campaign Book, you can see the article on the Necrotic Gnome website by clicking here.

Preview from Necrotic Gnome’s upcoming Dolmenwood Campaign Book

Now this map looks amazing (having be drawn by the expert cartographer Glynn Seal) and I’ll be one of the first in the queue to buy this book when it comes out; however–given the current circumstances–and the schedule of these things it’s not going to be for a while, and I could do with a slightly funked-up player map for my game in the meantime.

So–having some extra time on my hands–I decided to have a go at drawing my own version of the Dolmenwood Map, combining elements of the original and the preview map.

Please note: I am most definitely no Glynn Seal or Gavin Norman (probably more like Ronseal or Barry Norman TBH), but–given it’s the first map I’ve properly hand drawn in over five years I was pretty pleased.

So to start of with I sketched out a rough version of the map in pencil and then I looked at a couple of tutorial videos from WASD20 and QUESTING BEAST on Youtube:

I then broke out my pens and went over the pencil outlines (before erasing them) to create the black and white map below:

My Black and White Map

Next I scanned the map into my computer and used Photoshop CS 3 to colour/shade in the various areas:

My Photoshopped Colour Map

I’m pretty chuffed with the result, it’s not going to win any awards and there’s still a lot of stuff missing from it like roads, towns, etc (although I may put the towns in as tokens in Roll20 i’m not sure yet), but it turned out better than I expected.

P.S. My apologies to Brian Richmond, originally this article said that Gavin Norman drew the player’s map pictured, this is not the case it was Brian’s work. I have now amended the article.

P.P.S. Gavin has been kind enough to provide a Google Drive link containing other player map versions:

https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1MjVBrzHgqltOIYGyDD5Rw0JyIWQ3DgW5

Campaign Kludge

Continued planning for my current Midderlands Game

Anyone who knows me will be aware that I’ve fallen heavily for the OSR side of the Force (it even replacing my once-beloved Fate in my affections). I’m also much enamoured when people talk about how they’ve run D&D for a million-years in the same campaign setting – okay, I exaggerate slightly but you get the idea?

I also think that have a long-running campaign world offers some more tangible benefits, these being:

  • You get to know the material better over time.
  • Your world builds up a personalised history with it’s own heroes and villains you can pull on for inspiration.
  • The actions of earlier groups can become legends for later groups.

I certainly known that my friend Rob Davies has run an awful lot of D&D games in his own campaign world and–as a result–has developed it a great deal, adding more nuances and material as time has gone on. I’ve always fancied doing something similar, there’s just one problem though:

I get bored easily

Here, the sage example provided by Rob comes to the rescue, I know from my experience of games he’s run, that Rob often–when dealing with a new group–will turn them lose in a previously unexplored region of his game world. This has the benefit of allowing him all the good stuff listed above, whilst also giving him license to expand/tweak that area of his world to try something a little different.

Well I was thinking about this recently in terms of the OSR and all the various different source books that I’ve got, and it occurred to me that I could do the same thing but by using the different sourcebooks for different areas of my campaign world.

This is what I’ve got so far:

  1. Main World – Principle Game Area: Midderlands by Glynn Seal of Monkeyblood Design
  2. Main World – Ireland: Dolmenwood by Gavin Norman of Necrotic Gnome
  3. Main World – Eastern Provinces: Yoon-Suin by David McGrogan
  4. The Middergloom/Underark: Operation Unfathomable by Jason Sholtis of the Hydra Collective, Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom by Matthew Finch and Veins of the Earth by Patrick Stuart.
  5. The Moon: Carcosa by Geoffrey McKinney

I’m planning to start working on collecting some material shortly for creating the Middergloom in my game (because that’s where my PCs are at the moment) and will be collecting the information on the blog as I go forwards.

If anyone has any cool suggestions for other sourcebooks I can use please let me know.