I Admit It

Yes, for the observant amongst you will have noticed this, I didn’t blog yesterday. Is ‘blog’ even a verb? Alright, I didn’t “write in my blog” yesterday. And I’m okay with that. In fact, I think I’m a little happy about it. I think that when I started this blog my intention was to write every day without exception, but really – that was doomed to failure, wasn’t it? If I go on holiday I’m not spending my vacation searching for an Internet node so I can tack tack away on my blog when I should be out… doing whatever is fun at wherever I’m on holidays. So the point is, I didn’t blog yesterday and indeed if I have other commitments it is almost certain I will find days to not blog in the future.

One idea I’ve had for a while in relation to starting a side-career as a professional writer is to write D&D adventures. I still think it might be an alright idea, frankly. Wizards of the Coast has a couple of monthly periodicals – Dungeon magazine and Dragon magazine – that have fairly open rules for writers to submit content. Generally the content is along the lines of adventures for Dungeon magazine or articles for either magazine. So you could write an article about trolls or write an adventure, or something along those lines, and have it published. The pay is pretty low – I think you get 4 or 5 hundred bucks – but it’s the experience that counts, to my mind.

The only real obstacle is that writing this stuff is actually pretty tough. What makes it a challenge is that you can’t just make up whatever you want and go with it, you have to stick to 4e rules and a laundry list of parameters they specify for the content in their magazine. Which makes sense; the magazines are fairly content-specific and writers need to stay within certain boundaries. You wouldn’t write an article about your favourite video game and submit it to Cosmopolitan magazine, right? So the point is that in order to write this stuff one needs to read and play a lot of D&D so one is familiar enough with the game and the current and past content to be able to meaningfully add to it. I mean, there are a lot of D&D adventures out there; and not just stuff published by WoTC, but stuff published by other companies for D&D specifically as well as “generic” fantasy adventures people have published over the years. It is a long, long list of adventures, and submitting something new like, “defeat the goblins menacing the town” is just not going to impress anyone.

One other problem is that the competition is pretty fierce. I once came up with what I thought was an attractive proposal. The basic idea of the adventure was this: deep within the Shadowdark (that’s the Underdark but in the Shadowfell, so it’s a pretty creepy place) a laboratory has been constructed by agents of the Far Realms. Within this laboratory is a vast battlefield where captured angels and demons are compelled to fight endless battles while vile intelligences of the Far Realm observe the conflict and gather data, for purposes unknown. The player characters are lured to the laboratory and cast into the conflict, forced to survive as they are caught in between the two rival armies of the Astral Sea and the Abyss. The basic idea was that these Far Realms guys are gathering data on the Dawn War vicariously by effectively restaging some of the key conflicts, all with the purpose of reigniting that conflict to aid their conquest of the multiverse. The PCs are brought in because the intervention of heroes is inevitable in the minds of the Far Realm guys, so part of the experiment is to see what the “heroes” will do. The PCs must then find a way to escape the battlefield and take the fight to these Far Realms villains, hopefully to uncover the plot and defeat it.

I thought it was a compelling adventure, both because it was just kind of cool and took place in the Shadowdark, and because it had the PCs fighting demons, angles, and abominations all in one brief adventure. Steve Winter himself, who’s an editor there, wrote me back and said they had too much Far Realms stuff on the go to accept any more. So I thought that was decent of him. And I guess that’s the other problem with writing for D&D – lots of people want to do it. Really, everyone who’s a DM has the same problem – they’re all creative people who desperately want to find a profitable outlet for their creativity. So what could be more natural than writing for D&D magazines? So anyway, it’s actually pretty tough, but I enjoy it and I think I may put together some more proposals and see if any get saluted. You know what, I think in a future blog I’ll brainstorm some proposal ideas.


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