I’ve been vaguely hinting over the last few weeks of something big on the horizon—a new, stretching design goal which may see me fail. The project is here. Its name?
Citadel on the Wilderlands is my love letter to my two favourite B series modules: B2 Keep on the Borderlands and B5 Horror on the Hill. I have loved these adventures since my school days and have repeatedly run them for my friends. Sadly, I have never played either adventure, but this hasn’t stopped me from dreaming of writing my own homages.
I think both modules are stellar examples of adventure design, but adventure design has come a long way since the 1970s. We’ve learnt a lot, and the games we play have greatly evolved since the Basic boxed was published. It’s time for a new take on these old classics.
I don’t have a blurb yet for the adventure. It’s one of the first things I need to draft. While in my head, I know exactly the kind of adventure I am aiming for, I really need to quantify and distil that.
Citadel on the Wilderlands is loosely set to the west of the Duchy of Ashlar mini-campaign setting but can be easily transplanted into your own campaign. All you need is an isolated stretch of monster-haunted coastline, and you are good to go.
Citadel on the Wilderlands is an adventure for 1st-level characters suitable for an extended, sandbox-style game.
How I’m Designing Citadel
I’m a proponent of slow, sustainable design. Recently, I decided that I need a new challenge. As I’ve said, I can’t help feeling, I’m leaving performance on the table.
With that in mind, I’m going to design Citadel on the Wilderlands over the next year. I’m going to write 500 words every weekday. I’m going to start small, to go big.
(I might also end up putting some words down at the weekends if the mood takes me. This project lurks in a grey area: is it work, is it play, or is it both?)
If victory is mine, the adventure will total about 126,000 words. That equates to (roughly) a 200-page book. Why do I know this? Because while I am starting small on something big, I’m also starting with the end in mind. After all, if I don’t know where I am going, it is unlikely I’ll get there.
I’m looking forward to seeing if I can stay the course.
I Need Help!
Citadel on the Wilderlands is a big project. I’m going to need help—to build a team. Luckily, this is already in progress. Tommi Salama is onboard as cartographer extraordinaire (huzzah!), and Andy Lewis will be crafting the 5e and Pathfinder 1 stat blocks (another huzzah!). I’ll (obviously) be forcing Matt Morrow to do a lot of the art.
I’ll be keeping Gameatory members up to date with my progress and giving them an occasional peek behind the scenes. I’m sure that reporting my successful (and not-so-successful) weeks will have a positive impact on my performance.
I also have a 500-a-Day Buddy. Steve Hood—a close chum and a freelancer for Raging Swan Press—has decided to pursue his own 500-a-Day challenge. Hopefully, the friendly competition and frequent Tremendously Important Design Meetings (which will no doubt mysteriously take place at lunchtime in a pub) will spur us both on!
Progress to Date
I have already started my Grand Design Adventure—I started on November 1st. Thus, I should be finished on 31 October 2023. It’s good to know where I’m going (and when I’m going to get there). I enjoyed my first three design sessions and could absolutely have written more on all three days. However, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and so I have restrained myself.
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Creighton Broadhurst is the Publisher of Useful Items at Raging Swan Press. He lives on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity. He is not planning to voyage far.