AdventureAWeek.com is known for amazing adventure modules that captivate PCs and give GMs an epic saga within which to tell their own tales of heroism, redemption, or whatever it is they’re about. Most of these are extremely collaborative works and while many innovations and wonderful encounters are designed in this fashion, it’s extremely rare—almost unheard of!—for a single individual to carry their vision through to the end of a project, personally creating or overseeing all the aspects of production as artist, cartographer, designer, and writer.
But today, we’ve got a right honest auteur adventure that is already kitted out with amazing illustrations, cartography, and more in Into the Wintery Gale!
What do I mean by an auteur adventure?
Justin Andrew Mason (JAM) is a talented artist, award-winning cartographer, fun writer, and great designer—he can do it all! While collaborating with the rest of the AaW crew is inevitable, this module is different from the rest because the creator’s original vision is getting fulfilled in a more comprehensive manner than anywhere else in the many fiefdoms of the RPG industry (not unlike an auteur film, for my fellow movie buffs)!
JAM approached me about this project sometime late last year with the intent of posting it onto the AaWBlog. The boss stepped in though (he just loves vikings) and since then the format of everything has been reworked from the regular blog schedule (magic item-trap-haunt-locale-sidequest-monster) and into a proper adventure, one sure to set all other viking modules into their place.
We could go on singing JAM’s praises for weeks, but encourage you to instead get a look at the Into the Wintery Gale Kickstarter (25% funded in a matter of hours)! Check out the video, peruse the pledge levels, grab your greataxe and get into this bundle of Norse goodness now before the best pledge levels are all gone!
UPDATE (3/29/2015) Our amazing backers have pushed the Kickstarter past ALL of the initial stretch goals! If you haven’t gotten onto this Kickstarter yet, you’d better do it now before it’s too late—vikings raid hard and fast, and this project’s funding period ends on April 9th! As of this update a few of the higher pledge levels are still open, but they won’t stay that way for long!
Leading off the book is a foreword by RPG veteran artist Larry Dixon (Oriental Adventures, Fiend Folio, Epic Level Handbook from Wizards of the Coast), who’s contributing an illustration of a character written by NY Times bestseller Mercedes Lackey! Anyone keen to an autographed collector’s art print of the avian ally can get one at the $99 pledge level (along with the Veranthea Codex and 16 other great PDFs)!
The next section of the tome contains unique, distinctive settings that are lands full of adventure all their own or compelling powers in a global conflict, depending on the kind of game you want to play!
There’s the sword and sorcery of Grethadnis, lands torn by war and experiencing a new renaissance of (largely victorian steampunk) technology. Fight against Kratcher the ogress-magi and her horde of firearm-laden orcs and goblins in the southwest, join the Church of the Green Avenger as Trianestra roars from the eastern side of the continent, or help the Kind Folk in the defense of their homes!
Across the impassable oceans is Urethiel, a realm brimming with magic and ruled over by three Grand Dynasties. Martial artists and powerful mages walk the lands, the wounds left by bloody genocides are still fresh in the minds of the dragonii (one of several new races) and all of the other peoples there. Absorb and redirect magic (with the conduit base class), be immune to both the arcane and divine, or find your place somewhere in the middle of this wuxia paradise!
Connecting them all are the labyrinthine passages of the Trekth Empire’s imprint on Veranthea—the vast vehoro throughout the Forever Dark. Remote towns and outposts eke out lives in the impossibly huge mechanism’s nodes, fighting against the psionic horrors of the Endless Night. These settlements are only intermittently connected by the irregular, massive machine that runs beneath Veranthea in this Wild West-themed wonderland of aberrations!
After the innovative campaign setting you’ll find a plethora of player options that range from new feats and magic styles, class archetypes, prestige classes, new items, new spells, and much more for the PCs at the table! GMs get some great material too: global rules that make these wildy different campaign settings mesh together without unbalancing the mechanics of the game (like firearm recoil).
But that’s not all that Gamemasters are in store for! The last part of the Veranthea Codex is filled with NPC statblocks for unique alchemists, cavaliers, gunslingers, inquisitors, magi, ninjas, oracles, samurai, and summoners!
There are great add-ons like Face Cards, a GM Screen, high resolution VTT maps, and NPC Cards, but the project just recently announced something very exciting: everyone that pledges at the $25 Backer level or above receives a voucher for an at cost (ink, glue, paper, and postage) softcover for the Veranthea Codex!
The Veranthea Codex is a Pathfinder compatible campaign setting, player resource, and GM tool by Mike Myler and Rogue Genius Games. The Kickstarter has funded almost 50% in its first week, and there are new add-ons (like NPC Cards, VTT maps, Face Cards, and more) revealed to celebrate their success thus far!
Immortality is a tedious thing to some, but not Yawvil: the wizard never lost his youthful curiosity, the wealth of knowledge within his reach never enough. With the same enthusiasm the ancient mage took to his first spellbooks, he prepared the last of the meticulously arranged reagents on the floor, practicing in his mind the powerful incantations for the ritual required to view the Conxecron without revealing his presence.
What petty arguments would the pompous, deific fools engage in this century? What “powerful secrets” will they reveal? What ridiculous decrees are to be forced upon the land? With a familiar sense of supreme satisfaction, Yawvil began the initial arcane gestures for the centennial delight but out of the corner of his eye, a book floated down from its shelf—the Veranthea Codex. The old wizard grinned and nodded to the worn adventuring journal as it emanated a shimmering blue light, teleporting away from his keep. Only while the gods were distracted could his clever little book do its work, its grand accumulation.
If the pantheon’s predictions were correct, this year’s read would be most interesting indeed…
Braxthar gave a sigh and straightened up—after spending hours exploring another abandoned town in the Forever Dark, the ache in his back was excruciating. A search that, once again, had turned up nothing. This place had been looted by adventurers centuries before he found the map leading beneath the surface.
Turning back towards camp, Braxthar caught something just at the edge of his vision: a faint glow, the telltale sign of a secret door. He checked to ensure his revelator was on in disbelief, but the glow remained. It made no sense to the dwarf; he’d been through this area three times already today, and his meticulously crafted devices never gave false readings, even if his brother’s did. He turned a knob on the detectorium to check for traps and, finding none, carefully pressed his hand against the door.
To his surprise it swung open easily, not just unlocked and unbarred but almost as if it moved of its own volition. All that greeted Braxthar was a small plinth and a worn old book upon it, which beyond all reason, he felt compelled to read. He prepared to scan the room beyond for traps, but before he knew it he was standing with his hands on the tome. The dwarf struggled for the reason he’d just blindly walked into what could have been his death, but whatever had just happened was out of the grasp of his normally ordered and calculating mind. Before the intrepid explorer had time to ponder the anomaly any further, blue energy shimmered around both Braxthar and the book—and the world turned black.
An enormous giant charged toward him across a dry expanse, greatsword held ready to strike. Braxthar nearly dropped the book scrambling for cover that wasn’t there, barely avoiding the gnome that rocketed overhead to slash the behemoth’s hamstring with surgical precision. The ground shook as the giant crashed not two feet from Braxthar, momentarily stunned. Before it could recover, the gnome flashed Braxthar a casual smile, then buried his sword in the giant’s neck.
And Braxthar’s hold on the world slips away once more.
Swimming back to consciousness, the smell of saltwater fills Braxthar’s nose as he finds himself on the deck of a sailing ship. Spotting the gleaming spires of fair Srendath on the horizon, the dwarf briefly feels a semblance of place before being thrown into a wall of barrels by the unwary elbow of an orc twice his size.
Braxthar spins about to find the ship full of orcs and goblins prepared for war; a red fist decorating every uniform and crimson-painted hands clutching firearms of every type. As curiosity of these strange firearms begins to get the better of his caution, blackness consumes Braxthar again.
Sitting on the floor of the secret chamber, empty handed and confused, the dwarf hears a smooth, royal voice state, “Thank you, Braxthar Grimdrahk.”
The rattling of chains echoed deep beneath Mount Nestraka, where Shojo Matsumo, the Master in Irons, stalked a sect of the cult of Elaith. He knew they were down here, but after hours of searching, Shojo found a sliver of doubt had made its way into his steel heart.
The tunnel finally opened, yawning into a blinding expanse of shimmering colors, as if the brightest light of the sun shone upon His Personage of Golden Fortitude’s treasury. Unable to see beyond the threshold, Shojo focused his spirit and stepped within—expecting a cultist trap. Instead, a kaleidoscope of emotions overwhelmed him: his mind whipped between sublime bliss, great rage, and bottomless depression.
Without warning, the light disappeared and Shojo’s emotions calmed once more, leaving him in a small cavern littered where dozens of eyeless bodies faced the center of the room, where a thick tome floated above the floor, encircled by an azure halo. Hesitantly, Shojo approached the the old, leatherbound book and plucked it from the air—and in a blue flash, the room was empty. Unable to explain what had happened, Shojo Knew to take the tome to scholars in Verentai, for they could tell him what it truly was.
The tunnel behind him was not the same he had entered—miles of mazelike tunnels were now a hundred feet long, opening to a horizon hundreds of miles from where he had been. He could see Nokada, the seat of his ruler’s power in the distance, but felt compelled to instead visit Bahran-Tayl to the North, and see what new wonders the ju-wai shu masters were tearing from the veil of reality. Somehow, he knew that His Golden Personage of Fortitude could wait.
In Bahran-Tayl, the Master in Irons found himself ignored and unquestioned, walking alongside the powerful mages as though one of their number. Yet, after only an hour of marveling at their breathtaking experiments he grew profoundly weary, and lay down on a nearby cot to rest.
In what felt like moments, Shojo awoke in another place entirely. While he knew this was inexplicable, he remained untroubled and stepped outside into majestic Oisho, capital of Jerentok. For another hour, he took in the sights and sounds of the city before growing tired, laying down to rest, and awakening elsewhere.
The Master in Irons cannot recall how long this continued.
Shojo explored the thick Jungles of Zerrah, scaled the Triple Peaks of Wunai, and braved the Korelli Swamps. He sparred with dragonii warriors in Prealant, traded tales with pirates in Rukharr, and slept with a Crent-Sira nobleman. Eventually, Shojo found himself in Nokada once more.
He immediately returned to His Personage of Golden Fortitude to present the inexplicable book, only to find it had simply vanished. The ancient emperor nodded as though this were no surprise, and simply presented Master in Irons his next task. Though Shojo was relieved to avoid reprimand, he left the throne room puzzled, doubly so by a disembodied voice stating plainly, “thank you, Shojo…”
The pseudodragon looked startled. “You’re kidding, right boss? That thing’s a flying wreck.”
The Zeit Commander licked his lips and grinned, a response to which Gimmick could only groan. Spoony slammed the speedbrakes, held her steady, and screamed to a stop on the back of the crashing carrier.
He leaped from the cockpit and came up in a roll. Nobody came to challenge him though—his boys had done their work well.
“Alright, Gimmick. You know what we’re after—check the hold.”
“Aye aye, Spoony,” said the dragon,winging off through an open hatch. Spoony followed after, but went forward where his familiar had flown aft. Goblinvanian Intelligence hadn’t known much, just that it would be small, whatever it was. If it was his job to grab some advanced magical whatsit, and he couldn’t leave it with the rest of the cargo.
The flight deck was full of bodies, broken glass, and the blinking autopilot light. “Too easy,” said the goblin. Yet the captain’s pockets were empty, and a search revealed no secret compartments. Then Spoony’s ears twitched, hearing something behind his head.
“Didja find it?”
Spoony frowned, and turned. The sound hadn’t been Gimmick but instead an old, leatherbound book floating in the air totally ignorant of the scene around it. “Oh,” said the Zeit Commander. “Yeah. That would be it.” He reached…
Blue light. Elsewhere.
Spoony coughed on dust and looked around wildly. The engines sounded wrong, not aircraft at all. He was in some kind of arena full of oversized gobchoppers with enormous drivers at the controls—trolls, ogres, and giants. They swung lengths of chain longer than he was tall, and the crowds in the stands screamed for blood. As a pair of leather clad giants swerved towards him, Spoony braced for impact…
The engines were gone. Brine filled the air, and a strange chanting echoed all around. Spoony stood upon a tiny green island at sea. Weirdos in robes standing along the banks—worshiping him!
Spoony cupped a hand around his mouth and shouted, “Yeah thanks. Listen, your god commands you to tell him where the hell he is!”
The chanting abruptly stopped, and the robed figures looked at him bewildered. Then the green island moved, rising up, higher and higher, as gigantic tentacles reached for Spoony…
He was on his back, blinking at the roof of the cockpit. Gimmick was trying to drag him out of the crashing plane.
“Boss! Are you OK? Did you find the thing?”
“No,” he said, and realizing the book wasn’t in his hand any longer, “and no. Now run for it!”
Stunned by what he’d seen and heard, Yawvil stumbled to his bed, falling down on the soft linen and for the first time truly feeling the weight of his very, very long life.
For the first time in centuries, the gods knew more of what was happening in the mortal realms than he did—to even think of it filled him with frustration! The Metal Clans in Urethiel were fighting, scheming, and raiding. That bizarre wizard in Privatend was brewing trouble as well, with some demented sorcerer named Boris. Then there’s Goblinvania to worry about—when did they develop planes big enough to brave the flight across the ocean?
Summoning one of his many golems, Yawvil began to send for the items he would need, devices to harness their power, reagents for his most exotic magics—and the Veranthea Codex! That above all would prove to be pivotal in the arduous times ahead!
Its place on the bookshelf stood empty, and for a brief moment, the ancient mage felt anxiety—something he had long thought lost to him—until a familiar blue light filled the chamber. Yawvil’s old adventuring journal, once more embossed with resplendent gold and luxurious leather, had returned.
Hungrily he picked up the tome, searching through the Veranthea Codex for the fresh writing with details on the many emerging threats of this world he had declared his own…
Mike Myler and Rogue Genius Games are launching a Kickstarter later TODAY (6PM EST!) for a book everyone needs in their Pathfinder library—the Veranthea Codex.
Veranthea is Mike’s mad world, the campaign setting he started playing Pathfinder in years ago, and it’s been developing into a truly amazing project! But why are you reading about it on the AaWBlog?
The answer is simple—Mike’s borrowing some of the crew here to help bring his world to life in a beautiful hardback book!
Brian Wiborg Mønster is heading development and writing in Grethadnis!
Luis Loza and Colin Stricklin, two module authors from AdventureAWeek.com’s stables, fill out his core group of writers (developing Urethiel and Trectoyri, respectively).
Justin Andrew Mason is producing incredible graphics for the Veranthea Codex, doing the lion’s share of cartography (with the exception of Jonathan G. Nelson’s stretch goal), and is on to make some mythic content alongside Rory Toma (another great stretch goal)!
Another AdventureAWeek.com veteran—the other MM, Michael McCarthy—is on to develop material for stretch goals and is the lead editor, making sure that all of the content in the Veranthea Codex is top-notch!
Finally there’s Julian Neale, the mechanics engineer that worked with Mike Myler on the Underworld Classes product line—with his guiding hand on board, the archetypes and prestige classes throughout the Veranthea Codex are sure to be some of the most balanced material third party publishers have to offer!
This post is to get the word out; visit the Veranthea Codex tumblr for a peek at much of the existing content for Mike’s World, keep an eye out for the four FREE Veranthea Codex PDFs on d20pfsrdstore.com, DriveThruRPG.com, Paizo.com, and RPGNow.com, or drop by the Veranthea Codex Facebook page to get an early peek at the FREE PDFs releasing all throughout September!
If you like what you see, please tell your friends, share the Facebook page, and get ready for the Kickstarter launch TODAY at 6PM EST!
The Rise of the Drowbooks (check out the video!) are on the way and we’re ramping up to launch our next big book: a premium quality, masterfully illustrated, professional grade, macabre adventure of the most devious variety—an authentic, innovative re-working of the classic fairy tale Snow White. Just as soon as those wonderful Rise of the Drow books are shipped out, we’re giving that iconic story the ultimate RPG makeover.
Easily among AdventureAWeek.com’s finest products, it was reviewed by Endzeitgeist and earned a spot in the top ten of 2013! The plethora of talented designers, incredible illustrators, and industry celebrities involved in the Snow White Kickstarter is staggering and in June (because it is launching next month!) as stretch goals are met, you’re going to see some impressive names showing up! Myriad plans are in motion (including some of that Wolfgang Baur magic!) and there’s an amazing array of high quality content in the Snow White Kickstarter, sure to knock your socks off.
You don’t want to be late to this party either! There’s a few (a few) early bird spots for folks that pledge right away (we know our fans, and they know us—get in early folks!) Be ready this weekend, and join the Snow White Kickstarter when it launches to secure your copy of the book! To get some more of the lowdown on the Snow White Kickstarter you can head over to Gamer-XP.com or A Sword for Hire.com right now, but next month we’re going to have another interview with the wonderful ladies at Defective Geeks, and are working out a few others in the meanwhile.
Keep your eyes peeled and ready for the official launch next month, and if you aren’t sold by our pitch on the Snow White Kickstarter page, we’ll convince you as the project funding period continues!
Lone Wolf Development stands out as a leader in providing software for tabletop games. Their key products, Army Builder and Hero Lab, are award winning products that set the standard to which others aspire. Their newest product, Realm Works, is poised to follow in those footsteps. They are currently running a Kickstarter to pack more features into the initial release scheduled for July, and we wanted to share the project with you.
Realm Works is a robust, powerful campaign management system. It allows GMs to manage their campaigns in ways never before possible. Realm Works is “game system neutral”, and can be used no matter what types of games you play. Its flexible nature offers benefits to a wide array of GMs and doesn’t dictate you use a certain style in your campaigns. Using Realm Works, GMs can create, manage, and share their world using a single tool, rather than trying to cobble things together with multiple, disconnected applications.
Realm Works will be released in July with a substantial feature set, and your support of the Kickstarter will result in the delivery of more features sooner than otherwise possible. Some of the key features already built for the initial release allow GMs to:
Quickly develop new content and revise existing ideas for any genre (e.g. fantasy, sci-fi, modern,) and any play style.
Effortlessly manage diverse content, including images, maps, Hero Lab portfolios, statblocks, audio, video, and virtually anything else.
Intuitively organize content for on-demand access and review during play, placing everything at your fingertips for quick and easy retrieval. No more leafing through pages of notes to find the information you need!
Determine exactly what information is known by the players and what remains hidden at a glance.
Incrementally review and display every aspect of your world to players, including maps, using their patent-pending Fog of World technology. Realm Works makes it a breeze to do this, requiring only a single mouse click. This functionality revolutionizes how you share your world with your players, easily showing them only what they learn during the game.
The Rise of the Drow Trilogy Kickstarter by Adventureaweek.com just went live. So, what’s all the fuss about?
Here’s Stephen Yeardley (co-author of RotD) to tell you a bit more!
Adventureaweek.com puts out a new D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder Role-playing game compatible adventure every single week. In 2012 we released a popular and critically acclaimed trilogy called Rise of the Drow, but it’s only available in PDF format. We’d like your help to transform this into a single fully illustrated, full color, premium edition hardback book with loads of expanded content. Even if you aren’t familiar with the Rise of the Drow trilogy, you can grab an introductory pdf adventure to get in on the action and help do your part!
The Mushroom Forest will have even more action between the guardian golems and the chokers that are attempting to defeat them. Holoth will have more information about visitors, houses, and all that takes place as the PCs work their way through the city either by stealth or by fighting, and face the final house. Embla will be expanded, telling you more about its trade, its influence on the region, and the battling dwarves who are attempting to save their town.
Yul’s lair, already mysterious, will have great depth, greater challenge, and be an environment that the PCs will truly learn to fear. The Demi-plane of Venom, deadly already, will become a greater challenge that everyone will truly remember.
However, what I’m sure you want to know about is the all-new material that you’ll be getting. So where do we start? Well, triple ENnie winner Todd Gamble will be giving you new maps, both of all the current areas, plus many more of the additional action, and we’re aiming for cloth versions to use as fantastic players aids.
We have guest authors bringing you all-new environments and encounters, such as an entirely new drow house that will play a challenging part of the action in Holoth, a complete Undersea with ancient pirates, lost dwarves, and a ship that travels through the entire Underworld, a scene-stealing, PC-chomping deep dragon, and its realm, the dwarven Underworld capital of Stoneholme will be introduced for your PCs to perhaps visit, and certainly explore at a later date. The history of the Vidre, allowing deep immersion into their alien world will be given for the PCs to experience.
The hidden dwellings of other denizens that live and die around those two cities of Embla and Holoth will be introduced so that allies and enemies alike can be found as the PCs travel through the Underworld. The Rift-Realms of the undead members of the various Holoth drow houses will be given greater strength and emphasis. Other planes that the Drow Spider Temple touches on will have gateways introduced and expanded information.
$5,000: Hero Lab files of all monsters and NPCs.
$6,000: Endzeitgeist, Paizo community reviewer extraordinaire (over 1000 reviews!), to author a section – The ecology of the Vidre, the primary adversaries in Usurper of Souls.
$7,000: New Interior Art by Rick Hershey.
$8,000: Robert Gruver, of D-Infinity and Skirmisher Publishing to author a section – A new batlike race exclusive to the underworld, and mechanics for echolocation in combat. Robert Gruver is a writer, father, and husband from Houston, Texas. He has numerous credits to his name including articles for “d-Infinity Magazine”, and has story in Skirmisher Publishing LLC’s “Swords of Kos: Hekaton” anthology. He is the host of the weekly gaming Youtube show “d-Infinity Live!” (youtube.com/robsmasher)
$9,000: New Interior Art by Tim Tyler
$10,000: Jason Stoffa, co-founder of Fat Goblin Games to author a new section – on the Undersea and a new subrace of corrupted dwarves.
$11,000: Brian “Necroblivion” Berg to author “House Everhate” – The sick mind behind Total Party Kill Games will be bringing us a new drow house for use within the environs of the Rise of the Drow adventures. He will breathe life into House Everhate, a fallen incestuous drow house crushed by its peers and left to rot. Fester they did, and out of sight is out of mind. Generations later they hunger for revenge, willing to use and manipulate anyone and anything they can in order to reclaim their former status and wreak their everlasting vengeance.
$12,000: A Book Golem Interior Art by Jen Page. Yes, that Jen Page.
$13,000: Owen K.C. Stephens to author new source material on a deep dragon’s machinations – The Lead Developer for Super Genius Gamesand contributing author to the Star Wars, Everquest, Black Company and Wheel of Time RPGs plus innumerable Pathfinder sourcebooks will bring us the details of a deep dragon’s lair. This source material will bring a new level of terror to these deep realms and possibly turn your players into crunchy bits.
$14,000: [LOCKED] New cover art to be designed by the inimitable[LOCKED].
$15,000: [LOCKED] – A fantastically themed stretch goal that will knock your socks off and be exclusively limited to backers of the Rise of the Drow Kickstarter. We won’t announce this until we hit the previous stretch goal.
A Free Adventure, New Kickstarter, and Print Adventures!
2013 is already promising to be a fruitful year for Adventureaweek.com. We’ve kicked off the new year by introducing PRINT adventures for the very first time starting with Kevin Mickelson’s adventure for Pathfinder Beginner, “A Learning Time” available to order at DriveThruRPG.com now!
We would also like to announce the launch of the Rise of the Drow hardback Kickstarter coming February 1st! This massive adventure (totaling well over 500 pages) already begs to be a mega module with a solid home on your RPG bookshelf. In addition to transforming the PDF into a hardback book, we also aim to increase the overall length of the volume and add special guest authors. We will also be introducing a group of top notch artists that will help give the AaW Underworld a fresh coat of paint.
Join us and help make this book possible, if for nothing else than to scare the crap out of your players when you confront them with the dreaded demi-plane of Venom and Matron Maelora of House Gullion wielding the uber-powerful Vidrefacte artifact.
If you missed the free adventure A0: Crow’s Rest Island make sure you download it here, or if you’re already a trial member jump here to snag it!
There’s more to come, and more free stuff on the way, but I’m running out of room (the book golem only allows me to write so much), so I must say my farewell.