The Lady Sleeps
James, have you ever heard of The Five Room Dungeon? http://www.strolen.com/content.php?node=4276 Have a look at it and see what you think in terms of planning out an adventure.
Emailed from JamesP:
Some things that came to mind:
Knights in shining armour
A legendary sword
A band of brothers
The power of prophecy
Love and loss, doomed romance
A holy quest
A powerful wizard
The sword in the stone
Images conjured up:
Gleaming armoured knights galavanting across the countryside. A band of brothers sundered by mortal shortcomings. Mysterious and enigmatic magic wielders, both good and evil. Scheming, plotting villains in dark towers.
I noticed you said Arthurian-inspired, rather than Arthurian. I think this is a much better route too. What things does Arthurian bring to mind for you?
Emailed from Matt:
I can lend you the Fionavar books, they're an excellent read.
I've not read A Song of Fire and Ice but I've heard a lot of good things about it. I may try and look it up sometime soon.
In terms of what I want to do, I think at the moment I'd like to write an adventure. Trying to write a whole setting is likely to end up with burnout and frustration, but a short adventure is do-able. Once it's written, I intend to hit every gaming company I can think of with it and see if they'll at least take a look at it, offer suggestions, so on and so forth.
Here's a question for you – what do you mean by Arthurian? What does that word conjure up for you?
Emailed from James:
Hi Matt, those both sound like interesting reads, particularly the Fionavar books. I will definitely try to get a hold of them. I am happy to try something Arthurian, it will be good to have a direction for our prospective project!
On a semi-related note, have you read any of George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Fire and Ice" books? I'm only on the first one so far, but it has a really Arthurian feel to it, very much medieval feudal houses, little or no magic, classic royal bloodlines type story complete with bastards, scheming eunachs, true kings, exiled princes, etc. etc. It has really rekindled my faith in fantasy books to be honest.
What form do you imagine the collaboration taking from here? A setting, an adventure?
Emailed from Matt:
Hi James, I said I'd get back to you on this.
Have you read The Dark Is Rising books by Susan Cooper? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Is_Rising
Or the Fionavar Tapestry books? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fionavar_Tapestry
Both of them deal with Arthurian mythology, mixed in with other sources, but based much more in terms of humans, consequences and so forth than the kind of vague mish-mash that D&D normally uses (which is not to say I don't enjoy it!). I want to write in this area – the first Arthurian-influenced writing for 4e.
How does that sound?
Emailed from JamesP:
Hi Matt, just thought I'd write with a few more thoughts on our possible collaboration. I imagine you'd have let me know if anyone had written to you with any ideas? Just so you know, I'm happy to proceed with the concept even if it ends up just being you and I, but I'd understand if you want to only go ahead with a big team, for whatever reason! I suppose it's jumping the gun a little to continue with the rough idea I proposed last week, but as no other suggestions have been forthcoming, I thought we could just run with it for a little while, and if it mutates into something else entirely, then so be it!
I see the adventure as needing to be tackled in several stages. Either we assign different people to different tasks, and let them plug away at it on their own, sharing their progress whenever they feel like it, or as a group we address each stage in turn, focusing on one until we're satisfied with it, then moving on to the next. I prefer the second approach, personally, but I'm open to suggestions of course!
I've identified a few areas that are obviously essential to a written adventure:
read-aloud text describing locations, NPCs, etc.
either designing new monsters specific to the adventure or selecting appropriate ones from other sources, or (more likely) modifying existing ones.
designing the progression of the adventure, including adventure hooks, etc.
All the questions and answers for quest givers and other major NPCs, etc.
Editing & proof reading
If anyone wants to nominate an area they feel they're particularly strong in I guess that would be good.