Publishing a book triggers a twofold celebration for me: I can finally share my work with the world, and I’m able to jump wholeheartedly into a new project.
With Ghost Mode & Other Strange Stories now available on Amazon, I’ve already turned my attention to the next book. And while there are no shortage of sequels I could pen or other original stories clamoring for my attention, I’ve decided to step away from traditional storytelling for a while.
Instead, I’m going to try my hand at interactive fiction—specifically, a tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG) set in the parodical fantasy world of Mezzo-Earth, featured in The Lost Tale of Sir Larpsalot (LToSL).
Make an insight check
If this sounds familiar, I admit I teased something similar for Altaerra, the world of The Renegade Chronicles and Magic’s Daughter, a couple of years ago (“Renegade Chronicles coming to tabletop RPGs”). But whereas that blog post was an April Fools’ prank, I am truly committed to the Larpsalot TTRPG.
As a matter of fact, after making the aforementioned joke, I did spend some time exploring the possibility of creating an Altaerra-based adventure—maybe a campaign set in Port Town that runs parallel to the Renegades’ escapades or a quest in Western Capricon that shows what happens after Klye et al. leave.
I ultimately elected not pursue it for the following reasons:
- Altaerra is big, so creating a module that taps into so much lore—and deciding what makes the cut and what doesn’t—is a daunting proposition.
- While Altaerra is big, the island province of Capricon isn’t particularly diverse as far as creatures go. I worried about a lack of variety in battles and other encounters.
- The Renegade Chronicles sets many significant events in stone, so tying a campaign to that time and setting is limiting in other ways, too.
Better to start to start with something smaller in scope, like The Lost Tale of Sir Larpsalot—which is not to say I won’t revisit the possibility of producing an Altaerra TTRPG in the future.
Roll for initiative
Before I go into specifics about the LToSL TTRPG, you might be wondering why this novelist is even interested in writing a game.
As alluded to in a past blog post (“A fantasy author’s approach to D&D”), I was interested in playing Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) at a young age but settled for reading the shared-world fiction that surrounded settings like Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms. In recent years, however, I’ve played and even led a number of tabletop adventures. To make a long tale short, D&D has become a favorite pastime of mine.
I also have had the pleasure of working on a project with Goodman Games, a purveyor of high-quality TTRPGs, earlier this year. I’ll be sharing more about endeavor that in a future post, but suffice it to say, the experience provided an excellent excuse to dive into the game mechanics of fifth-edition D&D. Moreover, I’ve had “Make a Video Game” on my bucket list for a long time, and producing a tabletop game seems a smart way to earn experience and learn more about interactive fiction as a whole.
Most importantly, I believe a playable adventure that explores the pun-riddled realm of Mezzo-Earth will yield a hoard of fun.
Make an investigation check
Even though I’m still early in the planning of this project, here are a few details I can share:
- The as-of-yet unnamed Sir Larpsalot TTRPG will be published in print and digital formats and will likely be distributed via drivethrurpg.com.
- The game will largely adhere to D&D 5E rules.
- My best guess is that the campaign will take two or three sessions to complete, but my goal is to write it in such a way that multiple playthroughs are not only possible, but rewarding.
- Because I’m gearing this adventure to both avid tabletop gamers and younger/inexperienced players, I’ll be including six pre-rolled characters—the original heroes of Good Company plus a new (secret) character.
- The game will feature original classes, spells, and magical items.
- Plan A—no, not Brutus’s battleaxe—has me working on the writing and commissioning the art throughout 2021, with the hopes of making the game available for playtesting in early 2022. That means the game won’t be available to the public until mid-2022 at the earliest.
Contact me if you are interested in being a playtester!
Roll with advantage
As that final bullet illustrates, the LToSL TTRPG will keep me quite busy for the next year. Of course, I have a smattering of other projects to be interspersed throughout that period, including polishing a short story for an upcoming anthology, hopefully editing more Goodman Games products, and publishing my weekly webcomic Curmudgeons & Flagons.
However, I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves, roll some dice, and eventually roll out my first true work of interactive fiction.