It's been over a year since the last progress report on Dolmenwood — Necrotic Gnome's fairy tale and folk horror campaign setting — so I thought it was time for an update!
Work on the three big hardcover books is progressing extremely well. In fact, I can now confidently say that the end is in sight. Looking at the work that's been done and what remains to be finalised, here's a high-level progress bar for each of the three books:
- Dolmenwood Player's Book: 114 pages. 95% finished.
- Dolmenwood Campaign Book: 400 pages. 75% finished.
- Dolmenwood Monster Book: 96 pages. 50% finished.
(That makes for an overall 73.33% progress.)
A Detailed Look at Each Book
The Dolmenwood Player's Book
As the first book that I seriously started work on, this book has been more or less finished for a long time. Here's what's in the book:
- 10 pages of introductory material, including a player's gazetteer, a player's overview of Dolmenwood, and some rumours and folklore.
- 14 pages of info (including loads of flavourful tables) on the sentient races of Dolmenwood
- 8 new character classes, along with guidelines for using standard Old-School Essentials classes in Dolmenwood.
- Rules for creating characters with separate race and class.
- 12 pages on magic in Dolmenwood, including rules for fairy glamours, elf runes, and moss dwarf knacks.
- 16 pages on equipment in Dolmenwood, including trinkets, quick start equipment tables, new adventuring gear, useful herbs and fungi, beverages, lodgings, hounds, and pipeweeds.
- Appendices with rules for exploring the wilds, details on the calendar and climate of Dolmenwood, optional rules for moon signs, and an overview of the noble houses and saints of Dolmenwood.
Status (95%): Everything apart from a page or two of the introductory material is complete.
The Dolmenwood Campaign Book
This book is the heart and centrepiece of the campaign setting. It's around 4 times longer than the Player's Book or the Monster Book. (400 pages vs 100-odd pages in the other two.) Most of my work over the last year has been on this book. Here's what's in it:
- 34 pages of introductory and setting background information, including a referee's gazetteer, an overview of the history of Dolmenwood, details on the ley lines and standing stones, an overview of the parallel realm of Fairy, its rulers, and how to get there, and a listing of the ancient Wood Gods once venerated in Dolmenwood.
- 4-6 page write-ups of each of the 7 major factions, including detailed descriptions and portraits of the most important NPCs in each faction (23 NPCs total).
- 4-8 page write-ups of 12 settlements and the important NPCs that dwell in them, each accompanied by night and day encounter tables and a beautiful map by Arlin Ortiz. The Castle Brackenwold write-up, for example, covers 21 numbered locations in the city, comes in at 8 pages, and includes descriptions of 7 additional NPCs.
- 12 pages of additional rules and tables fleshing out the procedures for exploring the forest, weather, fishing, foraging, hunting, and camping in the wilds.
- 200 pages of fantastic locations throughout the Wood — one page for each of the 200 hexes on the campaign map.
- Appendices with rumours, new spells, and magical herbs and fungi.
Status (75%): All introductory material apart from a page or two is complete, 11 / 12 settlements complete, factions complete, exploration rules complete, 115 / 200 hexes complete, appendices being fleshed out as work on hexes continues.
The Dolmenwood Monster Book
As the third book in the set, this book has seen less work so far and will be the last to be completed. Luckily, it's by far the least involved, as write-ups of most of the monsters already exist in an older format and just need to be revised and finalised. Here's what's in the book:
- 10 pages of introductory material, including information on the types of normal humans that one might meet in Dolmenwood, a Dolmenwood-specific NPC adventuring party generator (including quests), and a list of standard Old-School Essentials monsters recommended for use in Dolmenwood.
- 62 new monsters, each with a colour illustration and tables of example traits, encounters, and lairs.
- Appendices with tables of trade goods and handy lists of monsters by Hit Dice and by type.
Status (50%): The introductory material and appendices are about half finished, 36 / 62 monsters complete, all monster illustrations complete.
Want to Follow the Development?
We run a Patreon where backers can support the ongoing development of Dolmenwood and get access to the in-development books. That's over 400 pages of material at the time of writing!
Patrons at the €2 ($2.50) tier receive monthly PDFs of freshly written sections of the books, while patrons at the €5 ($6.50) tier also get access to the complete PDFs of the books as they stand (as described above).
Join here: patreon.com/necroticgnome
When Will It Be Complete?
The 1,000,000gp question! In the recent past, the answer to that question has been "when it's ready". The scope of the project is so large that I didn't want to give estimates that might then turn out to be totally misleading. Better not to give an estimate at all.
Now that the end is in sight, however, I feel ready to give an estimate: the Kickstarter for the Dolmenwood Campaign Setting will probably be around 1st quarter 2023. Some notes on that:
- It's still an estimate. We've not started seriously planning the Dolmenwood Kickstarter, so won't announce an actual date until much closer to the time. The date will depend on a lot of factors, including the schedules of lots of other people who'll be involved.
- I feel confident that the books will be finished (or very nearly so) by that time, though.
- When I say "finished", I'm talking about writing and layout. There will most likely still be some artwork remaining to be done.
A Few Notes On Wormskin
People who have followed the development of Dolmenwood for a long time are probably familiar with the Wormskin zine. The 8 issues of the zine (published Dec 2015 to Feb 2018) were the first exploration of Dolmenwood, with a series of piecemeal articles describing some scattered bits and pieces of the Wood. A couple of notes on that:
- As almost everything from the zine issues will be featured in the full campaign setting books (in a revised and updated format), the zine issues are now considered legacy products.
- As such, they will be removed from sale at some point. (It'd be very confusing to have the old, outdated version of the material available alongside the shiny, finalised campaign setting books!) We'll give some advance warning when the end of Wormskin is imminent.
- If you want to get into Dolmenwood right now, by far your best bet is to support our Patreon. For €5 ($6.50) you'll get access to over 400 pages of material — more than enough to start running a Dolmenwood campaign right now!