A Deep Dive Into the Dolmenwood Hardcover Books

Gavin Norman dolmenwood

I shared this mockup of the 3 in-development Dolmenwood hardcover books yesterday (featuring cover art by the wonderful Ulla Thynell) and some questions arose around exactly what's in each of the books. So I thought it'd be fun to do a really deep dive into each book's table of contents to see what's in them!

A Note on Usability and Format

Looking at the page counts of the three books combined (likely to be over 600 pages of material!), one might be concerned about having to memorize vast tracts of lore. This is not the intention.

While Dolmenwood is presented as a complete and elaborately detailed campaign setting, our focus is on making the material as easy to use and reference as possible. We're applying the same structural and layout principles used in Old-School Essentials to make things super easy to use at the table. For example, the descriptions of the 200 hexes on the Dolmenwood map are written so that they can be used without any prep.

Also bear in mind that the 600-odd pages are not just walls of text. They're loaded with illustrations, maps, tables, and charts.

Still in Development

As the books are still in development, the final page counts and exact contents may vary slightly from what's described below. The structure of each book is pretty much nailed down at this stage, though, so the info below should be pretty accurate.

Want to Follow the Development?

We run a Patreon where backers receive monthly PDFs of freshly written sections of the Dolmenwood hardcover books, building up to their completion. For just €2 a month, you'll get a monthly dose of new Dolmenwood material plus access to all past content packages — almost 300 pages of material at the time of writing!

Join here: patreon.com/necroticgnome

 

The Dolmenwood Player's Book (~110 Pages)

This book acts as a complete guide to playing in games set in Dolmenwood, including both the lore that player characters would know about the place and rules for new Dolmenwood races, classes, equipment, magic, and so forth. Its 110-odd pages are divided into 7 sections, as follows.

Welcome to Dolmenwood

  • 2 page intro to the book.
  • 2 page high-level player's intro to the setting, aimed at players who want to jump right in.
  • 2 page player's intro to the major factions that vie for power in Dolmenwood.
  • 2 page gazetteer, with a map and an overview of 12 of the most important locales in the Wood.
  • 2 pages of legends and folktales that adventurers will have heard about Dolmenwood.

Sentient Folk

  • 2 page overview of the three types of sentient creatures that dwell in Dolmenwood: mortals, fairies, and demi-fey.
  • 2 page descriptions of each of the 5 playable races presented in the book (elves, grimalkins, humans, moss dwarfs, and woodgrues), including reams of tables for inspiration: names, backgrounds, physical characteristics, and personality traits.
  • 2 page description of the 12 languages spoken in Dolmenwood.

Character Classes

  • 2 page descriptions of 8 new character classes: Dolmenwood elf, Dolmenwood knight, friar, grimalkin, hunter, minstrel, moss dwarf, and woodgure.
  • 2 pages of advice on how standard Old-School Essentials character classes fit into Dolmenwood.

Separate Race and Class

  • 6 pages of optional rules for selecting a character's race and class separately.

Magic

  • 2 page overview of clerical spells in Dolmenwood, including information on which of Dolmenwood's saints is associated with each clerical spell.
  • 4 pages of elf runes, available to characters of the Dolmenwood elf class.
  • 2 pages of fairy glamours, available to elf and grimalkin characters.
  • 2 pages of moss dwarf knacks, available to moss dwarf characters.

Equipment, Services, and Animals

  • 2 pages of optional tables to expedite equipment selection when creating a character.
  • 2 pages of new arms and adventuring gear.
  • 2 page description of 8 types of hound that characters can buy, including full combat stats. (A mini hound bestiary!)
  • 2 pages detailing the services and costs of poor, common, and fancy lodgings, including 40 example dishes.
  • 2 pages of beverages, including details of 28 different drinks and optional rules for inebriation.
  • 2 pages of pipeweeds, including 20 different kinds.
  • 2 pages of medicinal herbs and fungi that PCs can purchase, with 20 varieties and their mechanical effects detailed.
  • 2 pages of tables for odd trinkets. (100 trinkets in total.)

Appendices

  • 2 page overview of travel and exploration procedures in Dolmenwood, including terrain travel difficulty, hunting, fishing, and foraging.
  • 2 pages of optional rules for extra detail around camping in the wilds.
  • 2 page overview of the Dolmenwood calendar.
  • 2 page overview of the seasons in Dolmenwood, including the 4 mysterious unseasons.
  • 2 page overview of the moon in Dolmenwood, including optional rules for the influences of the moon at the time of a character's birth.
  • 2 page overview of the 9 noble houses of Dolmenwood. (Especially useful for knight PCs.)
  • 6 page description of the 34 major saints of Dolmenwood, including their domains of patronage, their feast days, and the myths associated with them. (Especially useful for clerical PCs.)
  • Credits, Open Game License, etc.

The Dolmenwood Campaign Book (~400 Pages)

This book is the heart and centrepiece of the set, where Dolmenwood is fully elaborated. Its 400-odd pages are divided into 6 sections, as follows.

Secrets of Dolmenwood

  • 2 page intro to the book.
  • 2 page high-level referee's overview of the setting, including summaries of the major factions in the Wood.
  • 6 page description of the 12 regions Dolmenwood is divided into, including maps delineating the borders between regions.
  • 4 page telling of the history of Dolmenwood, from primeval days of yore to the present day.
  • 2 page overview of the ley lines and standing stones of the Wood. The powers of individual stones are explained in the hex descriptions (see later).
  • 2 page description of the great warding ring that circles the western portion of Dolmenwood.
  • 2 page overview of the parallel realm of Fairy and how one can get there from Dolmenwood.
  • 4 page description of the fairy roads that crisscross Dolmenwood and what travellers who dare set foot in them might encounter along the way.
  • 6 page description of the 18 most powerful fairy nobles who have a connection to Dolmenwood.
  • 4 page description of the ancient godlings tied to Dolmenwood.

Factions and Powers

  • 4-6 page descriptions of each of the 7 major factions that vie for power in Dolmenwood, including their schemes, a map of the regions of the Wood in which they hold power, and full NPC descriptions + portraits for the most important NPCs in each faction.
  • 2 page overview of the relationships between the factions.
  • 2 page overview of how each faction interacts with adventurers.

Settlements

  • 4-8 page descriptions of the 12 most important settlements in Dolmenwood, including a map, encounter tables, loads of NPCs, and detailed information on lodgings, shops, and sites of interest.

Exploring the Wild

  • 2 page overview of travel procedures in Dolmenwood, including terrain travel difficulty, weather tables, and getting lost.
  • 2 pages of encounter tables for all regions of the Wood.
  • 2 page description of fishing in Dolmenwood, including a simple procedure and 20 edible fish that might be caught.
  • 2 page description of foraging in Dolmenwood, including a simple procedure, 20 edible mushrooms, and 20 edible plants that might be found.
  • 2 page description of hunting in Dolmenwood, including a simple procedure and 15 animals that might be caught (including full combat stats!).
  • 2 pages of optional rules for extra detail around camping in the wilds.

Hex Descriptions

  • 200 pages of hex descriptions. This is the real meat of the setting, describing what adventurers might encounter in each of the 200 hexes on the Dolmenwood campaign map, one hex per page. The hex descriptions are formatted in a super easy to reference style, for quick use at the table and are accompanied by a mini map showing the hex in context

Appendices

  • About 10 pages of rumour tables by topic (i.e. what PCs might hear when they ask locals about certain topics) and by settlement (i.e. rumours that might be heard in a specific settlement). These tables act as hooks to drive adventure and exploration around the forest.
  • 8 pages of magical / unusual / poisonous fungi, herbs, alchemical concoctions, etc.
  • 4 pages of new spells.
  • Credits, Open Game License, etc.

The Dolmenwood Monster Book (~100 Pages)

A companion to the Campaign Book, this bestiary is indispensable for referees running campaigns in Dolmenwood or any who wish to add a dose of fairy tale weirdness to campaigns in other settings. Its 100-odd pages are divided into 3 sections, as follows.

Monsters of Dolmenwood

  • 2 page intro to the book.
  • 4 pages of info on using standard Old-School Essentials monsters in Dolmenwood, including lists of monsters recommended to reinforce the fairy tale flavour of the setting.
  • 2 pages of tables for adding details to encounters with various types of normal human (traders, pilgrims, etc.).
  • 2 pages of NPC adventuring party generators, including the new Dolmenwood classes presented in the Player's Book.

Bestiary

  • 64 pages of new monsters, one monster per page. All monsters are written in an easy to reference style for quick use at the table and are accompanied by a colour illustration and random tables of traits, lairs, and encounters.

Appendices

  • 2 pages of encounter tables for all regions of the Wood.
  • 4 pages of lists of monsters by type and by Hit Dice.
  • Credits, Open Game License, etc.

 



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  • DMTimothy on

    What an excellent source for any DM!! I really am excited about this whole sTrAnGe world that combines fairy, characters, world and monster with factions and an adventure! WOW! YOU GUYS REALLY WENT ALL OUT!!! If I were to create a world I would do almost the exact same thing that you guys have been doing for 5 years all ready! I am a woodgrue patron and I am not disappointed at all! ZINE ON!!!!

  • Benno on

    Love this! Very much looking forward to it.

    Though I hope Exalted Funeral will have EU-stores by then.

  • Gavin Norman on

    >Is this going to be a kickstarter campaign and if so, can you give an estimate, even if rough, when it might start?

    Yep, once the books are finished we’ll run a Kickstarter to do the deluxe print versions. I’ve given estimated dates in the past and they were totally wrong, so I’m not giving dates any more. It’ll simply be ready when it’s ready.

  • Gavin Norman on

    >Is there a playtest for this? And if there is how much of the Dolmenwood books is complete? Not necessarily release ready, but gameable.

    The Patreon has around 280 pages of gameable material right now. There’s the complete Player’s Book, complete history and setting background, 6/7 faction write-ups, nearly 70 hex descriptions, and some monsters.

  • Jeff D on

    Is this going to be a kickstarter campaign and if so, can you give an estimate, even if rough, when it might start?



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