As those who support the Dolmenwood Patreon are aware, work on the fabled Dolmenwood hardcover books is moving along at a good pace. I thought it'd be fun to give a little update on how things are progressing and share a few screenshots of the work in progress.
As a reminder of what the Dolmenwood project involves:
- Dolmenwood is a fairy-tale campaign setting for Old-School Essentials.
- Three hardcover books will be published as a set.
- The Dolmenwood Player's Book: new classes, equipment, and player's background.
- The Dolmenwood Campaign Book: referee's background, details on the 7 major factions, 12 most important settlements, and 180+ hexes.
- The Dolmenwood Monster Book: a bestiary of fairy-tale monsters for the setting.
- Much of the content from the old Wormskin zine will be included in the three books (in a revised form), along with a much larger amount of new content. See this blog post for more details.
- The plan is to run a Kickstarter for the books when they're finished, including lots of fancy extras. (I won't say exactly what fancy extras are planned, as plans are not yet finalised.)
What's Being Worked On Now?
With a big project like this, there are a lot of things going on in parallel. Here are the main things that are happening currently:
- Writing (of course). The majority of the writing in the books is new, but there's also a lot of work on editing and revising older text (including lots of material from the old Wormskin zine) to bring everything into a consistent whole.
- Layout and visual design. I'm very fortunate to have the aid of Vasili Kaliman (Singing Flame) on the typography and visual design side of the books. His input is really taking things to the next level. The design is still in progress, so the screenshots below aren't to be regarded as final at this stage, but I'm really excited by the direction we're going.
- Art direction and illustration. These books will require hundreds of illustrations. I'm steadily commissioning art in parallel with working on the writing, layout, etc.
The writing and layout of the Dolmenwood Player's Book are around 95% complete, so my main focus now is on the Dolmenwood Campaign Book (which is by far the largest of the three books—see below for more details on the projected page counts).
When Will the Kickstarter Launch?
The answer to this is still "when the books are ready". I've announced estimated dates in the past and they've all proven to be wrong, so I'm not going to do so again. Work on the project is now progressing very steadily, but there's still a long way to go.
If you want a monthly dose of Dolmenwood in the meantime, I'd recommend joining the Patreon. We have a really nice community of Dolmenwood fans building up there and people are raving about the monthly content packages that have been released so far.
Table of Contents Previews
One of the best ways to show what each book is going to contain is to show the tables of contents. Here we go! Each is shown alongside the cover art for that book (by Ulla Thynell).
The Dolmenwood Player's Book
Writing on the Dolmenwood Player's Book is very nearly finished and the book comes in at 112 pages. A few notes to elaborate on what you can see in the table of contents above:
- There's a section on each playable race, including reams of tables for generating fun and quirky details of PCs or NPCs.
- There are 8 new character classes, 4 of which are demihumans.
- Rules for separate race and class are also provided, for those who prefer Advanced-style character creation.
- Three new systems of magic are included.
- 16 pages of new equipment, including meaty lists of fun stuff like pipeweed and spirituous beverages!
- Supplemental material in the appendices delves deeper into the setting background, with information on the calendar, noble houses, and saints.
The Dolmenwood Campaign Book
The Dolmenwood Campaign Book is the really big one. The structure of the book is pretty much nailed now, but much of the content still needs to be written up from the notes that I have. It currently comes in at 348 pages but will probably expand somewhat by the time it's finished (see? a real beast of a book!). A few notes to elaborate on what you can see in the table of contents above:
- Each of the 7 major factions gets a 4+ page description, including detailed write-ups and portraits of the most important NPCs in each faction.
- 12 settlements get detailed write-ups (4+ pages each) 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.
- 180+ hexes (final number not yet known) get full descriptions—a page per hex.
- Additional rules and tables flesh out the procedures for exploring the forest, weather, hunting, camping in the wilds, etc.
The Dolmenwood Monster Book
As the Dolmenwood Campaign Book is so huge, I decided to to split out the monsters into their own book. I'm not a fan doorstep gaming books. I feel anything over 400-odd pages gets unwieldy and difficult to use at the table. It's also kind of nice to have a three book set following the traditional PHB, DMG, MM split.
Anyway, the Dolmenwood Monster Book is the smallest of the three, coming in at 88 pages currently. I have write-ups for most of the monsters in the book, though they need editing to get them into a uniform format.
A few notes to elaborate on what you can see in the table of contents above:
- The book includes guidelines for which standard Old-School Essentials monsters fit the flavour of Dolmenwood.
- There will also be a bit more detail on adventuring parties in Dolmenwood and the different types of normal humans that can be encountered.
- Each monster has an accompanying illustration.
- Other than that, there's not much to say. It's a big book of monsters!
Join one of our communities to chat about Dolmenwood!
>I love the art and what’s been shown of the setting so far. While I gather a broad inspiration was the interaction between Pagan Celts and Christian Romans/ Germanics. What was the main inspiration for the art work?
I wouldn’t say Dolmenwood takes much inspiration from the Roman Empire period of British history. It’s inspired by medieval / renaissance England, so a firmly monotheistic society with lots of relics of the pagan past.
As for the artwork, I select artists whose style conveys the creepiness, wonder, and whimsy of traditional fairy tales.
I love the art and what’s been shown of the setting so far. While I gather a broad inspiration was the interaction between Pagan Celts and Christian Romans/ Germanics. What was the main inspiration for the art work?
Man, this looks awesome! I just ordered Hole in the Oak and Winter’s Daughter because I was so impressed by the classic OSE rules tome. Everything I’ve seen about Dolmenwood so far seems incredible. Can’t wait for these books!
I am excited to back this project when it goes live. I have all of the Wormskins and I am going to soon join the Patreon. I am going to start my groups journey in Dolmenwood at the beggining of Summer. At the moment I am trying to find and paint miniatures that match the setting. I also created a short video to show new players during session zero to get them in the mood and give them the flavor of the setting. I will link the video I made in the discord channel.
>Excellent! I have been patiently waiting for news about this project. I look forward to backing it as soon as it hits Kickstarter. But, I do have a question. Will it contain the content from The Weird that befell Drigbolton? I ask because I have waited to purchase it hoping that it might get bundled into a project like this.
No, the Campaign Book won’t include any adventure modules.