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Guild-Only Editing Rates

I get asked a lot about my rates for editing projects destined for the DM’s Guild. In the interest of having them out there and available, here they are:

Provided you send me a Word file, I use “Track Changes” to cover the following:

  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Grammar
  • Spacing
  • Capitalization
  • Syntax (sentence structure & readability)
  • Style
  • Clarity
  • Removing repetition & simple wording
  • Correcting passive voice
  • Quality feedback & suggestions to improve your manuscript
  • I make a first pass like a beta-reader. If I find a plot or rules hole, I’ll tell you and make suggestions toward fixing them. Then I’ll dig into the copy editing.

Pertinent to the last entry, you also get one revision per hole. For example, if I do the beta-reading and copy editing, and you write 500 more words to plug a hole I found before I finish the copy editing, I’ll copy-edit the new material and those words don’t count toward the word count from which I calculate the fee.

I return the annotated DOC file so you can see what I did, as well as commentary and suggestions. If it looks good, all you have to do is turn off the comments and send the text to layout.

All that for US$4 per 500 words, which is 20% off my everyone-not-Guild-creators rates. That comes out to a little less than $2 per page of plain text.

If all you need is proofreading for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, it’s US$2.50 per 500 words, which is half off my usual rate.

If this is something which interests you, hit the Contact link and let’s talk.

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Massive new compilation released!

I’m very, very happy to be a part of “A Fistful of Coppers” – a compilation of more than 800 pages of best-selling D&D content from some of the best-known independent gaming writers.

There’s adventures, character options, DM’s tools, you name it! Literally dozens of hours of entertainment are in this compilation, each and every page of which is a highly-regarded best-seller.

The best part? It’s more than TWO THIRDS OFF the cover price if you bought each product individually.

 You can get your copy here.
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Just released! A guide to being a good player!

I just released a new thing: “I Want To Try! Tips on becoming a better player” is live now and shipping on the Guild.
There is tons of helpful information out there about how to be a better DM. Books, websites, blogs, Youtube video series, you name it. I’ve noticed, however, that there is precious little about how to be a better D&D player. This monograph seeks to address that lack, if only slightly, and in a more-than-slightly opinionated way.
It is based on more than 30 years of experience playing D&D and other tabletop roleplaying games, as well as observations about basic human nature and inspiration from such luminaries as Kenneth Hite, Robin Laws, Dawnforgedcast, Matthew Mercer, Geek & Sundry, Matt Colville, “DnD” and “RPG” on Reddit, con panels, and many more I can’t possibly remember.
This is the companion volume to my best-selling “You Can Try: Tips on becoming a better DM.”
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Spells from Kara-Tur JUST RELEASED!

I’ve been working on this for a while now, and I’m really excited about it.

One night weeks and weeks ago, I had just gone to bed, and on a goof pulled my original copy of AD&D’s Oriental Adventures to re-read for about the 10,923rd time.

Leaving aside the casual racism of the title (it was the early 1980s, and we’re talking about Gary Gygax, here), I discovered there’s a ton of great material in there begging to be converted to 5e. I started dreaming about stuff  from Oriental Adventures I could convert/create, test, and release on the DMs Guild.

Of course, I’m not the first to think of this. There’s a slew of really awesome Asian-flavored 5e products on the Guild, as I discovered the following morning. But what the hell, I thought. I didn’t see any specifically spell-related material, and little in direct conversion from the AD&D book, so I decided to go ahead with it.

(You should really do yourself a favor and go check out stuff like Marc Altfuldisch’s material. Dang.)

This is the first product I’ve made using NaturalCrit’s “The Homebrewery.” If you want to make stuff that’s visually very, very similar to WotC’s hardbacks, this is the way to go. It’s nowhere near as powerful as InDesign or even Word, but I think that’s one of its strengths — its simplicity means the learning curve is much more palatable.

Go check out Spells from Kara-Tur. If you need cool spells for your 5e game, you’ll have quite a few to pick from.

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New weekly blog series – Tips for DMs

I’ve been really remiss about posting to this blog.

That’s because I’ve been way too busy writing other stuff! I finished a super-secret project a week or so ago, and just put the finishing touches on my latest Guild offerings. (You can get my Castle Spulzeer conversion and the latest Aristobulus’s Artificers catalog, if you’re interested.) I’ve also been super busy with work.

Well, that changes now. I’m going to start posting a regular series of advice and tips for Dungeon Masters. Short little snippets. Every Wednesday you’ll get a new bit.

The first bit comes now, though, because I have time.

Make better NPCs.

Index cards are great for this. Keep notes on NPCs – who they are, their names, what’s important to them, their relationship to the party, that sort of thing – so you’ll have their information at hand when you need it.

This isn’t about stat blocks. You don’t need to have combat information on neutral or friendly NPCs. If you need to know the village sage’s combat stats, you have a murderhobo problem, and that’s a different essay.

What you do need is information that will impact how the PCs will interact with the NPC. Jot down a basic idea of the NPC’s morality, for example. If the PCs are on the run from the local authorities, will the sage sell them out to the fuzz? With which other NPCs is the NPC allied? Does the sage share tea with the local priest? You don’t have to do this with every NPC; start with the ones the PCs will be dealing with most often.

Of course, remember your players will send everything sideways given half a chance. You think you don’t need full background on the butcher, and you do need it for the local bishop. Now watch as your players decide that the bishop is a twerp and the butcher should be their best friend and patron. Be ready to improvise. The good news is you can often just swap names on the index cards. The butcher can’t give them potions of healing or raise them from the dead, but he can give them the same wise counsel as the bishop would have, and point them to new quests.

It’s also wise to note roleplaying cues. What accent does she have? Does she have a high-pitched voice? Does she have a facial tic or some other unique mannerism? Is she well-disposed to the party or have they angered her? If you have all of that on an index card, when they encounter her again six real-time months after their last interaction with her, you won’t have that concussed-duckling moment when you realize you have no idea how to role-play her.

If you’re into minute detail, give the NPC a quirk or two. The sage, to continue the example, has an irrational fear of owlbears. So when the PCs bring him an owlbear figurine of wondrous power, he freaks out just looking at the chess-piece-sized piece of stone.

Take notes on the NPC’s attitude toward the party, and how what happens during the game can influence that. Is the sage well-disposed to the party? If so, why? Have they alienated him by their actions? Make a note of it. When they come back to town after looting an abandoned monastery, he might be angry that they ignored the monastery’s library full of rare tomes and instead brought him a terrifying miniature owlbear.

If you take away one thing from this, here it is: Make your NPCs memorable. Making your NPCs memorable will help to limit your players’ tendency to set fire to every hamlet and town they pass through. You don’t even need to do all that much creative work. You can get any number of pregenerated NPCs from DMs Guild. Just search for them.

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All-New Original Adventure JUST RELEASED!

Just released on DMs Guild, ready for your group: Blacktide Cove!

Optimized for six 5e characters of 6th to 8th level, your players explore an obscure section of Impiltur’s coastline after receiving a mysterious treasure map.



From the Ship’s Log of the Sprite: “…I can hear them fish-men. All the time with their chanting and hissing and whatnot. There’s some kind of religion going on here, down below. We can’t understand what they say, but it’s something God-like, sure as spray on the foc’sle.”

A century ago, during the Spellplague, pirates hid a treasure at a shrine in a remote area of Impiltur’s coast. Can the heroes claim it from that which lurks there?

Set on the coast of Impiltur along the Easting Reach, Blacktide Cove can be placed anywhere there’s a stretch of lonely coastline and the possibility of pirates.

Blacktide Cove is 32 pages of adventure for you and your table!

Includes a handy index, cartography by Dyson Logos, new magic items, and full-color player handouts – including exclusive art from Patrick E Pullen!

Now includes print-friendly version!

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New Classic Modules Today conversion complete!

Here is my latest AD&D -> 5E conversion!

The land lies under a curse. Fruit drops to the ground, its pulp black and rotten. Leaves curl and wither on the branches. Animals flee the parched vale, or starve. 

Long ago, the Downs prospered under the care of Druids, but the priests of nature have retreated deep into the woods and rarely show themselves. One old man claims that the Druids have the power to save the valley, if only someone could find their Oracle to seek help. Will you reach the Forest Oracle of the Druids in time? And if you do, can they really lift the curse? 

Or does the answer lie elsewhere? 

Only the most daring and cunning adventurers will save the Downs.

For characters level 2-4

Shannon Appelcline, the author of Designers & Dragons, has this to day about the original module:

N2 The Forest Oracle (1984) is the second AD&D adventure in the novice (N-) series. Unlike its predecessor, it is not intended for 1st-level adventurers, but instead for 2nd level and up.

A Generic Adventure. Whereas N1: “Against The Cult of the Reptile God” (1982) was very clearly set in Greyhawk, N2 takes the opposite tactic: It doesn’t detail the community (“The Downs”) where the adventure starts, nor does it include any specific world detail, thus leaving the novice GM to set it in the world of his choice. There is a generic European / Old World feel to the adventure, which might even make it appropriate for some of the HR campaigns (1992-1994), released much later by TSR.

A Bit of Wilderness. “Forest Oracle” mixes together wilderness adventuring – which was relatively rare in the era outside of Expert D&D – with dungeons, giving novice players the opportunity to interact with a variety of adventuring environments.

About the Creators. 1984 was author Carl Smith’s most prolific year ever in the roleplaying industry. Early in the year he was a member of the Dragonlance Design Team, contributing to Tracy Hickman’s DL1: “Dragons of Despair” (1984) and Douglas Niles’ DL2: “Dragons of Flame” (1984). By mid-year, he’d left TSR to co-found new publisher Pacesetter. Here he contributed to two of their three new games: Star Ace (1984) and Timemaster (1984).


The link leads to my conversion of the original module for use in 5e play. If you’re into D&D classics, it’s worth a look!