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Places by the Way is a series of short location and/or adventure modules for D&D 5E, designed by veteran RPG writer Douglas Sun.
Places by the Way is a series of short location and/or adventure modules for D&D 5E, designed by veteran RPG writer Douglas Sun.
213 backers pledged $6,551 to help bring this project to life.

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The open license for D&D 5th Edition has inspired me to return to writing for roleplaying games after a long and wistful absence. I turn to Kickstarter to help me jumpstart a series of short modules called Places by the Way. Some of them will work fine as short stand-alone adventures, but as I write in the product introduction, each Places by the Way module is meant to be a kit for creating a memorable interlude in a larger campaign. Each entry in the series will consist of two versions sold separately but similar in content. One version will be set in the Forgotten Realms; as such it will be sold exclusively through the Dungeon Masters Guild. The other version assumes a generic setting and complies with WotC’s Open Game License. It will be sold through DriveThru RPG and a print version will be sold through Amazon and other online outlets.

Places by the Way has two inspirations. One is the line of mini-adventures that AEG published as part of the D&D 3rd Edition open license boom. I recall that the word count for those modules was only 5,000 words. I wrote three: The Wreck of the Venerable Drake, Gottheit and The Caravan City of Azul. They suggested to me that the short form could be made to work in adventure modules as it does in fiction. That is to say, if the typical folio-sized module is the novel, and the hardcover campaign books that WotC is publishing for 5th Edition are epics, there should be also be a place for the module equivalent of short stories.

The other inspiration is the strangely important role that side quests play in what we now recognize as standard CRPG structure. Side quests are those little tasks that you can find throughout the game world, and while they have no direct bearing on the main story, they allow you to accumulate XP, money and items, and meet memorable NPCs. If they’re done well they can add real flavor to the game experience.

Fallout remains one of my very favorite CRPGs. One of the first things that jumps back into my mind is Tandi, the Shady Sands girl voiced so perfectly by Cree Summer. Her wistful musing about what lies beyond her little village convey the fallen melancholy of that world so beautifully that it made me forget all about finding that water filter.

My goal for Places by the Way is that somewhere in the series, I will create an NPC encounter that has an effect like that. My disadvantage is that I won’t have a talented voice artist to help. But I’m going to try to create a moment in a campaign that you will find memorable out of proportion to its role as a diversion.

The first entry in Places by the Way describes a farming village that faces a threat to its existence massing in the wilderness just beyond its cleared fields. The Forgotten Realms version is called In the Shadow of The High Forest; the OGL, generic setting version is called The Village of Darkharrow. Both versions have 14 numbered locations, each of which offers an encounter, noteworthy items, noteworthy NPCs or an opening into which you can hook your existing campaign. The PCs may choose to help a farmer clear his field of ankhegs, buy some potent herbal cures, and move on. Or they choose to delve beneath the surface of village life, the second half of the module presents conditional series of events that lead to a boss encounter with a twist, with Darkharrow’’s fate at stake.

The text for both versions is already written and edited. But I need to raise funds to help pay for layout, formatting and cartography.

Risks and challenges

This project presents a relatively low level of risk. The text for both In the Shadow of The High Forest and The Village of Darkharrow has been written and edited. I just need some funds to help pay for layout, formatting. and cartography. Assuming that this campaign succeeds, both products should be available by February 2017.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    PDF: Darkharrow Limited Edition

    A non-printable PDF copy of The Village of Darkharrow, the Open Game License version of the module — but with a twist. This Limited Edition contains a unique Easter Egg-like bonus to one of the encounters. This Limited Edition will be available to Kickstarter backers only, so if you wait until The Village of Darkharrow is officially published, you'll miss out on the Easter Egg!

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    Pledge $17 or more About $17

    Treasure + Darkgarrow PDFs

    Non-printable PDF copies of the Limited Editions of A Treasure on the Rocks, the Open Game License version of Places by the Way #2, and The Village of Darkharrow,

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Signed copy: Darkharrow Limited Edition

    A print copy of The Village of Darkharrow Limited Edition (see description for Reward #1), inscribed to you by the author. This Limited Edition will be available to Kickstarter backers only, so don't miss out on this opportunity!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    The Village of Darkharrow combo

    Combines Rewards #1 and #2: a PDF copy and an inscribed print copy of The Village of Darkharrow Limited Edition. That's two items exclusive to my Kickstarter backers rolled into one package!

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    The High Forest cover art t-shirt

    A t-shirt featuring Kimberly Unger's evocative cover art for In the Shadow of the High Forest, the Forgotten Realms version of the module, Printed on Anvil relaxed fit tees. Available in white, slate gray, light blue, green and red, and a range of men's, ladies' and youth sizes.

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    Treasure + Darkharrow print

    Autographed print copies the Limited Editions of A Treasure on the Rocks and The Village of Darkharrow,

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    All the PDFs and signed copies

    Combines Rewards #6 and #7.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Everything-in-One combo

    All three reward items in one offer: the PDF and signed print copy of The Village of Darkharrow Limited Edition, and the In the Shadow of the High Forest cover art t-shirt!

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    PDFs + signed copies + r-shirt

    Combines Rewards #4 and #8.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Naming Rights: Waterdeep merchant

    You get the right to name an NPC in The Bitch Queen's Prize: the Waterdeep merchant who hires the party. You'll also get everything in Reward #9 and credit as a Kickstarter Hero. Certain common-sense restrictions will apply: No obscenity; no violations of someone else's intellectual property rights; must be reasonably appropriate to the Forgotten Realms.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Naming Rights: OGL merchant

    You get the right to name an NPC in A Treasure on the Rocks: the merchant who hires the party. You'll also get everything in Reward #9 and credit as a Kickstarter Hero. Certain common-sense restrictions will apply: No obscenity; no violations of someone else's intellectual property rights; must be reasonably appropriate to a high fantasy setting.

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    Naming Rights: Forgotten Tealms Ship

    You get the right to name the unfortunate merchant ship in The Bitch Queen's Prize that ran aground on a reef before it could complete the transit from the Moonshae Isles to Waterdeep. You'll also get everything in Reward #9 and credit as a Kickstarter Hero. Certain common-sense restrictions will apply: No obscenity; no violations of someone else's intellectual property rights; must be reasonably appropriate to the Forgotten Realms.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Naming Rights: OGL Ship

    You get the right to name the unfortunate merchant ship in A Treasure on the Rocks that ran aground on a reef before it could reach port. You'll also get everything in Reward #9 and credit as a Kickstarter Hero. Certain common-sense restrictions will apply: No obscenity; no violations of someone else's intellectual property rights; must be reasonably appropriate to a high fantasy setting.

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Funding period

- (30 days)