Monday, January 26, 2015

Free OSR Resource From Raging Swan Press - Be Awesome At Dungeon Design For Your Old School Campaigns

Grab It Right

So I was touring around G+ today and discovered Raging Swan Press's Be Awesome At Dungeon Design, needless to say I was pretty damn skeptical at best. But I took a look through this fourteen page system agnostic tool box of DM advice and surprisingly this is a very handy little collection of advice for the care, feeding, and design of dungeons across the board.
The pdf has a nonsense approach to the subject and goes into detail about the philosophy and aesthetic of the designer/author's mind as well as the back drop material for the dungeon. The whole kit is set up with everything you need to get started from start to finish with regards to how 'adventure location' of the dungeon is designed.
This isn't done with stats or an rpg table top system in mind but the ideals of the author's approach to the subject of dungeons in a common sense way and series of ideals for the incarnation of the whole affair of the dungeon as adventure and story element.
Let me say that I'm not a Pathfinder player or DM, and I'm not getting into the mega mountain of their products but this is a book I didn't regret downloading. I'm not taking away from Pathfinder, if you like the game then fantastic and more power to you.
But this is a book that has lots to offer for dungeon design, subject that is at the heart and soul of whatever edition you happen to play. 
From the Drivethrurpg blurb: 
Any GM can design a basic dungeon. A dedicated GM takes the extra time to craft exciting, logical and challenging dungeons that are so much more than a series of rooms stuffed full of monsters and treasure. Be Awesome At Dungeon Design comprises eight dungeon design essays by ENnie Award winning designer Creighton Broadhurst.  Handling such subjects as a dungeon’s purpose, design, ecology, dressing and physicality Be Awesome At Dungeon Design also includes essays on alternate dungeons and the principles of megadungeon design.
Whether you are a new GM just starting out, or a grizzled veteran, there’s something for you in Be Awesome at Dungeon Design.
This product is a Dual Format PDF. The downloadable ZIP file contains two versions, one optimised for printing and use on a normal computer and one optimised for use on a mobile device such as an iPad
Why You Should Take My Advice
In short, I've been around the block.
I've been on both sides of the designer/publisher fence. In 1999, I started out as a hungry, wildly inexperienced and tremendously naive freelancer. Now, I'm a grizzled (nay veteran) publisher and editor who has written, edited and developed well in excess of 1,000,000 words of gaming content. I've written for big and small publishers alike and won an ENnie for Madness at Gardmore Abbey (2012 [Silver], Best Adventure). A partial list of my design credits includes: Wizards of the Coast (Monster Manual V, Exemplars of Evil, Madness at Gardmore Abbey), Paizo Publishing (Dragon Magazine and Dungeon Magazine), Expeditious Retreat Press (Legacy of Darkness, Plague), Kobold Press (Deep Magic), Rite Pubishing (Pathways magazine, Adventure Quarterly) and Raging Swan Press (Retribution, Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands, The Sunken Pyramid).
During my early freelance days I was very lucky to have a mentor of sorts. Stephen Radney-MacFarland at the time was the RPGA's Big Cheese and my Living Greyhawk boss. During the course of the campaign, he gave me countless pointers and pieces of advice on how to commission, edit and develop modules. He gave me tremendous insights into the design process both in the campaign and at Wizards of the Coasts. (Luckily, he also didn't strangle me despite serious provocation on several occasion). During my time on the campaign I worked on over 100 modules and wrote another 20 or so myself. I had a lot of time to practise his suggestions.
In 2010, I founded Raging Swan Press and have built it into one of the most successful, prolific and recognised publishers of Pathfinder compatible products in the multiverse. I've worked closely with dozens of freelancers and to date (November 2013), have released over 160 supplements, adventures and player aids.
I want to share with you the insights and advice I've received over the years. I was lucky enough to have a mentor, but you might not.
Look I'm not caring if the author has published  a billion products but I do care about what is going to go into the design of the dungeon that is the center of tonight's game. The heart and soul of old school games is one the adventure and two the dungeon or other focus of your D&D party. The dungeon is a very important lynch pin in the history and backdrop of a campaign and this book provides a wealth of ideas,advice, and more for any DM. The author knows the material and knows how to tailor his advice to his audience but never talks down to the reader. A key point for getting me to read more of your products as well as move ahead with using this free product. Unlike other materials that I've run across as supposedly free this one doesn't skip on quality or key pieces of actually useful advice.
There is a whole swath of notes, pieces of useful twists and turns of facts and opinions that make sense. Much of this material can be used for not only adventure setting material but also the design of other rpg locations.
All in all I was surprised and delighted to read through 
Be Awesome At Dungeon Design.
Raging Swan Press is a nice addition to the growing plethora of OSR material that I own. I'm very happy to have downloaded this one ahead of the snow storm of 2015 and happy to have yet another piece of gaming related material that adds to the tool box that continues to bring my players back to the table again and again. Grab this one and because its free I must say its a nice piece of DMing advice that actually says what it does. 

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