I’m very excited about 2024.
2023 was a slower year for us than 2022. In 2022, we released, by my count, twenty-three modules and RPGs; I wrote twelve. In 2023, we released four, and I wrote two.
At the end of 2022, things became difficult for me. The writing gigs I had that year dried up. I was hired for what looked like a promising kick-starter; it failed to fund. My roommate disappeared on me. My health took a turn for the worse. I lost the place I was living and moved back in with my family.
I’m not complaining; I was enormously lucky to have such a nice fall-back position when things got difficult. I got to spend a lot of quality time with my daughter, wife, and mom, work on some longer-term projects, and tend to my health. Still, I spent the year reacting, searching for stability. Now, at the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, I feel like I have that again, and I’m excited to write a ton of new games.
2023 had some pretty great highlights. WatcherDM (in the form of Gabriel Hernandez and Alyssa Yeo) produced WarpCrawl, my follow-up to QuestCrawl. We playtested the bejeezus out of this thing, and I’m super pleased with the results. It’s got a lot more length to it than QC, and is great for longer campaigns.
We also put out Ethan Myers’s Dark Side of the Mine. You may know him from Instagram, where he posts as Lyresforhire. It’s a great adventure featuring a SpellJammer-esque Star-Fantasy jaunt into a planet-sized mimic being mined by infected dwarves. It also features Vampire Clams, a tense escape sequence, and Boom Goo. I got to playtest this one (and give a few small thoughts), and it’s awesome. Highly recommend.
Miguel Gonzalez provides the writing for Miss Quinn’s Strange Sweets, a dark saccharine tale of orphans, candy, and witches. Maya Babeanu’s art here is incredible; you may remember her as the brains behind Doom Desert in the Decanter of Delerium’s art.
That being said, I don’t think we hit a home run every time this year. I wrote Don’t Play This Game for the One Page Jam this year; it’s a code-based journaling game of cosmic horror. Personally, I love codes and code-breaking. I thought challenging people’s curiosity could draw them in; it turns out that most people prefer games they can read without putting in hours of puzzle-busting. This point was underlined when a game of the same name was kickstarted, with a similar underlying concept but replacing my pretentious cipher-nonsense with a more inviting social-media and video aspect.
A good reminder to keep it simple. Still, one person did solve it, winning the first of five prizes. Maybe someone out there will go code-crazy like I did and win another one of the prizes this year.
But enough about 2023. Let’s talk about the FUTURE!
Memento Bombyx Mori, our 5e Mothman-Mummy Flying-Tomb-Raid, is gathering speed! Gabriel Hernandez is doing the art, and the early drafts look awesome. It’ll be joined later in the year by A Privatized Little Hell, a Level 16 rescue mission into the Hell of Greed.
I love the full-length 5e modules I wrote in 2022, but I’m really proud of these two. Both are dungeon crawls that mutate at the halfway point of the adventure. I won’t babble too much about what I wrote, but I will say that the production value is lightyears ahead of the GM Binder type layouts we were trying two years ago.
We’ve also got Hoard of the North Wind coming this year. Picture hunting a dragon across a yeti-wild tundra to a haunted monastery. WatcherDM Chief Gabriel Hernandez will be providing both illustration and writing for this one; we don’t do a lot of writer-illustrator stuff, so this should be an interesting release for us.
Hopefully, we’ll be releasing our Kickstarter for Jessie Brown’s Bloody Bellboots Boogie. It’s a dark fae adventure featuring red caps. We’re planning to ship it in 5e, Quest, and Old-School compatible modes. It’s got a cool little trailer that you can check out here. Billy Bellboots features art from Paul Brown, Jessie’s brother. You’ll recognize his art from our two-pager series; I’m particularly fond of what he did for Long Bear Valley. This’ll be Jessie’s first full-length release for us since Tomb of the Vampire General, so we’re pretty stoked for it.
5e aside, we hope to massively increase our Troika line-up this year. We’ve been playing Troika more and more, and it seems you have too; Drawn from the Margins and Motel Zotel are among our more popular releases. To that end, we’re looking to offer Troika adaptations of Long Bear Valley, Revengers Disassembled, Wake Up Sheeple, the Trouble with Dreams, and Kiss to Build a Dream On – and that’s just to start.
We’ve also got some independent RPGs coming: new QuestCrawl variants, a skill-based martial arts game, and maybe even Blood Prarie, our horror-western game.
We’ve got some YouTube content coming your way too. Project Codename: Dungeons and Deathmatches hopes to bring some 5e Player versus Player Actual Play madness to your screens, and we’ll be continuing our podcast Adventurous Weirdos discussing TTRPGs and the TTRPG scene.
And on top of all of that, we’re hoping you’ll be seeing a lot more content right here, on this blog. Stick around for the adventures, and comment if you want to be part of things. Stay Weird!