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Saturday, February 8, 2014

An Update From Alex - Dwimmermount Update # 69

I really like the rough layout version - it looks like something drawn at the gaming table

The following is Alex Macris's update for Dwimmermout from earlier tonight. If you don't know who Alex is and what kind of cred he has, it will be explained below. I've run ACKS, and even though I'm not running it now, there is a bunch of stuff from it that I've stolen borrowed for my S&W Campaign. Give the man a chance to get his sea legs before y'all try to throw him overboard ;)

Hello, everyone! This is Alex Macris writing today's update. If you read Tavis's last update, you know I'm now actively working on Dwimmermount.

Who Am I?
I had a somewhat painful realization (by way of Tenkar's Tavern) that many of you don't know who I am, having never backed any other Autarch products or visited our forums. A short introduction seems in order.

I'm the co-founder of Autarch and lead designer of its all internal products - Adventurer Conqueror King System, Player's Companion, and Domains at War, as well as the upcoming Lairs & Encounters and Auran Empire Campaign Setting. Over the past 2.5 years I've written over 500,000 words of old-school D&D-style content for Autarch. I've also been intimately involved in Dwimmermount since the beginning, having been the one who first wrote James about publishing his dungeon, before handing it over to Tavis. Since the design portion of my last project, Domains at War, is complete, it has freed up time for me to work on Dwimmermount and I will be carrying the development and editing through to completion.

What Work Am I Doing?
I am going through each chapter and appendix of the book and finishing what is called in industry parlance "development" (as compared to "design"). This is the process of fleshing out ideas that the original designer left incomplete, reviewing the material for inconsistencies or imbalances (and correcting them where they occur), and polishing the draft.

Whereas Tavis and the team had previously focused on developing the material surrounding the dungeon, I have begun with a focus on the dungeon itself. At present I am completing development of one dungeon level every two days, to date including The Path of Mavors, The Laboratory, The Reliquary, The Hall of Portals, and The Reservoir. I see no reason that this pace will not be sustainable, so I anticipate having all the dungeon levels developed on February 24th.

As each level is completed, it will be handed-off for proof-reading, then made available to you as word documents so that you can offer feedback in real-time to me about the decisions I've made. If for whatever reason I make a development decision that displeases the majority of the backers, please be assured I'll address it. Those of you who have worked with me on the other Autarch products know that I am willing to work very interactively with backers to make sure that expectations are met. (See the changes to the city mechanics in the original ACKS as an example).

What Comes After the Development of the Dungeon Levels?
Once all of the development work on the dungeon levels is complete, I will do final development on Dwimmermount's introductory chapters and appendices, to make sure that the material in the dungeon levels matches what's in those chapters. The chapters that I'll work on, and the duration I expect each to take, is noted below:

Chapter 1: Introduction (1/2 day)
Chapter 2: Setting of Dwimmermount (5 days)
Chapter 3: Adventuring in Dwimmermount (2 days)
Chapter 4: Vicinity of Dwimmermount (1/2 day)
Chapter 5: Muntburg (1/2 day)
Chapter 6: Overview of the Dungeon (2 days)
Chapter 7: Factions Within the Dungeon (2 days)
Chapters 8-20: Levels 0 - 9 (covered above)
Appendix A: New Magic Items (1/2 day)
Appendix B: New Spells (1/2 day)
Appendix C: New Monsters (1/2 day)
Appendix D: Rival Parties (1/2 day)
Appendix E: The Four Worlds (1/2 day)
Appendix F: Azoth (2 days)
Appendix G: Secrets of Turms Termax (5 days)
Appendix H: Tables (1/2 day)
Therefore it will take another 22 days. That would put completion at around March 18th. I know that I have personal and business travel coming up that will prevent me from working on this each day, so realistically I will push this back to March 30th. Each step of the way I'll be releasing the word documents so that you can see what's being done.

Once all of the development work is done, it will pass to the rest of the development team to lay it out and bring it to print. On every other product I've worked on, the writing got done before the art and maps were finished, but in this case the reverse is true and I expect a very quick turnaround. I will, however, leave it to those more expert in that side of the business to speak to the specific timeline when it gets closer.

That's all for now. Back to work for me.


  1. story! plot! evil! dragonlannnnnnnnnnnnce!!!!!!!

  2. One of the first changes I've made to Dwimmermount has been to enhance each of the dungeon's rooms with "scenes". Each "scene" is a short narrative with boxed text describing a dramatic event that will help drive the story forward. When a "scene" occurs, not only do the players learn something cool about the meta-narrative, but they also get an XP bonus to help them progress to the right level. If the players feel they need it, all of the characters are also fully healed each scene. That helps avoid unwanted character death, which can be distressing and might prevent the players from being sure to enjoy the whole dungeon. Of course, if the players want to experience character death, in order to create more narrative tension, they can refuse the healing...

    Just kidding.

    1. That's some funny stuff right there. :)

  3. Looking at this, the schedule does seem a little ambitious, but it's good to know he's thinking in terms of weeks, and not months, as I had originally feared when I heard about his intent.

  4. And for the first time I can see light at the end of this long tunnel. I wonder if he'll be able to follow it through?

  5. Does Vegas cover Dwimmermount yet? I got some bet money ready...

  6. Hi Erik, Getting name-dropped in Dwimmermount updates now, but you're not a loud or influential voice in the OSR community, right?

    1. I was first name dropped in Dwimmermount a year ago, but I've gamed with Tavis ;)

  7. I just wonder if the Gods, the Muses or Fate are going to let this happen. I mean, someone has their finger on Dwimmermount and is saying "How can I screw with it today,". Whom the Gods would destroy first they make them take on producing Dwimmermount.

  8. For those of you who are backers, I just sent out a link to six revised chapters: Path of Mavors, The Laboratory, The Reliquary, The Hall of Portals, and The Halls of Lesser Secrets.

  9. I am so torn on this. I followed Grognardia during it's heyday. When the kickstarter happened i just lost my job so i could not get involved. I have sat on the out side waiting for this to be published, not even knowing if it is worth waiting for. So i guess this is good news that it will see the light of day and i hope it will be worth it when it comes.