I have just published a short, new roleplaying book.
Corellon Larethian is the chief deity of the elves in the Forgotten Realms setting for Dungeons and Dragons. The Forgotten Realms setting was released when I was a teenager, and I have loved it ever since. In a lot of ways, it is the classic RPG fantasy setting, and I like those settings, particularly the elves. I’ve often thought about writing something along those lines, but the question of the Forgotten Realms always came up. Why do it again when it already exists?
Then Wizards of the Coast launched the Dungeon Master’s Guild. This allows anyone to write products for D&D 5th edition, set in the Forgotten Realms, and sell them. The site and Wizards between them take 50% of the sale price, but most PDF sites take 25â€“30% of the sale price of products to cover their costs, and as a licence fee for the Forgotten Realms, 20â€“25% of cover with nothing up front is not at all unreasonable. So, all of a sudden, I could actually write for the Forgotten Realms.
I did have to learn D&D 5e, and I discovered that it’s very well designed. I think 3.5e/Pathfinder is probably still my personal favourite edition, but if I were starting a game of D&D with people who had never roleplayed before, I would use 5e.
Corellon Larethian is not a revolutionary or ground-breaking product. I’ve tried to put everything I know about making background material useful in games to work, and it has to be said that D&D 5e makes that relatively easy, but the point of doing this is not to move the state of the art of game design forward; it is to do something that clearly sits within a particular, decades-old tradition, and to do it as well as possible.
With that in mind, I paid for cover art. The artist, Dean Spencer, is very good, and early in his career, so he is cheap, particularly if you go through his Patreon. True, if you do it through the Patreon you have to share, because he sells the work as stock art, but if you back at $20/month, you get to give full instructions for one piece of artwork every few months. I highly recommend him, even at full price.
One thing I did for the first time on this book was the layout. Layout is hard. I think the final layout looks OK, and is readable, but it also looks amateurish, because I am an amateur. If the sales of the book pay for the art, and then pay me minimum wage, I will look into hiring a pro to redo the layout. I’m not holding my breath, however. I think the book probably will sell enough to pay for the art (as I say, Dean is cheap if you go through the Patreon), but I doubt it will pay me minimum wage. I wrote this, and may write more, because it is something I have wanted to do since I was at school, not because I think it’s likely to become a useful part of my career.
I hope that its readers will enjoy it as much as I did.