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Stonehell Dungeon
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A classic old school megadungeon for Labyrinth Lord and other RPGs
A classic old school megadungeon for Labyrinth Lord and other RPGs

271 followers
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And launch!

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Status Report

I have the printer's proof in hand (pictured below). There are a few small tweaks I had to fix in the layout, mostly to the cover to allow for the increased page count in this one. Once I have the revised proof and I'm satisfied the changes have addressed the issues, Stonehell Dungeon: Into the Heart of Hell will be available for purchase. I'm shooting for an end of October release date, which, if all goes well with the revised proof, I'm confident I'll hit. Please give me a little more of you patience, but we're almost there.

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I'll just leave this here...
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Hey, look! An index! That must mean Mike's almost committed page numeration to stone. No ETA yet, but the minutia is falling into place.
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Stonehell 2 Update 5.21.15

There’s been no updates simply because there was nothing to report. With the editing of the manuscript completed, I was awaiting the all the necessary art components from contributors before moving ahead and beginning the final layout of the book. I’m very pleased to report that I now have all the interior graphic elements in hand and have started to put everything into its place.

Layout of the sequel has begun and is advancing at a snail’s pace. Due to my limited experience and questionable tools, there’s a lot of trial and error involved in getting the book to look like something assembled by an actual person and not a tribe of rabid baboons. The PTSD I incurred putting the first book together has come back as I get twitchy when a text box isn’t aligning the .01 of an inch I require it to or as entire section header titles vanish or turn up where they shouldn’t be. Nevertheless, progress is being made.

I make no predictions as to when I will complete the layout of the book’s interior, but I’ll continue working on it when time allows. North Texas RPG Con is in two weeks and Gen Con comes ghastly early this year. Plus, there’s this little thing called DCC Lankhmar that needs to get completed and playtested, so SH2 shall continue to suffer the whims of scheduling and other delays as always. But, hey, at least I didn’t Kickstart this book!

The next update will occur when the layout is complete. If you don’t hear from me, it ain’t done yet so don’t bother askin’!

Last Stonehell 2 Update of 2014

Howdy, folks.

I’ll save you the usual excuses because they’re the same ones as always: Too much other stuff needed doing for me to work on Stonehell.

As 2014 closes out, I remain on the cusp of having things done. I spent several weeks in discussion about handing the project over to another party to see it to fruition and possibly continue the Stonehell legacy. I was hoping that would solve the major roadblocks keeping the book from seeing print. While I can’t reveal specific details, that conversation continues but it looks like I’m still stuck with getting the sequel finished and released, myself, before we can continue the discussion about the dungeon’s future.

The current problem keeping the project stalled is art (or rather lack thereof). I intend for SH2 to be the same as its predecessor meaning it’s not a lavishly illustrated project. However, I do need a few more pieces to add flourish to the book. Maybe about eight more black and white illos supplemented by whatever clip art that I have on hand that’s appropriate. I’ve reached out to some of the original artists who worked on the first book, but I can’t predict their replies. So, to widen the net, if you’re interested in shitty compensation to appear in a book written by a guy of questionable talent, feel free to contact me at poleandrope@gmail.com. 

Once I sort out the art issue, layout still remains. That’s something I’d love to be able to entrust someone who both knows what they’re doing and has the time to do it—two things I can’t claim. Anyone interested in possibly taking on that task and helping expedite the book should contact me at the above email address. Familiarity with working with Lulu’s or Lightning Source’s layout requirements is a plus.

I’d hoped to have SH2 finished this year and I must once again disappoint people. At least I can say I didn’t lose any ground in the struggle to get this thing finished. I’m hopeful forward process will resume after the holiday season. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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Stonehell Two Status Report (5.3.14)

I’m extremely pleased to break the month-long silence with news that all the last elements of the book are coming together. As predicted, I didn’t have much to report as the book’s progress relied on other people’s contributions and wasn’t directly in my hands. It amazing how things move forward when I’m not the one responsible for pushing the project along. This report brings us two big pieces of news: the finalization of the sequel’s cover art and the edited manuscript back in hand. 

J.A. D’Andrea, who did the cover of the first Stonehell book, is providing the cover art for the sequel. I’m always greatly impressed by J.A.’s work, but his piece for the sequel really struck a chord. He did a magnificent job of expressing the depths of Stonehell Dungeon and the strange mentality that accompanies those who tread its halls. I’m proud to feature this one on the cover, not only because it’s good, but because having J.A.’s work reappear makes a nice book-end for the Stonehell series. Other pieces of art are also trickling in, meaning that I’ll soon have all the components needed to push on to final layout.
I have also received the edited manuscript back from the outside editor. I’m happy to report that my own three passes over the draft were not in vain and that the editor found only minor corrections that need to be implemented. This was a great relief, as my mind always suspects the worse when I send things off for others to review. However, in this case at least, the worry was unfounded. 

Here’s what remains to be done on the punch list:

1) Implement the minor changes required by the manuscript.
2) Collect the last stray pieces of art.
3) Finalize the layout by adding the art, tweaking the format, and including the various legalese, index, credits, and “special thanks to” sections.
4) Compose the cover.
5) Get a printer’s proof made and review it.
6) Make any final changes required by the proof.
7) Publication.

As you can see, there’s still a little work to be done, but we’re heading into the last mile of the journey. Unfortunately, and you knew there had to be an “unfortunately” if you’ve been following this project, I’m running into a time crunch. The success of the Metamorphosis Alpha Kickstarter left me with a few pressing projects that need completion ASAP. I need to get these off my plate before I can attend to the sequel. I also have North Texas RPG Con in a month and must complete the last adventure that needs writing before I get on the plane for Dallas (space remains in at least two of my games if you’re interested). I’d hoped to be able to debut Stonehell 2 at North Texas, but, barring a miracle of time and effort, I doubt this will occur. Rest assured, I’m eager to complete Stonehell 2 and bid a fond farewell to the project. I’ll continue to push ahead when I can and I’ll keep you informed of my progress.

Once again, I thank you for your patience, but know that we’re almost there. In the meantime, I ask anyone who enjoys my work to check out the latest Goodman Games’ Kickstarter for The Chained Coffin, a new adventure penned by me that centers on a hexcrawl through a “fantasy Appalachia” as inspired by the work of Manly Wade Wellman. The Chained Coffin is one of my favorite works to date and I think it demonstrates admirably the goal of DCC RPG going back to the source material of the hobby and doing new and interesting things with the Appendix N material.
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Stonehell Two Status Report (3.21.14)

The manuscript is finished.

All the revisions are in place, the maps have been reworked, and the afterword is written. The manuscript is now in the hands of the outside editor for a final pass, one to ensure that the mistakes my tired eyes missed are caught before it goes into layout. My friends, I can now take off my writer’s hat and start looking for my publisher’s cap. I had doubts this day would ever come.

Progress on the sequel will effectively be out of my hands for the next several weeks as I await the edited manuscript and the art for the sequel. In the meanwhile, I’m going to do my best to attend to other projects and perhaps collapse for a day or three. Once I have all the component parts in hand, layout will begin and I’ll start the final, chaotic push to get Stonehell 2 into your long-awaiting hands.

As of right now, my plan is to begin layout towards the end of April and to get a printer’s proof by the middle of May. The manuscript is already in a rough layout format, so hopefully it will just be a matter of inserting the art and doing the index once the final pagination is set in stone. If all goes as I hope, we’re looking at a soft street release date of June 6th to coincide with North Texas RPG Con. Should this happen, I’ll have copies on hand in Texas and the book available for sale online that weekend. Keep your fingers crossed!

I’ll likely have nothing to report for the next few weeks, but don’t take my silence as a lack of progress. I’ll reemerge once the layout process is ready to begin and will keep you informed of the sequel’s final paces up until release.

I’m going to go fall down now. Have a great weekend, everyone, and thank you for your continued patience and support! 

Stonehell Two Status Report (3.9.14)

It’s been awhile, but please forgive the lack of communication. As I mentioned previously, the bulk of February was lost to preparing for Total Confusion, and I can’t think of a better phrase to describe the last few weeks.

Just days prior to me leaving for TotalCon, I received word that my father was admitted to the hospital with complications stemming from Stage Four cancer. At the time, we were uncertain of how bad the complications were so I went ahead with attending the con as promised. Despite my placid appearance, there was a lot happening beneath the surface and a message on Friday caused me to cancel my Shiverwhen playtest to speak with family and get my act back together enough to finish the rest of my gaming schedule.

I was home from Massachusetts for just two days when the call came that things were dire for my Dad and I was on a flight to Florida the following morning. I arrived expecting the worse, but was lucky enough to be granted the gift of spending eight days by my father’s bedside in the hospital and hospice before the end came. My Dad lost his fight with cancer this past Wednesday evening.

Obviously, getting back to work on anything was out of the questions for a few days, but time and deadlines wait for no man. I took a few days off from doing anything but processing his death and wrapping my head around the fact he was gone. However, a return to some semblance of normalcy is required to heal. To try and obtain that normality, I started in on the Stonehell 2 manuscript this morning. As the draft requires only making the changes my final revision pass deemed necessary, editing the text is a largely thinking-free chore and I’m able to do it despite the circumstances.

As of right now, I’ve finished 25% of the text changes to the manuscript and hope to maintain momentum over the next several days. Once the 100% mark is hit, I need to alter some of the maps in Photoshop and complete the afterword. At that point the whole thing is ready to move on to outside editing.  Unfortunately, all this means that my hoped for Gary Con release of Stonehell 2 isn’t going to happen (but there will be a big reveal in Lake Geneva anyway if you’re a fan of my work with Goodman Games).

I leave for Gary Con VI on Wednesday, March 26th, giving me a bit over two weeks to complete the changes and the afterword. But life is never easy and I have other outstanding deadlines and projects that were neglected during my time in Florida. I need to get them finished before my trip. Luckily, most of my actual Gary Con preparations are finished, so I have a little more time available to me than I did before I left for TotalCon. I believe I can wrap everything up before the 26th, allowing me to use Gary Con as a much need working vacation.

Even more promising to the Stonehell 2 process is that the cover art is near completion. I’ve seen the final product and it’s almost approved, requiring just a minor change to ensure satisfaction. We’re continuing forward despite the events of the past few weeks. 

I’ll be back in a week with another update, perhaps even sooner I get the manuscript finished over the next few days. Until then, keep your fingers crossed and your family close.
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