You’ve probably heard me mention the DMs Guild one or two times on the blog by now. It’s an amazing marketplace where Dungeons and Dragons lovers can publish and sell their own homebrew content… including myself!
I often check by to gaze at the latest releases, looking for inspiration, but I rarely have time to read many of the enticing-looking titles cover to cover and review them (something I’d love to do in an ideal world where my job was to live and breath D&D every day! Sadly it’s not, although writing about Barcelona is hardly the worst 9-to-5 in the world either…).
That’s when I had the bright idea of inviting the authors of the Guild to introduce their own work, in their own words, and as well to find out a little more about these men and women at the creative coalface of the homebrew industry.
First to step up to the plate is Jeff C. Stevens, who introduces us to his favourite work within his Savage Encounters series of publications…
Tell us all about your book: Encounters in the Savage Cities…
Encounters in the Savage Cities is a collection of 26 short, urban-themed encounters / adventures written by some of the best-selling writers on the Dungeon Masters Guild.
The encounters are fully-developed and most include challenge rating scaling suggestions, which makes it easy for a Dungeon Master to drop them into their own game.
Maps are also included, both in the PDF and as separate downloadable files.
Why did you write it?
I like short encounters and adventures. There are times when a DM may need more time to prepare for a session, when only a little bit more experience is needed before the party levels up, when not everyone can make the game night, or times when the party turned left instead of right, and these short encounters really help in those situations. They also help inspire current campaigns, adding to and building off what is written, making it your own or expanding on what occurred when you ran the encounter.
I also wanted to showcase the great writers on the Dungeon Masters Guild. It’s tough establishing your name and products in this industry, I thought this would be a good way to give consumers a sample of writing from many different writers and styles. 23 writers contributed to Encounters in the Savage Cities, and each writer did an incredible job.
How about a little taster then?
Certainly! Here’s a snippet from ‘Trouble in the Docks’, an encounter MT Black wrote for the supplement:
The docks smell of saltwater, tar, and rotting fish. Above the din of the crowded streets, you can hear the slap of water against sodden piers, the clank of chains, and the rustle of canvas. The sky is shrouded in dark, heavy clouds, and the odd spot of rain begins to appear on the dirt road you are walking on.
A halfling pushes through the crowd, coming directly toward you. She holds a clipboard in one hand and has a pencil behind her ear. “Please,” she says. “Can you help me? I just need a few minutes.”
The halfling tells them her name is Seraphina Redport, and that she is a planner employed by the city council. She is currently trying to interview a broad selection of people in the area. Assuming the party talk to her, she will ask several questions…
Who the hell are you by the way?
I’m Jeff C. Stevens – a 47-year-old dude from Missouri living his childhood dream of writing D&D adventures. I started playing in the early 1980’s and I can still remember the all-night games we played over the weekends at a buddy’s house, living off soda, chips, and pizza while we rolled dice and slayed bad guys. It was fantastic! I took a long break from the game, but I came back when 5th edition was released. I’m glad I did!
Unless I’m at a gaming convention, those marathon D&D sessions don’t happen anymore. Now, I’m lucky to get in two games a month, even one game a month can be difficult with all the adulting we have to do. Plus, being a creator takes a lot of time. I wish I could be a full-time writer/producer but it’s tough to do in the RPG industry. I love writing, it’s been one of my life goals for a very long time. I wish I had studied writing in college, but I chose to instead learn about Criminal Justice – a field in which I do not work (LOL).
And what else have you written?
I have an entire product line built around the Savage Encounters idea. The first Savage Encounters product was Encounters in the Savage Frontier, which was inspired by the Storm King’s Thunder campaign. Then came Savage Cities, Savage Jungles, The Mines of Chult, and most recently, Savage Wilderness. Each time I use a mix of writers to provide writing for the books. Very soon, there will be a new Savage Encounters supplement available – Villains & Lairs. You can find my entire catalogue here, on the DMs Guilds.
And just for fun…
Who is your current PC?
I have a couple PCs I use. My favorite is Gruntog the Half-Orc Bard.
Your favourite character class?
Bard. I’m a drummer and I love roleplaying. It’s a good fit for me.
Your favourite monster?
Mimic. There are just too many cool ways a party can encounter a mimic!
Your favourite official D&D adventure?
I’m running Tomb of Annihilation for my group. I like the jungle setting, the lost ruins, and the zombified creatures. It’s a great area to explore even if you aren’t running the official campaign as it’s written.
Your favourite unofficial D&D adventure?
My group had a great time playing Scarab of Death by Benoit de Bernardy. There’s a good mix of all three pillars of play.
Your D&D alter ego if you were beamed into the Forgotten Realms?
I would be Finnian Brushrunner – halfling Paladin to Tymora. He’s my character from the Curse of Strahd campaign I played in. He survived that campaign, so I think I’ll stick with him!
Thanks Jeff, it was great getting to know you. How can we find you on the multi-webs?