Warlock's Journal - Results and new contest for January

The voting finished a few days ago, and I can now announce the winner for the Warlock's Journal - Design a Dungeon Room contest:
  • Winner: Medusa-Rat Trap, by Dominick Riesland
Congrats to Dominick for an excellent submission. And in general to all the other participants, your entries were all full of really interesting ideas.

There final PDF will include all four rooms, plus my own contribution and it will be released for free in DriveThruRPG.

And as with every month, the Warlock's Journal contest moves to a new home, this time to Warlock Sanctum Games, and this month the topic is to design a hero summoned from another world.

As I said before, please keep participating on this monthly contest if you have some time (entries are usually very short): the more entries, the better the contest will be for the RPG community as more content will be released for free each month. In the end is a win for every one involved.

Warlock's Journal - Voting for the Dungeon Room

There have been a few issues on my end creating the final voting PDF, but it is finally done. As with the last contest, thanks to the people who took part of it, your creativity and input is appreciated!

  • You can download the PDF with the entries from here.
  • You can vote for the best dungeon room here.
Because the PDF was late, the voting will be extended until the 4th of January 2015. I will not cast a vote except to break ties. Good luck and happy new year!

Contest: Warlock's Journal - Design a Dungeon Room

The Warlock's Journal has returned to Soul Guardian Publishing! For those who don't know, the Warlock's Journal is a RPG design contest that it is hosted every month in a different RPG page. For example, last time it was here the contest was designing a Deity that has been changed by the passing of time.

This time instead, the contest is about designing a room in a dungeon. It can be as complex as a passage full of devious traps or as simple as some dorms, but the room has to contain a challenge for the heroes (monsters, a puzzle, traps...) You have 500 words to describe the room and its challenge.

The winner of the contest will be decided for by an open poll and will receive $15 store credit for DriveThru and a PDF copy of my Dungeon World adventure, The Cathedral of Light. If there are 10 or more entries, a runner up will be chosen and it will receive $5 and also a PDF copy of The Cathedral of Light. All participants will be compiled in a free PDF to be hosted on this site and DriveThru.

Entry format

Entries should follow the following format
Name of the Room
Description
Challenge
Other Important Information (optional)

Details of the contest

This are the specific details for the contest.
Deadline: 26 December 2014, 12AM PST
Submission: info@soulguardianpub.com subject: Warlock's Journal, format rtf, doc, txt. Up to three submissions per participant.
Prize: $15 DriveThru store credit for the winner and a PDF copy of The Cathedral of Light, $5 for the runner-up and a PDF copy of The Cathedral of Light.
Entry: 500 words, system neutral. You may add system-specific details as a bonus appendix to your entry, if you wish. Such stats will NOT form part of the voting, but will appear in the final PDF.
Voting: the 27th of December there will be an open poll to determine the winner. The poll will run until the 30th of December. Winner and possible runner-up will be announced the 31st of December.
Rights: entries remain the property of their creator, but entry into the contest grants Vicente Cartas and Soul Guardian Publishing a licence to use the entry and publish it in free PDF compilations with all the entries of the contest, where work will be attributed to their respective creators.

About the Warlock's Journal

The Warlock’s Journal is an interdimensional book that teleports from place to place, recording knowledge in whatever location it finds itself. The places it goes may be widely separated in time and space and even be in different dimensions or alternate realities.

The handful of people who have actually seen the book more than once suggest that it sends its information back to some central location, as they have seen the book nearly filled with information, only to find it almost empty again, or filled with completely different information, at some later point.

Of course, since there is no real proof that the book itself travels through time in a linear manner, such analysis is speculation at best. What powerful entity could have created such a marvel? Where is the ultimate repository (if any) of the wealth of knowledge collected by the Journal in its roving, and is its creator still waiting there, learning about the multiverse? It is, perhaps, better not to know.

What powerful entity could have created such a marvel? Where is the ultimate repository (if any) of the wealth of knowledge collected by the Journal in its roving, and is its creator still waiting there, learning about the multiverse? It is, perhaps, better not to know.

In real terms, The Warlock’s Journal is a roving contest featuring creative writing in the RPG field. It moves from one site to another (usually blogs, but perhaps another type of site) on a monthly basis, but any site where it has appeared can help you find its current location. Contest details for the month are set by the host site, but the topic will always be related to roleplaying games and small prizes will be offered. All entries remain the property of their respective writers, but will be collected at the end of each monthly contest and made available to the public at least as a free PDF document, as well as being added to an ongoing archive. In addition, free annual collections of all the contest entries may be offered. Submitting material for consideration indicates the author’s agreement to these terms and conditions.

Warlock's Journal - July - Design an Order of Magic

The Warlock's Journal contest has left this blog and has moved to Warlock's Sanctum Games. And this month topic is to design an order of mages, wizards, witches...

I have to say I love the topic of this month: designing magic styles for a campaign world is very fun, and even better, the fluff surrounding each style nearly happens by itself. For example, magic based on sound and music immediately makes me think of colleges of bards, things floating in the air... Ranks in such a magic order could be based on instruments, and different families of instruments could be related to each other in different ways. For example, chord instruments could think of themselves as the most elegant magic and dislike the direct and forceful approach of percussion based instruments. Just drawing a few things from the real world, you could have quite an interesting magic system and surrounding fluff in very little time.

I have a few other ideas about games or settings I created in the past. Most of them are very rough drafts, but it seems I have now a good reason to put a little more work and finish polishing them.

New release: The Cathedral of Light

My first RPG product, The Cathedral of Light (a Dungeon World adventure) has been released!

The Cathedral of Light has been quite a journey for me. Since I was a child I have always loved cathedrals: being born and raised in Spain and having traveled all around Europe, cathedrals are buildings that never cease to amaze me. They are complex and magnificent, full of details that transmit all the work and effort people poured building them, and each of them is different on its own way based on the history surrounding it. Not surprisingly, "The Pillars of the Earth" is one of my favorite books (and totally unrelated: I think it is a great inspiration for a Birthright adventure).

The original idea of the adventure was based on the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba. To summarize it, it's a Cathedral built over a Mosque, which in turn was built over a Church. I liked the idea of each part of my Cathedral representing a very different area and all of them working together to imprison/hide a great evil that the characters would discover while travelling deeper and deeper into the building. I also wanted to add one twist to that journey: the Cathedral would have trapped another spirit by mistake and the interactions of both prisoners would drive some of the adventure events.

As my first publishing project, writing was only going to be one of the multiple problems I would have to face, so I tried to keep things realistic so I could have a better chance of reaching my final goal of publishing a book and not having another unfinished draft sitting on my computer. My idea was to write and layout a 5k words adventure over the course of one month.

This is how things went in reality:

  • January-February: writing the first draft of the adventure. I realized 5k words were not enough for all I wanted to tell, so I tripled the length of the adventure, but at the same time I forced my self to find a core idea and cut everything else. I decided to work with the idea of a Cathedral hiding a terrible evil trying to break free and worked with that.
  • February-March: studying typography, searching for good fonts, and learning Adobe InDesign after realizing that doing the layout with Word would be a suicide.
  • February-April: searching for free art, commissioning artists where needed, changing and fixing the draft based on feedback. I was very lucky all the artists I commissioned where a pleasure to work with and put up with some of my newbie mistakes.
  • April-May: layout of the final text with the final art. I was on holidays a good part of May and I didn't do nearly any work those days.
  • May-June: last changes, correcting problems with the print copies, preparing this website, waiting for DriveThru approval.
In the end a one month adventure turned into nearly six months of daily work. I learned a lot of new things in the process and if I had to do the same again now I would do it much faster. I think it was a necessary road to travel in my first steps as a writer and publisher of RPG material, so I have no regrets in all the time I put into the Cathedral of Light.

I hope you enjoy reading and playing the adventure as much as I enjoyed writing and publishing it. And if you have any feedback or comments, feel free to write to me: info AT soulguardianpub DOT com.

Warlock's Journal - The die is cast!

The voting has finished, and we have the winners for the Warlock's Journal - Design a Deity contest:

  • Winner: Niehmi - God of Travels, Map Making, and Bird Catching, by Stefan Koch
  • Runner up: Gum - God of Happiness, Sharing, Cohesion, Loyalty, Determination, and Joviality, by Dominick Riesland
Congrats to both of them and to the rest of the participants in the contest. I will be contacting the winners asap for their prices, and the final PDF with all the entries will be released during July.

This PDF will contain the three participant entries, plus two entries that arrived too late to be valid (thanks nevertheless for sending them!), plus my own contribution.

If you want to know about future Warlock's Journal contests, feel free to subscribe to the blog, even if the Journal will move to a different blog, I will keep announcing the contests here. The more people participating, the better for the RPG community overall, as the Journal, as a resource of free ideas, will keep growing with more and more content.

Warlock's Journal - Voting Begins!

So the contest has been closed, and now the time to vote for the best entry comes!

But before that, thanks to everyone that took part of the contest. For a new blog without any following this was quite a gamble, so I'm happy I got several entries and of such quality.

And without adding much more, here are the links:

  • You can get the PDF with all the entries from here. The author has been removed from this voting document.
  • You can vote for the best entry here.
Voting will run until the end of the 29th of June. The winner and second runner will be decided by the number of votes. I will not cast a vote except to break ties: if two gods are tied for first place, I'll cast a vote to break that tie and decide who wins and who is the runner-up. If two gods are tied for second place, then I'll cast a vote to break that tie and decide who is the runner-up (but that will not affect the overall winner). Votes from the same IP will be counted as one.

Warlock's Journal Contest - 3 days left!

There are three days left to send your entries to the Warlock's Journal - Design a Deity contest.

I remember when I submitted my first entry to Warlock's Journal in February: the contest was to create a NPC that could be a romantic interest for the characters (you can read my entry here).

It was hard to write my entry: romance is something that I barely use in my games and it was my first time submitting to a contest (and at least for me it's somewhat scary for other people to rate my ideas). And the worst part by far was sitting down and writing the first few words of it. A blank page looks very scary, although once you get a few words or your first sentences, everything becomes much easier.

Putting an idea into writing form is an interesting exercise, because usually nothing looks written like it looks in your head. While writing you realize mistakes, things that don't go well together, possible improvements... That process of writing and having to put your idea into a concrete form is for me the most interesting part of writing.

After that entry, I have tried to submit every month to the Warlock's Journal (I missed one month though). The best way of getting better as a writer and a designer, is simply doing it once and again. And a contest where other people will vote for the winner is also great because random strangers usually aren't so kind as familiars and friends. It's humbling to put forward an idea that you think it's great and then see how people like more something else. And it's totally great to create something you thin it's great, and then see it validated by the readers.

So, I encourage you to participate. 500 words are not that many, and it's an interesting exercise to get your creative juices flowing (and there's a price involved, even if it's small).

Contest: Warlock's Journal - Design a Deity

Not a usual second post for a new website, but I am very happy to be part of The Warlock's Journal. The Warlock's Journal is a RPG design contest that it is hosted every month in a different RPG page. Each contest has a different theme and objective, for example, in May the contest was hosted by Tiny Gork and the goal was to design a "Beast of Time".

This month the challenge is to design a deity in 500 words or less. But there is a twist: you have to explain how time has changed this deity: maybe its has become more and more powerful, or maybe it is now dead and forgotten. Maybe its has married another deity, or maybe its children have been killed. Whatever it is, this twist has to be significant.

The winner of the contest will be decided for by an open poll and will receive $20 store credit for DriveThru. The runner up will get $10. All participants will be compiled in a free PDF to be hosted on this site and DriveThru.

Entry format

Entries should follow the following format
Name of the Deity
Portfolio
Description and home
History and twist
Additional information (followers, champions, celebrations...)  (optional)

Details of the contest

This are the specific details for the contest.
Deadline: 22 June 2014, 12AM PST
Submission: info@soulguardianpub.com subject: Warlock's Journal, format rtf, doc, txt. Up to three submissions per participant.
Prize: $20 DriveThru store credit for the winner, $10 for the runner-up
Entry: 500 words, system neutral. You may add system-specific details as a bonus appendix to your entry, if you wish. Such stats will NOT form part of the voting, but will appear in the final PDF.
Voting: the 23rd of June there will be an open poll to determine the winner. The poll will run until the 29th of June. Winner and runner-up will be announced the 30th of June.
Rights: entries remain the property of their creator, but entry into the contest grants Vicente Cartas and Soul Guardian Publishing a licence to use the entry and publish it in free PDF compilations with all the entries of the contest, where work will be attributed to their respective creators.

About the Warlock's Journal

The Warlock’s Journal is an interdimensional book that teleports from place to place, recording knowledge in whatever location it finds itself. The places it goes may be widely separated in time and space and even be in different dimensions or alternate realities.

The handful of people who have actually seen the book more than once suggest that it sends its information back to some central location, as they have seen the book nearly filled with information, only to find it almost empty again, or filled with completely different information, at some later point.

Of course, since there is no real proof that the book itself travels through time in a linear manner, such analysis is speculation at best. What powerful entity could have created such a marvel? Where is the ultimate repository (if any) of the wealth of knowledge collected by the Journal in its roving, and is its creator still waiting there, learning about the multiverse? It is, perhaps, better not to know.

What powerful entity could have created such a marvel? Where is the ultimate repository (if any) of the wealth of knowledge collected by the Journal in its roving, and is its creator still waiting there, learning about the multiverse? It is, perhaps, better not to know.

In real terms, The Warlock’s Journal is a roving contest featuring creative writing in the RPG field. It moves from one site to another (usually blogs, but perhaps another type of site) on a monthly basis, but any site where it has appeared can help you find its current location. Contest details for the month are set by the host site, but the topic will always be related to roleplaying games and small prizes will be offered. All entries remain the property of their respective writers, but will be collected at the end of each monthly contest and made available to the public at least as a free PDF document, as well as being added to an ongoing archive. In addition, free annual collections of all the contest entries may be offered. Submitting material for consideration indicates the author’s agreement to these terms and conditions.

The journey starts

Personally it has been a long road just to get to this point: the launch of Soul Guardian Publishing and the start of a new adventure writing and publishing RPG material.

I think that nearly every RPG player, when it has been in the hobby long enough, and especially if she is also a GM, feels the need to create material. It starts basic: GMs use their own adventures, players write their characters backgrounds... But then it goes farther than that: it can be a new world for their next campaign, tweaking or changing rules the group does not like, or even creating a whole new game that satisfies their personal tastes.

Nowadays, writing and publishing material is easier than ever. Since the appearance of the OGL several games like Fate Core or Dungeon World have released their rules using very generous licenses like the OGL or a Creative Commons variant, and DriveThru and other digital stores make very easy to put a product in front of thousands of gamers, let it be an electronic book or a physical one thanks to the raise of print on demand which is nowadays used even by big RPG companies in some of their product lines.

Digital stores have also another advantage for creators: virtual bookshelves are infinite, there is no physical limit on the number of products that can exist anymore. But also for customers: their offers multiply and they are the only deciding voice on what is bad or good. It can be hard to find jewels when the offer is so massive, but ratings, reviews, word of mouth... help with this problem.

So, in this environment, when it's easier than ever to put your content in front of other RPG players, it is when I have decided to create Soul Guardian Publishing and share my ideas with the rest of the hobby.

I hope you enjoy them and that your feedback will help me improve as a writer little by little.