The Forsaken Demesne and the 30,000-Word Challenge

September seems to be a month full of gaming and writing goodness for me. It’s going to be an awesome month!



It looks like my gaming group will shortly be returning to my Adventures in Shadow campaign set in the city of Languard and the benighted megadungeon of Gloamhold. This is awesome news as I really want to explore more of Gloamhold. Coupled with this is an increase in the amount of time I have available for writing and designing.

As you may know, I’m the kind of GM who likes to be prepared. My increase in spare designing time coupled with our impending return to Gloamhold seems to be the perfect opportunity to write a new module!

That’s why, this September I’ve challenged myself to write a 30,000-word adventure (or perhaps more accurately 30,000 words of adventure as I have no idea how many words this adventure will require). Hopefully, that should be enough for the adventure in question, but it if’s not there’s always October!

30,000 words a day sounds like a lot of words, but it’s only 1,000 words a day (behold, my awesome maths) which should be doable with a little bit of planning. Of course, whether those words are any good remains to be seen!

Forsaken Demesne Blurb

Here’s my placeholder blurb for the Forsaken Demesne of the Demon’s Cultists:

Glowering down over the ruined village of Greystone, like some depraved gargoyle considering its next meal, the former home of the Alanen family once sheltered a depraved demon-worshipping cult of blackest heart and foulest practises. The Alanens have long since retreated into the warren of caves running under the village. Sometimes, though, a nameless, irresistible conclusion drives them out of their cave-home and they creep back to their old home to worship their fell lord in an ancient, bone-strewn shrine.

’Tis But a Warm-Up

But in truth, assuming the writing goes well, the 30,000-word challenge is merely a warm-up for November.

A couple of years ago, I read the book No Plot? No Problem written by Chris Baty founder of National Novel Writing Month. While I’m not planning to write an actual novel I am planning to participate in the program by working on a supplement for the Duchy of Ashlar (or perhaps another larger module set in Gloamhold; I haven’t decided yet).

Shall I Keep You Up-to-Date with My Progress?

At the time of writing (6 September) I’m a gnat’s arse short of 10,000 words. Shall I keep you up to date with my progress? Want to know more about how I’m approaching the adventure’s design? Let me know, in the comments below.

What Should I Write Next?

As I wrote above, I’m not sure what project to tackle in November—an Ashlarian sourcebook or more adventures in Gloamhold (or Languard—I’ve got an idea for some fun side treks). Let me know what you think I should write, in the comments below.


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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

25 thoughts on “The Forsaken Demesne and the 30,000-Word Challenge”

  1. Awesome! Good luck with your 30,000-word goal. I, for one, would like to see your progress. It will be inspiring.

  2. I agree, updates would be great. Seeing the adventure unfold from a behind-the-scenes perspective would certainly spark some creativity in my own adventure writing and help teach fundamental principles of good adventure composition mechanics.

  3. Wow, it will be great to follow you through this. I just started outlining my own new campaign, which will should be ready for my players in 2020.

  4. I have been told I am an excellent GM, but I am always looking for ways to improve my game. I think seeing your progress should give me ideas on how I can improve my game writing/planning.
    definitely looking forward to updates on your progress.

  5. Please let me in on the updates. I cannot remember how many reams of papers I have “started writing an adventure then threw the mess away.”

  6. I’d also love to hear more about your progress and design process.

    Additionally, I’d love to see more adventures in Gloamhold, or about Gloamhold’s influence on Ashlar.

  7. This is great! I have been waiting to read more about Gloamhold. I would like to see updates on your progress and would look forward to read adventure modules in Gloamhold 😉 Although a nice Ashlarian sourcebook is quite tempting…

  8. Yes please. I am very interested in the module design process. I am thinking about doing it myself. There are so many of us willing to learn. Teach us master.

  9. I would love to see you write the back story of the Alanen family and what drove the shelter a depraved demon-worshipping cult of blackest heart and foulest practices. Did they sacrafice humans? What was behind the cult? Who was the founder? How long it has been around?

  10. Looking over the shoulder on someone else’s creative process is always inspiring, so please share 🙂

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