And it's a great success! Huzzah!
Good golly, that was a massive effort, and at times very rough to get through it, especially during the first few months of the pandemic. But in the end, it was worth it. I'm super proud to finish something and get it out there. There are some things I would do differently next time, but overall I'm happy with the end result.
A BIG thank you!
I want to extend a huge thank you to all the backers from the ZineQuest 2020 event and all the folks who did late backings as well. You helped me to bring a vision I've had for years to life, and I'm eternally grateful to the fine people who put their trust in Spellsword to come through. Special thanks to some premier backers who contributed ideas for villagers and villains of Illmire: Miguel F. Santiago Irizarry, Doug Raas, Sinisa Radovanovich, Joey Schoblaska, John Taft, and Daniel Heronime.
I also want to thank all the awesome artists whose work brings Illmire to vivid life. From the amazing cover art by Heather Shinn and Jack Badashki, to the wonderful cast of doomed villagers illustrated by the talented HodagRPG, I was enthralled by the art from the start. I'm in love with the creepy and awesome drawings of Patrik Olsson and the classic, quintessential maps by Dyson Logos. And big props to my bro Bart for his super cool tribal racoon art. So much greatness packed into this thing! I'm proud to have the Spellsword name on it!
Another big thank you goes out to my partners in crime Jeremiah Lee and Lenny Gonzalez. You guys helped me fill in blanks, get my thoughts together, inject new ideas, and keep the wheels rolling.
Another huge shout out to my brother Bart for going line-by-line through the book with me, catching spells and grammar mistakes, typos, and opportunities for better wording. This was a monumental effort and you stuck through it like a champ!
Thanks to all the folks who helped with feedback and playtesting, including but limited to: Derren Giordano, Lenny Gonzalez, Diego Sarmiento, Nick Warner, Brad Wolf Jr, Max Wolf, Charlie Capp, Matt Jaffe, Jason Hobbs, Green River Gamers Association (GRGA), Dante Warborn, Neil Benson, Dustin Headen, Thomee Wright, Paul Pipeline, and Daniel Z. Oliveira.
A final special thank you to my family, for being patient with me while I worked feverishly and frantically for months.
You guys are the best ♥
What is "The Evils of Illmire" again?
If you're not familiar, here's the blurb:
The Evils of Illmire is a dark fantasy hexcrawl adventure module for B/X D&D, Old School Essentials, and other OSR systems.
This 70-page zine is 8.5x5.5, staple-stitched with color soft cover and black/white interior.
A whole classic campaign in your pocket! The Evils of Illmire is a "mini-mega" hexcrawl adventure module designed to provide dozens of sessions of perilous wilderness exploration and dungeon crawling. It features an evil cult, a doomed town, a dangerous wilderness, and a variety of vile monsters. The zine aims to provide plenty of free-roaming adventure content, but with an over-arching threat that looms over the entire region.
- Tons of content jammed into 70 lavishly illustrated pages
- 19 detailed hexes, each with a unique random encounter table
- Illustrated town map with keyed locations
- Sixteen keyed one-page dungeons illustrated by Dyson Logos
- Easy weather system to tell where its storming on the map
- Simple mountain climbing system for scaling the mountain peaks
- Full stats provided in bestiary with nearly 100 monsters
- More than 50 new and unique magic artifacts to discover
- Bonus digital content including a custom old-school character sheet
- Artwork provided for visuals during online play or to print out
What are people saying?
Here are some quotes from folks that made me feel especially good:
"This thing is dense and drips quality." - Jason Abdin
"Wow, it looks fantastic." - Gothridge Manor
"Its got 19 hexes chock full of static and random encounters, and all sorts of cool stuff for your players to explore and get into, from a half-floating, ruined, wizards tower to a crystal palace. What sets Illmire apart is that its also got an overarching plot. Its not just “go explore the region”, although you could certainly do that. In addition to the exploration, the players will uncover a mystery surrounding an evil cult infiltrating the region. A lot of hex crawls suffer from players burning out and getting bored with the exploration idea, or feeling like its just a series of random encounters over and over. Illmire’s idea of an overarching threat helps prevent that and keep things interesting." - TTRPGFactory.com
"I would describe the setting of the zine as vanilla, but in a good way... it works with these iconic elements in ways that are refreshing and not stale... this module would serve as an excellent introduction to players who wanted to experience classic D&D for the first time, while also offering surprises to old hands... Each hex has a meaty write-up and almost all hexes have a dungeon hidden in them that players can find... As a result, there's a lot of texture, and individual hexes would, I think, be very memorable... it's a sort of innovative model that could be emulated." - Ben Laurence of Mazarian's Garden
What's it like in action?
If you'd rather listen or watch than read, here is Hobbs and Friends using Illmire for their "Days of Lyncium" campaign.
Where can I get it?
With Illmire in the rear-view mirror, where to next?
The answer is PITFALLS & PATHWAYS! Coming to ZineQuest 2021.