Gourselks – World Building Wednesday

Ah. The mighty gourselk. You may have been wondering about them if you read the short story, Cassien’s Dishonor, a few weeks ago. Gourselks are a creature that I actually created on the fly for that story. The gourselk is a staple creature of the underdark and is largely docile. When I created it, the gourselk is essentially the cow of the drow.

So, what exactly is a gourselk? Well, a gourselk is a large creature, typically 3 to 4 feet tall, 6 to 8 feet long, and weighing between 800 and 1300 pounds as an adult. They are fairly slow moving creatures and resemble a sea cucumber. They live on a diet that mostly consists of mushrooms that grow naturally underground. Depending on the area, gourselks can also be used to combat problems with mildew and algae that forms in damper caverns. Unlike the cows that are inspiration for them, gourselks cannot be milked. Their main use for the drow is a food source. It doesn’t really resemble meat as we know it, but gourselks are “meaty”, though the texture would be closer to tofu.

I do not currently have a stat block for running a game with these creatures, but do intend to make them available through DNDBeyond. You can find homebrew material created by me by searching for the author Erylia_DM there.

Skipping This Week – World Building Wednesday

Hey everyone stumbling across this. Just wanted to get a blurb out there that I will not be doing a World Building Wednesday post this weekend. For a couple reasons. First and foremost is that I have been spending a lot of the time that I would normally spend on this post, porting info over to World Anvil. I’ve gotten a lot of the structure in place that I need to start filling in information over there. If you want to poke around, here’s the link to Erylia on World Anvil. There’s still a lot of information I have typed up in this blog and in my world building OneNote that I need to add in, but I have enough of the ground work set that I can start populating some of the information fields. Aside from all of the work I have been doing there, I am also grinding away at getting things prepared for the next arc of the podcast. And lastly, I have been trying to get caught up on and make good with our Patreon content. I was really slacking while it was just the cast contributing, but we have fans supporting us now and I want to do right by them as well as make it worth promoting to others as well.

A couple things to highlight in World Anvil for those wanting a little bit of world information this Wednesday. I have added in what the player characters had written in our shared OneNote. Also, some tiny teasers for some of the NPCs that are featured in our upcoming campaign have been added as well.

We’ve Been At This For A Year!

So thanks to a little Twitter notification telling me the Adventures in Erylia Twitter account is 1 year old, I realized we’ve been doing this for a year now! We don’t have any big anniversary plans right now, because I tend to consider our relaunch the new anniversary for the show. However, I was still pretty excited to see that we’ve actually been doing this for a full year now. To us, we’re just some friends who get together once or twice a month to play dungeons and dragons with some microphones in front of us.

It’s been eventful and exciting. We launched once, with only a cell phone and a blue yeti to record with. I struggled to get episodes out on time. I struggled with how bad our audio sounded when I compared it to other shows I listen to. So after a few months we made a great change, and our numbers have shown it was worth it. Before the decision to relaunch the show, we were lucky to break 20 downloads in a month. Today’s episode is already at 20 downloads and our average is getting into the 50s and 60s.

Here’s to another year Adventurers! We’re excited to keep going and keep improving, and we’re happy you’ve chosen to come with us on this journey. To call back to our past, here’s our very first episode, poor audio quality and all, which is usually only available to Patreon supporters.

Something Different – D&D Tools in Alpha

When I originally started to use this website as a blog as well, it wasn’t really my intention to only ever do the World Building Wednesdays. But alas, with a family, a full time job, and a podcast to edit, finding the time for that has been difficult. Aside from the world building, I will probably never have a consistent blog schedule, but I want to start fitting more in. For today, there are some tools I am in the alpha for that I wanted to write about.

D&D Beyond – Mobile App

As a group, we have been using D&D Beyond since it’s official launch. It’s been a great tool for keeping a digital copy of (most) of our characters. It also gives me a good template follow for creating homebrew for Erylia. Two of them have even been approved for public use through D&D Beyond.

Last week, D&D Beyond launch it’s upcoming app’s alpha. I had pre-ordered a copy of Xanathar’s Guide To Everything on the site, which got me into the alpha test group. So far the alpha is in its early stages and can only be used for downloading and reading the content you have purchased. I have been taking advantage of this by using it to fill in more names for a random NPC generator spreadsheet while on breaks at work using my phone.

Even without the app, I have found the D&D Beyond website to be a very mobile friendly experience. I have used it on my phone while running the game to quickly look up information. I also play in a game of Storm King’s Thunder that Chris is running, where I exclusively manage my character with the mobile website. I am definitely looking forward to future updates to the offline app though. After the holidays I know they plan to work on updating it to bring more features like character management and creation.

If you’re interested in how testing is going, here is a link to the feedback forum for the alpha.

DungeonFog – Alpha v5 Update

I have yet to do any sort of write up on DungeonFog at this point, but it has been mentioned on the show. It is a pretty straight forward map creation tool for table top gaming. The maps are created on a grid, so it’s main focus will probably be battle maps or virtual tabletop maps for now. I haven’t done any sort of write up or review for them yet because I want to shine the best light possible on them when I do. I have personally submitted a lot of feedback while using it, but since it is in alpha, it is not quite where I want it to be before doing a full review. However, the guys there have come a long way since the alpha went live.

Just this week, Alpha v5 was released, which is their first iteration with the dynamic GM notes they have been working on. I am super excited for this to help with giving me written text to explain what is on the map. I think they will be great since the podcast is an audio medium, so if they tool is working well, it will hopefully aid in visualizing the setting for listeners. They have also announced that they are about to move from their Alpha stage into Beta testing early next year. This should open up the pool of testers quite a bit and increase feedback and conversation within the testing group. If you are interested in helping shape the tool, and just can’t wait to use something like it, you can pre-order it and gain access to the alpha and beta test groups!

Early Stages of The Calendar – World Building Wednesday

I made a calendar for Erylia pretty much back when I started working on it. It’s not very good and I never really did anything with it once I had the base started. I decided that it is time to start working on it. Not only because I want to start thinking up holidays and festivals (and the week of excuses), but the cycle of time should be important to the story as well. Continue reading

Damian the DMs Recent Guest Appearances

Hey guys! I’ve been busy over the last couple weeks guesting on some other shows.

Meet Your Masters (Of D&D)

First, I had a “video” call with Stephen, aka DarkLordFlufffy, to talk a bit about the podcast, about being a Dungeon Master, and about Dungeon Fog.

I had a lot of fun with this interview and having a chat. Since doing this episode with Stephen, I have even gotten a webcam, so the next I am on his show, you’ll go some video from my side of things as well. Our chat had a pretty wide reaching range of topics and was a fairly casual interview. We talked about what the podcast is and how it works, what it is like being a newer Dungeon Master, running a game for new players, and a little bit about the word of Erylia. We also talked briefly about Dungeon Fog, which is a map making tool that I was a Kickstarter backer for and is currently in Alpha testing. Stephen and I met initially through the forums for the alpha test and when he learned about the podcast he asked if I was interested in doing an interview.

Inter-Party Conflict

Also this month, I was a guest host on an episode of Inter-Party Conflict, a podcast that I have been listening to for quite some time now. Gabe, one of the hosts, and I have been chatting over on Reddit for quite some time now. He was actually one of the first people to review the show, and gave us a shout-out a few months back.

Gabe, Jeff, and I discussed one of the questions I brought to the table, “When does an NPC become a DMPC and should you try to stop it?” We also discussed some house rules and homebrew, including the spell Erylia’s Second Chance, which I created to give death a little bit more impact.

All of these guys are great and I highly recommend checking out their shows beyond just what I was involved in. Gabe, Jeff, Stephen, thank you all for giving me the chance to be a part of what you do.

Patreon is Stepping Back on New Fees

Hey again Adventurers!

Last week I had a bit of a rant because Patreon had announced they were going to changing their fee structure to pass the fees on to patrons. I was against this as both a creator and a patron for many others. Well today, they have told us they will NOT be following through with this change. Here’s the email we received.

Dear creators,

From the bottom of our hearts, we’re truly sorry. Last week’s service fee announcement caused a tough week for you, your patrons, and your teams. We were trying to solve a problem for creators and, in turn, caused more problems for you and your patrons.

You’ve spoken loud and clear. We’re not going to rollout the changes to our payments system that we announced last week, and are currently assessing other options.

Our CEO & co-founder, Jack, explains more here:

READ JACK’S POST

Sincerely,
The Patreon Team

This doesn’t make me completely okay with what happened last week, but them stepping back was what I needed to continue staying on the service and not pursuing another option. I’m still hesitant about what they plan to do to solve the issues they attempted to solve now, but this is a first step in the right direction. Stepping back is a good change for small creators like this podcast.

Not Happy With Last Week – World Building Wednesday

This week isn’t going to be what you expected. For a few reasons. The first, is some hectic scheduling due to work responsibilities. I’m currently typing this on my phone and haven’t had time to get something written between editing next week’s episode and an increased workload leading into the holidays. The second, and truthfully why I didn’t take a break from editing to work on this week’s world building Wednesday, is I’m not happy with how it turned out.

The original intent of these posts was to not only get me to flesh out parts of my world that needed it, and highlight areas that I’m lacking in, but also to show the viewers my thought process as it happens. I feel like I accomplished this in the one about death pretty well. You got to see the spell I originally had, and you got to see what u updated it to. And most of the lore and text there, was written as I was working on the spell and writing that post. I had vague ideas but nothing was written aside from the v1 of that spell. The world building there is you seeing what happened when I sat down and wrote what was in my head. Continue reading