I have published a new Strixhaven Supplement, Arcavios: A Heroic Chronicle for Strixhaven, on the Dungeon Master’s Guild! From now on, as I release things, I want to give some New Release Thoughts. These will be the goods, the bads, the uglies, and the next times of whatever I’ve just put out into the world. Here are my New Release thoughts for the new :
New Writing Schedule is Working
I’ve been trying out a new writing schedule. Part of it (for me) includes choosing a task that I can complete and publish/submit somewhere. This is the first thing I’ve completed and I’m as happy with it as I can be. (More on that later.)
If you follow the Dungeons and Dragons things I write, you likely know that I focus on one setting: Eberron. So, what gives? Am I giving up on Eberron? Heck no!
I’ve been working on a couple of Eberron projects for a while. One I’ve worked on the longest (and keep scrapping to start over as new books come out– something I need to stop doing), is a Heroic Chronicle for Eberron. I’ve already published some of the area specific ones on the DMG. This project taught me how to limit the scope to a setting. I didn’t allow for anything outside of the Player’s Handbook, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, Monsters of the Multiverse, and Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos’ books. That still sounds like a lot, but it keeps me from doing what I’ve been doing– adding EVERYTHING to the supplement. (Something I still might do, but it’s worth a thought for the sake of finishing things.)
My other two projects are both supplements converting adventures to Eberron. One is Tyranny of Dragons; the other is A Curriculum of Chaos. All of the work on this supplement lends itself directly to the Curriculum of Chaos conversion. I can take all this work and build on it, while still having a published product in the meantime.
The Goal: Make Character Creation Easy and Fit
One of the greatest irritations of either side of the table is when a player comes to the table with a character that has no anchor into the setting or adventure. DMs get frustrated because now there’s a character who makes no sense and/or has no motivation to take part in the adventure. Players get upset because the DM isn’t doing backflips to make their square peg fit in the round hole.
Enter the Chronicle.
This idea has a couple of different versions, like the Lifepath system central to Cyberpunk and Witcher, but I love the idea of the Chronicle as presented in Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount. It gives several quick options and run-downs for how to create a character who fits into the setting and is therefore ready to go on adventures IN that setting.
I saw that and wanted something like it for Eberron; I’ve been working on that project ever since.
This supplement is intended to help players create characters that instantly fit into the setting, who will meet in year one, join a specific college, and become heroes in the A Curriculum of Chaos adventure.
On its own, there’s not a lot to the Strixhaven setting; I would say that Arcavios is either a setting for new players who like the idea of being at a Hogwarts-like school or Strixhaven (the university) should be pulled into another setting. The main reason for this is that it is VERY lore light.
Being lore light can work great for a setting where the SETTING doesn’t really matter. Strixhaven is a school; the school gives a backdrop for players to learn and become heroes over the course of the adventure as they make friends and rivals. (I actually like the relationship system used in the book, though I tweak it to make it broader.)
If you are looking to fill out the setting, it’s easiest to pull it into another setting (ignoring certain facts about Arcavios for the sake of the chosen setting) OR fill it out by picking up some other supplements.
Even pulling Strixhaven into Eberron, I wanted to fill out the setting a little more; my favorite Strixhaven specific supplements are:
- Strixhaven: A Syllabus of Sorcery: This supplement gives you a wider variety of classes for your students to choose from.
- Strixhaven Supplemental: While I think the whole series is worth picking up, if you pick up A Syllabus of Sorcery the best to pick up is Vol II: The Rulebook for some extra rules to make running the campaign feel more like a school.
- Students of Strixhaven: What I love about this one is that it takes each of the NPC characters from the Strixhaven book and gives them their own stat block, following the progression given at the back of the book. It makes it great to print out and hand a player who is close to that NPC to run them during combat as a sidekick.
I pull a few of the overall ideas into my supplement, including a list of variant, optional, or house rules to incorporate into your game to make it feel more like a school and a list of extra courses your players might be interested in. (I don’t take any from these supplements for my creation, but I do use a little of all of them for my actual game.)
There’s a lot of stuff I use in my game I don’t include in the supplement because I’m running it in Eberron– so I’m excited to show of that creation later on!
Besides continuing work on my novel, I think I’ll keep working on these kinds of heroic chronicles. I don’t see any kind of heroic chronicle for Theros. While I don’t have anything it would build up for in Eberron, Theros is a setting I’m interested in because it looks a lot like Greek and Roman myths I’ve always been interest in (and I do have a couple of projects I’d like to create for it). Those projects are going to wait a little bit while I focus in on my novel for the next bit.
Thank you for reading!
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