Summerlands Recap and New Directions

My summer of Summerlands is done!

25 posts, over the course of three months. Some thoughts:

The summer included seven races (or order of number viewed, as of today). The sea kin were a fun experiment, not that anyone, anywhere has ever said, “I really wish someone would build a conversion of the sea kin.” The aarakocra were the last race posted, but have been the most popular since I posted them, followed by grippli, who made sense for the setting, and seem like a race people enjoy. For me, though, the most interesting thing about the grippli was the quaggoths. I like a little duality. The world needed a playable lizardfolk race, so I messed around with the varanus. My favorite race was the faen quicklings tunder, and I’m a little disappointed they didn’t get more response. I think they have the most interesting storyline, and do a sorely needed job of combining the halflings and gnomes. The reven were interesting: canon dragonborn have the breath weapon, but not the wings. I thought it would be interesting to reverse that.  I think it worked out well, and I like their story. The wildren were an attempt to rehabilitate that race, and make a dwarf subrace that wasn’t 100% Tolkien. They’re the least popular, and that makes sense: fewer people were sitting around waiting for a playable wildren than even the sea kin.

There were two backgrounds: Farmer/Fisher and Dragontouched. Backgrounds are a surprising amount of work, but they’re an interesting 5e design-space. 2 classes: Rage Warden and Feral Druid. I’m not sure either of these hit, and I’m not surprised. I wasn’t passionate about them, but they made sense for the setting and seemed interesting. I’d rather mess around with classes or archetypes I’m not passionate about, while I’m still learning, and save the ones I’m really looking forward to for later. There were quite a few antagonists posts, besides the quaggoths: hybrid animal-thingsfey, more fey, and sea fey. I didn’t realize, going in, the degree to which the fey would play a role in the Summerlands (though, given the name, I should have). I think the tunder/ fey storyline really fired me up, far more than the dragon/ aarakocra story. I expected to do more with dragons, but never got around to it. I enjoyed the hell out of creating the octagon, though.

The most viewed Summerlands post, though, was the Weapons of Legend, for the July blog carnival. I’m glad about that, because I did a ton of research for that, and had a blast writing it. That tells me a lot about driving traffic, but it’s worth noting that my second most-viewed post is the Legacy Weapons: Brigid’s Hammer. That concept seems to be one people like. I hope the weapons of legend guidelines are working out in peoples’ games! I’ve seen some legacy weapon builds on other blogs, which is cool.

I’ve considered putting it all together into a PDF, but I don’t think that I have the time, right now. If I did, I’d probably revise the earlier stuff to be more fey-focused, since that’s what I ended up enjoying, the most.

Meta-analysis

The whole Summerlands thing was a huge experiment. I’ve got something like sixteen mini-settings sketched out, with half-a-dozen races in each, and other connective tissue. I’d love to do this, again, but it really eats up bandwidth. Next time, I might do a more limited-term, focused around an adventure.

I’m toying with the idea of a daily schedule of shorter posts. If I did that, I’d post just one monster, break up a race of class over two days, or stop at one segment of an adventure. Things broken up over multiple days would get a PDF at the end. For me, though, the most important things are consistency and content: post exactly when I say I’m going to, and keep posts like this one to once a quarter. Other people do meta-posts more often, and that’s cool, but not my thing.

Iron Gods

My most-read posts, overall, are Iron Gods related, particularly the thrake, the nanite-blooded sorcerer, and the mentalist. This is awesome, and I hope that it means that they’re seeing use in games. I wanted the summer to be consistently Summerlands, to see how that format worked. I think I like a little more flexibility than I gave myself, this summer. I have plans for more races, more classes, and more creatures, and I’d like to dive into those.

Other Conversions

Meanwhile, there are other older-edition races and classes that I want to try to put into 5e language, like the darfellan, the hellbred, nature spirits like the wendigo and manitou, and archetypes like the gun monk. There just isn’t enough time in the day…

What’s next? 

I’m going to experiment with posting shorter posts three time a week for the rest of September and see how that goes. This month should be pretty eclectic, as I throw in some new races and classes alongside some Iron Gods content and some builds (I have a set of early-90s Avengers builds that I’ve been kicking around – not the movie Avengers, but some more off-the-wall characters). I’m experimenting with formats and looks, and we’ll see how that goes. If there’s anything that you’re interested in, let me know! I might be planning it, anyway, and I can move it up, or it might be something I hadn’t thought of, previously.

Next time: Iron Gods Week! Session recaps, monsters, and maybe a couple of spells!

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2 responses to “Summerlands Recap and New Directions

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this series. I came in new to your blog about the same time you started the Summerlands so I can’t comment relative to your earlier style but I did appreciate seeing both the process of developing a setting as it unfolded and the creative ways you modified specific components.

    It sounds like the end result is a solid first draft (especially considering your comments about how the focus changed during development from the dragons to the fey). If you ever do revise or consolidate it into a PDF, I’d enjoy seeing the results of that iteration.

    The tunder/fey conflict is a nice setup to drive some fascinating adventures. That specific conflict does not fit well in my current campaign but I will be stealing several elements to add to the fey presence in my world. And I’m definitely going to return here for inspiration when I develop my next setting.

    Thanks for this.

    Like

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it! I had fun writing it all, and I definitely want to return to it, in time. I do think of it as a draft; I’m such a perfectionist that I’d never have put it out there if I didn’t think of it that way. If you do use the tunder/fey conflict (or just the tunder), I’d love to hear how it goes.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

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