RPG Writer Workshop and New Toys: A Short Update

This isn’t going to be a terribly long post, so if you’re one of those people here for thousands of words of content from me, I’m sorry to disappoint you.

I’m doing a lot of writing-related things this July, but the one most relevant to your interests today is probably going to be something I did for RPG Writer Workshop. RPG Writer Workshop helps aspiring RPG writers from across all systems (not just D&D 5e, although a lot of people are using it) create a one-shot adventure draft within four weeks by providing structure, inspiration, and a supportive community. We’re coming up on the end of the first week at the moment, and so far so good.

One of the activities for this week was to create a moodboard for the adventure we plan on writing. A moodboard is a collage of photos or artwork that, for the purposes of this exercise in particular, is meant to evoke the tone of the adventure you’re trying to write and create for the people who will eventually run and play it. I’ve seen moodboards used by writers to tease characters or projects, and while it was something I knew I’d need to do at some point I hadn’t until now. So I signed up for Pexels for stock photos and Canva for more stock photos and layouts and came up with this:

A photo collage containing images of an empty medieval helm, a sunburst-shaped amulet, a dark hallway with light at the end, a lit match surrounded by smoke, and a person holding a mask in front of their face with a wisp of smoke wafting in front of them.

I’m writing an adventure for D&D 5e because, while I’ve played and read other systems, it’s the one that I feel most prepared to create something for while simultaneously being confident that I won’t accidentally write an entire book. While it’s maybe not the most original thing to come out of a D&D campaign, I’m going to try a variation on “The Legend of Excalibur”.Without going into too much detail (because I’m not even completely sure about the details yet and my local game group reads my blog sometimes), an evil King Arthur-like figure is engineering the circumstances that make him into the “rightwise king born” and the adventuring party, in theory, will be positioned to uncover and stop the plan. I’ve been calling it “The Stalwart in the Stone,”which I’m not exactly thrilled about and I hope I can come up with something better before it sticks. Titles are really hard, folks.

As far as creating the moodboard goes, it felt pretty natural to me. I sometimes look at images for inspiration when I’m trying to write something specific or figure out what a character looks like, and this was just the logical next step. I didn’t have a particularly hard time picking images, although I did need to put some effort into finding some that fit the blue, gray, and dark kind of color scheme that I decided to pursue as soon as I noticed it was happening. I’m not sure how much I’ll actually use moodboards in my process from this point forward, but I enjoyed making this (Canva is a lovely service, as far as first impressions go) and might need to make three more of these for my novel’s main characters.

You know. For research.