Today, I’m announcing my newest project, the Glittering Marches. It’s a multimedia project, the first piece is a video game, that centers around a new world build.
Back in 2011, my good friend, Ben, launched a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. I’ll be forever grateful to Marc for letting me know that there was a campaign starting and Ben for letting me in as a late addition to a large table.1 Partially because it restarted my languished D&D hobby2, but mostly because it is that shared love of RPGs that has given me another lifelong friend in Ben.
As tales of our weekly adventures leaked out into our larger friend circle, it became apparent that there was more than enough interest for another campaign to start. I grabbed my D&D 3.5 books, scoured the internet, and opened my doors to a West Marches style game titled WAGER (Western Aetheria Guilde of Exploration and Recovery). Memorial Day weekend saw the arrival of over a dozen players join for some adventuring. While it was fun and I have some great memories from the sessions, it ended up being too much. Too many players, too much prep, and also working a full-time job. So, I set WAGER aside and replaced it with Awakening, but the allure of a West Marches game would always remain.
After wrapping up my Department of Collections campaign, I was sure that I wouldn’t running a D&D game immediately, but I expected that when it was time to revisit a D&D, I’d want a setting of my own creation again. ] A few posts from r/DnDBehindTheScreen had inspired me. First was a post on humanoid evolution. My wife is a biologist and building a world around evolution felt like an interesting pitch to separate it from most high fantasy worlds. Second was a post on dragon territory. I love dragons. Treskri, WAGER, and Awakening are built around this love. So, I started gathering ideas and themes for my new world.
Ask my friends and players, they would probably agree that this sounds like a world I would build. Department of Collection ended a few months before my wedding and someone else was going to take over DMing the group for a bit. I did end up playing in the follow-up campaign and a bit of the one after that, but I didn’t ever get back to this campaign idea. Instead I ran Tomb of Annihilation, Lost Mine of Phandelver, Dragon Heist (twice), and Dungeon of the Mad Mage.
Now, I’m a software developer and like any sufficiently competent individual, I knew I could do better. Ben3 agreed. And so, in September 2019, we began our attempt at building a new native virtual tabletop application. It was ambitious to say the least. We had grand designs on an improved player and game master experience. Stuff like scripted traps, stairs, and teleport squares. Call-for-save (and auto-rolls), token freeze (for when characters hit a trigger), and, of course, multi-platform, native support for high performance. I also thought about single player mode where the adventure could be scripted to run completely GM-less.
We spent a few months iterating on it, we had a grid, maps, tokens, handouts, game saves, and more. It was a good prototype. We were building out the UI library after struggling with DearImgui. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Since then we’ve made a few more changes, but it was no longer a sustained effort by both of us. However, some of the grand ideas inspired me to create Glittering Marches.
Last year, at the beginning of the pandemic4, I was feeling like a fresh D&D game would help us get through an unknown number of months of isolation. I have a lot of friends and family that I want to play D&D with, so this precluded picking up another official adventure unless I was willing to run multiple groups at the same time. Instead, I decided to revisit the open table West Marches concept in Treskri. I did another time jump and figured I’d have the players explore the world of Treskri after several centuries and the fall of the nations of Awakening. I (prematurely) announced that I’d be starting a new open table campaign and even pulled off an initial information session with some character creation. I created a few dungeons with my wife, laid out a world map, but in the end the pandemic sapped most of my creative energies and it ended up shelved indefinitely.
A few weeks after I announced the Golden Marches campaign, a post on r/dndnext caught my eye. An enterprising individual had created a solo html D&D game called The Saint’s Tomb. I never got around to playing it, but it definitely resonated with some of my ideas around Oak. The author was kind enough to also share how he put it together.
Glittering Marches is going to be a synthesis of all these various inspirations. And it is going to be a video game first, but I’ll likely continue building the lore of the world out for future campaigns and fiction. Stay tuned for the next post which will lay out my goals for the Glittering Marches prototype.