Updated: Sep 5
It is now, at the moment this post is published, Friday, Sept 1 in Tokyo. Sorry Kiribati.
Three years of writing. 900 total pages. Lots of playtesting. Actually, I'm still playtesting. After all, these books represent what I'm running every Monday night for two different groups of players. This is what I've been doing all this time that you haven't heard from me.
Maybe my players will chime in on this post, who can say? They tell me this campaign is worth your time and money. Can you believe them?
More seriously, though, I do feel like this campaign really is worth the money. Deep down, in the most humble way possible, I believe it has the potential to blow you away. There's just so much stuff. But before I get into that I need to thank my players. Past and present. Everyone who's played in the Silver Castle campaign: George, Harvey, Kat, Kelly, James, Jason, Jen, Jeremy, Lauren, Monte, Paris, Ricardo, Rich, Sean, Steve C, Steve P, and Tallan...thank you!
Thanks for investing in this old system and for giving me a reason to do something I really love: making adventures for AD&D. Even though I'm pushing this goliath out into the wild today, know that YOU are the real reason I did this. Sharing our adventures with other folks is just being polite because, I think, it's been so awesome that it would be selfish to keep it all to ourselves.
For everyone else: what follows is a sizable peek so that you can decide if I'm right. And don't worry, there are no [significant] spoilers in the text of this post, but be careful of downloads and of looking too closely at images.
First: You have Options:
"Milk and Blood" HARDCOVER Main Module $47.85 442p
"Milk and Blood" Softcover Main Module $32.48 442p
Appendix and Compendium Softcover $19.00 236p
Tables and Handouts Softcover $16.27 158p
Maps & Extras Softcover FULL COLOR $22.05 64p
So, you get the whole campaign (4 Books) for $89.80 Here's the breakdown:
Main Module: This book is JUST the Silver Castle. It includes background and material for making characters plus encounters for the journey to the castle. But the bulk of it is just the key for the 8 levels of the castle (470 locations).
Appendix and Compendium: This book contains regional sub locations including the three towns, factions, and a handful of sub-adventures including: Ironback Mine, Crandi Croft, Rovon's Tor and more. New spells, magic items, monsters, and class variants are all included along with a treatment of the 9 Hells intended to supplement Ed Greenwood's original work. This volume also gathers a few salient bits from old Dragon Magazines and either tweaks them or organizes those ideas into quickly referenceable formats.
Tables and Handouts: This book contains the full monster roster for the campaign with all stat blocks; 8 NPC adventuring companies; Details for the Campaign Overview (how to win); Rumor tables; Encounter Tables; Treasure Tables; Potion Descriptions; Money Exchange and Treasure Chart; and all Handouts.
Maps & Extras: is a Full Color book containing all maps for the campaign...in...uh...full color!
Anthony, why are those three books highlighted in gold?
Because those are the core books you need and the very cheapest way to get the whole campaign (for $67.75). More on that below.
Anthony, what's up with that orange cover version?
That's identical to the Main Module except for the cover art and a smattering of different interior illustrations. This is a FULL COLOR version. It is also hardcover. It's an homage to the trade dress of the original ill-fated Palace of the Silver Princess, Module B3, complete with decapus and pink-hatted hero. I assure you that both the decapus AND the pink hat can be found in the module. Palace of the Silver Princess was evocative for me. I admit it was not a great adventure, but it was a wonderful set of images and ideas. It formed the seed of this campaign, based on a love story, a dragon, a ruby sword, and many other ideas. With these raw materials (reimagined) I built an enchanted castle that I think stands up, and pays a high compliment to the material that formed its inspiration.
The Orange Hardcover will be limited edition and full color as stated above. It will live on the Lulu store until New Years 2024. After that, it will be retired. 442 pages in full color on 80# paper is the reason for the stupid price. I am making LESS money off this edition. Nevertheless, as ridiculous as the cost is, it is also ridiculously beautiful as you can see below. It's so beautiful, in fact, that according to my wife, once I take down the orange cover version, I should (and might) replace it with a "milk and blood" hardcover version whose interior is also in full color.
Limited Orange Hardcover Main Module $111.85 442p (Until Jan 1st)
Jesus, Anthony I'm not buying that! But I have another question: why are there four books?
There are four books because that's the best way to run the campaign. I've designed this thing as I've been using it. Honestly, if I had a way to distribute this as 3 books plus a bunch of posters in a boxed set, I would. But there is a workaround, and that workaround is also designed to save you money. Keep reading.
While I run the game, I can have the Silver Castle open to the correct room. To the side, I can then look up magic items or monsters from the Appendix. Meanwhile, the Map book is open to the location the party is currently exploring and I can have the Tables open to reference stat blocks for whatever encounter is currently happening.
Due to the size of the Silver Castle (which spans 8 maps and 470 locations) monster stat blocks could not be placed with the room keys. It would have added a crazy number of pages. Therefore, each location lists the monsters and you flip to their stat blocks in the Tables and Handouts book, similar to the booklet that shipped with GDQ 1-7: Queen of the Spiders. The Tables and Handouts book also includes 9 rival (or possibly allied) adventuring companies; an NPC treasure table for when your players kill that random NPC; Encounter Tables for the Ethereal Plane and the Nine Hells; 100 regional rumors; 100 Silver Castle specific rumors; Potion descriptions; 50 handouts and 15 additional visual handouts.
That's a lot of stuff Anthony. How do I tie this into my existing campaign?
I include the Inn at the outskirts of Skellum (a major city) so you can have an entry point to the World of Adummim from your home world. Or, you can just have your PCs travel through a gate...
I would argue, however, that if you want to milk the campaign for all its value, you run it as its own setting, starting from scratch with brand new characters. The material in these books will literally play for years. I've already been running it for over a year...nearly two actually, and we are still in the outer portions of the Silver Castle. And the PCs are only mid level. Here is the current character stable for my Silver Castle Campaign:
As you can see, we have done some playtesting. The cause of death for each of the unfortunates is listed under Conditions.
It is because of how the game is going that I feel comfortable releasing the Silver Castle. But this is much more than one dungeon. The campaign occupies the territory of Ravens Fell.
Woonsocket, Squeamish and Skellum are the main towns and are fully detailed in the Appendix. Xie al Ahmerig is the Silver Castle. Players begin as members of the Wicke family who are forced to sell Castle Wicke due to hard times. They then travel by airship to either Woonsocket or Skellum in an effort to rebuild their family name. From these cities they begin exploring the region and learning about the Silver Castle. The Wicke Family has a history that is intimately tied to the region and various sub locations. Many NPCs will have preconceptions about the Wicke name.
There are nearly 600 NPCs with stories, hooks, or connections. I will provide you with an excel spreadsheet of these NPCs so that you can organize and sort to your heart's content.
There are something like 80 new spells, over 30 new monsters, I-don't-know-how-many new magical items as well as some new rules for both Sanity and Illusions. The Silver Castle has a strong Illusion mechanic and illusions, dreams, the astral and ethereal planes all feature heavily. So do the Nine Hells.
The Appendix expands on Ed Greenwood's work in Dragon #75, 76, and 91 and includes a treatise on the Hells that deepens them, adds an economy, and provides a framework for interacting with Infernals. This can be thought of as a companion piece to "The Enchiridion" which I wrote for Demons and the Abyss: included at the forefront of Dream House of the Nether Prince.
I essentially set things up for you to run the campaign as it is currently being run in my local group.
This has been a massive project but it was a delight to work on. It is not a plug-in. It is a fully fleshed portion of the Atlath Continent on the World of Adummim and includes economy, factions, encounter tables and trail-heads for dozens of sub-adventures. Although the Appendix provides keys to the Zigler Mansion (which is a 4-page refactor of the Haunted House from module U1); the Iron Back Mine; Crandi Croft, Cromheller Summit; Rovon's Tor; and Fort Tearless...there are many other locations on the map (below) with enough information for you to quickly flesh out the details when your players decide to investigate Mansgar's Mirror, or the Bray Ruby Mine, Jacinta's Drifting Treasure, Tower of the Three Eyes, Crawdaddy Crumbles, and so on...
Suffice to say, the campaign just sprawls.
During my proof-reading (which, hey, I'm not a professional copy editor) I was reminded just how many new things there are. It felt like I needed to direct the reader to the Appendix every few paragraphs. And there are so many cross-references with NPCs and threaded stories that I became worried it would be overwhelming. Whether that's true is likely subjective and down to each individual. But the Silver Castle is at the heart of everything. I've written the material in such a way that most things point players toward the castle. Layer upon layer of meaning and import is applied to the dungeon in ways that encourage real role playing. So, I think if you just roll with it, looking up the references and slowly nibbling at it, eventually you will digest the bigness and begin to grok the whole.
Now, finally, we are here. At the place I wanted you to reach and therefore kept telling you to keep reading.
Firstly, I really wanted to keep the price of this enormous pile of 900 pages under $100. Initially, this proved impossible based on some of my preferences. And there was a quality control issue with Lulu that frustrated me for some time.
The good news is Lulu replaced the problematic book FOUR times and they recalibrated the binding process (amount of glue) until finally, yes, finally we got it right. Let me assure that the other softcover books (with far fewer pages) never had problems. They are great quality. And the end result is actually much cheaper than I originally anticipated. Still, $89 for all four books is really expensive for folks on a budget. I once went to the grocery store and swept the entire shelf of mac and cheese (white cheddar) into my cart. That's what I ate for the whole month and might be why I'm nearly blind now. I know what it's like to pinch pennies and I want the Silver Castle to be as accessible as possible.
$89 puts it out of reach for some gamers.
That's why I am providing Links to all the digital goodies so that you can download them and use them in whatever way you see fit. They are my gift. No strings. But be warned that these downloads DO CONTAIN SPOILERS and lots of them.
Hey Anthony, you mean I have full legal license to do anything I want with these downloads?
Because I believe the AD&D community thrives best when people collaborate and share, you can re-post them, repurpose them, edit them, burn them on a fire while shouting my name, sell them, etc.
The only thing you can't do is copyright them. Here's the pile:
Silver Castle Excel Sheets Contains 575 NPCs from the campaign in sortable columns; a fresh, ready-to-use calendar of the World of Adummim with the date the campaign begins along with noteworthy developments (you'll be able to track time like a pro and keep notes on the dates because each day has three sub cells for morning/midday/evening) The sheets also include a Wilderness Day Planner; a calculator for Spell Research and Magical Item Crafting; A Combat Round Tracker; A Tracker for the Silver Castle; and a sortable catalog of most of the new items, spells, monsters, and so on. Note that this is an excel workbook. It is not a polished product. It's just the sheets I used for working on, and now use while running, the Silver Castle Campaign.
Wilderness Attrition & Event Table is a 0.67 MB PDF file containing some tables for hex crawling in the wilderness that are supplemental to the Silver Castle campaign.
COTSP ALL MAPS ZIP is an 890 MB download containing all the maps you need for the campaign in both DM and Player format. That's 9 city; 8 region; 15 special areas; 22 silver castle related; and 11 sub locations (65 maps total). These are full color and suitable for your table. Anecdotally, this zip contains the first and second story of the Black Horseman (located in Squeamish) lovingly drawn by one of my players after the party acquired the property. Consider it the most personal offering of the lot.
COTSP Handouts is a 16 MB PDF file containing all handouts for the campaign so that you can easily print them and give to your players. (Had to move the link b/c wix refused to update it)
COTSP Charters ZIP is an 8 MB download containing a company charter for each of the five northern countries: Greymoor, Mirahyr, Ormolu, Sandren, and Stonehold. These are full color PDFs you can print out for your players. They are meant to be filled out with character names and valid dates so the PCs can legally bear arms as they explore the region of Ravens Fell.
COTSP Heraldry ZIP is a 23 MB download containing the Heraldry, Gods, and the Combat Round and Silver Castle Time Tracker all in Full Color like so:
Please report any broken links or issues with the downloads and I will fix asap.
So, I'm giving you (for free) everything you need to run the campaign on a virtual table top or a normal table top. In the files above you have all maps, all handouts and all full color materials. If you wanted, you could print them out, or pay posterburner.com to make you bigger versions. This is my answer to the boxed set dilemma. In fact, if you want, you can skip the Maps & Extras book ENTIRELY and save yourself $22 because I've literally provided the digital contents of that book in the downloads above. That means you can get the campaign for $67.75 (minus the map book). The map book just lets you play old school without a computer. I hope this offering helps those who are watching their spending.
Hey Anthony, what about PDFs? Wouldn't that be the true cheapest way to make it available to everyone?
Yeah, it would. But for now I have no plans for releasing the PDFs.
Hey Anthony, I can't help but notice that the art for these books is really high quality. Are you a big jerk that's putting artists out of work by using Midjourney?
To be fair, the amount of art needed for this project would have required a budget in the tens of thousands of dollars. Since I wouldn't have ever been able to spend that, there's no money being stolen or lost. But yes, I was able to accomplish what I wanted without an artist and that is a real concern as we look forward to even better AI...but I guess if you hate me for using Midjourney I will have to live with that. I spent untold hours in photoshop reworking images and even more hours in Inkarnate creating maps from scratch. This whole project was down to basically just one person.
As such, the fact that it exists at all, I see as a minor miracle. it's a pretty big day because of the time and effort. I often wondered if I would actually cross this finish line. Allan Grohe has told me to shut the hell up about "this" or "this" being the last supplement I release. It's good advice. But for now...I rest.
The best part about today is that, even though the Silver Castle will continue to evolve through play, I am now done with the project from a public-facing standpoint. The process of polishing the campaign for people like you, dear player, sapped much of my time and energy and though I'm sure my players may not have perceived it, that amounted to less time focused on them. Less time to interact with them individually in downtime threads for character RP. Less time to paint minis. Less time in general. Getting back to the bread and butter moments for my players will be a nice reprieve. They are a good bunch.
Note that this is just the Ravens Fell South Group. The Ravens Fell North Group (not yet shown) is of equal size and plays on alternating Mondays. Much love to them though I lacked the foresight to get a photo of them prior to this post dropping. Next Monday I will try to grab one and upload it below. In the meantime...
And...drum roll, here is the Ravens Fell North Group as promised, also delving the Silver Castle, but missing one player. George's ranger was sorely missed:
I hope you find joy in the friendships and hardships of the Silver Castle. I hope my endless tinkering with this vintage role playing system brings you some genuine happiness. And if you ever want to ask a question or point out a typo, just hit me up. You can also send word of any egregious typos. I'm sure I didn't catch everything. I love hearing from you, especially when you tell me about your adventures.
and happy gaming.