First book: The Priest of Loki
Wanderhaven is the city with everything, the gateway to the world and the capital of the Kingdom of the Western Isles. The streets are hard, though, and for a teenaged street-urchin named Sneakatara Boatman, they can be cruel, too. “Sneax” will do anything to escape the grinding poverty and hopelessness she’s known all her life. On most days, she’s lucky just to survive. Sneax’s lone friend is an apprentice wizard named Elaina Emboo, a rich girl from a nice family who hates the life that her father has planned for her. Elaina envies Sneax’s freedom but doesn’t understand what all that freedom actually costs.

When the infamous fire elf smuggler Draks comes to town, Sneax gets a chance to maybe change her life. But change is dangerous, and a fire elf will kill you as soon as look at you.

Read "Sneakatara Boatman and the Priest of Loki" now!

Wanderhaven is the name of the Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting that I occasionally run at home for my kids.  D&D is fundamentally a game of “let’s play make-believe,” and my kids are tireless make-believers, so the game has been a perfect fit for us.  They like it when I tell them stories, and I’ve always thought of D&D as more of a cooperative storytelling exercise than as an actual game with rules and winners and all of that.
2nd book: Crown of Pluto.
The idea of Wanderhaven was born in December 2012, when I wrote a short story for my girls as a Christmas present using the characters they’d created for one of our recent sessions.  My older daughter Hannah really bonded with her character, the halfling thief Sneakatara “Sneax” Boatman, and I wanted to come up with a way to make that character—and the experience of playing her—more memorable.  That first story, "Sneax and Elaina Emboo versus the Fire Elf," was a huge hit, both at home and in my office, and I've been writing stories set in the world of Wanderhaven ever since.
It’s my plan to continue writing stories about Sneax and her various companions for as long as my girls are interested in reading them, at least one per year, so over time I expect this setting will get quite a bit of development.  This page, then, serves as the archive for all things Wanderhaven—for my girls and for whomever else is interested in this project.

Wanderhaven and the Kingdom of the Western Isles

Wanderhaven is the capital of the mythical Kingdom of the Western Isles, a major nation-state located on a subcontinental archipelago off the northeastern coast of the Continent of Sentralia, which represents the majority of the Known World.  Wanderhaven is a large, cosmopolitan port city, something of a cross between fifteenth century Paris, modern day New York, and the ancient Greek city-state Troy.  It’s the kind of place where even good girls can get into trouble if they’re not careful.  The people of Wanderhaven mostly concern themselves with trade and with the fashion crazes of Court, but the Kingdom is at odds politically with the Empire of Holy Sentralia and its dread Legion of the Red Lord, so cloak-and-dagger type espionage is not at all unusual inside the city.

The Kingdom of the Western Isles is a big place.  It is at least as large as the real world nations of Iceland, Greenland, and Great Britain put together, and it is only partially settled.  Wanderhaven is located close to the southern end of the Kingdom, but the Kingdom's territories extend much further north, all the way up to the polar region, known as the Northern Ice.  The northernmost settlement is the Duchy of Charlesford, an area in and around the Charlesford Gulf that includes the town of Breakwater Bay, located on the Isle de Mont Deserette, and a tiny logging village called Ellesberg.  This area is loosely based on the part of Maine where my family and I vacation in the summers, in and around Mount Desert Isle and Acadia National Park.

A Beginner's Guide to Wanderhaven
Thought Experiment: When Is Hasbro Going to Realize That It Owns D&D?
World-Building Exercise: A Brief History of the Legion of the Red Lord
Isle de Mont Deserette: A Homebrew Campaign Setting for D&D
Los Legartos of the Rocas del Sol
Wanderhaven Sourcebook: The Priestess of Artemis and Background: Temple Orphan
Wanderhaven Sourcebook: Priests of Chaos
Wanderhaven Sourcebook: The Fire-Breathing Elephant

Mythology, Religion, and the Known World

Every fantasy realm needs a Cosmology.  But thought religion and mythology are an integral part of D&D, they present something of a challenge to my home game.  To keep things simple, we use Roman mythology as our base because my kids are already at least somewhat familiar with it, simplifying and abstracting details as necessary.

Both the Kingdom and the Continent worship the Twelve Gods, but each country's view of the gods is different.  To the people of the Kingdom, the gods are called Olympians, and they go by the ancient Greek names, using the Greek personifications.  The Sentralians call the gods the Dii Consentes and use the Roman names and personifications. The difference is most pronounced in the way the cultures conceive of Mars (Ares), who is either the dread god of war or the bringer of civilization through righteous conquest.

The Cosmology of Wanderhaven
The Five Laws of Ares

Campaign WdH1: The Fire-Breathing Elephant Expedition

Duke Wallace Foghorn IV
Campaign Summary


  1. Dan, I personally think I better not let you and Colin spend too much time together. I can see you are living parallel brain spaces!

    1. See? That's excellent. Now we HAVE to play. Unfortunately, time is a tough issue, though.

  2. Dan, I am thoroughly enjoying all your material and coincidentally found you recently by way of your solo adventures. I am a geo-bachelor at Ft. Hood for the year and was looking at introducing D&D to my girls when I go home every so often. As your classmate and a water polo player at school, I wish I had gotten to know you better.

    Have you considered self-publishing through Amazon (Kindle or print via Createspace)? From what I understand, it is rather easy and Amazon handles all the business end of it for you--marketing through distribution. You have done the hard part creating the story, why not put it out there and see what happens? I would buy a copy! Unless you wanted to have a publisher add a bunch of illustrations, your electronic version should be all you need to be the next Lovecraft

    1. Thanks for that.

      Y'know, it's funny. I thought I knew everyone in our class, got to OBC, and there was a guy there in my own branch I'd never even met. We've been friends since, but still... I didn't love the Army as a career, but the best people I ever met were in the Army, and especially at the Academy, and I frequently wish I hadn't taken them and that experience so much for granted while I was there. Not much I can do about now, sadly, but I feel somewhat isolated living in Connecticut at times. Veterans aren't uncommon in some parts of the country, but they're rarer than water buffaloes where I live.

      I've been looking at a lot of different publishing options. There are pros and cons to each. Self-publishing is faster, let's you retain more control, and if you can figure out a way to do it, you an do what I hope to with "The Priest of Loki" and market the thing in completely different ways to different audiences. Yes, the book is a YA fantasy novel written for my daughter, using standard/familiar mythos because that's what my kids know. That's one way to look at it. But it's also a gaming novel, with characters that have distinct races and classes that will be familiar to D&D enthusiasts, to the point where they gain levels, cast vaguely recognizable spells, and one major character even multi-classes as a primary plot point.

      As an indie novel, I think I could market it both ways without either audience realizing that they're only HALF of the target audience. That's my hope, anyway.

      Against that, professional publishing is more prestigious, and they provide free editing help. I'm not a bad editor, but doing Developmental Editing on one's own work is notoriously difficult, as is being objective about your book's appeal to others. Every book is important to it's author. The hard part is figuring out what will speak to other folks who don't share your life experiences.

      Anyway, all the publishing posts lately have been me trying to come to grips with the mess of the traditional publishing process; I'd like to at least give it a chance. I know some editors from my time writing comics, and I definitely CAN put out a decent self-published book, but I'm trying to be patient and see if there's a better way first.

      Finally, I wrote this story for another of our classmates. He was my roommate Yuck year, and I still consider him a close friend, even though I've not seen him in more than a decade. He has twins (boys) and just turned over command of an Aviation Battalion at Ft. Hood, and like you, has spent MUCH time as a geographic bachelor. Anyway, the story is ABOUT being separated because of duty, and I dedicated to our friend's kids:


      Sadly, my artist quit in me after the first issue was done, and his style was so distinct, I never tried to replace him.

  3. Is there a pdf of the your campaign setting/

    1. Not yet.

      I have the outline of a Wanderhaven Campaign Guide in the Notes tab on my iPhone, but to date, I've spent a LOT more time working on short fiction for my kids rather than D&D content. I get that my readers really PREFER the campaign stuff, but I myself like to write fiction, so...

      I should probably start putting Wanderhaven D&D stuff on my Patreon account by way of driving traffic there. Anyway, I'd like to do something like this long-term, but I'm just one guy with limited work time. I'll get to it eventually.

    2. I should also mention that I have a short campaign coming out from En5sider in the next month or so. It's called "The Mystery of Mordecai's Monster," and I think you guys will like it quite a lot.