I like D&D. I don’t get to play as much as I used to, but I enjoy the game, like many of the novels that Wizards of the Coast (WotC) puts out, and make an effort to keep up with what’s new. I like fantasy fiction and roleplaying games, but I also find the business of RPGs interesting as well, perhaps because I used to own a (very) small press comic book company and did many of the projects for my MBA on pop-culture-type topics. It’s a tough world out there, but the RPG crowd is an intelligent and welcoming group, and geek culture has lately taken over the world. Watching this develop has been fun as a fan, but as an expert in business and finance, it’s been fascinating.

In the world of pop culture, D&D is a legendary sea monster. Yes, it’s often hidden below the surface, but it’s much, much bigger than you’d think, and it’s the basis of many of the stories that are told around campfires even to this day.

It’s that big. If anything, it’s even bigger than that.

Most of this is for D&D's 5th Edition or for the playtest material that was written during the run-up to 5e's release. The blog also has a tab for Wanderhaven, my homebrew campaign setting, and another for the single-player campaign I wrote for 4e several years ago called "The Sellswords of Luskan: Winter Ambush".  According to blogger, more than nine thousand people have played through "Winter Ambush" and another four thousand have been through "The Mystery of Malvern Manor"!

If every one of those folks would also buy my book, I'd be a happy, happy man.

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!

Articles & Homebrew Design

Swordmage Revisited
The Mermaid: A PC Race Design for D&D
Reimagining the Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon
D&D with Kids: “The Sunless Citadel” Play Report
D&D Feedback: Revised Maneuvers for the Cavalier
The Bard College of Ballet
Anatomy of a Sea Story
8 Spelljammer Story Ideas
13 Things I’d like to see from 5e (Part 1)
13 Things I’d like to see from 5e (Part 2)
Fan Mail
D&D Adventure System Homebrew: Sneax the Warlock
Campaign and Story Structure via the Lost Mine of Phandelver
Monomyth Structure & Campaign Design
D&D Homebrew (5e): The Swordmage
Dungeons & Dragons Homebrew: The Sapper (Rogue Subclass)
The State of D&D
D&D Homebrew: Cavalry Subclasses
D&D Next Homebrew: Path of the Combat Engineer (Fighter Subclass)
Designing the Engineer Class: A D&D Next Experiment (Part 1)
Designing the Engineer Class: A D&D Next Experiment (Part 2)
Playing D&D with Kids: Managing Information Flow
Imagining My Family as a Party of D&D Characters
Adapting the Infernal Captain's Pact
The Shadow Pact & the Poisoned Blade
Dhampyr Homebrew (Part 1)
Dhampyr Homebrew (Part 2)
Priests of Misfortune (with link to EN5ider article)
Demon-Binders & the Circle of the Pit

Thirteen Things I’d Like to See from D&D Next

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.

Campaign Setting: Wanderhaven

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.

    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


    1. Great site! Thanks for the solo adventure!!

      Excellent job with it! More please :)

      Take Care,

      1. Thanks. Those take forever to write, though, so while I'd like to do another one eventually, don't be looking for it anytime soon. Also, the next one will certainly be using the D&D Next rules.

      2. This comment has been removed by the author.