Through the Valley of the Manticore – Announcement

I’m very excited to announce my follow-up adventure module zine for Old-School Essentials. This time around I will be launching the Kickstarter campaign as part of the first ever Side Quest event, specifically designed for indie zine creators to get there work out there and seen by a larger audience. I made a post earlier with the press release article to help get the word out. If you’re looking to self-publish an RPG zine before next year’s Zine Quest, consider joining the fun this November.

More information here.


A Little Behind the Scenes

Much to my surprise, my first adventure module, In the Shadow of Tower Silveraxe, was a success. It received overwhelmingly positive reviews and feedback which was very encouraging for me to get back to the drawing board and start the next project.

When I sat down to write Silveraxe, I was drawing from my own homebrew campaign map for my home game. It’s, currently, fairly modest in size, relative to other settings like Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms—not much bigger that a small country. But, just like those settings, it’s very diverse in its climate and biomes. I won’t pull back the curtain too much, but needless to say, not all of these areas of the map are fully fleshed out. Usually details don’t get filled in unless the players plan to stumble upon it. They are however ripe with potential! The Gemthrone Wilderness was just a few non-descript forested mountain hexes on my map with no label to begin with.

All this is to say that I aim to make each of my adventure modules set in a different type of climate. Personally, I think the region a great place to start when sitting down to design an adventure or prep for your home game. Obviously, it will inform you on the kind of monsters you should find there which is lot of the heavy lifting. In Silveraxe, I did the generic fantasy wilderness thing and this time around I wanted to set it in a much different location.

Earlier this Summer, I had the awesome opportunity to go on a hiking tour of several National Parks in Utah. This was a great opportunity to see a part of the country I’d never experienced before, and as a bonus, do a little project research. I took my camera(phone) and moleskin with me and documented the trip all the while making adventure design notes.

For all future projects that are based in approximately realistic environments, I hope to make a research trip out of it. Maybe I can convince my wife that I can write off a trip to the Caribbean…

So with a location in mind, I set out to establish who the main villain of the adventure would be. As I’m sure every DM does, I have a list of favorite creatures in fantasy RPGs that I try to include whenever I run for my group or designing adventures; gelatinous cubes(obviously), crab spiders, skeletons. One monster that is on my list of favorites, but I’ve never actually included and have yet to run in a game—the Manticore. Long overdue, this is the perfect opportunity to put a spotlight on a classic creature.

Without further ado, Through the Valley of the Manticore:


Through the Valley of the Manticore is a classic old-school fantasy adventure module.

Through the Valley of the Manticore is the second adventure module to be released by artist and creator Jacob Fleming. It is a follow-up to his debut adventure, In the Shadow of Tower Silveraxe, designed for use with Old-School Essentials or your favorite OSR ruleset. 

Set in arid canyonlands, Through the Valley of the Manticore lets players traverse winding sandstone slot-canyons and explore natural cave systems rumored to contain hidden relics of immense value and magical power. Though, soon they may realize that they are mere pawns in a game, being played by an unnaturally intelligent monster. They will need cunning as well as strength in order to overcome this bizarre and terrifying circumstance.

What’s In the Zine?

Cover art for the zine.
Fold-out Cover!

Through the Valley of the Manticore is a 40 page (not including cover) adventure module zine designed for use with the Old School Essentials or Basic/Expert classic fantasy rules. It’s old-school in both flavor and design mindset—weird and fantastic pulp adventure. Not all encounters are balanced and survival is not a guarantee.

The zine contains a detailed map of Huloror Canyon, 3 dungeons, the settlement of Fort Davelmag— which can serve well as a starting location for lower level adventurers. Fort Davelmag has a list of rumors, hooks, and NPCs.

It is designed as a module. Use it as a standalone adventure, graft it onto your existing campaign wherever you find a craggy, mountainous region, or drop in any of the dungeons as a one-shot.

Also, the layout is designed with clarity and usability in mind. Dungeon maps are easy to read and their corresponding room descriptions and relevant monster stats are placed so that they are all on the same spread—less page flipping, less time prepping!

tldr:

  • 40 interior pages
  • Topographic overland map
  • 3 dungeon locations
  • Starting Fort town with hooks and NPCs
  • Setting and local area background information
  • 4 pregenerated characters

Art Samples

All of the illustration and cartography is done me. For this module, I’ve stepped up art production and expanded to adding some full-color illustrations in oil paint to add a little more of that good pulp-fantasy spiciness. There will be lot’s of black and white original art as well; a hallmark of traditional old-school adventure publications.

Check out my other work on instagram.


Sign up to be notified when Through the Valley of the Manticore launches on Kickstarter this November for Side Quest!

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