WATE2-5 is the bonus adventure we get in 2010. Based upon our current schedule, our tentative timeline is as follows:
Public call for authors & proposals on 1 Feb 2010
Due date for author's draft summary plot proposal -- 1 March 2010
During March, we will go through a selection process to choose the author(s). This may include questions or suggestions about the proposal.
During April, we will carefully scrub the proposal to meet our and WotC standards.
Assuming no issues due to WotC new contracting process (see below), the author will do his drafting of the adventure in May.
The draft would be due to us around 6 Jun 2010. Sometime around that date we should also get feedback from WotC on the proposal.
Our feedback to author: 15 June 2010
The author sends us revised draft of the adventure: 21 Jun 2010. (Note: this is right before Origins, if that matters.)
We will conduct playtests in early July, immediately after Origins.
Our requested revisions to author: 15 July 2010
The author's post-playtest revision of the adventure draft due to us: 20 Jul 2010
After that, we start dealing with our Global Admin. On this current timeline, we may ask questions of the author(s) in mid August, which would be immediately after Gencon (if that matters). Often if the changes are minor, we make them ourselves, and they usually are minor changes at this point.
I have structured this timeline to be more generous for the author in the original drafting stage, but as it assumes no major changes are directed to the proposal, we need the author to trust our judgment. Please be warned, I have been told by one of the Global Admins, there is under consideration an alteration to the schedule for the "bonus" adventure (at least) to avoid the overload that occurred in 2009. So our schedule might slip. I don't think that will affect the front end of the process, but it might the back end of the process.
This process is known in the industry as "work for hire."
New D&D Organized Play Author Contracting Process
All authors will have to have a signed contract called a Master Text Agreement. Once that is in place, it is good forever. Then we get WotC to send the author a Purchase Order (PO) for work in 2010. That is WotC authorization for you to do work and expect to be paid by them. I believe when we receive an acceptable, on time draft, we tell WotC, and you as author then invoice WotC/Hasbro for your payment. Current payment is $250 for LFR regional adventures. If there is to be more than one author, all must have the documents in place, and the payment is split.
Desired WATE2-5 Proposal Premise
First, our target is an H2 (levels 4-7) adventure. It must be a heroic tier adventure, and to keep our adventures balanced, we would like to make it H2, but we might bend slightly.
Second, we would like the adventure to mainly be set in Mistshore, South Ward, or Downshadow, or involve one of the (non-evil) Waterdeep temples (but not those of Sune, Selune or Oghma). In short, focus on some part of the city we have not been lately or at all.
Third, do not use the plot hooks from the My Realms adventures.
Fourth, it is desirable, but not essential, to use either Daggers Rest (from WATE1-1, WATE1-2) or the Blue Mermaid Tavern (from WATE1-5, WATE1-7) to provide some continuity. Usage of other NPCs is encouraged.
Fifth, the adventure has the opportunity for some combat, but also features role playing opportunities and skill challenge encounters. The adventure is in an urban environment and it needs to have feel and theme appropriate to Waterdeep. Intrigue is desirable.
Sixth, while the plot can have possible spin off plot ideas, it should not be designed as the first part of a series or a quest. In other words, don't commit us to a Major Quest without our approval. Potential reuse of NPCs or sites is desirable though. Changes in direction from our Global Admins may be coming to enhance the story focus of LFR so depending upon what they envision as a good approach, we might modify this last point.
The summary plot proposal is the 2 page description of the adventure which will be edited, reviewed and approved by us, our Global Admin and WotC. The proposal is eventually our document for the work we propose to be written by the author for WotC under our review. So if you are uncomfortable with the proposal being a shared creation, you might not want to write for LFR or WotC.
For WATE2-5, to the extent feasible, we would prefer to use authors who are new to LFR, and definitely new to Waterdeep. Experience has taught us that authors with multiple commitments the same quarter may not be able to focus as much attention as we would like on designing a superior adventure. Please, do not accept more than one LFR writing commitment in the same quarter as we all have the same deadlines. Professional authors are welcome. (Experienced LFR authors may separately express their interest in writing for Waterdeep. At times we look for experienced authors to write adventures which are part of major quests (story arcs). I will post a separate thread on a call for more experienced authors to support our 2011 adventures.)
We would like to see a 4e D&D sample of your writing. If you have not written any 4e adventures (which is quite likely as we are looking for new authors), please draft a single encounter, using the LFR adventure template and rules, which you think would be fun to play. You may choose an encounter that might fit in with the adventure proposal you are submitting, but that is not necessary.
Please read the LFR Writers Guidelines and the Waterdeep Writers Guidelines carefully. If you do not have copies of those documents, contact the Waterdeep POC, Ryan, at email@example.com. Those documents explain most of the aspects of writing LFR / Waterdeep adventures. When I get a chance, I will work on importing the Waterdeep Writers Guidelines to the wiki pages of this site.
Please send sample 4e encounter/work, draft adventure proposal, and any spoiler type questions to LFRWDhoffman@aol.com.
We hope after reading this, you are not discouraged, and we look forward to your inputs. Feel free to ask if you have questions. Thanks.
Are there any monsters in the 4-7 range that y'all specifically want to *include* or *exclude*?
I do like plaguechanged gibberlings; would those be considered inappropriate for a pit fight in Downshadow?
Are there any NPCs that are specifically desired to be used?
Is there any more information available on Downshadow, other than what's available in this blog? Novels, etc.? If so, what would they be?
Also, do you have a list of recommended reading for post-spellplague Waterdeep?
(Also a list of recommended reading for Waterdeep, period - pre-Spellplague as well as post-Spellplague. Doesn't have to be specific to Waterdeep; it could be important events in the region surrounding Waterdeep, or important NPCs that are linked to Waterdeep somehow.)
Also, a list of LFR adventures that we should be referencing for background material - I assume all the WATE adventures, but there may be others connected to Waterdeep, such as CORE adventures, that I wouldn't normally know about.
A list of LFR *favors* that are recommended for use? Of course, all the WATE favors like WATE01, WATE02, etc., but anything like CORE01, CORE02, etc?
Also - there are LFR adventures that have yet to be released; could we get some spoilers on them? Of course, those haven't been completely written yet, but I was thinking of using, say, prominent NPCs, or major planned events - either writing in some lead-ins or some aftermath effects, with a specific eye towards the adventure records (like WATE01, WATE02, etc. etc.)
Currently we don't have any excluded monsters (other than rust monsters) or must have monsters. We generally are looking at does the monster fit the story and the setting. While it is obviously important to have a balanced set of roles to keep the combat interesting, they should not be random collections of monsters. Gibberlings and plaguechanged gibberlings are FR and would normally be in or come from Underdark, so coming from Undermountain is not unreasonable. As Downshadow is occupied by a fair number of people, there might be some question if bunches of these are killing the people living and hiding in Downshadow.
Depending upon the plot hook, we would like to see the PCs either meet in Dagger's Rest or in the Blue Unicorn. From WATE1-2, we identified, and PCs might have contacts with:
Morthos lives in Downshadow. He is a 6-foot-tall tiefling with gold eyes, dark red skin and purple-dyed dragon skin leather armor. Morthos is suspicious, aloof, and quite intelligent. His profession is that of a crime lord, fixer, and a fence.
Grimvok resides in Downshadow. He is a spellscarred dwarf whose deformity includes four muscular tentacles instead of arms protruding from his torso. Grimvok is old with a short grey beard, and is bitter and cynical.
Depending upon your plot, there might be other NPCs (such as from the City Watch).
WATE1-2, Dark Secrets of Downshadow
The first D&D Excursions season is Halaster's Lost Apprentice, which dips into Downshadow and a bit of Undermountain. I hope to get a copy of it. It was written by Erik Scott de Bie, who was the author of the FR Novel (Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep series) Downshadow. I recommend reading that novel if you want to write an adventure largely featuring that area. We can ask Erik questions if we need more details. He also has some NPCs which might come into play, depending again on the plot.
I have been thinking of starting a FR or Waterdeep novel book review thread. The Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep series is all current age Waterdeep adventure.
Blackstaff Tower by Steven E. Schend Mistshore by Jaeigh Johnson Downshadow by Erik Scott de Bie City of the Dead by Rosemary Jones The God Catcher by Erin M. Evans
In June 2010, Circle of Skulls by James P. Davis will be released
For pre-Spellplague setting novels, many FR novels have touched on Waterdeep, but what I think of as the primary focus are:
The City of Splendors by Ed Greenwood and Elaine Cunningham Elfshadow by Elaine Cunningham Blackstaff by Steven E. Schend
Waterdeep was one of the stops during the Avatar series in the Time of Troubles, where gods fought and died.
Of course there are previous edition campaign setting supplements dealing with Waterdeep (and Undermountain).
Remember that Waterdeep counts as a realm so having a major impact on Waterdeep as a whole or meeting the city leaders would be more appropriate to paragon tier than heroic tier.
I don't really know of a CORE adventure although there was one which started in Waterdeep but then left. Unless your plot touches on rare books or maps, I doubt that will have relevance.
I don't know of any specific CORE story awards more or less applicable. If the sequel to WATE1-5 is written, it will be a CORE adventure and it will have relevance, but that is not yet agreed.
We have been staying away from Downshadow since 1-6 and 1-7 because we thought first the Special, then the Mini-campaign was going to Undermountain, and it ended up being the Excursions. If there is aftermath, we will provide that as we edit/collaborate on the proposal.
WATE2-4 will be H1 and we plan to have Erik Scott de Bie write it. It is not set in Downshadow, but it is possible there might be some dangling threads.
The call for authors and proposals for WATE2-5 is now closed. We received a reasonable number of submissions. While we are interested in the authors' ideas, the primary purpose of the call is to select a new author. The idea they present as well as the sample encounter they provide form some basis for us to decide if their view of what makes a good adventure will mesh reasonably well with our view. Authors and editors working together can be challenging, more so if their opinions are drastically different. We will carefully review the submissions. Thank you.