Back in August, I announced that I was working on a project called Adventures in Hawk’s Rest, a mini starter campaign for characters of 1st and 2nd level. Today the product goes live on the DMs Guild!
I was perhaps a little over-ambitious back in August when I thought the adventure would be ready in September. As it turns out, the final product is nearly 40 pages along and contains seven adventuring sites, as well as rules for hexcrawling adapted from Justin Alexander’s excellent posts on the subject. It took months of work.
If I were to pitch Hawk’s Rest, I summarize it as ‘Studio Ghibli meets the Shire meets Lost Mine of Phandelver.’ It is very much intended as the prologue to a longer campaign, rather than a complete story in itself, but I end the adventure with some ideas for where you can go next with your adventures.
When I wrote it, I had a few key design principles in mind.
Firstly, I wanted to make sure that it would not be lethal for 1st-level characters. Too many of WotC’s official adventures have encounters that could easily wipe out a party. The encounters in Hawk’s Rest are still challenging, but they are balanced in the players’ favour.
Secondly, I wanted to make sure that there were ways of avoiding encounters without resorting to combat. As written, I think you can through almost all of the adventure without needing to draw swords.
Finally, I wanted to simulate the impression of an open world. This is not a railroad. Players can go where they want and make the adventure their own.
I was incredibly fortunate to work with the fantastic Dungeon Baker on this product. You may have seen DB’s maps in books like Keith Ammann’s How to Defend Your Lair and Mike Shea’s Lazy DM’s Companion (which are both excellent by the way). The maps in Hawk’s Rest are, quite frankly, stunning. I often ended up rewriting my adventures a bit because DB’s maps kept giving me new inspiration! You can see more of Dungeon Baker’s maps on his Patreon; he is going to be sharing the Hawk’s Rest maps very soon, including the tiles he designed for the hex map.
Today this labour of love is yours to own. I really hope you enjoy it. For the first week, it is going on sale for just £1 ($1.25), so snap it up while you can! A huge thank you to everyone who has provided proofreading and feedback along the way.
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