Adventure a Week Interview with Jonathan Nelson and Todd Gamble

If you haven’t visited Adventureaweek.com it is a site where new D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder quests are published. As the name implies each week subscribers will get access to original material for their game. Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing the site’s creators, Jonathan Nelson and Todd Gamble.

What is Adventure a Week?

Adventureaweek.com provides a new 3.5 and Pathfinder compatible adventure every single week!

All adventures fully support both systems, so die-hard 3.5 and Pathfinder fanatics alike can sit back and relax!  If a GM is looking to try out our stuff before they commit to a subscription, they can buy our adventures on Paizo.com, RPGnow.com, DriveThruRPG.com, and in our own Adventureaweek online store.

Subscribers get access to a TON of great creative content including high-resolution maps by three-time ENnie Award winning Cartographer Todd Gamble.  Our adventures are available in both PDF format and our famous patented web format, which makes running games so easy all you need is a tablet and some dice!


So far you’ve released series A, B, and C, is there a unifying theme to each series?

A-Series” = Adventureaweek Campaign Setting adventures
We have set it up so you can opt in or out of the setting with a single click.

B-Series” = By Guest Authors
Guest authors include finalists from the Paizo RPG Superstar competition, Michael McCarthy (Dreamscarred Press), Mark Edwards (numerous publishers), Jonathan McAnulty (Kobold Quarterly, Rite Publishing), JP Quinn (partner with Dave Arneson on Blackmoor campaign setting and adventures), the list goes on and on and grows with each passing week!

C-Series” = Classic style adventures
These adventures are created in the vein of AD&D 1st edition Gary Gygax adventures, but with rules and statistics compatible with 3.5 and Pathfinder RPGs.

In regards to the letters matching up with the series: we didn’t really mean for it to happen that way, but hey… it works!


Are the stat blocks in your adventures 3.5 or Pathfinder format?

We actually have taken on the massive challenge of supplying statistics for both game systems within every adventure module.  Yes, it’s a huge undertaking but everything gets easier in time.  We are getting things down to a science and are proud to offer our adventures to both audiences in the same adventure module.


Are your adventures available in print format or solely as PDFs?

Our adventures are available in two formats, but two different from those you mention.  First off we have our patented “web format” which contains “click to open/close” JavaScript boxes containing statistical information so it doesn’t clutter up space as a GM runs through the adventure.  Don’t need an encounter?  Simply continue on your way through the adventure.  Need stats for PF but not 3.5?  Well, don’t open the 3.5 combat boxes!  Just click the Pathfinder boxes.  It’s all very user-friendly and actually designed that way over time through a large play test and from a lot of intensive use in my own game sessions.  It works flawlessly on a tablet and thus decreases the amount of supplies you need to bring to a game.  Really, all you need is a tablet and dice.  Or use your own dice app and all you need is a tablet or laptop.

You can also buy the PDFs individually, or as a subscriber you may download them free of charge.  Granted, monthly subscribers only get 2 downloads per month whereas annual subscribers get unlimited downloads.  This is to prevent misuse and piracy on the site, which is the main problem that other subscription sites experienced.  I actually am a STRONG advocate of sharing stuff that you love with friends, but purchasing that same product if you find that you use it often.  For example, I received a free copy of Wolfgang’s Kobold Guide to Game Design.  Read it, LOVED IT, and purchased all three in print version even though a newer compiled version was coming out.  AaW paid for three ads in Kobold Quarterly and were offered a free print and PDF version; too late, already bought both of them separately with one being purchased from my local game store.  Seriously guys: Support what you love or watch it go the way of the buffalo.


What subscriptions plans do you offer?

If you would like weekly adventures and a campaign setting you can slap down $10 and go for the monthly subscription.  Heck, if you don’t like the site you can always cancel after a month.  At least you had the chance to see what killer stuff we have hidden behind our impenetrable gates!

If you would like access to a lot more (and we mean a LOT MORE), you can save money and get a ton of good stuff by paying $99 a year to become an Annual Subscriber.  As an Annual Subscriber to Adventureaweek.com you obtain access to the following: Every adventure on the site, Free PDF download option for all adventures, Adventurer’s Journal (side quests & maps), Treasure Trove (new magical items), Audio Soundboard (sound effects for your game), Printables (high resolution images for download/printing), Dungeon Tiles (professional dungeon tiles for combat), Monsters (new and original monsters complete with full color illustrations), AaW Campaign Setting – Maps, History, Culture, Races, Classes, Domains, Sorcerer Bloodlines, Spells, Archetypes, Prestige Classes, Locations, NPCs, Magical Items, All AaW content available for HERO LAB.

What is your favorite adventure available on the site and why?

That is a hard question to answer because I honestly have quite a few which vie for the top position.  How about I name off my top three and then give you some info on one that is special to me?

I would say the three contenders for MY favorite adventure are A4: Forest for the Trees (nature vs. civilization), A5: Winterflower (festival with a dance), and A9: Rogue Wizard (inspired by an episode of STAR TREK: The Next Generation).

My most personal adventure is A5: Winterflower, which features Gwendolyn, the most beautiful maiden in the village.  Most of the young men in the village of Rybalka wish to take Gwendolyn to the Winterflower Festival dance.  Some of the men in the village wish to hire the PCs to retrieve rare treasures to win her hand.  There is a lot more to this adventure (which received 5 stars by ENDZEITGEIST), but the reason it’s special to me is that my daughter’s name is Gwendolyn and the adventure was written before she was born.  She is 9 months old now and makes me smile no matter how bad of a day I’m having!


The artwork and cartography look amazing, who is responsible?

Tim Tyler is a phenomenal character artist and has provided the unique and original artwork for most of the characters and monsters appearing in our adventures and campaign setting.  He has been working in the comic book industry for much of his life, but this is his first time doing RPGs.  This transition came easy to him though as he played AD&D 1st edition in his younger days and has always been a fan of the art that used to appear in those old school TSR modules.  Those were the good old days right?  I still love that art too, and Tim’s been bringing back some of that old style with a fresh perspective that only someone in the field of comics and graphic novels would have.  We are stoked to have Tim as an integral part of Adventureaweek!

Todd Gamble is the genius behind the incredible cartography and a TON of the artwork, especially the locations.  Todd has this knack for really immersing you in an environment.  I think it comes from his life experiences visiting different locations and exploring strange places.  He’s told me before that he used to wander around in old abandoned mines just to get the feel for them and map them out.  That’s SO dangerous!  There are hidden sinkholes that go down hundreds of feet.  You see this puddle of water, step in it and *WHOOOSH* you’re deep in some mineshaft underwater!  Crazy!  Todd is a three-time ENnie Award winner, has won numerous ORIGINS awards, and has worked at Wizards of the Coast, Green Ronin, and a dozen other great RPG companies.  He is heralded as one of the world’s best cartographers and designers of model scenery used in gaming and model railroading.  He’s also a damn good friend!


Your site says you accept adventure submissions; do you have any tips for writing hoping to submit their work?

I’ve actually been asked this question more times than I can count.  We get a lot of submissions, some of them great and some not so great.  Many times the “not so great” submissions just need a little work.  In this case, we ask the author to send their creative work to a few friends for feedback and perform a thorough spelling and grammar check.  Sometimes we accept their proposal after they perform a few revisions based on feedback provided by both their friends and us.  There are other times that the adventures proposed just don’t work for our site or are not up to the standards required by a discerning Game Master.  We only want to publish the absolute best adventures, and while “best” is definitely relative, we do have certain standards in regards to quality of story, formatting, and delivery.

For anyone looking to submit material I would recommend reading the following prior to submitting a proposal:

Visit the forum on Adventureaweek.com and introduce themselves as well as read the various posts by other authors.

Download the ACT (Adventure Composition Tutorial) would also get them ahead of the game.

Finally, prospective adventure authors may read more on our guidelines and incentives, as well as submit their adventure proposal here.

Will the AaW team be at Gen Con this year? (If so, booth number?) 

Yes, Todd and Jonathan will be at GEN CON but will not be at a booth. Instead we will be random encounters throughout the convention.  Depending on the date and time there is a 5% cumulative chance of encountering us at GEN CON.  We will be disguised as NERD TREK journalists (my other company) and handing out loads of freebies and coupon codes for Adventureaweek.com.  Some of this stuff is part of a ONE-TIME PRINT and autographed as well, so if you see us make sure and ask us for some of the goods!

WE HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL AT GEN CON 2012!  LONG LIVE GARY GYGAX!

Happy Gaming!

-Jonathan and Todd

Adventureaweek.com

Well, I would like to give a big thank you to the gents at Adventure a Week. They have an amazing site and a quality product so be sure to check it out.

-Andy

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