This month, Pathfinder fans can get their hands on the adventure that kicks off the Return of the Runelords Adventure Path—Secrets of Roderic's Cove! I asked on Twitter what folks would like to see in a blog about this adventure, and a number of people wanted to know more about the writing process and more behind the scenes things. So, here y'all go!
After working on various parts of the Adventure Path line for over 6 years, I finally got my name on the front cover! I'd been given the option before, but it seemed like every time the opportunity came up the timing just wasn't right. I didn't want to take on a big project and not be able to deliver on time. I still had plenty on my plate, but kicking off an Adventure Path was too tempting to refuse. I also enjoy writing low-level adventures, so that was another factor that led me to jump on this.
James had some basic ideas of what he wanted this adventure to accomplish, and rather than us using the usual outlining process, we pretty much just talked things through, and I kept him updated on where the story was going, getting feedback and bouncing ideas off of him.
Writing Adventure Path adventures is tough. While I've written plenty of things since I first started freelancing, this adventure is the longest single project I've ever written. I stressed trying to pull it all together and hit my deadline (which I didn't), and at the end of it all I had overwritten by more than 7,000 words. Trimming it down was easier than I expected, though. I had another level in a dungeon that was a little more than 5,000 words by itself and it wasn't 100% necessary to the plot, so... yoink! To the floor with you! The rest was just cleaning up some things, connecting the dots, and trimming down a few encounters.
I enjoyed getting to flesh out the town of Roderic's Cove, as well. There were only a few sentences on the place, so I got to really breathe some life into it. I like making small towns and their inhabitants, and really enjoy linking everyone together to make a place seem realistic and dynamic all while giving PCs fun characters to interact with.
This adventure is somewhat of a sandbox, and it provides a wide range of encounters and places to explore. Not every challenge is best dealt with through violence, so the PCs can find different solutions to their problems. While the adventure kicks off the bigger plot of the campaign, it is also self-contained and could easily serve as a standalone adventure with minimal work on the GM's part.
I hope that everyone who reads or plays Secrets of Roderic's Cove enjoys themselves. Get ready to take down those runelords!