21 November 2020

Prospects and Retrospects - 101 posts From Kuroth's Quill

Due to the vagaries of real-life timing winning out over planning, my 100th post in From Kuroth's Quill arrived uncelebrated as my compiled (and still far-from-comprehensive) bibliography for Lenard Lakofka's D&D writings.  Given Lenard's recent death (about which I still have a memorial post in draft), it didn't seem the right time to crow about much of anything at all, and is another hash-mark against 2020 that began back in January with my post in tribute to Rush's drummer, Neil Peart.  

So, this will be my semi-celebratory and semi-reflective piece about the ongoing writing of this blog.  'Tis a rainy, grey afternoon outside, which is more conducive to writing and reflection than most, so here we go!

From Kuroth's Quill - grodog's Vision vs. Reality

My blog masthead proclaims,

"From Kuroth’s Quill" is grodog's regular design column covering the elements of adventure design (and more-specifically dungeon design, given my interest in that topic). I will also wander through the design of spells and magic items; monsters, traps, tricks, and treasures; PC and NPC classes; planes and pantheons; and likely other topics as well. In the blog, I hope to provide practical examples that will be useful in campaign play, to show theory in action.
While From Kuroth's Quill remains more sporadic than regular than I'd prefer, and while it's not always 100% focused on AD&D and/or Greyhawk, it's generally remained on-target, although I've certainly focused more overall on general dungeon design than on creating specific content for AD&D or Greyhawk.    

Here's a breakdown of my posts by year, as well as some high-level topical analysis for them:

  • 2020 - 25 posts YTD = 2.08 per month (counting this post, assuming I don't write another one in-between ;) ), with posts in 11/11 months YTD (100%)
  • 2019 - 27 posts = 2.25 per month, with posts in 9/12 months (75%)
  • 2018 - 27 posts = 2.25 per month, with posts in 8/12 months (67%)
  • 2017 - 22 posts = 1.83 per month (but I began the blog in April, so that's really 2.44 posts per month), with posts in 6/12 months (50%)

My writing has obviously declined slightly in frequency over time, alas, but it has remained relatively consistent and is increasing in regularity on a monthly basis, which I suppose counts for something. 

The topics of my posts remain a bit more all-over-the-map, but the main categories based on my tags include:

  • mega-dungeon - 25 
  • Greyhawk - 21
  • module - 18
  • adventure - 17
  • design - 17
  • campaign - 16
  • Gary Gygax - 13
  • grodog's Castle Greyhawk - 13
  • kellri -12
  • mega-dungeon mondays  - 12
  • Castle Greyhawk - 11
  • Rob Kuntz - 10
  • Tales of Peril - 10
  • World of Greyhawk - 10

There's obviously some overlap among the topics, and if I was more curious I'd also break them down by number of posts per topic per year to play out the trends of the topics, but I'm too tired  to do that--today, at least.  

Prospects and Retrospects

I have 54 additional blog posts currently in various states of draftedness, which stretch back from today to the dawn of the blog.  

Some of them are convention reports I'll never complete and should just delete.  Others are reviews and pieces about reviewing standards---I got my start in RPG professional design writing reviews for Pagan Publishing's The Unspeakable Oath, Pyramid when it was a print magazine, and various others including Dragon during Erik Mona's Paizo tenure.  I'll likely complete the wrecked/incomplete remaining entries from Kellri's September 2018 challenge as I incorporate both Court of Ardor and D3 Vault of the Drow into my current campaigns.  Various unfinished "From the Vaults" pieces about Greyhawk rarities, and other topics around mega-dungeons, Greyhawk, my campaign, et al. will queue over time, too.  

Completing more of these---in particular the pieces about my Shadow Master class (part 1 of which appeared in the final issue of Knockspell), since some folks continue to remain interested in reading the rest of it---would be a good idea, I'm sure.

Other topics I'd like to explore, reflecting on my masthead with 20/20 true sight:

  • I have some posts about the role/function of traps and tricks, as well as designing enigmas/"special" encounters that I'd like to dig into (although Trent Smith is covering these very nicely in his ongoing development work for his AD&D Companion/Heroic Legendarium, too)
  • I continue to work on planar materials for my campaigns, and am trying to design content that helps to support lower-level planar play in particular (Anthony Huso's Zjelwyin Fall may also see play at the table sooner vs. later in one of the two campaigns)
  • The campaign has further rounded out some details about gods active in the Greyhawk-Gnarley-Narwell-Hardby-Maure Castle region of my central Flanaess, including Hextor, Wee Jas (since retiring my elf fighter/magic-user, I'm also playing a paladin of Wee Jas in Bill Silvey's ongoing Monday night Greyhawk campaign; we're about to enter White Plume Mountain!), Zagig/Zagyg himself, and the Old Faith Druids and Bards
  • Whip up my AD&D dragon house rules into more-final shape, including the expanded NPC personality tables I created for them, and it wouldn't hurt to complete work on other rules pieces too:  my revised/expanded DM log/screen and monster multitudes come immediately to mind; some of these projects would be for the blog, but others like the DM log/screen are intended for publication
  • Incorporating non-TSR adventures and city supplements into Greyhawk

If anyof the topics above (or otherwise---who knows where the winds of Greyhawk-inspiration will drive us all!) jumps out at you with particular interest, please comment below and I'll try to align my inspiration and writing accordingly.



  1. Congratulations, Allan! You've certainly remained more consistent than I have, so never think that you're not doing enough for the community. You're doing plenty. Keep up the good work, my friend!

    1. Thanks Tony! While I wasn't trolling for compliments, I won't turn them down either ;)


  2. I'd love to see your dragon rules, thoughts on tricks & traps, and planar materials

    1. The dragons are probably closer to being done and also relatively necessary soon-ish in-game, while the tricks & tracks are probably nearer and dearer to my heart---which will win out?!?


  3. Congratulations! 100 posts. That really is quite an accomplishment. It's not easy coming up with fresh material that satisfies both you, the author, and your readers! I enjoy your missives, so I hope you keep it up for 100 more.
    I hope you are still having fun with it, because, after all is said and done, if it isn't a labour of love, it's just labour. :-)

    1. Well-said, David!---there's some labor (and labour ;) ) in the mix but plenty of love, so the posts will keep coming, slowly but surely.


  4. Congratulations on passing this milestone!

    I'm excited to see where you go from here!

  5. Allan,
    I'm very interested in your dragon house rules, incorporating non-TSR adventures into Greyhawk, and your thoughts on tricks/traps/enigmae.

  6. Would love to see more posts from you. Keep up the good thoughts.

  7. Thanks guys, definitely appreciate the feedback!


  8. Wonderful Allan! Didn't know you had "From Kuroth's Quill" as a resource and think tank about FRPG. Hurrah! From the darkness to the RPG table.

    1. Thank you, Theron. Hopefully I'm shedding a little light, here and there ;)


  9. Hi Allan - yes please to all of this:

    Whip up my AD&D dragon house rules into more-final shape, including the expanded NPC personality tables I created for them, and it wouldn't hurt to complete work on other rules pieces too: my revised/expanded DM log/screen and monster multitudes come immediately to mind; some of these projects would be for the blog, but others like the DM log/screen are intended for publication

  10. Mr. Grohe,

    It all sounds good. But I really would like to see the Shadow Master PC class finished. The last class like it I played was a Shadow Mage out of Dragon Magazine for a 2e game. This one looked better, and I liked the genesis of the build in the Old White Wolf magazine. Congratulations sir on your 100th post.


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