Throughout 1998, Dragon Magazine ran a design contest in every issue. A spell, a type of undead, a magic item, the subject of said contest changed with each issue, but it was open to anyone with an idea and the verve to write it down. When issue #253 hit the stands, blazoned across the top was a banner reading: “WIN! The Inner Planes – AD&D Contest”. Being the obsessed Planescape fanboy that I was — and still am — I knew I wanted to win. When I read what the contest was, I knew I *had* to win.
Marasmos, Lord of Suppuration
The Planescape setting was ambitious, leveraging itself up as a meta-campaign that encapsulated all the other Advanced Dungeons & Dragons settings into a coherent narrative. That was no easy task, when some settings like Dark Sun and Spelljammer worked very hard at being isolationist. Even Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms tried to withdraw from the framework set in place by the Planescape setting. That reluctance was not reciprocated, as the writers of the Planescape setting made herculean efforts to fold not just the rules of the other settings, but their characters, plots, and history. However, some campaign worlds where exceedingly difficult to work with, especially the Ravenloft setting.
It’s not uncommon for a writer to re-purpose something he wrote previously that went unused. Ironically, one character I created found new life in a different setting…
In 1997, TSR published Polyhedron #126, and therein ran a one page advertisement for the “RPGA Network Adventure Design Contest `97”. The RPGA was a part of TSR that concentrated on producing and running adventures for the company’s game lines at conventions, both locally and nationally. They maintained the ongoing Living Campaigns (after which this blog derives its name), as well a more one shot adventures. The purpose of the contest was to generate some new encounters for the voracious fans of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and I took them up on the challenge. However, there were some preliminary rules to which submissions had to adhere:
I was lucky enough to have a Planescape article accepted by Polyhedron Magazine. Entitled “Of Sigil and the Sea“, it was published in issue #137. Imagine my delight when I saw an accompanying map draw by the illustrious Rob Lazzaretti, cartographer of many of the actual campaign setting’s poster maps. Wizards of the Coast posted a color version of the map on their “Map of the Week” page for the date of 12/20/2001.