I have been working on a new project. In anticipation for a break point in our current long-running D&D 5e campaign, I’ve been thinking about what game to play next. I’ve also been considering writing something for possible eventual publication. I’ve landed on this.
The PitchThe sleepy vacation town of Marqwood Michigan hides a secret in the old lighthouse. The lighthouse is a portal to the dangerous and fantastic world of Threshold, and you have managed to stumble into this world of adventure. In The Lighthouse at the Threshold you play townsfolk, vacationers, or fantasy creatures who inhabit the dual settings of Threshold, and Marqwood. Travel back and forth between the worlds to explore this mysterious world and its connection with ours.
The Lighthouse at the Threshold is a table top role playing game, campaign setting, and adventure module all in one. Players play regular humans in the town of Marqwood who have stumbled upon the fantasy realm of Threshold. There, they go on strange adventures, befriend otherworldly creatures, and learn exotic new abilities. In Marqwood, they try to solve the mystery of the town, and discover the connections between our world and the world beyond.
A custom game system?When I first started reading about the OSR, I was most intrigued by the DIY ethos of the whole thing. It seemed like no DM was running any specific ruleset. Every DM’s game was a ‘hack’ of this, or a ‘remix’ of that. A lot of this mindset came from the earliest days of the game, where Gary and his friends went on their adventures and made up the rules as they went.
I have been running a 5e game for a year, and while I’ve thrown a few of my own hacks at it that have stuck, I still wanted to build something, at my table, with my friends that we could call our own. Something we wouldn’t have to be precious about or worry about balance or compatibility because every rule we changed, we could change back in the middle of the game.
The ruleset for The Lighthouse at the Threshold is going to be that game. It’s a few base systems and ideas that I want to forge into a well oiled machine with my friends at the table. It represents an aspirational game design that runs adventures the way I think about adventures.
Northern Michigan?I’ve been writing furiously for D&D stuff for the past year or so, but have yet to publish anything. I write thousands of words per week to be used in my own D&D campaign or just for my own enjoyment. I knew I wanted to write something for publication at some point, but I wanted the project to be a personal, and a story I knew I could tell.
I have lived in Michigan all my life, and almost every year of my life, I have vacationed in beautiful Northern Michigan along one or another of the Great Lakes. So many of my happy childhood memories come from these summer camping trips. Over the years since my childhood, I’ve watched these bustling vacation destinations become run-down as the Michigan economy dried up. A generation of middle class shop workers who could afford to own summer homes on the shores of Lake Huron have disappeared. The bustling shops of a hundred summer destination towns have shut down.
This is a story I’ve lived, and a story I know I can tell. A decrepit town past its prime discovers its connection to a world of wonder, hope, and imminent danger. What’s going to happen? I’m going to play to find out.