Tellure started early in the summer of 2004. I had been working on a different world using GURPS, but had done little actual roleplaying, and had never DMed. So I decided to pick up a cheap, used set of the 3.0 core D&D rulebooks. Since D&D comes with so much content--character classes, monsters, deities, etc.--the idea was to just run a few low-key adventures, mostly for my girlfriend Stacy, and let the world build itself out of the story.
However, we rarely played, and I started poking around at the rules, tweaking the gods a bit, building a cosmology, drawing a map, etc. Tellure came out of this. Eventually, I had so many characters drafted, they didn't all fit in her storyline. So I started playing a bit on my own, just to get some experience DMing the rules.
I kept a very brief journal record of adventures. Starting off, this was mostly just my thing. I might mention any funny or interesting Tellurian occurrences when I emailed friends, but that was it. (This period of play was reconstructed during the summer of '06 into the volumes 0.)
Then I decided to give my best friend, Brett, a blow-by-blow of what was going on, as he was somewhat interested. This was an epic email that is now the volume 1s. After that, I sent update emails to both Stacy and Brett for the next four volumes. This was a period of trying to find a style. I experimented with the first person plural ("we beat back wave after wave of orc"), but would often slip into third person ("our heroes", "the party"). Mostly the descriptions were in the past tense, but would often switch to the present tense when things got exciting.
Around volume 6 (June 06), I decided to stop forcing these poorly written, epic-long emails on my loved ones. This site was created instead. I went back, collecting the emails, standardizing the tense a bit, and inserting dates from the journal record. I removed most references to game mechanics ("Invellios rolled a 1!", "Critical success!", "... failed his Will roll"). I did not flesh out the descriptions of previous adventures though. I added a bit of supporting information--character sheet overviews, a map, and a bit of world info when it seemed necessary. I also listed the date (to the month) that the session was played on the main page.
The time between gameplay and the write up has also shortened. Unlike the early days, when it might be a few days before I jotted down what happened on an adventure, the descriptions in later volumes are often written immediately after or even during gameplay. For good or ill, this has lead to more detail being included.
Yet for all that, these Tales are still a strange beast. They remain primarily a record of gaming sessions. They are by no means polished enough to emulate a novel, short story, or similar narrative chronicle.
You don't need to read the Resources separately--there are links to them from the Tales whenever it seems a little more info would increase reader understanding.
The Tales are broken up into "cycles", which usually match a particular story arc. They also tend to correspond with about one level of character progression. When listed in the character sheets, a cycle explains when the character achieved or reached that new level. Usually, levels are gained at the end of the respective cycle, though not always. "--" mean that the given levels were achieved before the character entered play. So the character plays initially at the last "--" level, and then earns enough experience to gain their first "Cycle" level. The four primary characters started play as level 2s.
I am playing the Tales under about 3.3 rules--that is, a bastardized mix of 3.0 and 3.5. Overall, I like the 3.5 rules better, and most of my supplements come from 3.5 sources. However, my core rulebooks are still 3.0, as I'm too broke to upgrade right now.
I tend to use published adventures quite a bit. I usually have a basic idea of what I want to happen during a cycle, and then look for an adventure that roughly fits that. I tend to do a lot of tweaking, but, overall, I find they save a lot of time on sorting out the fine details. Most of the adventures end up contributing minor details to the Tellurian landscape.
I hope you enjoy reading Tellurian Tales!
--Zach Tomaszewski, DM.
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Last Edited: 17 Mar 2008|
©2006 by Z. Tomaszewski