2008 to 2011 was a very, very productive time for this game, somehow. Although my hands were really full with my son and my technical support job for a satellite company, I also had a razor focus on this project. I had written a number of sections up and kept on top of the sections that I still wanted to write. Slowly, the whole thing was really starting to come together.
It helped that I was in the habit of keeping a stack of note cards with me at all times. Everything I was working on (Villain rules, Hometown rules, adventure ideas, and so on) I could categorize onto index cards, each one going into some kind of detail about a single power, ability, or description of an effect in the game.
Describing it here, it’s not really showing what it was like, but I wound up with stacks and stacks of these cards that slowly migrated their way onto the PC.
I had an idea brewing in my mind at this point: create a full website with a PDF file with a self-contained ‘adventure’ every week. One page would have a town or location, with several buildings with events. Then, the following page would have interesting items or equipment that was tied to the town, plus some local NPCs. A page dedicated to villains, one for unique spells, magic items, or tactics, and then, there’d be a page dedicated to a special dungeon or in-depth monster encounter. In my wide-eyed days of hyper-creation, I believed that I could create fifty-two such entries, to give people incentive to buy the book with a ‘free year subscription’ to my development page to give additional updates.
I got far enough into that to realize I would not be able to make 52 entire adventure documents. It was a good project and while it took several months to come to that conclusion, I got some nice artwork as a result. I still consider how the website would have looked after everything was said and done, I even put together a small business treatment for the various projects and website games I had in mind.
In my defense, it was a time when Neopets and other ‘game’ sites were popular and I wanted to make something just as immersive, and I was really excited to learn how to program in regular, ordinary C.
The book continued to grow. I moved back to New York in 2013, and the project had to be put on ice again. My job changed to a support role for Microsoft, and the 45 minute commute to and from took away almost all my free time.
To bring this to a close, the last ten years or so were somewhat uneventful, for the Tomb at least. I had about a dozen complex sections that loomed like swirling sharks, like damage and healing, guild creation, and so on, and every year or two I made myself write up at least one section to completion. Had to shoe-horn them in between my other writing and programming projects, but one by one they made it on paper.
I still have several sections to do: a magic item archive, a monster archive, and I plan to tie all the rule sets together with a massive adventure story (building off the ideas I squirreled away when I was making the ’52’ adventures). I also have a list of things to edit and ‘beef up’ and I know some of the original rules I wrote in 1996-97 would be really cringe for me to read now… but I think that now is the time.
Tomb of the Purple Man is my Mangum Opus, my huge, glorious project that has spanned decades. I know I have a lot of different things going on, but I think with several of my other projects starting to wind down, I want to really see this the rest of the way through.
So come join me for the fun!