Tomb of the Purple Man: The Late-Middle Years to Now

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.

Each of the little entries in green was its own index card, and wound up getting plugged into the book.

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!