One Homebrew. One Highlight. One Hack.

Today I'm relaunching my TTRPG newsletter. The new format: One Homebrew, One Highlight, and One Hack.

One Homebrew. One Highlight. One Hack. The TTRPG newsletter by Sword & Source.

The design has changed but don't worry - it's still Adam writing this. You are receiving this newsletter because you support one of my TTRPG projects. You opted in on,,, or

The new year is a time I reflect on what I want to start doing and stop doing - a time to make sure my actions are lined up with the things that really matter to me. What matters to me is creating awesome work for the TTRPG community and helping others elevate their own projects.

Today I'm re-launching this newsletter and changing up the format. Read on to learn more.

What's Changing

Last year I made a big change to my schedule when I started working on LegendKeeper. I continued to publish the Novus Bestiary newsletter (the one about monsters), but dropped the frequency to once a month. I also continued publishing a Sword & Source newsletter, but it started to have less updates in it.

It has become clear to me that I want to continue creating stuff for you, but that I need to simplify in order to keep the quality high. So here is what is changing:

  • Novus Bestiary will no longer be a separate newsletter, and I will no longer release 1 new creature every month.
  • Everything will be consolidated under one monthly newsletter: The Sword & Source newsletter.
  • The format is changing: each issue will contain One Homebrew, One Highlight, and One Hack.
  • Every issue will be published to this website and sent by email to anyone who subscribes.

New Format: Homebrew, Highlight, Hack

Here's what I'm thinking for this new format. Each newsletter will offer:

  • One Homebrew. An original Monster, Magic Item, NPC, Map, Random Table, Lore... whatever I dream up that month.
  • One Highlight. An interesting person, company, or project from the TTRPG community. This space is full of talent and I want to highlight that.
  • One Hack. I learn a lot every week working on LegendKeeper and I want to share some of the knowledge. Expect short tips on design, code, marketing, or making internet businesses.
  • Random Loot. This won't be in every issue, but I'll still be able to share random freebies, discounts, announcements, and sneak peaks whenever they cross my desk 😃

I hope you stay with me and let me know what you think after reading a couple issues. The first issue is right below this sign-off.

Thank you for your continued interest in my work. Wishing you the best of all things in 2022.
- Adam 🎉

Homebrew: Encounter Table for the Heart of Winter

I wrote a set of Winter Solstice-themed tables for the last issue of the LegendKeeper worldbuilding newsletter. I was really proud of the results, so today's Homebrew is an adapted version of the encounter table. Use this to inspire wintery encounter ideas.

Roll 1d20 on each column.

d20 Creature What are they doing?
1 White kobolds Mapping the hillside
2 Bear-folk Searching for something lost in snow
3 Wolf walkers Chasing down a merchant's wagon
4 Frost sprites Running from a pile of animated snow
5 Those with the frosted masks Ice fishing
6 Mining kobolds Sitting at a campfire
7 Goblins with skiis and grapple hooks Trying to stay hidden
8 Bow hunters Hunting caribou
9 Rock mercenaries Having an argument
10 Animated ash trees Leading prisoners
11 Frost golems Playing a game
12 Floating ice crystals Singing carols
13 Blue magi Performing an elaborate ritual
14 A man in red Standing still atop a frozen hillside
15 Whisky smugglers Sharing a hot, hard drink
16 Deathless ones Lighting signal fires
17 A hermit Cutting down trees
18 Frost giants Skinning wild deer
19 Undead with blue eyes Eating people
20 Giant, sleepy snowdogs Building a shelter

Highlight: Caspar David Friedrich

Cairn in Snow by Caspar David Friedrich.
Cairn in Snow by Caspar David Friedrich.

I would normally reserve the highlight section for a fellow RPG creator, but this artist has captured my imagination and been one of my best finds this winter.

I learned about Caspar David Friedrich from this Nerdwriter video. It's clear that his landscape technique has inspired many of the fantasy concept artists who we see in RPG books and videogames.

Incredible stuff.

Bonus Highlight: Abyssal Brews Patreon

I know I've told you about Abyssal Brews before, but they recently launched their new Patreon and it is a shining beacon of high quality work.

Consider pledging today if you like awesome Magic Items, and interesting systems like Campfire the travel system for 5th edition.

Hack: Hidden APIs

As part of this redesign, I moved the Sword & Source website to the Ghost CMS. As part of that, I wanted to move the email service off of Mailchimp and onto Ghost. But when I read the Ghost docs, there was no apparent way to do this.

It turns out that it IS possible, but that the API is not documented. This is a useful hack: Look for hidden APIs, especially when using open source projects. The final solution looked something like this:

const admin = new GhostAdminAPI({ /* ... */ })

export function addMember(email, name) {
  return admin.members.add(
    { email, name, labels: ["herebetaverns"] },
    { send_email: true, email_type: 'subscribe' });

Big thanks to Jake Wiesler who wrote about his own experience and provided the links and code samples I needed to connect everything together.

Become a better Game Master, Worldbuilder, and Content Creator

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