This article contains information for those who wish to submit content to BroadSword Magazine. If you are considering submitting information, please refer to these guidelines first before submitting as the content may be turned away if it does not conform to the guidelines.
Queries and Forms
Before you submit content to BroadSword Magazine send us a brief proposal. Preferably, put it into a Google Document with the following elements:
- Working Title
- Original and compelling plot
- Major foes
- The game system. This should always be Fifth Edition unless it “piggybacks” on a spin-off ruleset from dmdave.com or BroadSword Magazine (example: ZACS 5e)
- Types of characters for which the module was meant
- A summary of the rewards to be gained and foes to be overcome
- An estimate of the completed adventure’s length and number of maps
- Your information including name, age, location, and email address
Send all proposals to email@example.com
Submissions also must include a filled-out and signed copy of the Hamrick Media, LLC Standard Disclosure Form. All submissions that do not have the attached form will be rejected.
If we request a complete manuscript, we will reach out to you via Discord, Facebook Messenger, or the provided email.
Rights and Payments
There are two types of adventure modules BroadSword Magazine accepts:
- Licensed modules. These are modules that appear in other places, websites, printed versions, etc. We accept these on a case-by-case basis. We typically do not offer royalties or a flat fee on modules printed or posted in places outside of BroadSword Magazine but will offer advertising privileges on the DMDave website and/or BroadSword Magazine in exchange for its use.
- Original Modules. Any module we publish as an original module becomes the sole property of Hamrick Media, LLC. We do not offer royalties on the modules we purchase; we pay a flat fee. Payments are made within 60 days after acceptance, at a basic rate of 10-12 cents per word. Original modules may not be shared or reproduced outside of BroadSword Magazine or any other BroadSword Magazine outlet.
In addition to monetary payment, we send you at least one free copy of the issue containing your published word, regardless if it is original or licensed.
We prefer submissions sent by email unless specifically requested by a member of BroadSword Magazine’s staff. Please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Artwork and Maps
We do not produce maps for the modules we buy or license. A finished module should be accompanied by all relevant maps and diagrams. Additional drawings, sketches, and charts might be added for clarification.
Make sure all artwork and maps are rendered neatly using graphic design processing software, preferably in Vector format or JPG in 300 dpi. The maps and artwork must be readable in black and white. Make sure you have described all relevant areas on the maps and have not mislabeled anything. Maps and artwork that are not legible or concise may be denied.
Adventure Design Guide
Use these guidelines and templates when designing Fifth Edition adventures for BroadSword Magazine. While we understand mistakes occur, submissions with glaring errors and difficult-to-read formats may be rejected.
50-70 words (one paragraph) explaining what the adventure is about. Sort of like the “elevator pitch” for the adventure.
A broad (and more in-depth) explanation of how the characters will get involved in the adventure, what happens to them during the adventure, and what the desired outcome for the adventure should be. Typically, this section should be no longer than 250 – 400 words.
Running the Adventure (Mandatory)
Notes to the GM running the adventure. Should include the following information:
- Number of characters and average levels
- How far the characters will progress in the adventure
- What type of region the adventure takes place in. Because of the Fifth Edition OGL/SRD guidelines, your modules may not take place in a preestablished Fifth Edition campaign world and must be either campaign agnostic or offer up enough context to place it in a relevant campaign setting
- Any special requirements for the campaign setting
All adventures should use only the “Core Three” books for Fifth Edition.
A more detailed play-by-play of the adventure. This may include major clues, hooks, or other important details that the GM should be aware of.
If there are any special rules for the campaign–such as “low magic”, whether or not the adventure uses optional rules, or other suggestions the GM can consider–add them to this section.
Scaling the Adventure
Any notes that you have for scaling an adventure beyond the intended level goes here.
Starting the Adventure (Mandatory)
This is the characters’ introduction to the adventure itself. Typically, it includes all the pertinent information to get the characters involved in the story. You may also include a text box to be read aloud by the GM.
If there is a reward presented in the hook or by the important NPCs, you can add it into this section.
Character Hooks (Mandatory)
Beyond the introduction of the main hook, suggest different motivations to involve characters in the main plot.
The Adventure’s Encounters (Mandatory)
All of the planned encounters for the adventure keyed to a map of timeline go here. Each encounter can include any or all of the following sections:
- Read Aloud Text (optional, but preferred) are set off in a shaded box.
- General Description (mandatory) provides the GM with information on interesting features, creatures, traps, and other specifics of the encounter that play off the read-aloud text.
- Traps (optional) describe in details any traps that the character may trigger.
- Creatures (optional) that the characters may encounter are put into bold print in the text.
- Tactics (optional) are for creature encounters that have complex tactics beyond what is described in the MM.
- Treasure (optional) covers any non-experience or roleplaying rewards the characters discover after the encounter.
- Development (optional) should the results of the encounter affect the overall course of the adventure, use this section to inform the GM.
Concluding the Adventure (Mandatory)
Describing the possible consequences resulting from the adventure’s success or failure, including rewards, punishments, and spin-off adventures for later gaming sessions.
Any items that the adventure module references that aren’t included in the “Core Three” are added here. The Appendix should be no longer than 750 – 1,500. There may be special considerations for larger adventure modules.
Fifth Edition/BroadSword Specific Formats
The following sections include information you need before writing an adventure.
Capitalize abilities, skill names, feat names, subclasses, and names of languages. Always capitalize “Game Master” and the abbreviation “GM.”
Creatures, classes, alignments, spells, weapons, and magic items, that do not include proper nouns are all lower case.
Magic items and spell names are italicized. Spell scrolls have only the name of the spell italicized. Also, the “plus” for weapons and armors is listed before the item, but the “plus” for other items is listed after.
Abbreviations usually use all capital letters and no periods (DM, DC, NPC, HD, CR, XP, LG). The abbreviations for hit points and coins use lower case letters and no periods (hp, gp, sp).
Ability Scores are abbreviated as follows: Str (Strength), Dex (Dexterity), Con (Constitution), Int (Intelligence), Wis (Wisdom), Cha (Charisma).
Numerals should be used for any measurement of distance expressed in yards (or meters), or any smaller unit, except when the expression is a specific large number. Correct: 750 miles, fifteen miles, 15 feet.
Numerals should be used for any measurement of time expressed in hours or any smaller unit. The spelled-out form should be used for any expressions of time longer than hours, except when the expression is a specific large number. Correct: 648 years, forty-eight years, forty-eight days, 48 hours, 48 minutes.
Numerals should be used for any measurement of weight expressed in pounds or any smaller unit. The spelled-out form of a number should be used for any expression of weight larger than pounds except when the expression is a specific large number. Correct: twenty tons, 20 pounds.
Numerals are always used for geometric angles (for example, 45 degrees) and expressions of temperature (for example, 45°F), ability scores, ability modifiers, creature statistics, amounts of currency, level references (“1st level,” not “first level”), bonuses and penalties, experience points, dice designators (percentile dice or d100, not d%), multipliers, number of charges (in the context of a magic item that has charges), and number of times per day or other unit of time in a stat black (written as 2/Day, 2/Day, and so on). Note: spell out feet, pounds, minutes, and all other units of measurement in a non-stat block.
Always hyphenate class and spell levels when they precede a noun. Hyphenate compound adjectives before nouns. Do not hyphenate before the suffix “-like” except after double-l endings.
When a situation in an adventure calls for a skill check of some sort, you have two choices for presenting the check.
You can list the skill check in teh running text and present a parenthetical with the DC number, or you can describe the situation and then the list the skill check DC number in the parenthetical.
Traps have several associated DC values the GM needs to adjudicate the PC’s application of their various skills. Whenever a trap is encountered, include checks to notice the trap as well as disarm it. If a complex trap is involved, include all of the pertinent information as detailed in XGtE.
Fifth Edition monsters are presented in a very specific format which BroadSword Magazine aims to emulate.
When referencing a specific monster from the MM, include the monster’s name in bold in the context of the encounter description the first time it is mentioned. For numbers preceding the monster’s name, write out the number unless it is a specific high number.
NPCs are given their abbreviated alignment, gender, race, and NPC type in bold either in parenthetical or in the text. Example: Dave (LN male Virginian human commoner).
For monsters with minor variants that do not require a full stat block, use bullet points to address the changes.
Full-length statistics for new monsters and NPCs should be provided in the area in which the creature or creatures are initially encountered, or in the Appendix (if any).
Standard Fifth Edition Monster Format
Use the following format for monsters in Fifth edition.
Description of the monster follows the monster. The description should be only 1-3 paragraphs, preferably three for brevity unless it is a major challenge such as a legendary creature or boss.
Flavor Sub-headers. For longer descriptions, split the paragraphs and apply flavor subheaders. Typically, sub-headers address the creature’s combat features and tactics (leaving out any numbers or game mechanics), its ecology, and its habitat.
Brief description of the lair (if any). If the creature’s lair is not relevant to the adventure, leave this out.
If the monster has actions tied to its lair, explain how it can access its lair actions. Then least of its lair action options (typically no more than 3) in bullet points below the description.
Some legendary creatures with lairs have regional effects. Explain how the creature affects the lair, then give 2-3 specific effects following the description.
Creature Nature If the creature does not require air, food, water, or sleep, or anything else that is not relevant for combat, place a note above the Monster’s Stat Block.
Size category (sub-category), alignment
Armor Class ## (source)
Hit Points ## (hit dice)
Speed ## ft.
Abilities Str ## (+#), Dex ## (+#), Con ## (+#), Int ## (+#), Wis ## (+#), Cha ## (+#)
Saving Throws Str +#
Skills Stealth +#
Damage Vulnerabilities type, type, type
Damage Resistances type, type, type
Damage Immunities type, type, type
Condition Immunities type, type, type
Senses extra senses ## ft., passive Perception ##
Languages Language, Language
Challenge ## (#,### XP)
Special Equipment. If the creature has any special magic items or equipment is using, list those items at the top of the special traits block.
Special Trait. Any special traits the creature has are placed here with a description of the mechanics.
Special Trait (1/Day). If the creature has a special trait with limited uses, describe it here and place the number of uses in paranthetical after the trait’s name.
Spellcasting. For spellcasting and innate spellcasting, list the creature’s spellcasting ability, its spell save DC and attack bonus, then list its spells and number of uses below the block.
- Cantrips (at will): spell, spell, spell
- 1st Level (2 slots): spell, spell, spell
Multiattack. Multiattack is always placed at the top of the action list.
Attack. Type of attack: +# to hit, reach # ft., one target/creature. Hit: ## (damage dice) type damage. Any additional special effects are placed after the initial damage with relevant saving throws.
Special Action. Description of how the special attack works.
Special Action (Recharge 5-6). For special actions with recharge rates, put the recharge time in parentheticals following its title.
Reaction. If the creature has a special reaction, describe how it works.
If the creature can take legendary actions, explain how it can access its legendary actions and which it can use.
Legendary Action. A description of the legendary action.
Legendary Action (Costs 2 Actions). For any legendary action that has an increased action cost, list the action cost in parentheticals following the action’s name.
For all other content–such as magic items, feats, subclasses–try to adhere to modern Fifth Edition format as much as possible. When in doubt, copy what works.
No Offensive Content
This probably goes without saying–but I’ll put it here anyways–please be mindful that this book reaches a broad, family-oriented audience of all different genders, races, backgrounds, religions, etc. Exclude any content such as graphic violence, sex, and drug use. Exclude political references–even euphemistically–and other controversial topics, and no racism, sexism, or blatant bullying. If it seems like a bad idea, that probably means it is.
Standard Reference Document (SRD) and Open Gaming License (OGL)
While BroadSword Magazine does use content geared towards “the world’s greatest roleplaying game”, it is not an officially licensed product. However, the creators of Fifth Edition allow for content creators like ourselves to use their ruleset through an agreement known as the Fifth Edition Open Gaming License (OGL). As long as we adhere to the rules of the Open Gaming License, we are free to use the rules and mechanics of this game.
In addition, we can use certain elements of the game itself so long as it exists within the Standard Reference Document (SRD).
Any content submitted that does not adhere to the Open Gaming License or uses “official” unlicensed content not found in the Standard Reference Document will automatically be rejected. No exceptions.
Referencing Fifth Edition
You must always refer to the game itself as “Fifth Edition” or “5E”. And the arbiter of games is always referred to as a “GM” or “Gamemaster.”
It is preferred that official Fifth Edition books are not referenced. When you must absolutely reference a Fifth Edition book, you can use PHB, DMG, or MM, but may not include exact page numbers. Furthermore, it is preferred that only the “Core Three” are ever referred to.
No references to the parent company of the Fifth Edition ruleset are allowed. Nor do we allow references to the creative personalities behind Fifth Edition content, even euphemistically.
Like Three Little Fonzies
We will do our best to try to follow up with you. However, we do recommend that you be courteous of our time and realize that we’re doing the best we can. As a smaller operation, we’ve got a lot of “balls in the air” that we’re juggling at any given time. While I appreciate your follow up and tenacity, I may not accept content if its creator is rude, pushy, or nags the shit out of me–even if it’s the best content I’ve ever read. Things like that throw up a lot of red flags for me. I’m a pretty relaxed guy and easy enough to work with. You’re free to reach out, and follow up, just be cool about it.
Looking Forward to Working With You
Hopefully, these guidelines help give you an idea of what we’re looking for and expect. I look forward to seeing what you come up with and hope that we can work together in the near future.
Send all submissions with a signed and filled-out Standard Disclosure Form to email@example.com