Re-Release Coming Soon!

Big changes will be coming soon to the Sanctum of the Archmage project! I wanted to give everyone a heads-up that I will be temporarily taking Dawn of Chaos down from the Kindle store, probably by the end of the October. It will be re-listed after the new releases of Prologue to Chaos, Hellgate, and Aftermath, as an anthology combining them, and as both e-book and paperback.

I’m also getting ready to create a Patreon page. Stay tuned for that announcement, coming shortly!

Dawn of Chaos: Edit and Re-Release

My first novel, Dawn of Chaos, suffers (especially in the earlier chapters) from the fact that much of it was written while I was still honing my writing skills. It also has an unusually long introduction and denouement relative to the core of the novel’s story. Modern readers, however (and I think with some justification) expect a book to quickly draw them into the story, and have less patience with the level of exposition and “stage setting” that I was used to from many of the classics of the past. In the e-publishing world of readers who use the “look inside” function to decide if they like something enough to buy it, authors really need to put their best, tightest, and most gripping work forward at the outset.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to restructure Dawn of Chaos and to give it a ruthless edit. My current plan is to separate the introduction and denouement into two novella-length works that “sandwich” the main story. The first was easy to do by editing and moving the initial three chapters of the novel into Prologue to Chaos. The revised Prologue still opens with the conflict and action of the saga’s seminal confrontation, but now also includes a much tighter introduction to the novel. Along with an additional new scene, I think it will be a more effective lead-in to the series, especially since I will also be making it available as a free download.

The novel itself (after a short synopsis of Prologue) will lead right into the action with the start of the invasion, ending shortly after the climax in the chapter The Last Stand. I’m currently planning to release it as a new book under a new name and with a new cover, titled Hellgate. The last several chapters (along with an added scene or two to help further introduce the next novel, Wrath of the Peregrine King) will then be released as another novella, titled Aftermath. After that, all three books will be collected into a single compilation volume and re-published (as both e-book and paperback) under the original title, Dawn of Chaos.

Going Wide

After careful consideration, I’ve also decided to end my participation in Amazon’s KDP Select program. What that means is that although my books will no longer be available in Kindle Unlimited, I will also no longer be required to publish them exclusively on Amazon. That will let me release them on other online bookstores such as iBooks and Kobo, and even sell them from my own website. (In the indie publishing world, we call this “going wide.”) Setting all of that up will take a bit of time, but I’m very excited at the prospect of making Sanctum of the Archmage available in all of those new venues in the coming months.

Summer Sanctum Projects

Here’s an update on recent and upcoming projects in the Sanctum of the Archmage Saga!

RP Game Modules for Neverwinter Nights

Sanctum of the Archmage: The Sight and The Quest, EE Version was published on June 6th! This v5.0 release includes a number of new features, including major custom content updates and re-writes to the XP and crafting systems. The beginning in the forests of southern Carlissa has also been re-built using the excellent Wild Woods tileset, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. This release will only work in Beamdog’s Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition, although I’m planning an update that should work in NWN 1.69 as well.

A Steam release of the EE Version is also planned for later this year. When that happens will depend on how long it takes me to work out how to re-package the modules for it, and/or to get permission to re-post the required custom content projects on Steam. Some folks at the Neverwinter Vault are developing a one-click install solution that would draw directly from its archives, and if I can make that work from Steam that would be the best and easiest solution. I’ll post updates as I learn more. I’ve had information that players are increasingly checking only the Steam workshop for new EE modules, though, so it’s looking increasingly important for me to get Sanctum on it as well.

After that, I’m planning to resume development of Sanctum of the Archmage 3: The Miracle Worker. How much time I’ll be able to devote to it, though, will depend on the level of interest in the re-release of Sanctum 1 & 2. If they do well and there’s a growth in the player base for NWN:EE, then I’ll definitely try to put more of my (sadly limited) time into that effort. If not, then I may need to switch more of my focus back to resuming work on my novel writing projects. And speaking of that …

The Sanctum of the Archmage Novel Series
Indie publishing, as I’m learning, is really hard work. Being successful at it (especially today) requires mastering a host of cutting edge book marketing skills and practices.

This is a painful lesson that I learned from last year’s launch of my first novel, Dawn of Chaos. Without the right promotional work, you can write and publish a book, but next to no one will notice (let alone buy) it. It’s also easy to fall into the many pitfalls of modern indie publishing, such as the curse of the polluted also-boughts (which, of course, I did).

I’ve been devoting a lot of my spare time in recent months to correcting those oversights by reading and listening to dozens of books, articles, and podcasts on indie book marketing and publishing. A review of my first novel has also helped me recognize some opportunities I have to improve them. So I’ve decided to make a thorough edit of Dawn of Chaos my next writing project before getting back to finishing my next novel, Wrath of the Peregrine King.

For more on my plans to edit and re-release Dawn of Chaos, please see here.
New Facebook Group

Sadly, thanks to the changes made by Facebook to its algorithms this year, the ability of Facebook pages like mine to reach fans has been steadily (and notably) diminishing. Since a shift to Facebook Groups rather than pages seems to be the becoming the advised way to stay in touch with fans, I’ve gone ahead and created a Sanctum of the Archmage – Facebook Group. If you’re on Facebook, please feel free to visit and join!

That’s all for now. Thanks again for your interest and attention, and stay tuned for upcoming announcements!Sincerely,

Tony Donadio (aka Andarian)

Sanctum EE Preparing for Release!

Testing for Sanctum of the Archmage: Enhanced Edition is now complete! I still have to update the documentation, and then package and upload the new files to the Neverwinter Vault. That’ll take a few days to a week, depending on my schedule.

Sanctum: EE includes a number of visual updates and new features. In addition to the ones listed here,  there are some new encounters and tweaks, as well as major overhauls of the XP and crafting systems. These will let the player create a wide variety of new and useful items, and to progress to level 11 by the end of Chapter 2.

Sanctum: EE is being released first on the Neverwinter Vault. Once that’s done, I’m planning to prepare a release on Steam as well. The mods use a lot of custom content, though, all of which is currently on the Vault — so before I post that to Steam I want to contact the authors of that work and get their OK. That may take a while, but I hope to be able to prepare a Sanctum Steam release by the end of the summer.

Thanks again to everyone for their interest in the saga. As a preview of what’s to come, here’s a video clip of my favorite scene — the March of the Guardians — from Sanctum of the Archmage: The Sight. 🙂

Dawn of Chaos: Free Promotion

Sanctum of the Archmage: Dawn of Chaos will be available as a free download Thursday, February 15th through Sunday, February 18th!

A new constitution prepares the land of Carlissa for an era of enlightenment. The harsh traditions of the past are fading, and a promise of freedom stirs the air.
In the space of one terrifying day, that promise is shattered in a bloodbath of fire and magic.

Thousands of years ago, an epic battle was fought between good and evil. The demon lords had opened a door to the realms of hell itself, and their horde threatened to overrun the earth. But the Kalarans, led by the hero Calindra, destroyed their hellgate and drove them from the world.

The Great War has long since been lost to myth and legend. The Church struggles for relevance as the people forget their covenant with the gods. A renaissance of freedom and learning stirs the air in the modern age of Carlissa, led by the royal family, and the wisdom of the Archmage.

Many breathe deeply of that air. Princess Randia prepares, not for a loveless marriage of state, but for a life of music and theater with her beloved fiancee at her side. And Orion, a young scholar seeking escape from a traditional merchant family, begins a new career as a professor of philosophy.

All of that comes to an end when a dome of shimmering magic appears in the capital city. In the chaos that follows, the people fight desperately for their very survival, and wonder bitterly why the Archmage seems to have abandoned them.

Their only hope lies in reaching him — and with a young princess who never wanted to rule. She must find the strength to set aside her bard’s calling and take up a battle against impossible odds — or surrender her land and people to the Black Magus and his demons.

Dawn of Chaos finally brings the award-winning Sanctum of the Archmage role-playing games to the world of fantasy fiction. Buy it now and don’t miss this exciting first novel in the saga!

Sanctum of the Archmage: EE Edition

I’ve just posted this over on the Beamdog Forums and on the Neverwinter Vault, and wanted to share it on my blog as well. There are screenshots on the Beamdog thread for those who may be interested.

Sanctum of the Archmage: Enhanced Edition

I’ve been working in recent weeks on developing an EE compatible edition of the Sanctum of the Archmage modules. That work’s mostly done now. I should be able to release SotA:EE Edition v1.0 after another playtesting run, probably in a few weeks at most.

I took advantage of the opportunity to add a couple of new features that I had cut for the remake that I released in September. Aside from minor typo fixes and the like, I also did a complete re-write to both the XP and the crafting systems. Players should now be able to advance to level 11 by the end of Chapter 2, and the penalties for using companions and summons have been flattened. Players should also be able to craft many more (and better) items from both mundane and magical materials alike.

I’m not planning to do much more to revise Chapter 1 and 2 for EE, though. The reason is that I’ve decided that any new modding efforts on my part are probably better devoted to resuming development of Chapter 3, which I suspended several years ago to begin writing my Sanctum of the Archmage novels. I’ve opened up the third module again in the EE editor, cleaned it up, and finally finished the extensive scripting needed for the elaborate “flying system” that it will feature. That will likely take a while, given my other commitments (writing, work and life in general). But all of it will be done in and for EE. And I’ll be looking to take advantage of every opportunity I can to include new content and features made possible by the extended edition.

PC Gamer Feature on NWN:EE

PC Gamer just published a feature on the recently announced Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced edition. I was interviewed and prominently mentioned in the article.

How devs and fans are coming together to rebuild Neverwinter Nights

“When Beamdog’s Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition was announced I contacted several prominent community members who all shared a passion for the 15-year-old RPG…

“Donadio’s creation, Sanctum of the Archmage, features a compelling story, impressive visuals, custom scripts, and well-designed puzzles and combat. It’s one of the highest-rated modules on the Neverwinter Vault to this day, and Donadio now writes books based on it…”

“Will this signal a return for famed module builders like Donadio? ‘I would very much like to return to creating new modules,’ he says. ‘The news about NWN: EE certainly motivates me to, and I am seriously considering it.'”