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The DMs Guild and You!

Brains crave stories. Some brains want fantasy, some want dramas, or romances, or comedies. Some brains prefer stories delivered as novels or short stories, but just as many enjoy TV or movies or plays or musicals, or video games, or songs, or just hearing people talk. My brain is no different. It wants to hear stories constantly, and it wants to tell stories, and through those stories it hopes to understand actions, emotions, and the world as a whole.

One of the early stories that impacted me was the first “D&D-based” novel I read: Darkwalker on Moonshae. It was set in the Forgotten Realms’ area of the Moonshae Isles, a generally Celtic/Viking themed region that was a great setting for diverse stories. When I started DMing regularly, I wanted that to be a place to create stories with players.

In 2011, in Dungeon Magazine issue #196, I got the incredible opportunity to fulfill that wish. I was fortunate enough to publish “Backdrop: Moonshae Isles.” This article was the adult me going back to the kid and saying, “Hey, let’s work on the Moonshae Isles together.” The article lays down a lot of information on the setting, and then it shows a DM how one might build an entire campaign in the region, touching on all the great and diverse story types that are available there: fey (both light and dark), lycanthropes, giants, scheming politicians, Feywild intrusion, terrible pirates, ravaging barbarians, and a land that actively seeks out peace and balance.

I planned to do so much more with the Moonshaes, but circumstances never allowed that. Now, however, we are at a turning point in what can and cannot be done in terms of storytelling. Wizards of the Coast has opened up not just the game of D&D, but the Forgotten Realms also, to all of us. Yes. To you as well. The DMs Guild ( is a marketplace for your own D&D material. You don’t need to be a big company with a huge budget. You can do it right now.

What I did, along with co-designer Chris Sniezak and the other talented people at Encoded Designs, is start that process of storytelling in one of my favorite places. The adventure The Five Temples of the Earthmother, Part 1: Life and Moon starts an epic tale in the Moonshae Isles. We could only do this thanks to the DMs Guild, and we are going to continue until we have told the story we want to. If you take part in that story, great! We appreciate your time and interest.

But even if you don’t like that story, there are going to be hundreds more told there over the months and years. Some of them you won’t like, but hopefully some you will. And if you are so inclined, tell your own story. No matter your story or how you tell it, there are some brains out there craving to hear it.


Shawn Merwin

Shawn's professional design and editing work in the roleplaying game industry has spanned 20 years and over 4 million words of content. His Dungeons & Dragons work has ranged from 3rd to 5th edition, showing up in sourcebooks, adventures, articles, and Organized Play administration. He has been a driving force in several Organized Play programs, and has written material for Wizards of the Coast (Dungeon Delve, Assault on Nightwyrm Fortress, Halls of Undermountain), Pelgrane Press (Dracula Dossier), Modiphius Entertainment (Star Trek Adventures), Baldman Games (as Content Manager), Kobold Press (Creature Codex, Book of Lairs), and countless others. Find his adventures here:


  • JakubOctober 8, 2018

    Hi Shawn,

    in my research about Moonshaes I found you and your content. I’m really happy that someone is actively working on this part of Ferun. It always amazes me how little information there is about it.

    Obviously I’m into the Moonshaes so much because I decided to plan out my campaign there as well. As DM I work around all the lore I’ve found, trying to build a coherent and interesting world. Since I found The Five temples of the Earthmother yersterday, I will try to incorporate some of the elements into my campaign. I do plan to write it all down and publish on DM Guild as well, but since I am alone, it will probably take some time. As Magic The Gathering player I’ve also incorporated some planeswalking into the mix.

    Anyway I just wanted to let you know there are also people actively working on it and I hope in the future Moonshae will become more interesting for all kinds of players and DMs out there.

    Thanks for your great stories and work, both on the adventures as well as Dungeon #196. Looking forward for more of your content.

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