Dive Into the Dungeon Masters Guild With Creator M.T. Black
  • Dive Into the Dungeon Masters Guild With Creator M.T. Black

    If Wizards of the Coast limits its Dungeons & Dragons output to a steady flow of products, the Dungeon Masters Guild amounts to a constantly rushing fire hose. Gamers can find a wealth of polished products on the DMs Guild, many of which feature original art and pro-quality design. But a newcomer might just as easily drown in generic and amateurish material. For M.T. Black, an Australia-based DMs Guild bestselling creator, the search for quality material on the guild pays serious dividends, especially for fans who get antsy waiting months for the next official release.

    "[Wizards of the Coast] are putting out very high quality products these days, so if people have adopted a 'WOTC only' policy, I can understand that," Black said in an interview via email. "But WotC are also only putting out three books a year, and many people want more content than that."

    That’s a hole the DMs Guild fills easily, with fresh products appearing around the clock. Wizards launched the guild in early 2016 so the community could share original 5th Edition content. Creators can upload products they designed themselves, so long as they conform to a few rules set by Wizards. Authors can make their products available for free or set a price and keep half the royalties they earn.

    A search for works by M.T. Black brings up about 30 products. His body of work includes a range of adventures, along with the odd collection of player options and setting supplements. His most recent release, The Secret of Skyhold Tower is a module for 5th - 7th level adventurers who must save Neverwinter when a magical tower plummets from the sky.

    Black began playing Dungeons & Dragons at 11 years old with the classic "Keep on the Borderlands," which continues to inform his work. "I still revisit Gygax quite often for guidance and inspiration; there is an economy of style in his early adventures especially that we can all learn from," he said.

    His Dungeon Masters Guild offerings range in price from free and "pay what you want" to $9.95 for a bundle of 14 adventures published last year, currently listed as No. 1 on the guild’s top-100 products. Black said he tries to judge what the market will bear when determining prices. Customers are willing to pay more once a creator has established a track record, he said.

    Black offered advice for new creators establishing themselves on the guild. He said he tried to keep layouts as simple and as clean as possible in his earliest attempts. He also scoured RPGNow and Shutterstock for cheap art and made use of public domain images as well. And as for "pay what you want" products, Black found a different strategy worked best.

    "I think you are better off giving away a small, quality product for free, and using it to promote your more substantial, priced, product," he said.
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. vpuigdoller's Avatar
      vpuigdoller -
      I havnt used or played any of the MT Black products, they do look very well done. Have the 2016 collection on my wishlist for future buy.
    1. AriochQ's Avatar
      AriochQ -
      It is a great resource for any D&D player/DM. I haven't ever purchased adventures since all my adventures are homebrewed, but I do utilize DM's guild a lot when looking for extra information. For example, I purchased a couple of supplements with additional monsters when I ran a Fey realm based adventure.

      I have several items on DM's Guild (under Erik Hawley) and can safely say it paid for my gaming expenses last year. Much of the time, I start with something I needed for my home game and spend the time and effort to develop it more fully so it is suitable for publication.
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      M.T. Black's products are the only ones I have paid for over there without regretting the purchase. His adventures are definitely the better ones on the DMsG, Afaic.

      Nice to see him featured here.
    1. shamurai7's Avatar
      shamurai7 -
      There is not a lot of quality content on DM's Guild...I have followed it since it's beginnings and seen all the garbage people release.
      Sometimes though there is a diamond in the pile of junk. M.T does have a good system in place for making small bite-sized adventures.
      I recommend purchasing his collection, and one other Author http://www.dmsguild.com/browse.php?author=G Jensen has a damn good product set that is worth tracking.
      If G Jensen releases an art asset it's worth the money.
    1. TonyP's Avatar
      TonyP -
      MT's adventure collection is an absolute bargain and highly recommended. There is quite a bit of high quality content available on the DMsGuild. I've been keeping a collection of the best I've found for others perusal here

    1. CydKnight's Avatar
      CydKnight -
      I own a few of his adventures from the DM's Guild and do recommend them to anyone willing to go that route for obtaining an adventure to run.
    1. M.T. Black's Avatar
      M.T. Black -
      Many thanks for the kind comments, folks!
    1. amethal -
      I think part of the problem on DMs Guild is a lack of reviews. I try to leave reviews for what I've bought, but it is hard sometimes to come up with more than "Mediocre product, but worth the low price I paid for it so pick it up if it sounds like you could get some use out of it".
    1. neuronphaser's Avatar
      neuronphaser -
      Same here: I try to leave reviews, but I've got a massive backlog, and I've picked up maybe a few too many products that I haven't yet used or perused, so I can't really give them a review in good faith, yet. I imagine that is more problematic with the recent megabundles.

      Reviews are necessary. But good reviews are even more important, too. Not necessarily long ones, but simply ones that are more than "this thing was a buck, I don't have any clue if it's balanced, but it makes my character better!" or "this thing's so cool...haven't used it and probably won't for years but it's so cool!" seem a little too common for me to feel like I make informed decisions.
    1. Over the Hill Gamer's Avatar
      Over the Hill Gamer -
      I've bought some stuff on DMs Guild. It's hit or miss with more misses. I have found some useful products, however. I agree that reviews or some other guide to finding quality materials would be useful. I believe there is a meter by which you can determine which products sell better than others, which might be helpful.
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