Lewd Dungeon Adventures' Backstory

Hey guys. I’m Phoenix Grey, creator of Lewd Dungeon Adventures: An Adult Tabletop Role-Playing Game for Couples, and today I’m going to talk about how Lewd Dungeons Adventures came to be. This story is going to be a bit personal, so please bear with me.

Not long ago, I was in a relationship that suffered from intimacy problems. The person I was with also didn’t like tabletop RPGs, so Lewd Dungeon Adventures was born as a solution to both of our problems. I figured that if I wove intimacy into a tabletop roleplaying game, I could get what I wanted while he could also get what he wanted. I had run both Call of Cthulhu and Dungeons & Dragons for this person and our friends before. My significant other at the time did not like a lot of aspects about these games, including permanent character death that requires you to roll a new character and more non-sensical roles such as all the climbing rolls in Dungeons & Dragons. He also tended to get pretty upset any time his character died. So, I basically took a part of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, striped out everything he didn’t like, and re-wrote it with intimate challenges and a reward system for dying.

We played the game, and he loved it so much that he told me, “You have to publish this.” Prior to that, I had absolutely no intentions of publishing the game. It was something personal I had written just for him. So, to his credit, Lewd Dungeon Adventures never would have made it to the public if he hadn’t encouraged it.

For those who don’t know, I am also a USA today best-selling romance author, and I also write books in the LitRPG genre. If you’re not familiar, that stands for literary role-playing game, which is basically progressional fantasy where a character has stats, levels up, ect. Think Ready Player One, or if you like anime, Sword Art Online. Much like romance is a hard genre to succeed in if you’re a male writer, LitRPG is a bit challenging for female writers to succeed in. I had some great initial success with my series The Realm Between, but my past few releases just tanked. This is not uncommon in the publishing industry, by the way. Many popular and even famous writers have had amazingly well-received books and series and then went on to write things that did not do well at all, but I digress. The point of sharing this is to say that things weren’t going particularly well with my novel writing at the time, so I was like…why not take a break to publish this game.

So, I went back to the drawing board and decided to write something for a wider market. Remember, Lewd Dungeon Adventures was originally created from a D&D campaign—more specifically Tales of the Yawning Portal. And before anyone asks, the original campaign I wrote for my partner was never published. I may eventually re-write and publish it, but for the very first Lewd Dungeon Adventures campaign, I wanted something super simple.

One of my goals was to introduce a wider audience to tabletop role-playing games. So I wanted to design a game that was rules-lite and easy to just pick up and play. I nerfed lengthy character creation. In fact, in the very first version of Lewd Dungeon Adventures, all Heroes started with the same equipment and spells. That was later changed because people understandably wanted the option of at least some modicum of character customization so that their Hero could feel special to them, but I still kept this extremely simple.

I also swapped out the d20 system for a d6 system, because most people who like board games already have a d6 somewhere in their home. I wrote the first campaign book as I would like to see one as a first-time dungeon master, with everything spelled out, including when and what to roll, and how to run boss monsters, with monster stat blocks on the page the monster appeared on, no matter if that meant the monster stat block appeared every few pages. One thing I absolutely hate as a DM is having to flip to the back of a book to find a monster stat block.

The Hero complexity and actions were designed specifically with my partner in mind, someone who enjoyed the role-playing aspect of tabletop role-playing games but hated the more constricting mechanics.

Once the Core Rulebook & Starter Adventure was written, it was time to publish. I had originally planned to go straight to Amazon with it, publishing a plain text version, but two of my author friends, specifically Anthea Sharp, who runs a lot of Kickstarters, and Kevin McLaughlin, whose name I probably just butchered, told me to Kickstart it. This actually took a bit of convincing. But finally, I was like…what the hell, why not try to make this a legitimate game. Because, truth be told, there was no way I would have been able to afford all the artwork that went inside the game without a Kickstarter.

So I threw together the best Kickstarter page I could possibly do with no additional help, and I launched, only expecting the Kickstarter to do maybe $10k. The rest is history, and now there are many more modules, and Lewd Dungeon Adventures has bloomed into a successful product with a large following and the promise of being a continuing series.

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