The Setting

Usherwood Publishing






Style Guide | DIsclosure Agreement | Non-Disclosure Agreement | Work-for-Hire sample (author) | Work-for-Hire sample (artist)

Usherwood Publishing

Goal and Mission

Usherwood Publishing (UP©) (i.e., James D. Kramer design services (DS©)) began as a simple hobbyist effort by its creator, James Kramer under the campaign setting of the Usherwood Adventures (UA©). As such, the efforts of UP will remain focused on the growth of this specific campaign setting; both in creative elements as well as utilities designed specifically to support it. But I will continue to approach new adventures and setting concepts with the idea that they may be played outside the scope of the Usherwood Adventures environments. Prospective authors are also encouraged to begin the exploration of the areas upon the campaign world of Besh which do not fall within the geography of the continent of Vermé, as described through this Sourceweb.

Always willing to listen to new ideas

As a publisher, the hardest thing to do is to pass up on a great idea. I had been placed in such a position in the spring of 2008, having had a marvelous module pitched to me by a well-known, up-and-coming module writer. The concept of the adventure was really well-conceived, being the child of a classic short story by the 19th century writer A. (Abraham) Merritt. Though the adventure was later picked up by another small game publisher, and I wish that author and game's publisher all the luck in the world with it. Unfortunately, the module at the time did not fit within the direction I was trying take UA, and I felt compelled to turn down the author's proposal.

Point being, I am willing to review any and all adventure ideas, but I will be reviewing them in terms of how they fit within the current scope of the UA campaign setting specifically, and wont be adding just anything that comes along, no matter how good the manuscript might be, keeping in mind, this is still and artistic hobby for me, and not a business designed to generate serious income...at least not yet.

Editorial Standards

Whether you're an author creating an adventure, or an editor polishing up an adventure, please click here to review UP's editorial guidelines and house editorial styles. Keep in mind, this is a 'living document', so please review before beginning any new project, as details may have changed or may have been updated since your last project with us. The guidelines page will always be dated with the most recent modification date.

Submitting a proposal

Prospective authors should make sure to read and thoroughly understand all the information on this page. If you have any questions regarding any of the information conveyed here, please contact us so your questions and issues can be dealt with promptly.

Content submissions

Story lines: Over-arching storyline concepts, and growth potential are key. Campaigns and modules that are just hack-n-slash or Monty Hauls without a reason for being will be rejected (there is a place for these kinds of games, but it is not here). Please make sure your plots have a point to them, as well as a clear and definitive ending point. If submitting a campaign, please outline the campaign itself, as well as the individual modules that will go into the campaign. Story lines must integrate with the creative intent of the materials contained within this website.

Good taste rules: Campaigns, modules, and other materials that are lacking in what we feel to be good taste (judged solely by Kramer), will be rejected. There may be a place for such games, but it is not here.

Publishing Resources

The following forms will be completed in submitting your proposal;

  • Disclosure Agreement; this form must accompany all new manuscript proposals. It details the review proess, work-for-hire compensation, and submittal process. UP review of your proposal cannot be initiated until this form has been completed and received by DS.
  • Non-Disclosure Agreement; this form will be completed once your manuscript proposl has been reviewed and accepted by UP for publishing. It will serve to protect your interests and our confidentiality. The form attached here is a sample only. An original form will be supplied to you at the time a publication offer is extended.

Outlines: I don't want to guess at what you are intending to do. Please make sure your outline is as complete as possible. Describe your principal NPC's, and what role they will play. Describe the main plot point, points of diversion, and primary antagonists.

Vermé geographic locales: We will have final say on your descriptions and uses of specific locales upon the continent (and outlying areas). If you want to use an area that has little or no information available on it, please contact us so that we may work togther to flesh it out.

Plagiarism: Submissions must be the original unpublished work of the submitter. Submissions which are either not new concepts, or are either in part or in whole the work of a third party will be rejected. The contributor is solely responsible for any accusations of plagiarized content. Content which relies to any extent on the previously published works of any third person, needs to be appropriately noted.

Editorial control

DS, or any third party acting as its agent, shall be the final editorial authority during the development of your manuscript. However, we do your respect your creativity as author, and you will be provided with adequate opportunity to review and make recommendations to any suggested edits prior to publication.

Submission Guidelines

Vermé, the continent upon which the Usherwood Adventures is set, is a land full of gaming opportunity and potential. It has been designed to support all conceivable climactic and encounter situations. It just requires good DM's to help populate its environs. If you are such a DM, please send us your ideas. We ask just a few things of your submissions;

Game Resources

We primarily are interested in publishing your works which are based on the OSRIC SRD. Alternatively, you may use the First Edition fantasy roleplaying rules. However, in this case we will need to persue an additional check to ensure that potential copyright and trademark infringements are eliminated, and that OSRIC compliance is ensured. When using First Edition rules, your content should adhere to the following resources;

  • OSRIC, or...
  • Players Handbook, 1st Edition
  • Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Edition
  • Monster Manual, 1st Edition
  • Monster Manual II, 1st Edition
  • Fiend Folio, 1st Edition
  • Deities & Demigods, 1st Edition (or Legends & Lore, 1st Edition). Though Usherwood Adventures has its own pantheon of gods and goddesses, it does make use of many demi-human gods as noted in these two publications.
  • Unearthed Arcana, 1st Edition
  • Dragon Magazine, issue No. 1 through 200 only

Also, when basing your rules on First Edition, please cite any uses from Dragon Magazine (issue and page number), so that copyright and trademark infringements can be adequately checked.

File submissions

Manuscript formats: Manuscript should be supplied in the following format types; *.txt, *.rtf, and *.doc. Authors who adhere to the Usherwood Publishing standard authoring template will receive a 10% bonus to their work-for-hire contract.

Graphics formats: Graphics should be supplied in any the following format types; *.gif, *.jpg, *.png, *.eps, *.tif, *.bmp.

Spreadsheet formats: Spreadsheets may be supplied as Excel or tabbed text.

Database formats: Databases may be submitted in Access and FileMaker Pro.

Submitting submissions

By eMail: No submissions larger than 10MB, please (includes compressed files). Multiple files should be compressed using either WinZIP or Stuffit. Send your submittals by clicking here. Larger files may be transferred via an FTP drop-off location with prior arrangements.

By USPS: Large files, or submissions containing numerous files, should be submitted on CD or data DVD. Contact us directly to obtain the postal address. Request postal address by clicking here.

By FTP: using your prefered FTP software, you may upload your files to our secured server. Contact us directly to have a private FTP location established for your project.

By Web-based large-file server: you may at your option use a third-party file transfer service, such as www.yousendit.com.


All works, written and illustrated, purchased by agreement with James D. Kramer design services will become the sole property of DS. Attempts to publish any materials to any third parties that had been previously accepted (or, have entered a 30-day publishing review [refer to The Review Process below]) by DS may be construed as breach of contract and copyright infringement, and legal action will be undertaken as may be appropriate. Please consider these issues before submitting your content for our review.

Open Game Content

Because our product is covered by the rules (and restrictions) of the Open Game License (version 1.0a, copyright Wizards of the Coast), as well as the OSRIC license (trademark Stuart Marshall and Mathew Finch), 5% of all content we publish under the Usherwood Adventures trade name must be identified as "Open Game Content" (OGC). This means that any such content in your published manuscript identified as OGC may be used by any third party also covered by the OGL without the permission of the creator (you), or of the copyright holder (DS). Please consider this requirement before submitting your content, and try to identify which sections you would be willing to have identified as OGC.

In the absence of specifically identified OGC sections, DS, or any third party acting as its agents, shall determine such OGC material prior to publication.


All works obtained by DS for UP is paid for as work-for-hire. Meaning, once we've paid you for your work, it then becomes the copyrighted property of DS. We will not enter into any agreement in which royalties are expected. We typically pay $.02 USD/per word in the final published manuscript.

Please note the following elements that will not be included while calculating your final compensation;

  • Creature statistics; whether added by the author, or by UP editors, creature statistics blocks will not be included in the final word count. Such information is obtained directly through the various rules books, and therefore do not contribute to the creative efforts of the author. Exceptions may be negotiated if such statistics provide information that goes above and the beyond the minimum content provided by the UP template. The standard UP template provides the following information in it creature statistics; creature type and number encountered, armor class, hit die, hit points, number of attacks, damage/attack, and possessions (includes any treasure). DS, or a third-party acting as its agent, may be willing to negotiate this point.
  • Repeated information; any information in the module which is directly repeated from previous sections will not be included in the final word count. Further, UP editors will attempt to recast the wording so that the use of repeated content is minimized.
  • Content not of the author's creation; at times UP will need add content to your manuscript to avoid copyright infringment, create OSRIC-compliant content which does not otherwise exist, or create content to expand upon the Usherwood Adventures campaign setting. Such content not specifically created by the author will not be included in the final word count.
  • Front matter; UP uses a standard template in the front matter (Introduction) sections of all of its modules.
  • Back matter; UP uses a standard template in the back matter (Appendices and forms) sections of all of its modules. Back matter (Appendices) provided by the author will be included in the calculation of final word count.

The Review Process

Once the author and DS, or a third-party acting as its agent, have engaged a Discloser Agreement, DS shall have a minimum period of 30 days to review and accept/reject your proposed manuscript. During this period, the author agrees not to submit the manuscript covered by the Disclosure Agreement to other publishers for consideration. DS, or a third-party acting as its agent, will make a determination based on this review. The author will be notified if additional information regarding the submitted manuscript is required before a publishing decision can be made.

At the end of the 30 day period of review, DS, or a third-party acting as its agent, will either make an offer to publish the content and provide an estimated compensation (refer to the Compensation section above), or reject the proposal. (Although an explanation of rejection will not be required, DS will try to make clear the reason(s) why your proposal had not been accepted.) In the event an offer to publish is extended to the author, the author may accept, reject, or make a counter offer, and enter extended negotiation.

Once an agreement is reached, the author will have entered into a Work-for-Hire agreement with DS, and will be provided with a publishing and payment schedule.


The Setting

Usherwood Publishing