A look back on Lightheart Adventures in 2020


Gosh, what a year, huh? 2020 hasn’t been kind to most of us, but despite hardships, there’s still plenty to be thankful for. Courtney and I officially started the Lightheart Adventures website back on Jan 1st, and January 8th was our first post! We’ve met so many people, made new friends via social media, and got to draw tons of maps! With that said, I want to commemorate our first year by looking back at where we started.


When we started Lightheart Adventures, I was all about the ink pens, all the time. I drew inspiration from prolific artists like Dyson Logos, Paths Peculiar, and their intricate hand drawn maps. I’d spend hours squinting at graph paper, ruler in hand, making sure each line was exact and neat. I balked at the idea of drawing maps digitally! Over time, I began to start touching up my maps digitally after they were scanned, and then I experimented with using a digital stylus from the beginning. Receiving the Wacom One back in July was the real tipping point for me. I realized that working with pens was fine for personal pieces, but I felt my maps looked more professional when made digitally. There are many artists I follow that do physical media with digital touch-ups that look fantastic, but I’ve come to enjoy the speed and flexibility digital map making allows me. These days, when I look back at some of my earlier maps, it’s hard to resist the urge to redraw them!

Side Quests

Another early idea of Lightheart Adventures was the idea that I wanted to provide bite-sized adventures for game masters in need. I released a lengthy one-shot on DM’s Guild, but from inception to release it took me 6 months to produce. Doing shorter monthly mini-adventures was a way to challenge myself to not get stuck on details and just write. Thus Side Quests were born! These short campaigns intended to be system neutral, but quickly switched focus to the games I’m familiar with. I learned quite a bit about writing on a time budget as well as better game design regarding map layouts. Something that sounded great in my head doesn’t always translate to page, but the reverse is also true! 

One thing I still struggle with is knowing how much to add for a post. Some Side Quests wind up with too much content that I forget that it’s meant to be a quick encounter rather than a full-fledged story! As I learn about more diverse systems, I get to see all kinds of storytelling methods that I am eager to incorporate into my own games. In other words, get ready for some crazy new Side Quests in 2021!

Interviews and Social Media

Courtney knew, almost from the start, that she wanted to connect with creators in the tabletop rpg space and also feature some of our favorite products, but it took a little while for us to find our footing. We knew we didn’t want to become yet another TTRPG review site, but we still wanted to share our thoughts and observations on products we liked. She made several interview posts around companies like Found Familiar, DnD Duet, and the creators of Wanderhome. We also spent several posts featuring Malifaux: Through the Breach (and you better believe we aren’t done with that game!), but over time Courtney realized that there’s only so much you can do in a blog interview. And thus, our latest initiative was born: Roll Play Grow.


This podcast is technically launching with its first full episode in two days, on January 1st, but it still deserves a brief mention in this round-up as this past year was what really led to its inception. Courtney’s been wanting to do an interview podcast with tabletop RPG creators for a very long time now, but its final form was definitely influenced by those earlier blog interviews. We are both really excited for this show to truly launch, and we can’t wait to see where it takes us.

Wrap Up

2020 will go down as one of the most memorable years of our generation. From the never-ending plague, months of civil unrest, a truly terrifying election season, wildfires mere miles from our home, and a few medical scares, I know we, like most of you, are more than happy to close the door on this particular year. 

And yet, I can honestly say that Lightheart would not be where it is if the year had been the way we expected. Courtney started a new job in February that was supposed to involve 50% travel. There’s no way we would have been able to sit and focus and grow the business as much as we did if she’d been gone that much. Roll Play Grow would probably still be in the dream stage instead of two days from launch. It’s been an incredibly difficult year, but being stuck at home since March has allowed us to focus on this dream, and we are so incredibly thankful that you’ve stuck around with us this long. We’re glad to give a big ol’ middle finger to 2020, but we’re also excited to celebrate the site’s first birthday and recognize all we accomplished.

Happy New Year, friends.

Thanks for dropping by! If you have any favorite moments from 2020 please drop a comment here on the blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Discord to let us know! If you’d like access to more maps and content, including downloadable PDFs of our adventures, check out our Patreon. We’re able to do what we do because of all our amazing Patrons!

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