Custom Created Journal Straight out of Trinor!

Every Friday night, I get immersed in a totally different world. And that world is called Trinor. Trinor is a creation of my good friend and high school biology teacher, Jason Hitsman. He puts a lot of work into planning our DnD campaign, designing maps, characters and even music. So for this 2015 Christmas, the player characters decided that Jason's world should give back to him. We thought it would be cool to somehow share some of our favorite memories from the campaign. So what follows is the construction of my character's journal. Ander Thorngage is a halfling bard, who's more interested in following the story of his adventurer counterparts than anything else. I wanted to put some work into making the journal look as believable as possible.

One of Jason's awesome maps. Einhorn is our current continent

I picked up all of the materials at a local crafts store, Michaels. I didn't really do any pre-planning and bought the components spontaneously. I chose the materials based on what looked cool, and went well together. The materials included:

  • A book of 10 sheets of Canvas paper
  • A sheet of tanned leather with dimensions of about 8.5 x 11 inches
  • A charcoal pencil
  • A spool of wax covered string
  • Some big friggen needles
An image of all the materials used in this project

I started by cutting the cardboard to size. The cardboard was recycled from the back of the canvas paper book I bought. All of the dimensions were eye-balled, because I wanted the journal to have a rustic, cheap look.

Sizing up the cardboard against the leather piece


Next began the sewing process. I've never really sewn anything before, and I have definitely not sewn leather before. It was a lot harder than I expected. My big friggen needle had a hard time penetrating the leather and cardboard, and it was also difficult to pull the threat through the hole. So after some experimentation, I found the best way is to pre-poke all of your holes with push pins. I left them all in to keep the leather stretched out. I would push the needle partially through, and I would use some pliers to pull it the rest of the way through. Once I got the rhythm down, it went pretty quickly.

The cover with all of the pins placed


I used a sharp set of side cutters to slice some of the excess leather on the corners. I used the same method to bind in the paper. I then tied a big knot on both sides of the binding, and considered that part finished.

An image of the front cover sewn together


I then trimmed the paper to size with scissors. I wanted to add some manufacturer identification to the book to give it more character. So I designed some 3D models of some letter punches for the letters "V" and "B" for Vale Binders. Vale being the current region we are in that Ander would have purchased the book at. I 3D printed the punches, and then with a hammer, punched them into the back cover. Using a pen, I colored them in and added the rest of the letters.

The letter punches I made (After taking he pictures, I realized they were backwords)


Vale Binders written on the back cover of the journal


Next came the most time consuming part; writing all of the content. The player characters generated some ideas and shared their favorite memories, and I expressed them from Ander's view point. I typed them all out first so I could think them out before writing them. The unaltered notes are as follows:

Today marks my first day away from the fierce fifteen. Though it is not what I want, I would do anything for my troupers. Including leave if they ask it of me. I didn't like the travel back to Damford alone. I've met up with Clearsong and have played a few tunes with him, glad to have such a great cousin. Wrote a few notes about home worth remembering:

The trouper in me needs to keep travelling. Perhaps Clearsong will head to Milton with me.

We've arrived in Halstatt. The Lodestone is an okay place to play. Not a lot of people. Or money... There's no where good to "lose money" though, which is good for now. I saw a green gnome at the inn today. She had a flying squirrel, I admit I was jealous. Hallstatt's not a big place, kind of like Damford. It didn't take too long to map it.
(Map of Hallstatt)

What an adventure! I'm surprised I'm still alive. Met with a bunch of experienced adventurers and we set out to save people in a mining accident. The place was taken over by goblins! This was the first time I've ever had to use my weapons, but it's best the rest of my new friends didn't know that. We explored though the mines and eventually found the miners. I got to use my goblin costume to try and convince the guards to let them go. It didn't work but the others came and saved me! The goblins were hired by these "cultists" we caught them doing some sort of ritual, but we prevented it! There was a special crystal that we took. Bringing it to Kora Stouthammer
(Drawing of Crystal, Goblin Head)

I should write a bit about my new friends, in case they kick me out of their group too.

Fidget - She's that green gnome I saw earlier! It seems as if she has the power to control nature! She's really nice to me.
Jain - He's the blacksmith in Hallstatt. He seems to be pretty good with a sword. A little more religious than your average human. Prays all the time during combat, but it seems to help him
Valinor - I think he's brothers with Jain. He's got a weird face, it's all scaley. He's not very nice either
Rael - I feel as if this elf's hair is an illusion. It's very long and beautiful, reminds me of the song "Old Tom's Mop"! Amazing skills with a sword!
Lireal - She's really nice to! Her social skills are a bit off, but I think I heard her tell Fidget that she was raised in the mountains

And of course Clearsong is with us! Just as witty and skilled of bard as ever!

My life has not become boring as I feared it would. We met with Kora, and she showed us that we all had spirits with us! (Except for Valinor, but no surprise there). Then we went into the "Spirit Realm" Where we could see our spirits embodied! It was the most amazing experience. My spirit's Joy, but I call him Joey. A menacing spirit stole Kora and we decided to go save her! We went into a building full of evil spirits. Some of which could be killed if you were really nice to them. Some of them couldn't be killed unless you landed a lucky blow (Rael called them Cat-bats)! We saved Kora and got out before the building collapsed.
(Pictures of the spirits)

Just when I thought my life was on a new course, my past has come back to haunt me. The past unlocks the future. I headed to the library with Lireal and we bumped into debt collectors after me. They confronted us and my friends helped me out! Jain broke a guys leg, which was cool! Except for his medic bill's added to my debt. We managed to escape them, but I'm scared to stay in Hallstatt now. I might have to make a new Identity for here too. Fidget plays Ex-Oh with me though! And she doesn't follow up on bets I make!
(Little pictures of Tic tac toe)

We've left Hallstatt! We're on our way to Holt's Start. I'm not sure why, but it's good to be on the move. We got attacked while sleeping in the forest. There was an ogre, and I must say the tales do their strength justice, but not their stupidity. It's getting pretty cold as we head North. This area kind of has an eerie feeling about it. Fidget told me a few stories about her past. She's really interested in dragons! If I were her I'd be scared of them though! (I am scared of them)
(Picture of Ogre getting eaten by dragon head)(Tic Tac Toe)

Coming to Holt's Start was a BAD idea. Everyone else is interested but it gives me the heebie jeebies. Because there's ghosts! Everyone in the town is dead! Even the cultists that walked in! I sat in a chair, and it was VERY cold, so I took Poppop's advice "Any uncomfortable chair shouldn't be a chair at all." I destroyed it and took a little scrap. I am interested to see what's happened here. Jain says they think maybe the village caster made the spell to kill everyone, or maybe Kathyll Holt.
(Scrap of cloth)(Sketch of Robern Holt's ghost)

The water in Holt's start is poisoned! That's what killed everyone! I still don't know how they're all magically alive. I asked Valinor and he said my tiny halfling brain wouldn't understand. I dressed as Kathyll Holt's son and tried to get her to give me her amulet, the others thought we needed it. But she attacked us and we destroyed her ghost. Can you kill a ghost? I just asked Valinor and he reminded me of my tiny brain. Lireal plays Ex-Oh with me too, she's never seen the game before! I just remembered that Maryetta probably had her baby by now, I should go see my little third cousin!
(Tic Tac Toe)

The others went to Hallstatt, and I headed to Damford to see my new cousin. He's doing well and has the same hair as me! I love to see our family expand! So excited to tell Clearsong about little Brian Furbank! Poppop taught me a new song as well:
(Music notes to song)

*Small writing, really focused and precise* I don't know how I can go on. I was only gone for a bit. If I were there I could have stopped it. Clearsong got killed by one of the cultists. It was my fault. I already miss him so much! This is going to devastate everyone at Damford. I don't think adventuring is for me any more. But these are my first non-family friends, and they're very kind to me. We're headed to Milton, I guess. And oh, to make things better, there's a bounty hunter that's after ME that's tagging along with us. He thinks I'm not worth the bounty though...
(Tear drops all over the page)

We had our funeral for Clearsong today. My family told me not to go adventuring with them, but Joey has told me he can feel that the other spirits need him and I. I've made it my goal to find Clearsong's lost instrument "Rosalee" and return it to his grave. It's tough to say good bye to my best cousin. I am headed back to my friends after I finish Ma's pudding.
(Pudding stain somewhere on the page)(A couple tear drops)

I'm back with my friends, and there is never a dull moment with them. They were doing some tasks for a tree they call the "Master of the forest." I wonder if he's the inspiration behind "Old Oak Oromur" I joined them right before we got into a battle! It was a huge battle with all sorts of forest creatures. I think I broke a rib but I don't want to bug Lireal about it. A centaur named Tel'dora showed me how a song that allowed me to talk to plants! We found a baby hobgoblin too, no sure what we're going to do him, but the girls really like him
(Song Trees by Rush)

We've come back to the Master of the Forest! He's going to take care of the baby that looks like Brian, but he calls it Briar.  I took a little piece of the master's leaf. Fidget took a whole one, it's about as big as me!
(Sketch of us all by the tree) (Leaf)

The Master of the forest set us to plant a seed near by a dragon that was about to wake up. Fidget was super excited to see it. I wasn't. We kept heading towards a tall mountain, and on the way there we found a weird tree in the swamp. It had teeth and dead body parts all over it. But my friends killed it! Then Rael got really weird. He tried to steal the seed and run away with it. No matter what we did, he kept trying to steal it and run. I didn't know how to help, so I just played! The song was so beautiful that it brought Rael back to his senses!

The master of the fores was happy about the planted seed! It turned out the mountain we were headed towards was actually a massive dragon! The maser gave me a powerful horn that can blow peoples ears off! It seems a little unstable though. We all got cool presents from him! I think I've convinced the others to head back to Vale. I've got "the itch"
(Drawing of Horn)(Drawing of Dice)(Drawing of stack of coins)
We stopped in Milton, and that was a mistake! The cultists have infiltrated the city. This poor inn keepers daughter even joined them. Some of the guys went in to do some investigating during night, and Cora, that cute halfling attacked them with a big black blob. It ate one of Fidget's poor bears in half! :( I don't think we should ever go back there. We're taking the inn keeper to Vale! Fidget said the blob looked like this
(Sketch similar to ferrofluid exposed in E-Field)
Ahhhhhhhhhh. So good to be in Vale. So good to be Burt Morningstar again. He's a little more famous than I remember. We're all settling in nicely here at the Crossroads. Free bacon for playing! Luven met with some of his thief friends, and the cultists are killing some of their friends because they have dark spirits in them! Luven can remove them with his special dagger. They want us to help kill an evil herbalist that they think is responsible. The others found a book about Latayfaya, and they're having it translated. Lireal sketched a little of it below.
(Random Symbols Perhaps Hyllian symbols from Zelda)

This is becoming a too-common entry. But we almost died today. The thiefs betrayed us when we went to help them out. And then the old gnome lady had an armoured friend, and a bunch of cultists that really kicked our teeth in. But my friends are great warriors, and we prevailed! The next day I'm pretty sure we saw a god. Finwe gave Luven a coin with a spirit in it (I think). He also cut my violin strings while I was playing. I do not like him now. Our page got translated and it made our spirits sing!
(blood stained page) (Song that jason wrote)

We're waiting for the festival, so we decided to go back to Hardwood deep, to explore some ruins. I bought the cape I've been wanting for a while! Green with golden thorns! Pockets sewn all over it! Also, Valinor's been really nice lately, he showed me some Draconic Ruins!
(Draconic of the Ander's name) (Sketch of his cape)

We made it to the runes. There were two gnomes and a dwarf there. The dwarf said we weren't ready for his challenges, but I think we are! We fought a 5 headed dragon, and an angel. We got attacked by owl bears and this magical creature entranced us with her song. I don't really remember what happened but Jain told me that I blew my magic horn it blew a bunch of peoples ears off. We're at a mausoleum now, and it's very creepy. 
(Tic Tac Toe)

There were lots of statues in this mausoleum, and mirrors that would show good and evil. I just kind of watched as the others figured out what to do with them, and the figured it out! They had to kill the cat, which makes me sad. But they brought it back, and that was the key! We saw a beautiful room with huge statues of the gods They materialized in front of us, and told us about the great war of the spirits. On a complete side note, I found some of Rael's Hair, and I am keeping it. I consider it to be my most prised possession.

We're back in Vale! Burt's going to put on a BIG show! The others are even going to help me with it! Jain told me about his family, it was a sad story, he even yelled at me for asking a question. He's always nice to me too. So I should NOT ask any questions about them again. I have my set list planned! This show will certainly go down in history!


After I got everything written, I started hand writing the entries into the journal. The paper and the pencil didn't jive very well, unles the pencil was sharp. Otherwise the words would be too big and bold. I got some help from one of the other players, Brandon, with the pictures. I am pretty bad at sketching, so he found some images I planned to include in the journal and compiled them so I could print them off and use them for tracing. When possible, I would sew scraps that Ander found, such as a leaf, or cloth, etc. I also used acrylic pain to make stain's like blood stains on entries that included battle.

Some entries with Ander's doodling and scraps from a chair he destroyed
Some pages with music, sketches, blood, and leaves



Once the journal was complete, I added a few additional details. Now after Ander's last post, a lot of chaos was unleashed by a dwarfish army, and we got captured and all of our possessions taken from us. So I thought it would be fitting to make the journal look like it was cataloged by the dwarfs. I made a tag and wrote on it with dwarfish runes "Property of Nargunar Prisoner 608." I Used a quill and ink to give it a distinctive look. 

A tag for the journal written in dwarfish runes


I also made a list of people that Ander owes money to, and on the flip-side a list of people who owe to him. I hid it in the back cover so it was something Jason could perhaps discover after a few look-throughs. Once I was done, it was wrapped in paper and rope and brought to him. He was very excited about it and at one point joked about making Sarah and I leave so he could read it cover to cover. This was a fun project and just as big of gift to make as it was to give. Thanks again Jason for sharing your awesome dungeon master skills with us! Let me know in the comment section if you have any questions or would like any of my 3D models.

The finished journal all spread out