Of Dragons Old & Original

Tim Kask writes on his blog of his involvement in the early days of Original D&D (Three Book) and how that transitioned to AD&D.  The following really struck home with me:

We all as DM’s created our own worlds in which things worked in certain ways. Don’t like psionics? Fine, they don’t exist in your world. Think that vampires as presented are too tough or not tough enough? OK, make them fit your world. Think something ought to work a certain way, or not work a certain way? No problem, they worked the way you felt “right” in your world.

I love this, I was an B/X & AD&D 1st kid brought up on early White Dwarf whose articles were originally written for OD&D (with the rather embarrassed note about how they had been updated for the new AD&D books), so it always struck me the early D&D stuff was a riot of fun, calmed down by the ‘you must do it this way’ attitude of AD&D. This article confirms that.

Read the full article here.

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Crypts and Things Remastered Assembled!

I’ve finally edited all the new content (140 pages!) along side the existing Crypts and Things material (150 pages). Its a double the size of the 1st Edition, since as well as the revision of the existing rules, the backers of the Kickstarter voted with money to expand the content (five new character classes, new setting information etc).

So here’s the current break down by chapter of what’s going to be in the book.

This main rule-book is split into two parts, the Players’ Scrolls of Wonder and the Crypt Keepers’ Book of Doom.

The Scrolls of Wonder

Behold brave Heroes and Heroines emerge from the broken lands of the Continent of Terror to bring their own style of Freedom to the oppressed masses!

This first part of the book contains everything that the Players need to know to play their alter-egos in their adventures in the dying world of Zarth.

The first chapter details the process of Creating a Character.

Crypts and Things has nine Character Classes and this reference chapter, since it is used alongside chapter 1 above, details both the Core Character Classes of familiar Swords and Sorcery literature (Barbarians, Fighters, Sorcerers and Thieves) and the Exotic Character Classes (Beast Hybrid, Disciple, Elementalist, Lizard Person and Serpent Noble) which are inspired by Swords and Sorcery literature and the setting of Zarth.

Life Events is another reference chapter used alongside chapter 1, that has all the random tables needed to create characters with backgrounds and special abilities coming from their life history before they started adventuring.

If you are spell casting class (Sorcerer or Elementalist) you’ll want to refer to the Spell Lists chapter to see what magical powers your character has.

How to Play contains all the rules, such as Combat and Sanity, you’ll need to play the game. It outlines how the dice are used to resolve in game situations, when common sense roleplaying doesn’t quite get there.

The Continent of Terror is the Player’s overview of the setting. It may not be exactly what their characters know, since most of the characters come from areas which are isolated from the rest of the world, but it’s a quick orientation for the players so they have an idea of what the adventuring opportunities their characters may have.

The final chapter is What My Elder Told Me. These are questions and answers for each of the eight human cultures that the player characters typically come from. They are intended to give players a better understanding on how to roleplay their characters and hints of the wider setting background their characters come from.

The Book of Doom

Tremble mere mortals. This blasphemous knowledge is for the eyes of the Crypt Keeper only, for they are the Keeper of Secrets of the Sunless Vaults of Zarth.

This second part of the book isa collection of reference articles that helps the Referee of the game, The Crypt Keeper, run the game.

The first five chapters deal with setting information about Zarth’s Continent of Terror.

Secrets of the Continent of Terror is the Crypt Keeper’s setting chapter, which details

Dealing with Others is a short chapter on how the Crypt Keeper should deal with the issue of summoning the Demonic Others to Zarth.

The Greater Others and their Works details three of the Godlike Demons, their servants, cultists and associated Religions.

The five Scourges of the Dying World are player character Nemeses who can be used as reoccurring villains in your adventures.

Snake Dance is a chapter which details the Serpent Men, who can be seen as the major antagonists of the Continent of Terror, their history, their society and the ways that they attempt to enslave mankind.

The next two chapters deal with various game objects that the Crypt Keeper can used to populate their adventures.

A Compendium of Fiends is full bestiary chapter of XX creatures, monsters and opponents that crawl, gibber and slither under the Locust Sun of Zarth.

Ill Gotten Gains of Dark Desire starts off with a short article on Treasure generation and then goes on to detail fifty magical items of dubious power and dangerous nature.

The next three chapters present three different types of Adventure as working examples.

The Halls of Nizar-Thun is an introductory underground adventure taking place in a old sorcerer’s palace for beginning adventurers.

The Haunted Ground is a Weird lands adventure, where the characters explore a dark and twisted land in search of a kidnapped child.

Port Blackmire is a setting for City Based Adventures. This city state ruled by the Pirate Captain of a demonic pirate fleet, can be used by the characters as a place to rest up and sell treasure gained on adventures as well as being a source of its own adventures.

Finally Notes from the Abyss is a collection of short articles, random tables and lists of inspirational reading and listening material to help the Crypt Keeper in their job of running entertaining adventures for both themselves and the players.

I’ve got a final bit of self-editing to do and then its all off to others to proof read. Estimated time of arrival end of March :)

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OpenQuest Companion

A very tentative starting contents list for this work in progress collection of rules and gamey bits 😉

OpenQuest Kung Fu – how to use OQ Battle Magic to model chinese kung fu specifically and martial arts in general.

One Magic System – A conversion of the existing three magic system, into a simplified streamlined system which does not use magic points or have variable spells.

Quick Quest – how I run OpenQuest on the hoof at my gaming table.

Goons – the simplifed system for non-player characters, probably cleaned up and expanded from the article I posted here.

Right that’s my lunch break over, back to Crypts & Things 😉

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D101 and the Old School in 2016

I’m going to be doing my traditional State of D101 Games later in the week. However fresh from taking two weeks off for Christmas/New Year, I arose this morning and made two proclamations about our traditional fantasy games.

First off the latest state of play with Crypts and Things

Then what my plans are for OpenQuest in 2016.

Here’s some new stuff to look at, one of the latest batch of fantastic Crypts and Things art , the insidious Serpent Noble by David M. Wright.

Serpent Noble - Ink - DMWright-for-web

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A Jam of OSR Goodness

At Last….. Vegas, Adventures in Jam. It started off as pisstake of the most fabulous excuse that came out of the very very late James Wallis’ Alas Vegas Kickstarter , an almost non-update where James made excuses and then stream of consciousness rambled on about Jam making while on holiday in the South of France, but has grown into a OSR UK scenario/mini-rpg pack.

Here’s the link to the Kickstarter.

I’ll let creator Mick Reddick explain:

So my spoof kickstarter has funded and is pushing it’s way towards the third and fourth stretch goals! For a measly £2 [about $3] get scenarios for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Swords and Wizardry, WHFRP, Into the Odd and a new standalone game/scenario…. With random tables, jam based recipes and more in fact there are still two limited edition dice bag pledges left!!!….. its a deal, it’s a steal, it’s the sale of the f*****g century 😊

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Fiendish Friday: Dangerous Cities

Recently I wrote the City Adventure chapter of Crypts and Things Remastered, which centres on the Demonic Pirate city of Port Blackmire. I wrote it pretty much in a couple of intense sittings, and after completing it I reflected on where it had come from.

From the introduction to the chapter:

Magnificently vast ancient crumbling cities are such a staple of the Swords and Sorcery Genre that they become characters in their own right. They are the back drop to many a caper, such as magical heists, murder stories, clashes with dark robed cultists who have set up murderous shop just down the road from the character’s local tavern. With this in mind I present Port Blackmire, a city straight out of the British Grimdark tradition of the 1980s, of dangerous city states where all residences within the city walls are trapped to keep out not only the thieves but the dark things that prowl the streets, either openly or in human disguise, and the city’s ruler is the most evil thing in the city. A place where even the good pay tribute to the city’s vile old temples to keep misfortune from their door.

This is the playground for the characters, whether they are blowing their misbegotten gains in the taverns on grog or on some high stakes game of chance or earning some extra coin by locating missing persons or burgling some fool with more money than sense. Sometimes it’s the place where adventure comes straight at them, dragging them out of their comfy beds when they most need to rest up and heal from their last venture.
Welcome to Port Blackmire.

Much of the inspiration came from the Fighting Fantasy books of the 80s and their spritual descendants, the pages of White Dwarf Magazine and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay First Edition.

Port Blacksand (City of Thieves) – was a principle inspiration, heck the name is a clue here 😉 Black Sand is the star of the Fighting Fantasy book City of Thieves, a character in its own right, a dangerous port controlled by a mysterious Pirate Captain Lord Azzur. The place is filled with traps and monsters, and is an active risk to the heros life.

Khare (Sorcery book 2:Cityport of Traps) – My memories of Khare are slightly less well defined, but it carried on the theme of the Dangerous City as a character in its own right. Here the traps of the title are set by the Lawful members of the city to stop their Chaotic neighbours from helping thierselves to their treasures.

Irilian (White Dwarf 42-47, Best of White Dwarf Scenarios III). This high medieval city state in decline is the star of a 3 issue mega scenario from the early days of White Dwarf. So much detail was crammed into it that they used a slightly smaller font to keep to the alloted page count. The city, orginally rich from the jem trade, is well past its best. Yet it has all the Guilds, Temples and monestries from its hayday. It’s state of social torpor makes it the target of attack from ancient evil, that is more an impersonal force in the tradition of Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising Trilogy. In fact its the city and its institutions, possesed by this force, that is the opponent in the scenario.

Middenheim (Warhammer 1st Ed, City of Chaos). On the surface of it Middenheim is a massively bigger rerun of Irilian set in the Warhammer Fantasy Old World. Its a high medieval city undersiege by the forces of Chaos and the players must interact with the city’s instituions and power players to win the day. What makes Middenheim interesting is that it focuses on Politics as well as the nitty gritty of the city encounters.  That and the scale of the city, which magificiently sits atop a mountain with a flat top rising up from the forest floor.

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RuneQuest 6 to be renamed before July

Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a fan of the Design Mechanism’s RuneQuest 6. While a bit more crunchy than my own D100 tastes, which is why I publish OpenQuest, it is in my opinion the true inheritor of the RuneQuest name and spirit and a damn fine Fantasy Roleplaying Game. With Moon Design taking over management of Chaosium, it was also going to the be the basis of their new RuneQuest.  A great move thought I, since it meant a smooth transistion for the fans. Perhaps a tweak here and there, and reduction of the page count so it wasn’t so inclusive to make a nice short core book, but I could see that working very happily.

So imagine my gentle dismay when Jeff Richard, Chaosium/Moon Design Creative Director tells the folk at the What’s Up With Chaosium seminar at Dragonmeet yesterday that their new version of RuneQuest is going to be based on RuneQuest 2 with other bits and bobs added in.  You can go read a FAQ about it on Chaosium’s website, but it really strikes me it’s a RQ with everything from the kitchen sink thrown in.  I reserve judgement about the new Chaosium RuneQuest being any good until I see it in the flesh.

Good news straight from Lawrence Whitaker part of the Design Mechanism Duo is that they are going to merely rename and rebrand RQ6 (which I’m calling DMQ until they relveal the name) and keep it available along with all their stunning supplements, which is great news if you are heavily invested in the game. For example this means that come June next year when they do the rebrand, because that’s when they loose the RQ trademark there is no reason for me to sell my Premium Hardcover (which I got as a reward for backing their Hardcover Indiegogo campaign) since all they are doing is changing the name on the cover and where its mentioned within. I can save my money for buying new outstanding supplement’s from the Design Mechanism :)


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Hunters of Alexandria

huntersofalexandria-webHunters of Alexandria is our latest release. Its a Historical Fantasy setting by Paul Mitchener (Crucible of Dragons, Age of Arthur). Its a small A5 book only 110 pages but it packs a punch. Its designed as a pick up and play game of monster hunting in Ancient Alexandria in 1AD during the Roman occupation, were the city is the 2nd biggest metropolis in the Empire and is a melting pot of Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Jewish peoples. The Roman invasion thirty years previously has weakened the city’s magical protection and now monster’s from the collective myths of the cultures living in the city are slipping in unchecked. Its up to the Ventatores (or Hunters in Latin) a secret group of auxiliaries to the Roman Town Guard, which the player characters are members of, to stop them.

In this 110 page A5 book we present complete rules for character generation and play, and details of this mythic and monstrous version of ancient Alexandria, including different factions at play in the city, the geography of Alexandria, supernatural beasts, scenario seeds and a complete introductory scenario.

The book is designed to be lightweight and easy to absorb. It is suitable for immediate sandbox play (with a full cast of supporting non-player characters detailed as well as the city itself) and also includes a full introductory scenario (Saviour Gods). It comes with four example characters so you can start running the game after reading.

It uses a lightweight but powerful version of Fate written by Paul called Fortune. If your gaming tastes are much more Old School the system is less than half the book, so you still get a detailed setting, cast of non player characters, and a scenario you can easily run with your rule set of choice.

Note:  Hunters of Alexandria is in the Bundle of Holding Fate +3 is ending in under 12 hours. 17 titles heavily discounted in pdf format.

If you miss that , or want the printed version, the game is available via DriveThruRPG.com and Lulu.com


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RuneQuest 2 is coming back

RuneQuest 2 in a slightly updated form (errata applied and some additional content) has been launched on Kickstarter.

If you missed it first time round, now is an ideal time to check it out. Hardcover books + GMs screen as the standard printed package.

If you are an old d100 grognard you’ll know the score, but its worth backing to get the back catalog of RQ2 supplements, which is there as stretch goals. Years and years of gaming material- within easy reach in pdf format. Me I’m putting my money on the campaign going all the way and finally I’ll be able to get my paws on Questworld – the box set of generic mini-settings for RQ2 :)

Worth noting as Rick says in the KS video below, that the layout of the book is done so as soon as the book is funded it goes off to the printers for a January delivery date.

Here’s Moon Design President Rick Meints explaining it in the Kickstarter video.

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Lone Wolf Gamebooks to be published by Cubicle 7

A big part of my gaming yoof in the 80s, Joe Denver’s Lone Wolf gamebooks are to be published by the fine folk over at Cubicle 7, who recently released the inspiring Lone Wolf Roleplaying game via Kickstarter (which I must review soonish, but fully recommend).

Here’s the announcement:

We are delighted to announce that we have secured the rights to publish Joe Dever’s world-famous Lone Wolf gamebooks!

The agreement covers all English language editions of the best-selling solo adventure gamebook series, including brand new titles and out-of-print volumes. The initial release will be the highly-anticipated Lone Wolf 29: The Storms of Chai – the first wholly new Lone Wolf gamebook in over 17 years.

Fans of the ‘Collector Series’ hardbacks will now have the chance to complete their collections. Cubicle 7 will continue to release the books in this established format, re-publish the out of print volumes and fully complete the series.

“I’m very happy to be bringing my Lone Wolf gamebooks to Cubicle 7,” said author, Joe Dever. “The C7 team are very talented and a delight to work with. They’ve done a fantastic job with the Lone Wolf Adventure Game. This deal is wonderful news for all my loyal fans. It makes perfect sense to have all things Lone Wolf gathered together under one roof, and Cubicle 7 has proved beyond doubt its uncompromising commitment to quality.”

“Lone Wolf gamebooks introduced a huge number of people to fantasy gaming – myself included,” said Cubicle 7 CEO, Dominic McDowall. “It’s truly an honour to be involved with the Lone Wolf legend and we at Cubicle 7 are proud to be able to introduce Joe’s awe-inspiring creation to a whole new generation.”

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