Crypts & Things the End is Nigh!

If you are following the progress of Crypts and Things, I’ve just made what I hope will be my penultimate update before releasing the pdf to backers next month.

Page layout previews and the announcement of a pre-order for all you folks who missed the Kickstarter.

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Fiendish Friday: The Rise of the Serpent Men

From the upcoming Crypts & Things, I present the Serpentstory of the early rise and origin of Zarth’s Serpent Men.

The Rise of the Mara
The Serpent Men have their beginnings in a group of Lizard People known as the Mara. In Ancient times this small enclave of magicians was tasked with experimenting with powerful magics that dealt with the enhancement of the natural world around them, in a place far away from the main Lizard People nests for safety’s sake. Already remote and cut off they were further isolated when a magical disaster raised the waters around their nest-complex and broke the land into rough mountainous terrain. Once the survivors dusted themselves down and collectively rejected the idea that they were in any way shape or form responsible for the disaster, they found they had the ideal environment to carry on their questionable magical experiments. Without any moral restraint or condescending ethical disapproval from the rest of their race they quickly discovered Black Magic and became tainted by the use. Because they were few in number – developed Vivimancy to enhance their own genetics, taking a serpentine form and completing their separation from the Lizard People. Later they would further developed this blasphemous form of magic to twist and hybridise other creatures, leading to the creation of other servitor races. The Mara also found that the disaster, which they now saw as a blessing from the Dark Powers, had also opened many portals to hellish Other Worlds in theirbroken land. Contact with the Others, both Minor and Great, gave them access to more Black Magic.

When they started gradual expansion into the lands around their immediate sphere of influence employing the corruption of the Dark Arts this soon led them into conflict with the Lizard People.

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Mythas Imperiative released

Amythras-imperative-covers previously reported Mythras is the new re-branded name of RuneQuest 6 (seeing the trademarked name reverts back to owners Chaosium in July).  Its publishers The Design Mechanism aren’t hanging about and have released a concise/compact 32 version named Mythras Imperative, as a free pdf.

An introduction to the full Mythras rules system, and d100 gaming in general, Mythras Imperative gives you everything you need, in one slim-line volume, for worlds of  adventure!Mythras Imperative is a generic roleplaying game system covering ancient, modern and futuristic eras. It includes rules for character creation, skills, spot rules, combat and sample creatures to get you started.

I’m printing it off for a quick read tonight, but you can go grab it for free and check it out here:


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Things going on in the UK OSR recently

A quick round-up of some of the things that have caught my eye recently going on in the UK OSR. Apologies in advance if I’ve missed stuff off , point it out in the comments below and I’ll give it a shout out later.

D101 Specific

I went to 7 Hills Gaming convention in Sheffield last weekend. Failed to run any OpenQuest (boo hiss!) but ran my tribute to the Fighting Fantasy books of my youth The Sorcerer Under the Mountain, using the recently released Black Hack.At some point I’ll write this adventure up and get it on the release schedule. I also got to play Village of Homlett using 13th Age.

New mini-supplement for OpenQuest, The Clockwork Palace by Paul Mitchener, was released.

OpenQuest Basics is now available with full colour art. If you have the previous art free B&W edition please redownload it. Since it was paid for by the OpenQuest 2 crowdfunding campaign (many moons ago now in 2012) its available for free.  I’m working on getting it available in print (mainly so I can sell it at cons and through the soon to be unravelled D101 Webstore).

Other publishers/people

The Black Hack, a lovely little 20 page OSR rule set optimised for quick convention and online play has been released.  I’ve run it a couple of times now, at home and at 7 Hills and it works a treat.

Kristen Richards (Age of Shadows) is back with the second issue of his ‘Neath the Shadow Zine for Age of Shadows but usable for OpenQuest.

Jonny Gray whose done some work for me in the past, and in the future when I get Chronicles of Erun out, has a new Patreon campaign to produce art for RPGs. Not only is he a wildly enusatic member of UK OSR Google Hangouts, his work tends to be on the grim and gritty side of things which a perfect fit for UK OSR Grimdark. Go check it out.



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Crypts and Things Remastered Update for April

Monthly Update on the progress of Crypts and Things:

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Last day of OpenQuest Bundle of Holding

Under a day for the OpenQuest Bundle of Holding, last chance to get all the OpenQuest, River of Heaven and The Company in pdf at crazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzeeee never to be repeated prices.

Look some local Hobbits think its all Crazy 🙂

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The Company

In support of the OpenQuest Bundle of Holding that is currently running until Tuesday 4th April, here’s the fifth of a series of posts this time about how the OpenQuest powered game The Company was written, with some suggestions on how to use it outside of the setting presented in the book.

Shortly after I got OpenQuest into the wild, a friend of mine proposed doing a “OpenQuest Modern”. The pitch I got was an unholy mash up of OQ and the info in the D20 Modern SRD, something I feel is the equivalent of welding two different cars together, and mixing it with an Government Agency vs Supernatural Horror, i.e. OQ Horror not OQ Modern. I turned the idea down, which I’m glad I did since six months later Cubicle 7 announced the most excellent Laundry (which is a D100 Modern Horror game of guess what… Government Agency vs the Supernatural).

Instead I wanted “OQ Modern” to be something your could easily use for various Modern Settings, not just contemporary horror, as well as its own baked in setting. Apart from OQ itself I decided early on that any spin off game that OQ spawned would not be generic, but would have a setting that was distinct and flavoursome, but could easily be stripped out and dumped in favour of the the GM’s own.

So that was the pitch I gave author Rik Kershaw-Moore, who picked up the task of writing “OQ Modern”. Rik quickly worked up the background of the game, which involved a group of ex-British Military officers setting up a state sanctioned Mercenary Group. This world of “Private Military Service Provider”  gives the imident structure and reason for upon which the player characters, all members of this group, to go on exciting and thrilling missions.  Extensive research on Modern day military equipment (we knew that this would be a big draw of the game), so there’s plenty on Guns, vehicles, armour and other equipment in the book. The book also has background on five of the world’s trouble spots and has ‘Threat Sheets’ for each country covered.  Finally the book rounds out with not one but two scenarios.

The book was written very much as self contained book which doesn’t need endless supplements to fill in the gaps.  But if you need ideas on things to do with outside of the mission based scenarios that feature in the book, here’s some quick campaign ideas.

Conspiracy Theory. The characters could very easily become involved in some sort of Illuminati/Secret Society that wants to rule the world type of plot, as they could be hired by one of the off-shots of some sort of nefarious conspiracy, that is willing to use them as patsies on their schemes to achieve world domination.  You could effortlessly blend this with the Dan Brown sort of Conspiracy thriller, since it doesn’t need supernatural horror to make it work.  Off course you could run scenarios that include the sort of Ancient Aliens/Time Traveling shenanigans that Ufology includes and see how long the character’s military procedures stay in play in light of an unknown and unexplained enemy. I ran a convention game called “Operation Mudbrick” where the Company was hired by the  British Museum for protection of a group of their archeologists digging in the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur, in modern day Iraq. The enemy in the scenario turned out not to be Iraqi insurgents (although I kept them on their toes with the belligerent Iraqi Armed Forces presence literally across the road at the Airbase that exists there), but time traveling Soldiers in full NanoSuits (from River of Heaven) who belonged to the Totalitrian society of the Future, whose mission was to close and destroy the open Time Gate that existed under the city in unexplored tunnels.

Post Apocalypse. Both the “200 years after the Bomb” type scenario and a more British , after the plague and/or killer plants and everything went away type. Just use the equipment detailed in the book and throw in some new organisations for the characters to interact/fight. If I was to run it I’d keep the characters as members of The Company, but have them awaking to the chaos and having to follow their orders of what to do in the case of a break down of society.

World War III. What happens if an all out World War III explodes in the world of the Company? Are the player characters abroad and caught in crossfire. Does the UK government, which stays out of the conflict, use their independent status to send them into the war and achieve their aims without being officially involved.  Or is World War III a more subtle and low-intensity war?  A war fought by proxies, such as terrorist cells, so called ‘rogue nations’ and mercenary companies such as The Company, one which can be fought for economic gain, never has a planned end and can be done so without causing the voting public’s outrage at home.

Modern Thriller/Espionage. By focusing on the individual characters and the player character’s immediate group, the game can be easily tailored to this sort of game. Whether its 007 or Task Force 141 (from the Call of Duty Modern Warfare games), The Company can handle this style of game easily.

So if you want to check out The Company in pdf form at a crazy low price remember its availble in the OpenQuest Bundle of Holding for the next couple of days.

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Fun and Frolics at the Savage North

In support of the OpenQuest Bundle of Holding that is currently running until Tuesday 4th April, here’s the fourth of a series of posts this time about how the OpenQuest module The Savage North was written.

The Savage North was the first OpenQuest module that I released shortly after the games 1st edition came out. During OpenQuest’s final stages of production my thoughts turned to the games first scenario release. Life and Death, which was intended as the first release, was still in the writing stage and was bogged down in authorial angst 🙂  Me and John had already been chatting about our mutual love of D100 games at our weekly lunches and John mentioned his Conan RQ3 game that he had run. From his recollections they sounded like a lot of fun. He also mentioned that he had written them up (like he had done for his Cthulhu Rising scenarios). My eyes lit up at this. A quick conversion from RQ3 to OQ, a new setting to replace the Conan material and Lovecraftian Monsters (that’s right John’s original  adventure featured Dark Young of Shub Niggurath and Deep Ones as adversaries) was all that was needed. Thus the Savage North setting full of Crusading Nights, Pseudo-Viking Warriors and blood sucking Demons from the Outer Dark was born.  John did the art as well as the scenarios and it was fun to work with him on it.

Yes unpretentious old school fun is where I would put The Savage North on the scale of OQ releases. It has dungeons, it has a wilderness trek and it has a deadly dungeon with a big bad boss monster to challenge to prevent the end of the world.  This promotional comic, made up of John’s art, which I posted before the books’s release taps into that unbridled sense of fun. Check it out in the Starter Line up of the OpenQuest Bundle of Holding 🙂


Next: The Company


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Post Easter Update

Just over one week to go on the OpenQuest Bundle of Holding. To repeat everything I’ve released for OpenQuest in pdf at crazy low prices that I’ll never be repeating.

Just noticed that Paul Mitchener’s  new 11 page mini-supplement for OpenQuest The Clockwork Palace has been added to the Starter OpenQuest bundle (which goes for $8.95 which is pretty much everything for OQ except The Crucible of Dragons which is in the Bonus Collection).

Also the updated OpenQuest Basic book, which now features full colour art, is in the Starter bundle (if you downloaded it previously through your file has been updated 🙂 ).

Also in case you missed them, I wrote some posts about the making of the various OpenQuest books to introduce them to people interested in the OpenQuest Bundle of Holding. More of these to come (I think Savage North is next on my list).

For those of you following the progress of Crypts and Things Remastered there will be an update later in the week, probably at the weekend (April 2nd-3rd). Lot of work being done in the background that isn’t quite pulled together yet, so that’s why I’m holding off saying anything for now.


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A Matter of Life and Death

l&D coverIn support of the OpenQuest Bundle of Holding that is currently running until Tuesday 4th April, here’s the third of a series of posts about how the OpenQuest module Life and Death was written.

Life and Death  had two very direct and primary design goals when I started writing it back in 2007.

  • A desire to write and publish a RuneQuest adventure. I’ve been a RQ nut for years and with the release of the System’s Resource Document for the Mongoose version of RQ (aka MRQ SRD) and the maturing of the pdf/pod publishing model, that made it practical for one man creator outfits to publish stuff rather than risk thousands on the traiditional printing press model, put up the green light on that on.
  • Disillusionment with Glorantha as a muse. I had been playing Glorantha for a good 25 solid by this time and I was sick of it. Sick of the constraining setting assumptions, sick of the self righteous fan boys I was meeting at cons (my primary outlet at that time) and just a whole hunk of jadedness that you naturally get after being a bit obsessed for a good quarter of a century.

So I proceeded to stick my head down during my lunch hour at work and hammered the keyboard for a couple of years on and off, working out how to write a presentable setting/adventure pack as I did.

These are the things I learnt on the way.

  • I like my settings short sweet and flavoursome. The setting for L&D is 15 pages long and I have a general  rule that the basic setting set up chapter (which explains the fundamentals and includes character generation an other rules changes) for OQ adventures should be no more than about 30 pages long.
  • I’m a big Zombie film fan. Lots of the dead guys in the adventures, and the whole thing is a Fantasy Zombie Apocalypse.
  • I like big themes in my adventures, even if they are off screen and the players don’t make much of it. In Life and Death the players are at the heart of a choice that could see the resurrection of their world, which is in a sort of undead state, or its final damnation. Now that’s something I have got from Gloranthan and hold to even in my smallest of D&D adventures.
  • It is possible to write an D100 scenario without the temptation to write a big old railroady experience, that usually results in the rather linear “here’s a location stuff happens at it – then you go here and some more stuff happens – and finally you know to go here and have a big resolving confrontation (if you’ve been following the plot that the writer has laid down”)” way that some of the more poorly written D100 adventures adhere to.  L&D death has a structure that while still making sense upon a simple read through allows the players to be at the heart of the adventure and make their own way through it while still allowing the GM to bring it to a dramatic and meaningful conclusion when it needs be. Figuring this out is what took the bulk of my development time and the thing Im happiest about (oh and the aforementioned Zombie Apocalyse).

Because I was so intensely driven by L&D it was the second module that I released for OpenQuest and one I feel that has quietly slipped under the radar in many respects.  So if you’ve not experienced its wonders, check it out in the OpenQuest Bundle of Holding, where its heavily discounted until Tuesday 4th April.


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