Where I’m upto with OpenQuest

So I had a sofa day yesterday, an enforced stop due to an upset tummy.

In between blissful bouts of sleep, where somehow family life carried on without me, I realised that I like OpenQuest as written. That I spent a lot of time writing, musing over it, playtesting, releasing into the wild to great critical acclaim and yet I’ve been knocked back by a few bits of criticism (a bad review here and an ill thought out comment there) and a whole bucketful of self-doubt. I’ve worked on variant rules, complete rewrites, rewrites from scratch, getting further and further away each time of what I want out of a D100 system. Its kinda like what my mum used to do when we went shoe shopping for me as a lad. We’d spend a whole morning sizing up the possibilities, then get the best shoes possible. There would then be a short period where we were blissfully happy about the outcome. Then next time we out in town, my mum would then start criticising our choice, pointing out shoes that she thought were a better deal. I’ve done the same with OpenQuest and that’s wrong of me and I’ve had a spectacular own goal moment as a result.

My red-flag moment, if you’ve been following my last couple of vague posts about it on G+, was a couple of months ago when there’s been a whole lot of nonsense over at BRPCentral about MRQ1 SRD no longer being valid under the OGL and by extension OpenQuest itself. This triggered me into opening up the InDesign files, cut and pasting the text back into Word and giving the whole game another through self-edit (finally dealing with all those pesky Capitalisations which I used to be a big fan). There will be a few rewrites of rules, but not many because as I went through the text it slowly dawned I like the rules as written. Yesterday’s enforced stop meant that penny finally dropped. I love OpenQuest 🙂 This will probably see great sighs of relief from my co-conspirator Paul Mitchener who has patiently listened to all my plans for revitalising/rewriting OpenQuest when all I need to do is get on with writing adventures/settings for it 🙂

So what does this mean? Probably not a great deal immediately. I’m working on a cleaned up version of the main rulebook, which I’m going to also add some new monsters (I’ve about twenty or so planned), add back in the Empire of Gatan chapter (seeing as my plan last year to do a whole supplement based on it has fallen through for the time being) and the introductory adventure The Road Less Travelled. This “Maximum” (as in Fun geddit?) edition will probably go back to using the wraparound Dragon cover last seen on OQ2 Deluxe.

The main one which I can start work on now, even as I noodle away doing the Maximum Edition, is getting adventures out for it. This was the main thing folk wanted for OpenQuest whenever I asked on forums was new adventures. I’ve got three adventures nearly written up, as well as the previously announced Green Hell. Without the bottleneck of me worrying about the underlying system, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t get these out by the end of the year 🙂

And if you are a fan of the Company and River of Heaven, there’s news coming about these too 🙂

 

 

Chronicles of Erun now in Development

I’m developing the Chronicles of Erun, a game based off OpenQuest but written from the ground up.

It’s early days yet, I’m hoping to get it out the first half of 2018, but I’ve started giving details out at BasicRoleplaying Central, which now has a dedicated subforum (under OpenQuest).

The aim with the game overall is to have a very quick playing, pick up and play system, where you can play a very focused (and fun) campaign in about 10 sessions, with breaks for real life stuff.

All art will be by British Artist Jonny Gray.

The Chronicles of Erun cover by Jonny Gray

The Chronicles of Erun cover by Jonny Gray

Christmas in July UK OSR picks

Here’s my personal list of picks from the UK publishers participating in DriveThruRPG.com’s Christmas in July sale.

Return of the Woodland Warriors by Beyond Belief Games
I loved the first edition of this simplified and tweaked version of Swords & Wizardry that only uses D6s and is suitable for children. The new edition has full-colour art which adds to the magic. Lovely cover by longtime D101 collaborator Peter Frian.

The Cthulhu Hack by Just Crunch Games
Rules light, courtesy of its use of the Black Hack engine, rules for Cthulhu investigative horror. It’s just been upgraded to version 1.5, which refines this already sharp ruleset. Oh and its supplements are also in the sale.

Mythras by Design Mechanism
If you’ve not got this behemoth of D100 goodness by now here’s your chance. As well as the core system, which is a complete thing and good to go running a wide variety of fantasy settings of various genres, all the formidable selection of adventures and setting books are in the sale.

My recommendations: Mythic Rome & Mythic Britain (including Mythic Britain: Logres, the supplement by D101 collaborator Paul Mitchener about the Anglo Saxons), and I’m going to use the sale to catch up with the Monthly Mythras adventures that I’ve woefully fallen behind on.

Crypts of Indormancy by Melsonian Arts Council
A nice self-contained, creepy as fuck adventure for Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

Clockwork and Chivalry by Cakebread and Walton
The English Civil War as fought by Alchemical Cavaliers and Clockwork device using Roundheads.  One of my favourite settings of all time, and the D100 Renaissance system (an offspring of OpenQuest) makes me grin even more. Also check out the epic Pirates & Dragons, if you fancy a bit of fantasy Pirates in the vein of Pirates of the Carribean.

The Christmas in July sale is on until the end of the month over at DriveThruRPG.com, and all of D101 Games Books are participating with 25% off all pdfs.

Grab some D101 Old School goodness in our 25% Summer Sale

25% off Summer Sale at D101 Games Web store, for two weeks, closes Sunday 16th July 12 am GMT.
Amongst the items on Sale!

  • Crypts and Things (Softcover £15/$23 Hardcover £23/$30)
  • River of Heaven (Softcover £15/$23 Hardcover £23/$30)
  • The Savage North for OpenQuest (£7.5/$10)

P&P is free to UK residents.

OpenQuest Refreshed is here!

The new updated version of OpenQuest is now available. Its a slight tidy of up and revision of the OpenQuest 2 Deluxe version that I released over five years ago, with a new cover by Jon Hodgson and all new full colour art by Jeshields inside.

Its now available via the D101 Web Store

If you are looking for more information about what this new edition involves, and the plans for supplements going forward, check out this blog post over my Sorcerer Under Mountain blog.

Here’s the new cover by Jon Hodgson.

OpenQuest cover by Jon Hodgson

OpenQuest cover by Jon Hodgson

Sunday Morning Dungeons, Green Hell

When I was in my teens and running a weekly game, “Sunday Morning Dungeons” was the term I used for the couple of hours in the morning where I would happily throw together a dungeon for my game in the afternoon. Today I’ve got no game in the afternoon, only a series of adult responsibilities, but I’ve cracked open afresh notebook and started writing notes about my next OpenQuest game, Green Hell.

Green Hell cover by Jeshields

Green Hell cover by Jeshields

With Green Hell I’m firmly looking to get back to what makes OQ great for me. Fun. I’m not over thinking what I’m doing and if something looks like it would be fun to do I’m throwing it into the “Toy box” I’m creating. I’ve about 20 character illustrations by the great Jesheilds, many of which appear in the new refreshed OpenQuest rule book I’m about to release and the first port of call as always with any of my D100 games was to draw up a cast list of characters. There’s a surprising lack of humans, in fact only 2 out of the five factions that the characters fall into are human and one of those is hanging onto its humanity by a thread. Those five factions are quite diverse, a Dwarfen Expeditionary Force looking for lost relics, a Pirate Ship making its way along the rivers and coast raiding and trading as it goes, the warped woodland inhabitants of the the Wild Wood, the followers of a Water Nymph who lives in an bay, and finally the rather odd inhabitants of the Emerald Temple, which lies at the heart of the mystery that flows through the setting.

Next up was quickly outlining the Cults of the setting. Cults are one of the essential ingredients of any OpenQuest setting in that its where the player characters and their opponents get their magic and skills training. They act as an anchor in the world, supporting the characters, helping them with an off the peg world view and a set of readymade contacts. But is something that I feel I’ve been a bit muted about in previous OQ releases. Well not this time. Green Hell has about five Hero Cults, of people living or dead that you can draw magic (Battle Magic) from their legends and personal magnetism. This gives the factions some of their coherence. Take the Pirates faction, The Skull Jammers. All the ship’s crew follow the Hero Cult dedicated to the founding captain called the “Skull and Bones” (yes slightly cheesy I know but easy to remember when the players are being bombarded with names of NPCs, Locations and events in game). From him they gain Weapon Enhance since he was handy with his cutlass, Walk on Water after a legendary story where he walked on water to board an enemy ship, and Enhance Athletics so all the pirates can merrily go swinging round the rigging! There’s also a cult that despite appearances is a Sorcery cult and a Divine Cult which centres round rather lost and aimless deity, who instead of guiding and commanding piety from her worshippers just sits there staring into the distance while her followers mill about doing what they think she wants. I’ve decided as well that gone of the days of boring utility deities, such as the War God who only exists to provide Warrior PCs with magic. Firmly in the camp now that Deities are in mad, bad and dangerous to know category, with their followers being powerful and a bit unhinged from everyday life. This attitude probably comes from reading and playing Unknown Armies 2nd Edition.

Then I started contemplating rules for trekking across the Swamp, and all the nasty diseases and fierce some wildlife you can encounter, then I realised it was lunchtime so I put down my pen.

OpenQuest Refresh

I’ve learnt a lot since OpenQuest 2’s release five years ago. I realised that I wanted to make the changes to the main rule book to make it more appealing to new players and to satisfy my own needs. The refresh of the main rule book has had the knock-on effect of refreshing me on OpenQuest has encouraging me to get on and produce more material for the game.

OpenQuest cover by Jon Hodgson

OpenQuest cover by Jon Hodgson

If you’ve got OpenQuest 2 Deluxe there is absolutely no reason to buy the refreshed version, the rules are pretty much the same, bar a tweak here and there, as listed in the changes below.

The Main Rulebook

The main Rulebook, formally known as OpenQuest Deluxe is now simply known as “OpenQuest”, has had a visual refresh, new art, a tighter layout and a few text/rules tweaks here and there.

Main changes

  1. Reorganised Combat chapter.
  2. Clarified rules for Shield use and Unarmed Combat.
  3. Complete new art throughout, a new cover by Jon Hodgson and colour internals by James Shields (aka jesheilds).
  4. Shamanism, Spirit Combat and Spirits has been revised and simplified.
  5. Although Gatan is referred to in the examples the setting chapter “Empire of Gatan” + adventure “The Road Less Travelled” have been taken out of the main rule book and will be re-released in “From Darkness into the Light” a Gatan setting/adventure book (more details see below).
  6. Layout has been redone, and with the removal of the Setting + Adventures chapter, the book now comes to a slimmer182 pages.

OpenQuest Basics will stay available in pdf and print via DriveThruRpg.com. It will have the updated combat chapter.

OpenQuest SRD will be updated to include the reorganised Combat Chapter.

The book is currently going through final check and should be ready in pdf by the end of May with print following shortly after.

Refresh going forward….

Going forward, OpenQuest Releases later in 2017

Green Hell

This is a short setting/adventure for OpenQuest that I’m working on for future release….

“If you go down to the Swamps today…

Sir Rurik the Reckless, the Emperor of Gatan’s Champion, has gone missing on a perilous mission on the Far Frontier of the Empire.

As his Squires the Emperor has personally tasked you with finding out what has happened to him, in the marsh beyond the Empire’s borders known as The Green Hell.”

Green Hell cover by Jeshields

Green Hell cover by Jeshields

From Darkness into the Light

I’m separating out the setting and starter adventure from the main rulebook. Part of the reason is to get the rulebook below the 200-page mark, but also because I want to build on the barebones presentation that the setting is, and write up all the little bits of adventures I started set in Gatan. This would require a book all its own.Currently this book stands at about 80 pages of setting material + the following four adventures:

  • The Road Less Travelled (previously the introductory adventure in the main rule book)
  • The Road to Hell
  • Deep in the Hole

(These two adventures where in OpenQuest Adventures which was recently discontinued)

  • The Last Retreat – a new adventure

I’m looking at revising all the adventures that have previously been published. There will be new art by Peter Town and new maps. Content wise I’m looking at doing “What my Elder Told Me” sections for all the cultures in the book and a more in-depth Gazetteer with adventure ideas (if you’ve got Crypts & Things it will be like the “Secrets of The Continent of Terror” chapter in that book).

It should be a book around the 100 -150 page range.

From Darkness into Light cover by Jon Hodgson

The Year of the Four Emperors

This is going to be a self-contained book written by long time OpenQuest/D101 collaborator Paul Mitchener. It is going to be an expanded version of the setting/adventure he wrote for OpenQuest Adventures, set in the turmoil of the Roman world after the death of Nero. With the last of the Julio-Claudian Emperors dead and no clear successor, powerful generals make a grab for the throne.

Call for Submissions – coming soon.

I’m looking to the future (either later this year or next year) where I want a regular release schedule of OpenQuest books, that are fun and different to what we’ve released before.  After the release of the main rulebook, I’ll be putting up a call for submissions which will let interested folk know what I’m looking for.

UK OSR Round Up for November 2016

Dragonmeet, the annual games day held in London this year on Saturday Dec 3rd, is nearly upon us. It’s being co-sponsored by Lamentations of the Flame Princess as well as Chaosium and there are many UK OSR publishers attending as well as us:

Among the guests are old school heroes Ian Livingstone & Steve Jackson of Fighting Fantasy/early Games Workshop fame and Joe Dever author/creator of Lone Wolf.

D101 Games is in attendance and I’ll have a big pile of Crypts and Things with me, as well as OpenQuest and River of Heaven among the pile of D101 goodness

The Design Mechanism  continues to surge ahead on the Mythras release front.

First off is the return of Mythic Rome by Pete Nash, originally released as an BRP version which won a Silver Ennies, in a time when the Ennies were dominated by D&D product, updated for Mythras with brand new art as a lovely hardback.  It covers Rome from its foundation to the end of the Republic. If you want to run games inspired by Steven Saylor’s Sub Rosa series or HBO Rome this is the book to get.

mythic-rome

And because Pete and Loz love you and want you to try out Mythras for the next couple of months they are going to putting out standalone adventures compatible with both Mythras and the free Mythras Imperative. The first one is a Sci-Fi (they’ve already taken Mythras in that direction with their Luther Arkwright book and check out M-Space by Frostbyte Books) called A Gift From Shamash ( in pdf via drivethrurpg.com and in print from Lulu ).

gift-from-shamash

Crypts of Indormancy for Lamentations of the Flame Princess and other OSR games funded recently and everything is on track for November release  according the latest backers report.  Keep an eye out for its release, it will be a good ‘un 😉

Grogmeet happened in my home city of Manchester….and I completely missed it. My excuse being a I was already signed heavy weekend of family fun, but hoping that this becomes a regular thing 🙂  Here’s a quick highlights movie they made.

Finally not strictly OSR (because its for 5Th Ed) but Cubicle 7’s Adventures in Middle Earth hit the shops this week, and I bagsied a copy. I must confess I usually by C7’s Tolkien stuff for the gorgeous art, and this book keeps up that tradition using the same smooth colourful layout with lashings of fantastic colour illustrations, but from a quick skim its a seamless version of 5ed blended with Tolkien flavour and the unique rules that made the One Ring so special ported over.  Looking forward to picking up the companion Loremaster’s Guide when it comes out. This one has a special place in many UK Grognards heart’s because Tolkien was very much part of growing up in the UK, for example many people read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings as part of their English education at school, and even though there wasn’t an official D&D adaptation many people played the game with a strong Tolkien flavour. So 30 years on its very heartwarming to finally see an licensed adaptation for D&D and see it get so right.

Adventures in Middle Earth by Cubicle 7, I has it my precious!!!!

Adventures in Middle Earth by Cubicle 7, I has it my precious!!!!

What D101 is up to?
I’m currently busy getting the adventures for the Crypts and Things Kickstarter together. Tombs of the Necromancer is getting some clean up work done, some extra bits by author Paul Mitchener, and Life and Death Zarth Edition is getting new art and layout. Its neck and neck which one will get released first. Blood of the Dragon/The Dark Path (new) and Fort Boneguard (new) are all getting put together along with a new scenario, The Lost City of the God Emperor, into one book called Under Dark Spires. Tournaments of Madness and Death is quietly trundling along.

I've got me nose in a good book :)

I’ve got me nose in a good book 🙂

David M.Wright who did the art for the main rule book is signed up to do the art for the adventures. David recently got his rulebook and was dead chuffed with it 🙂

“C&T encapsulates pretty much everything I love about classic 80’s RPG fantasy (which was all around when I was growing up as a lad), but with all the naff stuff removed!  It’s a 100% pure Sword & Sorcery game.  There are Barbarians, Warriors, Sorcerers and Thieves, all pitted against an ever expanding assortment of monsters, amorphous Hell-Spawed demonic crypt dwelling conglomerations, and the like (none of your wishy-washy elves, gnomes, and sappy fairies here!). There is Blood, there is Fire, there is Magic, Muscle, Mist, and Steel!  : )”

Oh and to keep us going until the adventures land I’m putting a C&T fanzine together called “From the Shroud”, a little A5 affair that currently has a couple of articles by me and a small introductory scenario called “The Secret of Skull Hill”, that I’m hoping will be on sale at Dragonmeet. If you are interested in contributing get in touch via newt@d101games.com. The deadline for submissions is tight however, this coming Sunday 20th November.

I’m also starting the playtest of Beyond Dread Portals (the new name of Paul Mitchener’s Empire of Ys ) this week, which will run into early next year with an aim of getting out in the first half of next year.

In non-fantasy-land I’m putting wrapping up the last bits of writing on the River of Heaven Companion, so that should be out early 2017 🙂

Remember my reporting on this UK OSR Update is only as good as my attention span on G+, so if I’ve missed anything just point it out in the comments below.