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.

 

UK OSR Update June 2016

Well I go away on a family holiday, followed by UK Games Expo and all sorts of nonsense gets released or pops up on G+ in the UK OSR scene. So here’s a quick catch up of recent stuff I’m aware of. If I’ve missed anything mention it in the comments below and I’ll stick it in my next update.

At UK Games Expo my mate Paul Baldowski (Just Crunch Games) was peddling printed and boxset copies of his The Cthulhu Hack  which is still going strong and has spawned a supplement From Unformed Realms.  Based off the Black Hack this standalone game takes the same stripped down OSR/D20 approach as the Black Hack itself but adds quick rules based for Investigation.

the-cthulhu-hack

Also John Davis has released The Jack Hack which brings alternate rules, encounter tables and five new classes for the Black Hack so you can play adventures in the grim and gritty Victorian London at the time of Jack the Ripper.

the-jack-hack

Stellar Adventures Kickstarter – I was thinking that Graham Bottley of Arion Games had gone all quiet on the Advanced Fighting Fantasy front then this Kickstarter for a standalone Science Fiction version of the game pops up from nowhere. Suffice to say I’m going to be backing this one 🙂

stellar-adventures

Also the Advanced Fighting Fantasy and the Advanced Fighting Fantasy Companion are now available as pdf from Drivethrurpg.com.

Romance of the Perilous Land by Scott Malthouse is a game based on British Folklore in-development and play-testing. From a comment made by Scott on G+ its a “it’s OGL, inspired by Swords & Wizardry, Black Hack, T&T, and 5e. But also its own system “. Here’s the current cover.  This is one I’m following with great interest.

ROMANCE OF PERILOUS LAND COVER

England Upturn’d by UK Author Barry Blatt has been released by Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Set in the English Civil War in the Lincolnshire fens, its a fantastic adventure blending the weird history of the time and Barry’s psychedelic sensibilities into one awesome package. I picked a copy up at UK Games Expo and I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

Ian Sturlock Interview Over at UK Roleplayers Ian Sturlock, who runs Serpent King Games and is custodian of the Dragon Warriors RPG is being being Interviewed.

Mythras Imperative. This is UK Exiles Lawrence Whitaker & Pete Nash’s 32 page free taster of their rebranded RQ6 system. They may have lost the name, but damn this feels like RQ of old, since some of the complexity of the full system has been lost in this cut down system. The only downside is there’s no magic system, but seeing as they want this to be a base for third party publishers to use to base products off they’ve chucked in rules for firearms. Anyway that aside, check it out its free!

mythras-imperative-cover

It seems like everyone is hacking these days and Simon Washbourne has just released his OSR version of Barbarians of Lemuria, the BOL Hack. A stripped down version of Barbarians of Lemuria with all the fluff removed and just a simple OD&D inspired ruleset left behind.

D101 OSR News

Work continues on Crypts and Things and were on for a July release of the pdf to backers, and opening of pre-orders then if you missed the kickstarter. The latest Kickstarter update has news of this and preview page layouts.

I’ve had a bit of a review of the prices of OpenQuest and River of Heaven and their respective supplements, and I’ve lowered the prices of the print versions on Drivethru and Lulu. For example a hardcover of OpenQuest Deluxe used to be $40 its now $30. So if you were considering getting a print version now is the time to do it 🙂

Also Lulu are doing a 35% off code at the moment LULU35

 

 

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.

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 🙂

savage-north-comix

Next: The Company

 

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 DriveThruRpg.com 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.