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.

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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.

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Life and Death – Zombies!

I freely admit that I have a thing for the Undead in the same way as some fantasy gamers have a big thing about orcs and other green skinned monsters.

Rather than splurge on the various Zombie RPGs that have come out since the 90s, I’ve always channeled my love of these undead through my own adventures.  My upcoming re-released Life and Death Zarth Edition, for Crypts and Things and other OSR RPGs, really is my fantasy tribute to the films of George A. Romoro.

This first Zombie is encountered in the second adventure of this four adventure collection. He is recently deceased, like the rest of the Zombies encountered in the old Sorcerer’s Tower that forms the basis of Dust of Eternity, and like a cruel joke his previous personality and some memories linger in his now dead body.  The Dust of Eternity is a low-level introductory adventure, but one I intended to show the principle of Monsters are People too even the Zombies who normally lack a personality. The inspirations came from the fact that I had recently been playing Bioshock – where in the the sunken city of Rapture its inhabitants have been turned into mockeries of their formerselves by the use of biogentics, yet still remember their former life and go around moaning and lamenting about the humanity and relationships they had lost.

Young Zombie by David M.Wright

The idea of a dead civilization that choked to death on its own evil practices thousands of years previously has always tickled my fancy. The third adventure Dead Pot Country explores this theme as the adventurers venture into dried up river valley and wander through the ruins of a once glorious civilization. A civilization that buried its dead in large pots in fields surrounding its main city…a practice that leads to minefield of danger when the undead inhabitants of said pot burials come back into the light of day.

Pot Burial Zombie by David M.Wright

I always liked the idea of Zombies as victims and embodiment of a viral plague, and this theme is played out in the final adventure, Life and Death, where the city of Miraz is in the grip of a plague whose victims are resurrected as shambling undead like the one pictured below. Miraz is in many ways is an ancient Mesopotamian city state complete with mudbrick houses and even a Ziggurat which is home to the God-Tyrant of the city.  The plague is symptomatic of the collapse of order that the city is undergoing when the adventurers arrive in the city. Not only has the Tyrant lost control of a third of his city to the plague, but his sons are at war with each other and a rebellion amoung the peasants is brewing.

Plague Zombie by David M.Wright

Life and Death Zarth Edition is currently in the final phases of production and is due out April/May this year.

Posted in Crypts & Things, Fiendish Friday, General | 2 Comments

Call for submissions for From the Shroud issue 2

Got an idea for a short adventure or article for Crypts and Things?

With the success of the first issue of From the Shroud I’m looking for articles and adventures of no more than 10 pages in length for a second issue. In the first instance you should send a synopsis of what you intend to submit to me at newt@d101games.com.

Payment is a print/pdf of the issue your work appears in.

From the Shroud Issue one is available in pdf form from DriveThruRpg.com

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Stock Clearance Sale

To make room for all the awesome new releases we are going to put out this year here at D101 HQ , I’m having a stock clearance sale over at my webstore.

Featured in it is: Crucible of Dragons, Life and Death, The Savage North, OpenQuest Adventures and if you are intrigued by River of Heaven (that runs off the OpenQuest system) it is available in both hard and soft cover.

Everything is 50% off normal cover price.

If you are interested, move quickly. Several titles are running low in stock (as in one or two copies).

Early next week I’ll be announcing what we are going to be releasing in annual State of D101 Games.

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The Graveyard Shift for Crypts and Things

The Crypt Keeper by David M. Wright

Since the kickstarter I’ve planned to support those heroic and enthusiastic Crypt Keepers who run games at conventions, at their local gaming store and online,  with a Disorganised Play Programme, of support documents, and a library of ready-made adventures.

Well we are now open for business. If you backed as a Convention Champion or Hero on the Kickstart you would have got an update about this and the Tournaments of Madness and Death book.

If you didn’t back the kickstarter but want to join the Graveyard Shift, drop me a line at newt@d101games.com

Posted in Conventions, Crypts & Things | 1 Comment

Win a free hardcover Crypts & Things

I’ve thrown a hard cover copy of Crypts and Things +two runners up pdfs at Tenkar’s Tavern , the outstanding News blog covering a good chunk of OSR stuff daily, for their annual OSR Christmas giveaway.

To get in with a chance with winning simply go over to the Tavern and comment on this post, sometime within the next 48 hours 🙂

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Cakebread & Walton Holiday Sale

Just in details of fellow Brits Cakebread & Walton’s crazy Winter Holiday Sale 40%-60% off until 2nd January on DriveThruRpg.com.  Remember they are publishers of the damn fine Clockwork & Chivalry and Pirates & Dragons, both based of OpenQuest. If you’ve not checked out these games now is the time 🙂

Here’s the announcement in full:

Don’t miss the MASSIVE Cakebread & Walton Holiday Sale! All our PDFs have 40% off until 2nd January! Pick up the titles you’re missing! Try something new! The sale that Oliver Cromwell tried to ban!

Also, don’t miss our super deal bundles!

50% off the complete OneDice bundle – everything for the OneDice system in the ALL FOR ONEDICE! ONEDICE FOR ALL! bundle.

60% off the complete Renaissance bundle – everything for the Renaissance system in the RENAISSANCE: LOCK, STOCK & BARREL bundle!

Note: if you already own some of the titles in the bundle, you’ll get a discount.

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/4595/Cakebread–Walton?src=dtrpgsaleguide

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From the Shroud #1 Contents

So here we go, hot on the heels of the main rule book comes this short, fun A5 zine, which is currently in layout.

This is the content’s list:

Achievements. A short system that sits alongside the experience system to reward characters for things they have done in their adventures, making them memorable events and useful benefits.

The Secret of Skull Hill. A short adventure of mystery and otherworldly delights featuring the schemes of an alien parasitic race and their attempts to reunite the body and soul of their host god.

By their Master’s Dark Command. The sad and short lives of Sorcerer’s apprentices revealed, and the useful things they become after death detailed.

Exotic Liquid Relief by Neil Shaw. Is your character bored with quaffing bog standard Blackmire’s Best whenever they need to regenerate 1d6 Hit Points? Well Neil Shaw provides details of a variety of brews to make your character’s life more varied and interesting.

Generic Life Events. This table is if you are overwhelmed by the sheer number of Life Event tables in the main rule book or simply after a OGL version you can base your own efforts off.

Useful Items of the Kindly Ones. Minor magical items left behind by the gods who used to care about Zarth.

Things to Find in Great Pots. A short random table for the harried Crypt Keeper for that inevitable moment when the players ask “so that pot you mentioned just now, what’s in it?”

Tea Party of Doom. A short encounter somewhere in the dark dismal woods with a crazy immortal Alchemist who has been playing with the psychoactive toads and their potential to provide tea.

Here’s the cover by David M. Wright

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The Forest Dragon

Jon Hodgson is a long time collaborator of D101 Games (he did all the covers for OpenQuest for example) and his nine year old son Rory has created this fun Card Game, which has plenty of fantasy elements…

Last seven days and its already funded and well into its stretch goals of additional cards and add on packs.

I’m backing it not just out of loyalty to Jon but because its a nicely packaged card game that my pair of Newtlets (Henry 8 and Evie 9 1/2) will enjoy and we can quickly play to get them away from the ‘screens’ (TV, Ipad, Laptop….you name it if it bleeps and has a controller our pair will grab it), especially before bedtime.

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