The Summer of Oldhammer

One of the biggest defining moments of my career as a British-based Tabletop Fantasy Gamer is, without a doubt, Warhammer. A constant in the monthly White Dwarf magazine, its grim but darkly humourous take on fantasy gaming, which took in a melting pot of influences (Tolkien, Moorcock, classic British Warmovies), was playing to the crowd of bloodthirsty teenagers who were already addicted to the worlds of imagination shown in early Fighting Fantasy solo game books and of course D&D.

Its been a while since I’ve done a series of linked posts, and I’ve got an ulterior motive in that this is research for a game I’m designing (big reveal later this year). Plus, it will be damn fun to look at the roots of my hobby; this is Warhammer, after all!

One big thing is that I will be looking at early editions—collectively called Oldhammer by Grognards. For reasons that I’ll make clear during my posts, I don’t have such a strong connection with modern editions of the game.

Warhammer 1st Edtion, cover by John Blanche

So here’s an overview of what I plan, which I may deviate from if I get overenthusiastic about something.

  • Warhammer and Me.A personal introductory post where I get out of my system how early editions of the Warhammer games have affected my gaming and publishing.
  • Oldhammer part 1: White Box. Warhammer Fantasy Battle 1st Edition. Primarily a wargame, but with elements of RPGing.
  • Oldhammer part 2: Forces of Fantasy. 1st Edition WFB army lists but packed with extendtions to the base game. The equivalent to the OD&D supplements (Greyhawk etc) that leads to…
  • Oldhammer part 3: Red Box. Warhammer Fantasy Battle 2nd Edition. Now a wargame pure and simple, but still with the narrative background of an RPG.
  • Oldhammer part 4: Red Box supplements. The Tragedy of McDeath, Blood Bath at Orc’s Drift and more! The game’s Grim Dark humour reaches a high mark, a bit too much Carry on Warhammer?
  • Oldhammer part 5: Green Book. We reach the first total RPG take on the Warhammer World. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 1st Edition.
  • Olhammer Part 6: Judge Dredd the Roleplaying Game. Perhaps a surprise entry to some in this series, Games Worshops Sci-Fi RPG based around the popular 2000AD comic character.
  • Oldhammer Aftermath: Further editions of WFRP (2nd-4th), what I make of them, and the British OSR games that carry the torch.

When I was a lad, we didn’t have 500+page RPG books

Those young uns with their 500+ pages of setting info and character options. Back in the 80s we had 100 + page rule books, with 23 pages of system, five pages of setting info scattered in high-light boxes throughout the text (WITH A TIMELINE!), ten monsters and WE MADE SHIT UP AND LOVED IT! 🤣

Find out what prompted this Grognard outburst from me by reading my mate Sacha’s reflective blog post.

Warning! Contains RuneQuest 2 from the dawn of Role Playing and mention of Stranger Things Era Geekry.

RuneQuest 2 cover

Short concise rules, setting punchy and yet invocative, oh how we loved you RQ2

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Adventure Creation System on Kickstarter

It’s fitting that Arion Games are kickstarting an Advanced Fighting Fantasy Adventure Creation System, which is a solo-play version of their multiplayer Fighting Fantasy RPG, until the end of the month.

Here’s what they have to say about this 400-page book (!)

Although RPG’s are usually played by a group, some can also be played solo, with the player creating their own adventures using the RPG rules and an appropriate system.  So, a couple of years ago, Arion Games decided that AFF2e was a perfect canditate for this treatment and started work.  Things went quite slowly until last year, at which point the manuscript really started to move forwards, and now it is finally complete and is into the layout process.

Ah but, I hear you say, what has this got to do with me?  Fun as solo RPG’s are, I don’t play them, and only run AFF2e as a group RPG.  Why would I want this book?

Well, this is the clever bit.  The way this book has been written means that the tables, systems and tools within are just as good for creating AFF2e group adventures as they are for creating Solo Adventures.

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Adventure Creation System cover

The Book of Schemes for Mythras

The latest book of for Mythras has just dropped.

Its also available in pdf from both the Design Mechanism and DriveThruRpg.com.

Here’s what Design Mechanism has to say about it.

This book is not a fairy tale. It is not about heroes and heroines. It is certainly not about standing up to and overcoming evil. This book is about grey morality, personal interests and rivalry. This is Book of Schemes, a Mythras supplement to help you weave scheming and intrigue into your campaigns – and turn your players into Machiavellian masterminds.

Set in the city-state of Guelden, in the lands known as Wittringia, Book of Schemes is a self-contained guide to the city, its politics, people, factions, secrets, feuds, plots and duplicities. In these pages you will find everything needed for an exciting campaign using Guelden’s streets as a backdrop. Book of Schemes also covers the cults, magic, guilds and gangs of the city, and contains a multitude of scenario ideas, and a complete introductory adventure: Chaos at the Quay.

Written by Dan True, mastermind behind the Combat Training Module series, Book of Schemes is a fascinating addition to the Mythras city book range, and is easily used with, and alongside, Mythic Constantinople, Fioracitta, and the cities found in the Book of Quests.

So prepare to walk the labyrinthine cobbles of Guelden… but watch your back. Treachery is only a footfall away.

And here’s the delightfully dark cover.

The Book of Schemes for Mythras cover

 

Fantastic Odysseys on Kickstarter’s ZineQuest Now

Until the end of the month, Fantastic Odysseys, an A4 magazine supporting OpenQuest and related D100 games, is on Kickstarter’s ZineQuest.

If you back now, within the first two days of launch, you will receive the mini-zine The Terror of Fishstop Island

Here’s the cover by Dan Barker.

Fantastic Odysseys coming to ZineQuest soon

I’ve previously taken part in Kickstarter’s ZineQuest doing zines for Crypts and Things (From the Shroud) and a general one for D101 Games (Grogzilla), so this time its OpenQuest’s turn.

This is an A4 Zine with colour cover and black and white illustrations, which has between 32 and 64 (depending on how well the Kickstarter does) pages of gameable content—adventures, setting information, new religion, GM and Publisher advice. I’ve posted a full contents list on the supporting Patreon for the Zine (which expands what is going on in the zine, as well as having previews).

Merry Christmas from D101 Games

To all our customers, supporters and fans, have a lovely, restful and joyous Christmas.

I’m slacking off now until after New Year’s Day to play games and chill out with my family, but I’m grateful for all the support people have given D101 Games over what has been a tough year for everyone.

As a thank you, the pdfs of Crypts and Things, Monkey and OpenQuest are marked down to £5 until Boxing Day.

After which there will be a series of five flash sales on Drivethrurpg.com, where the following pdfs will be £1 for a day!

I’ll be back on New Year’s Day with the State of D101 Games address, with some exciting announcements. I’ll also be opening a New Year’s Sale to make space in D101 HQ for new books coming in the New Year.

Here’s our Christmas Card, once again, wishing you all the best!

Beyond Dread Portals Ending Soon

Beyond Dread Portals is an exciting roleplaying game of world-hopping fantasy by Paul Mitchener (author of Liminal). The easy-to-learn rules are built from a core loosely based on the world’s first fantasy roleplaying game, tailored to fit the setting.

It’s in its final five days of funding.

Backers have already funded extra content. Adventures, NPCs, and background information. Here are the highlights of what the campaign has achieved.

  • All backers will receive an extra introductory adventure, Fort on the Edgelands. A mini sandbox that takes a classic adventure from the 1980s and reimagines it through Beyond Dread Portals baroque fantasy take on D20. In the final five days, more stretch goals are up for grabs!
  • Also, during the campaign, the Signed and sent version of the book has been upgraded from a POD copy to a properly printed version with sewn pages, better-quality paper and a ribbon.
  • We have achieved several community goals through backer numbers, such as the Traveller’s Guide to Polydrones, a mini-supplement combining new monsters, game lore, and adventure ideas.
  • VTT support has been added via Role VTT (playrole.com).

But quick, it’s coming to the end of Kickstarter in five days.

Fort on the Edgelands at Grogmeet 2023

Over the weekend, I took this introductory adventure out for a spin at Manchester’s premier Old School convention run by the Grognard Files Podcast.

Grogmeet 2023 in full flow

I had a full table of four players, one of whom Chris (hello 🙂 ) was a backer.

After going through the pre-generated characters, which are included in the main rulebook, and using them to explain the setting and the system, we grabbed coffee and got stuck into it.  The game unfolded in three acts.

Act 1 was a gentle stroll around the City of Ys. From the grand Guildhall of the League of Explorers, where there characters, who the players already knew each other, found out that a special treasure hunting license was being issued to go to Erebus, which is normally closed. All they had to do was navigate the ever-shifting streets of Ys and make their way to the Ruby Court.  The crimson-clad Judge Vinter gave them the license, which gave them superior treasure rights. 5% taxation upon return to Ys rather than the usual 20%. The players then choose which of the two available Patrons they wanted to back their expedition. This gave them the promise of more rewards, plus a mission to pressure. The liberation of the Fort’s Garrison, who were trapped on Erebus.

Act 2, stepping through the Dread Portal, the characters emerge into the courtyard of Lion Fort. They spent most of this act getting a sense of where they were and what factions were present in the fort. The most important one was the Agent of the Autrach, a skeleton in a gibbet who sinisterly waved hello when the characters arrived. This strange creature is also the gatekeeper of the portal, which is now shut until the characters fulfil their mission and can kill with its mind!  After finding out who was who in the fort. they quickly made friends with the Garrison commander, and a plan was forged to kill the Agent, open the Portal and return to Ys with the Garrison.

em>Act 3 was a quick raid into the nearby Mushroom Caves and executing the plan to free the Garrison and get home. While the other acts had leaned heavily into roleplaying with all the fantastical NPCs they met, with the occasional skill test, this act was all about action. Sneaking past the ruined colony and its undead farmers, ambushing the goblins in the entrance cave – which escalated into a quick combat. Then, seizing the magic Spear of Dawn from the Goblin’s leader and using it to set the fungus-based creature on fire. Rushing back to the fort, sneaking up on the Agent, thrusting the burning Spear of Dawn, a potent anti-undead weapon, into its bones killing it. Finally, the group’s wizard opened the portal, and back to Ys, where they squared it all with Judge Vinder.

Phew. And this is only one way through the adventure, which is a mini-sandbox.  I’m highly happy with its initial outing and overjoyed to find when I got home that it has been funded and will be available to backers as a stretch goal.

Beyond Dread Portals is in its final week over at Kickstarter and is available to back until Sunday 19th November.