What’s Changed Since the Start of the Campaign?

Its nearly the begining of the end of the Tales of the Sorcerer Under the Mountain Kickstarter campaign, which enters its last 48 hours in a couple of hours, so its time take stock and see what has funded.

As well as the basic goal, five stretch goals have been funded, including two new adventure modules (Fires from the Deep & The Curse of the Emerald Swan). Finally, we are currently funding The Jungles of Ruin by Guy Milner, which will very likely fund in the last days of the campaign.

+ Community Extras have been added as we gained backers, which give in total an extra 40-45 pages of content to each backer.

  • 4 Sunday Dungeons (one-page adventures) in pdf form.
  • 9 Monsters are People pdfs. We will likely reach the 10th pdf at 240 backers, at which point it will the individual pdfs will be collected into a single pdf which will be available in POD.

+ Two new Rewards.

  • Shield Bearer Pledge Levels for those people who want me to send them the OSR Rulebook and/or 5th Edition adventure to them directly.
  • Sorcerer Under the Mountain Pledge Level. A high tier backer reward for people who want signed copies of everything the campaign produces in print, signed by the author and sent to them directly (4 of 5 remaining).

Oh and Jon Hodgson did this cover for Fires from the Deep

Five Questions about the Curse of the Emerald Swan

The next stretch goal that we are funding on the Tales From the Sorcerer Under the Mountain is Neil Shaw’s The Curse of the Emerald Swan adventure for both 5th Edition and OSR rulesets.

This is Neil’s basic description:

A mysterious mist shroud gallon has come into port at night and is blocking vessels leaving the narrow harbour. Brave fishermen have tried to approach and those who did flee from the mournful wailing they heard as they approached, never returned. Now the mayor is worried that if his fishing fleet cannot sail his town is wither and die.

Your group of brave adventures have been hired to board the cursed ship, brave its sinister inhabitants and finally discover the ships purpose and reason for being here.

So like Paul Mitchener before him, I asked him five questions about his adventure:

Q1. What influences are you drawing on for this adventure?

For me I tend to work off one set piece or idea and use that a skeleton and work out from there. In this case oddly the core idea came from Terry Pratchett’s Sorcery which to the best of my recollection doesn’t contain any boats, haunted or otherwise.  Beyond that I tend to expand outwards from there until I have a story. When it comes to naval things in general I tend to fall back on Master and Commander as it gives me a good understanding of life on an old navy vessel and I find it a highly enjoyable film, always worth another watch.

Q2. Which flavour of FRP do you favour, Old School or New School?

I enjoy new school more as some of the creative minds out there are taking the rules light history they came from and adds to them without adding too much or making the game a quagmire of optional books that in reality are essential. I find that D&D5e captures the feel and spirit of old school D&D while addressing its short comings very well.

Q3. Your description gives the adventure an air of mystery. Is this a mystery adventure, with an investigation at its heart. Or is there more to it than that?

There is a mystery as to why the Emerald Swan has come to roost in this small harbour and how it came to be the creepy mist shrouded terror it has become. For those willing to piece the clues together it is possible to answer these questions and more. However don’t expect a run of the mill haunted boat, this is something more.

Q4. What sort of foes will the adventurers meet?

Without spoiling too much there’s ghoulish bilge rats, an undead cook, and some giants, that last one may seem out of place but that is part of the mystery.

Q5. Maximum Game Fun or Logical Fantastic Realism?

I see it on a sliding scale with the baseline being a simple down to earth medieval setting. I want players to be able to visit a town, city or village and feel like it makes sense, at least initially. This grounding is essential for the outlandish and crazy things a group of adventures will encounter when they go into that part of the map that is blank or says “here be dragons”. Once the adventure is in full swing I want the players to expect the rug to be pulled out from under them and have a great time. At no point should an adventurer see a beholder floating towards them and think “well this is normal”.

If that sounds fun to you, go back the Tales From the Sorcerer Under the Mountain Kickstarter, where its available as one of the funded stretch goals 🙂

Five Questions about Fires From the Deep

Fires From the Deep cover by Jon Hodgson

Fires From the Deep cover by Jon Hodgson

Fires from the Deep is a standalone adventure for both OSR and 5th Edition rulesets, by long time D101 contributor Paul Mitchener (OpenQuest/Cruicible of Dragons/Hunters of Alexandria). Its one of three adventures which are up for grabs as part of the Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain Kickstarter, and has already funded. Here’s Paul’s pitch for it.

Something came from the underworld in a jet of hellfire. Something unique and valuable. More than one group seeks to retrieve it. Naturally, the player characters are one such group. A dangerous wilderness trek with an uncertain goal, and all sorts of room for complications, but hey, the job pays well.

Currous to know a bit more beyond the basic descriptoin of the adventure? Me too, so I asked Paul five quick questions about it.

Q1. What influences are you drawing on for this adventure?

What I think of as “classic D&D” along with a splashing of Fritz Leiber, a dash of Michael Moorcock, and a touch of Tanith Lee. That should give you the tone.

Q2. Which flavour of FRP do you favour, Old School or New School?

I think I’m a hippy, though less so since my haircut. I don’t see the two as opposed; peace and love. I want characters to be important, but I don’t give two hoots about things like character optimisation. I want decisions to matter, and not just tactical decisions. I want exploration and playfulness. I want story to be what comes after the session rather than something pre-planned. When it comes down to it, I guess that’s sounding pretty old school.

Q3. Your description hints at something more, than the quest for the implied magic item that has come from below. Can you throw any light on this?

The “magic item” is not just an McGuffin- it’s the soul of the adventure. And not just in a “ooh, what a cool gizmo, and everyone wants it” way. Though everyone *does* as it happens, want it, without really knowing what it is.

Q4. What twists and turns does the adventure throw at the players ?

Spoilers! Seriously though, the characters won’t be alone in their pursuit of what came from below, and might have to fight even to get the job. As well as expected and unexpected dangers, there’s a moral dilemma at the heart of the adventure, and an open conclusion depending on what the player characters decide to do, not just whether or not they win.

Q5. Maximum Game Fun or Logical Fantastic Realism?

I don’t think the two are exclusive. Actions have consequences, and that’s an important part of my fun. I want adventures about people, not just situations. After all, even in a “standard” dungeon delve, for me things are all about the player characters, and how they react to danger, strangeness, and rewards. Not to mention solving problems creatively. That sounds like Maximum Game Fun to me!
If that sounds fun to you, go back the Tales From the Sorcerer Under the Mountain Kickstarter, where its available as one of the funded stretch goals 🙂

There will be Fires from Below!

Things are hotting up on the Tales from the Sorcerer Under Mountain Kickstarter, since Paul Mitchener’s adventure for OSR/5th Edition has now funded.

Something came from the underworld in a jet of hellfire. Something unique and valuable. More than one group seeks to retrieve it. Naturally, the player characters are one such group. A dangerous wilderness trek with an uncertain goal, and all sorts of room for complications, but hey, the job pays well.

Its available to all backers at no extra cost, and is the first of three adventures currently funding on the campaign.

Jon Hodgson is doing the covers for the adventures and has just sent me the final gorgeous wrap round cover for Fires From Below, of which this is a detail.

Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain the Halfway Mark

We are halfway through the Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain campaign.The base goals of the campaign are already funded. Two books, a concise version of Swords and Wizardry (A5 230+ pages) which contains the adventure of the title amongst other new content from me, and a standalone version of the adventure for 5th Edition.  Both these books funded on the first day and will be available to backers as soon as the campaign ends at the beginning of September.

We’ve funded an additional three stretch goals; a portfolio of pre-generated characters, an article about moving from the OSR to 5th as a DM, and a one on one adventure for 1st level characters for both S&W and 5th Edition.

Now we are boldly  funding three additional exciting adventure books, by British authors Guy Milner, Paul Mitchener, and Neil Shaw. At time of writing the first of these is but £50 pounds away from its funding goal.

Backers will also get access to community extras, which are funding as we get extra backers. Monsters are People Too, which is a series of fully-formed monster NPCs, and Sunday Dungeons, which are one-page dungeons.

If you’ve looked at the campaign before but were put off by the fact that the books are being delivered by via drivethrurpg.com as at cost POD coupons, I’ve now added a series of pledge levels that mean you can get the books sent directly from me (just look for the Shield Bearer rewards).

Finally, you can use the campaign’s add-ons as a chance to get hold of a large part of D101’s back catalogue very cheaply at Summer Sale prices.

Tales of the Sorcerer Under the Mountain now live on Kickstarter

From 1st August to 1st of September 12 noon BST

Want a handy travel-sized A5 book of old school fantasy rules with an adventure?  Or maybe you’d just like a D&D 5th adventure based off British Fantasy Roleplaying standards from the 80s? Or perhaps you would like both. Well, this love letter to my early days in the hobby is now Kickstarter until 12 noon on 1st September.

D101 Games Summer Sale!!!
Also even if you aren’t in the market for another Fantasy Roleplaying Game, you can back the Kickstarter at a £1 supporter level which then gives you access to most of D101 Game’s back catalogue at crazy low prices as add-ons. Also available for the duration are a couple of out of print titles (marked * below) Consider it a Summer Sale without getting dragged round the shops.

All the best

;0) Newt

Tales of the Sorcerer Under the Mountain KS launches tommorrow

The Tales of the Sorcerer Under the Mountain launches tomorrow, you can read more about this OSR Rulebook + 5th Edition adventure in this previous post.

A couple of weeks ago I got the map for the adventure from the uber-talented Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood Design fame. There’s a reason why he’s an award-wining cartographer 🙂

 

 

River of Heaven Refreshed + To the Stars 20% off until end of July

Finally, the much-delayed River of Heaven Companion, To the Stars is now available from the D101 Games web store.

This 88-page book contains rules for organisations, adventure seeds and quick-start campaign outlines. It also includes two adventures by John Ossoway, The Last Witness and Message From Futhermost (which never been available in print before).

Also, to go with along with the companion is an updated version of the main rule book, River of Heaven Refreshed, which as well as another editorial pass and updated combat chapter, now has the introductory adventure Reunion included in the book. It’s also now printed on heavier paper, so Peter Frain’s most excellent illustrations are better reflected.
I’m expecting the final print books by the end of the month, so until then pre-order either book before then and you will get a 20% discount. Simply enter the code BLASTOFF20 at checkout.

Note if you are a previously bought River of Heaven via the d101 games webstore or drivethrurpg.com (this includes Kickstarter backers) simply redownload the pdf to get River of Heaven Refreshed.

Coming soon Tales of the Sorcerer Under the Mountain

Its been nearly ten years since I actively joined the OSR, running games at cons and publishing adventures and rulebooks. Five or so years ago I got hold of the Swords & Wizardry complete ruleset in word doc and edited it down to fit an A5 softcover which I got printed via Lulu and took on holiday with me. The idea being to create a nice little portable version of OD&D, which I could take with me on my travels to read and perhaps run for people. I called it Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain. While it had a condensed version of S&W its 100+ pages, it didn’t have an adventure, and I quietly put it to one side for a while.

Then about three years ago I wanted to run D&D 5th at a local games convention called Furnace, and wrote a dungeon that played heavily on the legacy of early Fighting Fantasy and White Dwarf adventures, called The Sorcerer Under the Mountain (sort of the adventure of this blog). While I eventually ran it using Black Hack 1st Ed, and it was a great success, it too was put to one side about 90% complete.

Fast forward to this year, Tales was kinda permanently shelved as publishing project and the adventure was going nowhere fast. It got a run at the inaugural Go Play Manchester, using 5th Edition which kinda got the brain cells working that it could be an initial  5th ed publishing adventure.

Then a couple of weeks my brain finally put it together. Putting the adventure in the back of the OSR rulebook (which now has a section entitled What is the OSR, and a selection of my house rules), could make a nice little all in one book that sums up my take on the OSR. And if you have no interest in the OSR, the adventure on its own is a nice 1st Level introductory dungeon adventure influenced by British Fantasy Role Playing games from the 80s.

So gentle people and wild things of all ages, I present not one but two books:

Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain, a 6 x 9 OSR rulebook + adventure weighing in about 230 pages, black and white art throughout, cover by Jon Hodgson.

And The Sorcerer Under the Mountain, 5th Edition Adventure module in 8″ by 11″ format,  black and white art throughout.

Here’s the blurb for the adventure:

In ancient times the Sorcerer Khalack Maeki established a lair under Terror Peak Mountain. Being of an evil bent, he enslaved the local Goblinoid tribes and waged war against the Elves of surrounding Scarwood. It said that he was amassing a vast army when an alliance of nearby High Elf Warlords attacked his mountain stronghold. Khalack was killed in the final assault by powerful magic unleashed by the High Elves, although the legend macabrely states that his body was never found. The Ring of the Elements, a powerful magical item which was said to be the source of his power, also went missing much to the annoyance of the High Elven Archmages.

Khalack’s dungeon lair under the mountain lay deserted for hundreds of years. Keeping its secrets and treasures, since the Elves who now controlled the woods around Terror Peak shunned its lightless corridors. Powerful magical wards left by their warlords sealed the dungeon.

Your group of adventurers have assembled in the town of Goldrush, a town of human opportunists, traders and ner-do-wells which lies on the edge of Scarwood. In a local tavern, you met a charming young Half-Elf called Melanda, who claims to know where there is a secret entrance, long hidden from prying eyes by her kin, to the Sorcerer’s Lair. She owes no allegiance to the guardians of Scarwood and is willing to show you for a cut of the treasure. True to her word she has led you through Scarwood safely and you now stand amongst the trees in the shadow of Terror Peak.

An adventure for up to five players with characters of 1st Level, with obvious influences from 80s British Fantasy gamebooks.

This will be coming to Kickstarter soon (as early as next week) and will be available as soon as the campaign ends successfully. ie. the book is done (bar a nice map of the adventure dungeon by Glynn Seal and a bit of last minute editing all of which will get done during the month-long campaign if not before). There will be stretch goals, but nothing that holds up delivery of the main book, and there will be an opportunity to grab the rest of the D101 Games back catalogue at crazy low prices, including some out of print titles. Let’s just say I’m combining the idea of a Summer Sale with the Kickstarter 😉

If you want to know when this the Kickstarter opens, and also Beyond Dread Portals (which is next in the pipe after this one) join the D101 Games Newsletter.

OpenQuest 3 Combat

Work continues on OpenQuest 3. I’m very close to finishing of the core of the game, which will be made available to patrons of my OpenQuest Adventures Patreon along with an updated The Road Less Travelled (the introductory adventure, last seen in OpenQuest 2 Deluxe).

Currently, I’m working my way through the Combat chapter. One of the big changes from OpenQuest 2 is that I’ve reorganised the chapter to include Social and Magical combat as well as physical combat. These two sections aren’t complete rewrites of what’s in OQ2, but as the following introduction to the current draft Combat chapter shows, the overall effect is to treat combat more as a complete whole where verbal and magical attacks are made force the opposition to bend to the character’s will as well as fighting, and that verbal and magical attacks can also form a big part of any physical combat.

“Combat occurs when one side, either the characters or the non-player characters, decide to use force, either physical, social, or magical, to get what they want. This chapter looks at all the offensive and defensive options a character has when things take a less peaceful path.

There are three combat sub-systems in OpenQuest.

Social Combat occurs when words turn sharp in meaning and at least one side of an argument is trying to get the other to do want they want.

Social combat can take three forms:

  • Fast talk, where an attacker tries to quickly sway a defender into accepting their course of action.
  • Oratory, where two sides field advocates for their position and try to get the other side to accept it.
  • Intimidation, where one side tries to threaten the other into submission. This type of social combat given its nature can be used as a sub-conflict in physical combat.

Physical Combat is when swords and axes go smashing through armour in Close Combat, bows shot at distant foes in Ranged Combat, and when it’s fist against claw in Unarmed Combat.

Magical Combat occurs when magicians attack targets with offensive magic, who then try to resist against it, when two magicians throw magical energy at one another and when hostile spirits attack mortals seeking to take control of their bodies.

The combat sub-systems are discussed in the order they are because it’s the order that players tend to go through when trying to get their way with non-player characters.  First, they will use one of the social combat techniques to talk it over with the non-player characters. Then if that doesn’t work weapons will be drawn and they will engage in physical combat. If they have a magician in the party who is actively supporting them with spells, or they realise that they need to use magic themselves to boost their combat abilities, they then engage with the Magic Combat techniques.”