About Newt

Games Designer, Publisher, Web Developer, Dad.

A Bit of a Dust Off

This is one of those, omg I’ve just updated this site not realising how out of date some sections are, sort of posts.

If you are a long-time visitor, the Products page has had a big update, since it was about four years out of date and didn’t reflect the large number of books I’ve put out over that time. Oh and it was still showing OpenQuest 2nd edition as a thing, and we are comfortably one year into OpenQuest 3rd edition being out.  So if you are not sure what I do as D101 Games in the fantasy tabletop space check out the following page.

The links to Fiendish Friday and UK OSR category pages have gone since I’ve not been creating content for either for an embarrassing amount of time.  This has got me thinking about what I should be writing for the blog. I think the most obvious one, apart from talking about my own stuff is things like the series of reviews I’m planning for Mythras. Also, the BOSR review seems to have fallen by the wayside over the last couple of months. Also, I think a general where I’m at with the OSR sort of blog post is in order.

Looking at the archives, The Sorcerer turns twelve this coming September, and its heartwarming to see there’s life in the old blog yet 🙂


Poll: Which Mythras Book should I Review?

It struck me the other day, It’s been a while since I’ve read any of the Mythras books I’ve been quietly buying and putting away on my shelves. So to give me a push and vote now!  I’ll check back in a week or so 🙂

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And if you missed my review of Mythras.

Web Store Restock

I’ve done a big restock of the D101 Webstore, which means that all the Crypts and Things, OpenQuest and other OSR titles I publish (such as Tales from The Sorcerer Under the Mountain and The Road to Hell).

To celebrate, until the end of July, all titles are 10% off. Just enter the code summerfun10 at check out.

OpenQuest Dungeons by Jon Hodgson

The Road to Hell, cover by Jon Hodgson

BOSR titles at the Drivethrurpg.com D&D sale

DriveThruRpg.com is having a big sale on D&D stuff which finishes tomorrow.  Its all pdfs, but its a good chance to check stuff out for a very very low price since titles are discounted up to 40%.

D101 Games has a selection on the sale, and Crypts and Things is 40% off.

There’s also a number of Brtish OldSchool Renaissance (BOSR)on sale

The Midderlands, Monkey Blood Publications fantasy take on medieval Britain, with the expansions is listed.

Cthulhu Hack 1st ed. Not specifically a version or even a take on D&D, I suspect this is listed because its derived from the The Black Hack. A new edition is incoming, but I’d still recommend it.

Scott Malthouse’s take on fantasy British folklore, published by Osprey Games, is also in the sale

If you re after old UK TSR stuff, that’s all in the sale.

Personal recommends from this long list, U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (1e), Fiend Folio, UK2 The Sentinel (1e) and its sequel UK3 The Gauntlet (1e), and UK 6 All that Glitters (an all time favourite of mine).

Why I Wrote Beyond Dread Portals

A guest post from Paul Mitchener (Liminal, Age of Arthur, Hunters of Alexandria, Tombs of the Necromancer to name a few author credits) explaining why he wrote our multi-dimensional Fantasy Adventure game, Beyond Dread Portals (now coming to Gamefound.com on 1st June).  Take it away Mitch! 

For me, it’s not usually a selling point when I hear that something was over 20 years in the making. So I’ll just say that Beyond Dread Portals is based on ideas I was playing with, and a fantasy campaign I ran about 20 years ago. The campaign was human-centric, without the usual elves and dwarves, world-hopping, and started the player characters off at high level, letting them rub against powerful enemies and make big changes to the setting.

As is the way of such things, I enjoyed it and then moved on to other things. But periodically I went back to it, sketching more things out in the setting, and started playing more with the mechanical side of things. It still wasn’t something I was aiming to publish, but it was something I was writing for fun.

It was only more recently, though still years ago now, that I started taking Beyond Dread Portals more seriously, thinking of it as something for other people to enjoy. This meant feedback, tightening up the writing, scrapping things which didn’t fit, and overall thinking about the design. Best of all, it meant more play, this time with a view to playtesting. It felt very natural to speak to Newt about this, as someone who likes and has published things of a similar nature and knows about tight game design.

Early feedback from Newt led to something simpler and better at the system end of things, and better presented and explained from the setting point of view. Best of all, he was engaged with it, clearly enjoying the setting and the concepts.

This is drifting away from the question, though… why did I write Beyond Dread Portals as something for publication? The short answer is that I needed to! But more specifically, it started to feel like it offered something a little different. Specifically.

  • Human-centric world-hopping fantasy. World-hopping is nothing new, but being more human-centric is rarer when combined with high magic world-hopping fantasy.
  • Military expansion of an empire and all its ills, while the core of the empire is thoroughly rotten.
  • Exploration of different places and cultures.
  • Political intrigue with competing factions and player characters absolutely changes the setting as a result.

As for the game system, it was a fun chance to design broadly in the OSR space, with all of its creativity, while still doing absolutely my own thing. Beyond Dread Portals began as an AD&D 2e setting but became something fresh and new. The inspiration there – things which effectively gave me permission – included rules sets which changed things to fit a concept, such as Newt’s own Crypts and Things – and systems I think of as post-OSR, which weren’t at all clones of the older D&D books, but changed things, sometimes radically. I won’t give a full ludography here, but some things I wanted from the design were.

  • A broadly familiar feel to the rules, as expected from the base. There are ability scores, classes, and levels – I’ve kept what I wanted for the game, and changed other things.
  • Rules elements that fit the setting along with simplicity. There are three broad classes – warrior, expert, and magician – and setting-appropriate abilities which customise these classes.
  • Less of an emphasis on looting and fighting, but more on exploration and intrigue. The combat rules are solid and streamlined, broadly as expected from the basis, but not everything is about combat. For instance, there are experience rewards for seeing new places, and firm guidance for the use of social abilities.

Taking the DIY ethos of OSR gaming on board, Beyond Dread Portals is my D&D, with my sensibilities. I can’t wait to see it out there, so that it’s no longer mine but ours.

Beyond Dread Portals is coming to crowdfunding via Gamefound.com on 1st June. 

The free artless preview edition is currently available via d101games.com. 

D&D vs OpenQuest

One of the things I’m trying to help with the upcoming OpenQuest Dungeons is the smooth transition of referees and players used to D&D to OpenQuest. This is an excerpt from a larger article OpenQuest for Dungeoneers, that directly addresses that

Here’s the cover by Jon Hodgson

Note the main OpenQuest rulebook is still 10% off in print over at Drivethrurpg.com until May 2nd.

OpenQuest 10% off in print until May 2nd

OpenQuest 3rd Edition is currently 10% off in print via Drivethrurpg.com as part of its Best In Print sale until May 2nd.

also available in print and pdf is the newly released OpenQuest Companion.

These titles and many other OpenQuest releases are also available directly from me via the D101 Web Store.