Five Flavours of Fantasy D100 gaming

This is my personal take.

Even though I’m the author of OpenQuest, which being one of D101’s main gaming lines takes up a lot of my energy (writing, developing and promoting), I like to play different styles of D100 Fantasy gaming

RuneQuest is the grand-old standard of D100 gaming. It’s where D100 has its start.  RuneQuest 2 (now sold as RuneQuest Classic) is my white box.  The new version RuneQuest Glorantha is an updated version of RQ2, with new rules, Such as characters now have their own Runic associations, which provide the basis of their magic, and Passions that reflect their relationships with their communities and their enemies. It’s a perfect match for Glorantha, not only for nostalgia reasons but because it’s been designed for it. But it does come at the cost that some of its systems are a bit clunky and a bit old school that sometimes you question whether or not you should just house rule the damn thing. Strike Ranks come to mind directly. But as a long time Gloranthan fan since the 80s, it is lovely to have an edition of the game which is easy to share with the players, both in terms of presentation, playability and clarity of setting.

Mythras on the other hand is the slick generic system I would have died for during my early RQ 3 period, when I was making up my own settings, in the late 80s. Now it’s here, it’s no surprise that with a complete all in one rulebook – sans setting and adventure – its spawned a series of setting books, some of which move outside the genre of Mythic Fantasy, and with the release of Lyonesse last year, its own standalone games. I need to get more hours in running Mythrasm get my own Isle of Death adventure/setting book out there and a series of blog posts about the various supplements that are available for the game is in order.

OpenQuest is my take on Fantasy D100 gaming, pairing down the subsystems to an almost minimalist “one roll then meaningful effect”. I was a big fan of the all in one rulebooks that Games Workshop released Call of Cthulhu and Stormbringer as in the 80s – effectively they were the main rules + the companion set, that were boxsets in those days collated into one book, with new art and colour plates.  Stormbringer is my Swords and Sorcery gold standard and in many ways my favourite BRP game, but not one I’d play on a regular basis because I think it’s not balanced in any way shape or form 😀  So OQ is a tribute to that format, in so far that the printed version had a section of colour plates. Its also allowed me to explore and give structure to the rather rambling campaign structure of other D100 games, something as a fan of Basic/Expert/Companion/Immortal D&D which had a very clear view of where the characters were heading has annoyed me previously.  Since OpenQuest is close to my heart, I ramble on about it on its own blog on openquestrpg.com.

Skypirates of the Floating Realms, IS the minimalist D100 game that I’ve designed from bottom up, keeping only the rules that are completely necessary for this rather light-hearted (think post-Monty Python films, Jabberwocky, Time Bandits etc) fantasy game. It’s always a nagging thought in my mind when I play other D100 systems, that my GMing brain is overburdened by subsystems and magic effects that I simply do not need. If you are familiar with the Black Hack (which is d20 fantasy-based), this is my attempt to downsize d100 into a short 6 x 9 format book. I’ve been playtesting it since spring of 2021 and our party of Argyll the Dwarf and Boris the Bear, Priest of and I’m aiming to get the game out to crowdfunding later this year.

The fifth flavour which I often forget – because I’ve not played it since the late 80s – yet has an immense effect on me are Gamesworkshop’s Warhammer RPGs of the 80s. This is basically Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st, which is the ultimate doorstop of complete RPG, and their Judge Dredd RPG, which is very much Warhammer lite. Broadly speaking both games have percentile skills as characteristics and talents which add bonuses to skill rolls, or allow you to do new things with a skill. Warhammer Fantasy complicates matters with a career system, which sees sewer-rat zeros progress to high-level heroes. Although I never got to the high-level characters, I suspect they play more like AD&D 1st characters, where low-level characters are charmingly scummy and more akin to Call of Cthulhu characters. One of the writers of the Enemy Within Campaign said as much, saying that his direction on the early parts of the campaign was effectively along the lines of go write D&D adventures mixed with Call of Cthulhu.  As much as I liked the Old World setting, it vibed off familiar British Grimdark sensibilities and played a good chunk of the highly impressive Enemy Within Campaign. Like Warhammer FRP, GW Judge Dredd comes with an immersive world which the rules support fully, the crazy post-apocalyptic near-future sci-fi of 2000 AD comic’s most popular character. It has a much simpler character structure, effectively it has four career types (Street, Tech, Med, Psi Judges) which you stay within for the entire course of your game, but where it jumps into the deep end is a complex Action Point system for Combat. It looks good on paper but fails apart as a solution to everything in play. I had a recent re-read of GW Judge Dredd, and actually remembered that it was my first d100 game, before even Call of Cthulu and RuneQuest!

 

OpenQuest 3rd Edition Now Available to Pre-Order

I’m pleased to say that the main OpenQuest 3 rulebook is done and off to print proof, so it’s time to open up a pre-order.

I’ve set up two options for pre-ordering OpenQuest 3rd Edition if you missed last year’s Kickstarter.

OpenQuest 3 Signed and Sent (£25) – Better quality print, ribbons, endpapers, and five colour plates, signed by myself and sent directly to you.

OpenQuest 3 Print on Demand (£10) – Print on Demand via drivethrurpg.com.

Both come with immediate pdf downloads of the book, along with the OpenQuest Quick-Start: The Lost Outpost.  Also when it is ready you will also receive at no extra cost the OpenQuest Companion in PDF and at cost Print on Demand.  Also, purchase of either of these entitles you to buy a selection of Add-ons that were available to Kickstarter backers.

This pre-order closes on Sunday, May 9th 2021.

The Lost Outpost – The OpenQuest Quickstart

I am pleased to say the free pdf version of the OpenQuest 3rd Edition Quick-Start, the Lost Outpost is now available.

This pdf is designed to get players and Referees up and playing OpenQuest, with the minimum of preparation.

It contains the following sections.

  • Characters. A rundown of what an OpenQuest character is made up of, both in terms of numbers and concepts.
  • Quick Rules. A concise version of the OpenQuest rules, enough to play the adventure.
  • Combat. The rules for physical combat.
  • Magic. The basic approach to magic, known as Personal Magic.
  • The Lost Outpost. An introductory adventure set in OpenQuest’s example setting, the Empire of Gatan.
  • A set of six pre-made characters. Players should pick one and get ready to play.

Here’s the cover by Jonny Gray.

The Lost Outpost, art by Jonny Gray

OpenQuest 3rd Edition is coming soon!

I’m in the final days/weeks of development of OpenQuest 3rd Edition, a task that began in earnest at the end of last summer and was kicked into the high gear due to the success of the 2020 Kickstarter last September.

I’ve just passed the art complete fully laid out layout draft to its editor (Paul Mitchener) and its proofreader, and I anticipate that the pdf will be available to backers in the next couple of weeks, which will allow me to do some form of pre-order. This will include the option to buy the printed version as well as the POD version, which will have endpapers, ribbons and colour plates of all the upcoming OQ 3 supplement covers by Jon Hodgson. 

Also the Quickstart rules and Adventure, the Lost Outpost has been passed over for proofing and checking and should be available shortly for people to get their first taste of the game, and its default setting the Empire of Gatan.

Here’s Jonny Gray’s cover for it

The Lost Outpost, art by Jonny Gray

Moreover at OpenQuestRPG.com and more of the moment frequent updates on Twitter using the #OpenQuestRpg tag.

 

Until the Fearless Come

Dark November continues over at openquestrpg.com, with a post about my recent game set in the Savage North, entitled Until the Fearless Come.

This is part of a trilogy of adventures collectively called The Rites of Passage, that have played out at various online events over this year, and will be published next year in The Saga of the Savage North an adventure/setting book for OpenQuest 3rd Edition.

Till the Fearless Come by Jonny Gray

Untll the Fearless Come by Jonny Gray

This post is part of D101’s Dark November promotion. Follow @d101games on Twitter, where I’ll be holding prize draws and announcing flash sales.

 

OpenQuest Dungeons

With five days to go, we are currently funding the next stretch goal OpenQuest Dungeons.
“Are you going to do an OpenQuest conversion of D&D?” is a question I get asked a lot. I’m like “Nah if I want to go play D&D, I’ll play D&D!” OpenQuest has an intrinsically different style of play, which I hope I get across in the main rulebook. But I understand why people ask because OQ got picked up early by the OSR blogs and I do have people coming from D&D pick up OQ as a less complicated D100 game. Also back in my teenage years, I remember us coming straight from D&D and playing a handful of sessions of D100 Fantasy just like we did before we realised it played differently.
So, with this in mind, here’s the content’s of the book.
D100 Dungeons. A short article that explains how dungeons and dungeon exploration works in OpenQuest. How small is deadly, and everything has a meaning and a story behind it. It advises the Referee on how to leverage the OQ skill test system to make the player’s feel that they are trapped underground and with danger all around them. It also explains how to use the usual play-style of dungeoneering to transition players coming from D&D into the possibilities of OpenQuest.
The Eastern Imperial Borderlands. I’ll be introducing this mini-setting in the Quickstart adventure that I’m currently writing for release after the end of the campaign (The Whispering Warrior). This gazetteer will expand on the information given there, explaining the opportunities amongst the ancient ruins that are found in this area.
The Village of Spearing. A base village for the characters that details a settlement full of ex-adventurers who provide services, goods and training.
Deep in the Hole. A Quest, the lord of Spearing’s son has gone missing down a local cavern system known as the Hole. A reward is posted for his safe return
Both .of the above have previously appeared in the out of print OpenQuest Adventures supplement. They will be getting a full revision and rewrite.
The next two Quests are entirely new material.
Snake Bite Pass. Another Quest this time entirely focused on an adventure location, the rocky mountain pass of the title and its living inhabitants all worshipers in various forms of the Serpent Cult (which is detailed).
Fools Rush. Suposbly a dead and abandoned dungeon, but since it was once a shrine to the Trickster god known only as The Fool, who knows what surprises it may hold.
The adventurers may go there looking for a trove of gold left by the Fool’s priests, but what they find instead is entirely unexpected.
To help this fund faster, I’m adding another special one of a kind unique Backer Level, which if it funds will see an additional dungeon added to the book.
Mistress/Master of Dungeons (£300)
This is a special one of a kind pledge level that helps to fund OpenQuest Dungeons and adds an extra adventure into the book.
  • All the OQ patron rewards plus the following:
  • a hardcover of OpenQuest Dungeons signed, sent and dedicated to you.
  • drafts of work in progress and option to feedback to authors as the draft develops.
  • copy of each version of OQ – 1st, 2nd, Refreshed, + all the OpenQuest Classics, signed and sent to you.
I’m also opening up ten more OpenQuest Patron spaces (at £100) since they have proven to be popular and sold out much quicker than I expected.
So far the campaign has already funded the following books:
  • The Main rulebook
  • The Saga of the Savage North
  • The Clockwork Palace
  • The Book of Duck (working title)
  • The OpenQuest Companion

So for as little as £10 (pdf/POD) you get all five books in pdf with the option to get in Print on Demand at cost + p&p.

OpenQuest 3 Kickstarter about to get a new set of stretch goals

Cross-posted here the latest update from the  OpenQuest 3 Kickstarter, where we are smashing through the stretch goals.


Good Morning Glorious Backers and Curious Onlookers,

Monday, start of week 3, and nearly halfway through the campaign. So it’s time once again to take stock.

OK as far as the current funding goals are concerned, you’ve smashed it.

So far you’ve successfully backed

1. The main rule book, that will be out just after Christmas.

2. A QuickStart adventure, the Whispering Warrior, that I’m aiming to get out before the campaign end, or shortly after it slips. If you were an Early Bird backer, or an Art Patron or an OpenQuest Patron.

3. An Online SRD which I’ll be looking to get done by Easter 2021.

4. The Saga of the Savage North, which is a setting book full of frozen northern Swords and Sorcery action, with three adventures will be due out next Summer.

And Paul Mitchener’s The Clockwork Palace isn’t far behind.

At this point, I could say, that’s it and walk away. I’ve got the main rulebook coming out, and you’ve got some extra books and the online SRD.

But while the campaign is still funding, its time to make up for some lost time. You see after OpenQuest Refreshed in 2016 I had plans to move forward and a lot of new content got written but never complexly finished. Life just kept on taking me way from OpenQuest. Now I’ve got the time and with your help the money to get at two books worth of OpenQuest material done.  These can easily be made available as stretch goals, and you’ll get a year’s worth of OQ support. There’s even a final stretch goal which will make fans of Paul Mitchener’s work very happy.

So we are going to have to have another set of stretch goals which will take us  I shall reveal them when we reach £6500.

Finally, if you want a break down of what’s changed from OpenQuest 2/OpenQuest Refreshed to the 3rd edition, I’ve just thrown up this changelog over at OpenQuest rpg.

Happy Funding

;O) Newt

The Whisphering Warrior Quickstart for OpenQuest is Coming

One of the stretch goals for the now funded OpenQuest 3rd Edition Kickstarter was a kickstart for the new edition, entitled The Whispering Warrior. It funded a couple do days ago.

Yesterday I posted an update that explains what it will contain:

The campaign is live until the end of the month, and we are smashing stretch goals. Yesterday the OGL SRD web site was funded, and we are now heading off to the updated revised version of our best selling setting/adventure book, The Saga of the Savage North.

 

OpenQuest 3 Current Status

I’ve blogged about where I’m up to with OpenQuest 3 over at the new site for the game openquestrpg.com.

Its a somewhat rambling post, but basically I got stuck on the last draft, went back to OQ2, decided to do a tidied up version of that with bits of the last draft incorporated into it.  The post itself also breaks down chapter by chapter what the changes are from OQ2.

Looking to have it done by end of June, and out to Kickstarter by Aug/Sept to coincide with 1st Anniversary of its release

RIP Terry Jones

So actor/director/comedian/member fo Monty Python Terry Jones died the other day.  To say that the Pythons shows, especially the films were a big influence on British Roleplayers is a massive understatement. He also had a great career post-python as a Historical documentary presenter/maker and his BBC series the Crusades will always stick in my memory as a truthful examination of that period free of the usual propaganda of noble Christian knights fighting a heathen foe in the name of our Lord.

My own tribute, which is in an upcoming OpenQuest book as an example of a Disorganised Religion, was written days before news of his death hit me.

The Flying Circus

Odd, irrelevant, this small disorganised religion flies in the face of convention and order. It emphasises joy of living and travel. Its worshippers can literally learn to fly that allows them to move between the floating land masses of the Flying Realms with ease. The Airship Captains are their guardians and in their flying ships can take worshippers across dangerous sky lanes that are not traversable safely by a solo flyer.

 

Spells: Fly, Golden Tongue, Mischief , Fools Gold.

Guardians:  Airship Captains, Requirement Airsailor 50%+, must own an Airship; Spells: The Crystal Ship.