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!

 

Arkat’s Playground

People who have followed me and D101 Games will know I’m a big fan of Glorantha and RuneQuest. I’ve just unveiled a new blog which as well as putting out new adventures that I’m going to publishing via Chaosium’s Jonstown Compendium 1, it will have reviews, rules commentary and other bits and bobs useful to people who play RuneQuest, QuestWorlds or 13th Age Glorantha.

Here’s the cover of A Dry Run in Prax, a RuneQuest adventure that I’m currently working on. Art by Dan Barker.

 

 

Notes:

1. Jonstown Compendium is the drivethrurpg.com community content program for Gloranthan Rpgs such as RuneQuest, Questworlds and 13th Age Glorantha.

Chaosium’s Warehouse Sale

Chaosium (publishers of Call of Cthulu, RuneQuest, 7th Sea etc) are having a warehouse clearance sale, with items being 15% to 66% off.

Here’s a list of stuff I personally recommend.

Alone Against the Flames, A solo Call of Cthulhu adventure. Learn how to play CoC 7th edition for the price of a coffee. SOLD!

HP Lovecraft’s Dunwich  A Call of Cthulhu Sandbox, with a couple of supporting adventures. I had this in the 90s and foolishly let it go, but by gum, its mine again at a bargain price

RuneQuest Classic. A cleaned-up version of RuneQuest 2, without losing the original’s essential charm, with about 22 extra pages from magazines from the period, in a robust hardback. This is my Whitebox.

Borderlands and Beyond. Want a starting campaign for RQ? This is it. This is a collected edition, Borderlands + 2 other supplements integrated with new art from fan favourites. I had the pleasure of buying from Rick Meints, the publisher, at a convention in the 2000s.

13th Age Glorantha. Want to get into Glorantha, but overwhelmed by RQ and have a group that is more into D&D? This is your way of getting your Glorantha fix. Also worth getting if you are an old hand since it positively purrs in play 🙂

Khan of Khans. The easy to play card game intro to Glorantha. I played this with our H when he was around eight, he came away wanting to know more about Glorantha. Result!

 

RuneQuest Starter Box Incoming

Just in time for the summer holidays, Chaosium’s RuneQuest box set is incoming.  This is where my holiday money is going, rather than the Call of Cthulhu Classic Box Set Kickstarter. Because to be honest while I played a bit of CoC in my teens, it was RQ that I fell for hard!.

So let the dulcet tones of Chaosium President Rick Meint guide through his unboxing of a still wrapped copy of the Starter Set.

Hearts in Glorantha issue 6 now available

The long-awaited return of this Gloranthan Fanzine, featuring 48 pages of Myths, Interviews, Articles, and Scenarios (systemless, HeroQuest and for RuneQuest 2).

(note physical copies of Hearts in Glorantha 1-6 Collected, Gloranthan Adventures 1 & 2 are now back in stock).

Also Drivethrurpg.com where you can pick up both print/pdf bundles and pdf only.

Hearts in Glorantha Issue 6 cover by Stewart Stansfield

UK OSR update July 2016

More stuff coming from the UK OSR out despite distractions of the footy and Wimbledon on the TV…

Out of the Pit the seminal Advanced Fighting Fantasy creature book now available as a pdf via DrivethruRpg.com. The rather sparse description on the product page doesn’t do the book justice. It was originally published in the 1980s during the Fighting Fantasy boom and contains over 250 monsters from the classic FF books.

outofthepit

Stellar Adventures, the Sci-Fi Advanced Fighting Fantasy variant by Arion Games has now funded, with 8 days to go at time of writing.

In Darkest Warrens – a pay what you want rules light game by Trollish Delver Games is now available, from the blurb it’s ” a minimalist fantasy roleplaying game whose rules cover two pages, including a bestiary and introductory adventure. All you need is some six-sided dice, paper, pencils and, of course, a bunch of buddies to play with. ”

indarkestwarrens

The Hex Hack by Dog Eared Games is available for use with the Black Hack and other OSR games. Also they’ve added a supplement for their Jack Hack Black Hack supplement ( keeping up with me at the back there? ) called The Penny Black which adds in elements from a certain dreadful TV show.

Also those cunning chaps over at The Design Mechanism have just given an update about the end of the RuneQuest license and the transition to Mythras…

Missed anything? Just let me know in the comments and I’ll add it here or in the next update 🙂

RuneQuest 6 to be renamed before July

Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a fan of the Design Mechanism’s RuneQuest 6. While a bit more crunchy than my own D100 tastes, which is why I publish OpenQuest, it is in my opinion the true inheritor of the RuneQuest name and spirit and a damn fine Fantasy Roleplaying Game. With Moon Design taking over management of Chaosium, it was also going to the be the basis of their new RuneQuest.  A great move thought I, since it meant a smooth transistion for the fans. Perhaps a tweak here and there, and reduction of the page count so it wasn’t so inclusive to make a nice short core book, but I could see that working very happily.

So imagine my gentle dismay when Jeff Richard, Chaosium/Moon Design Creative Director tells the folk at the What’s Up With Chaosium seminar at Dragonmeet yesterday that their new version of RuneQuest is going to be based on RuneQuest 2 with other bits and bobs added in.  You can go read a FAQ about it on Chaosium’s website, but it really strikes me it’s a RQ with everything from the kitchen sink thrown in.  I reserve judgement about the new Chaosium RuneQuest being any good until I see it in the flesh.

Good news straight from Lawrence Whitaker part of the Design Mechanism Duo is that they are going to merely rename and rebrand RQ6 (which I’m calling DMQ until they relveal the name) and keep it available along with all their stunning supplements, which is great news if you are heavily invested in the game. For example this means that come June next year when they do the rebrand, because that’s when they loose the RQ trademark there is no reason for me to sell my Premium Hardcover (which I got as a reward for backing their Hardcover Indiegogo campaign) since all they are doing is changing the name on the cover and where its mentioned within. I can save my money for buying new outstanding supplement’s from the Design Mechanism 🙂

 

RuneQuest 2 is coming back

RuneQuest 2 in a slightly updated form (errata applied and some additional content) has been launched on Kickstarter.

If you missed it first time round, now is an ideal time to check it out. Hardcover books + GMs screen as the standard printed package.

If you are an old d100 grognard you’ll know the score, but its worth backing to get the back catalog of RQ2 supplements, which is there as stretch goals. Years and years of gaming material- within easy reach in pdf format. Me I’m putting my money on the campaign going all the way and finally I’ll be able to get my paws on Questworld – the box set of generic mini-settings for RQ2 🙂

Worth noting as Rick says in the KS video below, that the layout of the book is done so as soon as the book is funded it goes off to the printers for a January delivery date.

Here’s Moon Design President Rick Meints explaining it in the Kickstarter video.