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.

 

The British Old School Review

#BOSR, you might have seen the hashtag on Twitter and wondered what the heck is it?

Must it be based on British Old School Roleplaying Games from the 70s and 80s?

I am beginning a personal research project where I revisit the games of my teenage years and a few that got away. I want to find out why I keep coming back to these games. Is it nostalgia, superior design, or simply because of cultural influences, these games have instant appeal and resonance with me?

I intend to revisit the following over the coming months.

Fighting Fantasy the Roleplaying Game, spawned off FF gamebooks.

UK TSR D&D Modules (All that Glitters, the Gauntlet, The Sentinel, etc.). There used to be a branch of TSR in the UK that put out a fine series of D&D Modules

Fiend Folio. This monster manual for AD&D 1st edition features a large selection of monsters by UK authors originally featured in White Dwarf’s Fiend Factory department.

White Dwarf magazine (up to issue 100) Games Workshop’s house organ and its fearsome legacy.

Imagine magazine. The house magazine for TSR UK had surprising gems amongst the adverts for games you’d already got.

Dragon Warriors. This RPG is a weird little game in a small paperback format built up through six books. I gazed for many hours in WH Smith, wondering whether I should take a chance on it or buy the latest Fighting Fantasy gamebook instead. By the time I decided I would, it had disappeared from the shelves. The one that got away now in my grubby mitts via eBay.

Maelstrom. Historical Fantasy roleplaying in the Tudor Age, again in gamebook format. Currently published by Arion Games.

Judge Dredd the RPG. Did you 2000AD’s famous lawman got his own RPG in the 80s courtesy of the same folks who brought you Warhammer? Despite being flawed rules-wise, it was a game that was a big draw at my table, due to a shared love of the comics.

What is Dungeons and Dragons? An 80s D&D and Dummies, with a much grimmer trade dress.

The Games Workshop editions of RuneQuest, Traveller and Call of Cthulhu. Along with D&D, these were the big four RPGs if you were growing up in the 80s. Game’s Workshop’s version of Stormbringer gets an honourable mention, and I’ve already covered my love for it previously.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition. In both size and appeal, it is a behemoth of a game that, for me, was the high point and the end of the British Old School.

Dragon Warriors Books 1 to 4

The original Dragon Warriors Books 1 to 4 from the 80s via the time machine that is eBay

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!

 

Reboot the System Kickstarter opens Monday 1st November

A quick change from our usual diet of Fantasy gaming here.  I’m bringing my cyberpunk RPG, Reboot the Future, to Kickstarter this coming Monday (1st November).

The Kickstarter page is currently a prelaunch page, where you can sign up to be notified when it launches.

And if you want to learn more about the game, I’m posting a series of preview posts over at the Sorcerer’s sister sci-fi blog, To the Stars.

My Verdict on RuneQuest Glorantha

RuneQuest Glorantha? I’ve come to the conclusion I like it.

When it came out, I plunged right in and ran it several times as a convention game. The epic Lunars on the run from angry animal riders, looking for the last moon boat home that is Dry Run in Prax. I even ran it online as a mini-campaign with a mix of newbies and old hands. All the new subsystems and new lore overwhelmed me, to the point of overload. And I’m a Gloranthan GM of 30+ years experience! So when the OpenQuest Kickstarter blew up in my face with its success, I switched to running that. Partially because I craved simplicity system-wise, I also had to take care of business and get some last-minute play-testing done. Since then, OpenQuest Thursdays, as that group is known, has firmly established itself as a long-running home campaign 🙂

On reflection, though, it was very clear that the players had a great time because those new subsystems gave them options and power at the table. I’m thinking Runes and Passions especially. They can read all that new lore in the rulebook or when I shove the Gloranthan Sourcebook in their direction. We were playing Lunar Tarsh characters, so we had whole sessions discussing Lunar Theology and mythology since the players were curious and it was relevant to their characters, who are questioning their faith after the downfall of Pavis.

I’m making a small return to RuneQuest via conventions, and when I do, I shall be keeping things simple on my side of the fence and letting players focus on all the bits I find fiddly. If you want to use Passions in my game, great, but you work out when you want to use them and how.

Finally, I love the fact that Gloranthan Fandom has got a shot in the arm due to its release. People are picking up RQG and are staying and running campaigns. Lots of fan-made stuff on the Jonstown Compendium, and while the official releases are slow, in a sense, there’s no regular release schedule, there’s still a large chunk of playable stuff out there already.

This post came about because of this thread over at the RPGPub forum, where I chime in on page 2. Also, it’s in lieu of a long-overdue review of RuneQuest Glorantha itself, which is this long epic thing in my head being a long time RQ/Glorantha fan 🙂 

 

OpenQuest 3rd Edition is Now Out!

OQ 3 is now on general release after being sent out to Kickstarter Backers and pre-orders.

You can get it in pdf and Print with free pdf from my web store.

The print version I’m selling there until it sells out is the last of the Signed and Sent version that was offered to Kickstarter backers. It has sewn pages, endpapers, colour plates and a ribbon.  Stocks are already running low.

Here’s a quick run-through.

If you have a previous edition and are curious about what has changed, I created this page for you.

Also, its gone on sale via drivethrurpg.com

The Kickstarter funded a number of supplements and the planned list of books and progress on them can be found on this page.

Grogzilla 2 on Kickstarter now!

I’m back for ZineQuest 3, with Grogzilla issue 2 which funded twelve hours after its launch.  It has got a mini adventure for Crypts and Things, a short introductory article for Monkey the RPG, with the big feature being The Duck Crusade a one-shot adventure with premade characters for OpenQuest.

If you missed out on the OpenQuest 3 Kickstarter, there’s an opportunity to get hold of the book, either as a POD copy or the Signed and Sent print copy, plus the first supplement The OpenQuest Companion as an add-on.

The Kickstarter is only open for two weeks until March 10th.

 

Dark November Sale Now ON!

We don’t do this Black Friday or Cyber Monday nonsense here at D101 Games, but we do Dark November, a celebration of all our wonderful British Old School Renaissance titles.

Until 30th November we are having a sale where the following titles are discounted from 50%-10% off. P&P to UK addresses is free on orders over £10.

Dark November: The Darkness


Skyraiders of The Floating Realms is our pulpy hi-action fantasy game of Sky Pirates flying between floating chunks of rock looking for loot and adventure. In-play it’s light-hearted evoking the feel and tone of old Holywood Pirate films such as The Crimson Pirate, and the more recent Pirates of the Caribbean. Not really a candidate for Dark November and its horrors, I initially thought.  That was until I started thinking about the enemy of all the light and jollity in the Floating Realms, the sinister force that animates the dead, whispers in villains minds driving them to evil – The Darkness.

What Can You Tell Me About The Darkness?

There follows a transcript of questions and answer session given by Professor Verda Goodhope, a renowned Dark-Hunter to a gathering of apprentices in the basement of the Lieg Institute in Black Dog Isle.

What is the Darkness?

In short, it is the enemy of every living thing in the Floating Realms.

It has always been the hidden evil in people’s hearts. The dark desires that they keep far away from others, away from their loved ones. Perhaps those in power, or think mistakenly they have power, who think they can act out desires without recrimination, will act to them.

It can influence people’s actions and manifest physically as demons.

How did the Darkness cause the Shattering?

In the Ancient Times before the Shattering, the hidden dark desires became too much in the teaming cities of that time. There was no release, and people lived their lives in denial without confronting their inner demons. I’ve found evidence in the old ruins that they were encouraged by the religions and philosophies of the day, to repress such desires for the good of civilisation.

A group of magicians who we call Sorcerers emerged in the Ancient Civilisation. They initially hid in plain sight as healers who specialised and the drawing out people’s suppressed desires, freeing them of their pain. All the while, they took the Darkness that they captured to bind to themselves as magical servants.

Somewhere along the line, due to the Sorcerers meddling, The Darkness itself became an entity, self-aware and malignant.

It escaped the inner world and shattered the psychical world into a multitude of pieces, which exist today as the Floating Realms. Civilisations fell into the abyss, and Darkness demons rampaged. The sun of Ancient Times was extinguished, and the world lay in Darkness.

How was the Darkness banished?

We’re not entirely sure. The world was in ruins, the survivors starved of hope when suddenly, a New Sun arose in the skies. A horde of avenging angels flew out of this New Sun and purged the Darkness Demons from the Floating Realms.

Where is the Darkness now?

The onslaught of the Angels of the New Dawn greatly diminished the Darkness from the world but did not eliminate it. It still exists in hidden places in the world. In the black hearts of villains. As Darkness Demons, who stalk the Floating Realms looking for victims. It still corrupts people and turns their actions to evil.

Sky Raiders of the Floating Realms is currently in development for release in 2021. Zero Editoin with a playable set of rules and the barebones of the setting is available from the D101 Games web store.