OpenQuest 2nd to 3rd edition Change Log

So what’s changed in OpenQuest 3rd edition?

Here’s the definitive change log at present – bearing in mind there may be tweaks during the editorial process.


Text updated to reflect changes in the new edition.


Ready-Made Concepts made more robust and more pick up and play.

Improving Characters moved into this chapter and additional sections added to deal with characters changing magical path (e.g. From Battle Magic to Sorcery) and unlearning spells so they can learn other spells.


Lots of nips and tucks to make this fundamental chapter clearer and more accessible to a newcomer.

Skills no longer exceed 100%, even when they are modified. What this means in terms of Skills Masters (skill at 100%) is explained. All the rules for what happens if the skill goes over 100% (multiple attacks against multiple opponents, etc.) removed.

A step by step list of the procedure for a Basic Skill test is now given in this chapter for ease of reference.

Criticals and Fumbles now occur when doubles are rolled, eg. Skill is 52%, so a roll of 33 is a critical and a roll of 66% is a fumble.

Failing Forward as a game concept explained specifically for OpenQuest.




Overall, the chapter that has seen the most reorganisation, additions, and changes. The page count has risen from 11 to 21 pages (without art). It now shows how verbal skills and magic works alongside physical combat, as well as being approaches in themselves.

Social Combat

Fast talk – the art of quickly getting your way with individuals or small groups with a leader (who you target).

Oration – how you sway crowds to your point of view.

Intimidation. Moved outside physical combat, where it will still get used to get foes to surrender/run away,

Also, there’s a section for Prolonged Social Combats, which details how you do social combats like an election campaign, or as the example given convincing your sweetheart’s family that you are suitable marriage material, that takes place over time and may involve not just social combats but physical and magical ones as well.

Physical Combat

Physical is still as deadly if things go wrong for the character.

The big change here is that combat order (and any time where who goes first is important) is determined by modified skill, highest to lowest.

Rules for Surprise attacks, Ambushes, sneaking upon and rushing foes are given.

Damage. Major Wounds system removed. I found in play players would spend Hero Points to avoid them.

Zero Hit Points. Is the character dead at zero hit points? Rather than yes, there’s now a table you roll on with a D10 + any excess damage after the character has been reduced to zero hp, which has a range of results from, knocked out and back after 1d6 minutes with 1 HP to body destroyed. Also, wounds that are killing wounds are now called mortal wounds which is important in terms of healing.

Magical Combat

This section highlights which magic spells are used to enhance characters attacks or are attacks in themselves. Also covers Spirt combat, which moves here from the Battle Magic chapter.

The Quest

This chapter retains the examples of how adventures are structured, for both players and Referees, as well as spot rules. Large chunks of the 2nd Edition version of this chapter, previously called The Quest and Afterwards, has been moved to the new Referee’s Guidance chapter (see below). In contrast, the Improving Characters section has been moved to Characters in its entirety.

Introduction to Magic

This chapter that exists in the 2nd edition has been removed

Battle Magic

Good half a dozen spells removed.  About three overly powerful spells moved to Divine Magic. Addition of the Wise as a specialist Battle Magic caster.

Divine Magic

Cleaned up a little bit, but largely unchanged. Added some spells from Battle Magic that were overpowered there. Removed the Generic Deities list, since I feel it needs a bit more work on it (detailing example Holy Warriors for each deity for example) in its current form.


Specific abilities and benefits for the three ranks of Sorcery have been added. Apprentices get Mystic Vision as a free spell and a Sorcerer’s want that focuses (+20% casting bonus) a spell or two. Adepts get a Sorcerer’s Stone which can store magic points, they can create a Sorcerer’s Staff (a more powerful variant of the Wand), can create Familiars and can teach and create Apprentices. Finally, Magus’s through their mastery of the laws of Sorcery, can become immortal turning their physical body into one of pure magical energy, through the process known as Ascension.




New section to lead Referees through the creation of new creatures.

New section to lead Referees through the creation of detialed npcs using the base creature profile as a starting point.

Creatures listed by type/magic world that they come from rather than a-z.

For sentient creatures example lists of magic spells given, to make them more pick up and play.

REINSTATED The Empire of Gatan

This was taken out of OQ Refreshed. So has been reinstated with a bit of rewriting and with the extra bits I put into an unpublished version that was pulled due to space reasons.

REINSTATED The Road Less Travelled

This was taken out of OQ Refreshed. Reinstated and updated to fill some holes in the narrative that I missed previously. Also, this version has removed the Goblins as the monsters in the mini-dungeon at the end of the adventure, replacing them with human cultists of the Burning Heart Horde.

NEW! Referee’s Guidance

Whole chunks that are currently in the Quest and Afterwards, WAR! Realm Quests etc. can quickly make Ref advice chapter, with a few other small bits from me about how OQ works.

7 thoughts on “OpenQuest 2nd to 3rd edition Change Log

  1. Are you still considering the version of the magic chapter that appeared in the playtest version? I really like the simplified magic-skill system and the three levels of spells (basic, taught, and secret). It seemed really straightforward to use, and very flexible for different worlds (including, for example, one I’m working on that doesn’t have religions or clerics). Also, the “taught” and “secret” spells gave players something to seek out.

  2. Sounds all pretty good, and finally, I’m also on board for the Kickstarter!

    One rules question I was wondering about: Since having 100% in a skill seems to be a pretty big thing now, did you consider tweaking advancement slightly? As it is now, it seems quite possible to power up one skill to 100% after two or three scenarios. To me, it seems more fitting to allow characters to advance fast to a really good level of mastery, but to have the last stretch to reach 100 be truly demanding.

    I think I’d house-rule it like this: To increase a skill to 90%, you pay the usual 1XP for 5%; but from 90% on, it’s a 1-to-1 ratio (one XP for 1%). That would be an enticement to first get some skills up in the 70-90 range before you start really honing one (or, at the very max, two) skills to perfection. If a 5% increase would lead to “breaking” the 90% barrier (e.g. if you invest an XP in a skill that is at 87% and would reach 92%), you just put the remaining point above 90 in another skill (so you reach 90% and have two skill points left for assign to any other skill below 90 you choose).

  3. Thank you for your comment, its triggered quite a wonderful set of realisations and a much-needed revision of the current character improvement rules to reflect how I actually run OQ now.

    The rules in the preview – do result in characters who advance very quickly. When I’ve played in the past its been very short games of mainly con games (where advancement isn’t an issue) and short campaigns of three or so adventures. This has been because of time, and I was kinda assuming this was the default for OpenQuest. I was going to explain this in the Referee’s Guidance chapter. “OpenQuest is a quick fun game, designed for short story arc campaigns that last 3-5 adventures.”

    However, from more playtesting, I don’t see it that way now. My own experience is play a short story arc of two to five, possibly even up to ten adventures. Have the characters meaningfully advance to meet challenges the story is throwing up, so having a fairly open and quick improvement system is important. But then when the players reach the natural end of the story arc, they can either retire the characters or have a break and continue with the more experienced characters in a new set of adventures.

    Your post made me think about a graded improvement point progression for skills, and I’ve drawn up my own schema which I’m still fiddling with.
    In fact its prompted me to look at how characters improve as a whole, and how that links to referee’s awarding improvements and players determining their own goals that gain their characters improvement points (aka Motives) works.

    Its a lot of fun, and reminding me of why I sacked off Tickbox experience in the first place 🙂

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