So what’s changed in OpenQuest 3rd edition?
Here’s the definitive changelog, from earlier editions.
OpenQuest has undergone a massive editorial pass, to tidy up the rules, improve the presentation and give a clearer picture of what OpenQuest is as a game. With other very strong D100 games out there, I wanted this edition to be much more its own self-contained game.
The book is now black and white/grayscale throughout, invoking a classic 80s feel. As well as numerous half and quarter pages, there are also full-page pieces of art.
Here are the contents pages
Text updated to reflect changes in the new edition.
Ready-Made Concepts made more robust and more pick up and play.
Fortune points, is the new name for hero points
Improving Characters moved into this chapter and additional sections added to deal with characters changing magical path (e.g. From Personal 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.) have been 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, this is the chapter that has seen the most reorganisation, additions, and changes. The page count has doubled in size. It now shows how verbal skills and magic works alongside physical combat, as well as being approaches in themselves.
It’s broken into the following sections.
This section deals with how characters can use their verbal skills to influence others.
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 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.
Rules for Sheild use clarified and new defensive combat actions defined.
Major Wounds system removed. I found in play players would spend Hero Points to avoid them, so they became a redundant rules system.
Zero Hit Points. What happens when a character reaches zero hit points is better defined.
Also, wounds that are killing wounds, taking hit points to zero or below, are now called mortal wounds which is important in terms of healing.
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 Personal Magic chapter.
This chapter retains 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 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.
Travel rules changed, rewritten to make daily travel rates simpler and potentially more dangerous if the characters travel off-road.
Major Mental damage has been removed. It was problematic as a way of tracking mental instability and tended to be bought off by Hero Point spend. Instead, its been replaced by a section in the Referee’s Guidance chapter showing how spells like Befuddle, Fear, Madness can be used to model sanity type rules.
Introduction to Magic
This chapter is now in the Referee’s Guidance chapter (see below).
Battle Magic has been renamed Personal Magic
As well as the renaming, a good half a dozen spells were removed. About three overly powerful spells moved to Divine Magic.
Addition of the Wise as a specialist Personal Magic caster.
A discussion and game rules are added to cover when the Wise becomes an all-powerful magical being who is one with the land, and the Shaman passes through the veil into the Spirit World and becomes a Great Spirit.
What was referred to as Cults are now Religions, and come in two types. Pantheon, where worshippers get some magic from all the Deities worshipped as a group and Dedicated where worshippers get access to the full array of spells that the deity offers. Cults are now non-player characters only enemy religions.
Cleaned up the spell descriptions a little bit, but was largely unchanged. Added some spells from Personal Magic that were overpowered there.
Removed the Generic Deities list, since there are enough examples in the Empire of Gatan chapter of Divine Religions.
Rules and guidelines are added to cover Ascension, which is when the character ascends to the Houses of the Holy (the Divine Realm) either to join the pantheon they worship as a supporting immortal, or as a deity in their own right.
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 Wand 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 Transcendence.
New section to lead Referees through the creation of new creatures.
New section to lead Referees through the creation of detailed 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 are given, to make them more pick up and play.
REINSTATED The Empire of Gatan
This was taken out of the last edition of the game OQ Refreshed. So it 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. Still brushed with broad strokes, but a fuller picture presented, with more Religions and magical organisations. Finally, I added a short two-page essay that explains the themes and issues that the setting covers.
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.
A brand new map of the main adventure site, the Bandit Lair by Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood Design.
NEW! Referee’s Guidance
Whole chunks that are currently in the Quest and Afterwards were moved to this new chapter, with a few other small bits from me about how OQ works.