About Newt

Games Designer, Publisher, Web Developer, Dad.

Proofs, Pdfs and Progress

[Cross posted from the OpenQuest Kickstarter, read the original here]

Hello, it may feel that nothing is happening on OQ, so here’s an update on what’s going on.

Update about the Printed versions (Print on Demand and Signed and Sent)

At the moment, it’s all about the proofs here at D101 HQ.

POD OQ + the Quickstart are still in the proofing process over at Drivethrurpg.com, but I’m anticipating the final proof to be with me end of this week, early next week. When it has, I’ll issue links to at-cost copies via Kickstarter Messenger.

Newt and POD book

Wayhey! Its the last POD proof looking all shiny.

Signed and Sent proofs have been signed off with the printers, so we’ve gone to print. I have an estimated delivery date of the 16th of June, so will start sending them out then.

Signed and Sent unbound proof and the POD Quick-start proof

There has been a couple of changes from what I had originally planned for the Signed and Sent version.

More Colour Plates. Instead of five colour plates, the book now has eight. It turns out I could either have colour plates individually placed throughout the book, but the binding would be glued, or grouped in a page count that is a multiple of four and keep the sown pages. Since I sold the print version on the fact that it would be sown pages, it was a no-brainer to throw in three classic Jon Hodgson OpenQuest covers (Life and Death, The Savage North, and the 1st Edition cover), taking the number of plates up to eight, and positioning them roughly half-way in the book between what could be considered the boundary between the player’s rules chapters and Referee only chapters.

The old vs new, Jon Hodgson’s Savage North covers. Proof’s of two of the colour plates for the Signed and Sent version.

An extra two pages of content have been added at the end of the book. The POD book requires a blank page at the end of the book for their printing process, which effectively means two pages. It turns out that the printed version, I can print on those two pages. So, I’ve inserted quick Religion write-ups for six dedicated religions for Empire of Gatan setting. The Five Emperors and the Imperial Mother. Now your players can have characters who follow a focused, dedicated religion, such as a War God (The General Silanous) or a Merchant Goddess (The Imperial Mother), rather than the pantheon style Imperial Way, which takes a little bit of magic from each of the deities in that pantheon, they now can.

The two extra pages of content at the end of the Signed and Sent version.

Updated OpenQuest Pdf

During the proofing process, there’s been a few changes. The ebook pdf has been updated and is available for redownloading from your drivethrourpg.com account if you previously downloaded it. If you bought the book via the pre-order, the latest version is available via the download link that was sent in the email after you purchased the book.

Other Progress

  • Catching the Wrym, gets playtested this weekend at 7 Hills an online gaming convention. I anticipate this reaching 1stDraft shortly after. It’s been a bit of a monster, being a good 30+ pages at present.
  • The OpenQuest Companion is nearing first draft.
  • OpenQuest SRD has been put together and will be sent out to editorial soon.
    The OpenQuest Releases page has been updated with all the recent statuses and eta of releases for all the stretch goals.

OpenQuest Releases page
I should be contacting you again shortly when the POD version becomes available, and when the signed and sent version lands here at D101 HQ and the great mail out begins.

All the best,

:O) Newt

OpenQuest is a Fantasy Adventure Roleplaying Game

One of the things that I picked up on when I got the first print proof of the POD version of OpenQuest 3rd Edition was that on the title page, I missed out on the subtitle:

Fantasy Adventure Roleplaying Game

It’s been on every edition of OQ, so I put it back in, but I took some time out to think why this was important to me.

The short version.

Now that’s out of the way and everyone’s calmed down, I shall go into detail.

Sure, OQ has mythologies, settings with a sense of history and politics, creatures with history/background, but it’s all ingredients, fuel even, to get an entertaining adventure. You see, in OQ, the characters go on Quests, which are adventures. Not simulations or re-enactments of everyday life in some imagined fantasy Medieval/Dark Ages. The players want to feel the thrill of a sword connecting with an enemy, a spell making short work of a difficulty, or to see the results of a clever bit of conversation with a non-player character. Even seeing a character make a triumphant comeback after failing is all part of the expectation of a good adventure. It’s all about keeping things moving along at a quick pace (or as the Smart Party says, “You can never have enough pace”). And you don’t get that with overly complex fiddly rules or social structures in place in the game.

I bore this in mind as a primary design goal when I wrote the main rulebook, and I have kept it in mind as I finish the rules and articles in the OpenQuest Companion.

So that’s why OQ is a Fantasy Adventure Roleplaying Game, and it is important to state that upfront right at the beginning of the book on the title page.

The OpenQuester , Episode 2, now available

It’s here! The second episode of The OpenQuester. This time out Paul Mitchener (OQ Editor/Contributing Author) and I look at where we are at with the game just about to be released, our regular OpenQuest Thursday game, what’s coming up next, Paul’s Clockwork Palace and Roman books, and of course DUCKS!

This is part of my new D101 Games YouTube Channel, which as well as the OpenQuester, and other OQ related nonsense, also has episode 1 of the Infinite Road Trip which features an interview with Lawrence Whitaker of the Design Mechanism, mainly talking about their Mythras RPG (OQ’s Bigger Brother).

The One Magic System

The OpenQuest Companion, cover by Jon Hodgson

This is a preview straight from the pages of the OpenQuest Companion, which is due for release in early summer but is available to pre-order with the main rulebook as a free pdf/at cost POD book.

This chapter contains a simplified magic system that developed out of the need to have quick magic for games of OpenQuest that did not require the same level of magic point counting, ranking of casters, and tracking of long-term relationships between the characters and their teachers. It grew out of convention games but is also useful for games where magic is less of a focus, and the players want a simpler, more straightforward system.

How this System was Developed

I took the spells from the Three Magic Systems of core OpenQuest and applied the following changes.

  1. Removed magic point costs. This system does not use Magic points. In quick convention games, I found the players were not counting them, and it was a barrier to the flow of play.
  2. A Magic Casting skill determines casting success. Every time the spell is cast, you must make a Magic Casting skill. If it is fumbled, the character loses the ability to cast the spell for the rest of the session.
  3. Spells limited by availability. If you need to limit which spells are available to characters, there is an availability trait. Beginning characters can only learn Common spells. The obvious benefit of joining a religion or magical society is that you can learn spells they teach with the Taught availability. Secret spells can only be learnt through Questing or a high-ranking member of a religion/magical society.
  4. Based on the Personal Magic spell list as a start and added spells that are not duplicated from the Divine Magic and Sorcery lists.
  5. Variable trait removed. Where a spell had the variable trait, I have made it a fixed effect or added a dice roll to work out how powerful the spell is when cast.
  6. No summoning spells. Spells that Summon Other World creatures have been removed.
  7. More complex spells removed. Spells that outside of the simple parameters of the system have not been included.
  8. Suggested critical and fumble effects have been added. This is intended to help beginning Referees and players.
  9. Same names. As the spells have the same name as their Three Magic System counterpart.

Here are two classic spells, as they appear in the One Magic System.

Heal

Instant, Touch

Each casting of this spell allows the caster to restore 2D6 hit points to damage themselves or another target.

A casting of Heal, which restores 6 or higher, will also re-attach a severed limb if cast within ten rounds of the loss.

A casting of Heal, which restores 4 or higher, will also cure any single poison or disease affecting the target.

Healing can only be attempted once per day per wound. If one character has already cast a spell on a particular wound, then additional healing must come from another character.

This spell can not be used to bring characters who are dead back to life.

  • Critical: 12 hit points are restored immediately.
  • Fumble: Spell backfires and causes 2d6 hit points of damage to the caster.

Weapon Enhance

Touch

When this spell is cast on any close combat weapon, it increases its damage dice type by one (so, for example, a Dagger’s damage goes from 1D4+1 to 1D6+1) for the duration of this spell and adds +20% to the character’s Close Combat skill when using the enhanced weapon. The weapon’s damage is magical and will affect creatures that can only be hurt by magic. This spell cannot be used with Fireblade.

  • Critical: Any hit by the weapon is considered a critical for the duration of the spell.
  • Fumble: The weapon is dulled for the spell’s duration by one damage dice type (doing a minimum of 1 point of damage).

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The OpenQuest Companion

The OpenQuest Companion, cover by Jon Hodgson

This selection of additional optional rules is the next release for OpenQuest. It is currently on sale, as a free book, as part of the pre-order for the main OpenQuest 3 rulebook.

While this is not the finalised contents list, here’s a peek at some of the subjects covered in the Companion.

The One Magic System. I use this quick system for convention games. Here it is expanded and balanced for campaigns that do not need or want to use OpenQuest’s Three Magic System.

Membership skill. Want a quick game-mechanic to measure how responsive your character’s organisation is to their calls for help? Then Membership (Organisation) is the key here. Use it to track your character’s ups and downs in the organisation’s favour and access to the benefits that the organisation provides. An extension of the rules for Ranks in the Magic chapters (esp. Divine) which also covers non-magical organisations such as guilds.

Adventuring Associations. So, your merry band of adventurers have formed a band that has endured at least one caper and want to create a shared base of operations? This article shows the benefits of the characters creating their own Adventuring Association or joining an existing one.  Also, an example of how to use the Membership skill.

The Spirit World. An article detailing what the Spirit World is like and the places and non-player characters who live there. Intended for new players and Referees who are struggling to visualise how the Spirit World works in the game.

Quick Quest. This is how I run OpenQuest at my table to account for the sudden need for numbers to hang the rules off. Such as when a random non-player character suddenly gains importance through interaction with the characters, and a quick profile is created on the fly for physical or social combat.

Near-Death Experiences. What happens when a character should die, but the player spends a fortune point to avoid the final curtain call. They end up caught between worlds, and the valuable insights they can gain while waiting to come back to life are covered in this article.

Tools for World Building. To go alongside the Campaign Questionnaire from the main rulebook, a series of questionaries, random tables to help referees set up adventure locations in their games.

Also, making a return from the pages of the main OpenQuest 2nd Edition rulebook in a revised and possibly expanded form, are the following.

Other World Quests. What exactly happens when the characters go adventuring in the Other Worlds.

WAR! The realm is ablaze with conflict, and this article deals with the consequences to the adventurers no matter their power to affect the outcome.

Realm Quests. This article details how to define nations and states in OpenQuest, and the sort of Quests that arise because of events in the realm.

The OpenQuest Companion focuses on maximum gaming fun, adding modular rules that add excitement for any D100 game.

It is currently heading towards a summer release.

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 Duck Crusade at Virtual Grogmeet 2021

I had an epic game of The Duck Crusade at VirtualGrogmeet, an online convention organised by the Grognard Files Podcast,  yesterday afternoon. As bonkers, with moments of grimness, as I envisioned it being. It was wonderful to see the foul land of Grogland and its mad cultist inhabitants come to life in full evil glory

Here’s the Player’s Introduction

You are all members of the Order of Lizard Killers, who live at Fort Fury on the edge of the Groglands.

Two hundred years ago Groglands was your people’s sweet, moist homeland, and was called Green Marsh. Then the monstrous giant walking three-headed lizard known as Grogzilla came and laid it to waste with its vile breath of corruption!

The survivors settled at the Fort. A human outpost, that they very kindly allowed to settle in by the local human tribe.

You are the last of your Order. You’ve just received word that your mentors – the Duck Pack – have been killed while patrolling the Groglands. And worse than that while Grogzilla sleeps in a cave beneath the ruins of Fowlton, it has laid an egg, and its corrupt human priesthood has brought it to the surface! That they plan to hatch it and soon there will be a SON OF GROGZILLA!!!

 

This system uses OpenQuest, a D100 system inspired by the classics with modern mechanics for smoother play. No system or setting knowledge required, but Mature Themes of madness, unnaturalness, and horror will feature heavily.

 

The Duck Crusade by Dan Barker, on the Left one of the Crusader Ducks and on the Right one of the Grogzitte Cultists.

Despite a very downbeat send-off speech by their Grandmaster (“you don’t stand a chance, you’ll probably die and your body will sink into the swamp”), the Ducks cut a bloody swathe through the cultists, and killed the Son of Grogzilla!

They triumphed and have become the new elite Heroes of Fort Fury, the fabled Duck Pack. Big thanks to Andrew Jones, David Haraldson, Lee Williams, and Roy Duffy who played Buffo the Baboon raised as Duck to a hilt (picture below).

This is the first time I’ve run the scenario, and due to it being effectively 2.5 hours once we got into playing properly, it was a slightly abridged version. On reflection that’s fine. There’s a lot of material in the current draft of the adventure. So much so that you can pick and choose which parts of it to use, and the resolution is pretty obvious from the word go so you can just drop it in when you need to wrap things up quite quickly without it being jarring. The players threw themselves into it with great gusto, with none of the caution that some players exhibit when they look at the skill ratings of 60% in their signature skill and the number of hit points (usually between 10 and 15) on their character sheets 🙂  This may because that I use a much more concise format for characters in convention games, where signature skills are in the 70-85% rating, non-important skills aren’t listed (and are taken at 20% if they turn up in play) and the character has double the amount of personal magic than a starting character does, with personal magic casting being POW X 5 instead of POW X 3.

The Duck Crusade is currently in draft form and is being worked up to be released as a A5 format booklet, with notes about how to run it from the Cultist’s point of view, and a mini-guide to the lands of Grogland. Current ETA late Apirl/early May.

How Dwarfs Came to Live With Us

This a human tale from Gatanese folk-lore that originates from before the Empire of Gatan that explains from the point of view of a Gatanese commoner how the group known as Forge Dwarfs came to set up their communities (known as Forges) amongst the human settlements.  It came about in-game from one of the players asking what their character, who comes from Gatan (which is the example setting in the OpenQuest rulebook).

I forgot how much I liked writing this sort of thing, not just from years of playing in Glorantha but also from writing up fragments of myths to present in Monkey the Roleplaying Game. 

Note, none of this is Open Gaming Content, as is anything I write about Gatan (which is defined as product identity in OpenQuest 3).

How Dwarfs Came to Live With Us

Hundreds of years ago, a group of dwarfs came down from their mountain homes*

“Why are you here?” asked our Elders?

“We want to have houses like you, try your foods, and have women” the Spokes Dwarf replied.

“No, you can’t have our women. They are ours,” replied the Elders.

“No, you have misunderstood us. We don’t have any women where we come from. We will live among you and learn,” the Spokes Dwarf replied.

The Elders were still confused, but the Dwarfs said they would make crafted goods and trade directly with the Elders in exchange for an area of housing in our village. So this was amenable to our ancestors, and so they set up what became known as a Forge in our town.

One day the Elders noticed that Dwarfen women were wandering about the Forge and even popping over to the bakers to pick up bread and cakes.  Confused, they went to the Spokes Dwarf.

“I see you have women now. How did they get here? They weren’t here yesterday,” they asked.

“They did not come here. We made them. We watched how your women work, and we made copies of them,” replied the Dwarf.

So that is how the Dwarfs who live in our towns, cities and villages came here many hundreds of years ago so that they could be more like us. The dwarfs who stayed in their mountain homes, are rather stuffy and don’t have any women. The Forge Dwarfs say that their Mountain brothers suffer from in-flexibility. I don’t know what that means, but I like our Dwarfs much more.

 

More Detail About The Lost Outpost

This is the OpenQuest Quickstart Rules + Adventure. If you are new to OpenQuest or a returning old hand wanting to see what’s changed, or simply want to pick up an introductory adventure suitable for newcomers this is for you.

I posted about this when I released it, but here’s a more detailed view, along with some design notes at the end.

OpenQuest Quickstart Cover by Jonny Gray

OpenQuest Quickstart Cover by Jonny Gray

A bit more about what it contains.

The Rules

The Rules is a cut-down selection, that has the basic mechanics explained, one of the three magic systems (personal Magic), a slightly cut down version of Physical Combat (with some of the combat actions left out). In short just enough rules so you can play the Adventure.

The Adventure

The Lost Outpost is set on the borderlands of the Empire of Gatan setting, which is the example in the OpenQuest Rulebook. Intertwined with the numbers you need to run it, there are lots of bits of explanation about the non-player character’s motives and what they are doing in the adventure in the context of their cultures and religious beliefs. I was very keen that the adventure shows that these more intangible things are just as big a driver in play as the numbers on the NPC’s profiles. Even for the “mooks” who are the accompanying warriors of the higher ranking NPCs.

Structure wise it’s a simple three-beat adventure in that the Referee presents the set of the situation in-game, the players explore the encounter area where the situation is, and then with the Referee’s help bring it to a resolution. Within that explanation that I try to show that player choice is central to the Quest plays out at the table.  If this sounds a bit worryingly story-game to you, don’t worry its presented with a reassuringly old-school introduction for both the Players and Referee, an adventure (or Quest as I call it in OQ) made up of six encounters – all placed on this wonderful map by Glynn Seal (of Midderlands fame).

The Garrison House, map by Glynn Seal

The Garrison House, map by Glynn Seal

Take note, this edition of OpenQuest is a lot darker in tone than previous ones and the quickstart reflects that. There’s a section that points out its mature themes in the introduction of the Quickstart. I’m not sure whether this tonal shift has been because of the fact that this edition’s art is black and white, or (more likely) because of the implied Dark Ages/Early Medieval setting, combined with I’m an adult playing with other adults.

Six Pre-made Characters

I used the full character generation rules, with six of the ready-made concepts, to make these starting level characters. From playing them you’ll get a good idea of how powerful new characters are, and what their limitations are. If you choose to continue the adventure, by either using the adventure in the main rulebook or the upcoming adventure pack (The Edge of Empire) you can continue to use them.

Here’s one of them Amon Durak, with comments on the pdf that explain how he works as a starting player character in OpenQuest.

Overall the Quickstart aims to give players new to D100 roleplaying games, a taste of what the full rulebook contains, and how D100 role-playing is different from D20 Level based games.

So if that sounds like something you’d like to use.

Designer’s Notes

This is probably the most involved adventure I’ve written since Life and Death, a three adventure collection that I released for OQ1 and revised slightly for OQ2.

I had three aims with it.

  1. Show how OpenQuest 3rd works.
  2. Provide clear examples to new Referees, and a clear structure that is easy to follow while allowing player choice to be king.
  3. Explain in a show not tell fashion the Empire of Gatan setting, without getting too deep and involved.

It was a struggle to get the three aims of the adventure across without vastly expanding the page count, and necessarily padding it. I think I got there 🙂

On a personal level, I want to be able to point to people new to OQ and say, “that’s what OpenQuest is”. Not have to, recommend they read the rulebook and then a follow on adventure pack to get what the game is all about.