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.

Magical ranks in a nutshell

OpenQuest has three paths to magical power. Within each is a set of ranks. which are listed below in order of magical power (although Wises and Shamans are more specialist casters of equal power to each other).

I quickly thought this up when thinking about how to quickly explain the magic systems to a complete beginner.

Battle Magic
Is the magic that just is. It flows through the surroundings and into a person who shapes it. A mish-mash of orally transmitted spells that have survived through time because they are useful in everyday life. Because everyday life for most adventurers is full of conflict they call it Battle Magic.

  • Most folk just do it to meet a need
  • Wises are exploring it.
  • Shamans are in a conversation with the self-aware expressions of it (i.e. spirits)

Divine Magic
Is the power of the Immortals, that comes from their deads in mythology.  Mortal followers are inspired by it, and that inspiration performs miracles for them. 

  • Lay members are protected by it
  • Initiates are at the start of their journey into the mysteries of it.
  • Priests/Priestesses are close to their deities and speak for them, guiding the believers.
  • Holy Warriors defend it

Is magic that comes from consciously manipulating the logical magical laws of the Universe, that previous seekers after knowledge has written down as spells in Sorcererous Spell Books.

When it comes to sorcery:

  • Apprentices are learning it
  • Adepts are doing it
  • Magi are living expressions of it.

The Wise

I’m currently doing a review of OpenQuest’s three magic systems. In short Battle Magic has had some trimming down of it’s spell list. Sorcery has had a few “utility” spells added so you don’t have to use Battle Magic to create magic point stores or charms any more, as well as a tweaked version of the Combined Manipulation Effects table (mainly because OQ doesn’t support skills over 100% any more). Divine Magic, for the time being, is left largely unchanged.

One thing that I’ve added to Battle Magic is another type of specialist magician type. Currently, if you want more magical power, you either graduate to learning Sorcery or Divine Magic, to peruse a career as a wizard or priest respectively,  or become a Shaman, where the emphasis changes to dealing with a small group of bound spirits.  But what if you want to carry on and become an advanced Battle Magic user?

Enter the Wise. This is the local hedge wizard/witch who lives on the edge of a small local community, usually rural where there isn’t an established religious Temple or School of Sorcery. Being a bit eccentric they have heard the call of the Magical Realm and quite naturally picks up Battle Magic spells without the need of a teacher. Also, they can pull the Magical Realm into the Real (as I’m calling the mundane plane of existence) and create places of power – such as a Seclusion (where they hide from the world and learn spells), a Sanctuary (an existing real world location that becomes embodied with the Wises protective spells for the duration of its existence) and the place of power, where the Wise and their followers can store magic points for quick restoration.

In short it a magician for the player who doesn’t want to not deal with the baggage of manipulating spells (Sorcery) or the implications and obligations of following a deity (Divine) or a small zoo of spirits (Shaman).   It also allows the referee to quickly have Battle Magic Magicians attached to gangs of creatures.

Here’s the hot off the press, so apologies in advance for the typos, version of this new type of Magician.

Please note its a pre-publication draft, so while it will be released as open gaming content under the OGL it currently is under development.

OpenQuest 3 Current Status

First off welcome to which will be the central resource for all things OpenQuest from now on. More content will be added as the days go by, so make sure to bookmark it and check back 🙂  You can also subscribe to the blog, see the link on the right-hand side, so you get the posts sent to you directly.

OK update about where I’m up to with the new edition of the rules.

I’m currently working on a new version of OpenQuest to coincide with the 10th Anniversary of its original release.

I had been working on a radically updated version, a proper OpenQuest 3rd Edition, which took the current version OpenQuest Refreshed (which is tweaked and cleaned up version of OpenQuest Deluxe without the setting chapter and adventure, with completely new artwork). This amongst many other changes was a “One Magic” version of OpenQuest.

I got really stuck writing the Organisations chapter, which is one of the really important core chapters of the book.

So… I went back to the OQ2 doc and thought about doing just a straight forward clean up and tidy up for a “10th Anniversary Edition” – I may have talked about this before as one of my options for OQ3.  I realised as I did this, that I like the three magic approach, I like magic points and the extra level of detail that OQ2 has. I also realised I’ve firmly scratched the simplified one magic approach with Skyraiders of the Floating Realms another D100 game which I’m currently playtesting and having a whale of a time with. Suddenly I had a eureka moment, that many of the changes that I was trying to bring in with OQ3 was just too much and already covered by Skyraiders. Oh the joy I felt when I realised this! I then spent the next couple of days going through the chapters – correcting here, tweaking there – but seeing them basically fall into place.

So this is the state of the book at the moment. Overall OpenQuest 10th Anniversary Editon, takes OpenQuest 2 Deluxe as a base. Some chapters are from the aborted OQ3 draft. Some are unchanged (except for another editorial pass to make corrections and clarify), and some are reinstated in the new version because they were left out in the currently available OpenQuest Refreshed.

Digging into the detail, chapter by chapter.

Chapter 1: Introduction. Largely unchanged, few updates in the actual play chapter to reflect the changes in working out initiative (its now based on the skill you are using, rather than DEX or INT). I’ve firmly decided that this chapter will need a new glorious full page picture to show Rurik and co on their Dwarf Steamboat fighting the Wyvern.

Chapter 2: Characters. Largely unchanged. I’ve stripped out Random Character gen, added a beefed-up Ready Made Concepts section. Ready-Made Concepts are more like the familiar BRP professions – so you can pick up and play, since they do skill points, magic and equipment allocation for you.  I might also make Non-human characters generation a bit more robust as well – list Duck/Dwarf/Elf with some ready-made concepts. The rules for Improving Characters moved to here from Chapter 6 the Quest.

Chapter 3. Skills. Largely unchanged but rules text updated for greater clarity. A section about Failing Forward added since this is something I do as standard in my games now, and its something that I feel should be in OpenQuest to stop gameplay stalling because of a failed roll.

Chapter 4. Equipment. Unchanged.

Chapter 5. Combat. This got moved over from the last draft of OQ3. It’s gone from ten pages in the current edition to twenty plus. Some of this is down to new combat options, but a lot of its down to the fact I look at the entire way conflict between the player characters and non-player characters occurs in the game. So there’s a new section on Social Combat, which covers Fast-talking (quickly convincing an npc or small group of npcs with a clear leader, that they should do what you want), Oratory (which is influencing a large crowd of people) and Intimidating (mainly used during physical combat to get npcs to surrender, but any attempt to use the threat for force). Then Physical combat is next and gets a full set of rules and guidelines which cover the initial contact between groups (Ambushes, Scouting ahead to work out the number of hostiles, running away to avoid combat, talking your way out of combat, actually engaging in combat), the actual hands-on of weapons being used (the meat of the section, and largely unchanged from OQ2), and the various ways combat is resolved. Finally, there’s a section on Magical Combat, which highlights how the use of various spells gives you the edge in combat as well as detailing Spirit Combat (which used to be in the Battle Magic section),

Chapter 6  The Quest (name changed from The Quest and Afterwards). Unchanged except for the ton of material moved to the new Ref Guidance chapter. It still is the chapter which explains what happens on an OpenQuest Adventure and how you pull it all together to run short campaigns or Sagas as I call them.

DELETED Chapter 7. Intro to Magic – this has got moved to the new Ref Guidance chapter (see below)

Chapter 8 Battle Magic. I’ve gone through the spell list and removed a good half a dozen superficial “gives you extra combat attractions/reactions” type spells that got added in OQ2 as a response to criticism that OQ1 didn’t have enough spells, I could go even further with this, but it undermines the whole “you can just use Battle Magic as a one-system” idea. I think that having Battle Magic as an optional complete magic system, for people that find the Advanced systems of Divine and Sorcery too much is a good thing. It’s also the approach that I’ve taken in the past in convention games.

Chapter 9 Divine. Unchanged. Might put all the Earth Mother cult bits together – since its currently split as examples.

Chapter 10  Sorcery. Unchanged.

All the Magic chapters will get a “How to do Magic” section as a page long high-light box, which explains the nuts and bolts of how to get the best out of each magic type in one place. So for Sorcery, I’ll explain about how to use it as a quickfire on the spot magic system vs having spells already cast and in effect before you go on a Quest.

Chapter 11. Creatures. Unchanged except a few clarifications/corrections and a new stat block format (that’s less space-intensive). I’m going to include an example of how you take on of the creature stat blocks and use it to create npcs of various power levels. So, for example, take the Orc,  roll up a basic warrior, add skill points and magic to get tougher warriors, chieftains and even a shaman.

Chapter 12. Plunder. Unchanged.

REINSTATED – Chapter 13. The Empire of Gatan – reinstated with a bit of rewriting (I need to explain why its Kingdom sized Empire :O ) and with the extra bits I put into an unpublished version that was going to be Worlds of Wordplay, but was pulled due to space reasons.

REINSTATED – Chapter 14. the Road Less Travelled redid it for the OQ Adventures Pateron and actually found it was missing bits(!) in the narrative – so it will be this expanded version OR replace it with Death comes to Ridsdale. Its been the example in the Quest chapter since initial release – is it not time to see the full adventure that you can play?  Road Less Travelled them moves to the big OpenQuest Adventure book (More on that later).

NEW! Chapter 15. Referee’s Guidance chapter – 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.

OK, that’s OQ 3 10th Anniversary edition done and dusted. I’m looking to have my final draft done by the end of this month. The overall aim is to get it to Kickstarter by August/September.

Jon Hodgeson has been commissioned to do the cover for the new edition.

More about what happens next after I finish the last bits of writing in a future post.