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, 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 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

The Lost Outpost Now Available

I am pleased to say the free pdf version of the OpenQuest 3rd Edtion Quickstart, the Lost Outpost is now available:

This pdf is designed to get players and Referees up and playing OpenQuest, with the minimum of preparation.

It contains the following sections.

  • Characters. A rundown of what an OpenQuest character is made up of, both in terms of numbers and concepts.
  • Quick Rules. A concise version of the OpenQuest rules, enough to play the adventure.
  • Combat. The rules for physical combat.
  • Magic.The basic approach to magic, known as Personal Magic.
  • The Lost Outpost. An introductory adventure set in OpenQuest’s example setting, the Empire of Gatan.
  • A set of six pre-made characters. Players should pick one and get ready to play.

Here’s the cover again by Jonny Gray.

The Lost Outpost, cover by Jonny Gray

The Lost Outpost, cover by Jonny Gray

The Duck Crusade in Grogzilla #2

I’ve jumped into Kickstarter’s ZineQuest promotion with Grogzilla #2, which is the follow up to last years…Grogzilla #1 🙂

At the heart of it is an OpenQuest powered adventure called the Duck Crusade, which is a Grimdark Quest with a firm sense of humour, much like the early GW Warhammer Fantasy Battle releases (McDeath for example).  It features the Crusader Ducks of Fort Fury, who are trying to regain their homeland which has been overrun by Cultists of Corruption who worship the Great Terror Lizard, GROGZILLA!

The Duck Crusade is a one-shot adventure, with its own self contained setting and a set of six pre-made duck characters, so you can just pick it up and play it in one to two gaming sessions.

If you fancy backing it, here’s the link

​Dan Barker is on art duties and he’s already produced this illustration which will grace the back cover of the zine.

The Duck Crusade by Dan Barker

Jonny Gray on board to illustrate The Saga of the Savage North

I had a day of great excitement yesterday. Not only I’m I 2/3 of the way through cleaning up the 1st layout draft (and I would have been 100% if I hadn’t had to leave the house to travel across the city to get stabbed in the non-dominant arm!) but Jonny Gray, who has done many of the pieces in the main rulebook, is also down to do LOTS of brooding dark B&W art for the Savage North. Which is cool because I was on his Patreon when he had a spell of doing pseudo-Viking and savage Barbarian art, and it inspired me to dust off the Savage North setting and do something with it.

If you are not familiar with Jonny’s work, here’s a gentle reminder.

OpenQuest Quickstart Cover by Jonny Gray

OpenQuest Quickstart Cover © Jonny Gray

Art by Jonny Gray

Until the Fearless Come at Grogmeetish 2020

Grogmeetish 2020 was the Grognard Files podcast’s virtual convention which was held online this Saturday just gone. Normally it is held in Manchester at Fanboy Three.  Upfront I’d like to thank Chris Hart (aka Dirk the Dice) for organising the event.

Due to family commitments, I could only put forward one game, so I decided to run the final part of my Swords and Sorcery/Barbarian bloodfest set in the frozen Savage North, Until the Fearless Come. Previous adventures also played out online, have told the tale of the downfall of Mad King Morgus the Drooler, and the succession of his wife Queen Haldra to the throne of Sonderland. In this, the last part of the trilogy, entitled Rites of Passage, that will be published in upcoming Saga of the Savage North setting and adventure book next year, Queen Haldra has received word that her ex-husband has fled across the frozen sea to the Kingdom of Foundhaven. Seeking to end disputes to her rule, she summons the player characters, a motley crew of Barbarian Warriors, to her court and gives them the task of bringing Morgus home, dead or alive.

The characters have to travel to Foundhaven across the icy Dragon Sea from Sonderland, so the first part is messing about in a big longship. Foundhaven is a land of people who fled their old monster-infested homeland hundreds of years ago, settled in a new wildland and lived in dread of the monsters catching up with them.  Without giving much away their doom has caught up with them and the player characters quickly get involved in a monster hunt shortly after stepping off the boat.

Until the Fearless Comes continues a couple of themes that previous adventures have kept to.

  1. It’s the Journey, not the Dungeon that is interesting.
  2. The movers and shakers are present and given stats.
  3. It used the One-Magic system.

Okay, let’s go into each point in more detail.

1 While there are mini-dungeons or dungeon-like environment, they are quick three or four encounter location affairs. I’ve no interest of making Savage North sinister sorcerers, crafty rogues or mighty thewed barbarians, crawl along corridors and deal with minor encounters that are beneath them. Instead, they are travelling the length and breadth of the land going to the interesting places that I’ve previously only mentioned in the setting’s gazetteer, meeting interesting people. Talking of which…

2. I’ve long been bothered by the trend in D100 books where there the big power players of the setting are described in a pen picture, but given no stats. I get it. There’s an expectation that the players will never go toe to toe with such characters and that it’s a lot of work detailing such high-level characters in game terms. So why bother. OpenQuest being more straightforward has less of a stat block (or profile as I’m calling it), and the Savage North is full of tales where some King or powerful hero met their demise at the hands of a wandering warrior. Swords and Sorcery literature is full of examples where the main protagonist comes up against the movers and shakers of the setting.

3. The One Magic system, which will appear in the OpenQuest Companion, was used for the previous games and worked wonderfully as a quick, no-nonsense magic system that new players, as well as seasoned players, can pick up and run with. It also works well with larger-than life world of Swords and Sorcery.

The game was Mega Gaming Fun, with OpenQuest’s fast-moving straightforward system supporting the fast-paced free-wheeling Barbarian action. Monsters were discovered and slain, and vengeance was had, but whether the Queendom was saved is questionable (and outside the confines of a 3 1/2 hour convention scenario).

Art by Jonny Gray

This post is part of D101’s Dark November promotion. Follow @d101games on Twitter, where I’ll be holding prize draws and announcing flash sales.




Ducks, Why?

Detail from OpenQuest cover by Jon Hodgson

OpenQuest has a long tradition of including rules for Ducks as a playable non-human race/culture.


They have a firm place in popular culture, courtesy of the animated adventures of Donald and chums.

Yet they are a blank canvas. Unlike other fantasy non-humans, there’s not an established canon of history in either fantasy or folklore.

Twagedy and Triumph. Their short stature, odd appearance and argumentative nature may make them an obvious figure of fun. But dig deeper into the detail of their lives, and you will see the struggle of their underdog lives, and take pride in their achievements against the odds.

A fan favourite, all of the above have inspired some truly great fan work over the years, as people have taken Ducks to their hearts and made them their own.

As a replacement for Halflings, I’ll leave that there and say no more 🙂

And yes it is a bit silly and lighthearted, but you have to have those moments in a game. Especially a game that can often have monster hunting and investigation of the terrible acts of dark cults as its focus.

OpenQuest 3rd OGL SRD will be hosted here

I’m going to double post the update which I’m posting over on the Kickstarter, since its just funded the Online version of the OQ3 SRD.

So Stretch Goal 5 OGL SRD Website funded yesterday.

This goal was quite a big one, so what does this entail and why is it important?

The OpenQuest System Resource Document will contain all the Open Gaming Content (OGC) contained in the game. Unlike previous editions of OQ where I made the entire text of the book OGC, this time out it will be the game without all the flavour text, examples,  with the example setting and any references to it removed, and not have the adventure included. In the ten-plus years, I’ve been working on OQ, I’ve learnt a lot more about how the OGL works and this to my mind is the best way of delivering it.

Here’s a quick version of the preview chapters, with the content that will be OGC highlighted in yellow.

The OQ SRD, will work out about 100 pages possibly less and be in a nice concise shape to create an online version of it that you can use as an online reference during play, and 3rd part developers can use to create adventures, supplements and spin-off games.

Having a website to support it means I can put up frequently asked questions for developers, and post updates to the rules. It also gives me a focus and a reason to connect with other developers, existing and potential.

Last time I did this properly was during the OpenQuest 2 years (2010-2015) and as a result not only did we see our spin-off games emerge (The Company and the River of Heaven) but also some great games from Cake Bread and Walton (Clockwork & Chivalry, Dark Streets, Pirates & Dragons) and Crooked Staff’s Age of Shadows. There’s also a great French translation by the folk over at

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.