Things I Learnt about How to Present a Historical Fantasy RPG using OpenQuest Recently

A couple of months ago, I re-edited and brought up to date Paul Mitchener’s Ancient Roman OpenQuest adventure Non Semper Erit Aestas (or “It will not always be Summer”). It’s set in the immediate aftermath of Emperor Nero’s death, the Roman Rhineland, here’s Paul’s quick pitch for it.

In the year 68AD, the Roman Empire is torn apart from civil war, and the Empire’s defences are drastically weakened, in particular those on the Rhine frontier. The player characters are Vigilis Nocturni — special agents of the Empire who investigate hidden threats, both mundane and supernatural. Both types of threats threaten the local capital of Colonia Agrippina, and the player characters are the only ones who can prevent it from falling to barbarians and foul sorcery.

Editing it was quite an enlightening process and I learnt the following things about Paul’s approach to Historical RPGs from it.

  • Not everyone goes around armed to the teeth or laden with equipment and treasure.
  • Weapons and armour are more of a status symbol.
  • Magic is not as prevalent as standard OQ. In Paul’s adventure, only Priests and dedicated cult members get magic, even Personal Magic.
  • Deities can be in the physical world and encountered as creatures.
  • That historical fact can form the backdrop for events in the adventure, but the future is not certain, and the player character’s actions do lead to meaningful changes to the timeline.

I have no plans to make this available in print because Paul will be using it as the basis of a standalone game, set in the Ancient Roman period known as the Age of the Four Emporers, powered by OpenQuest in the new year. More about that here, as it progresses.

OpenQuest Goes to the Conventions Part 2 Grogmeet

Grogmeet is a one day face to face con that is being run at Fanboy 3 in Manchester next Saturday.  Signups are being handled by Warhorn, the online convention management website, and this is how Grogmeet’s selection of OpenQuest games looks like, it looks like VICTORY!!!

OpenQuest declares victory at Grogmeet 2021

To put this in context. That’s three games, and I’m running only one of them, and they are all full! Normally it’s just me running one game, which depending on the convention, can fail to gain any players or only partially fill up. Admittedly Grogmeet is OQ sympathetic, being made up of people who like older games or are returning to rpging after a long break, but even so, I’m blown away by the success of this.

I’ve put The Great Goblin Hunt’s details up in a previous post, but here are the details of the other games.

The Broadsword and The Beast, GMed by Steve Ray

“‘I see a dark sail on the horizon, set under a black cloud that hides the sun’ (from ‘Broadsword’ by Jethro Tull)

Cries of woe rend the air as the kingdom is terrorized by a foul creature known only as The Beast. Join together as your band of heroes struggle to free the land from ‘the lonely fear of dying, for some of living too’. A game inspired, if you haven’t guessed, by Tull’s seminal album ‘The Broadsword and the Beast’”

Non Semper Erit Aestas, GMed by Paul Mitchener

In the year 68AD, the Roman Empire is torn apart from civil war, and the Empire’s defences are drastically weakened, in particular those on the Rhine frontier. The player characters are Vigilis Nocturni — special agents of the Empire who investigate hidden threats, both mundane and supernatural. Both types of threats threaten the local capital of Colonia Agrippina, and the player characters are the only ones who can prevent it from falling to barbarians and foul sorcery.

Note Non Semper Erit Aestas was quietly released in Pdf format recently and is up for sale on D101 Games web store.

All this OpenQuest activity makes me wonder whether it would be worthwhile doing an OpenQuest Online Convention over one or two days in early December. So I’ll be asking the GMs of these games whether they would be willing to participate in such an event. I’ll update you early next week if they come back positive. Also, if you are a referee who would be interested in taking part in such an event, drop me a line at newt@d101games.com.