Category Archives: OpenQuest

Hangout Games

Taking inspiration from erstwhile D101 Colleague Paul Mitchener who dumped his wish list of games he’d like to play over hangouts soonish the other day, here’s my list. Some of it less navel-gazing, because they are D101 releases that need playtesting, some of it is.

Monkey! I’ve got to figure out a way of adapting/streamlining Monkey to run over hangouts. At the moment the card based mechanic really shines at the table, because you get to see the opposition’s cards laid on the table before you draw yours. This is especially relevant when you are facing down multiple extras (mooks) and their bad ass boss, and you have to decide which cards in your hands are getting played where. BUT once that crease is ironed out I reckon it should shine because its already fine tuned to be a quick action packed fun fest with most adventures lasting a single 3-4 hour game session. I reckon I should be able to pack lots into a 5-8 sessions campaign. I reckon the Ministry of Thunder, a

OpenQuest: Green Hell. I want a weekly/bi-weekly game of OpenQuest like some folk run D&D. Good old classic FRP, but finely tuned to cut out the time wasting. OQ already does it Face to Face (it was my go to when my kids were very small and I only had 3-4 hours dead to run game), no reason why it shouldn’t online. I want to immerse myself in the setting I’m putting together for the adventure book Green Hell, a big bad ass Fantasy Swamp. Aspirant pseudo-Medieval Knights and Wizards vs spiky plant based horrors sounds good to me 🙂

River of Heaven. I’ve run a couple of RoH games at conventions and always had a good time. Now I want to do a short campaign. Either a continuation of the Starshine adventure , which is basically “you are fugitives on the run with your own ship, GO!” or a short focused sand boxy campaign on ‘Red Mars’, with the the characters being on the wrong side of both the Imperial Chinese and the US Military who both have colony’s on the planet.

Crypts and Things: Underdark Spires. This is one of the adventures I’m spitting out as part of the C&T Kickstarter as an addon. I’ve played bits at conventions, and I could easily playtest the remaining bits as standalone, but I want to stress test it as a whole. I want to see characters ground into the dust, driven mad or warped by corruption. Or (more likely) see a clever bunch of players heroically overcome all the weird madness this mini-campaign chucks out at them.

Moving onto games that I don’t publish, to show I’ve got a bit fo depth to me 🙂

Tenra Bansho Zero – run once, played once at conventions. Would love to explore this gem some more. It hits my dials for batshit oriental Gonzo, plus the play framework of startup-scenes-intermission-more scenes + simple d6 system really hits my sweet spot for game design too.

Dungeon World: Megadungeon Ran this as my first series of Hangout games, and for a while, it was my go-to hangouts game. Then suddenly it stopped and I didn’t play via hangouts until my recent game of Beyond Dread Portals a game written by and run by +Paul Mitchener (look out for this one when D101 publishes it later this year). I was running the mega-dungeon I wrote when I was 15-16 from memory and it was working out most excellent, providing great improvisational nuggets under DW where it never really holds water for as an overly complex logical AD&D adventure.

Feng Shui This is more of a wish list game, one I’d possibly like to play, but that lovely 2nd Edition sitting on the shelf gathering dust needs to get some use and be made part of my gaming landscape once more.

HeroQuest Glorantha I’ve been away too long. HQ is a great pick up and play game, quick flavoursome character generation, and is the ideal way of running zero to EPIC hero in about dozen of more adventures. I know HQ Glorantha is quite a niche game, but I may seriously look at this as being my first game to run via hangouts.

7 Hills 2016

So 7 Hills, the con that snuck up on me.

Everytime I looked down at the clock, I was suddenly much closer to 7 Hills held arround Easter time annually. The fact that Easter was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay early this year and I was focused on other stuff (getting Crypts and Things Remastered the damn deal done and the recent OpenQuest Bundle of Holding) meant that my sense of time was completely off on this one.

So boosch I’m in the car with the esteemed John Ruddy driving me through Manchester commuters rushing to go home for the weekend, the misty tops of the Pennines and then all too soon into the land of 7Hills, Furnace and Sheffield Wednesday Football club, Hillsborough Sheffield.

We arrived early about 5 ish, gassed much to the huddle of other early people and then I ordered the traditional Veggie Burger n chips.  Then talked in to the evening and drank too much as usual (but don’t worry God lets me get away with one night of excess 😉 ). Highlight of the night had to be Declan bequeathing Neil the “Box of stuff” that had been in the attic……(see the pictures below to see why).

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After shaking off any hint of hangover over a fresh and frank breakfast which included much chat about the state of RQ/Chaosium/CoC 7th Ed/OpenQuest I was off to get my stuff together for the first slot of the day.

If the wind changes...
Before Breakfast
After Breakfast
After Breakfast

Which for me was me running the New West, for two players (Malcolm and Tom). This is a game of Cowboys and Indians (and occasionally Dinosaurs) at the centre of the Hollow Earth, using Dr Mitch’s straightforward and streamlined Fate variant Fortune (see Hunters of Alexandria for a published version of this rule set).  We had a great time, the small number of players allowed me to focus on the loud and rawkous action that this game tends to produce.  The stars of this Saturday Morning Cowboy, survived a ride by shooting, an assassination attempt during a ballroom brawl (that’s right they kicked off during tea time in the 1st class restaurant) on the steam boat that they were travelling up river on, narrowly avoided an Undefeated regiment of Confederates armed with maxim guns and cannon by use of Egyptology, before facing off with the ancient guardian of an ancient technology that controls the weather (and more). All good fun 🙂

Lunch was the predictable Cheese and Onion pasties, but I was 80% close to getting a salad (honest), from Morrisons just across the road from the venue. A quick set of stretches to fight off fatigue and then back to the main gaming room….

…to find my afternoon game of OpenQuest: The Last Retreat had received no sign ups. Nada, zero, natch. Which to be honest doesn’t surprise me.  I’ve over twenty years experience  of GMing at conventions and I’ve seen systems I’ve run come and go as player interest waxes and wanes. I suspected that OQ (which to be honest plays on the simple joy of D100 fantasy) had outstayed its welcome and this confirmed it. I’ve run it numerous times and its now got many more sexy looking competitors, so this time even my energy for it (rejuvenated by the recent success of the OQ Bundle of Holding) wasn’t going to magically manifest players.

So I took the afternoon off and perused the many shiny books being sold by Jim of Patriot Games, and had a good natter about the state of the UK RPG Industry.

Myself and the esteemed Guy Milner snuck off to our usual Top Sekret Saturday Evening Tea time retreat to find that it had been significantly leveled up since we had last been there. Nom 🙂

The it was time for my last GMing session of the weekend: Sorcerer Under the Mountain, my OSR tribute to the Fighting Fantasy Dungeons of my youth like the Warlock Of Firetop Mountain.  System wise I choose The Black Hack, a very simple cut down version of D&D that effectively uses the best rulings from a number of its incarnations and cuts out the chaff to give a complete version of the game in about 20 pages. I playtested it at home with a mix of curious & grognard players, and had pretty much the same here. Both times it went down a storm 🙂 At some point soon The Sorcerer Under the Mountain will be on D101’s release schedule, so look out for it if you are interested 😉

The Black Hack rules!
The Black Hack rules!

I wasn’t going to risk God’s wrath so virtually no booze and an early night on Saturday (11pm!) so I can be up bright and early for Sunday’s shenanigans.

Breakfast was pleasant (and filling) but far less controversal than Saturdays.  A quick freshen up and check out of the room (which was as usual very pleasant and homely for my stay) and then it was back to the venue for slot 1.

Which was Neil Smith’s epic rendition of Tenra Bansho ZeroTHE HyperBlast Asian game.  TBZ for those of you who’ve not come across its gentle charms is a Japanese Roleplaying game lovingly translated into two thick graphic novel sized books – one setting introduction and the other the rules. The setting is  mad as a box of frogs – in that its full on Manga Sci-fi meets Samurai Action Flick. The rules straight forward ( a very clever dice pool system ) with a strong framework of play that allows fast character driven action and plot development.  Neil was using the more sedate Ruined Empire setting, that is less maximum metal turned up to 11 than the default Tenra setting but perhaps better suited to the political game of intrigue he had us six players embroiled in from Scene Zero (the opening scene, were each player plays out a quick intro to put their character into context of the adventure to come).  I’m still not convinced it is something that I run as a con game, despite my rather giddy proclamations in the post-game-glow. I’d probably have to run a successful run at home first. But I enjoyed it immensely. Unlike some other games where it’s all about the collective story of the party, I could tell you six stories about each of the characters as a result of that game.

Quick spot of lunch, then the traditional Raffle! What’s in the D101 Magic Bag?  You’ll have to ask Thomas Lock who was first out of the hat and picked it as his prize 😉

The D101 Magic Bag!
The D101 Magic Bag!

Last game of the con was Guy Milner’s 13th Age  tribute to Village of Homlett. I say tribute because Guy played hard and fast following the scenario as written. But hey that’s ok because 13th Age is written to do that, with its narrative cunning and its clever and fast mechanical bits that work to uplift the bits that tend to drag in normal D&D. A very good game, which had all the players engaged and laughing in what can be a difficult slot due to player fatigue.

Maximum thanks to the organisers Paul Mitchener and Graham Spearing. Thanks to every  one who I played or talked to.

Already looking forward to next year’s installment which has the theme of Urban Legends.

The State of D101 Games Address 2016

Gather round Ladies, Gentlemen and Wild Things of all ages!

Here is my annual State of D101 Games at the beginning of 2016, address.

2015 in review

As far as putting out books 2015 was a good year for Releases 🙂

  1. Reunion (River of Heaven, Jan)
  2. Last Witness ( River of Heaven, March)
  3. OpenQuest Adventures (OpenQuest, May )
  4. Hearts in Glorantha Collected (Glorantha, HeroQuest, RQ, May)
  5. Gloranthan Adventures #2 Red Sun Rising (Glorantha,HeroQuest, May)
  6. Hunters of Alexandria (Fate/Fortune, November)
  7. The Company (re-release) (Powered by OpenQuest, December)

Convention wise as well as my local cons, Furnace (which celebrated it’s 10th Year) and Seven Hills, D101 did  UK Games Expo, which is the nearest thing we have to US Gen Con, which was a huge success for us. We came out with a profit and had a great time meeting new people, catching up with old friends and generally bringing D101 to a whole new audience. To top it all River of Heaven came third in the new RPG category of the UK Games Expo Awards, behind the mighty Mutant Year Zero & Mindjammer RPGs from Modiphius Entertainment.

D101 @UK Games Expo 2015, L-R Guy Milner , Me n Kevin Kthulhu, and Graham Spearing (Wordplay Games)
D101 @UK Games Expo 2015, L-R Guy Milner , Me n Kevin Kthulhu, and Graham Spearing (Wordplay Games). The humongous Travelling Man stall was to our left in the photo, hence the TM banner. Photo by Julian Hayley.

Kickstarters, we completed the River of Heaven Kickstarter by March with the release of the pdf of The Last Witness, and in March I launched our most successful crowdfunding project ever for Crypt and Things Remastered.

Things for 2016

Crypts and Things Remastered is going to be our big first release of 2016. Its written and illustrated, and the additional content (never mind the revision of the existing 1st edition) doubles the size of it. Currently I’m at the stage of getting the main rulebook extensively edited and proofed. Once that’s done I’ve got a stream of  adventure modules ( 2 reissues, 1 conversion and 3 New) to release over the coming year. Then we move on to doing supplements for the game and “Oh what sights I have to show you” 🙂

We’ve Companion books and further adventures planed for River of Heaven and OpenQuest (see my earlier post for details) .

Monkey the 2nd Incarnation is coming along nicely. Its in playtest and writing phase, and I hope to make some form of announcement on Monday February the 8th which the start of the Chinese Year of the Monkey about its immediate future 🙂

Monkey by Peter Frain
Monkey by Peter Frain

Despite its low key release Hunters of Alexandria really did well. This is Paul Mitchener’s Monster Hunting in Ancient Alexandria game, using his Fortune rules which is a version of Fate siting somewhere between Fate Accelerated and Fate Core with influences from Jadepunk, which are simple and written straight to the point (the core rules are only 10 pages of A4). So I’m currently planing more Fortune  books for 2016.

The return of Wordplay! First off Project Darklight is currently being tweaked to fit in with Graham Spearing’s new Wordplay 2.0 rules (which will be out shortly via his Wordplay Games ). Then I’ve also got a Wordplay version of The Empire of Gatan (the setting that’s included with OpenQuest Deluxe) and Infinite Loop (an expanded version of Infinite War, which was last seen in Worlds of Wordplay) in the works. Both these titles will have a striped down version of the rules, which I’m dubbing Wordplay lite, and be self contained and pick up and play like Hunters of Alexandria.

Glorantha is Go! Hearts in Glorantha #2 (aka vol2 #1) is being assembled as we speak, Gloranthan Adventures #3 Defenders of the Dark is coming along nicely and I’m even planing a Mega Adventure for Gloranthan Adventures #4.

OpenQuest – Forward into 2016 and beyond

Just to let you know that after the last six months of wobbling about OQ I’ve made a firm and positive decision about its future.

Recent interactions with the fans on G+ have shown me that there is still a great love and more importantly from a publisher point of view, demand for new OQ books. Thanks if you had any input on calling me on this one. All I can say I was in a very low place and you prevented me from throwing away 8 years of work, both personal and collaborative.

Taking step back and looking at it that 8 years of work is very strong and something to be proud of. OQ in one form or another has been a consistent  steady seller, with a few peaks . So I think we have a market for it 🙂

So my plan in 2016 is to quietly get on with OQ.  Monkey and Crypts & Things are my priority, but there’s room for the odd bit of OQ in the pipeline 🙂

First off there will be no OQ3. I may be adding a bit of art to OpenQuest Basics – so its more appealing for direct sales at say UK Games Expo – but that’s as far as tinkering with the main books goes.

I ran two polls over on the G+ D101 community and over at BRP Central and the two clear winners for what people wanted to see were an OQ Companion and new adventure/setting books.

OpenQuest Companion – I’ve got a striped down “One Magic System” I wrote for my abortive OQ3 (I had some spare time at the day job before Christmas) and a few other house rules that came out of those writing sessions, which I’ll polish up as start for this book. This will be a slow burner of a book, which I’ll invite contributions to. Its focus will be alternative rules and extra bits of gamey stuff.

I’ll be writing and commissioning new OpenQuest Adventures, both the adventure/setting books and shorter standalone adventures (anything from 10 to 40 pages long).
On a personal note I’ve got lots of little fragments in notebooks of OQ adventures and setting ideas so I’ll be working on pulling those together as a break from Monkey/C&T (which are my MUST do things this coming year).

I’ve also got tentative plans to do a simple OpenQuest Living Campaign for Conventions/Online play – but that’s still formative in my head at the moment.

On the OpenQuest related games front, we’re currently working on a River of Heaven Companion and The Company is coming back into print 🙂

So in summary:

  • No new edition in 2016
  • New Adventures/Settings
  • OpenQuest Companion

So I’m reinvigorated on this one. D100 is in my blood 🙂

If you have any ideas for books, get in touch (newt@d101games.com)

OQ is GO!

Tis was the post before Christmas

I know that the readership of this blog is rather small, but this is primarily to get me up to date with what we’ve got on. You see I’ve got two weeks off the day job and there’s been a blur of activity in the off hours with various projects being worked on.

Crypts & Things – This is the biggy that has to be delivered next.  Good news is that all the art is in and we are doing a big edit of the text. When I say we…yes this means someone else as well as me 🙂 Next up is sorting out the adventures, working out what work needs to be done and some sort of realistic release schedule for the first half of 2016 after the main book comes out.  C&T is going to be one of our BIG things for 2016 so I’m preparing myself for that.

Project Darklight – After the wheels came off rather spectacularly at public playtest stage (Feb 2015), I revisited the project back in October and laid out an “Ashcan” version, a rough pre-production version in time for Furnace. I figured that I could at least present it in its Wordplay version at least once, before porting it over to Fate. Thing was that once it was laid out I could see it more clearly, warts n all, I realised that actually I’m rather fond of it and with a bit more tweaking it will be ready for a quick playtest and then release! So if you’ve been watching this one look out for the second call for playtesting in very early 2016 🙂

Monkey 2nd Incarnation. Slow and steady is the name of the game at the moment. I’ve a solid base with the 1st edition, and I’m making lots of tweaks and changes that need to be properly playtested with my home group. Also I plan to do a more comprehensive guide to the non-player characters that feature in the book, which will take time.  Fingers crossed though for a summer release 🙂

River of Heaven. Working on the River of Heaven Companion at the moment with John Ossoway and Paul Mitchener. Then a small break and reassess on what comes next. RoH was huge for us in 2015 and we’ve definitely got options for where we go with it next.

OpenQuest. Bit of a strange one. Recent developments with a revitalised and reinvigorated  Chaosium, who are focusing on RQ, means I’m tempted to say “my job here is done” as far as carrying the torch for Old School D100 revival and put the whole line into what I call POD Stasis, i.e. the books will still be available on Drivethrurpg.com/Lulu.com but nothing new will be worked on. But I had a bit of slack time during my day job’s lunch hour recently, and was able to quickly work on what I’m calling “OpenQuest 3 Hacked”. I took the whole OQ2 SRD document and blitzed through it making the changes that I wanted to the system, and bringing it much more closer to the vision I originally had for the game when it was called SimpleQuest. Briefly – Random Character generation as standard, cleaned up and simplified Combat, Variable Armour points (eg. Chainmail is 1d8 Armour Points), One Magic system with no variable magic ( Healing for example now heals 1d6 Hit Points per casting) and no magic points, using the Goons system for stating out quick npcs and monsters.  Whether I go anywhere with this is still at the planning stage and other things have priority.  Saying this OQ has been good for me over the last eight years and it would be sad to see it gradually disappear.  Fans of OQ2 don’t despair since I plan to keep it available via POD even if I go forward with OQ3.

Empires of Y – Dr Mitch’s epic tribute to 2nd Ed AD&D Multi-planar gaming, is currently in editorial with a batch of rewrites to do.

That’s it for now, I’ll be making a more formal State of D101 in 2016 post here come the New Year 🙂

State of D101 in 2015

Happy Year of the Goat!

I can’t believe its February already, things are moving on so fast. I’m using the fact that it’s the Chinese New Year to do the State of D101 Address today, for reasons that will become clear below.

But first a quick report on the year just gone.

2014 Overall

Last year overall was a year of sticking my head down and getting the last bits of OpenQuest 2 done and pushing River of Heaven out. It also was year of getting D101’s house in order, of pulling up bootstraps and of streamlining my working procedures so that I’m not up to silly o’clock doing layout and other D101 stuff.  I also went back in time and looked at what made D101 exciting and fun in the first couple of years and how the heck I had managed to pump out so much. I realised a lot of it was my attitude and so I had a ‘reset’ of my head to put me back in that zone of excitement again…..wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

River of Heaven Kickstarter

This took up the majority of my time this year. It was more than worth it on both for personal satisfaction and for restoring faith and confidence in D101 as a fun business adventure. It set a nice achievable template for future Kickstarters, which I’ll be using for all D101’s big releases. Releasing the main rulebook just before Christmas was a satisfying way to end the year.

OpenQuest 2 Indiegogo campaign

Being overly generous it has gone on longer than anticipated, but once the additional stretch goals are done in early 2015 it represents a body of work that I’m very happy with. Two new books were released, Crucible of the Dragons, OpenQuest Basics and two old books were expanded and tidied up (Savage North and Life and Death). I’m currently working on the last two stretch goals OpenQuest Adventures and the Online SRD.

Coming in 2015

This year I seriously up the ante. 2015 should go down as our most Mega Gaming Fun year EVER!

Crypts and Things Remastered

MARCH 1st 2015 mark this date in your calendar. This is when I launch the Kickstarter to fund the remastered version of our popular Swords and Sorcery RPG, Crypts and Things. Remastered means that all the art is being replaced, the rules are being tided up and streamlined and if the campaign funds there will be extra content. More rules, monsters, spell and setting information.

Read the previews over at the Sorcerer under Mountain blog.

Empires of Ys

Dr Mitch’s (Crucible of Dragons, Drowned lands, Age of Arthur) take on OSR D&D from a multi-dimensional point of View.

More information on the game’s page.

Infinite War

An expanded version of the Sci-fi setting that first saw light of day in Worlds of Wordplay. This is a game of two rival conspiracies fighting each other, for the fate of the time stream itself. It is inspired by Fritz Liber’s Big Time and Moorcook’s Jerry Cornelius stories.

Lost Fools of Atlantis

April 1st mark this date in your diary. The Grand Ascended Masters demand it! On this day they will transmit information about the game that was previously sighted in the 2000s and is now finally making it’s descend through the ether into manifest reality. A rules lite humorous look at occult conspiracies vying for control of everyday reality.

Both Lost Fools of Atlantis and Infinite War are the first of a line of FATE-Lite game books, which will blend a quick and concise version of the FATE rules (codenamed FORTUNE and written by the esteemed Dr Mitch) with Setting and Adventure(s), in a 6” x 9” Black and White illustrated book, in MGF way 🙂  Dr Mitch’s Drownlands will also make it into this line eventually.

Hearts in Glorantha & Gloranthan Adventures

Hearts in Glorantha will be coming back in a new and improved format later this year and Gloranthan Adventures #2 is in its final stages of layout now (tentative release March/April latest). Life is returning to the lozenge after too many years away.

River of Heaven

Currently working on the next scenario release Last Witness and then onto the River of Heaven Companion, which will be a collection of scenarios, rules and setting material.

OpenQuest

I plan to support OQ with smaller module releases, but the next big thing for this year is the Return to the Savage North, a follow on from our popular Savage North Setting. This 90-120 page supplement will feature more fun adventures and a deeper look at the lands and the personalities from this D100 Swords and Sorcery setting.

Project Darklight

My rules-lite Cyberpunk game recently got to playtest stage, only to go straight back to development. Good news is that I’m already working on new system for the game, so it will be out later this year.

…and last but not least!

MONKEY! The 2nd Incarnation

I’ve started work on an expanded and revised version of our fun game of the Chinese Classic “Journey to the West”. Art duties are very capably being handled by Peter Frain. The game is in development this year, and if things go swiftly I intend to Kickstart it at the end of the year. If you are interested in helping out contact me at newt@d101games.com.

Convention attendance

As well as our local cons of 7 Hills (April 18 – 19 ) & Furnace (17-18 Oct Sheffield ), we’ll be pushing the boat out and attending UK Games Expo (Birmingham 29- 31 May) . Come drop by and see us in the Monarch Suite 🙂

What we won’t be doing in 2015

It’s better to aim high and miss, but sometimes reality sets in and you realise some projects have run their course or really shouldn’t proceed. Here’s a list of stuff I’ve previously announced but won’t be going forward with.

Ending in 2015

The Company, Worlds of WordPlay, and the Book of Glorious Joy (for Glorantha) have all run their course and are being retired at the end of this month. Last chance to buy over at DriveThruRpg.com.

Cthulhu Rising

Me and John came to the realisation that we have both moved on from the idea of doing Cthulhu Rising as a standalone game, since I first announced it. We’ve both got busy schedules and the required excitement to get Cthulhu Rising out the door just isn’t there.

Upcoming releases

Quick note on Progress on upcoming releases from D101 Games

1. OpenQuest Adventures about 50% art complete, hoping to see it out by the end of this month 🙂

2. OpenQuest Online SRD 75% done, eta end of this month as well.

3. River of Heaven: Last Witness in layout, commisioning art.

4. Crypts and Things Remastered: In internal playtest, Kickstarter opens March 1st.

5. Project Darklight: Bad news gone back into design phase after intial feed back identified Wordplay was a bad fit system wise. Good news have already got a new simplier system that fits it like a glove. Rewrite commences,  hope to have it back out to playtest asap.

6. Gloranthan Adventures 2: Red Sun Rising in final stages of layout 🙂

Blowing away the cobwebs

Another post so soon?  Well yes. My joy for D101 has fully returned. Lots of stuff in going on the background, some of which I can talk about and some of it I can’t 😛

First off after the marathon off data input via DriveThruRPG, OpenQuest 2 finally went out to the IndieGoGo preorders and then after a brief pause was released to the general public via DriveThruRpg. Its been doing a roaring trade and has broken my previous first month best seller record 🙂 Its good to have it back as sales wise it will provide a steady income to meet art/development costs not only for the OQ2 line but for other bits and bats. Creativity sights are focused on the rest of the OQ2 project, various adventure books, a low-art lite version of the game and an Online SRD, but overall its good to get the big honking tome that is OQ2 out of the release pipe 🙂

Currently my late nights are filled with layout for Simon Brays and Paul Mitchener’s Here Be Dragons for OQ2. When I got the manuscript for this I was green with envy! Simon’s long been pestering me to do a spiritual successor to Griffin Mountain, but his teaming up Dr Mitch on this book has well succeed that.  It blends together a mix of ingredients (Sword and Sorcery, Clark Ashton Smith, ancient world culture and the films of Ray Harryhausen) and serves up a fine setting to explore, whose culture is illustrated every step of the way with fully stated out NPCs, full adventures, adventure seeds and small mythlets. If I was to do this one again with unlimited time, I’d be Kickstarting it as a lovely big box set. Unfortunately since time and money are in short supply, you’ll have to do with the 130+ page behemoth that Messrs Bray & Mitchener have put together.

Tomb of the Necromancer for Crypts and Things went out last month and is selling nicely. More on upcoming C&T releases soon.

River of Heaven is inching closer to Kickstarter this week as me and author John Ossoway meet up for Noodles later in the week to go over the final details. Big news on this soon with the aim of letting all of you who have been patiently waiting know when KS is going to start.

Some other stuff in the pipeline, but that’s been worked on for fun at the moment and more on that when its closer to release 🙂

Furnace 2013 a big box of FUN!

I’ve done 7 out of 8 Furnaces, missed one due to birth of Newtlet #2 did 1-3 as Games Tzar, and its all now so familiar its like a day or two before I turn up a big box of fun with the Furnace logo materialises in the air before me with a big red button on its side marked “Fun”. I press it then I’m pulled into a vortex of last minute printing off, gathering of books, dice and clothes and then off with my designated driver (the sublime Mr Guy Milner) from the wilds of Oldham via the beautiful bleak of the Pennines to the urban hillplex of Hillsborough in Sheffield where the venue The Garrison hotel sits proud on a hill.

Friday
Slot 0. A Game of BEEEEEERs!
Arrived in good time for once and after booking in at the Garrison it was time for an evening of chat after food. A feeeeeeew too many beers, but nothing the Gods of Gaming wouldn’t let me get away with (well until I got home and the adrenaline wore off 😉 ).

Saturday
Mmmmn Breakfast was a bit slow arriving,  We sauntered down at 8:15 to find the breakfast room well packed, and the kitchen was struggling to fulfil orders.  Good chat with AndrewW and the GowBear as we waited.

Slot 1. The Company: Project Camphor
Fast furious and D100 🙂  This was everything I had hoped for. Kinda Call of Duty the RPG. A fast moving thriller, with twists, that thundered noisily (with stealthy bits) to a satisfying ending.
Big thanks to the players: Barry, Martin, Jemma, Michael, Andy and Tony

Then PIE TIME! courtesy of the annual pilgrimage to Morrisons across the parade ground.

Slot 2. Project Darklight: Take me to the Moon.
Project Darklight is my Wordplay powered Cyberpunk game. It works on three levels. First its a straight forward Punks in the Sprawl game (think Cyberpunk 2020). Then it opens up into a Punks in Space game as the players encounter some of the more out there aspects of the setting (23rd Century with officially no FTL or nano-ware, but it gradually opens up that the Corps are a bit more advanced technologically). Finally it all could go a bit over the top gonzo as the deeper secrets of the setting open up. Take me to the Moon is deliberately a Level 3 PD game, since I wanted to test if the game worked at this concept level, and the players really played along with it swimmingly (although there were some great moments of role-playing the utter shock and disbelief that the characters were feeling as they went ‘further down the rabbit hole’).  The ending caught me a bit on the hop. After an hour or so of relentless weirdness I felt a bit like the ending of 2001 where Dave touches the Monolith, but with the players indulgence I managed to pull it back. Thanks to Ravi, Andy, Richard, Keith, Jason and Garry for bringing it all to life so magnificently.

Slot 3. Warriors of the Dragon Empire
This is my ‘hack’ of my own game Monkey: The Journey to the West. When Baz announced that he was going to be running four slots of Dungeon Crawl Classics, I decided to drop my traditional OSR Saturday night game so not to clash. But part of me didn’t want to drop the Dungeon Bashing (I don’t crawl) action and I’ve wanted to use Monkey to power a more straight forward Wuxia Kung Fu heroes game for some time now. So why not combine the two? Hence this ‘hack’. As well as rules for mortal characters Warriors WDE has a more striaghtforward central card mechanic, which I’ll be writting up for Monkey and making avialble for free. Pig Faced demons and Serpent men were fought as the Underworld beneath the 23rd Emperor’s tomb was explored and Bad Monkey was stopped in his nefarious plot to steal forbidden lore.  Thanks to Barry, Tony, Martin, Jules, Steve(?) and Another who’s name I’ve forgotten (bad Newt!), for bringing the Kung Fu action and graciously allowing me to finish the game early as I was beginning to flag.

Sunday
Its official Furnaceers break the Garrison’s breakfast system! Spotted by Elaine on the wall by the kitchen: “Furnace Gamers will all come down all at once 35 at a time!” 😀 Lesson learnt from day before we got the 8 before the rush and delay.

Slot 4. Angry Ducks
I was showing the new lovely OpenQuest 2 full colour hardcover off, so it made sense to run a game of it. I wanted to inject a bit of fun since I know from experience its all getting a bit fuzzy by Sunday Morning. So into the culturally rich milieu of Duck Swamp, with its detailed culture, myths and religions, came the intelligent Ducks of the title (the player characters) pig faced orcs, lost human catapults and other fantastic elements inspired by my four year old son’s obsession with the tablet game Angry Birds. It worked swimmingly. It could have been so badly a crass comedy game (and it did have elements of that), but it also had the grit of old school RQ (streamlined by OQ’s modern approach to that hoary old ruleset) which got me buzzing 🙂

Lunch = MOAR PIE! Thank choo Mr Morrison 🙂

Slot 5 Slack time
After running 4 games back to back time for my traditional lazy Sunday afternoon. Chatted about the state of the industry with Jim from Patriot games, enlightening as usual 😉

Then humped the remaining stock from the D101 Magic stall which popped up on my table between games. The stall had done very well, since I had brought a modest amount of everything (no more than 5 of each item was the rule). Sold about half which is a nice lump sum into the D101 bank account 🙂

Had a fantastic time. Lovely to see all the familiar faces and get to meet some new people 🙂

Big thanks as ever to the committee: Elaine, Graham and Dom.

Here’s to 2014! 🙂

The excitement has returned!

Man I’m more excited about D101 than I have been for a long time.

You see in recent years D101 had become this big list of things to do, like a pile of High School homework, while work and family became more demanding. Things started to drag as a result, and the only thing driving me on was sheer tenacity on my part and an obligation to get out the books that other people had worked on or were looking forward to. I think if it had not been for that I would have probably put D101 on hiatus.

But now my home and work have settled down, mainly because I’m better at coping with it, and the big block in the release tube that is OpenQuest 2 is done dusted, shipping to backers as I type and about to go on general release ( either tomorrow or next week). I’ve also gathered Paul Mitchener’s Tomb of the Necromancers together with some sweet artwork  which compliments Paul’s writing (which completely NAILS what I was trying to convey with C&T 🙂 ).  The light at the end of the tunnel suddenly is shining very brightly in my face 😀

This weekend I’m off to my favourite (and UKRoleplayers.com‘s) rpg convention. The small but perfectly formed Furnace in Sheffield’s Garrison Hotel (an old Napoleonic era Barracks, just off its old parade ground which is now a supermarket ) where its all about the games. No Larps, no stoopid trade hall (although there is a couple of enthusiastic traders) just 60 games over in a relaxing atmosphere. BRING IT ON!

D101 turned 5 last July, the anniversary of our first release Hearts in Glorantha issue 1, so when I get back as well as the usual fun of writing/producing I will be kicking off birthday celebrations which will last to the end of the year.

That’s all for now!