Category Archives: General

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.ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย  Fingers crossed though for a summer release ๐Ÿ™‚

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 reinvigoratedย  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.ย  Whether I go anywhere with this is still at the planning stage and other things have priority.ย  Saying this OQ has been good for me over the last eight years and it would be sad to see it gradually disappear.ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Going back to my roots

Last night was a trip down memory lane.

I uploaded Hearts in Glorantha Volume 1 Collected,to Lulu.com, so I can get a softcover copy for proof. These days I favour DriveThruRpg.com as a POD printer, for various reasons, but you can’t beat Lulu for ease of use. A quick set of wizards to fill in the basic detail and a one shot cover creator. Upload pdfs and order a proof (which arrives in 3-5 days for a softcover). Bingo! Unlike DriveThruRpg (who use Lightning Source as a printer) which is getting increasingly finicky about the set up of your PDF,ย  Lulu is lovingly forgiving. If you bork any aspect of your layout it still pumps out a proof and sends it to you, unlike DriveThruRpg who make you wait 3-7 days (and sometimes more if they are all at GenCon/Thanksgiving etc) before telling you your file has been rejected (which to be fair is a good idea, but a tad annoying when certain things like colour bleed aren’t checked as part of the process).ย  In short I’d recommend it to any beginning publisher who just wants to crank out a small print run for a con and make the book available to the world via Lulu’s adequate storefront. Which is where I was 7 or so years ago when I did D101’s first proper release “Hearts in Glorantha issue 1”. Hence the massive nostalgia wave that hit me last night.

Perhaps I should just hit up a stock art site, get lots of free Black and White images and write a crazy A4 sized book of RPGings and release it via Lulu.com just for old times sake ๐Ÿ˜‰

Blowing away the cobwebs

Another post so soon?ย  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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 artworkย  which compliments Paul’s writing (which completely NAILS what I was trying to convey with C&T ๐Ÿ™‚ ).ย  The light at the end of the tunnel suddenly is shining very brightly in my face ๐Ÿ˜€

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!

Knuckling under

Conpulsion 2013 was fantastic, and while I was only able to stay one day fully the mad awesome fun I had Friday-Sat means that this going to be my annual “break out of Winter” con. Hats off to Phil Harris and Greggor Hutton for refining last years format and taking it forward. Cast solid gold recommend from me ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the highlights of Conpulsion was Friday night when I got to sit down with almost the full membership of the Collective Endeavour. I’ve spent the last year or so in a mental locked box of confusion about where D101 is going, so it was glad to get more than a few things straightened out from these chaps who have a fair weight of publishing experience behind them.

Unfortunately Conpulsion was cut short by issues at home and I’m gutted my planned visit to UK Games Expo (which is on like now) fell victim to this as well. With the house extension done I was hoping for things to return to ‘normal’. I’m now once again rolling with the changes and fitting D101 alongside that, which is a more realistic way of looking at things.

I’m now in a period that I’m firming up D101. First order of the day is working solid on the games that have to go out. OpenQuest 2 is the absolute priority, with River of Heaven coming next. Getting better at business is also a big aim. Getting a web store up and running for direct sales (I’ve still got a pile of stock from last years Continuum!) and making print editions available at Drivethrough for a start.

This and getting my home group back up and going for playtesting and fun are my priorities until I hit the last quarter of the year where I get to be out and about again. Furnace in Sheffield Oct 19-20 is up first (if you haven’t signed up yet, get in now last ten or so places last I looked) , this is more about me kicking back running games. Its followed by Dragonmeet in London on 7th December, where I’ll be in full sales mode with the D101 stall ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Overview of D101 games as it whizzes past your nose!

I should have done a big state of the D101 at the beginning of the year, but I was up to my neck with Real Lifeโ„ข stuff. If I had have done it would have had the cheesy title of “2013: The year of Mega Gaming Fun!” and I would have outlined all the fun stuff that I have planned to come out with this year.

2012 personally felt as if there was a bit of a spanner in the works due family issues. But despite this I learnt that D101 is a Juggernaut of a Beast that trundles on even when I’ve got less of an iron grip on the wheel. Look at what got released last year!!!

2013 has been quiet so far, with only the print release of Worlds of Wordplay (which has done quite nicely) with LOTS of stuff lined up for release later in the year. I’m going to keep quiet about specifics until I’ve got first drafts in, but so far lined up are:

  1. OpenQuest 2
  2. Savage North (The Directors Cut)
  3. Life and Death (expanded edition)
  4. Here Be Dragons (a new OQ adventure setting, Think Jason and the Argonauts meet Clark Ashton Smith directed by Ray Harryhausen)
  5. The River of Heaven (D100 Scifi by John Ossoway).
  6. Tomb of the Necromancer ( by Paul Mitchener for Crypts and Things )
  7. Dark Corners of the Empire a fantasy setting for Worlds of Wordplay/Wordplay
  8. Hearts in Glorantha 6 + 7 (content is already written, realised I had enough material for two issues!)
  9. Gloranthan Adventures issue 2 (Long overdue Lunar adventures book, art being produced and scenarios being revised)
  10. Project Darklight ( A stand alone Wordplay Cyberpunk game )
  11. The Ministry of Thunder ( an adventure/setting supplement for Monkey, a compilation of all the scenarios I’ve run at cons over the years).

Plus a ton of stuff bubbling under the surface for C&T, The Company, a big setting book for Glorantha ( on the size of the Book of Glorious Joy ), Wordplay and possibly FATE (if I can grok the system).

But hey more on that once I’ve got the behemoth that is OpenQuest 2 out the door ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

Looking Big and finding Small, Looking Small and Finding Big

I have had a lot of days recently when I’ve been feeling low about D101 Games. This has been purely a reflection of my personal circumstances. We were out of our home in rented accommodation for a good eight months and just as that was reaching a boiling point of stress and anxiety my father was taken ill with terminal lung cancer. After a short but brutal fight he died a month later.ย  All this has thrown my carefully laid plans of world domination out of synch. Now that the dust has settled I’m desperately trying to pick up the pieces and get things back on track.

While trying to get my head around the ever thorny one of “where I’m I up to with D101” ,I have a saying that arose from me looking at the sales figures for D101 Releases that is helping me no end.

“When you look for big you will find Small. When you look small you will find BIG!”ย 

This reflects an observation I made, that if I’m looking at the figures expecting mega-bucks, I’m let down. If however I approach the figures in a more humble state of mind, I get to see how successful every D101 title has been, even the more obscure ones which had by necessity small production costs. Its a more Taoist way of looking at stuff, which fits in with my personal belief systems and makes me happy.ย  Oh and before you mistakenly say “You’ll never make any money out of RPGs”, lets just say D101 Games is a business, where artists and authors do get paid and I’ve built it to the point that I can occasionally draw money into the family finances. Sure it doesn’t replace the day job, which to be honest is easy money by comparison, but as far as learning on the job and having to do it part-time in any bit of time I can find after the high demands of my job and family, I’m doing very well thank you very much ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Another example of looking “Looking Big and finding Small, Looking Small and Finding Big” ๐Ÿ™‚

One vital and naturally arising element of this view, is the constant support I get from for wont of a better word “The Fans”. While D101 may not get wider recognition in an industry sense of getting huge coverage on RPG.net and wining (or even being nominated) for awards, I get a constant stream of thank yous and intelligent constructive criticism and questions in my inbox. This in itself is its own reward ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Thank you to all who have contacted me in this way. Your kind comments and interest have literally kept D101 going over the last very bumpy eight months.

Overall this leads me to the conclusion that

D101 Games is a Small Press Games Publisher, who is Wining in a BIG way ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Coming back to life

Hit the wall big time at the end of March. The big move back to D101 HQ from our rented accommodation, was as nasty as me and my wife had predicted it would be. Lots and lots of boxing up, shifting boxes up and down stairs, cleaning, then some more cleaning, dealing with unfinished bits and glitches in the house, adding to whichย  my Dad died after a brief but ugly battle with Lung Cancer.

Conpulsion at Edinburgh University Teviot House over the Easter weekend really lifted my spirits. I’ll make a fuller report of this awesome weekend later, but it really invigorated me and put my head in a bright and happy space.

With things sorting themselves out at home and my dad’s funeral next week, I’m finally coming back to life as a person and as

Coming at you down the pipe:

The Company – literally preparing this one today, should be out tomorrow.ย  The follow up adventure “Operation Camphor” should be out in the next month or so.

Empires Rising – Just about to go into final layout check ๐Ÿ™‚

Crypts and Things: The Blood of the Dragon – about to be proofed and remaining art commissioned.

Here Be Dragons – in editorial with yours truly, for a summer release.

The Worlds of Wordplay – which is the new name of the reissued, revitalised and resized Wordplay The Big 5 + The Drowned Lands.

River of Heaven – John Ossoway’s D100 magnum opus.

…and a whole bunch of stuff for Glorantha, since Continuum ( a traditional hot bed of UK Gloranthaphiles is upcoming ), including Hearts in Gloratha issue 5.

Oh and not to mention a little thing called..OPENQUEST 2.

Man its great to be alive ๐Ÿ™‚

 

State of D101 Games 2012

2011 in review
2011 was a strange one in retrospect. I only managed to get a few releases out before a big house extension kicked in ( which is still on going ).

Ye Little Book of HeroQuest Fantasy โ€“ the print version of Ye Little Book of HeroQuest Monsters and the very popular Ye Little Book of HeroQuest Dungeoneering (the subject matter and low price point seems to have been the win here).

Wordplay the Big Five (Revised) + Adventures in Wordplay: The Drowned Lands. Unfortunately both these titles were pulled after a month of release, due to me wanting to consolidate my efforts (but Wordplay fans read on for some good news).

The Book of Glorious Joy โ€“ Jamie โ€œTrotskyโ€ Revellโ€™s guide to the Gloranthan West, focusing on the Kingdom of Loskalm. A big Gloranthan release for me, that tested me to my limits. This is why there was no issues of Hearts in Glorantha in 2011 ๐Ÿ™‚ Our first hardcover, which paves the way for similar releases (read on)

Then I moved out of my house, while it is being extended, which put the breaks on. However development work carried on which is why you’ll see a rush of releases in the next couple of months.

Marching on into 2012!!

Crypts and Things – Did very well when it went up for pre-order at indiegogo.com in the last quarter of 2011. We surpassed the $2000 target, eventually reaching $3,435, which means every pre-order will also get the first adventure module The Blood of the Dragon. It also means that the game is firmly established in the area of my brain marked “Profitable and worth doing” as well as “A ton of fun, so I’m doing it anyway” :). Follow up adventures in the work, and ideas for Supplements spinning around in my head. ETA of the main rule book end of this month, with Blood of The Dragon coming in March/April.

The Company – Ready to launch this one. Well pleased with what started off as an idle “lets do OQ modern” conversation. One of the pleasurable things about commissioning other people to do work for you is that you end up with one of your favourite RPGs ๐Ÿ™‚ Eta end of this month.

Empires Rising – Back on track after being neglected while the house move was going on. Working on the final layout reminds me why I’ve stuck with what is essentially someone else’s Fantasy house campaign. There’s enough depth in the setting for you HeroQuest narrators to get stuck in, with four excellent scenarios to get you started.

Hearts in Glorantha #5 – Back on track after some of the best Gloranthan fan writers and artists rallied round. Expect previews soon, out April.

Gloranthan Adventures #2 Red Sun Rising & #3 Karia – My book of Lunar adventures and home campaign setting respectively. Both need rewrites. RSR further along with cover and some internal art, so May/June release (Eternal Con?) with Karia up for a July (Continuum) release.

River of Heaven – Just about to hand over to the proof reader after an through edit. Art has been commissioned. Expectations are high over this one and I know John Ossoway has delivered. Now its down to me to get it out so people can enjoy this jem ๐Ÿ™‚

D101 remastered
Now that we are in our fourth year, time and money allow me to revisit some of our eariler releases and give some care and attendtion.

OpenQuest 2nd Edition – Not so much an extensive rewrite, more an expandsion and clarification.

Savage North – This was one of the first things that I put out and it was a bit lacking in the proofing dept. Dom Mooney and John Holmes independently sent me very detailed feedback on the shortcomings of this book that will form the basis of the ‘2nd printing’.

Wordplay the Big Six – Working on Project Darklight (see below) made me realise that I still have a great love of Wordplay. So I’ve decided to republish the Big Five, with Dr Mitch’s The Drowned Lands theme (hence the new title), new art to replace the clip art and a revised cover by Jon Hodgeson, all in a story gamer friendly size of 6″ x 9″ (US tradepaper back) in both Hard and Softcover.

In development coming to a gaming table near you this year

Wombat – 2011 was not the Year of the Wombat, but 2012 is ! Expect the free version by easter and the “Little Book of Big Adventure” an expanded version with mini-settings and adventures in October.

Project Darklight – Wordplay Cyberpunk – more on its Blog.

The Book of Madness and Mystery – HeroQuest Lovecraft. Not a HQ conversion of Call of Cthulhu, but a complete relook at how you would present Lovecraft’s stories in the HeroQuest framework. I’m sorting out the rulesy bits while Rik Kershaw Moore and John Ossoway are writing adventures/settings for it.

Outlaws of the Water Margin – adapting the Monkey rules for this Chinese Classic of 108 Heroes versus a tryanical minister.

D101 Games Convention Scedule

Convention wise I and the D101 demoers are definitely confirmed for

Conplusion, Edinburgh Easter weekend
Continuum, Leicester July
Furnace, Sheffield October

So that’s 2012, busy, busy, fun, fun, fun!

Steady, Steady, Steady…..Fire!

Life is a bit up and down at the moment. We’ve moved house into a rented property, getting reconnected to the digital age (t’internet and telly) pretty painlessly within the first five days. Meanwhile D101 HQ looked like the D-Day landings, which the demolition team in full flow, with a huge hole in the ground where our Garage used to be that stretches into the Garden. Saying that I’m smug that we moved out is an understatement. However its had a huge impact in slowing the impetus of D101. Notice the words ‘slowing’ not ‘stopped’ ๐Ÿ™‚ Even though time is even more tight than before I’m still getting D101 stuff worked on, usually at crazy o’clock at night!

Milestones this month

River of Heaven first draft complete and cover completed!ย  Congrats to Jon

Empires Rising – half way through layout, on for a Oct release (Furnace woohoo!)

The Company – Final check in progress, early Oct release.

Crypts and Things -Final stages of production entered ๐Ÿ™‚

Monkey and OpenQuest are now available in print over at DriveThruRpg.com – Much better quality than Lulu ever produced, and better shipping costs and times.ย  Moving d101’s catalogue over will continue over the next couple of months, but all new books will be via DriveThruRpg.com.

Book of Glorious Joy is done and dusted, release any second now ๐Ÿ™‚

My overaim is to have all the D101 developers in a big group shoot with big grins clutching their books at Dragonmeet, where you will be able to buy these new books.

This batch of releases is quite significant for D101. It should effectively double or even treble the steady baseline of sales that we get from our current crop of games.ย  Which means the dream of me going full time with this (there’s a D101 office in the new extension ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) takes one huge step forward.