Mr Newt does 7 Hills

7 Hills was a laid back, but strangely perky con and everything I wanted out of my first con of the year, banishing the last of the winter blues. Paul and Graham had efficiently organised the con, which ran like clockwork and purred like a satisfied pussy cat 🙂

Friday Night
I arrived straight from work, courtesy of Guy Milner. Despite being stuck behind red lorry and driving through thick fog over the tops we would not be stopped. Quick check-in then food, booze n chat at the social. Perhaps bit too much booze, but ooooooooh the Bombardier was on form [For real ale lovers despite being a hotel the Garrison has a decent selection now]. Note to self: “can no longer drink like its my 20s”. Awesome to see friends old and new, but don’t ask me to remember what we talked about 😉

After a typical but satisfactory Garrison full English with concessions to veggies breakfast it was time to game. I was expecting the lack of numbers compared to Furnace to really show, but everyone was up for it so their natural exuberance spilled out all over the place during the very quick opening speech by Dr Mitch.

Then on to game.

Sat Morning: Operation Mudbrick (The Company)
A game of two Johns (Ruddy & Ossoway) who along with the rest of Assault Group Maximum #5 hub nobbed with archaeologists from the British Museum, dug out ancient secrets in the Mesopotamian city of UR, and when confronted with the ‘strangeness’ at the heart of the adventure decided a tactical withdrawal was in order. Classic moment alone in the desert “Where is everyone?”. Great stuff. There was always a chance with this scenario it would turn into a bad Cthlulhu adventure, but the players helped me keep it on track for being a good little Ufology mystery, with the Company’s trademark Military action underpinning it. Which is exactly what I wanted. I’ll stop there since its a contender for a re-run at Furnace. Big thanks to the two Johns.

Sat afternoon: Out of Step (River of Heaven).
This was a “big ideas” type of sci-fi scenario and thanks to the players for running with it and making it work. The adventure is very much an ensemble piece, but I ran out of time to write up characters that I had originally intended to use who were tightly bonded to the adventure. So I used a group of pre-gens from one of John Ossoway’s scenarios, who had a very tight group relationship but no ties to the place were the adventure is set. Which meant part of the player’s entertainment was watching my face as I reacted unconsciously to them taking the adventure in different directions to what I had intended. John was also tickled by who the scenario went, which seeing as he created River of Heaven is a good thing for me.

Saturday evening: Zarth Wars (Crypts and Things).
This was me pulling inspiration from John Carter from Mars, Flash Gordon and even Prometheus (watch it with the attitude that the characters are a typical D&D group and you’ll get where I’m coming from). There’s always a chance with OSR stuff that players won’t take to the setting assumptions or nature of the rules, but Alex, Andrew and Richard took it and ran it out of the ball park. A game that was never in danger of dragging and had some excellent fun Roleplaying. It will definitely get a write up and be published in the near future 🙂

Post gaming there was more chat and booze, and perhaps a bit too late to bed.


…I was spent, so I had a nice restful morning pawing though my pressies from Patriot Games (who were nice enough to run a stall, even though the number of customers was so small), before gleefully floating back over the hills with John O back to the ample bosom of my family unit.

Definitely up for it again next year. Well done organisers and attendees for such an Awesome con so full of Win!

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.

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 😉 ).

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.

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‘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 🙂

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 🙂


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 Life™ 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 😉



Conpulsion 2012 con-report

Teviot Union, Edinburgh
Look its Hogwarts!
(aka Teviot Union, Edinburgh Uni)

A bit of a quick review here, mainly as a bit of positive propaganda on my part to publicise this VERY VERY fine convention to folk outside the region.

The Quick and the short. Conpulsion is a two day gaming convention held at Teviot Union, Edinburgh University , traditionally over the Easter Weekend (although this years is week after 12-14th). 2012’s incarnation covered RPGs, LARPS, Boardgames and games for kids. It was attended by young perky student types and old crusty Grognards like myself. A gaming con for everyone!  Despite being under new management, it was very well organised and atmosphere was very friendly.

The Long and the drawn out…..(with Pictures)… on.

Continue reading Conpulsion 2012 con-report

Where’s Wombat?

For those of you faithfully following the progress of Wombat, my rules lite narrative game, here’s the latest.
Rather annoyingly Wombat is on the back burner until I get OpenQuest 2 out the door.
Silver lining, I’ve managed to get the core dice mechanic allot more robust.
I’m hoping to get a play test version out in Feb/Mar, and will announce loudly when I do. Its very very likely to be a public play test, given the Creative Commons nature of the Free version of the Rules.

Weekends are cool :)

Hurrah its the weekend! Counting down the days to TWO FULL WEEKS off at Christmas.

Started layout testing on OQ2 (which is now full colour 🙂  – which is a little too ‘red/orange’ at the moment. Still a blast seeing the full intro chapter come off my colour inkjet:)

Did a quick run on River of Heaven’s intro chapter, which by contrast is a very clean no-art B&W affair.  Commissioning art this weekend. Plans for a Kickstarter brewing, so backers can have the rules san art (which is what the KS is for) once the Goal is reached.

On the Crypts and Things front, looking to get the first UK Masters Scenario Temple of Urshruuk by Rik Kershaw Moore out before Xmas.

Gaming wise rather taken by Dungeon World, which we are about to launch into a short intensive campaign.

Not doing a Kickstarter for Worlds of Wordplay

Finally after a disrupted month of family stuff and illnesses, got the final print draft of Worlds of Wordplay off to Lulu for a FINAL print proof. So fingers crossed, later this week/early next for release 🙂 Decided against doing a Kickstarter for this and the rest of upcoming D101 Wordplay releases, an option I had been mulling over.

Briefly if I had done it it would have been Worlds of Wordplay immediately after the KS had ended, followed by the next 3 D101 Wordplay releases as they came out. So that’s Wordplay Fantasy (Dark Corners of the Empire), Wordplay Cyberpunk (Project Darklight) and Wordplay Lovecraft (R’yleh Rises/Book of Madness and Mystery) as full books, with stretch goals being extra content in the form of GMs advice and adventures. The whole campaign would have been billed as the “D101 Wordplay subscription”.

Reasons for not doing it?

  1. I want the game out, not delayed for another 3 months.
  2. I’ve just done and OQ2 Indiegogo campaign and I’m quite burnt out by the process. I also sense a certain fatigue amongst you good folks out there in RPGland.
  3. I want the book/game to grow organically. Go on Wordplay folks pick the book up and preach it to the masses 😉
  4. By not promising content that hasn’t yet been written, I free myself from the stress of deadlines/expectations and can have fun writing it. Which will lead to better books 🙂

Yeah there are also counter points to the above, but on the whole I feel happier releasing Wordplay in a straight forward way via POD when its done 🙂