Hearts in Glorantha 1,2 and 3 (D101-03 to 05)

Hearts in Glorantha (HiG) was a big part of my publishing life for a good decade-plus. It ended just under a year ago, something I’ll cover when I do posts about the later issues (7 & 8).   I remember the first three issues fondly because they just got done to the bi-yearly schedule that I set myself, and they were, on the whole, well-received.

My early years of running convention games were running Gloranthan games, first RQ3 in the dying light of the system’s popularity in the late 90s, and then a rapid succession of three editions of HeroQuest. I organised a group of demo referees, the Ring of HeroQuest Narrators, which warped into the semi-official Masters of Luck and Death before imploding. Monkey and my own efforts were on my mind, but I still lacked the impetus to actually get down and publish it. That impetus came unexpectedly one morning just before I set off to work in  May of 2008 as I sat and read a 30 page + thread on RPG.net where an obvious sockpuppet called Angry Agarath attacked everyone involved in Gloranthan publishing from Rick and Jeff at Moon Design (who had just taken over from Greg Stafford’s Issaries Inc) to the fan publishers over the lack of urgency on the publication schedule. AA really riled me up, and after spending 45 minutes reading every post, I thought I could have a go at filling the void and Hearts in Glorantha was born. A quick check with Jeff Richard, who greenlit the fanzine, and I was off on a crash course learning InDesign, emailing potential contributors and artists.

Three months later, Hearts in Glorantha issue 1 (D101-05) was released to many happy Glorantha Fans at Continuum 2008 in Leicester.  I’ve always followed the Pink Faries mantra (via the Henry Rollins cover version) of DO IT, so this, in my mind, is the official birth of D101 Games.

HIG 1 was a real hodge-podge of what I ever could pick up at short notice.  But it worked, and I was happy with it. It had a gaming background, fiction, a couple of Stewart Stansfield’s infamous Duck articles and a very quick adventure by myself.  But that’s how I wanted it. It was a magazine, not a supplement in disguise. I also set the Editorial policy, which lasted for the magazine’s entire run, where I resisted setting a theme, so authors could be lazy and write to order, because I wanted folk to come up with inspirational pieces that had just lept into their imagination. The feature for each issue was whatever came out from what was submitted. For issue 1, it was the very appropriate Mythology.

Hearts in Glorantha 1, cover by Darran Sims

HiG 2 (D101-03) and HiG 3 (D101-04) came along according to schedule. It debuted our consistent look and feel, with John Ossoway creating a new logo, doing the cover (which he would do for the next three issues), and setting up the layout templates. HiG was also the Creature Feature, which saw Dragonnewts, Chaos Elves from Dorastor, Jack O Bears, Harpies rub shoulders more of Stewart Stansfield’s Ducks.

Hearts in Glorantha 2, cover by John Ossoway

HiG 3 was, amongst other things, an Undersea Feature, which featured a write up of an all Mostali (Dwarf) mini-campaign, We All Live in a Brass Submarine, by Richard Crawley, as well as material from a never-released HeroWars era Men of the Sea second book by Nick Davison.  I also got in there with an OpenQuest Scenario (the only OQ Glorantha adventure) based on the premise of WHAT IF the Big Rubble was in Dara Happa, and it was Solars vs the Lunars? To my knowledge, this was the biggest stretch of YGMV (Your Glorantha May Vary) ever published (Fan or Official) and I’m quite smug about that 😛

Hearts in Glorantha 3, cover by John Ossoway

Worth noting, as well as articles by Gloranthan Luminaries such as Mark Galeotti and Jeff Richard, each of the first three issues had a one page bit of fiction by Greg Stafford himself based upon the three approaches to Gloranthan Magic.

In many ways, HiG 1-3 is where I learnt the hard way how to publish, and while Monkey and OpenQuest, my first two RPG releases, got put to one side they were both the better for what I learnt from doing HiG 1-3.

Part of me cringes when I look at the sloppiness of the layout, and my editorial. The whole thing was part of a learning curve and I was still in a happy fan publishing punk rock frame of mind, which helped me overcome some pretty crippling “omg, omg, I can’t believe I’m allowed to do this” self-disbelief.

I’m also very proud that I used HiG to get other authors work out there, and into the hands of fans.  It’s the reason why to this day, D101 Games is not an exercise in pure self-publishing, that I have other people write and draw for it.  HiG was especially good as a recruiting ground for many artists that would go on to illustrate other D101 releases.

Next up: OpenQuest 1st Edition (D101-06)

D101-02 D101 Games at Continuum 2008

My local gaming cons have always been important to me. It gets me out of my home and lets me try out ideas with other roleplayers. Most D101 Games releases have had an outing as a convention game at some point.

Continuum 2008 held at Leicester University, was a medium-sized gaming convention of about 200+ attendees, held over the Summer.  I’d been going since 1998 when it was called Convulsion and was a Gloratha/Call of Cthulhu/Chaosium convention. At some point in the early 2000s, the organising committee resigned en-masse, leaving Lawrence Whitaker as chair of a new convention, that was really just the old one continued with a new committee. Hence the name Continuum.

“My attendance at Continuum 2008” was important in the D101 scheme of things and why it is counted as a release for the following reasons.

  1. I spent a lot of time talking to people and promoting the idea that I was doing D101 Games.
  2. I was running the early version of OpenQuest, which was known as Simple Quest Zero Edition, for several of the games I was running over the weekend.
  3. I took along a box of forty copies of Hearts in Glorantha Issue 1 that sold out!

I also wrote a longer review for this blog just after returning.

Here’s a quick gallery of photos.

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D101-01 The Website

The first release is not actually a game or a book, but this website.

Let me explain.  When I first moved to the Greater Manchester area and worked in Manchester city centre, I became quite obsessed with the history of Factory Records. How they ran their business along anarcho-syndicate lines, and how some their of releases weren’t actually records but ventures important to the label’s owners. So, for example, Fac 01 is a poster advertising a club night that they used to run, where various bands associated with the label played. Similarly, D101-01 is this website (and associated blogs), and D101-02 is my convention attendance at Continuum 2008 (which I’ll cover in my next blog post in this series).

The start of D101’s web presence was a Livejournal.com* blog, which I started when I started planning what D101 Games would be and, more specifically, what Monkey, which was going to be my first release, was going to look like.

In 2008 as things got more serious with books actually being for sale, being a web developer/programmer as my day job at the time, I signed up with a hosting company. I created a WordPress Multi-Site – which is still the bedrock of the site** and hosts all the sub-blogs (including this one) and domains like openquestrpg.com.  This multi-site approach has let me blog about various games and themes (for fantasy, see my long-running The Sorcerer Under the Mountain blog), which is a good marketing tool and a bunch of fun to boot.

Other big changes to the website over the years

Changing to D101Games.com. Being proud of being a British Game Designer and because it was cheap as chips, the original release of the website had a .co.uk domain name. But business sense prevailed, and since the .com domain gets much more views, I eventually about 2009 moved over.***

Div Theme. I’m not a graphic designer, so Elegant Theme’s Div for WordPress gives me all sorts of nice responsive layout controls, so it works with mobile devices and tablets without me doing anything, and a nice inbuilt page builder so funky page layouts are a breeze.

Woocommerce. An Open-source and free shopping cart for WordPress. This has allowed me to run my own web store quite profitably and do direct to customer sales, which before 2016 I could only do at conventions.

Mail-Chimp. I use the free version of this, and it lets me build up email lists to announce new releases/Kickstarters etc.  This is why I don’t have to do Farcebook to promote what I do with D101 😉

Having a well functioning and well-constructed website has been a core business activity from day one.  More important than having a Facebook page. It’s also a focus. So much of what I do is through the web, from producing the books through print on demand sites like Lulu.com. So in retrospect its only fitting that this site is D101’s first release 🙂


*To my great surprise, my d101 games blog still exists over there, but I won’t link to it because Livejournal.com, which was a happy little internet start-up that began as a bunch of friends running it off a couple of servers in San Fransico, has long gone down the toilet as it was sold on.   All the content was migrated over here long ago.

**D101 Games is hosted with a Manchester company called 34sp.com. They are a great little outfit with great service, and although they don’t officially support WordPress Multisite, they have gone out of their way to do so over the years.

***once I stopped using d101games.co.uk it was quickly snapped up by a company that holds domain names that have been used in the hope that someone will pay them zillions of dollars. At one time, rather worrying, it had a mock site that was all about gambling and poker. Not sure why? In the hope that I’d buy it to stop them damaging my business’ image? Or simply to attract purchasers with the whole “games” thing. Oh yes, and having “games” in my URL gets it banned via BT’s Strict parental controls.



D101 Games at 60 (releases)

So OpenQuest 3rd Edtion is now out.

You can go grab it here, from my web store in both pdf and print/pdf bundle.

Also, the new edition of OpenQuest is my sixtieth release, or to give its stock control number is D101-060.

That’s right D101 Games is 60 releases old. Which keeps up with the fact that it’s been up and running since 2008, and roughly put out five releases a year.

Some of the copies of OpenQuest as seen in the hands of Kickstarter backers

So I’ve decided to celebrate the fact we are now an elderly games company, I’ll be doing a series of blog posts here about all sixty releases.  Although some of them may be grouped to save time :).