This release was a D101 Games game changer…
I was already aware of the Old School Renaissance, which was in full swing in the 2010s, due to its fans in the OSR blog-sphere taking a liking to OpenQuest.
I was very impressed with Swords and Wizardry’s tight presentation. So I basically took this OGL Systems Resource Document and mixed it with a bevvy of Swords and Sorcery inspirations from my 80s British Gaming History.
- Old White Dwarf. A whole slew of adventures (The Lichway, and The Hall of Tizun Thane for example) and rules ideas (The Barbarian for example, Using CON as physical hit points , while HP become quickly recharged energy) was lifted from the early days of this classic British TTRPG publication. The mid-80s was the cut off date.
- Early Fighting Fantasy, we are talking about the first six books, where the authors were obviously riffing off their D&D games, not the expectations of what a FF book was.
- Early Slaine from 2000 AD, when it was black and white and short and punchy. None of the epic Simon Bisley era stuff.
- Savage Swords of Kull. I got the first of the two graphic novel compilations put out of the Marvel comics from the 70s/80s and was instantly in love with the slightly acid-tinged brooding proto-Conan.
- Michael Moorcock’s Elric books and the resulting Stormbringer RPG put out by Chaosium, specifically the hardcover licensed version put out by Games Workshop in the 80s, which I’ve raved about on my Sorcerer Under Mountain blog.
Art fell into place nicely with a fantastic cover by Jon Hodgson and the rest of the artists of illodeli.com, which was a small art collective run by Jon, that was selling fantastic stock art. This was a resource I liberally plundered, with my mate John Ossoway filling in the gaps with a piece here and there.
It was playtested at great speed and enthusiasm, which bemused my regular circle of RPG buddies, who were more into modern RPGs like FATE and HeroQuest at the time.
First time I used crowdfunding, indiegogo.com, which was successful although modest at indiegogo.com
The resulting book that was released in 20??? was 150 pages of old school O&D goodness, with a distinct flavour, in a nice slim hardcover from Lulu.com. For some strange reason, I never got around to putting the POD version on drivethrurpg.com.
And by thunder, it sold well. After seeing OpenQuest’s sales crawl along, and Monkey fails at Drivethrurpg.com (but strangely sell out when I was selling in person at Conventions) it was lovely to see it outsell both titles. Partly because it’s a version of D&D, but also because it struck a chord with older gamers who fondly remembered its British Fantasy 80s roots.