Furnace XVIII Games

I can’t believe that Furnace turns eighteen years old this year. I was there at the start, as the original Games Organiser, and have missed only two. 2009 for our H’s birth, and 2021 due to not being ready to go back due to covid still running amok.

I’m running these three games. Elaboration in italics.

Slot 2: Saturday Afternoon, OpenQuest, Across Red Sands
The Merchant’s League of Duck Coast was about to sign a deal with Pharoah of the Red Sands when he brought a new condition to the table. The Forbidden Zone, a dark heart of madness within his Kingdom, has become active again. Exactly how he’s reluctant to reveal. “Dark clouds are gathering” and “The Sphinx talks in riddles again” is all he’ll reveal in cryptic tones. Seeing that none of his Serpentine Ducks will risk their immortal souls, he wants your band of adventurers to travel there and deal with it. Only then will he sign the trade deal.

An adventure from my upcoming Duck adventure book, The Feathers and the Fury. Play anthropomorphic ducks and their human pirate allies, in this dark fantasy adventure with moments of humour and pathos. Uses OpenQuest a straightforward D100 fantasy RPG.

I’m working on this as part of an upcoming setting and adventure book. Its daft, but in a fun way and it will have its moments of darkness. As well as my obsession with ducks, it combines my love of Ancient Egyptian Mysteries, so there with be all sorts of nonsense about the Great Pyramid of Giza and its environs through a warped fantasy lens.

Slot 3: Saturday Evening, Dragonbane, The Forest of Delights
To the south of the warring lands of the Kingdom of the Lions and the Communes of the Red Star, is the mighty monster-infested Forest of Delights. Here, the Last Queen died in battle and lost her Ring of Power. As evil grows in power in the Forest and their own diminishes due to centuries of warfare, the Elders of the Communes and the Lords of the Lions agree that someone should go there and find the ring that could unite their two lands.

Not trusting each other, they let various vagabond adventuring parties know there is a reward of gold and titles once they have found the Lioness’ Ring. This is why you and your band now stand at the entrance to the Forest while some creepy old elf gatekeeper stares at you. Inside the forest, something stirs ominously and howls.

A game of Dragonbane, Mirth and Mayhem Roleplaying. It is D20 based with elements from Basic Roleplaying, D&D and Free Leagues’ fantasy games. No experience with the game is needed. Suitable for newcomers.

Play the new Free League Hawtness. This one takes its inspiration and tone from 80s Fighting Fantasy books, Forest of Doom is the obvious one here. Actually will be duck free unless one of the players decides to use the Mallard pre-gen from the box set. Will be a close run race between this and Across Red Sands to see which will be the silliest mega-gaming-fun :)

Slot 4: Sunday Morning. Wuxia Blood Opera powered by Monkey the RPG, Dragons Ascending To Heaven
In one night of terror, your entire clan was wiped out on the orders of ‘Emperor’ Wu.

Somehow your clan, who have lived in the capital city of Chang‘an for hundreds of years, have fallen foul of this female usurper, the former concubine of the previous Emperor. This has led to the slaughter at the hands of the imperial guard of every last man, woman and child.

Except for a handful of you, who are now in hiding. You brood, trying to work out which of your enemies has had the ear of the Emperor whose paranoia has made this unjust and cruel act. Upmost in your mind is how you can exact revenge and redeem your family name from infamy.”

This is a complete tale of revenge and redemption using a modified version of Monkey RPG rules. A straightforward narrative game using cards instead of dice

Full on intense Hong-Kong Action Cinema. Think a Shaw Brothers film in a gaming session.


Games for Furnace 2022

Back in person at one of my favourite gaming conventions, Furnace at the Garrison Hotel in Sheffield, in October. Finally pulled my finger out and replaced my placeholder towels with actual games on the timetable.

I’ve very much gone with new and exciting, rather than existing and promoting, games, with a subtle theme of world-hopping.

Where’s me Dragon?

Beyond Dread Portals

Newt Newport

Lord Hengfel of House Arcani had a dragon. Gathered on some secret expedition through a Dread Portal, by a group of his hunters. He brought it back and it was to be the centrepiece at the great exhibition he was putting on at the Crystal Palace of Eternal Lights.

But now it’s gone, and he suspects the hunters that caught it for him, so he’s come to the Guild of Explorers to hire a group of independents to find his pet.

Beyond Dread Portals is Paul Mitchener’s D20 driven Fantasy game of multi-world hopping. A free artless preview is available on d101games.com.

Viva Weird Vegas!

OpenQuest Quantum

The Bureau of Time Information Management keeps a special eye on Las Vegas of Alternative 23. Most versions of Las Vegas are intrinsically tied into the follow of energy into their reality. Alternative 23 especially so, and it also seems to be a hub for the other versions. So the Bureau actually has an office there, and guess who has been rotated there? Yes, you Agent. Make the most of it rookie, Vegas 23 is a great training ground for when you start alternative hopping full time.

Currently, Alternative 23 is experiencing its hottest summer on record. Lake Mead, 24 kilometres east of the city, is giving up its secrets as the water level drops. Some strange secrets, that for the sake of reality-integrity, the Bureau must resolve.

OpenQuest Quantum is a multi-genre D100 game where anything is possible.

My line up of games for Virtual Grogmeet 2022

The Grognard files are at it again organising a virtual version of their annual meetup for listeners of the Grognard Files, on Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd April.  Signup is being down for Patreons first, but if there are any spaces left they get advertised via Twitter (where I’m @newtus by the way).

I’ve not GMed since before Christmas, and I think it shows in the number of games I’ve offered 😀

A Love Like Blood

Friday Evening

A Valentines Day Scenario for Reboot the Future

There’s been a series of murders where the victims have been pairs of lovers, drained of all their blood. New Oldham PD suspects a serial killer of exotic motive, but lack of funding hinders their investigation. The Chief of Police considers it more cost-effective to hire a team of freelancers to solve the case with a strict deadline. The department’s AI’s early analysis of the crime predicts the killer will strike again on the 14th of January.

Reboot the Future is a Cyberpunk RPG set in the space age of the 23rd Century. It uses the Liminal RPG as a base, with many augmentations for its high-tech setting, which at its heart is a simple roll 2d6 vs Target number, with modifying Traits which each character has as special abilities.

{Reboot the Future is currently available via a Catchupstarter, where you can get the same rewards as last year’s Kickstarter campaign, on the D101 Games store until March 5th


Hopping Vampire Mayhem

Saturday morning

Monkey the RPG

And so, the Journey to the West continues. Footsore and tired to the soul, the Pilgrims arrive in a poor peasant village. Instead of the rest they need, they are beset by hopping corpses out to drink their blood!

A monastery up on a nearby holy mountain is renowned for its ability to exorcise evil spirits. Perhaps you should hop over and get their help?

 This adventure is a quick demo of Monkey the Role-Playing Game, packed with fun kung-fu, laughter and the odd bit of horror to get the immortals seeking redemption from heaven into action. No knowledge of Chinese Mythology is needed or required, and the system is a very simple, straightforward one that uses regular playing cards.

[This is going to be included in the upcoming Monkey Companion]

Guard Dogs

Saturday Evening

Beyond Dread Portals

Once you left the Explorers Guild of Ys, you thought you were out of the whole dangerous business of popping through the magic portal on mad escapades. Your qualifications as an ex-Guild member got you a nice quiet life guarding the sealed portal to the infamous world of Nespo. The problem is someone sneaked through the portal on your watch, and it already looks like you will take the blame. Time to rejoin the Guild and find out who did visit Nespo to clear your name.

Guard Dogs is an action-packed introductory adventure for up to four characters of the third level. Beyond Dread Portals is a post-OSR game, written by Paul Mitchener that emphasises exploring a multi-dimensional game world rather than looting and killing.

[Beyond Dread Portals will on its first day of crowdfunding that day via Gamefound.com, when I run this game]

Snakebite Pass

Sunday afternoon


Behold Imperial Aspirants, the entrance to Snake Bite Pass! The road through which our illustrious Celestial Emperor entered the promised land of Gatan, driving out the foul Serpent Cult who lived there. You are honoured to follow in his footsteps, taking this holy route to where the Emperor received the Celestial Vision. But be vigilant! The Emperor’s ancient enemies – the Serpent People – lurk in the caves and ruins that litter the pass.

An old-school D100 dungeon delve, using the straightforward OpenQuest rules. A Quest with an emphasis on adventure, wonder and dark villainy hidden away in the crevasses of this ancient pass.

[This adventure is going to feature in the upcoming OpenQuest Dungeons supplement]

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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Rarrrrr here comes Grogzilla!


The Making of D101’s fanzine

OK as with most D101 projects this one started with a mad jolt of excited energy, a flash of inspiration a couple of weeks before Grogmeet 2019, at Fanboy 3 in Manchester where I was appearing as a trader. “Hey I’ll do a fanzine, Chris (of Dirk the Dice fame) likes Fanzines!”. So cue five days of frantic throwing articles and art together. Peter Frain graciously, or should that be gleeful, got on board with both the cover art and the interior art of the four versions of Grogzilla within the zine. Which I’m not previewing since they are flippin’ awesome (hint: buy the zine to see). The physical output was less than impressive, since my colour printer doesn’t do multiple pages very well, and I managed to struggle to put together six or so hand made copies. These sold or were given away to the lovely chaps who put on Grogmeet on the day.

So fast forward to ZineQuest 2, which is Kickstarters annual winter promo held every February. I had participated in the previous year’s event, to great success with From the Shroud #2, so it was a no brainer to give Grogzilla a second chance of a wider audience.  This time however I wanted a proper printed version, and Glynn Seal (of Monkey Blood Publishing fame) pointed me in the direction of Mixam print, who he uses successfully for his Midderlands Zine. I really wanted to use it as an excuse to do something using a proper printer rather than being reliant on either Lulu.com or Drivethrurpg.com’s Print on Demand service.   I wholeheartedly recommend it as a service, it was simple to use their web site to price up and upload files for production, and at a vastly lower price and improved quality than POD.   The Kickstarter funded quickly, so much so that not only was I able to put in another three articles, I was able to fund another zine, Skyraiders of the Floating Realms Zero Edition, as a stretch goal.

As well as a mad creation, that matured into a more fully rounded 50-page zine, that allowed me to do a non-POD print run, Grogzilla is an excellent showcase of where D101 is heading. There’s a good mix of material for existing games.and previews of books in the works.

There’s a very limited quantity in print + pdf for £5, and when they are gone they are gone, and its also available as pdf only for £3.

River of Heaven at Winter Con 2020

I got to play River of Heaven, the Guns of Olympus Mons, at Winter Con 2020 at Fanboy3 in Manchester last weekend just gone. On a personal level, it was great to play in a game with Jon Ossoway, a man who knows his Sci-fi troupes inside out. As a publisher of River of Heaven, it was great to be playing the game with John and seeing exactly how it ticks with the author playing it.

The set up was simple and direct. The Renoucers, a sort of Fascist Luddite paramilitary movement who are out to stop the rise of AI, had taken over a military base on Olympus Mons, which a huge extinct volcano on Mars. Since said base controls the planet’s defence grid, our team of Marines were going in hard and fast using drop-pods to take it out. So cue a fast-paced military-techno-thriller, with much sneaking about, hacking into systems, taking out guards from a distance, as well as the all-out firefights you’d expect. John had included some hooks in the character’s backgrounds which led to some great roleplaying from the players, so it wasn’t all grunts-n-gunplay. I had fun ‘weapons-testing’ the power armour and a quite frankly scary array of guns and grenades our characters were equipped with. My favourite one was the Smart Grenade, which can be programmed to have a delayed explosion (“Hey Google, set explosion for 30 seconds after impact”) and to only go off when near actual combatants, not say, civilians :)

The best thing of all was that it felt like we were in a distinct Sci-fi universe, not a cheap knock off Star-Wars, Star Trek or Aliens.

7 Hills 2020

7 Hills is among one of my favourite cons, and certainly one I won’t hesitate to sign up straight away. Its wall to wall RPGs for two days over five slots, in a warm, cosy and historic venue (the Garrison Hotel is an old Napoleonic barracks). It’s an RPG con that’s actually all about the RPGs. not some guest speaker, or some trade hall that shoves the games into the periphery, or a big LARP that sucks all the attendees in leaving GMs to twiddle their thumbs in the bar. Five slots, 10 or so tables

But it will fill up fast, especially the onsite accommodation at the hotel itself (tip ring them) and the slots for gming. So if you’ve been fancying going to a Garrison con, give it a go 🙂

Here are my games for this convention.

All Systems Gone
System: Reboot

Seven years ago the mega-corporation Stirling INC left the colony of New Oldham. It pulled all VIP personnel off-world to the Corporate HQ on Westminster, to consolidate assets during the Galactic War. As soon as they shut their Tower in the financial district the planetary economy went into recession.

A whole generation came of age during this time. Most enjoyed mass employment by joining various street gangs. Others found in jobs with the only other growth sector, Corporate security. A small minority, the Cyberpunks, set their sights higher on actually creating a fairer system for the people on-world, rather than a small number of investors off-world.

Now the Galactic War is over, and there are rumours that Stirling Inc is coming back. The lights are on at the Tower, and mystery money is buying up cheap stock on the local stock exchange. The Cyberpunks realise that must they either get their plans for planetary revolution off the ground, or they will get hunted down by the returning Corporate Executives.

All Systems Gone uses a hacked version of the Linimal system, called Reboot. It’s a direct and straightforward set of rules, using a unified 2d6 mechanic. Reboot uses a modified ruleset to stimulate the high-octane worlds of 23rd Century Cyberpunk in Space.

Holidays in the Sun
System: Savage Worlds

London Calling!

It is 1984 and five years since the glorious Punk revolution here in the United Republic. Our anarchistic methods toppled the monarchy and their cronies. Now it’s time to use the same techniques to bring down the Dictator of a banana republic in the south seas tropical island of Lalonde.

Will there be fast cars? Yes!

Will there be explosions? Yes!

Guns and Guitars? Hell yeah!

As well as the usual mob of homegrown anarchists, you’ll be assisted by our allies in US Scene who have expertise in disrupting CIA backed governments from their time enabling regime change in Central America.


Cmdr Joe Strummer.

At last a game that is Punk! Not SortaPunk, or NotVeryPunk, or Idon’treallyunderstandPunk or even fucking TolkienPunk!. Using the Savage Worlds system because there will be lots of guns and shooting and stuff. Don’t sign up if you are of a gentle thoughtful persuasion, who dislikes swearing. Because there will be f**k all of that type of playstyle in this game!!

The State of D101 Games 2019

The Last couple of years (2017-2018)

If you are a regular follower of D101 Games you’ll have noticed the last State of Address was back in 2016, and that things have been a touch wobbly since then.  Monkey was kickstarted in the first couple of months of 2017, followed by its mega-adventure the Mandate of Heaven, which was a great payday for D101 and put enough money aside to get the books done. All plain sailing from here you would think. In June I left full-time employ to go full time with D101 working from home (cynics would say that I was becoming a House Husband 😉 ). All good and I was just settling in, when the wheels came off the bus. In July my mother in law was suddenly hospitalised and did not get home until the end of the year. During which time my family, was my priority and D101 became an occasional concern. It wasn’t until almost April 2018 that things had settled down at home and I could seriously work on Monkey, other outstanding books (see below).  All in all, I lost a good year of work and pay. If you bought a book or supported me with kind words during that period, you have my thanks for helping me through that difficult period.

2018 in review

I spent much of last year playing catch up with Monkey, the last of the add on adventures for Crypts and Things Remastered Kickstarter and making steady progress with the long overdue River of Heaven Companion, To the Stars.  It was also the year that after a five-year hiatus Hearts in Glorantha made a reappearance.

Monkey the RPG

After a wildly successful Kickstarter in 2017 the main rulebook and the free Pdf Quickstart was released in towards the end of the first half of the year.  This was an auspicious and fantastic moment for me, since its very much a niche game, as far away from D&D’s troupes as you can possibly get, and a project that is very close to my heart. So it was awesome to see it out in the wild, and hold the hardcover, crammed with lovely art from Peter Frain and Dan Barker.

I’m now catching up writing the supplements; the mega adventure the Mandate of Heaven (which is at first draft stage), the short mini-campaign The Ministry of Thunder (which is the final stages of writing), The Golden Book of 101 Immortals and the Monkey Companion (a book of extra rules and adventures), all of which I’m getting out this year.

Monkey cover by Jon Hodgson

Glorantha Fanzines

Two issues of Hearts in Glorantha were released in 2019. Issue six was the resurrection issue after a five year hiatus and issue 7 was our tenth anniversary issue   We featured scenarios and articles for all the published systems; Guy Milner provided his Beard of Lhynkor Mhy for 13th Age Glorantha, Stewart Stansfield provided an Anti-Hero Lunar Duck for RuneQuest Glorantha and I wrote a duo of RuneQuest Classic adventures Duck Hill in issue 6 and The Temple of the Golden Gorp in issue 7.

It was heartening to see the surge in interest in Hearts in Glorantha, due to the availability of new Gloranthan games and material from Chaosium Inc, and new names alongside the familiar contributors to the magazine.

On a sad note Glorantha Creator Greg Stafford passed away at the end of the year. Greg was a firm supporter of Hearts in Glorantha, who contributed a few one pagers on magic (featured in HiG 1-5 collected) in the early days as encouragement, and his warm words of support will be missed.

HiG 6 cover by Stewart Stansfield

Tournaments of Madness and Death

Want to try out Crypts and Things in a quick 3-4-hour scenario? Have your adventurers race to save the world of Zarth from a great evil? Then this book that came out in September, which features two such scenarios and a guide of how to write C&T convention scenarios is what you want.

Tournaments of Madness and Death, cover by David M. Wright

The Road to Hell Kickstarter

In the last quarter of 2018, D101’s coffers were in need of filling and I struck upon the idea of doing a quick Halloween Themed adventure, and the Road to Hell (which was previously an OpenQuest adventure published in OpenQuest Adventures) was 80% of the way there, bar conversion to Lamentations of the Flame Princess (a horror-themed OSR game based of B/X D&D). Currently, it’s in fulfilment to the backers, but will soon be available to preorder via the D101 Web Store.  Best way to know when its out Is to subscribe to the D101 newsletter.

The Road to Hell, cover by Jon Hodgson

Conventions in 2018

Despite being free of the concerns of leave allowances, I cut back on my convention attendances. I made a conscious decision not to go the trade shows that require outlay up front, so UK Games Expo and Dragonmeet were dropped from my schedule.

7 Hills (April) and Furnace (October) at the Garrison Hotel in Sheffield continued to be a ton of fun as ever.  This year they were also joined by new kid on the block Northstar in May, a small convention dedicated to Sci-Fi RPGs.   Outside of the Garrison cons, there was Continuum (Leicester) in July which I’ve not been for a good six years due to family holidays, and it was a good show to launch Monkey upon the gaming masses.  I also made an appearance at Grogmeet 2018 here in my home city of Manchester, were I ran Crypts and Things and the D101 Games Magic Stall made its most minimal appearance ever (see the photo below)

The micro Magic Stall at Grogmeet

2019 Plans

Catch up of outstanding books

As noted above I’ve a good chunk of Monkey books to release, and the Great Crypts and Things Campaign aka Under Dark Spires to get out. Rest assured while I work and release the new shiny things I’ll be announcing

Talking of which…

Coming to Kickstarter in 2019

I have two firm dates for your diary.

Into the Shroud #2 (now until Feb 25th)

On Kickstarter now at time of writing until Feb 25, as part of the ZineQuest initiative. This is your chance to get both the new second issue, which has been gathering dust on my hard drive for a year or so, and the first issue in print.  Its already funded, and the first stretch goal (10 new monsters) has also been met.

Beyond Dread Portals (2nd April)

This is Paul Mitchener’s post-D&D game of fantastic exploration of a series of dimensions by inhabitants of the Empire of Ys. This one has been in development for a couple of years now and it’s a true gem of a D20 game, whose system we’ve christened the Beyond 20 system. Well be getting the whole pool of recent D101 artists on board to illustrate this book, and Glynn Seal (aka MonkeyBlood design, 2018 Golden EnNie Award winner for Cartography) will be doing the many maps that show the worlds that Empire interacts with.

Read more on the Sorcerer Under Mountain blog.

Beyond Dread Portals, Cover by Jon Hodgson

OpenQuest 10th Anniversary

OQ is ten this year in September. I’m currently playtesting a new version of the game, and gathering a host of talent to illustrate the 10th Anniversary edition, which I want to be the best illustrated version I’ve put out. Once the main rulebook comes out I want it to be quickly supported by a regular release schedule of adventures.  Tentatively the Kickstarter to fund OpenQuest 3 will this coming summer Jul/Aug.

River of Heaven, To the Stars!/Revised Rulebook

The long-delayed Companion book is done and to go with its release I’ve revised the main rulebook slightly to take into consideration the small but significant system changes I made to the OQ system in 2016’s OQ Refreshed Edition and another proof-read.  Both of these should be out the end of this month or by mid-march latest.

To the Stars, cover by Peter Frain

Hearts in Glorantha/Gloranthan Adventures

After last year’s return to Glorantha, I’ve got more than enough enthusiasm to carry on. Call for contributions for HiG #8 will be made soon, with the aim of getting two more issues out this year. Also one or two issues of Gloranthan Adventures, including Defenders of the Dark (GA #3). I’m currently assessing how to do this given 13th Age Glorantha and RuneQuest Glorantha are now out.

The Further Adventures of Dr Dee’s Associates

I’ll be doing more adventures set in the Jacobean Period, and the sequel to The Road to Hell has already been partially written (look out for it

Blue Skies Development Department

These are things that I’m either thinking about doing or have a rough outline or even a partial draft, but they are not 100% done yet.

Project Darklight will return, as Reboot. Not 100% on the system yet (strong contenders are Fate or Yin/Yang or even HeroQuest OGL) . At some point, I’ll be sitting down and working it out.

I shall be doing something with the soon to be released HeroQuest OGL SRD, starting off with a self-contained version of the Ye Little Book of HeroQuest Fantasy (which was made up of two pdf releases Dungeoneering and Monsters).

Beyond Monkey. Once the backlog of supplements coming out of the Monkey Kickstarter is done and dusted, I’ll be doing something more with the Yin/Yang system that features in the game.  Front runners are The Water Margin, but that requires me to sit down and do a TON of research so don’t expect anything more than a con game this year, or something else Kung-Fu/Wuxia related.

Some thing for D&D 5th. I’ve recently taken the plunge as a 1st Ed/Basic/Expert D&D Dungeon Master and run the game and liked it very much.  It’s straight forward for me to run, and even at first level there were lots of fun things for the players to do with their characters. I’d go as far as there were points where the players were running the game themselves!

Isle of Death for Mythras. I’ve long been a fan of Design Mechanism’s D100 game Mythras. I’ve now got a framework for releases using that system, and a starter adventure that is full of drama and action. When I sit down to do this, I’ll be previewing and gathering my thoughts on the Sorcerer Under Mountain blog.

Crypts and Things. After Under Dark Spires is out I’m going to have a pause and look at what/where I’m going with Crypts and Things. There’s still a lot of adventuring to be had on Zarth 😊

The return of Fortune. This is our small Fate variant for which we released two-pickup and play small RPGs (everything you need in about 100-150 A5 books) Hunters of Alexandria and The Hollow West.  Me and principal author Paul Mitchener have started discussions/planning to get the other various game books we have on our hard-drives out into the wild, and the (strong) possibility of an expanded Hunters of Alexandria.

Peter Town’s cover

Convention appearances for 2019

The Magic Stall shall be materialising at…

  • 7 Hills (Garrison Hotel, Hillsborough, Sheffield)
  • Northstar (Garrison Hotel, Hillsborough, Sheffield) – A science-fiction rpg con that I’ll be running River of Heaven
  • Furnace (Garrison Hotel, Hillsborough, Sheffield)
  • Grogmeet (Fanboy 3, Manchester). Get on the Grogpod and you’ll get an invite to this awesome one-day event at the end of the year.
  • GoPlayManchester (Fanboy 3, Manchester) – this is a monthly meetup I run in Manchester @Fanboy 3. While I’m not trading as D101 there, I do run and run D101 stuff there.

I may add more to that list as the year goes on, but the above are dead certs.

Others flying the D101 flag are:

  • Neil Benson (aka OldScouseroleplaying on twitter) is running The Road to Hell at UK Games Expo and at Deva Con (Chester).

The D101 Games Newsletter

Stay up to date with all the new releases and news from D101 Games, by signing up to our monthly newsletter. Also, I’ll be running regular competitions, prize draws and giving discounts (this month there’s a code for Hunters of Alexandria).

In conclusion

I’ve weathered a rough patch over the last couple of years, and D101 Games has proven surprisingly resilient despite me feeling stretched thin at times. This is in no small part due to our supporters and contributors. You have my thanks.

Now that I’m refreshed expect a more frequent and aggressive release schedule as the year goes on 🙂

Spring Sheffield Conventions

I’m out and about in the next couple of months at my familiar stomping ground of The Garrison Hotel in Sheffield, for two conventions run by the familiar faces behind the epic long-standing Furnace.

First up, next weekend is 7 Hills (because you know just like Rome, Sheffield is built on 7 hills 😉 ), where I shall be running the following:

Guard Dogs
System: Beyond Dread Portals.
Players 4
GM: Newt Newport

It was your job to guard the Dread Portal to Erebus, but somehow, someone slipped through on your watch last night.
This security breach is bad news. Erebus is a particularly foul world that the Empire of Ys withdrew from after a disastrous colonisation attempt. They kept the portal, closed and under guard by ex-members of the Explorer’s Guild, just in case of emergencies. As as far as you’ve been told, there was no emergency last night. Someone is up to mischief. Now the various Noble Houses are up in arms about the breach, fingers are being pointed in your direction, and you’ve got the sinking feeling that you are going to end being scapegoated while whoever snuck through the gate gets away with it.

Time to dust off your membership of the Explorers Guild, which gives you temporary immunity to whatever court action the Nobles bring against you and the right to prove your innocence. As well as the power to go world hoping to Erebus to bring the real criminals to justice.

Beyond Dread Portals is Paul Mitchener’s take on D&D. Which initially started off as Paul’s homage to Planescape, but mutated into its own thing. It’s a large fantasy setting, where a magical city-state of Ys sits at the centre of an empire of other worlds connected by magic portals (hence the title). Its also a ruleset – which I’m tagging as post-D&D. It takes D&D as its starting point and then cuts and adds to it to make the ruleset match the setting. The nearest analogy is I can make if that second wave of AD&D settings (Planescape, Dark Sun, Ravenloft etc.) had been self-contained games with modified D&D based rulesets. Bear in mind Paul also takes into consideration 30 years of games design on top of that, although he does so in a way that isn’t jarring to the starting point.

Tags: Dimension hoping Fantasy, post-D&D

Then for the rest of the convention, I’ll be running three slots of Monkey.



Then almost a month on is North Star (28th-29th April) – a convention dedicated entirely to Science Fiction RPG’s. So you’ve got everything from Traveller, Tenra Bansho Zero (a bonkers Japanese RPG), Star Wars, Star Trek and a few other games in different settings spun up using Fate and the Cortex system.

My three games over the course of the weekend:

Slot 2
Game: HOPE
System: River of Heaven
Max Players: 4

“The space station was offline. The Caretaker started its daily routine of checks to see if it was time to reactivate the station. One by one the parameters of the Station’s primary mission objectives were ticked and as they were the lights went on in the modules responsible for delivering those goals. Eventually, the station was a sea of lights in the darkness of space. A beacon of HOPE for the shattered system that it was situated in. With all the lights on, the Caretaker automatically started The Call, to pull suitable personnel to the station, who would be responsible for achieving the station’s goals.

Your motives match the HOPE’s mission parameters, so you answered the Call. You now wait in the main hanger bay, along with others who also answered, waiting to be taken up to the briefing room to be formally inducted into the station’s staff.”

HOPE is set on a space station in a solar system with issues and problems, that its staff are responsible for solving. It takes its cues from TV shows like Babylon 5, Deep Space 9 and Space 99. it uses the River of Heaven game system, based on OpenQuest a straightforward D100 system.

Then on Sunday, a retro-Cyberpunk two-parter: Cyber Crash.

Slot 4
Game: Cyber Crash: Tell me why I don’t like Loonies?
System: Fate/Fortune
Max Players: 4

Manchester 1984, five minutes into the future….

SafeCorp NW regional HeadQuarters, briefing room 101.

“Right Ladies and Gentlemen, here’s your next assignment. You know Anna Rose, that presenter off Treasure Punt on Channel 23? Yeah, the one with the designer jumpsuits (no sniggering at the back). Well, she’s off to do a film a documentary about a bunch of charmers, called the Happy Loonies. They’re a new street gang, who to put it mildly are a colourful bunch. Your cover will be acting as a media crew for Miss Rose so you need to dress appropriately and follow her every move and make sure she stays safe. Oh yeah and she’ll not only be wanting to follow them around the nightclubs of the city centre, but also the after-hours party scene in Mosside, so make sure you’ve got appropriate weapons AND licenses. Remember if its no point having a licence to kill if you don’t carry on your person to show the boys in blue.

There is a bonus, from our friends in the Organised Crime Unit. The Loonies as well as being world class party animals are also into peddling a new drug called Joy, that the OCU would like to know more about. “

Part 1 of Cyber Crash, a retro-Cyberpunk game using a quick simple version of Fate called Fortune (by our own Dr Mitch). This scenario introduces the alternative history setting of 1984 Manchester and the men and women of SafeCorp’s Cyber Veterans Response Team.

What do I mean by ‘Retro-Cyberpunk”? Think Max Headroom, not Bladerunner, with a soundtrack that is more Joy Division, not techno. It uses an alternative history setting where cyberware emerged from its use during the Falklands War of 1982 and is seeping onto the street as beaten up army surplus. There is no virtual reality, but instead, a text-based network carried through the analogue TV signal called “The Oracle”. Where Hackers break into secure computer clusters to use green screen terminals to access private information stored securely or clunky armband PDA’s with wireless connections that are constantly dropping.

Slot 4
Game: Cyber Crash: Shadowplay
System: Fate/Fortune
Max Players: 4

Manchester 1984, five minutes into the future.

SafeCorp NW regional HeadQuarters, briefing room 101.

“OK team, get your guns and vests ready, and head out to the roof and jump in the Spinner.

We’ve got a hot lead that the IRA gang who were responsible for last year’s bombing of the Arndale Centre are back in town, and in one of the pubs run by the Salford Boys. We’ve got a limited time-window to catch these bastards. They are currently being held down in a firefight by civilians on our payroll. The Head of Greater Manchester Police has agreed with the boss, that there will be a ‘Delayed Police Response’, but the same can not be said of MI5 if they are aware of the situation.

I need not remind you that these men are on SafeCorp’s most wanted list and their apprehension ALIVE will help our legal department dismiss the case brought by the victims of the bombing against SafeCorp that is currently going through the courts. I’m sure management will be reward anyone involved with a large cash bonus”

Part 2 of Cybercrash, a Fate-based retro-Cyberpunk game set in an alternative 1984 Manchester. This game continues the adventures of the Cyber Veterans Response Team, and from its explosive start explores the deep dark secrets of the origins of cyberware within this alternative reality. No need to have played part 1 to join this game.

Post Dragonmeet Reflections

So Dragonmeet 2016 was my first visit since I last went in 2006 when it was held in the rather dour and downbeat Kensignton Hall. This time out it was nestled in the heart of Hammersmith at the Novotel. I didn’t initially appreciate shinyness of the venue, since we came up with the stock in the goods elevator and were initially focused with getting set up in the trades hall, where I spent 85% of my time.

In kung-fu fighting mode on the stall, photo by Julian Hayley.
In kung-fu fighting mode on the stall, photo by Julian Hayley.

To any of you who swung past the D101 Games stall, tucked away in the corner next to Leisure Games, and said hi thank you. Apologies if you’ve seen me before at Expo and I didn’t recognise you. There were a few lulls but it was full on from its start at 10am until finally we got the signal from the organisers that we could shut up shop at 6pm. There were audible sighs of relief from the traders around me as people realised (we had originally been told 8 was the earliest).

The Mighty Stall
The Mighty Stall

Overall we turned a profit, as we do at Expo as well,  and I’m finally getting real grip on what sells and what doesn’t. I’ve now got a couple of years of hard data from Expo and with the figures I got from Dragonmeet a very definite picture is emerging that I’ll be taking action on next time I’m out with the stall (Airecon in Harrogate 10-12th March).

Front of the Dragonmeet catalogue
Front of the Dragonmeet catalogue
Inside of the games catalogue, crazy, crazy prices never to be repeated :)
Inside of the games catalogue, crazy, crazy prices never to be repeated 🙂

The con was a ton of fun. Perhaps too much fun for one day. Not only were sales good for us, but I got to talk to lots of customers about the games – especially Monkey which I was letting people know that the Kickstarter starts on Sunday 8th January 2017.  I say quietly, well it was until official Monkey #1 fan Lloyd found out and was busy telling people, including at the “What’s happening in Indie and Story games seminar”.  I wondered why sales of Monkey spiked late afternoon 🙂

Monkey's #1 fan, Lloyd
Monkey’s #1 fan, Lloyd

That vague thing called “Networking” with fellow industry types also worked nicely for me. I’m usually not a big fan of putting myself forward, I prefer to let the work speak for itself, but I had some good chats  with various folk that were inspiring and useful.  Not least with Mike from Leisure Games, Ben and Mark from Airecon (which is having its next outing in March in the Harrogate Conference centre and D101 will be involved heavily on the RPG front so watch this space) and I had the pleasure to meet industry veteran artist Tony Hough and leaf through a folder crammed with gorgeous fantasy art.

Surprisingly there was enough time to be sociable either side of the con. Despite arriving late on Friday me and my driver Steve got to go for a cracking Vietnamese at SaigonSaigon not far from Premier Inn where we were staying before getting stuck in a lift in the apartment block were the rest of our friends from the North had their accommodation. Stoically we waited it out for an hour, heads down reading on e-readers, until we were got out. Then a nice bit of booze was provided by our hosts to calm nerves (cheers Lynn and John).

Helps we are stuck in a lift!
Helps we are stuck in a lift!

After the con I bumped into the London Gloranthaphiles (Colin, Tressey, Dan, Gwen and Nick) and went out for another oriental themed tea, where I discovered the clean tasting delights of Lucky Buddha beer ( with its lovely happy buddha shaped green bottles – which I was too polite to take one) . Then back to the hotel bar to meet up with my Northern mates for more beer and spirits, before calling it a night.  Then a clear run back to the North the next day.

Post con tipple: Lucky Buddha Beer
Post con tipple: Lucky Buddha Beer

Would I be back again?  Yes on balance, it was a fun, profitable and inspiring enough for me for me to come back.