I’m making this post out of completeness. D101–020 was a generic fantasy homebrew setting using the HeroQuest Gateway license. It was a flop sales-wise, with all sorts of production problems that taught me some hard lessons about RPG publishing. It was available for about three to six months, which just about paid its costs and then ceased publication.
Ok, this is a composite entry that covers three releases.
Ye Little Book of HeroQuest 1 Dungeoneering (D101-011), released Sept 2010.
Ye Little Book of HeroQuest Monsters (D101-012), released Nov 2010.
Both of which were only available in pdf.
Ye Little Book of HeroQuest Fantasy (D101-023) which appeared years later in 2015 and is the combined pdf/print version of the above.
In 2009 if memory serves me rightly Moon Design offered the HeroQuest Gateway license 2 to potential third-party publishers. I had already done some generic gaming with HeroQuest, so thought let’s give it a go.
The “Ye Little Books of HeroQuest Fantasy” was meant to have been a series of cheap and cheerful short releases, a sort of counterpoint to all the D20 and even Savage Worlds pamphlets that were flooding drivethrurpg.com in those days. Looking at my folder on my hard drive, I also had plans to do “Adventures”, “Heroes”, and “World Building” as part of the series.
So I quickly brought the project together. HQ was easy to write for and I think each release only took a couple of evening writing sessions to write because I had a laser-sharp focus on what I was doing 3.
Dungeoneering was well-received. In its lifetime it was a Silver Medal seller on Drivethrurpg.com. Monsters did less well but still got a Bronze medal over its lifetime. I’m not surprised since it was basically a generic listing of typical fantasy critters, using the descriptions and art from OpenQuest at the time, and we’ve all got far too many books of that sort of nonsense 😀
I decided when I was putting the project together the whole series would then only get a full release as a printed version when all parts had been out. This is why there’s a huge delay between the pdf releases and the combined version. I kept putting it off because I kept thinking that I would do the other parts, which for one reason or another never happened. Truth be told by the time I put out YLBoHQ Fantasy, I was quite jaded with the whole idea because being a HQ Gateway publisher had not been the road to instant fame and fortune that I had expected it to be 4. I’d not had that crucial moment of self-realisation that the pdfs had actually sold quite well and had been well received by fans, who quietly emailed me politely asking when they were going to see the other parts. In short, I should have put my head down and got on with it 😀
1. The game is currently being rebranded as QuestWorlds and is due a new edition from Chaosium (current owners of the game) soon(ish). The actual rules have been released for free.
For the purposes of this article, I’ve kept with the old brand name, which has been sold back to Hasbro so they can bring back the board game of the same name, for historical reasons. Plus referring to it as “the-game-formally-known-as-heroquest” is a bit longwinded 😀
2. The HQ Gateway license was actually quite elegant. It nicely explained what you could do with the HeroQuest ruleset, basically do supplements/adventures without going too risque (or edgelord as we call it now) in a way that would damage the brand and reputation of Moon Design, and no Glorantha (but I had a separate license for that). And that was it. No approval process, apart from Moon Design giving you a license in the first place.
3. One of the successes of this project, was that I really got the whole idea of writing a scope, refining it, and then delivering it without scope creep. Well for the first two releases any way 🙂 This success helped me in other D101 Games releases further down the road. If nothing else it made me the master of putting out short pdf to print fanzine sized books, which are now actually good sellers and quite popular.
4. This was quite a depressing internal battle that I fought with myself over the next five years or so. 2010 was a great push to get as many books out, in the effort to become a “name” publisher. Something I’ve realised further down the road, due to my personality, I’m not all that interested in. For me, it’s the creation of the work. I’ve seen some RPG creators go to great lengths to publicise their works, and it just strikes me as vulgar. It coincided with a slump in my energy levels. Work and having two kids were to blame here 😀
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.
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.
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 @D101 Games store
- Tournaments of Madness and Death @drivethrurpg.com
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 🙂
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 which 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. 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 🙂
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 🙂
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 – 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 – Jamie “Trotsky” Revell’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 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂
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!
After not releasing any thing since Hearts in Glorantha #3 back in Sept 09, suddenly there’s a whole slew of stuff erupting from the Volcano of Love that is the D101 production que.
Monkey (D101-008) Man oh man I’m excited beyond belief. Its in editorial now with the esteemed Mark Galeotti (author of Mythic Russia and ex-HeroQuest line editor, and real life academic journal editor) and going straight into layout once I get it. Master pages are made up, cover is made and I’ve got all my art ready to go once the little monkey boy comes home. Looking at mid-March early April at the latest.
Savage North (D101-07) Same deal here, last of the proofing being done and straight into layout once I get it. Mid March
Wordplay The Big Five (D101-08) A bit of writing to be done on my part, which could hold things up a tiny bit, but otherwise over half the book (Core +2 out of five themes) already laid out. Aiming for a Con-Quest (see below release) but won’t be surprised if it slips slightly. Its a big book at 250+ pages!
Con-Quest! (D101-09) A one day Derby convention (a games day?) at the Assembly room run by old friends of mine. Headed up by Darran Sims, Mike Mason, Evil Gaz and Dave McAllistar, its one of the most professional teams out there. Which is just as well since I’m feeling very wobbly about shifting gears from Con GM to Con Trader. Yup that’s right we’ll be having a very reasonably priced stall, which will also feature the lovely Tim Gray and his Silver Branch Games (get yer Jaws of the Six Serpents in), which should be selling HiG, OpenQuest and subject to release coinciding Savage North, Monkey and Wordplay:Big 5. Plus we’ll be running games all day; Monkey, Wordplay:BigFive and of course Savage North! Thanks in advance to Tom Zundar, John Ossoway, Andrew Edwards and Paul Mitchener who are going to be running games. Its my first con in ages and its going to be awesome and the win for D101. Pop down and see us 🙂
Con-Quest is a big milestone for us, alot of stuff that has been lying dormant finally sees the light of day. Gloranthaphiles amongst you will have noticed that there’s a serious absence of Gloranthan releases amongst the treasure trove being unearthed at Con-Quest. This is deliberate. Monkey kept on getting pushed aside for HiG and Savage North was already way over due (it was meant to be an Autumn release). Wordplay:The Big Five just came up suddenly and needs to get out asap otherwise some excellent gaming material ( I’m talking about Mark Galeotti’s The Cold Crusade and Charles Green’s Keep Portland Weird themes here) wouldn’t have seen the light of day. Focus on these books kinda sapped my time to work on Gloranthan stuff. However after Con-Quest is full steam ahead on various HQ releases, both Gloranthan and ‘Gateway’ (Moon Designs term for non-Gloranthan settings). I’ll expand on them later (esp HQ Gateway since I’ve been teasing the community with promises of various things) but for now I shall leave you will a bullet list of stuff you can expect May-July.
- Gloranthan Adventures issue #1 New Beginnings (A set of four adventures set in Sartar, with Balkoth tribe background from Dr Moose)
- Hearts In Glorantha issue #4 (Lunar feature, plus first of Trotskys Lords of the West articles)
- Life and Death(OpenQuest adventure setting book by Newt Newport)
- Empires Rising (OpenQuest adventure setting book by Nathan Baron)
- The Monastery(HQ Gateway, Medieval mystery)
- Lost fools of Atlantis (HQ Gateway, Black Comedy)
Wordplay The Big Five https://d101games.com/wordplay
The Savage North https://d101games.com/the-savage-north/
Hearts in Glorantha issue 4 http://heartsinglorantha.d101games.com/2010/01/25/hig-4-is-go/
Monkey (a rather sparse page which will be updated with previews and images soon) https://d101games.com/monkey
Life and Death https://d101games.com/life-and-death
Empires Rising https://d101games.com/empires-rising
Silver Branch Games http://www.silverbranch.co.uk/
Con-Quest, Derby Assembly Rooms Saturday 10th April http://www.con-quest.co.uk