Category Archives: OpenQuest

What is currently being worked on

Cross posted over at the Collective Endeavour, a forum for UK small press RPGs.

Monkey: this is the game that will probably interest you lot the most. Its my slim & focused 70 page take on the Chinese Classic Journey to the West, better known as MONKEY! over here (thanks to the Japanese TV series that aired in the 80s). Players play errant immortals chucked out of Heaven and the adventures revolve around them trying to earn enough virtue to re-enter Paradise despite their weakness and failings. A simple card mechanic models the action, which is fast furious and comedic while ultimately enlightening. Literally 2 pages away from completion, then a bit of polish, editing, layout and out Feb/March (at the very latest).

The Savage North: Last year I released a game called OpenQuest. I took the bull by the horns and produced a totally Open Content game from the Mongoose RuneQuest OGL SRD, which reflects how I like to play D100 (BRP, RQ ) these days, i.e in a very streamlined storytelling manner. The Savage North is a collection of four scenarios set in a Conan like setting. Very trad dungeon bashing/wilderness trekking from the glory days of White Dwarf in the early 80s. A fun little project which I’ve got to work with my mate John Ossoway (author of Cthulhu Rising) who wrote the adventures (for a RQ3 Conan campaign originally), did the copious number of maps and all the art. I’ve been responsible for writing a setting, converting it to OpenQuest and generally gluing together what was initially just a quick fun write up for John’s home group.

Wordplay: The Big Five This is Graham Spearing’s D6 dice pool narrative game. Think HeroQuest and Burning Wheel in the front, with a few indie games and WEG’s Star Wars D6 in the back, all in a car crash. Put back together by a games designer with an eye for simplicity and common sense. When Graham initially started the game he put a call out for people to write mini-settings called Themes for inclusion in the book. Four authors, my self included, answered the call. Graham published a plain text version , which included his Epic Fantasy theme, last year. His plan was to do a fully illustrated version with the remaining four themes. Unfortunately he hasn’t got time to do this due to other commitments, so I’m picking up publishing this. As well as Graham’s theme it will have; The Cold Crusade by Mark Galeotti (De Vinci code meets Heroes), Flashpoint by me (think Traveller redone as a story telling game), Infinite War (gonzo time travelling game, part satire of current war on terror, influenced by Jerry Cornelius and Fritz Leiber’s The Big Time), Keep Portland Weird by Charles Green (Charles calls it Urban Fantasy, but I think its very much World of Darkness done right with a lovely bit of surreal social commentary running in the back ground). “But Newt I notice only three authors there in your list” you cry. That’s right, Dom Mooney was originally going to be submitting ‘Singularities’, an epic Hard Sci-fi theme in the tradition of Iain Banks, Alistair Reynolds and a host of other modern writers, but is now developing it as a standalone Wordplay game. Apart from quickly writing Flashpoint, which is the replacement for Singularities, this is very much a quick layout job. I’ve already got alot of free/lo cost art from my regular stable of artists 🙂 Release then April.

Dark Corners of the Empire: This is my own fantasy heartbreaker, written using Wordplay. Take the adventure and setting from OpenQuest and mash it up with the Wordplay system and see what comes out the other end.
Its really intended for people who want to try Wordplay out, but are put off by its ‘hey make everything up yourself’ approach or just want to play it in a familiar fantasy setting. Release?? This one is coming together very quickly, so could be March or Feb.

Hearts in Glorantha & Gloranthan Adventures: HiG was my starting point as a small press publisher almost two years ago. Its done me proud, providing me with a basic cash flow to pay for art for other projects. As a commited Gloranthaphile I’m still chugging away putting togehter the twice yearly HiG (issue 4 is being worked on now) and Gloranthan Adventures is an irregular spin off publication brought about by the realisation that I still have alot of my own material (which is mainly adventures) that is too big to fit in HiG.

This is the tip of the ice burg, since I’m a hyperactive sort whose creativity has been well and truly been liberated by self-publishing via lulu, but this is stuff I definitely know is going to get released in the next six months.l

Using OpenQuest for your game

Ok this is prompted by the announcement that the new edition of Mongoose RuneQuest (or MRQ2) won’t have an OGL SRD for what ever reason. I can speculate why but since speculation feeds the trolls I won’t be posting my thoughts here 😛

First off OQ despite being based off the MRQ 1 SRD uses the OGL license to publish, not the MRQ Logo License (which is being pulled by Mongoose), so you are still FREE to use the OQ Dev Kit to base your game on (as long as you obey the OGL license that is included with it).  When I talk about game I also  include self-contained supplements.

This has led to allot of people saying that OQ is now the only viable route for small press/indie publishing of D100, either that or contacting Chaosium and arranging a BRP license, and in recent days allot of nonsense and speculation has been talked about OpenQuest as a result. In this post I hope to put some of those myths firmly to bed.

OpenQuest as a Brand

If you plan on using OQ as a base of your game because of some commercial nonsense of Brand awareness, think twice and then think twice again. OpenQuest is happy fun little community based game. If you are on board with that’s groovy and cool. Help build the community, visit the D101 forums tell us what you are doing, get involved in discussions and you’ll be hitting the right  mark. OQ currently is a minnow of RPGs. Who knows with a bit of love and attention it will grow into a big Whale of a game, but for now its worth taking some time to ground your self in the small reality of the situation. Just because OQ gets mentioned on RPG forums now, doesn’t mean its a cash cow or even that people take it seriously. Think niche within a niche.

Oh and if you email me, or post on a forum, telling me how I should be getting OQ into retail or generally telling me how to ‘build the OpenQuest’ brand you won’t get a response. I’ve heard it before and have my own thoughts (which I’ve just outlined above 😉 ) and its not your place to tell me how to run my Business 🙂

New OGL Content for OpenQuest

This if fore-coming will be posted on the OpenQuest Companion.  Don’t email me asking me for new rules from upcoming D101 OQ powered games for your own project, like some people have recently. River of Heaven, OQ Modern and anything else I have in the pipeline will almost certainly have no new Open Gaming Content.

Not a BRP substitute

Don’t use OpenQuest if you want to write a BRP alike supplement or game, its not BRP (even though it is influenced by that game) and you will be dissappointed at every turn, dissappointment that will shine through in your final product and (if you are that way motivated) sales. Have a chat with Charlie and co at Chaosium and I’m sure you’ll be able to sort something out 🙂

John Ossoway, who is using OQ to power his Hard Sci-fi game River of Heaven, told me recently that although he’s a huge BRP fan he’s using OQ because he geniuely likes what it brings to the gaming table. This is the attitude that you should have when using OQ, not that you are taking advantage of the OGL lisence to do a BRP alike game and avoid the hassle of dealling with Chaosium over a BRP license.

The Right way

Currently there’s at least three serious games being worked on that I know about, whose creators have contacted me. Some are public (like Clockwork and Chivlary) , the others are still in early stages of development so haven’t been announced publicly.

They all share the following common features, which means they will be successfully completed and be viable games.

  • They add to OpenQuest, they are not just taking the Dev Kit tweaking and changing bits here and there to make another Generic game. They are interesting games in their own right. So no generic OQ Space, OQ WW2 or boring GURPS like sourcebooks.
  • Their creators are getting on with the hard donkey work. While having the full text of OQ gives you a big head start (like MRQ SRD for me) its not the end of the process and the creators that have contacted me show that they understood this.

My Commitment to OpenQuest

Ok so there’s been alot of harsh truths in the sections proceeding the above. Here’s the good news. I’m firmly commited to supporting OpenQuest, by keeping it in ‘print’ (you’ll always be able to get it via Lulu or similar future Print on Demand services) and available in low-cost pdf and free plain text version. Also OpenQuest will always be OPEN and free to use.

I may shift my focus onto other games using other systems, but I’m commited to updating the OQ Companion and publishing supporting adventures (we currently have three in the pipeline with a possible forth) and I’m always happy to talk about the game on forums and answer questions via email (the exceptions being outlined above).

So there you go there’s a few home truths about using OQ to develop your game/supplement. Go on and DO IT!

I survived the OpenQuest release!!

After nearly two years of development work, OpenQuest is out.  If you missed this the free pdf is available via our new downloads page and the print version is available via our store page.

Go visit for both of these.

Since the release on Friday I’ve had about 200 odd downloads and a couple of sales 🙂  Feed back has been posistive, with threads over at and The Tavern singing its praises.

I post a fuller post mortem of how the game developed when I’ve recovered from my happy state of release burn out.

Now back to fiddling about writing adventures and settings 🙂 Oh yes and laying out issue 3 of Hearts in Glorantha