Coming back to life

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 🙂


Wildly happy, but frustratingly restrained

Crypts and Things has been unleashed and in its first week it has sold as much as the pre-order did!  There’s a nice little buzz about the game, both on various blogs and via private emails.  Both my Games Designer and publisher side are happy 🙂  Lots of nice little bits for C&T in the pipeline. In the short term modules galore. More long term a Companion and a spinoff self-contained game that you can use along side C&T.

I’m especially glad that C&T has found a following esp since its joining an increasingly crowded area of Old school D&D Weird Fantasy/S&S games. After looking at the insane number of OSR adventures out there (75 + for OSRIC alone) I’m glad I gave C&T a branding  (which John Ossoway’s logo design helped great guns with) and feel all of its own.

If C&T was me reimagining D&D  and OpenQuest is me doing RQ my way, then the upcoming Project Darklight is me doing Cyberpunk.  I’ve settled on using Wordplay as my base system and its going to be my next serious writting project once I’ve finished off Blood of the Dragon for Crypts and Things.

Add to this my publishing commitments. Pre-orders for the Company have been ordered and once they’ve shipped, its time to press the button at Lulu/DriveThruRPG to make it a general release. Empires Rising is going to the next product out the tubes, all the pieces are in my hands.  Blood of the Dragon will be simultanous with ER and touch wood I’ll squeeze out Hearts in Glorantha #5. Then there will probably be a break of a couple of months.

As much as I don’t  want it D101 will go on a slight hiatus in April/May as I move back into our house and adjust to a new and extended life there.  The slowing down and focusing more on home maters actually starts now, as we prepare to move out, but I’m praying that it doesn’t have as big an impact on D101 as the move last August did.

State of D101 Games 2012

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 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 🙂

D101 remastered
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!

Steady, Steady, Steady…..Fire!

Life is a bit up and down at the moment. We’ve moved house into a rented property, getting reconnected to the digital age (t’internet and telly) pretty painlessly within the first five days. Meanwhile D101 HQ looked like the D-Day landings, which the demolition team in full flow, with a huge hole in the ground where our Garage used to be that stretches into the Garden. Saying that I’m smug that we moved out is an understatement. However its had a huge impact in slowing the impetus of D101. Notice the words ‘slowing’ not ‘stopped’ 🙂 Even though time is even more tight than before I’m still getting D101 stuff worked on, usually at crazy o’clock at night!

Milestones this month

River of Heaven first draft complete and cover completed!  Congrats to Jon

Empires Rising – half way through layout, on for a Oct release (Furnace woohoo!)

The Company – Final check in progress, early Oct release.

Crypts and Things -Final stages of production entered 🙂

Monkey and OpenQuest are now available in print over at – Much better quality than Lulu ever produced, and better shipping costs and times.  Moving d101’s catalogue over will continue over the next couple of months, but all new books will be via

Book of Glorious Joy is done and dusted, release any second now 🙂

My overaim is to have all the D101 developers in a big group shoot with big grins clutching their books at Dragonmeet, where you will be able to buy these new books.

This batch of releases is quite significant for D101. It should effectively double or even treble the steady baseline of sales that we get from our current crop of games.  Which means the dream of me going full time with this (there’s a D101 office in the new extension 😉 ) takes one huge step forward.


This post is brought to by the letter W

Before I sit down and get my mojo together to finish off the Book of Glorious Joy (which has its final corrections and an index to throw together -SQEEE! 😀 ), its time to quickly reflect on where I’m at with my publishing endevears.

Wordplay. If you pay attendtion to my main news feed/twitter/farcebook page for d101 you would have seen that yesterday after a quick chat with the games’ author Graham Spearing i decided to call it a day on publishing Wordplay.I confessed to him that Wordplay is probably my least priority of all the games I publish and then showed him the great pile of stuff I’ve got planned. He then stepped in as an outside evaluator and pointed out that I should stop doing Wordplay now completely. This means stopping publishing even the stuff I’ve put out. I agreed with him. I’ve had my fun with Wordplay, but my heart has not really been in it since Christmas. In retrospect I should have just printed Wordplay the Big Five as a one off and left it at that. Stopping completely frees up allot of energy, not to mention art assets (WPB5 had a lot of cracking art which I can now build other supplements/games around), but at the moment I feel kinda like I’ve just split up with a major Girlfriend. But its the right decision. I’ve already started looking at what I had planned for Wordplay, Project Darklight (or CyberPlay as Graham was calling it) immediately comes to mind, and working out the best things to do with it.

Worry. I’ve been quietly stressed about D101 for the last couple of months. I’ve got two very large books in production that vampire like are sucking my creative mojo out.  The thing is that its been a fun ride doing both The Company & The Book of Glorious Joy. However I’m at the end of both books, and the end of my tether. While I’ve been finishing off these books, there was also the fun and games over whether OpenQuest is still legal, with Mongoose loosing the RuneQuest license. In the end Jeff Richard who sorts out the legal side of RuneQuest on behalf of its owner Greg Stafford told me that Greg said OpenQuest is ok with him 🙂

Wombat. Its been a while since I did a public update about Wombat. I’ve hammered out two alpha versions already and I’m planning a third and final before I go public with it, and plan to do a final alpha before moving quickly onto a Beta. I reckon I’m still on track to the Free version for Furnace (where it will be distributed as a free leaflet) and the extended version “The Little Book of Big Adventure” by early Dec. Once it goes beta I’ll start making more noises about it.  Wombat for me kinda takes over from where Wordplay leaves off (which is why Wordplay should leave my hands and go back to Graham). Its a big little thing for me and D101.

Win. HeroQuest is win, Empires Rising is win, OpenQuest wave 2 games , River of Heaven & The Company, Crypts and Things is the win, Wombat is win and Monkey is win (you’ll see how much Monkey is win soon 😉 ).  So its not all doom and gloom 😉

The blinding light at the end of the tunnel

Upcoming releases….

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 🙂

Beyond Con-Quest!

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)

More info

Wordplay The Big Five

The Savage North

Hearts in Glorantha issue 4

Monkey (a rather sparse page which will be updated with previews and images soon)

Life and Death

Empires Rising

Silver Branch Games

Con-Quest, Derby Assembly Rooms Saturday 10th April

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