Category Archives: General

Overview of D101 games as it whizzes past your nose!

I should have done a big state of the D101 at the beginning of the year, but I was up to my neck with Real Lifeโ„ข stuff. If I had have done it would have had the cheesy title of “2013: The year of Mega Gaming Fun!” and I would have outlined all the fun stuff that I have planned to come out with this year.

2012 personally felt as if there was a bit of a spanner in the works due family issues. But despite this I learnt that D101 is a Juggernaut of a Beast that trundles on even when I’ve got less of an iron grip on the wheel. Look at what got released last year!!!

2013 has been quiet so far, with only the print release of Worlds of Wordplay (which has done quite nicely) with LOTS of stuff lined up for release later in the year. I’m going to keep quiet about specifics until I’ve got first drafts in, but so far lined up are:

  1. OpenQuest 2
  2. Savage North (The Directors Cut)
  3. Life and Death (expanded edition)
  4. Here Be Dragons (a new OQ adventure setting, Think Jason and the Argonauts meet Clark Ashton Smith directed by Ray Harryhausen)
  5. The River of Heaven (D100 Scifi by John Ossoway).
  6. Tomb of the Necromancer ( by Paul Mitchener for Crypts and Things )
  7. Dark Corners of the Empire a fantasy setting for Worlds of Wordplay/Wordplay
  8. Hearts in Glorantha 6 + 7 (content is already written, realised I had enough material for two issues!)
  9. Gloranthan Adventures issue 2 (Long overdue Lunar adventures book, art being produced and scenarios being revised)
  10. Project Darklight ( A stand alone Wordplay Cyberpunk game )
  11. The Ministry of Thunder ( an adventure/setting supplement for Monkey, a compilation of all the scenarios I’ve run at cons over the years).

Plus a ton of stuff bubbling under the surface for C&T, The Company, a big setting book for Glorantha ( on the size of the Book of Glorious Joy ), Wordplay and possibly FATE (if I can grok the system).

But hey more on that once I’ve got the behemoth that is OpenQuest 2 out the door ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

Looking Big and finding Small, Looking Small and Finding Big

I have had a lot of days recently when I’ve been feeling low about D101 Games. This has been purely a reflection of my personal circumstances. We were out of our home in rented accommodation for a good eight months and just as that was reaching a boiling point of stress and anxiety my father was taken ill with terminal lung cancer. After a short but brutal fight he died a month later.ย  All this has thrown my carefully laid plans of world domination out of synch. Now that the dust has settled I’m desperately trying to pick up the pieces and get things back on track.

While trying to get my head around the ever thorny one of “where I’m I up to with D101” ,I have a saying that arose from me looking at the sales figures for D101 Releases that is helping me no end.

“When you look for big you will find Small. When you look small you will find BIG!”ย 

This reflects an observation I made, that if I’m looking at the figures expecting mega-bucks, I’m let down. If however I approach the figures in a more humble state of mind, I get to see how successful every D101 title has been, even the more obscure ones which had by necessity small production costs. Its a more Taoist way of looking at stuff, which fits in with my personal belief systems and makes me happy.ย  Oh and before you mistakenly say “You’ll never make any money out of RPGs”, lets just say D101 Games is a business, where artists and authors do get paid and I’ve built it to the point that I can occasionally draw money into the family finances. Sure it doesn’t replace the day job, which to be honest is easy money by comparison, but as far as learning on the job and having to do it part-time in any bit of time I can find after the high demands of my job and family, I’m doing very well thank you very much ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Another example of looking “Looking Big and finding Small, Looking Small and Finding Big” ๐Ÿ™‚

One vital and naturally arising element of this view, is the constant support I get from for wont of a better word “The Fans”. While D101 may not get wider recognition in an industry sense of getting huge coverage on RPG.net and wining (or even being nominated) for awards, I get a constant stream of thank yous and intelligent constructive criticism and questions in my inbox. This in itself is its own reward ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Thank you to all who have contacted me in this way. Your kind comments and interest have literally kept D101 going over the last very bumpy eight months.

Overall this leads me to the conclusion that

D101 Games is a Small Press Games Publisher, who is Wining in a BIG way ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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 whichย  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.ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ Jamie โ€œTrotskyโ€ Revellโ€™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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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’ ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Book of Glorious Joy is done and dusted, release any second now ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย  Which means the dream of me going full time with this (there’s a D101 office in the new extension ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) takes one huge step forward.

 

Consolidation

As Real life hits me soundly round the head, with impending house extension, I’ve been consolidating here at D101.

Moving Print versions over to DriveThruRpg.com. This is a slow process, first I have to do some tweaking to the files (Drive thru are a bit more demanding than Lulu), regenerate the cover (different format) and then patiently wait during the approval process that takes a week or so. Monkey and OpenQuest have been done, I’m awaiting proofs, and the rest of this month should see all the supplements and Gloranthan Magazines get done. It make sense to have all my print titles in one place, and Drive thru is a much much better deal for both you and me. This time next month I should be moved totally and will be closing down my Lulu store.

OpenQuest for the win! I’ve more or less sorted the OQ release schedule for the next year. The powered by OQ games The Company & River of Heaven are the first priority.ย  Look out for very special pre-orders soon ๐Ÿ™‚ Then we are back on track with OQ Fantasy releases, which I’ll post more details when the fuss over RQ6 is over.

RuneQuest 6. Talking of which I’ve got plans for a RQ6 supplement, since producing standalone supplements will have some form of free license, in a format that is fast, fun and gets you playing as quickly as possible making the best use of the rules systems. As a long time RQ fan its too exciting a prospect to overlook, but I am tempering it with the caution that the rest of the D101 catalog doesn’t get overlooked while we (it will be a collaborative effort) swan off to do our dream RQ project ๐Ÿ˜‰

Forum. The current forum is going to die and probably not be replaced.ย  For a small outfit like me it doesn’t make sense for me to have my own forum. I check all the major rpg forums, and have a google alert set up so if you talk about one of my games I get an email about it, so over the next couple of days the forum will get closed.

The Fixed Stall vs the Magic Stall & Man with a bag – two different con selling experiences

So Furnace is coming up and its time to organise the D101 stall for the con, or not as the case may turn out.

This year I’ve popped my cheery well and truly on the selling front, from two cons.

Con-Quest (Derby May)
On the surface this looks like Dragonmeet in the Midlands, in fact it was originally going to be DM-Midlands. A one day con. There’s a mini-trade area where Mongoose and House Attitides were set up and then the main hall where trade stalls of various types not all rpg (we were in-between a CCG stall and a stall selling Pagan items) where there was also Leisure Games and a bring and buy stall.

Here’s me Steve (behind the stall) and Gary “Evil Gaz” Bowerbank one of the organisers in a picture taken by Darran Sims (another of the organisers) from the balcony behind the stall.

Short story here is that the gamers, despite the abundance of trade stalls, were there to game. Even Mongoose left early. I felt like a total lemon, while the D101 Demo team ran full games and had a grand time, I made two sales (fortunately enough to cover the cost of the stall) all day and went home will practically all the stock as a result.

Despite all our attempts to trap what little passing trade there was, interest in the stall was virtually zero Sad

It should be noted none of this is down to the very fine efforts of the organisers, who put on a very well attended excellent first con, but more from the fact that I was physically distanced from the customers who were busy gaming in the centre of room. I realised I would have been better off running games and having a selection of them in my bag with a cash tin if people wanted to buy…which lead

Continuum (Leicester July)
Very different set up here. Although Continuum has a similar foot fall (about 200), its a 2 day residential con. Learning from the mistakes made at ConQuest, I put the stall firmly in the room that we had for gaming, we had 2-3 tables on the go in all slots. I called the stall the ‘Magic Stall’ because it magically appeared in-between slots, and was ‘closed’ while I was running games. Initially the stock was packed up when it was closed, but by the end I left stuff out for people to browse.ย  As you can see from the photo, the Magic stall is less of a barrier but more of an open feature.

Here’s the Magic stall front on:

and here’s it side on with customers browsing it

This worked great guns, contact with the customer was easily made. The only change I would make for next time would also to have a ‘breakfast’ Magic Stall that appeared at the edge of the Dining hall, after I had my breakfast (I’m an early riser). This is what Leisure games did on Saturday and they where doing great trade at 8:30-9 as people had just finished breakfast.

Another thing I did was try out the man with games in his bag approach – Monkey you see fits in my man bag along with the cash box – and this worked very well since people know me well enough at Continuum to wander up and ask for a copy. This ease of access also led to sales of books that were upstairs on the Magic Stall in the Games Room as well. Because I had copies with me at all times as soon as someone asked me about the game I had something to show and sell. As a result I literally was selling Monkey up until the moment I left the con!

So for Furnace I’ll definitely be repeating the Continuum set up of the Magic Stall and Man-with-a-game-in-his-bag , with some tweaks.

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.ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย  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 http://d101games.com/wordplay

The Savage North http://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) http://d101games.com/monkey

Life and Death http://d101games.com/life-and-death

Empires Rising http://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

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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