Category Archives: General

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!


Post Dad part 2

I’ve very recently became a father again for the second time. Young Henry Brian Newport was born Sept 14th 2009 and is fit and able. Mother is recovering well and elder sister Evie adores her new sibling, although is kinda annoyed that we pay less attention to her at important moments!

Henry’s birth was always going to be this big wall that slowed down the onward rush of D101, but life is coming back into the old beast 😉

OpenQuest. Another minor errata is due, but being held up as my main pc is out of commission at the moment. Since this is the nerve centre of D101 where I do all my InDesign layout this is quite annoying. Hopefully resolved in the next week or two, since time to tinker with PCs is severely limited at the moment.

Savage North. I actually used my paternity leave as a big opportunity to get the writing I needed to do done and dusted. A big push which saw the setting , magic and over arching metaplot nailed. John has done all the maps and illustrations and the whole project is waiting on me to go through the adventures and convert the original RQ 3 stats to OpenQuest. I’m about halfway through this simple process and hope to be content complete by my birthday Oct 26th and be finished doing layout early Nov. This means a late Nov release 🙂

Monkey. I know this is going to sound lame, but I keep waiting for my head to be in the right place to get this finished. Only one chapter to do – the difficult setting & npc chapter, then a quick revision before sending off to be edited all in one go. Good news is that all the art is in so when the edited text is here it can go straight into a simple 6″ x 9″ layout. Hoping to have done by the end of this year early next year latest.

HeroQuest.Alot is bubbling under the surface here…

Hearts in Glorantha issue 4 is currently coming together, but may be delayed until late winter early spring next year. Why? Well honestly I want a break from it. I’ve pumped out three issues in quick succession and a certain amount of fatigue has set in. But I know I’ll be back revitalised, so don’t worry 🙂

Gloranthan adventures 1: New Beginnings. Currently reading the new Sartar book (400 pages of Gloranthan goodness) to bring my old Sartite adventures into line with it and occasionally striping out the stats and references to old supplements that are no longer needed. The idea is to make this a lightweight companion to Sartar, in that it draws from that book but doesn’t rely on it too heavily, that provides a short mini-campaign for new players and games masters before the main Sartar campaign kicks off. The cover art is done and I’ve got one of the HiG regulars , Xavier Llobet, for the internals. Its all coming together nicely this one.

The Road Less Travelled. D101’s first non-Gloranthan supplement. Its a Questworld for Generic Fantasy, using the setting and adventure from OpenQuest. I admit I stalled for a while on this one, because I didn’t want it to be a lightweight conversion of text that is effectively free and I wanted to make sure I had enough ideas to make it a proper HQ release of its own. I’m satisfied that I’ve done this now, and I’ve started work fleshing it out for a Dec release.

…also another unannounced HQ project may see the light before the end of this year which is a lot shorter and much much different from all the fantasy stuff that’s been released/worked on so far.

In stuff that’s been worked on by others, Nathan is beavering away on Empire’s Rising a four part adventure for OpenQuest and John Ossoway is chipping away at the Hard sci-fi epic that is River of Heaven. As well as the previously announced HeroQuest version, John is now going to be using OpenQuest for a D100 version 🙂 More about that soon.

Relentless D101 marches on….

I am the Happy Fun Publisher

Time is squeezing in on me due to impending Newlet#2 (eta two weeks or less) and also prompted by the fact that its been a year and a month since D101’s first release (Hearts in Glorantha #1) this has triggered some pretty heavy reflection on where I’m at with D101.

I think it can be easily summed up with one phrase “I am the Happy Fun Publisher”.

To expand I’m happiest when this is a fun hobby, when it goes under ther radar with the Boss (the wife Rachel, my not so silent partner 🙂 ), and there is a genuine joy about what I’m doing.  I recently had a big dose of the ‘must get this done’ grind for HiG#3 and OpenQuest and it sucketh mightily.

I’ve recently had a huge delusion of grandeur where I pump out the books at the going rate of the ‘Industry, what ever badly inflated price that is, and somehow next year I can give up my day job (as a web developer) . In reality I love my job, it suits me down to the ground and I like the people I work with, and now is not the time to go freelance. I also know that if I went full time with D101 at this point in time I would hate it. I’m never going to say never, but if one day it does happen it will be from a much stronger position than I’m currently in. It will will be an inevitable step that flows with the way my life is going.

Nope I’m doing D101 as a hobby, with perhaps a higher dedication and sense of professionalism, in the same way that some people play sports or spend hours playing World of Warcraft.

So what does this mean in practical terms;

  • I’m going to carry on with the same scatter gun approach to publishing, announcing books here and there, taking my time to deliver oblivious to deadlines whooshing by and occasionally dumping stuff that didn’t work out.  I’m focusing on the Fun, not something I feel I need to put out (except as a mental kick to get something that has been sitting on the Hard-drive in the nearly done phase for too long).  This allow me to actually carry on a few titles that I was considering dropping due to ‘time constraints’.  Immediate benefit of this is that I’m not planing on dropping my Gloranthan titles, as I was before in my previous serious frame of mind.
  • I’m not going to be charging the bizzare prices that RPG publishers seem to be charging these days (this is a rant in itself).  I’ll be charging what I think is a fair price, that people can afford yet still lets me pay out my small costs. RPGing is a social activity, RPG companies or small press should act in a social responsible way and foster a community based on fair play and inclusiveness. To do otherwise in the name for a quick buck means that the Hobby, never mind the so called ‘Industry’, is fucked.  If that means people don’t consider D101 a proper games company, then fuck’ em.  Immediate effect of this is that I’m dropping the print price of OpenQuest to the more reasonable £10.

So that’s where I stand, having fun, releasing what I want, having a laugh with mates and not turning D101 into a joyless must do enterprise.

Hello my name’s Newt and  I am the Happy Fun Publisher.

D101’s direction

D101’s Wave 2 (publishing its own games) is firmly here, hitting the shores and reaching the people and with it came a firm realisation (or perhaps the obvious slapping me in the face) of where I’m going with this.

In short ‘Its all about the Story’.

My favourite Roleplaying experiences have always been those where you remember the game play sessions by the stories that people tell afterwards.  Please excuse me if I look bored to high heaven if you wander up to me and tell me about your favourite character and what awesome powers they have or how system X hits the sweet spot for play.  These things don’t do it for me.

These are the three things I’m I looking for in a ‘story-telling’ roleplaying game.

  • Flexible and easy to learn. Story telling often requires you be inventive on the fly. I want a game systems that support me as I make things up. I don’t want a large overhead of confused players as we have to roll out a new rule to cover the situation that’s cropped up in play.  I want the system to be straightforward, not necessary rules-lite, so that it can blend into the background and let the fun and the story take over.
  • Make the best use of the system features. I want to produce games  that encourage and reward story telling and have clever systems that channel, not force, play in this direction.
  • Violence is not the only option. I want to cut down on the amount of random violence that occurs in my games due to players exerting their character’s superiority over npcs.  As big a fan as I am of Sword and Sorcery and the Action Movie genres, I getting sick of the ‘toys for the boys’ approach that most RPGs take.    Its not just about having systems that can handle politics or ‘social conflict’ its about presenting a world that actually encourages the players to be more than just walking weapons’ platforms.  Monkey , as much as it is filled with Wacky Kung-fu fighting, is a step in this direction.

How we are going to do it

  • Trad systems with Story telling bias  for example OpenQuest.
  • New modern Storytelling systems purpose built for story telling, such as Wordplay and HeroQuest.

I put the emphasis on ‘we’ here because D101 is already a collaborative enterprise. Hearts in Glorantha is one big collaboration and so was the production of OpenQuest.  This trend will continue when some of the upcoming projects I have in the pipeline come to light over the coming months.  This is perhaps the final point about D101’s Direction, while I remain the figure head and benevolent dictator for life, D101  has moved away from being my vehicle for self-publication and more of a collective. So if you have an idea for a book, that matches our direction, get in touch (newt@d101games.com).

Progress!!!

Finally some movement on the getting things done and out front.

After what seems like an age, OpenQuest was finally finished at the weekend and has gone to proof 🙂 I’m well happy with the resulting layout and the way that the system is nicely polished to deliver a easy to understand fantasy D100 experience. Despite myself its a complete game, with rules, monsters, a setting and a beginning adventure.  It may not be perfect but I love it warts and all.  Best of all it should be with you mid-July 🙂  Kudos to Neil Ford, our chief OQ Evangelist who is running games at both Dragonmeet SW this coming weekend and Furnace 2009 in October.

A huge posistive is that this now frees me up to do some serious writting and get yet more stuff out 🙂

Monkey is a prime contender here and I opened my files up last night and mulled over what I need to do. I’m happy with the system, so its mainly getting that down in a form that other people understand and getting the background chapters, The Worlds of Monkey and 101 Immortals. Yes you heard it right I’m going to try and go for an Immortals list of 101 characters. Its a nice goal that will focus my efforts to get to grips with the expansive and vague world of Chinese Mythology. I reckon if I get my head down a Sept/Oct release is not unreasonable, although end of the year is more realistic.

Production of Hearts in Glorantha issue 3 will seriously kick off next month. Its a bumper issue and Sacha is manfully doing proofing at the moment and our team of artists are beavering away. If course its all a worrying Schrodinger cat scenario until we reach 1st July when all the art/proofing will magically turn up in my inbox. Then a brief bit of layout, with skills seriously bolstered by doing OpenQuest, and then its done sometime early August.

John Ossoway, renassiance man of Rpgs, continues to tidy up the text and bang out maps for our first D101 OpenQuest release the adventure book The Savage North. All this and he’s recently become a dad again!  Emphasis will soon move to me doing the setting and tying it all together with an overarching campaign plot with John doing the art.  Out Oct/Nov.

Other stuff that is being fiddled with at the moment:

Wordplay The Fury of the Vikings, a fantasy Viking setting with rules for raiding, invading countries and Ragnorok. Hoping to test out the characters side of things with an adventure I’m writing for the Wordplay core rulebook soon. I’ve got all the art sourced so its a case of when the muse really kicks me in the balls. Optimistically I would like it out end of this year, realistically it will probably be early next.

The Road Less Travelled, a Fantasy Genre Pack for HeroQuest 2. This is taking the art, adventure, setting, monsters and Adventure writing section from OpenQuest and converting it to HQ2.  It came about  because I wanted a fantasy setting to run games in with people who don’t like Glorantha and then realised that I had 75% of a setting that I had become rather fond of already written. Not just a straight conversion, it will have lots of HQ2 specific advice for how to run generic western style Fantasy full of Orcs, Knights and Wizards and expand upon the setting info presented in OpenQuest. Out ??? Again with all the time in the world within the first month of HeroQuest 2’s release, which would be sometime Aug, but I reckon more Sept/Oct even Nov. Moon Designs is putting together a Open HeroQuest Liscene which this Genre Pack will be released under. Basically this is an Open Gaming License which allows people to release non-Gloranthan HQ2 stuff without approval or interference from Moon Designs, who hope that having other companies put out supplements will increase sales of HeroQuest 2. If the Road Less Travelled does well I may release more HQ2 stuff, since I’m rather fond of the system now 🙂

Words can not express how much getting OpenQuest finished has bolstered my confidence on all things D101. I’m having a hard time keeping my feet on the ground, but the project has given me a ton of experience to pull on, not least that I shouldn’t set unrealistic deadlines!!  A big thanks to everyone who supported me on this one 😀

Sometimes the obvious stares you in the face, Life and Death resurrected

So there I’m looking at a pile of papers and thinking about OpenQuest, mixing liberally with the idea that time is marching on before Newtlet #2 and that I should really be ‘finishing’ rather than ‘starting’.

Then it occurs to me that all the Shattered Lands adventures I’ve written and played are written up with OQ stats ready to go. Just need some sort of Narrative structure to link the adventures together and then 80-100 page book ready to go!

So after its gone through art and editing you should see sometime this year a three adventure mini-campaign (or Saga as we call them in OpenQuest) entitled Life and Death.

Contains
A Travelers Guide to the Shattered Lands – A brief overview of the setting with Cults. Enough for a GM to use the setting without clipping the wings of inspiration.
Dead Pot Country – Enter the ancient ruins of the River Valley Civilization in search of a missing Merchant. (20 pages)
Life and Death – Journey to the tyrannical city of Miraz and stop the plague of Undeath that afflicts it (50 pages)
Tomb of the Last Emperor – Deep in the Badlands under a Meoter brought down by the Gods lies the last Lion Emperor and all his secrets. Dash through his buried palace to get to him before the Scarlet Riders.
+ Eight Pregen characters so you can pick up and play

More old skool D100 action for your gaming pleasure, to go along side John Ossoway’s Savage North adventure pack that is being worked on.

I iz a Game Publisher!

I now publically acknowledge that I’ve now moved away from being ‘Newt the Writer’ to ‘Newt the Publisher’. Its been a confusing transition and lately I’ve been feeling like Robert De Niro’s character in Brazil when he gets smothered by paper work, although in my case its drafts of varying completeness.  But some time off work and a mental step back has got my brain in gear.

The first step was to get all the printouts sorted. A couple of trips down to the University print shop saw the drafts of Wordplay, HQ2 and the behemoth that is the Sartar book nicely comb binded. .I’ve also got a nice neat filing system that is reasonably portable, which helps a lot and gets my not so silent business partner, Rachel my wife aka the boss, off my back about loose paper drifting round the house.  I’ve got a dedicated area in the garage to store excess stock.  So I’m organised in a practical way.

Virtually its not so complete a victory over disorganisation.  I’m using Dropbox (www.getdropbox.com) for document management, which has worked smoothly with various collaborators over recent months. Its also been a lifesaver recently as my main Vista machine (Godzilla) has died on me. Normally I’d be cursing that my latest draft was lost, but since the main repository is Dropbox’s servers, when I get Godzilla sorted out I’ll be back in the game. In the meantime I’m able to access and  work on the documents on my work and linux laptop. The D101 website is being slowly revamped. Currently Its in the state were the existing content has been migrated over to the new site and the navigation made clearer. I need to some how make the appearance more ‘sexy’ and also integrate a simple shopping cart so you can by pdfs and printed copies directly from me. The website will also see me gather up the two D101 blogs, this one and the  Hearts in Glorantha, and stick them under the d101games.com domain, although you’ll still be able to read the d101 blog here as I’ll automatically ship over the posts. Its a slower process than I would like but its worth doing it right , before I really swing into gear publishing stuff.

Talking of which looking at the patterns it looks like my output can be easily described as ‘waves’.

Wave 1 is the Fanzines, specifically Hearts in Glorantha although the unpublished Tales of the Firebird and Gloranthan Adventures. Quick to do and engages with the audience.

Wave 2 is the games I’ve been working on for a couple of years now. OpenQuest and Monkey. Very much building on the experiences learnt in Wave 1 to produce good looking easy to read books. OpenQuest is nearly thorough edititorial, I’m going to be spending a lot of time leaning over InDesign in the coming weeks 🙂

Wave 3 is the stuff I’ve got planned with Wordplay, can’t say much about this at the moment because I want to focus on Wave 2, but lets say I and   are very excited about what D101 is going to be doing with his marvelous system.

Exciting as these waves of creativity are I’m also aware that earlier waves are still hitting the shore as the later ones are coming in. Which leads me onto the subject of….

I’ve learnt how to say NO. Mainly to myself and the crazy ideas I come up and then put to other people. I’ve got enough on my plate, time to get it published!

OpenQuest for the WIN!

Ok so its time for the monthly update and peak behind the scenes.

OpenQuest
is grinding to a conclusion. Hope was lost, Hope was refound:)    remains patient as ever during the final edit, the first part of which finished yesterday. Now a review of the document as a whole and production of the plain text version that will go on the website for developers and interested folk to download and use for free under the Open Gaming License. Of the course the first developer to use it will be me to produce the fully laid out version with Simon Bray’s charming artwork (which I’ll put together as a preview soon). 

The best news ever is that the game is going to be supported by Adventures/Campaigns a couple of months after its release 🙂  John Ossoway, author of Cthulhu Rising and fellow Mancunian Oxford Road Games Designer, previously ran a seven adventure RQ3 Conan adventure for his group earlier in the decade. The mad nutter actually wrote up all the adventures and recently submitted one of them for Hearts in Glorantha. The cogs in my mind started whirling in my mind and I realised that converted to OQ (a simple mater) and with the Conan IP filed off it would make an ideal OQ Adventure book. So the Savage North a 100 page book of adventures written and illustrated by John is on my release scedule, either late this year or early next. I’m going to be writing a mini setting for it, portions of which will be availiable for free under the OGL since its part of the setting that’s going to be in the core rule book.  John’s currently sending me adventures/maps as he finds them on his hard drive, were currently upto Adventure 3, and its all good old skool Sword and Sorcery action. Neil F will be especially pleased since I can extract one section from the lastest adventure I’ve been sent to form a demo adventures for cons. So look out for ‘Headless in the Mist’ at a con near you 🙂

I’m going to be pimping OQ and cheering it more that I’ve done in recent months. I guess part of my lack of joy was the release of Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying last year, a very fine and well written game which pushes so many of my d100 buttons. I even went as far as making some quiet inquiries about getting a license to publish, but have found its well out of my reach and would be the worst kind of vanity publishing. After a short sulk I got my head sorted and realised in OQ I have the BRP I want and for FREE. No licensing fee for either myself or anyone else 🙂  So this puts a couple of projects back on the table, which was one of the objectives for OQ from the beginning, that it forms the basis for more D100 nonsense if I want to.  I also know of a couple of small publishers who are interested in using OQ so I’ll be putting more effort into supporting their efforts from now on.  In short OQ is the WIN and its time for me to tell you the great gaming public that and stop being bashful to the point of despondency.

I get to play the game this weekend with my regular Sunday Group. A bit of last miniute playtesting of the adventure ‘The Road less travelled’ that will be included with the core book.  Will be very interesting to play since its a very different and streamlined beast since I last run it.  It will also be nice to play a trad game after all the narratist nonsense we’ve been running latly (HeroQuest, Otherworlds, Wordplay and even Cortex which powers Battlestar Galactica to an extent)

One bad bit of news is that since the editing has been longer than expected, though no fault of the valiant  this probably pushes the games’ full release to May/June. It will be all the better for it for it will be a complete game, core rules, setting and adventure.

More concreate news soon. My excitement over OpenQuest is back 🙂

SimpleQuest is now known as ‘OpenQuest’

My plans for SQ have altered slightly in the last couple of days so as I’ve been working on the final draft.

Its been a hard slog getting SQ done and while I still like D100 games I realise that its more for nostalgia sakes, and that I don’t really want to support it with as much vigour as I did a year ago. I could go all emo here, lets just say its not the sort of game I want to run or write for on a regular basis.

So the plan is to get SQ out and make it completely OGL. Once again the adventure and setting will switch away from the Shattered Lands back to Gatan. This way other people can take the rules in its entirety and create their own versions of SQ or simply make compatible supplements. For my part I’ve got a couple of Free adventures half done which I am happy to finish off and release for free under the OGL. There probably wouldn’t be an official SQ Companion, but I’d be happy to set up a wiki to support any additional rules/spells/monsters etc.

Neil Ford who regularly champions SQ at cons has recently been mentioning SQ in the same breath as Retro Gaming recently, and I think actually this is a good way to go. I’ve read what the Retro Gaming community has been up to and there isn’t a good RuneQuest retro clone. One of the nicest complements I’ve had, which came from Keary (so its likely to faint praise) is that I’ve recreated RQ2

One last thing about SQ. I’m renaming it ‘OpenQuest’ . Some people are already calling it this and SimpleQuest as a name has caused some confusion with people new to BRP, are surprised its not a simple straight forward fantasy system, when in fact its merely a cut down and simpler version of BRP.