RPG Creations and Musings.

Posts tagged ‘OpenQuest’

What have I been doing?


Gosh, it’s been ages since I posted a new blog entry. I hadn’t meant to let it go so long. So if I haven’t been writing here, what have I been doing? Well, here’s a quick run-down, at least as far as it relates to RPGs.

Seven Hills

I teamed up with my faithful comrade in arms Graham Spearing to organise a new RPG convention, Seven Hills. It was my first time organising such a thing. Seven Hills 2014 was a fairly small affair with about 40 people attending. The atmosphere was wonderful, and thoroughly relaxed. It was focused with a science fiction theme. I played in three games (a Savage Worlds space opera, a game in the new River of Heaven setting, and a game of Eclipse Phase) and ran two (a game of Wordplay in my own Starfall setting, and a game in the Transhuman Space setting, but powered by Fate Core), and thoroughly enjoyed them all.

It was two months ago now, so it’s probably a bit too late for post convention analysis, but I’m looking forward to us organising 2015, which has the theme of Steel.

Playing Games

Besides games at Seven Hills, I’m playing and running other things now. I’ve recently fallen a bit in love with 13th Age, which I’ve decided is <i>my</i> D&D. I’m using it to run a game of an old love, which I thought I’d never return to, namely the Planescape setting. I might post more about the campaign later on, but for now I’ll say that it’s wonderfully straightforward to run, with enough tools to keep it interesting.

I’ve just started playing in a game of Esoterrorists. It’s smooth and subtle so far (we’re only one session in), with notes of creepiness just starting to build. I do like the Esoterrorists premise, and do like the Gumshoe system. I’m keen to find out what happens next.

Finally I’m involved with a fun play by post game, namely De Profundis. By play by post, I mean it literally- we’re sending hand written letters to each-other. The game is set in 1893, and plays with notes of Lovecraftian horror. This is by it’s nature a slow mover, but now it’s getting really interesting.


I’ve been doing quite a bit of writing, just not on this blog. Let me give you a list.

  • My OpenQuest setting with Simon Bray, Crucible of the Dragons (formerly known as Here Be Dragons) came out earlier this year.
  • I’ve finished an expanded draft of my Starfall setting. It’s a 1950s alien invasion setting for Wordplay, intended to play more at the hardish SF rather than pulpy end of the scale.
  • I’ve finished significant revisions to Ninth Legion for Reign. This is starting to sing.
  • I’ve added a scenario to a revised version of Blood of the Gods, which is now out there in the wild.
  • I’ve literally just now finished the first draft of a scenario pack for Age of Arthur.

I’ve also written or am writing a couple of other things for publishers who haven’t announced them yet, so I won’t do it here. So there’s been lots keeping me busy.


My Writing Business (Part 2)

In my last post on writing, I spoke about writing for Arc Dream, and making the leap from writing lots down for myself to getting things published. One reason I didn’t say was why I like to get things published. The answer is a not completely comfortable combination of generosity and vanity. Generosity because it’s great to be able to share what I’ve done, and others getting value out of it. Vanity, because it’s nice for me to see others appreciate my work, and to see value in it.

Someone actually giving me money for my work is the most direct way I can think of to see that there’s value in it. Maybe this is all a bit too self-analytical, and writing for publication (or self-publication) is simply another hobby that nicely exists alongside my actual gaming.

After Blood of the Gods for Arc Dream, my next bit of writing was for Newt Newport and D101 Games. Newt seems to be receptive to my ideas (ah, that vanity/appreciation thing again).  He peer-reviewed an early copy of Blood of the Gods, and the first draft was much improved by his input. I’ve done bits and pieces of editing and proof reading on a good few D101 products. Perhaps most significantly, I co-edited the marvellous game of fallen Chinese immortals doing good deeds and kung fu, Monkey.

I’m still rather pleased with Drowned Lands, the first thing I wrote for D101. What is it? Well, here’s the setting pitch (from which you can, if you want, take a good guess at when it was written):

The summer of 2011 was blisteringly hot and humid,
both in Britain and in the rest of the world.
Perhaps nothing too unusual.
Then it started to rain.
Still nothing unusual.
It started to rain everywhere in the world, even in deserts.
And it didn’t stop.

It’s a setting included in Worlds of Wordplay– a version of Graham Spearing’s Wordplay RPG including various settings that is published by D101. Drowned Lands is based in VSCA’s Deluge setting toolkit, which, like Wordplay, is creative commons. My setting a rather British post-apocalypse, based around the south coast of England, where I grew up, after a hundred years of constant rain.

While talking about D101 games, I should mention OpenQuest. From the start (before I was writing for D101), I loved OpenQuest, which is a take on fantasy gaming using an engine in the same family as Basic Roleplaying and Runequest, but to my mind more elegant than Basic Roleplaying and simpler than Runequest. I should say here that I also have a soft spot for Runequest’s crunchier take, especially when it comes to combat, but OpenQuest scratches a different itch. I should also mention that OpenQuest 2 is out soon, and the PDF I’ve seen looks great!

I’ve helped a bit with OpenQuest 2, but my big thing for it is a setting I cowrote with Simon Bray called Here Be Dragons. Now this one came into being almost by accident. Both Simon and I submitted articles to Newt on similar themes- mine being a city ruled by a Dragon, and Simon’s on creatures called Dracorians and a scenario based around them. Newt suggested combining them into a book, so we wrote more and did so.

The writing for this one was absolutely frantic, with ideas and e-mails flying back and forth. We were done with a first draft remarkably quickly. I think the result is glorious- a swords and sorcery setting with Simon’s art and maps, a lot of dark stuff, bits inspired by Greek mythology, a city that was my take on Byzantium, and parts of the style owing as much to Pratchett as to anything else. I like writing with a coauthor. It makes me efficient and the results, based on the two times I’ve done it, surprise me in a nice way.