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OpenQuest Refresh in 2017

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I’ve learnt a lot since OpenQuest 2’s release five years ago. I realised that I wanted to make the changes to the main rule book to make it more appealing to new players and to satisfy my own needs. The refresh of the main rule book has had the knock-on effect of refreshing me on OpenQuest has encouraging me to get on and produce more material for the game.

OpenQuest cover by Jon Hodgson
OpenQuest cover by Jon Hodgson

If you’ve got OpenQuest 2 Deluxe there is absolutely no reason to buy the refreshed version, the rules are pretty much the same, bar a tweak here and there, as listed in the changes below.

The Main Rulebook

The main Rulebook, formally known as OpenQuest Deluxe is now simply known as “OpenQuest”, has had a visual refresh, new art, a tighter layout and a few text/rules tweaks here and there.

Main changes

  1. Reorganised Combat chapter.
  2. Clarified rules for Shield use and Unarmed Combat.
  3. Complete new art throughout, a new cover by Jon Hodgson and colour internals by James Shields (aka jesheilds).
  4. Shamanism, Spirit Combat and Spirits has been revised and simplified.
  5. Although Gatan is referred to in the examples the setting chapter “Empire of Gatan” + adventure “The Road Less Travelled” have been taken out of the main rule book and will be re-released in “From Darkness into the Light” a Gatan setting/adventure book (more details see below).
  6. Layout has been redone, and with the removal of the Setting + Adventures chapter, the book now comes to a slimmer182 pages.

OpenQuest Basics will stay available in pdf and print via DriveThruRpg.com. It will have the updated combat chapter.

OpenQuest SRD will be updated to include the reorganised Combat Chapter.

The book is currently going through final check and should be ready in pdf by the end of May with print following shortly after.

Refresh going forward….

Going forward, OpenQuest Releases later in 2017

Green Hell

This is a short setting/adventure for OpenQuest that I'm working on for future release....

"If you go down to the Swamps today…

Sir Rurik the Reckless, the Emperor of Gatan’s Champion, has gone missing on a perilous mission on the Far Frontier of the Empire.

As his Squires the Emperor has personally tasked you with finding out what has happened to him, in the marsh beyond the Empire’s borders known as The Green Hell.”

Green Hell cover by Jeshields
Green Hell cover by Jeshields

From Darkness into the Light

I'm separating out the setting and starter adventure from the main rulebook. Part of the reason is to get the rulebook below the 200-page mark, but also because I want to build on the barebones presentation that the setting is, and write up all the little bits of adventures I started set in Gatan. This would require a book all its own.Currently this book stands at about 80 pages of setting material + the following four adventures:

  • The Road Less Travelled (previously the introductory adventure in the main rule book)
  • The Road to Hell
  • Deep in the Hole

(These two adventures where in OpenQuest Adventures which was recently discontinued)

  • The Last Retreat – a new adventure

I’m looking at revising all the adventures that have previously been published. There will be new art by Peter Town and new maps. Content wise I’m looking at doing “What my Elder Told Me” sections for all the cultures in the book and a more in-depth Gazetteer with adventure ideas (if you’ve got Crypts & Things it will be like the “Secrets of The Continent of Terror” chapter in that book).

It should be a book around the 100 -150 page range.

From-Darkness-into-Light-Cover-web-232x3
From Darkness into Light cover by Jon Hodgson

The Year of the Four Emperors

This is going to be a self-contained book written by long time OpenQuest/D101 collaborator Paul Mitchener. It is going to be an expanded version of the setting/adventure he wrote for OpenQuest Adventures, set in the turmoil of the Roman world after the death of Nero. With the last of the Julio-Claudian Emperors dead and no clear successor, powerful generals make a grab for the throne.

Call for Submissions – coming soon

I’m looking to the future (either later this year or next year) where I want a regular release schedule of OpenQuest books, that are fun and different to what we’ve released before.  After the release of the main rulebook, I’ll be putting up a call for submissions which will let interested folk know what I’m looking for.

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Good idea getting the core rulebook under 200 pages, a slim book suits the smooth nature of the mechanics. For what it's worth, OQ Basic is a great little book to have, and something between the size of that and the OQ Deluxe book would be a good option.

Newt the artwork for the cover of From Darkness Into Light looks familiar, although I cannot place it. Have you used it for a previous publication?

The Year Of The Four Emperors sounds pretty compelling, I'll have to add that to my list once it's out. Good to see OQ hasn't gone the way of the dinosaur, it is nice to have a simpler version of Mythras kicking around, and most of it is interchangeable. 

More River Of Heaven scenarios are in my OQ wishlist, so any plans in that direction at some stage? 

Edited by Mankcam
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The cover From Darkness into Light was previously used for the out of print HQ Glorantha release The Book of Glorious Joy. Its been touched up by Jon. It seemed a shame to leave it gathering dust on my HD :) 

I'm currently working on the River of Heaven Companion, which I'll post more details about later today, which has a mini-campaign by John Ossoway included.

Edited by Newt

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Ah yes, the Malkioni book, now I remember. Unfortunately rendered a little obsolete by the G2G non-medieval portrayal of Malkioni, although it was a pretty good book. Great descriptions of Gerlant etc. I knew I had it somewhere, it must be in my box of HeroWars books. Yes it's nice to see that cover get a renewed life, good call on that mate.

Also thanks for the update on River Of Heaven, I'll likely be grabbing the River Of Heaven Companion once I cast an eye over it, cheers :)

Edited by Mankcam

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That's great news Newt and I'm very happy to see OpenQuest is coming back for more!

I'm really interested in the revised rules and curious about the layout changes, I'm looking forward to get my hands on a printed copy of the game!
The new material announced sure looks great too.

Will there be a revision of the Savage North and Life & Death too / will they (or at least the savage north) be included in From Darkness into the Light?

As always thank you for your great work!

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I'll be doing previews of the new layout once Its gone through a final check. 

Some material from the Savage North will be in From Darkness into the Light in a revised and expanded form, but the adventures which make up two thirds of the book won't be.

Life and Death, yes I do have plans for that, but they are huge and rather silly at the moment. All I'll darkly hint at was that L&D was meant to be the first of a five book series, with each book centered round one of the five cities of the Shattered Lands ;)

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I'm really happy to see an aggressive release schedule for OpenQuest. It sounds like the game has a future! 

Are you thinking about crowdfunding a hardcover version or will you just be doing PoD? 

Could you give us an idea about what the changes you are making to the Combat chapter are?

And how are you thinking about streamlining Spirit Magic? 

Have you considered doing an OpenQuest Bestiary at some point? 

And when you publish the Submission Guidelines, will you be looking for additional scenarios in the Empire of Gatan setting? 

 

 

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Hi Prime Evil

In answer to your questions

Crowdfunded Hardcover - nope I'm keeping it POD and getting Refreshed out as quickly as possible. 

Changes to Combat chapter - Its been reorganized so it makes more sense to read.  The biggest tweak is that you now get as many defensive reactions as you need, which are taken as they are needed, but you get a cumulative -25% modifier for every defense after the first.  Unarmed combat has been re-written so its more immediate in effect and is clearer. Shield use against ranged combat has its own section in the Special Combat Rules section, for clarity,  Finally there's a very quick section on handing Social Conflict at the end of the Chapter, which to old d100 hands is nothing new but should help people new to the game figure out how handle such situations. Its a revision of the guidelines I gave in Life and Death.

Shamans/Spirit Magic - I had a look again at all the rules, magic and creatures involved in depicting the Spirit World, and felt that the rules had drifted quite far away from the simple approach that I had when I first released the game. So I've dumped a whole lot of stuff that was added in, dropping back to the first release, and then doing amends to make sure it made sense. 

OpenQuest Bestiary - yes I've quite seriously considered doing one, new monsters and expanded information for the existing monsters to flesh out the rather basic descriptions given in the main rule book. But its low on my priorities list. 

More Gatan scenarios - if its cookie-cutter fantasy no. If its something special and different yes. This runs across all submissions. I am not interested in doing more Swords and Sorcery releases and revisiting ground that's already been covered in the previous OQ adventure releases. Think of something fresh and new.  One of the reasons I went with the new cover is that I wanted to clearly signal this visually.

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"

5 hours ago, Prime Evil said:

I'm really happy to see an aggressive release schedule for OpenQuest. It sounds like the game has a future!

Me too! I spent most of last year tied up getting the behemoth that is Crypts and Things out and naval gazing about the relevance of OQ in the face of the impending release of Chaosium's RuneQuest and the re-branded and most excellent Mythras. Ultimately I realised that OQ has its own well established niche that is different enough yet complimentary to the other d100 games, to justify its existence.

All the kind words from people here about it  helped alot during that period of uncertainty :)

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Well since youre in a vulnerable mood, its time to put a plug in for an OpenQuest version of Journey To The West. 

Just sayin' :D

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Well the ground work for Hi-octane Kung-Fu shenanigans has already been put in place in OpenQuest 2 (and will carry forward into OpenQuest Refresh), go and look at some of the Battle Magic spells ;)

 

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2 hours ago, Newt said:

The biggest tweak is that you now get as many defensive reactions as you need, which are taken as they are needed, but you get a cumulative -25% modifier for every defense after the first.  Unarmed combat has been re-written so its more immediate in effect and is clearer.

Now I love the game more then ever before!

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3 hours ago, Newt said:

The biggest tweak is that you now get as many defensive reactions as you need, which are taken as they are needed, but you get a cumulative -25% modifier for every defense after the first.

Now that's a nice and simple rule.

But regarding the skill modifiers for OpenQuest - they are +-25% and +-50%, big steps like that. Wouldn't it be good idea to change it to 20% steps - it makes the skill calculation more simpler. It's easier to add or subtract numbers at tenth level.

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About social conflict - I have never used this in any game that have that. I really do not see the need for this? Influence skill check would be enough for my social encounters.

I have found most of the time the social conflict to play out very unnaturally. Of course I don't know how it is planned for OQ.

Edited by jux
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4 hours ago, Newt said:

OpenQuest Bestiary - yes I've quite seriously considered doing one, new monsters and expanded information for the existing monsters to flesh out the rather basic descriptions given in the main rule book. But its low on my priorities list. 

I would like the Bestiary to be for specific setting (Empire of Gatan) where besides stats and description, I would expect an evocative lore for every beast. Good example of this is Dragon Warriors bestiary - I remember Goblins there turn milk sour if they lurk around a village settlement. Such a small detail, but it makes the setting so alive.

My dream would have the exact setting of Dragon Warriors, called simply Legend, as a supplement for OQ.

Edited by jux
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19 minutes ago, jux said:

About social conflict - I have never used this in any game that have that. I really do not see the need for this? Influence skill check would be enough for my social encounters.

I have found most of the time the social conflict to play out very unnaturally. Of course I don't know how it is planned for OQ.

Basically its some very quick guidance notes on how I use Influence checks in my game, from single checks for fast talk type situations to more involved discussions where I may ask for a influence check (or not if the role-playing has been convincing enough).  Its nothing that old hands at D100 will find new or odd, but its more there for GMs new to D100 who come from modern systems where Social Conflict Systems are a thing.

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5 hours ago, Newt said:

The biggest tweak is that you now get as many defensive reactions as you need, which are taken as they are needed, but you get a cumulative -25% modifier for every defense after the first.

I'm good with this. I always liked the way the BGB BRP did it by having a culminative  -30% modififer for each additional defensive action, I think it's a concept that works well and I never really liked the Action Pts economy I saw in MRQ. I think its great the way you are now doing in OQ by using the actual OQ modifiers to do the same thing. Nice touch

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Great news. Since I'm mostly doing one-shots with new players every month these days, OQ is pretty much my go-to system for fantasy. Mythras ist just too complex for my needs. I also tried FantasyAge for a while because I like the sense of fun it conveys, but just yesterday, I noticed once more that it's still a little too cumbersome rules-wise ... also, like most D&D-inspired games, it has this heath point grind thing that I just can't get over with.

The two new covers look great; I've never used (or read) the Gatan part of OQ, but now I'm actually a little interested in it ...

And I love the submissions part. I've already startet daydreaming about polishing up my homebrew weird fantasy setting stuff ... sadly, I won't have the time for now ... and since I'm not a native speaker, writing in English takes a lot of time for me.

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I'm glad the new version will be coming out in SRD as I have just bought OpenQuest 2 Deluxe hardback, and am currently waiting for the delivery for The Savage of the North and Life and Death books. I wouldn't fancy buying them all again but with the SRD hopefully I can use that as an errata for the version I have.

But I'm glad it is moving forward.

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18 hours ago, jux said:

But regarding the skill modifiers for OpenQuest - they are +-25% and +-50%, big steps like that. Wouldn't it be good idea to change it to 20% steps - it makes the skill calculation more simpler. It's easier to add or subtract numbers at tenth level.

Absolutely nothing stops you from playing it that way, surely. That's the joy of D100: we each get to play it just the way we'd like--and it works out perfectly :-)

Cheers!

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Newt, 

I am looking forward to this refresh with great anticipation. I am particularly pleased to hear your production plans AND that you came to the conclusion that OQ has a place in the D100 continuum; I could not agree more. After MW's future was sealed, I felt adrift. I was not comfortable with the heavier BRP iterations. I eventually realized I was looking for something simpler, and yet something that was still BRP. OQ turned out to be what I was looking for: simple yet adjustable, lots of room for role-playing. The additions and changes you outlined sound excellent. I'm particularly eager to read your Shamanism modifications. 

Cheers, mate!

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One thing that overwhelmed me last year when I hinted at doing a much more radical changed OpenQuest 3 was what a port of stability and safety even OQ had become for a lot of people in these times of rapidly evolving D100 systems.  That's why  I decided not to radically overhaul OQ. If I do that I'll do a separate new game.  

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In some ways I would like OQ to have an even simplier character sheet structure, broader skills, more like skill categories (with the occasional specialisation - an idea explored with RD100), although perhaps more based on the core characteristics, dare I say a bit like D&D.

I think making it even simplier would be a good niche so it is in contrast to Mythras and RQ, not competing with them.

However I understand not radically changing it in case of distancing the current fan base. It already is much 'cleaner' than Mythras and RQ, and is a great introduction to D100 Fantasy.

Sometimes I want something to play akin to the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks or the early classic Basic D&D scenarios, with the flavour of Dungeon Crawl Classics, using a intutive D100% skill mechanic. I think OQ is the closest way to do this with the BRP engine.

In any case I see a niche for what OQ is (and also what I feel that it potentially could be). It's great to see that youre getting your mojo back for it Newt :D

Edited by Mankcam

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You might be interested in the two spin-off D100 systems I created during my hiatus year ;)

Part of the process of self-evaluation and exploration that has led to OQ Refresh was seeing if I could 'simplify' it any further.

As a result I came up with two D100 rulesets.

SimpleQuest which is really a minimal version of D100, the seven stats which feed into about nine skills (inc Combat skills) which funnily enough are named after the old RQ3 skill modiifers, and a single magic system of simple spells which have magic point costs and if they have variable effects you roll a dice to determine the effect (e.g The Blessing of St George gives Christian Warriors an extra D6 damage against pagan opponents). Currently it fits in about 7 pages, with minimal explanation, would probably be around the 10 page mark when polished up. 

D100# which is a complete overhaul of the basic D100 system, with things like characteristics are skills, one magic system with no magic point cost, Talents for specialised skill areas. As well as its D100 heritage its pretty heavily influenced by The Black Hack's approach to overhauling the OSR/D20 system. It currently stands at about 30 pages, but if any thing the final thing would probably weigh in at slightly less once I've given it a viscous self-edit.

With both these rule sets I kinda realised that I was getting pretty much the same thing from OpenQuest (which when you strip it down probably comes down to 30 pages) and that it made more sense to do OQ Refresh.

 

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Both of those systems sound pretty cool, but I think SimpleQuest may tick alot of boxes for me if I want to play an even more streamlined version of BRP. I thought that SimpleQuest was an earlier version of OpenQuest, but I may be wrong, as I never saw it (but seem to remember it possibly being discussed on these forums quite some time ago). But yeah,from what you described with SimpleQuest it does sound pretty good

I was toying of using OQ and trimming the skill set down to the Skill Categories, or perhaps just even using the core Characteristics for most rolls, although the GM would have to place circumstantial modifiers on them a bit more. Perhaps some specialties would provide bonuses etc. I never finished tinkering with it, but the idea was to get a D100% system down to the simplicity of Basic D&D or Advanced Fighting Fantasy, using OQ as the base.

In any case, OQ RAW isn't too far off that

 

Edited by Mankcam
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