Friday 9 July 2021

[Loot] Opening OpenQuest

The new edition of Ducks & Dragons.
OpenQuest is belongs to the huge family of games based on Chaosium's percentile system. It promises a similar gameplay and experience as RuneQuest or Mythras, but in a more streamlined fashion. It is crunchier than early editions of Call of Cthulhu, but not as complicated as RuneQuest - it strikes a solid middle ground with its mechanics like Stormbringer and Elric! did. It is by no means my sweet spot when it comes to percentile games (otherwise I wouldn't be hacking my own), yet it is still a game I adore and keep recommending to people who are fed up with D&D, leveling, hit dice, and stuff like that. But this post isn't a going to be a review. Maybe next time. This is just plain gushing about production values.

OSR games are all over the place when it comes to quality. You can find utterly amateurish stuff like The Meat Grinder, deluxe books like the Hacklopedia of Beasts, cool boxed sets like Old-School Essentials, artpunk experiments like Mjölk Bork alike among them. While each style has its charm, my heart belongs to simple, sturdy, black & white books. Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG has been the gold standard for me in this regard: a massive tome lavishly illustrated with characterful black & white art that often blends into the layout. Zweihänder is also worth mentioning. OpenQuest 3rd edition is the latest that made me smile. When OpenQuest 3rd edition's Kickstarter campaign started Newt wanted a print on demand print run. Eventually the Signed & Sent tier was introduced, with a more expensive, proper printing, and some neat extras. 

That's how a rulebook should look like.

While OpenQuest 3e Signed & Sent might not be the absolute fucking unit my first printing DCC RPG rulebook is, it still ticks all the right boxes and kicks a lot of ass. Both versions will get you a cool Jon Hodgson cover and a cleanly laid out, neatly illustrated black & white interior, but the sown binding, sturdy paper, red bookmark, endpapers, and colour plates of the Signed & Sent tier elevate the product to a next level. Introducing that tier was the right decision on Newt's part. Coughing up the extra cash for it was the right decision on my part. It is a rulebook that looks damn good while also feeling like a rules reference instead of a coffee table book. It also oddly feels like a mix between the RuneQuest Classic reprints and the Games Workshop RuneQuest 3e rulebooks. Well done.

Did I mention it has colour plates?

Wednesday 7 July 2021

[Homebrew] A Quick Primer for Terminus

As promised, I dug up the players' primer for my Terminus DCC RPG. The document was last edited in 2013, and even then it was unfinished: we started the campaign quickly, and I didn't have the time to include elite promotions, descriptions for other towns, or a fucking map. Truth to be told, the campaign had a pretty swift pace compared to what I was used to at that time, and despite planning it to be a sandbox it ended up becoming an almost entirely urban campaign, with a detour to a carnival in Hell, a wintry island ruled by two vampire lords, an ancient moon base, and the body of the space-faring Hungerer.

I still have the folder of dead characters in my desk, with notes on them like "decapitated by giant beetle while vomiting from poisoned mushroom", "torn apart when a small troll crawled out of her stomach", or the twice-resurrected zombie amazon priestess of Cthulhu whose sheet says "stabbed in the chest by a ratling ninja, crushed by a rollercoaster cart, torn to pieces by zombies on the ghost train". The living weren't much better either: the party's leader was a goblin thief, whose drug addiction made his Stamina drop to 4 over time, and grew a brain tumour after eating the corpse of the slime god to gain psionic powers. He was also the worshipper of the orc barbarian from the previous Wilderlands of High Fantasy campaign. Good times!

It's probably the "bad" influence of video games that I like
my campaigns with tons of races.

The influence of Arduin and The Wilderlands of High Fantasy is obvious, among many other sources. I kept returning to the same kitchen sink approach with all my DCC RPG games - and also with the current Eremus campaign. In fact, plenty of the homebrew content and rules I used here were later adapted and converted to other games, and I have even revised them from the ground up for DCC RPG too for a campaign that never got going. A pity, because the revisions were much better than the originals.

While dusting off I did fix a few errors, improved the layout a bit, and cut out placeholders for content that never got into the booklet. That's all I changed though, so expect a good deal of shitty writing, swarms of typos, and clichés. Have fun!

A Quick Primer for Terminus

Bonus: stat blocks for Thieves Guild NPCs and ratling ninjas

There is a lot more, but alas mostly in Hungarian. Still, I'll dig up some more in the near-future (like the elite classes).