Draft: After-Action Damage Rule

March 16, 2017

[EDIT: Phil Wright pointed out an error in the original posting example of Horton’s injuries.  It has been revised.]

The idea of a combat system that doesn’t determine the damage to a character during the fight is an intriguing one.  I started thinking about this earlier this week after listening to a cop talking about an incident where he’d been shot but didn’t know how badly he was hurt.  Someone in a real fight doesn’t know how many hit points they have left.

Many many years ago, in a Traveller campaign, there was the story of two player characters who would go down to the cargo hold and practice shooting each other with snub pistols, because a single shot from a snub pistol wouldn’t kill anyone.  So they’d practice until someone was shot, then go rest up, and then do it again the next day.

One of the things that was immediately attractive to me about DragonQuest when I first started playing was that there wasn’t that much difference between a hero and a peasant.  A couple of blows with a sword would kill either one, rather than the hero needing to be chopped like a tree, while a peasant was a one-hit kill.

So, with those ideas in mind, here is a cobbled together a rather quick and dirty draft concept for this for DragonQuest.

Injuries – a DQ rules variant

These rules supercede the regular damage rules from the Combat section of DQ. (Adaptation to use with the magic systems will take some time)

Damage Roll (d10)
 Weapon Damage.....Light.....Medium......Heavy.....Serious
 D - +2.............1-4.......5-7.........8-9.......10
+3 - +5.............1-3.......4-6.........7-8.......9-10
+6 - +7.............1-2.......3-5.........6-7.......8-10
+8 --  .............1.........2-4.........5-6.......7-10

Roll D10 for damage level (Light, Medium, Heavy, Serious); then roll D10 for armor protection.
* If armor value is < weapon damage number, add +1 to damage roll
* If weapon is A Class, add +1 to damage roll
* If an ‘Endurance Hit,’ then add +3 to damage roll
* A ‘Grievous Injury’ is an automatic Serious Injury, and armor protection is not rolled.

Roll D10 for armor protection
*  If roll is a 10 (0), armor is damaged and reduces Prot value by 1 (until repaired), and injury level is automatically Heavy, except if the hit is an ‘Endurance Hit,’ in which case it is Serious
* If roll is =< armor Prot value, then reduce damage class by 1
* If roll is =< half armor Prot value, then reduce damage class by 2
* If roll is =< quarter armor Prot value, then no damage.
* Note: Damage cannot be reduced below Light, unless armor has a Prot value of 4 or more.

Any Serious hit causes the character to be Stunned per original DQ rules.

Track location and level for each injury during combat.  (Stat reduction based on location is calculated after combat when determining injuries.  Table to be completed.)

Damage Roll (d10) and Stat Reduction (d10)
 1-2   Head
 3-4   Upper Torso
 5-6   Primary Arm
 7     Secondary Arm
 8     Lower Torso
 9-10  Legs

Fatigue Track
Damage is calculated at the end of a combat, rather than during the action. Fatigue is used to determine whether the character remains active.

For the first hit to a character, FT is reduced by the number of the Damage Roll. For each subsequent hit, subtract the level number of the damage (ie Light= -1; Med= -2; Hvy= -4; Serious= -8). When FT is reduced below half of the original FT value, the character acts as having 0 Fatigue in original combat rules. When FT reaches 0 or less, character falls unconscious.

(Consider possibility to double the FT reduction for Endurance Hit or Grievous Injury)

The premise behind these rules is that damage and injury keeps you from being at full capacity.  When you are wounded, you aren’t at full strength, you aren’t as quick or as nimble as you would be if uninjured.  So there are reductions to the key stats (not just EN) as part of damage and injury.

Each injury Med level or higher reduces 1 point of a stat until it is recovered.

Calculate recovery time; use the number of days as the percentage chance of having life-threatening injuries.

If the injuries are life-threatening, roll percentile dice.  Multiplier of current EN is the number of points of EN reduced.  Current EN divided by number of EN points reduced is number of hours the individual will live without treatment.

Recovery time
Recovery time = (1 day x Light) + (5 days x Medium) + (30 days x Heavy) + (60 days x Serious)  Divide total recovery time by number of injuries (other than Light). Add any EN reduction to total.  Recover 1 stat point at each interval.

[example: Horton (EN=17; FT=21) suffers 2 light, 2 medium, and 1 heavy injury;
Fatigue Track = -6med, -1, -1, -2, -4, so has 7 FT remaining at the end of combat
damage locations are:  Upper T/Light, Leg/Light, Upper T/Med, Lower T/Med, and Lower T/Heavy
Life threat is 42%; roll is 09, so injuries are life-threatening.
Roll percentile to see EN multiple; roll is 53 (under 4x EN), so also reduce EN by 4.  So, Horton will has 17/4=  4 – 1/4 hours before dying, unless treated to stabilize wounds.

If Horton survives, stat reductions for injuries: -1 PS, -2 MD, and -4 EN.   (2 Light, 2 Med, and 1 Heavy Injury = 42 days recovery)  42 / 7  = 6, so Horton will be able to regain one point every 6 days.

Again, this is still very rough, but putting it out for initial feedback and general discussion.

Downsides: still may be too fiddly with numbers.  

Upsides: scary dangerous to get into a heavy fight, but it’s also pretty hard to kill off a PC (if you have healing/treatment available to you in the aftermath).  However, while you might not get killed, you can be seriously messed up for a while.

Modeling a scene

March 12, 2017


Here’s an image for the next adventure project I’m working on.  It’s a quick and rough model in SketchUp of the space where the adventure starts; this is a view looking into the chapel yard from just outside the wall.


Holding Pattern on Wilderness

March 11, 2017

Apologies to all of you waiting to get printed copies of the Wilderness of Ordurak.

There is some kind of hold-up with the print production for the Wilderness, and we are waiting for them to resolve things at their end. According to my contact at OBS, there are a number of larger files that are all hung up right now, and Wilderness happens to be one of them.

As soon as that is cleared up, we should be able to get the print copies of Wilderness finished and shipped off to everyone.

Pen Test Map

March 6, 2017

I came across this map while cleaning up some old files.  It was a pen test with a (then-) new fountain pen from a year ago.

The image was skewed and low-contrast, and I’ve done a bit to clean it up, but it’s still sorta rough.  But then, it’s a cavern, and there’s not a straight wall in sight, so who can tell if it’s a bit off or not.


As is the case with most of my maps, feel free to use this for any non-commercial purpose (with attribution).  You can also contact me if you’d like to use any of my works for a commercial project.

Next Projects

February 28, 2017

The Wilderness of Ordurak is wrapped up, and now it’s time to contemplate what is next. And, dear reader, if you are interested enough to be reading this, then you could have an outsized influence in helping steer the course for what projects are next for me and for Antherwyck House Games.

In the spirit of those old SPI questionnaires, here is a list of several projects and a brief description of each. Things that more people are interested in, or things that people are strongly interested in, will tend to get more attention.

Gazetteer for the Wilderness of Ordurak [DQ, generic]
Further development of the Wilderness of Ordurak as a system-neutral setting. As with SPI’s Frontiers of Alusia, maps and descriptions of places are pretty system neutral. So there would be appeal outside of the DragonQuest community.
This is already underway.  How extensive it will become depends, in part, on whether there’s any demand for it outside the backers of the Wilderness adventure.

Exquisite Corpse Dungeon [mapping]
Is it time for another one, yet? Has everyone burned out on the concept now, and no one would be that interested in another one? Does it need to be something different in order to get anyone’s attention?

Small, Untitled DQ Adventure [DQ]
Far from the Wilderness in scope, just a small dungeon in a single setting. I’ve found a couple other maps by other people that have struck me as being very suitable for DQ. Something more on the scale of the House of Kurin, or even smaller.

The Piranesi City Dungeon [DQ, OSR, generic]
There is a towering prison wagon, 2 stories tall, and with wheels ofsolid oak that are taller than a man. It is drawn by 8 bullocks and it moves slowly through the City, deep in the middle of every night, from the Prison to the Palace, and then back. One morning, you get word of a prisoner who is going to be transferred that night. You have that day to lay your plans and make your preparations, and tonight you have to strike in order to free the prisoner.
This would probably be written with dual system stats, so it was statted and ready for use for DragonQuest as well as at least one other OSR system.  The concept should be applicable to other games without too much work.  It would be part city map (of the route the wagon takes), part gazetter, with lots of information about all the places and people along the way, so you can try to find places and resources to do whatever you want to do, and part caper adventure.  Not small, but potentially quite interesting.  And, I think it would even have some replay possibility, taken as a one-shot.

moebiscayneOgunimata [Cyberpunk]
An adventure for Cyberpunk originally written in the 90’s and still holding up. Seeing +Geist’s recent production of a really cool Cyberpunk supplement made me think there might be some interest in producing it. We’re still looking to get a sense of how many Cyberpunk players there might be, and whether there is sufficient interest in this. A couple playtesters would also be good to get some feedback on this.
I’ve already briefly spoken with Claudia Cangini about illustrating this. Ideally, I’d like to run a kickstarter on it, with one of the premiums being having sponsors (maybe as many as 8) get to have themselves/their character illustrated by Claudia, and that art goes into the final version, as well as the sponsor getting the illustration from her.

Expanded Alusia [DQ, generic]
This would require coordinating Stephen Peto’s availability to produce another map. His feel for SPI style is pretty excellent (as you’ve seen in the Wilderness of Ordurak map). Phil Wright has been doing some other exploration of FoA recently, and the idea of connecting and building out more of that world could be an interesting (and daunting) project to undertake.

moonbaseMoonbase Zvezda [?, generic]
Space spies in the 60s, dealing with intrigue and espionage from low-Earth orbit to the Moon, and beyond. Whether this is a light set of rules, or a one-shot adventure, or just what it turns into remains to be seen. I did a concept illustration for this a while back (right), which turned out pretty well and got some of the tech documentation style I was after. Now to do something more with it.

More maps [mapping]
I haven’t been making as many maps recently as I have in the past.  That’s partly due to the new job and partly due to other projects being more at the fore.  But I miss those explorations, and will probably have more along those lines in the near future.

On top of these projects, Thor has a couple things underway, including a dungeon adventure using one of my previously posted maps, and The Spires, an interesting game/setting for a post-human, post-apocalypse world of intelligent animals vying for power and resources.

Your feedback on any of these would be very helpful. You can comment here, or drop me a line at rodger @ antherwyck dot com.

Project Completion – Wilderness of Ordurak adventure

February 24, 2017

wildThe Wilderness of Ordurak proof is completed, and copies of the set will be going out to the backers very soon.  57 pages, plus the ledger size map.

Our next step will be to clean up The Water Works and Poor Brendan’s Almanac.  Once those are revised, they will be available.  The terms set up for the Wilderness give the people who backed it exclusive access to it for a while.  If you’re interested in getting a copy of this, stay tuned later this year.

The other thing that’s in the works is a Gazetteer for the regional map.  That might be a separate thing on its own, with the map and an accompanying booklet of information about the features in the region, very much like Frontiers of Alusia.

Two Views – with Color

February 12, 2017

About a year ago, I posted a pair of maps for a military perspective and a plan view of the same space.  It was an interesting complex of levels and stairs, but for some, it was a bit hard to read and figure out what was on what level.

So I’ve colorized it to make the different levels easier to pick out.  And the colors are mapped to both versions, so you can shift back and forth between them to get your bearings.


As a game setting, I always imagined it beginning with the party entering from the stairs bottom center (L-15 on the plan).  It seems like an interesting place for a running battle, chasing up and down stairs and fighting while trying to get from one part of the map to another.

A couple of things seem not to have made it to the plan view.  I won’t make you play Where’s Waldo though (unless you want to, in which case don’t look at the text below the plan image until you want to see).


The blue ledge should be at about T-13, and the yellow table should be at about J-3.  No guarantees there aren’t others, as well.  But those are known.

Let me know if you use this in a game.  I’d be very interested in how you ran it, and how the players responded to it.

First themeless map – 2017

January 31, 2017

Last year, I was posting the Intersection Series of dungeon map fragments.  It turned out to be a project that led to a total of 26 bi-weekly posts (conveniently identified by letter, A through Z).

This year, I don’t have a theme for maps (at least not yet); there are some other things in the pipeline.  But, I’m still drawing maps, too.  And here’s the latest one, which has some intersectionality about it, but in a different fashion.


If you’ve got some suggestions for maps you’re interested in seeing, let me know.  I might take you up on it.

Jaquays Plain

January 30, 2017

One detail I wanted to point out in the Wilderness map is the Jaquays Plains.



If you’re at all a DQ grognard (or, for that matter, many other stripes of RPG gamer) you’ll recognize the reference.  Jennelle (who was Paul back then) Jaquays was (and still is) a prolific designer and artist who produced work for a variety of game systems, including the wonderful “Enchanted Wood” adventure for DragonQuest.

Next Up: A Cyberpunk Adventure

January 17, 2017

The recent publication of the “Augmented Reality” cyberpunk sourcebook led me to realize that other old game systems are still being played, and there might be interest in adventures for other old games.  So, I’ve gone into my files and pulled out an adventure I wrote in 1990.

Ogunimata is an adventure written for the Cyberpunk 2020 RPG, but the story line is general enough that it should be adaptable for use with other games.  Even though it was written a quarter century ago, there isn’t too much that, at first pass, looks like it needs to be changed significantly.

If I’d had the self publishing tools (like RPGNow/DriveThruRPG) that are around today, this would have been published back then.  As it was, I was 2000 miles away from my old gaming group, and didn’t have any local connections to game with.  The adventure was inspired by some random bits I collected, and I had access to enough desktop publishing equipment that I was able to put it together as a one-off presentation quality piece (complete with info dossier for the players in addition to the GM’s book) and mailed it back to them for them to play.

It went exceptionally well, and it was a big hit with them.  But that was the last of it, and I simply filed it away.  Luckily, I still have the old text, as well as a hardcopy of the booklet, so I can piece it back together.

Because it was not going to go further than my gaming group, there was liberal use of material that cannot be used without violating other people’s intellectual property rights, so parts of it are going to have to be re-done.

The next steps with it aren’t entirely clear yet, but I’ve started discussing this project with a couple other people who we’d like to work with to bring it into production.  Part of what is an unknown right now is how much interest there is in something like this. If you’re interested in seeing this adventure, or in more adventures in general for cyberpunk-style games (Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, Mirrorshades, etc.) let us know.



Wilderness Proof

January 13, 2017


So, I got the proof copies of the Wilderness of Ordurak adventure and there are a couple things yet to fix. The background color for the CC sections is a little bit too dark. I think it’s okay in the PDF, but it’s too obscuring in print. I’m also going to tweak the page layout so that there’s a little more gutter. It’s thick enough that they’re perfect binding the book, rather than spine stapling it, so it doesn’t lay open as easily as it might otherwise.

Phil Wright pointed out a couple other things that were missing or needed clarification, so that still needs to be addressed. I also have high-resolution version maps of the two maps from Stephen Peto which are better quality than what was originally included.

Should be able to get this taken care of over the weekend. PDF editions will have an update pushed, and I’ll get the print rolling as soon as I can.

The Adventurers’ Guild

January 4, 2017

One of the features that was introduced in DragonQuest is the Adventurers’ Guild, which is a relatively high-powered and complex organization. An entire section (rule 79) is entirely devoted to the Adventurers’ Guild, and lays out things that the Guild can do. But almost none of it is a clear benefit to the ordinary adventurer. The characters in my original campaign were never AG members because the players looked at it and came to the conclusion that there was very little benefit received for the 5% of their earnings that the Guild would charge.

There is certainly precedent for the Adventurers’ Guild in history. The Hanseatic League (which arose in the 1400s) was an exploratory and trade organization with outposts throughout the Baltic region, the northern coast of Europe. The Medici Bank (and other banks of the period) were complex business entities with networks and business interests across much of Europe. Guild structures were also well in place among different groups of artisans and craftsmen during the Renaissance period.

This is an old, draft outline that seeks to expand on the general idea and explain some of the benefits of Guild membership. The fee was reduced to 1%, although a real completist might want to run through the expenses and see at what point the Guild is turning a profit. That might also help in determining how prevalent Adventurers’ Guild halls are and how strong their reach is. The following are the draft of services available to adventurers who were in good standing with the Adventurers Guild, in addition to those other benefits outlined in Rule 79:

  • Membership fee is 1% of all earnings and failure to pay results in blackballing.
  • Guaranteed arbitration and enforcement free to members.
  • Guild contracts free to members.
  • Guild lodging available to members at reduced rates:
      • Guildmember 5 sp — 35 sp/week
      • Nonmember 11 sp — 65 sp/week
      • Guildmember 7 sp — 45 sp/week
      • Nonmember 15 sp — 85 sp/week
  • Guild sponsored feasts after successful (profitable) parties return.
  • Guild members are given priority access when hiring is done either by Guild- or non-members.
  • Special Guild vintage wines and ales served and sold to members only.
  • Access to Guild facilities (meeting rooms, halls, etc.) for members only.
  • Guild retained healers (where employed) give priority to Guildmembers (after life-and-death cases {a healer’s first oath is to alleviate human suffering, not to the Guild}).
  • The Guild network provides quick access to most any service, especially to services difficult to reach otherwise (mages, scholars, etc.)
  • Guild mail service (Guildhall to Guildhall) free to Guild members.
  • Drafts for money allowed to members (Guild checking).
  • Two weeks rations supplied to each Guildmember adventurer under Guild contract at the beginning of an adventure.
  • Hiring hall in the entranceway of virtually all Guildhalls.

Wilderness of Ordurak 2017 update

January 2, 2017

Happy 2017!

We didn’t quite hit the goal of having the Wilderness adventure completed in 2016, but nonetheless there is good news.  The Wilderness of Ordurak has been uploaded to OBS for proofing and printing.  As soon as that is completed and we’ve approved the  samples, we’ll be getting out the print versions to our backers and supporters.


In the meantime, the electronic PDF version will be sent out, and that will give everyone a last chance for catching any lingering typos or formatting issues before the final version is done.  And, for the rest of you, here’s another one of the excellent Nate Marcel images that illustrate this adventure.

Part of the promise for supporters of this project was to give them at least 6 months of exclusivity before this was made broadly available.  So look for more information about this adventure again this summer (or winter, if you’re in the southern hemisphere) and we’ll have further information about it then.

Exquisite Corpse Dungeon 4

December 28, 2016

Are you in need of a last minute holiday mega dungeon? Then let us help you out with the biggest Exquisite Corpse Dungeon yet.  There are acres of passages, chambers, caverns, and more for you to explore.

A link to a PDF of the full-size (56″ x 12″) version of the map is at the bottom of this post.This is a reduced (but hopefully still somewhat readable) image of the whole map.

The Exquisite Corpse project has multiple participants who each have to construct a section of dungeon without seeing any of what has already been done.  For these maps, there is a tiny sliver of the previous section that shows where the connections should be, and then they have to map a section. Then they send a tiny sliver of their section to the next person who follows the same steps.  So there is no internal coordination, but something wonderful arises from the blind collaboration.

Sections of this one were drawn by Billy Longino, Kosmic Dungeon, Tony Obert, Jens larsen, Kevin Campbell, Rodger Thorm, David Millar, Paul Baldowski, Andrew Durston, Ivan Katyurgin, Nate McD, Christian Kessler, and Scott Aleric.

Since this is number 4, there must be some previous ones, right?  If you’re looking for more massive, collaborative dungeon art, here are links to the previous Exquisite Corpse projects:

And lastly, here is the link to the full-size 56″ x 12″ PDF: exquisitecorpse4final

Exquisite Corpse 4 – final stretch

December 27, 2016

The latest Exquisite Corpse Dungeon is under final review by all the contributors, and tomorrow (12/28) should be the public unveiling of the whole thing.  Check back here for the update.

Anyone looking to print this out should be aware that the final version is 56 x 12 inches (that’s 1422 x 305 mm if you’re more metric minded)  We’ll try to have a smaller version available that won’t choke everyone’s bandwidth.



Hexes and Squares

December 22, 2016

There are two ways to grid a map for game play.  The Cartesian grid is very familiar, and easy to access, given our familiarity with graph paper.  But rules for movement are more complicated when figuring out diagonal moves on a rectilinear grid.  So, the other alternative, which was taken up by wargamers decades ago, was to use a hex grid.  Hexes are the other geometric figure that can tile the plane regularly.  And there are no issues with diagonal movement with a hex grid.




But I’ve been kicking around some other ideas  for a while.  One easy adaptation that is midway between hexes and a square grid is to stagger the grid cells.  A half-cell offset in the rows of squares gives you the same overall orientation and even tiling as a hex grid, but with fewer of the non-perpendicular lines that may be what makes hexes daunting for many people.

To make the lines more distinct and readable, this version turns an overlaid square grid at a 45 degree angle, so that the two grids are both readily identifiable without overlapping one another.

The scale for this is the smaller (hex-replacing) squares are 4′ on a side, so the larger, diagonal squares are then slightly more than 11′ on a side.  I think that’s workably close to a 10′ D&D dungeon square overlaid with a 1-figure sized space

Edit to add (12/22):  Of course, I am an idiot, and these should not be true squares in order to evenly match a hex grid.  But, for most purposes, I think it’s simpler and easier to do the basic running bond squares as “good enough.”

Edit to add (12/22): Stephan Beal followed up with this comment on G+

By sheer cosmic coincidence i stumbled across an article in Space Gamer Issue 30 this morning which places an exact year on the introduction of the hex in games:

>>>Hexes in wargames go back to 1952, when they were used in some of the government-sponsored “think tanks.” In commercial wargames, hexes were first used in 1961.<<<

Space Gamer issue 30, page 20:


Intersection Z

December 14, 2016


This is the last of this Cycle of the Intersection series.

Collection: Mapvember 2016

December 2, 2016

A number of map makers took on Miska Fredman’s challenge to create 30 maps in 30 days, with a list of elements or prompts for the series.  I managed to do 15, which is okay by me.

If you haven’t been following this on Google+, my set of maps are beneath the cut.  The whole thing might take a while to load, so be patient.

Definitely not going for a singular style or a common element in these.  Several are section maps, which seem to be popular.  A few are really simple quick-and-dirty sketches to get the idea down.  Others are a bit more refined.  I dropped some digital color into a couple to make them read better, but they’re all pretty straight from pen to post. Read the rest of this entry »

Intersection Y

November 30, 2016


This intersection incorporates a series of standing stones aligned in a line of rooms.  This progression could be extended in both directions to other parts of the dungeon.  These could be part of a larger magical system, perhaps working as a conduit to direct mysterious energies for some larger purpose.

DragonQuest – U-Con 2016 Recap

November 23, 2016

DragonQuest isn’t all dead. Recently, I ran two sessions of DQ at U-Con, and, in the end, both of them were full tables. I had seen that pre-registrations were surprisingly high, with 5 people for Friday and 3 for Saturday, which was pretty surprising in and of itself. But then, both nights, people were coming by to see if that relic from the ancient past was, in fact, what was going on at that table. (“You mean that old SPI game, DragonQuest? Really? That’s awesome!”)

The Friday night group was a couple grognards (my age or older) who knew the game, a couple guys who registered because they’d heard of the game but never played it, and a guy who saw we had an open seat at the table and was curious about the game. On Saturday, three of the 6 players from the first night were back: two guys who had pre-registered, plus one guy who had joined in who had his own event cancelled, so he came back and joined for a second night. The three new players were my pre-teen son, and two other players who had events that didn’t run and joined in. They were both experienced gamers, but had never played DQ before, so again, it was a mixed group.

Both sessions provided good opportunities to show off some of DQ’s special features. There were Grievous Injuries (in both directions), and other demonstrations of DQ as a system, and that was all good. One of the new players had a triumphant moment where his character landed a specific grievous injury against one of the attackers which was effectively a one-hit kill, and that really turned the tide for the group at that point.

If it was the early 80s, I probably would’ve sold a few people on the game. But, especially for the people dropping in, it was only a one-off experience for them. But that’s okay. And it still shows that DQ can stand its own (and maybe is worth a reboot or some OSR spinoff of its own).

I was hoping to try out a bit of the Wilderness adventure (at least a couple of the plot points) with the one group, but the setup and the group getting somewhat entangled in doing some stuff in the coastal town, and then a combat encounter took the remainder of the time.

Even though each was just a four hour session, in both cases I felt like they were turning into a group I would’ve gladly continued a campaign with. I suppose that’s the downside of a game at a Con; you don’t have the ongoing campaign. There was also a fair amount of off-topic table banter, which seemed like a good thing, to me, and I didn’t worry about that too much. It helped bring these people together and have a bit of a common bond, and in the end, everyone seemed to have had a good time. And that, to my mind, is the best part of it all.