Author Archive

AntherZine – Available Now

March 13, 2021

The AntherZine is now available as a pay-what-you-want PDF at the Antherwyck DriveThruRPG site.

AntherZine v1n1 coverThis initial issue of AntherZine was largely written earlier in 2020, but languished for much of last year while everything was blowing up. We’re starting to regain our bearings, and while this didn’t make it as part of Kickstarter’s ZineQuest, that did help provide some impetus to get it going.

The plan is for this to be a quarterly publication, and using last year’s issue as a demonstration shows how it will look and some kinds of content that may be featured. This includes a couple of random descriptive tables, as well as an initial working draft of “Invasion of the Moonmen,” a small, standalone game by Thor Hansen.

Work is underway of volume 2, number 1 of the zine, and it is aiming for an early spring release date, so stay tuned.

Antherwyck & DragonQuest Updates – Feb 2021

March 2, 2021

There’s more to this post than originally intended, and I blame Froth, and Twitter.  A few weeks ago, I was listening to the ThoughtEater Podcast Humpday RPG Show when I was shocked to hear a question about DragonQuest come up: “I’ve heard of it; has anyone ever played it?

Obviously, I have a few thoughts and a little bit of experience about the subject.  And so, after a little messaging back and forth with Froth – who had asked the question, and some wrestling with sound recording, a couple weeks later, I had a recorded a few minutes of discussion about DQ which was included on the show a couple weeks later.

Separate from this, we had started talking about ZineQuest, and thinking again about the Anther-Zine we had started working on, and had roughed out, before 2020 really blew up and turned into all that 2020 was.

We’re polishing things up and getting AntherZine Volume 1, Number 1 ready, and will be releasing it as a PDF in the next couple weeks.  We’re hoping that it will be something that we can start doing on a regular basis, and have also started working on the first issue for Volume 2.  The present plan is to have a forward-subscription model.  If you support us for one issue, you’ll automatically get the next one.  And if you support that one, you’ll automatically get the one after that. And we’ll have a subscriber-supporter level where you sign up for a year’s worth of issues.  Past a certain point, back issues will be released in pay-what-you-want mode.  But those who want to support it can get earlier access.  We will also probably do some physical copies, and figure that a few people may want to get those.  We’ll have some more about all of this when we officially release it.

Also, perhaps as a result of the DQ discussion on the podcast and accompanying posts on Twitter, an old friend showed up and had some questions about the Wilderness of Ordurak adventure and about any other forthcoming DQ projects.  We’re looking into making it possible to get print copies of the regional map from the Wilderness, and hope to have something on that soon, as well..

Until now, I haven’t wanted to say much about it, because it’s early, and these things tend to take a lot of time to complete, but I have started on re-working and expanding the Medford Adventure, which was outlined in the DQ files years back.  There wasn’t a lot there, but it was a solid outline to work from.  I’ve been working on it sporadically for a couple months. There’s no specific timeline for it yet, but it’s underway, and I’ll start giving some updates about it as it moves along.  It’s going to be more in the range of The Sentinel Keep in size, rather than another Wilderness of Ordurak.

Lastly, a quick reminder that there is a listserv for DQ discussion if you are looking to start new discussions.  You can sign up for that at:
http://dq.antherwyck.com/listinfo.cgi/dq_discussion-antherwyck.com

Poor Brendan’s Update & Bug Hunt

February 16, 2021

The printing company that works with DriveThruRPG for their production is phasing out their saddle stitching. So, many smaller print books that used this as an option are going to have to be converted to a perfect-bound format. (So, in less print jargon, any books that were stapled together, like a comic book, are going to instead have to be bound like a paperback book.)

Some titles are able to be converted automatically (or at least automatically enough that the printer is going to do those. Others, though, are going to require a new cover design, and will have to go through new proofing in order to be available again.

For the Antherwyck Games titles, this affects Poor Brendan’s Almanac, our DragonQuest rules supplement. So, there are a couple points to be made. First, Poor Brendan’s may be unavailable for a short while (though the PDF will still be there, of course; this only affects print hardcopies). But, if we have to revise the print version, we ought to clean up any typos and errors in the current version while we are at it, and maybe make some other updates to the book at the same time. So, if you’ve noticed a typo (or something worse) in the book, let us know, and we’ll get it corrected in the new edition, and we’ll add you to the contributors list in that version, as well.

And, for those of you with just the PDF version, when the new updates are put through, you should be automatically contacted to get the revised copy of your PDF, as well.

End of Year Notes for 2020

December 27, 2020

It’s taken almost a year, but the name of this blog has been revised to drop the “House” in the old Antherwyck House Games (it’s just Antherwyck Games, now) as noted at the beginning of 2020. Like much of the world, Antherwyck effectively went on hiatus for most of 2020. But, a couple things are shaking loose, and I’ve posted a couple things in recent days.

There was recent news at the beginning of December that Froth is returning with Thought Eater, and that will be a very welcome return!  That prompts me to share my current gaming podcast list.  With most of these, I have been a fairly regular listener for a while:

Like a lot of other folks, I think that podcasts have supplanted the community connections that I’d developed from Google+ communities.  But, there’s a lot less feedback in the audio format than there was in G+.  There needs to be a better way for doing feedback for podcasts.  I’m not inclined to start recording audio, but I’m going to try to be a more responsive listener, and let the folks making these podcasts know I’m listening, and have some thoughts on their programs.

Other than that general plan, I don’t want to say anything about upcoming plans, or things I’d like to be doing. In the past, when I’ve done that, and then they don’t come to fruition as quickly as I’d thought, it looks like a bunch of incomplete projects.  So, while I hope to do some things in the coming year, and have more output than in this year, I don’t want to make any promises until I have something in hand.

So stay tuned.

Near Space Map

December 24, 2020

The focus here is more on fantasy games and maps than on science-fiction. But, this is well worth pointing out, even if it’s not my work: a new map of the nearest stars to the Earth.

ClosestStars-clip

The map of The Closest Stars corresponds very closely to the near-space poster map that was included with the Universe role-playing game by SPI.  The Closest Stars is a 10 parsec radius; the SPI Universe map is a 30 light-year radius, so they’re pretty comparable in the area they cover.

I haven’t done a comparison between the two to see how compatible they are.  But, I assume one could adapt and interpolate the basic information from the Universe map, to be able to use the new one.

Section Dungeon

December 19, 2020

Well, hello folks! It’s been a while. A couple of seasons, even.

Inspiration for drawing, or much of anything, has been lacking the last several months. But then, this kinda fell out of nowhere, yesterday. And today, I did some further work and then inked it.

To use this for an actual adventure, the rooms to be explored are implied by the doors and passages shown off of the halls, so there are more than a half dozen identifiable rooms plus other chambers and spaces, so a variety of options are available.

As usual, feel free to use for any non-commercial purpose, or contact me if you’d like to use this on a commercial project, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

Four Elements Map

April 2, 2020

RT map 2020-03-31sm

Four interconnected geomorphs inspired by the idea of the four elements.

I’m sending these as individual geomorphs for Dave’s Mapper, so these are available for use through the Creative Commons license [CC BY-NC 4.0].

Individual tiles below, if you want to use them from here.

Created with GIMP

Created with GIMP

Created with GIMP

Created with GIMP

Dark Days on the Silk Road

March 26, 2020

The title seems way too apropos at the moment, but maybe that will be okay.  It is meant to suggest a setting in the kind of nebulous fantasy world of 60s and 70s stories, where the roots of the setting were much more often non-European, often a kind of spare, desolate setting, studded with rich, dense cities.  More a chain of caravan stops than the hamlets and towns between the larger cities.

When I mentioned it in the Next Projects 2019 post, I presented the concept as: “…a fantasy game aimed at a more Fafhrd/Grey Mouser kind of feel.  A recent post from Beloch Shrike aka Link Skywalker at Papers & Pencils titled “Magic Words Suck. Here’s Magic in the Moment.” seems like a good starting point for one branch of the magic system with the right kind of literary feel that this game calls for.” The other key element Thor was starting with was a completely classless system.  Everyone was a little bit of a generalist;  every bravo could also manage to pick a simple lock or cast a couple rudimentary spells if they were going to survive for any length of time.

Thor has been posting some thoughts about this over on his Facebook group (“Thor Talks About Games” – it’s a private group, but if you tell him you found it from here, I’m sure he’ll add you in).  I’m only quoting his posts here, to build the archive for it here; the whole commentary and discussion remains over there.

First post “So I’m working on a game that has an xD6 resolution system. It is an OSR adjacent fantasy game. Everything in the game works off of that except combat damage. Currently I am using polyhedrals for various weapon damage rolls.

“I don’t imagine that it will be difficult for people who find this game to come up with a set, but it seems dumb to need them for only one aspect of the game. Is that wrong? Is there some cool way of rolling D6 to come up with wider varieties of outcomes?”

 

Second post “So Dark Days, the game I was talking about this morning is a classless game where every character is a Fighter/Wizard/Thief. There are no Stats beyond assigning 1, 2, and 3 to Wizard, Thief, and Fighter in whatever order make sense to you for the character.

“The look and feel of the game is inspired by Fafhard and Grey Mouser sort of stories (there is no appendix N yet). All characters can do anything but at varying levels. the resolution is to roll a number of dice equal to your WT or F against a difficulty.

“If you are using your fighter (I need a name for the stat) you have the Ability to add more dice at a cost to your stamina. If you are using your wizard number you can roll over a number of turns to gather the manna to perform great feats. And if you are using your Thief thing you can retcon the story to make up for things that stand in your way.

“Hit points are divided up into Fatigue, Standard damage, and Critical damage. filling up the boxes for each type of damage cost you but get you a bonus to keep you moving toward success. This is why I want different weapons to make this fairly lite system a little fiddley.”

Some other things have prodded me into starting to think about this for the last couple months.  The big Kickstarter Zine Quest seemed like it might be a place to try it out, but there was a lot of other traffic, and we’re small-time.

But, with some time to work on this, I think we’re going to start to iterate it here, and try to get a rough draft that people can mess with.  Lots of people have time for games, so perhaps we can get some playtesting during these Dark Days.

Alternate Hatch Map

March 19, 2020

RT map 2020-03-19sm

Something a little different from the usual crowsfoot scratches at the edges of the rooms here.  This started as a sort-of engine inspired map, and then, the print on someone’s clothing gave me an idea for the hatch pattern to use for the poche.  This is just a phone cam shot, so it’s not as sharp as a good scan.  I’ll see about posting a better version later, perhaps.

It is a lot less interconnected than a number of the other maps I have done, but it seemed more right for this particular configuration.

As usual, feel free to use for any non-commercial purpose, or contact me if you’d like to use this on a commercial project, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

More Axon Experiments

March 3, 2020

IMG_20200227_215119597

Here’s a snippet of another experimental map I’ve been working on.  I don’t like the shading this way, but this is a photocopy of the base drawing, so it can be a throwaway test. Like the previous axon space map, this is also more open, rather than a set of discrete rooms.

These latest experiments are interesting to me.  I don’t know if they are any more playable than other stuff, and I’d be interested if anyone finds this kind of thing specifically useful or more playable than some more traditional maps are.  Let me know what you think, especially if this kind of map is useful to you.

As usual, feel free to use for any non-commercial purpose, or contact me if you’d like to use this on a commercial project, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

Axon space

February 26, 2020

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

This map seems more abstract than a lot of the usual stuff that is posted (here, and elsewhere) – it’s kind of a throwback to some things from Google+ (back when G+ was around).

It’s divided into spaces, but not set up with discrete rooms in the traditional dungeon sense.  But it could still be used as a game setting.

As usual, feel free to use for any non-commercial purpose, or contact me if you’d like to use this on a commercial project, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

First Aid Question for DragonQuest

February 25, 2020

From the Antherwyck page on FB, Jeff Halfhide asks:

Hello fellow enthusiasts! Once upon a time during the g+ and yahoo groups days, there was an article about a first aid skill. I have searched low and also high in my dusty archive and cannot find it. Do any of you have information about it?

I’m not readily finding it, so I thought I should open the question to the wider community.

More Geomorphs

January 19, 2020

A couple more early year geomorphs.

RT 2020-01-08 geomorphART 2020-01-08 geomorphB

Geomorphs

January 12, 2020

A couple of geomorphs for the new year.

RT 2020-01-08 geomorphC

RT 2020-01-08 geomorphD

State of Antherwyck in 2020

January 7, 2020

What’s up for Antherwyck in 2020?  Let me fill you in.

For me, last year was complicated by both a new job and then a new house.  I have a wonderful office space here, and as we get more settled in here, I hope to keep some Antherwyck projects underway.  If it’s easier to drop in on something for a bit, that kind of slow, but continuing progress is what’s needed to keep things moving, especially when it’s a hobby sideline.  I’m trying to develop some new habits for the new setting, and it seems to be working in some ways, so I’m going to keep at that.

It’s not a terribly significant change, but we’re going to drop the “House” from the name, and simply be “Antherwyck Games” now.  The “House” was an affectation (though it did give us the same initials as Avalon Hill, which was a not accidental nod to the company that first got me introduced to tabletop games).

As noted, with all the upheaval in my real life, very little has progressed on projects in the past year. If we do the ZineQuest project, that will give us something with deliverable target dates and a schedule, and that framework should help bring things to completion. And the activity of working on one project rubs against the other things that are in process, and helps give them a nudge, as well.

I’m hoping to get a regular DragonQuest game going, and with that, I also hope to get some new DragonQuest work published. I’ve been thinking about (and previously written about) revisions or variants of the DQ rules (it is, after all, a 40 year old game system), and that may get enough attention to warrant posting about.

Additionally, I’m thinking about a collection of some of my maps in a publication of one sort or another. It’s been harder to get them done and posted regularly, but there is always the intention of turning that around. But getting some of the old ones collected and refined could help with getting in the mindset for that, too.

Lastly, there is now an Antherwyck-hosted listserv (email list) to help fill in the gap from the old Yahoo groups as those become less functional.  There hasn’t been a lot of traffic there recently (either the old Yahoo groups, for the past few years; or the new listserv, which only has a few people on it), but we’ll try to build that this year.

 

Ortho map test

January 5, 2020

RT 2020-01-05sm

Trying out a format for display. Is this useful, or noisy?

Zine ideas for 2020

January 1, 2020

Next month, Kickstarter is running their ZineQuest to encourage people to produce RPG-related zines.  Thor and I have been discussing a couple of options.

One is a general interest, RPG topics kind of zine, with pieces of some of the fragmentary game ideas we have been kicking around but haven’t yet been able to get to a finished state, along with other supporting materials for games.  A miscellany, in short.

The other idea is to bring back the DragonQuest Newsletter.  My initial thought with this is to take the old DQNs and re-format them for print/PDF, and add some new material with each issue.  I’d have to take a look to see what sort of size of project

With either of these, I think we’re looking at doing a print version for US, and PDF available worldwide.  We could also have a delayed print level for non-US subscribers where you wouldn’t get the print copies until the end of the year’s run (assuming 4 issues/year). So we’d only have to do one international mailing, and that’s probably viable without us incurring stupid-ridiculous mailing costs.

If you have any thoughts about this (especially if you are a potential supporter of the project), let me know in the comments, or drop me a line.

Sectional Cavern

November 30, 2019

RTsect20191129sm

This was a partially completed map that I recently found while moving into my new space.  I had only penciled the map, but hadn’t inked it yet.  So, I did that today to finish it up.  There are a combination of cavern spaces along with more finished rooms.  Some connections are likewise more finished, like hallways, and others are rough cave tunnels.

This is potentially more useful than many other section maps I’ve seen (including most of the ones I’ve done) in that it has open connections off to both sides of the map, so that it can be incorporated into a more extended area.

As usual, feel free to use for any non-commercial purpose, or contact me if you’d like to use this on a commercial project.

A new map in November

November 25, 2019

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a new map.  And it’s been good to break out the old pens and set up and draw another one of these.  Definitely some rust to be knocked off, too.

Photographing this (instead of scanning) and then trying to do some cleanup instead introduced some odd characteristics.  So let’s just leave this one as it is, and move on.

Another UCon (2019)

November 24, 2019

UCon badgeI was scheduled to run a couple of sessions of DragonQuest at this year’s UCon in Ypsilanti MI this past weekend.  I missed last year due to conflicts with my old job. Two years ago, I had one session with zero attendees, but the other session was sold out in advance (which turned out to be a group of players who all knew each other and were a gaming group back in their hometown; they were all interested in DQ, but had never played it before).  So that turned out to be a fairly interesting session.

Unfortunately, I had no one show up for either session of my game.  There was a guy who walked by on Friday evening and saw my DQ book on the table, and remarked on remembering playing DQ in college (me too).  But there were other things also being run that night, and one player wasn’t enough to get anything going.

It was my hope that signing up to run a couple events would spur me to work on writing a new adventure, but then we decided to buy this house we’ve moved into, so I’ve been kept busy with house moving and everything around that.

However, I did see a couple local people I’ve played DQ with in the past, and those conversations have started another cycle of thinking about starting a new DQ campaign, particularly now that I have a larger space that could be more accommodating to a group getting together here once a month, or so.

But, along with that, I’m thinking about how to make a lighter game system that would be more accommodating to a group of people who want to play the game and develop the story we are telling, and is less about the bits and pieces of the game mechanics.

Once more, I’m thinking about DQ Lite in some fashion or other.  Something that is easier to pick up and run with if you are only having infrequent sessions (which is the reality for most of us).