Archive for the ‘Antherwyck House News’ Category

Newslettering (the End of Tiny Letter)

January 3, 2018

A copy of this was sent out to our TinyLetter subscribers first.

We’ve used Tiny Letter for the occasional newsletter for Antherwyck House Games, but apparently Tiny Letter is going to be going away (it’s getting folded into MailChimp). I am not going to follow along. I’ve had to wrangle MailChimp for other things, and it’s awkward and more burdensome than it’s worth. Maybe there are people who love it and have it worked out. I’m not willing to devote the cycles to that. So we’re going to need to work out what we do henceforth.

If you were a Tiny Letter subscriber, or if you’re interested in being in getting periodic updates on our projects, let us know you’re interested, and how you’d like to be informed. Maybe we’ll end up setting up a listserv once again, and perhaps even have a revival of the old DragonQuest Newsletter.

Blogging fell off toward the end of 2017 (but then, it was 2017, so what else would you expect?). For now, I think I’ll try to be a bit more regular about the posting on the blog. If you were really locked in on the Tiny Letter we sent out (and I really appreciate those of you who were subscribed to it), we didn’t have many of them, and I’m sorry that you’ll have to move to a different system.

There are some social media, but that doesn’t work for all people. My main social media point of contact is Google Plus (G+).  I do use Facebook within some limits. I actively dislike the platform, but I recognize that it’s where a lot of people are, and where they connect. So that account is principally for announcements; if you want to have a conversation (which I’d welcome), either G+ or email are better. We’re also on Twitter (@antherwyck), but again, it’s not a place that’s a focus.

At one point, I was going to try out Patreon, but, last month, they effectively set the platform on fire. They said that small-scale creators (like Antherwyck House) are not what they wanted to focus on. If there were suddenly 100,000 people who wanted to give me 5 bucks a month to work on DragonQuest and other game-related stuff, I’d be happy to embrace that transformation. But I have no illusions that anything of that sort is around the corner. We might try something out when another system comes along, but I don’t think there’s enough of an audience for regular Patreon-type support.

The goal for 2018 is to have a more regular schedule of posting and publication. Whatever form it takes, I’d like to be able to send push notifications to those who are interested. Whether that’s an email, or an announcement on Twitter/FB/G+/your favorite service, or some other form, what would work best for you?

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DragonQuest in 2018

January 2, 2018

It seems that, almost every year, around the holidays and the end of the year, there is an uptick in interest and activity about #DragonQuest (and other old games, as well). We’ve seen some of that already, during the break, and we’re going to add to it this year with some DQ news from Antherwyck House Games for the coming year.

Antherwyck House Games was founded to produce additional materials for DragonQuest. There are other gaming projects we’re also involved in, but DQ was the founding impetus, and it’s something we’ll always be involved in. We’ve developed several titles for DragonQuest, and here is a rundown of those projects:

  • The Sentinel Chapel
  • The Wilderness of Ordurak
  • The Water Works
  • Poor Brendan’s Almanac
  • Ordurak Gazetteer

* Almost six years ago, what was then called just “Wilderness of A–, a DragonQuest Adventure” crowdfunding project started. (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-wilderness-of-a-a-dragonquest-adventure#/) At the time, the last published item for use with the DragonQuest role-playing game was “The Shattered Statue” which was published by TSR in 1987. The whole process went through fits and starts, like many first-time crowdfunded projects. But ultimately, the adventure was completed and delivered to supporters earlier in 2017. When the project was launched, it was with the promise that the supporters would “get an electronic copy of the finished adventure, and will have it at least 6 months before the adventure is released in other formats.” That period has now passed, and “The Wilderness of Ordurak” will soon be available from DriveThruRPG and its sister sites.

* “The Sentinel Chapel” was meant to be a small capsule adventure, something akin to ‘House of Kurin,’ ‘Treasure of Socantri,’ or ‘Camp of Alla-Akabar.’ It started when I came across a map by Eneko Menica, which struck me as a great map for a DQ adventure as soon as I saw it, and the adventure was written from that inspiration. It’s been reviewed and playtested by a couple of loyal regulars, and I also got to run it as an event at a convention (UCon, near Detroit, in November).
The PDF version of this will be available from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow in January. As soon as print proofs are ready and approved (hopefully also by the end of January, as well), then we’ll have the print version available for those of you who would like to have it in print. (If you want the print version, but also want to get it right away, we’ll have a deal for you to get the PDF right away, and then get the print version once it’s available.)

* Our first title, The Water Works, has been available for several years.  There is an implied series of sequels to the “works” adventures (Earth Works, Gas Works, Fire Works) that has always been in the back of my head. This could be a direction for the next adventure we produce.

* The rules supplement, Poor Brendan’s Almanac has some revisions and clarifications needed, and that revision is targeted for beginning of Spring 2018.

* Separately, we’re planning to make the map of the Wilderness region into its own product and available as a separate release (The Ordurak Gazetteer). It will be much more akin to the Frontiers of Alusia, with a gazetteer to provide details about the region. Only some areas are detailed in the Wilderness adventure, and this will provide added information about the remaining areas.


 

This leaves the question of what the next DragonQuest project should be. Another adventure is certainly a possibility. Or there could be other things that get developed. Some of the final decision comes down to what seems inspiring and interesting; but another part of it is what people are interested in seeing.

The DragonQuest community has been online since the mid 90s. Originally, it was an email mailing list, then migrated to Yahoo and Yahoo groups for a while. More recently, it’s been on Google Plus and Facebook. (And if you have some other gatherings of DQ players you’re aware of, let me know about those, too.)

At this point, for most people, DragonQuest is a legacy curiousity. But there is still interest in it, and the name is recognized, despite it being out-of-print for decades. Many people had heard of it, but because it was never as widely available as other games, there are lots of people who know of it but haven’t played it. (The group who played in the Sentinel Chapel adventure at the recent UCon were a group who had played together for many years, but had never played DQ, and were interested in checking it out.)

With a recognized name and history, and with the interest in Old School games, there is an ongoing interest in seeing a revival or a reboot of DQ. Ever since the collapse of SPI in 1982, there has been a lingering interest in acquiring the rights, or republishing, or reviving DQ.

If there was going to be a new release of DragonQuest, what form should it take? Should it be a close 1:1 retro-clone of the original game? Or should it be an adaptation of the game that takes it in a new direction?

When I talked to Gerry Klug a couple years ago, he was talking about adapting DragonQuest to a D20 system. D20 is a hugely widespread game system, and the potential attractiveness to people who already know and understand basic D20 mechanics and can tie in with the huge library of available materials.

For me, the things that were always most appealing about DragonQuest were the things that differentiated it from D&D. That characters were fragile, rather than becoming invulnerable machines, led to a gaming style where character interaction came to the fore. Characters could also be any combination of roles. You weren’t locked into a set of abilities and excluded from others. Your character could carry a sword *and* use magic.

The emphasis on developing skills provided a background that implied a different setting and time period. Less fantastical in some ways, perhaps, and closer to a Renaissance setting, with organizations (like an Adventurer’s Guild) and the beginnings of formalized knowledge, with Colleges of Magic.

The Open DQ Rules has been a slow-moving group with the idea of re-writing (and maybe revising) the DragonQuest rules so that there is a freely distributable set of rules available. But this seems to be an effort without enough energy behind it to make any significant progress.

For the past couple years, I’ve been thinking about a revised, simplified set of DQ rules. My last regular DragonQuest campaign dissolved, in part, because the rule complexity got in the way of playing the game. Since we were only playing occasionally, the constant need to fiddle with the numbers got in the way of playing. And we realized that, most of the time, those little bits of difference didn’t really matter. My current thought is to take the basic structures of DQ and adapt them to a D10 system. In some instances, where the greater precision was needed, it would be easy to fall back to the D100 percentile system. But for faster moving things, in many cases, a D10 resolution would be enough. This could be a DQ-Lite that could draw more people in (as any new release of a game system would do) and connect more people to DragonQuest.


 

And, along those lines, there’s other old school game news on other fronts. Most interestingly, there was the good news on Boxing Day that Steve Jackson Games has re-acquired the rights to all of his works for The Fantasy Trip (TFT): Melee, Wizard, etc. They’ve been held by Metagaming (which has been effectively defunct for many years), so it’s all been out of print. SJG doesn’t know yet what they are going to be doing with them, but it seems like this will be a good thing for old school games in general.

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/archive/December_26_2017/The_Fantasy_Trip_Returns_Home

Like with DQ, the online groups that have supported it for many years have been an important part of keeping it alive. TFT could be seen as a kind of DQ Lite, as well. There are many similarities between the two games, and possibly some synergy that could come from this.

A box full of Wildernesses

March 30, 2017

[Edit to add: the maps arrived tonight.  See below.]

There’s a real joy in getting a fat box from Lightning Source (the printer for OBS/DriveThru/etc.)  These are the fulfillment copies of The Wilderness of Ordurak, and these will get packaged up and mailed out to backers and supporters of the project very soon.

We’re still waiting for the maps (which are printed at a different facility than the books, so have to be shipped separately).

 

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.

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.

Wilderness Proof

January 13, 2017

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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.

December Antherwyck House TinyLetter

December 17, 2015

If you’re an Antherwyck House Games Newsletter subscriber, there’s a new one winging its way to your inbox.

And if you’re not, you can correct that oversight right here:

https://tinyletter.com/RThorm