Archive for the ‘DragonQuest RPG’ Category

Open DQ Sections and Contents

March 4, 2018

This is the draft organization index and preliminary table of contents from the old Open DQ project.

Rules Categories

0    - License and Credits
1    - Introduction, How to Play the Game, Game Terms
2    - Characters and Character Generation
3    - Combat
4    - Magic
5    - Skills
6    - Monsters
7    - World and Adventure

Parenthetical numbers in the Table of Contents indicate the corresponding rule number in the SPI Second Edition version of the rules; AW = rules from Arcane Wisdom; PBA = rules from Poor Brendan’s Almanac. Note that the new numbering provided here is a draft version and is subject to further change and renumbering.

Subsection 100 of each rule section should be set aside for introduction, terminology, description, etc. x-100 should be section contents. x-120 should be term definitions.

Subsection 200 of each rule section should be the primary rules for the section.

Subsection 500 of each rule section should be specialty rules for the section (specific skills, magic colleges, etc).

Subsection 800 of each rule section should be secondary or optional rules for the section.

This is a preliminary draft and subject to almost certain revision.

Table of Contents

0    - License and Credits
0-100 License
1    - Introduction, How to Play the Game, Game Terms
1-110 Introduction
1-120 Game Terms
1-200 How to Play the Game
1-220 General Course of Events (1)
1-250 Requirements for Play (2)
2    - Characters and Character Generation
2-120 Description of Characteristics (3)
2-200 Effects of Characteristics (4)
2-300 Characteristic Generation (5)
2-400 Character Background
2-420 Birthrights (6)
2-450 Aspects (7)
2-470 Heritage (8)
2-500 Creating Experienced Characters
2-550 NPCs
2-600 Character Maintenance
2-620 Recuperation and Upkeep (85)
2-650 Fatigue Loss and Recovery (82)
2-700 Experience 
2-710 How Experience Is Gained (86)
2-750 How Experience Is Used (87)
3    - Combat
3-120 Combat Terminology (9)
3-130 Combat Equipment (10)
3-150 Preparation for Combat (11)
3-200 Combat Sequence (12)
3-220 Actions of Engaged Figures (13)
3-250 Actions of Non Engaged Figures (14)
3-280 Action Choice Restrictions (15)
3-300 Attacking (16)
3-330 Resolving Attempted Attacks (17)
3-350 Damage (18)
3-360 The Effects of Damage (19)
3-370 Fire
3-380 Infection (24)
3-400 Unarmed Combat (21)
3-430 Natural Weapons
3-450 Martial Arts
3-500 Weapons List (20)
3-600 Multi-Hex Creatures (22)
3-700 Special Combat
3-710 Mounted Combat (23)
4    - Magic
4-120 Definition of Magical Terms (25)
4-130 How Magic Works (26)
4-150 The Colleges of Magic (34)
4-180 Magic Conventions (35)
4-200 How to Cast Spells (27)
4-205 Quickcasting (PBA-106
4-220 Restrictions on Magic (29)
4-250 Counterspells and Resisting Spells (31)
4-300 Incorporating Magic into Combat (33)
4-330 The Effects of Spells (28)
4-370 Backfire from Spells and Rituals (30)
4-400 Universal Magical Abilities
4-420 Special Magical Preparations (32)
4-430 Ritual of Planar Travel (PBA-109
4-440 Consequences (84)
4-480 Cantrips (PBA-108
4-500 Thaumaturgies
4-510 The College of Ensorcelments and Enchantments (36)
4-520 The College of Sorceries of the Mind (37)
4-530 The College of Illusions (38)
4-540 The College of Naming Incantations (39)
4-550 The College of Shaping Magics (AW-91
4-600 Elementals
4-610 The College of Air Magics (40)
4-620 The College of Water Magics (41)
4-630 The College of Fire Magics (42)
4-640 The College of Earth Magics (43)
4-650 The College of Celestial Magics (44)
4-660 College of Time Magics (PBA-110
4-700 Entities
4-710 The College of Necromantic Conjurations (45)
4-720 The College of Black Magics (46)
4-730 The College of Greater Summonings (47)
4-740 The College of Lesser Summonings (AW-89
4-750 The College of Rune Magics (AW-90
4-760 College of Witchcraft (PBA-109
5    - Skills
5-250 Acquiring and Using Skills (48)
5-300 Languages (49)
5-400 Adventure Abilities
5-420 Horesemanship
5-460 Swimming
5-470 Stealth
5-500 Alchemist (50)
5-510 Assassin (51)
5-520 Astrologer (52)
5-530 Beast Master (53)
5-540 Courtesan (54)
5-545 Diplomat (PBA-112
5-550 Healer (55)
5-555 Herbalist (PBA-113
5-557 Hunter (PBA-114
5-560 Mechanician (56)
5-570 Merchant (57)
5-580 Military Scientist (58)
5-590 Navigator (59)
5-600 Ranger (60)
5-610 Spy and 
5-620 Thief (61)
5-630 Troubadour (62)
5-800 Minor Skills (PBA-111
6    - Monsters
7    - World and Adventure
7-180 Game Conventions (78)
7-200 The Adventure Sequence (80)
7-220 Preparation for Adventure (77)
7-230 Organizing a Party (79)
7-300 Adventure Actions (83)
7-400 Monetary Matters (81)
7-420 Extended Merchant Tables (PBA-122
7-430 Horse Trading (PBA-121
7-440 Alchemical and Herbal Shopkeeping (PBA-116
7-470 Building Costs (PBA-118
7-480 Peasants and Labor (PBA-119
7-485 Farming (PBA-120
7-600 Guide to Magical Rocks, Stones and Gems (AW-93
7-650 Guide to Herbal Lore (AW-94

The Open DQ That Is Already Done

March 3, 2018

There’s a significant followup to my recent thoughts about an open source DragonQuest that needs to be pointed out.

The Seagate Adventurer’s Guild is the largest group of DragonQuest players, with a long-running, interlocked campaign with multiple GMs.  And they’ve been playing for over 30 years.  I had known that they had a draft set of rules incorporating their house rules, but it’s been a few years since I checked in on their site.  I had known about this version several years ago, but they had asked to have it pulled from the Yahoo DQ group files.  Than, Mike Davey reminded me about them in response to my last post, so I went and checked out their version of the DragonQuest rules.

In a word, wow!

Frankly, they’ve already done much of the work I was talking about.  It’s a complete document; almost 150 pages.  The Seagate rules are “copylefted under the GNU Public License, version 2.0,” so this is already an open-source version of the DQ rules.

These rules aren’t a straight one-to-one corresponding set.  There are some sections that are not included, like any creatures, or the lists of Greater Summoning demons.  And there are also many new additions, including several new Skills and new Colleges of Magic.  Elements are reorganized, though there’s a generally similar order of character creation, combat, magic, and skills.  All in all, I think a DQ player or GM could pick it up and start using it fairly readily.

This really changes the scope of next steps.  What I had originally planned, once there was a base draft in place, was a reorganization of the rules to allow for revisions and substitutions.  The numbering system of the DQ rules doesn’t work well if you want to add a new Skill or a new College; there are no open spaces.  But if the rule numbering was more like a library card-catalog system, then it would be easy to keep all the related stuff organized together in the same section.  All the character-related stuff could be section 100, combat section 200, and so on and so forth.

Link: Seagate DQ Rules Edition 2.0.1




DragonQuest rules outline

February 26, 2018

For years, for decades, really, I have thought about a re-published version of the DragonQuest rules.  Like many other DQ players, it seems so wrong to me that this game should not be available.  DragonQuest still does some wonderful things, but it’s largely forgotten since it’s been almost 40 years since it was published, and SPI didn’t last long enough even to get the first rule supplement to market (though copies of the pre-publication rules are floating around).

So now, I’ve started the outline for a new, open-source re-write of the rules.

The DragonQuest rules outline is (mostly) just the framework of the rules – the first sentence after the rule number in a simple text file.  A couple extra bits were left in for reference in a couple places, but it’s pretty much just the 87 rules of the game.  No formulas, no charts, no numbers, so it’s not playable in this form.  But it distills the rules down to an essence that can be reviewed and then rewritten as a starting point for an open DragonQuest.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to do something along these lines.  In the past, I wanted to be very open and egalitarian and encourage everyone to contribute to it, instead of writing *my* version of DragonQuest that everyone else would pick apart.  But that never really got going. So I’m approaching it differently.  This time, I’m starting the project as my own project.  I’m going to try to be pretty open about the process, and feedback from the broader DragonQuest and gaming and OSR communities is going to be important to make this work.  But I’m not going to wait on it.  This version of an open set of DragonQuest rules is going to start from this outline, and move along at whatever rate I’m able to work on it.  There will be updates from time to time to show what has been done and have a chance for input from others.

Since Antherwyck House is producing DragonQuest adventures and materials, getting a version of the rules out there only makes sense.  Right now, it’s my intent to have an open-source core ruleset available for free, and then a more complete, detailed set of rules that we’ll publish in a more polished format with art.

This should not be my project alone, and anyone else with an interest in DragonQuest is welcomed to participate.  This is going to be open-source, so as soon as there is a full, working draft available, that will be shared and posted under a Creative Commons license.

The first step is going to be a revision of the old DQOS framework to allow for new rules to be fit in.

Link: DragonQuest rules outline

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. ( 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.

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.

Notes on DragonQuest Titles

May 28, 2017

Feedback on The Wilderness of Ordurak has been pretty positive.  The most recent comment, from today: “At a first glance, the module looks fantastic, a very “authentic” feeling I think.”  Trying to match the SPI look was always a part of the intent, and it’s gratifying that backers of the project appreciate that about the adventure and the map.

A couple playtesters have looked at The Sentinel Chapel and given some initial feedback.  I’ve got a few more things to do for it, based on that feedback.  It was originally aimed at being a “capsule adventure,” like some other DQ titles; something maybe a little less fleshed out.  It was originally aimed at being 4 pages, but then I played with some SketchUp modeling, and I wanted to include that, and the descriptions grew, and now it’s pushing past the 8 page mark, and I have some further information to fill in.

The story grew and fleshed itself out as I was writing, and it really does need another pass to bring it together.  Some of the comments pointed out to me that it was much more of a first draft than I liked.

And, as much of a map maker as I am, even though I’m using someone else’s map for the adventure proper, it really could use a regional map, so I’m going to do that for it, as well.

Those still reviewing and playtesting I haven’t heard from yet, I’d really like to get your comments, too.



Seeking Playtesters for Antherwyck House

April 24, 2017

There are a couple projects underway for Antherwyck House right now, and we’d like to find a few playtesters for these things.

If you follow Thor Hansen on G+, you have already seen a bit of the art he’s gotten from Ed Heil for a game he is leading titled The Spires.  It’s still in its rough, early phases, and it may be a while before we’re ready to have others take a look at it, but gathering some people who are interested in the concept and are willing to give good feedback will help with developing this.

My next project is another DragonQuest adventure, one much smaller than “The Wilderness of Ordurak.”  (You also might’ve seen this post a few weeks ago.)  It’s coming in at around 8 pages right now; a capsule adventure along the lines of “The House of Kurin” or “The Treasure of Socranti.”  I’d like to find at least two different groups to playtest it: one a group of DragonQuest players who can evaluate it as a DQ adventure; the other a group playing something else (an OSR clone, D&D of one flavor or another, etc.) to see how readily it can adapt to another ruleset.  I think it’s mostly map and setting, and choosing some other stats for the encounters from your own favorite flavor should help make this more widely usable.  (And if I need to provide stats that adapt to other games, I’ll know I need to do that.)

If you’re interested in either of these, drop one of us a line (presuming you’re one of the folks who already knows how and where to get in touch on G+) or leave a note in the comments here.

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).


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Note about Poor Brendan’s Almanac

November 1, 2016

It was just pointed out that there’s a table missing from the edition of Poor Brendan’s Almanac on DriveThruRPG et al.  We’ll get that corrected and updated as soon as we can.  They push out notifications when things people have bought are updated on their servers, so those of you with copies of this edition should get that notification.

Since some of the Wilderness backers are also getting copies of PBA, it’s on the list, too.  But, for the moment, the focus is on wrapping up the Wilderness adventure.

The Wilderness of Ordurak

October 26, 2016

Here’s something that has been a long time coming; the cover for the “Wilderness of Ordurak” adventure with art by Nate Marcel (and a few interior illustrations by him, as well).  This is an adventure written for use with DragonQuest, but, it should be adaptable to other games.


The original backers have gotten proof copies to look over.  There are some known issues, so there’s a little editing and revision work to be done, yet.  But this is finally just about complete.

The original crowd-supported project proposal was for a 16-page adventure.  This is presently clocking in at 54 pages (including the cover), plus there is a 12″ x 18″ region map.

Some people who missed the original crowd funding period have asked about getting in on this project.  It looks like IndieGoGo added a feature called InDemand that “lets anyone back you after your crowdfunding campaign is over.”  However, I haven’t been able to enable that feature on the site.

But, if anyone is still interested in getting in as a supporter at one of the Mercenary levels, let me know, and I will set up a selection at the Antherwyck House store to make those options available.  There is not a good way to extend any of the Adventurer or Hero levels at this point, since those were options that involved input in deciding the content of the adventure.

We’ll have more information about this adventure as it gets into production.

Dwarven Chambers

October 16, 2016

Work in progress for a project.  The chambers and the hex grid (yes, it’s a DragonQuest project, so it’s on a hex grid) are done on computer, but then the hatching in the solid areas is all done by hand.  I think the combination of the two is working pretty well, here.

The whole thing will be included in the Wilderness of Ordurak adventure, which is being wrapped up now, and, for the time being, the complete version of it will only be included in there.


Thoughts about new DragonQuest

July 22, 2016

I’ve written up a few thoughts about the nature of DragonQuest and what makes it unique and compelling as a game system and setting.  In short, I see DQ as a Renaissance game versus D&D as a Medieval game.  If there’s going to be a new version of DQ, understanding its strengths and direction is important.

The whole article is posted at Dragonquestrules, but since there’s comparatively much more traffic here (as well as links out to other sites), I’m also putting out a notice about it here.  I hope you’ll take a minute to check it out.


DragonQuest combat rules retro-clone resource

April 22, 2016

There is now a very basic outline version of the DragonQuest combat rules posted at DQRules.  I’m providing extra notice here for those of you who are following Antherwyck House for DQ-related stuff since there are more followers here than there are on DQRules itself.  There are PDF and .DOC versions, as well as a pretty bare plain text, so hopefully at least one of those will provide a useful version.

This is just the bare bones of the DQ combat rules, but is probably enough to run combats if you already have some familiarity with the game.  More importantly, it is the basic skeleton on which the system is built, so a retro-clone would start with this framework and expand out to flesh things out once more.

The other series of questions to be considered are regarding whether any of these core rules should be modified or revised as part of the new version of DQ.  A total retro-clone would stick to this with very little deviation, but a new edition of DQ should consider improvements and modifications.

Before things get too in-depth, this needs to be the next set of considerations.  There are some ideas already being kicked around, but additional feedback would be especially useful for this project.

What Should the DragonQuest Retro-Clone Be Called?

April 12, 2016

DQcoverI’ve opened up the idea of assembling a retro-clone of DragonQuest, but one question to be answered is: What should it be called?

For a long time, I was interested in using the original name for DQ: DragonSlayer (before a now long-forgotten movie of the same name came along, and SPI shifted the name of their FRPG in order to use that title for an equally long-forgotten tie-in game).  DragonSlayer would be a good name with a historical connection to the game, but things have become more complicated.

In the same realm of retro-clones and throwback games and the like, there is now a title called “Crimson Dragon Slayer” by Venger Satanis.  And given the potential for confusion between the two names (as well as the fact that he also publishes through OneBookShelf, as does Antherwyck House Games), that option is now much more problematic.

Also, even among the grognards and the long-time fans of DragonQuest, not a lot of them know the early alternate name, and no one looking for things related to DragonQuest is likely to be looking for things under another name, so it would have very little benefit to have a different name in order for people looking for DQ-related materials to find it.

There is also the Nintendo videogame series called “DragonQuest” that is often a point of confusion.  A new name might help distinguish between the RPG and the videogame, particularly since the latter is still actively being produced and promoted.

There is also the project organized through the Yahoo Groups called DragonQuest Open Source or Open DQ.  But OpenDQ is also a name for a data quality software project.

Retro-clones of other games need to avoid using the name of the original source, because those companies are still in business, and their trademarks for the original title are still active.  That is not the case with DQ.  So a name with “DQ” or “DragonQuest” in the title shouldn’t be challenged on that front.  The videogame might be more of a point of conflict.

So, it seems to be open season for a new name for the game.

This seems completely open for new ideas and discussion, so I hope you will add your suggestions to the mix.

DragonQuest Rules Clone

April 1, 2016

tarot-fool[1]It’s time for a retroclone of the DragonQuest RPG.  It’s past time, really, so there’s no point in delaying further.

Yes, that’s correct, it is April 1st.  But when better to undertake such a fool’s errand?

I have been thinking about getting a clone version of DragonQuest for a long time.  That’s ostensibly what the Yahoo DQ-RULES group was for.  There is also the mostly dormant DragonQuest Rules blog that has been a collecting point for some of the revised rules (along with some tangential stuff).  And recently, I’ve been thinking about making my Patreon about creating re-written rules for DQ with an eye toward developing a set of clone DQ rules.

Last month, Jarrod Shaw of Mythoard (a recent convert to DragonQuest compared to some of us grognards) was asking about a clone version of the DQ rules (in the spirit of the many other OSR games out there).  And that got me thinking, once again, about moving forward on a full retroclone of DQ.

Over the past year, I’ve seen a lot of OSR material and found a widespread community producing materials and engaged with these games.  There are many throwback RPGs, and each has its following.  Not only are there versions of every stripe of old D&D, but even games like RuneQuest now have retro-clone versions (OpenQuest).  DQ may never have had the fan base that some other games had, but it’s definitely a game with its merits and that ought to be brought up to date.

The original idea for Antherwyck House Games was to produce DragonQuest materials, and that is part of what we are doing.  While  I’m definitely intersted in continuing that,  there hasn’t seemed to be much support or interest, so we’ve been working in some other directions.  But let’s see how much interest this discussion generates now.

So is a retread of DQ a sacrilege?

The game many of us regard as canon was written in 1981. D&D is on its 5th edition (or more, depending on how you count things).  Third Edition DQ is less a new edition than  tinkering with a few rules and excising some of the “frightening material.”  But really, nothing has changed since the 80’s.  That was last millennium, folks!

What about copyright and trademark and so forth?

From what I know of copyright and the law in this area (and IANAL, but I’ve looked at this question more than a little bit), it is the specific expression of the rules (the particular language used to describe the rules) that is covered by copyright.  The ideas of the rules themselves (such as having six characteristics for a character in a range from 3-18) can’t be copyrighted.

But every rule needs to be uniquely re-written in a new way.  This is what’s behind many of the OSR clones, as I understand it.  The general ideas are the same, and are compatible and interoperable with the games they descended from.  But they are fresh and new (and often introduce some new angles to the system to avoid being a cut-and-paste of what had come before.

As far as trademark goes, the DragonQuest mark has been abandoned by TSR/Wizards/Hasbro, so it would presumably be available (although there is also the Japanese video game of the same name, which is always confusing), but a new name might be better.

What would a new DQ be like?

In all, there’s going to be a lot more discussion about what should and should not be a part of any such thing, so treat all of this as starting points for discussion, rather than anything that has been completely settled.

DQ has always been a modular system, and the designers’ intent seemed to be to have a system that allowed for extension and adaptation.  New Colleges of magic were built into the system almost from the outset, and Arcane Wisdom almost made it to production.

The DQ-rules group on Yahoo was originally started to create a consensus version of new DragonQuest rules.  I think a more open-ended numbering system, to allow for new rules to be added in a more orderly fashion, would be important.  Being able to add or delete certain elements without breaking the whole system would be important.

Should DQ become a D20 based system?

That’s something that Chris Klug was looking at a while ago.  A DQ/D20 system would make it much more accessible to the much larger audience of gamers, and might increase the number of players.  I’m not sure that’s the direction I want to go with it.  D20 is very familiar, though, and there could be some merit to adapting things to be more cross-compatible with That Other Game.  On the other hand, there are a lot of other options already out there that offer that compatibility, and I don’t think that’s what DQ is best at.

What are the key elements of DQ that need to remain in order for things to stay compatible with existing DQ materials?

  • Stats and stat ranges (or an easy conversion system if things are changed)
  • World with multiple Colleges of Magic (but to remain exclusive?)
  • Skills
  • Non-super-heroic system/Human-scale (a game where even an advanced hero might be cut down by a simple peasant with a knife, and where dragons remain a terrifying opponent no matter how good you’ve gotten)

But there are also some elements where I wonder if they are as important to retain in their current form:

  • Extensive ability breakdowns (individual spells, weapons, etc.)
  • Fine granularity in rules
  • Experience and progression

So now what?

If you’ve read this far, then you’re definitely in the interest group and your feedback about this idea.  What would you like to see in a new DQ?  What are the things most in need of revision?  What are the parts that represent the essence of DQ that need to remain as they are?