Archive for the ‘Indie Games’ Category

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.

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.

The Elizabethan Hack

July 19, 2016

So, whaddya think about this?

At the moment, this is only a proposal, and a draft of the cover art.

Most of what gets posted on this blog is Rodger’s work, but Thor Hansen is also part of Antherwyck House, and he is the lead on this project.

“There was historically a lot of hand waving about the length of a turn and all the stuff that happened out of sight. I am trying to bring back the flavor without requiring the player to get it all.”


Exquisite Corpse Dungeon

March 26, 2015

Deadline: 30 April 2015

This was kicked off in the Google+ Map-Making in Games community, but it doesn’t need to be restricted there. Drop a line if you’re interested in participating, and also feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested.

If you aren’t familiar with the term Exquisite Corpse, it comes from the Surrealists. It was a party game, and a way of making unexpected art. Someone would begin a drawing on the top of a page, then fold it over to hide almost all of what they’d done, leaving just a few lines along the edge showing, which the next person would connect to as they continued the drawing, and so forth.

A Google image search on ‘exquisite corpse’ will bring up a variety of drawings showing the kind of result that comes from artists’ versions.

So, the idea for this is a bunch of people all drawing a section of what will eventually become a large dungeon made up of sections each by a different artist/cartographer. The Exquisite Corpse Dungeon will wrap up the same time as the deadline for the One-Page Dungeon Contest (April 30). Since this will be all map and no contents, and because it is a multi-participant project, there is no plan to enter it for OPDC, it’s just a fun thing to do in parallel.

Soon after the deadline, we’ll have the whole thing posted here (and doubtless shared on some other sites, too), so check back in to see the whole thing when it’s done.

Format: 30 wide x 12 tall grid. Map scale is 5′ squares. Bottom row (only) is passed to next participant in order for them to align connections. Grid is not a requirement; but you can use it (or not) as a general guideline for size.

Layout: No dead end connections; every passage must provide a way to connect through to further sections of the map. Each slice must have at least two connections to adjacent sections.

Two additional rows on the far right can be used to identify the artist for each section. Submissions should be put under the “Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0” license. (Reference: )

Participants (as of 4/15/2015):

  • Rodger Thorm
  • Kevin Campbell
  • David Millar
  • Paul Baldowski
  • Cecil Howe
  • Dyson Logos
  • Nate McD
  • Scott Slomiany
  • Nate Marcel
  • Jens Larsen
  • Scott Aleric
  • Billy Longino

(Edit: So far, everyone’s been pretty good with relatively quick turnarounds on their sections. I’ll probably cut off – or wait-list – anyone who wants to join in after the 20th or so, just so we can wrap it up by the 30th.)

Blog name change

March 18, 2012

This blog has a new name: Antherwyck House Games. It’s the same blog, fundamentally; all the old posts are still here, and it will continue to be largely about DragonQuest and about indie games. But it is now going to be linked from the new website (coming soon), and is going to become an official part of Antherwyck House. Announcements and discussions of new projects will be posted here.

We’re never going to be a high volume publisher; this is a side-line for us. But, after the fundraiser for the Wilderness adventure, it became clear that there was still an audience for DragonQuest materials, even though it’s been nearly a quarter century since anything was last published. We’re looking to become the source for that small audience.

We’re plotting a release schedule for our first year. The present plan is to have one new title per quarter, and we’ll see how that works out.

We may also get more heavily involved in the development of a retro-clone for DragonQuest. Retro-clones are re-written rules that are compatible with an existing game. The core concepts of the game remain, but they are written in new language, so that they do not fall afoul of copyright law. A lot of old-school games are getting this treatment. Having a free retro-clone of DragonQuest would make it easier for new players to discover the game and try it out.

Announcing Antherwyck House Games

March 7, 2012

The fundraiser for the new DragonQuest adventure was enough of a success to make it worth considering the next step. I am going to be setting up a new company, Antherwyck House Games, which will be publishing adventures and material for DragonQuest, as well as other games and related items.

There will be more information about this in the next couple weeks.

In addition to the new DQ adventure currently under development, there is also a revised and illustrated version of my old adventure, “The Water Works,” which will likely be the first title in the line. Also in queue to get cleaned up and re-released will be “Poor Brendan’s Almanac,” the rules supplement that includes 2 Colleges of Magic and 3 skills for DragonQuest, along with other rules and additional information.

Both of these titles will probably be available as PDF or print-on-demand through one of the major online sites. Once that is firmed up and in place, there will be more about that here, as well.

If you’ve got questions, this is the place to ask ‘em!

The artist for Wilderness

February 3, 2012

Had an exchange of emails with Nate Marcel, the artist who I’ve been in touch with about doing some illustrations for the Wilderness project. He’s posted a shout-out about the project on his blog, so I’m taking the occasion to also link to his blog.

Feedback from the adventure supporters about his work has been positive, too. This image (which I’ve linked to his online sketchbook) is very reminiscent of the illustrations by John Garcia from the original DragonQuest rulebook. It’s not the same style, but it has a similar character. (Garcia, unfortunately, died a few years ago). I’ve also been using this particular image as a placeholder/test image as I’ve been working on setting up the page layout. If you’re a DQ player, I think you’ll agree there’s something about this kind of black and white illustration that just seems right for DQ. I think he was a serendipitous find.

It’s a small job for him, but he’s been very receptive to working on a small scale gaming project and recognizing we don’t have a big budget. I’m looking forward to working with him on this.

Making a Fundraiser Work

February 2, 2012

There is a good discussion about many of the finer points of setting up a project with IndieGoGo or Kickstarter on; it’ll probably spill past this point as the discussion continues, but I just came in on the thread a couple pages back, so this will put you in the middle of the part I’ve been in on.

I wanted to repeat my comments here that I posted there (as well as keep an anchor to go back later):

In response to the suggestion from another commenter that you should open your project to non-domestic supporters, I completely agree.  For DragonQuest, which has a big international audience, being readily accessible outside the US was important, and it’s paid off. More than a third of the contributions (in total dollar value) to the Wilderness project to date are from outside the US, coming from 3 different countries, so far.

I also understand that Kickstarter is less easy for non-US supporters, which is one of the reasons I went with IndieGoGo, though it sounds like IndieGoGo has some other drawbacks.

It was also suggested that you have separate domestic and international perks. Mine won’t be too expensive to ship, and I think international shipping looks to be less of a premium than what I originally thought it might be. If you have a strong international appeal and the perk levels warrant it, you might consider eating or splitting the international shipping costs, to make it more appealing. I haven’t officially announced it, yet, but I’m contemplating splitting the international shipping upcharge with my supporters.

Beyond ‘Wilderness’

February 1, 2012

The ‘Wilderness’ adventure fundraiser has made the basic goal, but I’m really hoping to get to twice that level, in which case I’ll be producing a larger (32 page minimum) adventure. If you’re still thinking about contributing, there’s a week to go, and your support would be greatly appreciated.

I’m thinking about taking a bit of the money from the fundraiser and creating a publishing house to produce DragonQuest material (and other stuff, too). I’ve revised the Antherwyck House name I used on the original Poor Brendan’s Almanac when I first put that together (though I’m not absolutely committed to that name). For now, I’ve also used the name on the revised Water Works I’ve been working on.

We could buy a domain or two, get hosting somewhere, form an LLC, and start making a line of DQ stuff available. With online distributors around and POD for people who want to buy hardcopies, there’s not much that would require labor, other than producing new material. With Poor Brendan’s Almanac, The Water Works, and the Wilderness adventure, we’d have three items in our catalog to start out. It’s not a huge inventory, but it would be more than a single adventure, so we’d have some presence from the outset.

Although there haven’t been thousands of people flocking to support ‘Wilderness,’ there are enough supporters that we’ve been able to meet a modest crowd-source goal. That shows that we do have an audience, and if we build on that base, it might be possible to expand things.

It’s looking a ways ahead at this point, but would another fundraiser to gather general support for starting a new DQ-oriented publisher make sense? Something to think about.

The Wilderness in Microscope

December 23, 2011

I’m thinking about running an online Microscope game to set some of the backstory and history for the “Wilderness of A—”

I’ve been interested in Microscope since Thor pointed it out to me a few months ago. I bought a copy of it, but I haven’t had a chance to try playing it yet.

It struck me, a couple days ago, that I might be able to do an online Microscope game with specific focus on the backstory for the adventure I’m working on. So, I’m going to invite all the current contributors to participate in a world-building game.

I’m not sure if this will work well, or not, but in any case, I think it will help generate some ideas, even if I end up changing and revising things significantly from the game as it plays out. And it will be a chance to play a game of Microscope, as well. I’ll email the contributors about this shortly. If you’d like to get in on this, sign up as a contributor to the “Wilderness” fundraiser.

My previous posts on: Microscope|More Microscope

Microscope site

The 20 by 20 Room Is Back!

June 6, 2011

I was alerted that the 20 by 20 Room is back. This is great news!

20 by 20 Room is a group blog on the topic of RPGs in general. I used to read it periodically, if not religiously. I’ve discussed the Spy Game concept there a little bit, and seen some other interesting discussions from time to time.

When I was looking for a reference to (and let me link to it once again because I continue to think it is just a fantastic bit of work) the Lexicon Game, which was invented there in 2003, it appeared that 20 by 20 Room was finally gone. It had been pretty inert for a while, with no new posting or activity for quite some time. But I had been able to find the reference to the Lexicon game still, until that point when it looked like the site was gone completely. I had found a mirror of the original Lexicon post, which I believe is important to maintain and keep available. But the original is now back again.

I’ve played in what was perhaps the most extensive lexicon game, Ghyll, which was fabulous fun while it was going on. I still haven’t played a session of Microscope yet, but I still think that there’s a lot of connection between the two.

It looks like they’re accepting new contributors at 20 by 20 Room. I might think about joining up, mostly to talk about creation games like Lexicon and Microscope and so forth. But there’s also my involvement in DQ and the Spy Game concept, so I have a couple things I might occasionally write about. Wonder if I have enough in me to make it make sense to do so?

More Microscope

May 7, 2011

Haven’t played it, but I did take the step of buying the game, so I’ll do something Microscope-y at some point (I hope. Despite all my best intentions, I’ve never been able to do anything with The Riddle of Steel, so maybe nothing will happen with this, either.)

A number of the reviews have talked about the world-building aspects of Microscope. Reviewers who generally like this kind of thing seem to like Microscope. (Some new reviews and discussion are at Story Games.

I had a conversation with Thor about the idea of incorporating some kind of mapping in with the history. The short of it: he talked me out of it (and for some good reasons). Much of it comes down to managing the technical problem of keeping maps.

We’ve used historical volumes as references for games before, and we’re well familiar with the kind of book that has 20 different maps of the same area showing the ebb and flow of borders or migrations or the like over time.

But since the game can move back and forth in time, if it is late in the game when it is suddenly now established that there is a range of Mountains out in the Western Plains, then there’s a problem. Now you have to add a feature to all the maps, since those are going to be timeless. But what about a pass through those mountains that was discovered only many years after the mountains were first discovered? What about a railroad that was now cut through? And when you get to the case of a small trading post that was set up a few miles away from an outpost fort that later came to be an important regional center before the wells dried up and it faded back to being little more than a ghost town, then you have your work cut out for you. It’s not impossible, but it’s awkward and unappealing.