Confessions of a game master

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This new edition of an old book has surprisingly many “modern” gaming concepts in it. And it is the grandfather of all BRP/d100 gaming. Respect.

As much as I like D&D and OSR-style d20-based gaming, my real RPG love is, and has always been the BRP/d100 family of games.

They are easy to grasp and have simple and consistent rules for most situations. There are also variants that will let you play high fantasy, dark fantasy, horror, modern, sci-fi – basically whatever you want.

What I like the most is that the characters, even if they’re veterans, are fragile. If you’re outnumbered or if you’re surprised in the wrong situation, you’re going to get hurt. And there are no potions of healing anywhere to be found (at least not in my games). This automatically leads to another style of play from the characters – more cautious, more thinking and planning before doing reckless stuff. There are no artificial levels, just different levels of expertise that you learn the hard way. And combat is deadly. One misstep or lucky critical hit will kill even a veteran character.

That said, doing D&D-style subterranean dungeon romps with d100 rules is nearly impossible. The PCs will surely perish before they even reach level 2 of the dungeon. As a GM, this naturally encourages me to play other types of adventures if we play d100-based games. And players that insist on solving problems the D&D way will die. Quickly.

Having been away from GM:ing d100 gaming for over a year and coming back, I realize (again) that d100 games have about all that I want from an RPG. Also, the cross-compatibility of these games lets me take a Call of Cthulhu monster and chuck it into my OpenQuest or RuneQuest game with almost no hassle.

I think I’m going to stay in the d100 field a bit longer this time around, as we always seem to get dragged back to D&D by some unseen force…

If you’re interested, here’s a link to the recap of our latest Call of Cthulhu game session

OpenQuest awesomeness!

Hoplites…

 

Finally, OpenQuest delivers the stuff that Chaosium’s old RuneQuest 2 started out long ago.

First out, the OpenQuest 2 rules set is awesome, and has just about the right amount of rules crunch for me these days. And now there’s even a free basic version.

Second, the supplements for the game are seriously cool:

  • Crucible Of Dragons – Ancient Greek style Hoplites against Dragonmen on a weird isolated island.
  • Savage North – Barbarian Swords & Sorcery galore.
  • Life & Death – Death in the ancient post-apocalyptic desert sands.

This game and the supplements feels like the natural successor to RQ2. Simple and cool, yet intricate enough for intrigue and investigative games.

This is what I wanted and hoped that RQ and Glorantha would become – adventure and action in a well designed setting. They are also a great GM tool to help design your own, less “serious and mature” and more adventurous – well, adventures. I also think that OpenQuest has the right amount of crunch for a beginning d100 GM.

What happened in real life was that during the lean years in the 90’s, Glorantha became a scholar’s world, with layer upon layer of esoteric knowledge added and the focus shifted from cool place to adventure to some mythic quasi ethnologic intellectual training ground for self proclaimed Gloranthan Scholars. Shifting the system from RuneQuest to the more free-form storytelling HeroQuest, did not help the situation either. (There’s a more in-depth post on that here).

The result of this, plus the Mongoose thing kinda burned me out on Glorantha. Thus, I’ve decided to draw up my own World for running OpenQuest and RuneQuest 6 adventures, and I will cram in all these cool mini-settings plus the new non-Gloranthan ones for RQ6. And yeah, I will throw in the old, but modded Gloranthan stuff also!

Started on the World Map today! Freedom!

References:

d101 Games (OpenQuest)

The Design Mechanism (RQ6)

Moon Design Publications (Glorantha)

OpenQuest 2 Spell Backfire table for those Sorcerrrorrrs…

I like tampering with magic to be dangerous. If you fail your rolls, chances are that bad things will happen. Here’s a table for mainly Sorcery casters, but of course it can be used for Battle magic as well. Divine casters never have these problems.

If you want to crank it up to eleven, you might consider adding the amount by which the caster failed the Persistence roll to the d20 result roll. Then 5% from the d100 would be worth +1 to the d20 roll.
So if Khalul the Sorceror needs to roll 60% or under on his Persistence and rolls 45% that’s a “miss” by 15%, which means that +3 is added to the d20 roll.
Finally, this table was inspired by an old table from the Swedish d100 clone/variant “Drakar & Demoner”. It will also be part of a OQ2 GM Resource Pack I’m working on right now.

New OpenQuest 2 GM Screen by dawnrazor

Here’s an OpenQuest 2 GM Screen for all OQ gamemasters!

It’s a 3-pane landscape variant in A4 format, but I think it would work on US Letter also, as Acrobat resizes it correctly for printing. Can’t test that, since US Letter paper is impossible to get over here in Sweden.

I tried to cram in as much info as possible, so the text is quite small, but I hope it works for you guys.

Also, I’m quite the beginner with InDesign, so please bear with me if it’s not 100% correct layout-wise…

OpenQuest 2 GM screen

Also available in the Alexandrian Library section of the blog!