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December News

posted Dec 03, 2012 22:37:21 by lawrence.whitaker
As we hurtle towards Christmas, I'd like to begin by thanking everyone who's shown us support during the past 18 months or so, since Design Mechanism began and we announced our revival of RuneQuest. Your support and custom has enabled us to produce two books for early 2013 release and confidently build on our promise to make RQ - and Design Mechanism - a growing system and company. Its great to have your confidence here on this forum and in the wider community.

So, now to the news. If you can't wait for the Big Reveal, scroll down now. Otherwise, here's where we are.

Monster Island
Cover art is with us, Russ Nicholson and others have provided illustrations, and Pete continues to refine the text (with a tiny bit of input from me). The book is getting ready for editing, and Colin Driver is hard at work on the maps.

We're going to make 'Monster Island' something special. It deserves it. Pete's worked hard to create a really evocative, fun, setting/sourcebook/creature digest and he's more than succeeded. We're looking at 256 pages filled with scenario ideas, scenario cameos, a full setting to be dropped (literally) into any ocean in any campaign world, and more monsters than you can shake a spear at. To this end, we're going to include a full-colour, pull-out map of the island with the book, probably in A3 or A2 size, and done by our good friend Colin, the genius cartographer behind the bulk of the maps in Moon
Design's 'Guide to Glorantha'.

Monster Island really does take its cues from Chaosium's masterful 'Griffin Mountain'. Its a living, breathing place populated by bizarre and interesting fauna and flora that will provide months of great
adventuring. Its the kind of place GMs can strand their characters upon, and structure an entire campaign around their survival and escape. Its a place where you can play one of the different indigenous races and treat it as home - to be explored and endured. Its the sort of place that some dastardly sorcerer like Kratos or Jedakiah (see Book of Quests) will send characters to, in return for money or secrets (or maybe as punishment), so they can quest for the rare and precious items that will fuel their sorcerous schemes.

Its going to be a great book.

Book of Quests
This compendium of seven scenarios is completing editing and now into layout. All the art is in, and I'll be previewing the cover in the next couple of weeks. All the scenarios in BoQ are penned by relatively new authors who worked to a light brief provided by me. The idea is to offer a loosely detailed region where the adventures take place, but keep the scenarios as flexible as possible so they can be used in any fantasy world. The writers have done an excellent job of taking my rough ideas and making them into a series of terrific, exciting scenarios. There's something for everyone: a caravan guarding job that turns horrific; a city-based intrigue concerning a tragic countess; a rescue mission into a murky swamp; an investigation into shady dealings in the king's court; a race to find an ancient artefact of dreadful power; a quest into the remote mountains to thwart an evil plot; and a showdown with the nefarious sorcerer, Jedakiah, at his
mountain lair. Each scenario can be played standalone, or the whole lot forms a complete campaign. Couple this book with Monster Island and you have years of adventuring.

It'll be about 200 pages and, once again, Colin Driver has done all the maps and floorplans - and in a splendid style too.

Hardcover Kickstarter
In 2013 we will launch a Kickstarter or Indiegogo project to produce the core rules and, depending on stretch goals attained, Monster Island and Book of Quests, published in hard cover. We're looking to produce the very best hardcover we can - dustjacket, bookmark, stitch casement... its not cheap to do, and we also want to offer the book at a reasonable cost. More on this in January next year.

During 2013 Pete and I will be working on Mythics Greece and Briton respectively. I've already started my Briton research and notes. These will not be straight historical books, but will contain magic and heroics too. Of course, we'll produce the books in such as way that magic can either a) be dispensed with or b) treated as vague superstition that may or may not work, depending on your point of view.

We will also be commissioning Michael O'Brien (Sun County, River of Cradles and Mister Maximum Game Fun) to write Mythic Constantinople. This is a pet project for Mike and knowing his approach to game
writing, it will be worth waiting for.

And now the reveals...

Age of Treason: Shores of Korantia
We're delighted to announce that Design Mechanism will be publishing Jonathan Drake's superb Age of Treason setting for RuneQuest 6. Jon is writing a completely new core book, focused on a different region, Korantia, which we will be releasing late summer 2013. Those of you familiar with the first Age of Treason book, focusing on the Taskan Empire, will know what a great and original world Jon has created. The Korantia sourcebook follows in this vein but is a completely new area with new gods, magic, cultures and adventures . We heartily welcome Jon aboard the Design Mechanism galley (and he's already working out where, in the nearby ocean, Monster Island fits)...

Luther Arkwright
Design Mechanism has licensed the exclusive rights to produce a brand new version of Bryan Talbot’s acclaimed graphic novel series ‘The Adventures of Luther Arkwright’. For those unfamiliar with the character, Luther Arkwright is a trans-dimensional troubleshooter working for WOTAN, the agency that monitors the myriad parallel worlds of the multiverse. The first graphic novel series focuses on the attempts by the sinister Disruptors to unleash the Firefrost weapon and so cause widespread destruction and chaos across the parallels. Luther, working in a variant Earth where Cromwell’s descendants still hold power, goes to extraordinary lengths to thwart the Disruptors’ plans. An excellent overview of the Luther Arkwright saga can be found at:

And Bryan’s own site at:

‘Luther Arkwright: Roleplaying Across the Parallels’ will see Bryan’s iconic character and setting powered by the RuneQuest 6 rules. The game will focus on WOTAN’s attempts to police the multiverse and prevent the Disruptors’ (and others’) schemes. Characters will each have a unique ability that has brought them to WOTAN’s attention, including psionics, mysticism and other talents of the kind found in the Arkwright multiverse. The game takes RQ in a new direction: rules for the modern era, along with mechanics for Steampunk concepts, travel between parallels, and even maintaining the same character across multiple worlds, will be included.

The game will be written by myself and Pete, collaborating with Bryan: indeed, some work has already started. Arkwright is a perfect background for RuneQuest Science Fantasy/Steam Punk/Fin de Siècle adventuring. Some of you may recall that 23rd Parallel Games produced the first Arkwright RPG in the 1990s and that, too, used a d100 resolution mechanic. This, though, will be an entirely new game. We intend to support the setting with Parallel books, detailing a particular variant Earth complete with a set of scenarios or campaign arcs included.

Bryan had this to say: “2014 is the 36th anniversary of the beginning of the original serialization of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright graphic novel, and it's never been out of print since then. In the summer, Dark Horse books are releasing a large format, hardback prestige edition of the book, which will also include the sequel, Heart of Empire, an extensive illustration gallery and a ten page interview. It's so very cool that this brand new Luther Arkwright role playing game is being published in this same year. I'm very excited about the project".

At this stage, its too early to predict page count, but its likely to be 256 pages. It won’t be a standalone game; you will need the RuneQuest rules, but it will be a complete treatment of the Arkwright multiverse so you can expect a lot of depth, new rules, and new concepts.

As you can imagine, we’re very excited about this project. Pete and I are long-time Arkwright fans and, with our deep love and affection for multiverse-spanning concepts, eternal champions, and the whole Fin de Siècle vibe, this is a perfect setting for us. We’re very much looking forward to starting the work proper and getting the Luther Arkwright game finished for the end of 2013.

Happy Holidays!
[Last edited Dec 03, 2012 23:44:13]
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60 replies
VaughanCockell said Dec 03, 2012 23:00:59
So the Book of Quests can be used as a campaign, as in "run these things back to back and you have a reasonably coherent story"?

I hope so, as a person who would like to take the plunge into GMing, but looks nervously at the depth of the water in frint of him, and would appreciate some hand-holding for his first few forays into the unknown deeps... :-)
lawrence.whitaker said Dec 03, 2012 23:05:16
So the Book of Quests can be used as a campaign, as in "run these things back to back and you have a reasonably coherent story"?

Yep. The adventures are episodic, but all link into a wider arc. Its designed to give you everything you need in one volume: full stats, a place to play in, and seven really rather good scenarios of varying complexity and violence level.

There's some quite straight-forward adventuring in there, and some truly icky stuff.
redcrowkp said Dec 03, 2012 23:20:51
I'm not at all familiar with Luther Arkwright, but it sounds like a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing it. I especially like that it will contain different genres for RQ6 like modern and steampunk.
lawrence.whitaker said Dec 03, 2012 23:25:44
I seriously recommend picking up the graphic novels. They're excellent reading: intelligent, thought provoking, witty, and very, very well told.

Arkwright is one of my very favourite graphic novels (alongside The Dark Knight Returns, V for Vendetta and Electra: Assassin). I can re-read it and always find something new in there. The story and art are multi-layered, and its no surprise that its stayed in print for so long.

There's also a Big Finish audio adaptation with David Tenant as Arkwright. I've not heard it myself, but its a great bit of casting.
RoryHughes said Dec 04, 2012 02:56:19
Wasn't there another percentile-based RPG for Luther Arkwright in the early 90s. Not sure it ever got off the ground - but it made the cover of some independent British rpg magazine. Time Travelling game, yes?
RoryHughes said Dec 04, 2012 03:12:25
Oh and with regard to pretty much every publication mentioned on this!
RoryHughes said Dec 04, 2012 03:21:03
....the other thing that occurs to me with Luther Arkwright is that it very much covers the Moorecockian 'niche' in terms of it's multiverse aspects. Basically, the setting is a bit like the sort of thing Micheal Moorecock would write, but a bit more hopeful than Elric perhaps....
lawrence.whitaker said Dec 04, 2012 03:28:40
....the other thing that occurs to me with Luther Arkwright is that it very much covers the Moorecockian 'niche' in terms of it's multiverse aspects. Basically, the setting is a bit like the sort of thing Micheal Moorecock would write, but a bit more hopeful than Elric perhaps....

Dimensional hopping, yes - and very much a homage to Moorcock. In fact, Moorcock himself has very favourably reviewed Arkwright, and there are links on Bryan's website.

Arkwright is certainly inspired by Jerry Cornelius, but is, I find, very much more accessible.
lawrence.whitaker said Dec 04, 2012 03:29:45
Wasn't there another percentile-based RPG for Luther Arkwright in the early 90s. Not sure it ever got off the ground - but it made the cover of some independent British rpg magazine. Time Travelling game, yes?

Yep, Jim Brunton's game from around 1992. Its also d100 based but regrettably never got supported.
RoryHughes said Dec 04, 2012 03:32:24
I think we may have had a conversation about Jerry Cornelius before - I guess some of his counterculture tendencies are a bit hardcore, although he did make it into a Doctor Who novel by Moorecock recently.

But, yeah, Luther Arkwright...way to go! :)
EricHaste said Dec 04, 2012 03:56:32
This is great news!

Looking forward to Monster Island, Book of Quests, and the Mythic books.
Yahoo for Age of Treason. My favorite new rpg setting. I look forward to seeing it using the RQ6 rules.
I don't know much about Luthor Arkwright so its off to catch up with the graphic novels and to find out what Fin de Siècle means.

Thanks Loz and Pete 2013 looks to be a great gaming year.
EricHaste said Dec 04, 2012 04:28:44
Gotta lov technology. Downloading the adventures of Luther Arkwright on my Nook Color right now.
DavidCake said Dec 04, 2012 06:41:04
So, this small company (pretty much two people doing the editorial etc as well as much of the writing) is planning to write -
- the generic fantasy setting Monster Island
- Mythic Britain
- Mythic Greece
- Mythic Constantinople
- Age of Treason
- Luther Arkwrights multiverse
- plus working on Glorantha, and presumably Gwenthia

That is about 8 different settings! Sounding like the support for each individual setting is going to be spread quite thin, I expect in most cases we will be lucky if there is a second publication within a year of the first. And I'm already frustrated at the long time span for Gloranthan material.

Individually, all these announcements are great - all the settings sound good. But taken together, it worries me a lot. A small team with a very ambitious schedule, and some of the stuff I most want to see is a long way down the priority list.
Skoll said Dec 04, 2012 07:17:24
Special Thumbs up for Luther Arkwright. One of my all time favorite comics.
DarrelRossouw said Dec 04, 2012 08:49:23
Wow, it is going to be a bumper year for RuneQuest and The Design Mechanism.

Looking forward to getting both Monster Island and the Book of Quests.
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