Tag: Delving Deeper

Delving Deeper V3

The Story So Far:
Delving Deeper V1+V2
Delving Deeper Boxed Set

And then there was…

Version Three

The Prelude to V3

V3 was preceded by John Adam’s pivotal decision on 17th March, 2013 (shortly after the release of V2) to publicly hand over stewardship of the Delving Deeper name and game to myself.

V3 would therefore be Immersive Ink’s first solo endeavor–although in actuality any project of this scope naturally involves numerous people.

The reality of V3

#DelvingDeeper V3 was eventually issued in May 2014 after about ten months in the works (see below for a little more insight into this). As V2 was really an errata release (V1 plus integrated errata = V2),  V3 was in fact #DelvingDeeper’s first significant revision in its then two year (post-relase) history.

V3 retained the classic three digest-sized booklet format, albeit renaming the individual booklets. The so-called #DelvingDeeperReferenceRules were re-issued as three PDFs at no cost, which are still available today.

The #DelvingDeeperReferenceRules V3 now comprised:

  • Volume I: Heroes & Magic
  • Volume II: Delving & Exploration
  • Volume III: Monsters & Treasures
V3 Three Booklets
DD V3 as Three Booklets

The cover art on the booklets (by Mark Allen) remained unchanged since V1+V2, and were now the only illustrations in the set; interior maps associated with the sample dungeon had been excluded.

The title page of each booklet identifies it as “Version 3 May 2014” and bears the publishing mark of Immersive Ink only (that’s me).

V3 Vol 1 Titlepage
DD V3 Vol 1 Titlepage

The interior typeface is changed to 9.5pt CalifornianFB; a more spacious, Goudy-based type. The interior tables were now numbered, and now had lighter weight borders and shading. The overall effect was (in this reader’s opinion) an improved reading experience.

V3 interior tables
V3’s lighter interior tables

V3 contained a number of revisions over V1+V2, including:

  • Rationalised spell lists,
  • Removal of the sample dungeon,
  • Moving the attack matrix into Volume 2,
  • Addition of parrying rule,
  • Addition of jousting rule,
  • Addition of mounted combat rule,
  • Addition of overbearing rule.

Another significant addition was a formal definition of normal, heroic, and superheroic in terms of numbers of Hit Dice. Although not stated in the original game, it was hoped this would enable some players to override normal by replacing exactly one definition, rather than having to search for dozens of instances of “X many HD” throughout the text. (DD allows for a broad definition of normal–fewer than 3 HD–but many folks still prefer EGG’s stricter definition circa 1975–up to 1+1 HD).

The Unpublished Ref Rules Compendium V3

What few people know is that during the ten months leading to DD V3’s release as three booklets, it was also prepared for release as a single volume Compendium via Lulu’s print on demand platform.

I have the single extant copy of the never published V3 Compendium (note the Mark Allen cover art directly from Vol 1).

V3 Compendium alongside the V4 Compendium
The “one of a kind”, unpublished DD V3 Compendium alongside the published V4 Compendium
V3 Compendium Spine
The V3 Compendium’s spine

V3 never went public for two reasons: Partly because licensing the cover art was proving to be difficult, and–in the main part–because I’d botched the credits! V3’s title page was in fact a working draft rather than a finished product, which ultimately meant the V3 Compendium had to be superseded before the POD version could be released.

All this meant V3 itself would be short-lived, soon to make way for the now popular V4.

Delving Deeper V1 Boxed Set

A second post in the short history of DD: this one about the DD V1 Boxed Set.

The Boxed Set

Shortly after #DelvingDeeper appeared in PDF format Brave Halfling Press launched the Delving Deeper boxed set, in December 2012, as the physical manifestation of the #DelvingDeeper project.

I don’t personally own a set, but have gathered the following from public information posted by the producer and fans who own sets.

The Box

The whole product was packaged in an excellent, digest-sized box entitled “Delving Deeper” with the subtitle “Original Edition Roleplaying Game” and featured super impressive cover art by Mark Allen.

Delving Deeper Boxed Set by Brave Halfling Press. Image courtesty of +Bill Lackey.
Delving Deeper Boxed Set by Brave Halfling Press. (Picture courtesy of +Bill Lackey).

Five Booklets

The content of the #DelvingDeeper Boxed Set by Brave Halfling Press comprised five saddle-stapled, digest-sized booklets entitled:

  • Volume I: Forging a Hero, 28pp
  • Volume II: Codex of the Divine and the Arcane, 36pp
  • Volume III: Index of the Fiendish and the Malign, 44pp
  • Volume IV: Vault of Treasures, 24pp
  • Volume V: Delving Deeper and Blazing New Trails, 38pp
Five booklets and the box
The Delving Deeper box and the five booklets it contained. (Picture courtesy of +Bill Lackey).

The #DelvingDeeper boxed set booklets were a re-organised presentation of #DelvingDeeperReferenceRules V1 content. The tables generally looked nicer and, unlike the #DelvingDeeperReferenceRules, the Delving Deeper boxed set booklets were fully illustrated by Mark Allen.

The back cover of each booklet states “Special Limited Edition Boxed Set – December 2012”.

Bundled Freebies

Brave Halfling Press bundled various freebies with the Delving Deeper boxed set throughout the course of its pre-ordering and fulfillment, including those pictured below:

The boxed set, booklets, and additional freebies provided by Brave Halfling Press. (Picture courtesy of +Todd Jolly).

Note especially the Blackmarsh booklet (bottom center) and also the Delving Deeper V1 Errata (bottom left).

Thanks to +Andreas Davour for some of the above details about the boxed set.

See also: Delving Deeper V1 + V2

The Number of Monsters

An opportunity for improvement for the next iteration of #DelvingDeeper is in the number of monsters appearing. #DelvingDeeper V4 assumes around 8 players, whereas recent polls show that 4-6 players is now the norm.

According to the original game, a group of 4-6 players can expect to run into 2-12 bandits, goblins, orcs (or similar) on the 1st dungeon level. Or 3-18 on the 2nd dungeon level. And so on. Those are some tough numbers for a group of six players–let alone a group of four.

A magic-user may be able to nuke a few groups, but eventually it will come down to fight club with the players outnumbered. This is where player strategy is paramount. Retreating to choke points, use of missiles, spears, and plate armor really counts.

This is also is where morale is the players’ supreme advantage.

#DelvingDeeper V4 recommends non-player morale should be checked at one-third numerical losses across the board.

This means a dozen bandits might be defeated by the loss of just four men. Well now… this is beginning to look more plausible for our group of 4-6 players.

Assuming a morale check is called, the bandits (or orcs or whatever) would require a throw of 9+ on 2d6 (28% likely) to carry the fighting to the players. On a roll of 6-8 they would hold their ground; presumably only attacking if attacked. On a roll under 6 they would retreat, flee, or surrender. Now it’s starting to seem almost too easy!

But it won’t be. The dice will be fickle, and opponents such as berserkers–who need never check morale–are all the more dangerous. Beware of these!

Delving Deeper V1 + V2

Version One

#DelvingDeeper first appeared in October 2012, some 10 months after I joined the team, as three digest-sized booklets comprising the so-called #DelvingDeeperReferenceRules. These were immediately available as PDFs at no cost–and still are today.

The #DelvingDeeperReferenceRules V1 comprise:

  • Volume I: The Adventurer’s Handbook
  • Volume II: The Referee’s Guide
  • Volume III: The Monster and Treasure Reference
DD V1 Three Booklets
Delving Deeper V1: Three Booklets

The title page of each booklet identifies it as “Version 1 October 2012” and bears the publishing marks of Brave Halfling Press (John Adams), Immersive Ink (Simon Bull), and Wobbly Goblin Press (Cameron Dubeers) being three of many collaborators on the project.

The cover art on the booklets (by Mark Allen) are the only illustrations (excepting maps) in the set. The interior typeface is a densely set 9pt Futura, with the copious tables having questionably bold borders and heavy shading.

Heavy duty tables
Delving Deeper V1: Heavy Duty Tables

V1 contains a few curiosities that have vanished from subsequent revisions, including:

  • A table indicating dice to roll for common number ranges (I:p5),
  • Two full page examples of play (I:p6 and II:p15),
  • Wisdom contributing to languages known (I:p8),
  • Attack Matrices covering AC range 0 to 9 (I:20 and II:p17),
  • A number of imported player spells (I:22-23),
  • A sample dungeon cross-section (II:p6), and map and key (II:p10-11),
  • A very brief treatment of hex-crawl exploration (II:p18-26),
  • The alignment triangle diagram (III:p3),
  • Monster ACs to -3; a number with exaggerated HD.
Delving Deeper V1: Sample Dungeon
Delving Deeper V1: Sample Dungeon

The V1 Errata Sheet

V1 also contains a number of editorial errors (wholly my own responsibility!) which necessitated the release of a four digest-sized page Errata Sheet in March 2013.

V1 Errata Sheet
V1 Errata Sheet

Version Two

V2 of the #DelvingDeeperReferenceRules was issued in March 2013, simultaneously with the V1 Errata Sheet (show above).

This release is essentially identical to its predecessor, differing only insofar as the then-known errata are integrated into the three booklets.

The title page of each booklet now identifies it as “Version 2 March 2013”.

Delving Deeper V2 Title Page
Delving Deeper V2 Title Page

Here’s a Thing

(That’s never likely to be seen beyond this post).

Two Copies of Eyre Tor
Two Copies of Eyre Tor


So what the frig is Eyre Tor?? Or more appropriately, what was it?

Way back–before I’d ever heard of the #DelvingDeeper project–I apparently had a bit of time on my hands. Around 2007-2008, I was running a D&D campaign that included face-to-face play with a couple of disconnected groups, as well as some play-by-email. Fair to say, I think, this campaign was part of my early “retro” gaming scene experience. I was already prone to assembling detailed rules booklets for passingly interested players, but here was a new opportunity to indulge two of passions at once: a retro-rules booklet? I was hopelessly into it.

Between 2007 and 2010 there must have been six incrementally more complete drafts of Eyre Tor, culminating in a version 6.1 (depicted above) with its glorious cover and interior art by Tim Ide. But now I have just the two hard copies.

It’s kinda fun to browse thru it, looking back at how I must have been thinking about OD&D and house rules back then. Check out the audacious caption younger-me put on the inside cover of the final draft (2010):

Eyre Tor Inside Cover
Eyre Tor Inside Cover
Campaign Setting & Supplementary Rules Options
 for use with
 The Original 1974 Fantasy Role Playing Game
 and its Modern Simulacra

I’ll have to remember that 🙂

Inside there are some rules I question now, but there are also some that I’m still using today. The 10 second flyby of my then-house-rules:

* Three alignments (good, selfish, evil),
* Fauns as a player race,
* Rangers, Barbarians, Templars, Men of Faith/Sisters of Mercy as player classes, including new level titles for all player types,
* Silver standard, 1gp = 6sp = 36cp,
* Expanded equipment lists, poor/good/exceptional quality gear,
* Imperial loads/coarse-grained encumbrance,
* A bunch of complicated (and unnecessary?) combat rules,
* Whole new lists for spell levels 1-4 with spells such as The Irreproachable Susurrus ,  The Fiat Libation, The Inconceivable Perspicacity and The Confabulation of Lucid Colloquy to name but of few from a list of 70-ish mysteriously named incantations.

So still some potentially interesting stuff in there.

Perhaps ironically, I did approach both Matt Finch and John Adams with the prospect of pushing Eyre Tor as a S&W or White Box supplement, but neither had capacity to take it on back in 2009-2010. In retrospect, that may have been quite fortunate–ultimately, it meant that I had capacity to help on #DelvingDeeper V1 in 2012.