D20 Books by David Chart

Dungeons and Dragons is the original roleplaying game, the one that started the whole hobby, and the one that I started out playing, way back in 19mumblymumble. The third edition, which came out in 2000, greatly improved the game system and introduced the Open Gaming Licence, which meant that other publishers could produce legal D&D supplements, as long as they called them d20 supplements. For a while, they were the hottest thing in the gaming market, and I wrote a fair few. Actually, I'm quite fond of the new edition of D&D for itself; I think it does D&D about as well as it is possible to. As a result, I'm rather wary of games that basically do the same sort of thing, and this is part of the philosophy behind the new edition of Ars Magica: this is not D&D.

Akrasia: Thief of Time

Eden Studios, 2001. ISBN 1-891153-04-8

Akrasia is the goddess who tempts people to have just one more beer before going home, to enjoy the good weather rather than fix the roof, to play one more round of cards before getting back to work. She seems unthreatening, and some people even wonder whether she is truly evil.

The number of freelance writers who saw the concept of this book and immediately sympathised with the idea is amazingly high. Indeed, lots of people identified with it, sometimes even while wondering why I thought this was a good concept for an evil deity. She makes you waste your life on trivialities you don't particularly enjoy; sounds pretty evil to me.

This was one of the first d20 books I wrote, so there was an element of getting used to the system. Fortunately, the whole thing was rather short. It was actually a lot of fun and, as I said in the author bio, no deadlines were harmed in the making of this product.

Splintered Peace

Atlas Games, 2002. ISBN 1-58978-027-2

ENny Award Nominated

This was an attempt to do something a bit different. There are hordes of attacking orcs, and dealing with their leader is an important part of the adventure. However, the main problem is the growth of racial tensions within the city, and that cannot be resolved by just killing people. Indeed, killing the ringleaders only makes things worse, as people start to treat them as martyrs.

I'm still very pleased with this book. I think it manages to treat a serious subject in a farily serious way, although it's still sheer wish fulfilment, as acknowledged in the introduction. After all, the basic premise is that a group of four adventurers can stop the growth of racism in a city and return things to the peaceful past. That's simply not plausible. Of course, it's no less plausible than the standard assumptions of fantasy literature, and this is a work of fantasy.

I did try to avoid preaching too much, but I don't know whether I succeeded. "Racism is bad" is fairly deeply embedded in the whole concept of the product, after all.

The only problem with the book is that the (very pretty) map is completely wrong. I sent in a sketch, but the various districts of the city got put in the wrong places. It doesn't matter too much, but there are some details of the adventure that don't make much sense with the map as it is printed. Oh well...

Splintered Peace was nominated for an ENny Award for Best Adventure in 2003.

I also wrote the Marchion Online Supplement, which provides further, free, goodies for use with Splintered Peace. This project didn't generate enough interest for me to keep it going for long, but, such as it is, it is still online.

Love and War

Atlas Games, 2004. ISBN 1-58978-044-2

I was asked to write this book on the grounds that I know a lot about knights. I can't think where people got that impression from.

Anyway, my goal here was to get away from "knight=fighter in shiny armour on horse", and look into the psychology and ideals behind chivalry, so that "knight" could cover more than one of the character classes. I picked Valour, Loyalty, Love, and Piety as the four basic virtues of chivalry, and then discussed how they worked. This included providing rules to support them, including a complete system for courtly love, and suggestions for how to play them out in a game.

I think this was one of the first books where I really started concentrating on making everything useful in play. If something wasn't immediately useful, I tried to come up with a different way to present it to make it so. Interesting background had to be tied down to things that players could do, or new bits of rules that they could use. This is something that I think is important in an RPG book; they are neither novels nor textbooks.

Several of the feats in this book were chosen for The Year's Best d20, edited by Monte Cook, which was a nice bit of acknowledgement.

The Medieval Player's Manual

Green Ronin, 2004. ISBN 1-932442-14-6

OK, I don't need to ask why Green Ronin thought it would be a good idea for me to write a book about the Middle Ages. Indeed, the president of Green Ronin wrote to the president of Atlas suggesting that he should really be charging an advertising fee, given the number of Ars Magica books I referenced in the bibliography. Fortunately, the respective presidents are friends, so there wasn't a problem.

In some ways, this book is even more medieval than Ars Magica. The magic system in Ars Magica, while brilliant, is not at all medieval. For this book, I created magic systems based on actual medieval beliefs about magic. (I own a medieval necromantic text, in a handy paperback edition, and a few other books on the subject.) I also included rules for priests and saints, to keep the Church as central as it was in the middle ages, and for scholars and artists, to try to push the scope of the game beyond physical combat.

I really enjoyed writing this book, and I'd like to have a proper chance to play in the setting at some point. In fact, I'd like to place most of the "What if..." campaign ideas in the final section. That may have something to do with the fact that I came up with them, of course. I don't think it's particularly deep or profound, but I do think it does a decent job of making the d20 system properly medieval. The biggest weakness, in retrospect, is the limited discussion of non-human supernatural entities. Still, there wasn't really space to fit much more in the book.


These are books that I contributed small amounts to.

Pocket Grimoire Divine

Green Ronin, 2002. ISBN 0-9714380-4-8

A collection of divine magic for d20, reprinting the magic material from Akrasia along with lots of other material.

Legends and Lairs: Path of Shadow

Fantasy Flight Games, 2002. ISBN 1-58994-074-1

A collection of new rules and classes for rogues. I contributed the Ebon Links, Unblinking Eyes, and Con Artist.

Iron Kingdoms Character Guide

Privateer Press, 2004. ISBN 0-9706970-6-6

I think I contributed a grand total of one spell to this book (Corpse Binding, on page 361). I still got a free copy, and a special authors-only edition copy.

Iron Kingdoms World Guide

Privateer Press, 2004. ISBN 0-9706970-4-X

I did rather more on this book, although still not a lot: I wrote the section on Crime and Punishment, although changes to the background that happened while I wasn't looking meant that bits of it had to be edited quite heavily.