The near-cessation of February

As February winds down, it is time to post a few news updates here on ye old Tomes in Progress…

What I’ve been up to:

february_calendarFirst off I am working on the latest update to our Kickstarter campaign as well a items associated with that – updating previous issues, writing the remaining  stretch-goal rewards, keeping tabs on related work.  Things are not progressing as rapidly as I wished, but I hope I’m more disappointed than our backers about the pace of things and that folks have been generally kept up to date.

I’ve nearly finished up with the second episode of the Sentinel Hill Press-cast (and now you can see why I waited to add it to various podcast aggregation sites!).  I shall definitely keep the next episode’s historical piece more concise!

I’ve posted an audio report about two interesting book for our Patreon backers – The Horror Guide to Massachusetts and Rev. Moody: The Man and His Diary.  If you’re interested in joining in, there is still time to help me select what book I will be picking up next through the generosity of our backers.

Over on the Sentinel Hill Press blog I’ve posted two tales of odd New England – the strange case of J. Bruce (in which a young man vanished in 1824 Boston only to have his remains located, allegedly, by a “mesmerist”) and all about that sweet Marblehead treat, the Joe Frogger, a cookie made with both saltwater and rum, guaranteeing it will be loved by sailors.  Speaking of Marblehead, I am currently working on a renewed call for submissions for issue #4… look for that soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve posting some shorter items of interest (assuming you care a whit about New England history and folklore) to our G+ group- An overview of the Dogtown “witches”, Tituba and the Salem Witch Trials, a folktale of how New England became so rocky, a Vermont Public Radio interview with author Joseph Citro, Mary Dyer and her “monster” child, I ask for reader feedback to answer the question “What does ‘He was a witch-cat‘” mean?, solicit member feedback on the new film The Witch, an example heart-burning to fight tuberculous from Harvard, MA (the town, not the college), a history of the Massachusetts State Police, and  two methods to find your future husband (from Marblehead, MA).

Other news

  • Protodimension magazine has released a new issue, now following their “shorter but more often” release plan.
  • Chaosium have announced A Time to Harvest, a 6-part campaign for members of their promotional Keeper group “The Cult of Chaos”.  Perhaps most exciting to me is the fact that it is set in Lovecraft Country.

Podcasting mayhem!

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Hurtling into the void of a New Year

130227173855-black-hole-super-169(Technically we are always hurtling into a near void, as our solar system spins along on the outer edges of the Milky Way, itself tumbling ever outwards… maybe I shouldn’t have watched all those episodes of the Expanse last night?)

So, 2015 has come and gone and 2016 is rapidly piling up on my doorstep.  Happily with the new year comes actual progress on various fronts, some at a satisfactory speed, others at a rate that only a geologist could love.  Nevertheless, part of that work is updating ye old blog.  To that point I’ve updated a few bits and pieces here including:

  • Checking the various links on the right-hand side of the page.  I deleted a few defunct ones, noted the date of last posting if a personal blog’s not been updated in more than a year (in blogging terms that suggests a blog is dead, but that more an art than a science), and added a link to Hans-Christian Vortisch’s new blog “Shooting Dice” which is about RPGs and firearms… appropriate considering he’s the author of Investigator Weapons Vols 1 & 2 for Sixtystone Press.
  • I’ve also updated my list of Lovecraftian RPG products for 2015.  It is a rather idiosyncratic list of products and I am sure I’ve missed something, so I’ll probably update it at some near point.  I don’t know if I’ll run down the various books for 2015 at any point as I’ve not actually purchased all of them and my time is at a premium of late.

Golden Goblin Press unleashed one more product under the calendrical wire for 2015, making the scenario “Goblin on Bourbon Street” available via the GGP website for $5.  This is apparently a convention scenario the GGP crew has run multiple times and a not-quite-reached stretch goal from the Tales of the Crescent City kickstarter.  I don’t know the page count of the scenario or much beyond the blurb:

When four people turn up dead of an apparent wild animal attack in the French Quarter of New Orleans the police are quick to close this case. If that weren’t strange enough one of the dead is reported to be a Mordechai Whateley of Massachusetts. Could he be from the decayed line of the Dunwich Whateleys, rumored in certain circles to be a powerful clan of degenerate sorcerers? Things just don’t add up and nobody really seems to care. It’s clear, to the investigators at least, that something dark and dangerous is at work here. If they don’t get to the bottom of this mystery no one else will.

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I am oddly fond of this card…

In other gaming news, Squamous Studious is now offering the public a chance to buy their excellent and amusing card game ‘Feed the Shoggoth’.  In the game each player takes on the role of a cult leader (the cults being very familiar to Call of Cthulhu players I suspect) with the goal of being the last one standing once everyone else has been devoured by the titular shoggoth.  $20 (and shipping) gets you fine Lovecraftian amusement, perfect when some of your gaming group is late or you’re waiting in a crypt until the ghouls finally awaken.  I played it at Necronomicon 2013 and am a very satisfied Kickstarter backer.  Check it out.

Keeping a Festival all its own (for ten years now!) the Delta Green Mailing List had its annual Shotgun Scenario competition.  There were 12 entries this year and I look forward to seeing which one is chosen by the DGML readers as the winner.  Check out this year’s entries (and vote for your favorite) HERE.

And, finally, what madness has come up in the realms of podcastery since our last post?

Various, Sundry, and Assorted

I’ve been letting this blog slide more than a bit, between familiar obligations – the holiday season is always a busy one – and hording my free time trying to get a few long-outstanding projects completed.  Nevertheless, I want to at a minimum keep posting here  weekly… and now that it has been a month since my last update, I don’t want to let that gap grow any larger.

Sentinel Hill Press/Arkham Gazette news:

The biggest single piece of news is that the latest issue of the Arkham Gazette has been unleashed upon the world.  Issue #3, all about witches and witchcraft in Lovecraft Country, is available for sale on DriveThruRPG for $12 in PDF and $20 for print on demand + PDF.  It is 120 pages of Lovecraft Country wonderment and I am very proud of it, from cover to the annotated scenario list at the end.  We’ve slowly been building up a stable of authors and artists and I was happy to include articles from such Lovecraftian luminatries as Chris Huth, Chris Jarocha-Ernst, Dan Harms, Tyler Hudak, Christopher Smith Adair and with art from Trevor Henderson, Chris Huth, and Ian Maclean; layout by Chris Huth & handouts prepared by Dean Engelhardt.

In other Sentinel Hill Press news, I’m still reading a few submissions (and sorely owe some people replies about their submissions…) and will likely update our call for submissions before the end of the month.  Readers hoping for a Kingsport issue for #4 might just be in luck.  I also need to finish correcting, revising, and updating the contents of issues #1 and #2 (and to complete an extra article for issue #0) so that they can also go up on DriveThru (and out to our Kickstarter backers.)

I also created the first episode of the Sentinel Hill Press-cast, a podcast for all thing Sentinel Hill Press (and The Arkham Gazette/Lovecraft Country).  In our first episode I talked about SHP’s current and future projects, issue #3 of the Gazette, an interview with author/artist/layout guru Chris Huth, and two segments on New England folklore.

My Other Call of Cthulhu projects:

I have two scenarios in the works, either of which is being very cooperative.  The first is “The Smoking Heart”, my add-on scenario for the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion Kickstarter.  It’s definitely a bang your head against the wall type piece.  I’ve revamped the plot, torn out the scenario’s guts, revamped it again, and not glower at it menacingly as I try to find a way to introduce Jackson Elias as an NPC organically, but also keep his involvement central to the plot without negating player agency.  I can see now why I dropped it in favor of the pulpy romp that is Don Coatar’s “The God of Mitnal” when I originally did the Companion.

Item two is for an unannounced project at an unnamed publisher, set in a a different era that I usually write for.  It is also coming along more slowly, but it is less painful, as my delay is more in wanting to find more inspirational material in the particular genre of horror I want to emulate rather than trying to outwit the fundamental flaw of justifying investigator involvement in most investigative horror games…  Pity party for me – the writing assignments I’ve taken aren’t easy and require work.  Sob.

Recent podcasts and interviews:

Yea, verily, there are many a podcast that has had a new episode in the past month.  Here are the ones I spotted –

  • The Cthulhu Breakfast Club  – Ep. 9 (A remembrance of ‘Big Bad’ John, New Lovecraftian rpg products, mushroom eggs on toast, and much more).
  • The Good Friends of Jackson Elias – Ep. 65 (Karl Edward Wagner’s “Sticks”), Ep. 66 (The Appeal of Horror as a genre)
  • Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff – Ep. 165 (Necromancy! Powells shopping!), Ep. 166 (Chicago International Film Festival!  Shockingly Dull  Existential Solo Adventure!), Ep. 167 (The Biology of Taste!  James Jesus Angelton!), Ep. 168 (Old Maps! Terrible Architecture!), Ep. 169 (The War of Jenkin’s Ear!  Bloody Mary!)
  • The Miskatonic University Podcast – Ep. 91, an interview with Badger McInnis, creator of Feed the Shoggoth, and an overview of the HP Lovecraft Film Fest (Fall, Portland 2015).  Ep. 92 has been recorded but is delayed due to technical issues.
  • The Sentinel Hill Press-cast – Episode 1, Sentinel Hill Press news, a look at issue #3, an interview with Chris Huth, and two snippets of New England folklore.

Shane Ivey and Adam Scott Glancy interviewed on d-Infinity Live (12/3/2015)

Shane Ivey and Dennis Detwiller interviewed on Microphones of Madness (11/28/2015)

What I’ve been up to, Lovecraft Country links, and a podcast roundup

July’s past the midway point and the gaming goes ever on…

I’ve been working on the finishing touches for issue #3 of the Arkham Gazette.  it’s not ready yet, but I will definitely be finished soon.  I’m excited and more than a little relieved.  Sorry it took so long.  The issue issue will be done sooner!  (If you’re interested in writing for the Gazette check out our most recent call for submissions.  We’ve already had two!)  I’ve also been slowly picking my way through the Jackson Elias scenario for the Masks Companion kickstarter backers.  Lastly I’ve tinkered at the giant bibliography of New England’s gravestone carvers, adding a few new references and links to academic articles we can find online.

Speaking of Lovecraft Country, here are some recent links from the Sentinel Hill Press blog and our G+ group:

In more general Call of Cthulhu news, Chaosium have restarted their Keeper promotions program and GoKeeper promotions programlden Goblin Press have received the print copies of De Horrore Cosmico; shipping starts tomorrow.

“But what of recent Lovecraftian podcasts?” you whisper, stroking an snow-white long-haired cat:

ENnie voting, Interviews, and Gravestone Carvers galore

First off – I’ve put out a new call for submissions to the Arkham Gazette for our fourth (!) issue.  Please give it a read and consider submitting something.  The Gazette lives by the aid of many hands. 🙂

If you’ve somehow not heard, ENnie nominations have been announced, including a whole host of Lovecraftian-related projects have honored:

Vote now!

Speaking of of the MUP, I had a great chat with Keepers Jon and Murph of the Miskatonic University Podcast about the soon-to-be-released next issue of the Arkham Gazette, long-forgotten witch trails of New Hampshire, and Colours Out of Space.  I’m always glad to talk to the MUP crew and it was a special treat to talk a bit about one of my favorite of Lovecraft’s creations.

What else is new in podcast land?

In other news have Pelgrane Press revealed the subject of their recent countdown – Cthulhu Apocalypse, The Doomsday Edition, which collects the previously released Apocalypse Machine, the Dead White World,  and Slaves of the Mother and adds on eight new short scenarios.

Cubicle 7’s World War Cthulhu: Cold War Kickstarter continues to recruit assets, crossing over $40k.

FeltonI have been doing research on New England’s Colonial gravestone carvers, and drawing upon that research, I’ve put together an annotated list of all those carvers known, including the related sources about each carver.  If that pique’s your interest, give it a look.  It is still very much a work in progress – I need to regularize all the citations and start adding more links

Let’s conclude with a projects update:

  • The Arkham Gazette #3 – issue save scenario is done and laid out (I guess I need to write an intro though); out scenario author Chris Huth is revising “The Queen of Night”.  When that it ready, be assured I’ll trumpet the news here.
  • My Jackson Elias scenario for the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion backers is still in progress.
  • My unnamed scenario for an unannounced project is in the earliest draft stages – outline only currently, waiting for me to finish the two projects above.
  • Our first stretch-goal scenario for the Arkham Gazette Kickstarter backers is done and waiting layout.  The other scenario is being worked on and the bonus article is still being written.  The former will be released in the near future.
  • I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but those projects are what has been on my mind of late.

Jib Jabber from Beyond

Tempus fugit, eh?  The longer I go between updates, the longer posts take to write.  I’m sure there’s a mathematical function to chart that problem, but you’ll have to work it out for yourself.

I thought it might be a useful exercise (for me at least) to put down in pixels exactly what I’m up to (or was up to, or should be up to) on the writing front, but first, let’s recap what’s been going on in the wider Lovecraftian Gaming world:

Gaming news:

  • The dust has (hopefully) begun to settle at Chaosium.  Communications, with their Kickstarter backers and with the wider gaming community, have been much improved, and European backers of the Horror on the Orient Express Kickstarter have actually started receiving their long-promised copies.  I think the change, at least so far, has been for the good.  As far as I can tell their warehouse-clearing sale (up to 50% off certain whole lines, including monographs and licensee products) is still going on, so snag a copy of whatever you might have been waiting to pick up.
  • Cubicle 7 has launched their Kickstarter for World War Cthulhu: Cold War.  If you thought fighting the Mythos was too easy in the Roaring Twenties, have fun trying to slip something past Section 46 in the 1970s.  It has already blasted past its initial stretch goals, so who knows where things will end up. 
  • Pelgrane Press is hinting about some announcement in four days, give or take.  I’ve no clue what they are announcing – they’ve said it is unrelated to “Cthulhu Apocalypse” or even if it is Lovecraftian, but I’ve got to make some assumptions I suppose.

    Look kids – Big Ben, Parliament!

  • Golden Goblin Press have released the PDF of De Horrore Cosmico to their Kickstarter backers. Excelsior!

What about all the Lovecraftian Podcasts?

Necronomicon (or is that NecronomiCon?) 2015’s schedule is now available for your plotting and planning.  I’m still up in the air when it comes to attending.  Sorry!

Moving from news to… err… me, here are the projects I’ve got in and around my plate:

  • Finishing Issue #3 of the Arkham Gazette.  On my end, this is editing and slimming down our featured scenario “The Queen of Night”; who knew a scenario with dozens of NPCs set all over Arkham and beyond would be so large?  I’m still hoping to get the final text of the issue, albeit in rough form, out to backers by the end of the month.  Chris Huth, who is doing our layout work, has been otherwise handling similar tasks for Pelgrane Press’ Dracula Dossier, so he has been otherwise occupied, but the Gazette is next on the to-do list, happily.
  • Prepping call for submissions for future Arkham Gazette issues.  Like a true masochist, I cannot wait to get to work on future issues of the Gazette.  I’m preparing to solicit articles for future issues of the Gazette, with suggestions for articles and general encouragement for contributors.  I think we are going to offer two or three main topics for our next issue(s), since topics help get submissions it would seem, but I’m not fixed on any particular one.  Ready your (virtual or otherwise) pens!
  • Kickstarter stretch goals: We’ve already put several out to Kickstarter backers – including the autopsy of Walter Gilman and a giant handout all about the Unvisited Island – but there are still two scenarios, a scenario seed, and the revamped versions of our first two regular issues of the Gazette to go.  The scenarios are both written, with one being readied for layout and the other in editing.  The scenario seed being worked on currently and the older issues are being left aside for now until Chris’ finished his work on issue #3; the work required there is primarily in layout, but we may be adding a little content here and there, so a close reread is in order as well.
  • Sundry Sentinel Hill Press side projects are further down in my queue: There’s our Keeper’s resource for running games in Lovecraft Country, part bibliography, part gazetteer, part overview.  Ditto for updated versions of earlier issues.
  • My scenario for the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion Kickstarter.  I’m about 2/3 done with the writing, trying to make sure the scenario serves as not just some CoC fun, but a good way to introduce Jackson Elias.
  • Unspeakable Oath submissions – a Mysterious Manuscript/Arcane Artifact, a Tale of Terror.  A few ideas I’ve been kicking around but none are quite ready for submission.
  • A solicited scenario for a collection, about which I can say no more.
  • Other stuff – New England research.  Always ongoing.
  • Orphan projects – sundry scenario ideas I’ve had, none worth mentioning in particular.

That’s all of them… hopefully!

Ante-June update

June is nearly upon us, so let’s update good ole Tomes in Progess one more time.

Paul of Cthulhu has made good on his promise to release the whole Yog Radio archive thanks to hinting the funding goal of the Cthulhu Breakfast Club Kickstarter. That’s 50 episodes of classic Lovecrafian podcastery free for the listening. 

I’ve posted a short item on the Sentinel Hill Press site about a great blog for anyone interested in New England weird history and folklore. 

On that topic, if you are interested in the weird history of the Berkshires (aka western Massachusetts) there’s an Indiegogo campaign for just such a book

And what of contemporary podcasts, you ask?

  • Yon Kenn and Robyn spake of players problematickal, a Popish Annamese, families of Cainish bent, and the Fae ports of Somerset 
  • The Goode Friends of Elias, son of Jack, assayed their latest sextet of adventures – Nameless Horrors