Times of Daylight Saved

Oh geez, this blog has been left to go fallow for quite a while. I’m giving up on trying to recap all the news of the past two(!) months and will just hit the highlights of what I have been up to in these past few months.

Sentinel Hill Press:

  • We had our second annual ‘October-ganza‘ on the Sentinel Hill Press blog, covering topics relating to Call of Cthulhu and/or New England, including New England’s Islands, Boston’s ‘ghoulish’ history, and Native Americans in New England.
  • Issue #3 will be ready any day now – I am awaiting my printer proof copy to confirm that the layout is correct, and once that happens, copies will start going out to our Kickstarter backers, and it will become available for purchase on DriveThruRPG and at Chaosium’s online store just after.  The crew at the Cthulhu Breakfast Club flipped through an earlier proof copy recently on their show if you want to see a real life copy… in video.
  • We continue to look for submissions for future issues of the Arkham Gazette – likely topics include Kingsport, Dunwich, and ‘Law and Crime’ but we are interested in anything Lovecraft Country related.
  • For more about what’s coming next for Sentinel Hill Press, see this blog post.

Delta Green:

  • I was very pleased (and frankly flattered) to have a revised version of my Shotgun Scenario “Last Things Last” used as part of the free Quick-start rule set for the new Delta Green RPG, which completed a very successful Kickstarter campaign ($360k+).  I’ve set up a separate page on the blog here to collect all the real play recordings, actual play reports, and Handler advice (and hopefully some commentary from me on the genesis of the scenario) all in one place.  (I also pitched them a couple scenarios, but I’ve not heard back on those yet.)

Blog news:

  • I have been adding more information and making corrections to my Bibliography of New England Gravestone Carvers.  I think I’ve caught all the articles from Markers (the Association for Gravestone Study’s journal), up through issue #24 (as well as the first volume of the AGS’s newsletter, up through 1990).

Projects in development:

  • I am still (sorry!) revising my scenario “The Smoking Heart” for the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion kickstarter backers.  Happily it will be released separately from the print copy of the Companion so my delays aren’t holding that project back.  I am sorry for the delays.  I’ve made a few stabs at the thing but keep being dissatisfied with the results and have torn it apart again.  My apologies to the all of the Kickstarter backers.
  • I am working on a scenario for a scenario collection.  Slow going, but my deadline is the end of the year, so I keep plugging away, an inch at a time.
  • I am also revising an old project, about which I cannot say anything else, at least at this time.

Other News:

  • Adam Gauntlett, one of my favorite RPG authors, has launched a Patreon account to fund his creation of more RPG materials.  Let’s see if we can boost that pledge level, shall we?
  • Yog-sothoth.com is running its 10th (!) annual Secret Shoggoth Yuletide gift exchange.  Members should definitely sign up.  I’ve done it every year and it is always a lot of fun.

Hopefully I will have more news soon!

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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!

A sextet of horrors, Arkham Gazette news, podcastery, and a forgotten witch

Thing have been busy here as I try to put the finishing touches on the (text at least) of the next issue of the Arkham Gazette (about which see item #3 below).  Here’ s the news, of late:

Item #1 – Nameless Horrors
Chaosium has released the scenario collection Nameless Horrors on PDF. As they put it: “Nameless Horrors brings you six new scenarios that will frighten even the most experienced of Call of Cthulhu players, giving them reason to fear the unknown.” The sextext of scenarios were written by Paul Fricker, Scott Dorward, and Matthew Sanderson (aka the Good Friends of Jackson Elias) and I look forward to a print version… Speaking of which, Chaosium has also put out a print version of Cthulhu Through the Ages, their setting sampler book for 7th Edition.

Item #2 – Updates to the blog
I have added a new page here for the blog-
The Audient Void, which collects the various times I’ve been interviewed on podcasts.
I have also updated the Lovecraftian RPG 2015 list.

Item #3 – News on the Arkham Gazette #3
I posted an update to the Kickstarter page for the Arkham Gazette #3 discussing where the project stands, an estimated time of delivery, etc. Backers also were sent a preview of most of the issue’s contents, save the scenario Queen of Night.

Item #4 – Podcasts of late
The Good Friends of Jackson Elias – Ep. 51, Talk on a pair of horror films – Repulsion and The Babadook. They also are conducting a poll of their listeners.
Ken and Robin talked about Vehmic Courts, the research secrets, and CthulhuCon.
Miskatonic University Podcast – Talked about organized crime, among other things.
(While the Yog-Sothoth.com’s Cthulhu Breakfast Club has not released a new episode, they are having a fundraiser to improve their microphones.)

Item #5 – Bonus Witchcraft
Finally I wanted to include a little bit of New England folklore that was left out of the forthcoming third issue of the Arkham Gazette – the witch of Littleton. In 1720 in the small village of Littleton, Massachusetts, was the scene of fresh witchcraft allegations in the vein of Salem almost 30 years earlier (from An Historical Sketch of the Town of Littleton by H. J. Harwood [1891]):

The Witch’s Tree a.k.a. The Kimball Elm. This tree is supposed to have stood on the Dudley farm. The tree is long gone, thanks to Dutch Elm disease.

An incident occurred in 1720 which made quite a sensation in town at the time. It was no less than a witchcraft accusation which might have proved still more sensational had it not been for the death of the person accused. Joseph Blanchard, who lived on or near Mr. Elbridge Marshall’s place, had at that time three young daughters — Elizabeth, aged about eleven, Joanna, about nine and Mary, about five or six years. These children, first the eldest, then the next, and finally the youngest, began to act in a very strange and unaccountable way. Elizabeth began by telling very strange stories of things happening at the time, or supposed to, and forced into the water, and in danger of drowning, at which she would cry out in distress. She also complained of pinches and prickings of the flesh, and showed wounds, and rents in her clothes, asserting she was bewitched, and accused Mrs. Dudley, wife of Samuel Dudley, town clerk, of bewitching her.

When put to the test of reading Scripture she would read, but fall down apparently lifeless when she came to the words “God,” “Christ,” or “Holy Ghost.” She would bite people, excepting Rev. Mr. Shattuck, whom she appeared to have no power to hurt. About four months after Elizabeth began to act in this way, Joanna also began to do the same things, and once was found on the top of the barn, a place apparently impossible for her to reach by her own exertions, and whither she said she was carried up through the air.

About two months later Mary began the same actions. Elizabeth would often cry out, “There she is! there’s Mrs. Dudley!” when Mrs. Dudley was nowhere visible. Once she told her mother there was a little bird in a certain part of the room ; her mother having something in her hand, struck at the place, at which Elizabeth cried out, “Oh, mother, you have hit it on the side of the head.” It was afterwards found that Mrs. Dudley was at the same time hurt on one side of her face. Another time Elizabeth said to her mother, “There’s Mrs. Dudley; she is just there; coming to afflict me!” Her mother struck the place with something and Elizabeth cried out, “You have hit her on the bowels.” It was found that Mrs. Dudley, at the same time, felt a pain, took to her bed and died in a few weeks.

On the face of this story it appears very mysterious and inexplicable by natural causes. Blanchard and his wife believed the children sincere and guileless, and though some wiser ones including, it is thought, Mr. Shattuck, advised separating the children by taking one or more to their homes, the parents would not consent to it, and the majority believed them bewitched. A few days after the death of Mrs. Dudley the strange actions of the two older children ceased. It proved however, that Mrs. Dudley’s death was perfectly accountable; she was in a delicate condition, and on riding horseback behind her husband at a rapid rate felt something break within her.

Though the children for a long time persisted that their stories had been true, and Elizabeth did not weaken, even when, requesting baptism, she was questioned by Mr. Shattuck about the circumstances, and told that some of her neighbors suspected her of falsehood; yet eight years after the girls confessed to Rev. Mr. Turell, minister of Medford, to which place they had moved, that their stories were all false and that their strange actions, begun in a playful spirit of mischief, had been continued because they were ashamed to own up.

When they heard of Mrs. Dudley’s death, who, by the way, was a most estimable woman and against whom the children had no cause for ill-feeling, the two oldest children were thoroughly frightened, and for a long time lived in fear of a ghostly retribution. Elizabeth told Mr. Turell that she got her idea of acting in the strange manner from reading about witchcraft, and the other children picked it up from her.

As we can see, there are all sorts of interesting annecdotes to be found in 19th century town histories. This incident is not recorded in the usual register of witch accusations as the there never any formal charges made, and so the case was never a part of the legal record. Here is an interesting discussion of how a town history in the 1970s badly got this story wrong.

Updatery, March Edition

First off, welcome Spring!  Please clean up after your Ostara sacrifices people – that altar to Yog-Sothoth, hewn from the very basalt of the lost Eiglophian Mountains is a privilege, not a right.  (Well, it’s a rite, but, you get my point.)

Vast and sundry apologies for the sporadic updates to the blog.  I’m still hip-deep in finishing up the next issue of the Arkham Gazette and I’ve done my best to focus on wrapping that up rather than taking care of other things.  If I owe you an email, this is why.  Fortunately being but hip deep means that A) I am no longer neck-deep, and B) I can slowly move about doing other things while I finish it up.

There have been several Lovecraftian RPG releases so far this year.  I’ve been trying to keep up to date with them in my page about new RPG material but I don’t think I’ve mentioned any of them here.  Let’s bullet point these, shall we?

I must confess that, given the research needs of the Gazette (today’s book is Poisons: Their Effects and Detection by Alexander Wynter Blythe (1895) I’ve barely had time to even look at most of the books, save Investigator Weapons v. 2, which is great, and Alone Against the Flames… which was… eh… adequate but underwhelming.  Perhaps I’ll discuss it more at some point?  It was free.

On the podcasting front there have been too many new episodes to summarize, from Ken and Robin, the MU Podcast, RPPR, the Unspeakable Oath (though I covered that one!), the Good Friends of Jackson Elias – hell, even the old Yog Radio gang might be up to something.

I am sure there is more to cover, but that’s all for now.  Was I supposed to mention a Kickstarter?

Post-Yule Post

Shockingly, between the Arkham Gazette Kickstarter (48 hours to go!) and other seasonal obligations, I’ve had scant little time to update good old Tomes in Progress.  Sorry!

So, here’s what has been going on in the world of Lovecraftian roleplaying games.

In other news, Shane Ivey might possibly have had the best Christmas of us all.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Finally, a bit of seasonal poetry from HPL himself:

Festival

by H.P. Lovecraft

There is snow on the ground,
And the valleys are cold,
And a midnight profound
Blackly squats o’er the wold;
But a light on the hilltops half-seen hints of feastings unhallow’d and old.

There is death in the clouds,
There is fear in the night,
For the dead in their shrouds
Hail the sun’s turning flight,
And chant wild in the woods as they dance round a Yule-altar fungous and white.

To no gale of earth’s kind
Sways the forest of oak,
Where the sick boughs entwin’d
By mad mistletoes choke,
For these pow’rs are the pow’rs of the dark, from the graves of the lost Druid-folk.

And mayst thou to such deeds
Be an abbot and priest,
Singing cannibal greeds
At each devil-wrought feast,
And to all the incredulous world shewing dimly the sign of the beast.

Kickstarter successes, Troubled Goblins, miscellaneous news

Yellow – eye-catching and popular with taxis

The top story for the day is that I’ve launched a Kickstarter for the next issue of the Arkham Gazette, and that we’ve already funded.  Huzzah!!  Our next stretch goal is $2000, which will allow us to offer a print on demand version of the issue.  I’m still working out the details for some future stretch goals, but hopefully I can announce further details soon.

A happier Goblin

In much more disturbing news, Oscar Rios (of Golden Goblin Press) has made some rather serious allegations of deceit and theft on the part of his European re-distributor:

Unfortunately I am slowly coming to realize that once again I have been lied to by my international re-distributor, Angus Abranson of Chronicle City. I was given assurances that all of the missing rewards were mailed out, and I sent out the few items he claimed not to have. The items I mailed out seem to have arrived, but the items he claimed to mailed I now believe were never sent out.  I cannot express how deeply this entire business sickens me.

I promise that everyone due material will get their rewards, I just ask for your patience. If I am forced to resend everything out, to mail all the missing items directly it will be ruinous. I have already shipped these items to him and paid for the postage, promptly sending him a small fortune I might add.

I sincerely hope that this situation is resolved to the satisfaction of Golden Goblin Press’ backers and Golden Goblin Press itself.  I very much hope this doesn’t prevent GGP from releasing more new books this year.

Turning to Podcasts – Ken and Robin have been talking about Richard Sorge, foils in RPGs, Charles Richet, and an introduction to Surrealism; the head of Henry IV, character choice, Gerard Encausse, and Andre Breton. Dreamhounds and Dracula talk predominates but doesn’t overwhelm their chats.

The Miskatonic University Podcast released a supplemental episode, talking about the release of Call of Cthulhu 7th edition, and updating the MUP IndieGoGo campaign, among other topics.

Finally the Unspekable Oath podcast has been releasing more readings from Dennis Detwiller’s Tales of Failed AnatomiesIntelligences (which I didn’t love) and Philosophy (which I preferred).

As for Kickstarters…

And that, for now, is all she wrote.