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!

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 Major Shake-up at Chaosium

As a backer of the Chaosium Kickstarter for the revised Horror on the Orient Express, I received a most unexpected update to that project last night:

The Great Old Ones have returned!

Greetings to all our Patient Backers,

We have pressed the reset button…
In 1975 Chaosium started out as a quirky boutique game company. We were all about creativity, artistry and craftsmanship. With every game we provided you with new realms of imagination and entertainment. Over the last few years we forgot that, and lost our way.

The Great Old Ones have Returned…
Greg Stafford, founder of Chaosium and creative force during its heyday, is now President. Sandy Petersen, world renowned game designer who brought Cthulhu into the light three decades ago, has rejoined the team as well.

Greg says: “Chaosium is part of my legacy. My intent is to restore it to its rightful place in the world of gaming. Something we can all take pride in, and something that fans will look forward to.Where ‘what’s next?’ is answered with ‘I can’t wait’.”

The Stars are Right…
Sandy says: “I am excited to return to active participation in the Call of Cthulhu line, and I’m eagerly looking forward to working directly with Greg again. We are Chaosium’s original team from the 1980s. My first focus is going to be the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition Kickstarter campaign.”

Our main plan is simple (but will be a lot of work):

  • Quickly sift and sort through the current company problems
  • Immediately ship the remaining Horror on the Orient Express backer rewards
  • Focus on the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition Kickstarter backer rewards
  • Return to regularly making awesome new games.

We offer new hope, and ask only for your patience.”

Please visit Chaosium.com for regular news and updates. Contact us with questions, kudos, curses, or kindness. We are listening, and we will respond.

Greg Stafford, President and CEO of Chaosium Inc.
I’m puttin’ the band back together.

A little digging turns up that this notice was posted (publicly) to both of Chaosium’s Kickstarters, but not the Chaosium website or any of their social media sites.  While that seems to simply be the announcement of two former Chaosium greats’ return, anyone familiar with the troubles they’ve had in both of their Kickstarter projects, easily read between the lines to see that there must be some serious issues in Denmark, err, Hayward, which was confirmed earlier to day when Sandy Petersen posted this update to Yog-Sothoth.com:

Hey all, this is Sandy Petersen of course.

I’ve been keeping my head down for a while, working on other matters, but I wanted to drop a note about what happened at Chaosium yesterday. You guys ought to know.

1) Charlie Krank is no longer President of Chaosium.

2) Greg Stafford is President of Chaosium. (again).

3) Ben Monroe, whose name many of you may recognize, is assisting Greg in managing Chaosium’s physical facilities, its warehouse, material, etc.

4) I am now involved with Chaosium (again). My current status is VP of the Board of Directors (Greg is President).

5) I cannot speak for Greg, but my number one concern is seeing that the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition gets out to the backers.

One way of looking at it is that the old Chaosium team is back again. Personally I think this is cause for rejoicing not worry but there you have it.

Yog-Sothoth Neblod Zin

Sandy Petersen

That is some major news.  I will post more when I learn more.

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?

News bonanza

Sorry for the lack of updates recently; real life has kept me otherwise engaged, stealing away those free moments when I might be blogging, instead insisting I deal with ailing family members, logistical luggage arranging, and (most recently) snow removal.  Note to past self – budget more time for everything.

This is, however, a blog about Lovecraftian RPGs (and my occasional involvement therein) with a dash of my other hobbies, not a chat about the mundane adversities that strike anyone who is not a sociopathic millionaire orphan.  Let us instead turn to the world of polyhedral die and polymorphic nightmares…

Podcasts – Despite some technical glitches with the feed on iTunes, the Good Friends of Jackson Elias have released another episode covering all the best game master techniques they’ve cribbed from other Keepers.  (They’ve also set up a Patreon page to cover some of the show’s costs, so far netting them a princely $15 a show).

The muttering miscreant mavens of multi-sided mayhem at the Miskatonic University podcast had some technical issues of their own with episode 67.  The audio for their first try was so poor they scrapped nearly the whole thing, save for the news from the Campus Crier section – including a lovely summary of the October-ganza on the Sentinel Hill Press blog; listen to that preserved fragment here.  The redo attempt turned out a far better piece (in audio terms a least – who knows what bon mots were lost in the sonic catastrophe that was ep 67 mark I ?!?), covering the delayed release of CoC 7th ed, one player/one Keeper games, and Science Fiction (mostly gadgets) in Lovecraftian RPGs.  It’s also that rare beast when all four hosts are (eventually) in attendance.  But what of Keepers Shemp and Murphy-Joe?

Kickstarter offers an abundance of news, large and small, so let’s bullet point these:

In other news, Dreamhounds of Paris is now available for pre-order.  Awesome!

That’s plenty for now, isn’t it?

The Gales of November

Where does the time go?

Sentinel Hill Press

I’ll start things off with some personal news – Sentinel Hill Press, the imprint of the Arkham Gazette, is now a Chaosium licensee.  We’ll be launching a Kickstarter soon for issue #3.  I’ll be sure to announce it here as well as the Arkham Gazette blog.  We also wrapped up our 31 day October-ganza project on the blog there; here’s an overview.

There are, as ever, loads of Kickstarter projects on-going

  • Cthulhu: Strange Aeons, the sixth or seventh (?) different near-future sci-fi Lovecraftian setting RPG I’ve seen, is raising money.  Not my cup of tea, but might be yours. (For the records they are End TimeOnce Men [possibly those two are the same setting), Cthulhu Rising, Cthulhu Tech, and Cthulhu Adventus.  I probably missed some though…)
  • It may not be overtly Lovecraftian, but it did spring from the warped mind of John Tynes and the gents at Arc Dream – Puppetland, an updated version of the groundbreaking indie game where you played puppets in a nightmare world.  I should correct that name to John Scott Tynes, but if I learned anything from Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, is that you should avoid a John Scott…
  • Finally, Golden Goblin Press have provided a rather hard-on-themselves update for De Horrore Cosmico.

The crew at Protodimension magazine have released issue #21.  Check it out.

Good Friends of Jackson Elias completed their discussion of The Thing on the Doorstep.

The Unspeakable Oath podcast has released audio version of two of Dennis Detwiller stories: The Thing in the Pit & Drowning in Sand.

Let us close with a Mythos (and more) potpouri:

  • The Necronomicon (Evil Dead version) showed up on The Amazing World of Gumball.
  • Chaosium is having a sale.
  • Need found footage of unexplainable lights in the sky?
  • There’s a day left in a rather Bundle of Tentacles sale.
  • Ken and Robin continue to talk about stuff of all kinds: Episode 112The Dracula Dossier, writing on food, Dr. Margaret Murray, etc. & Episode 113 – Bram Stoker (but sadly not Stroker Ace), archetype vs. customized PCs, Marie Antoinette, and recommendations of all sorts.
  • Skirmisher (of Cthulhu Live fame) has put out The Mythos Society Guide to New England; sounds interesting but I’m waiting for more reviews.
  • Finally my friend Matt Madigan is Kickstarting his next ‘dark noire’ crime book Down.  If you like your detective fiction jet black, give it a look.

‘Horrore’, cosmic and otherwise

Has it been a week already?

Golden Goblin Press have (has?) announced its next Kickstarter project – De Horrore Cosmico.  If the K-S hits the funding target in the first 24 hours they’re adding a 7th scenario written by Cthulhu Invictus author Chad Bowser.  As of 1 pm EST they’re at 5k to go.

Speaking of Kickstarters, Pagan’s Horrors of War (technically ‘A Covenant with Death’ since Horrors of War is the title of the book series) has funded and is creeping past a few stretch goals.  A lack of a PDF option seems to have damped interest, but I’m still hoping they’ll make it to 32k so I can get the first two books for the price of one.

I missed last week’s Ken and Robin Talk about Stuff – taking about the battle of Poltava, running one-shots, and the occultist Sarah Helen Whitman – and this week’s – talking about how players can help the flow of games, the game aspects of the militarization of police, and how one might shorten the US Civil War.  In both episodes they include bits from their GenCon gumshoe panel.

We have had confirmation of print copies of Starfall Over the Plateau of Leng, so I’ve updated the 2014 RPG book list.

Finally, in happy news, the server issues that knocked the Miskatonic University Podcast offline have been resolved. You can listen to the Chaosium panel they recorded at GenCon 2014 here; drop by their site to tell them they’ve been missed, won’t you? {Err, looks like their forums are down while they switch hosting services.#