Turning to Seattle’s most dangerous residents, Pagan Publishing’s Kickstarter for Horrors of War: A Covenant with Death is now two weeks old and only about $2600 from hitting its basic funding (though let’s hope for some stretch goals?). It seems that some are reluctant to join in due to co-author John H. Crowe III’s opposition to offering a digital copy. I’m sympathetic to this – international shipping it truly a diabolic plot of late – but I’m hopeful some solution can be reached. Maybe a PDF only version of just Mr. Glancy’s scenarios?
In other news, Golden Goblin Press is having a “we’re not at GenCon sale“. If you don’t have either of their fine scenario collection, this is your chance.
Finally, I’ve posted a short update on the Sentinel Hill Press blog covering my reading list of late, sans journal articles which I should probably add. Have a look; I’m hoping we can work out the licensing issue shortly after GenCon. Maybe? Feel free to talk up the Arkham Gazette at the Chaosium booth, eh?
Ah yes… After listening in on the end of Adam Scott Glancy’s game, I took the opportunity to introduce myself and we spent a few moments chatting. He filled me in on the near-future plans for Pagan and Delta Green, including plans to split the WWI book up into two parts and to fund it with a Kickstarter, the status of the stand alone Delta Green game, the minutia of Zeppelin warfare and the Far Eastern Republic. Sadly our conversation had to end after a short while as he had places to be, like so many at NecronomiCon. It is pretty hard to beat having one of the creators of Delta Green tell you that he really likes your scenarios.
I then joined in (with Keeper Murph of the Misk. U. Podcast) in a fun game of Feed the Shoggoth, a card game which ‘Badger’ McInnes (his credits, his blog) has been developing. I’m not much of a card game guy, but I was very pleasantly surprised at how quickly I learned the rules and how much fun we had in our short game. I don’t know if my impression was skewed by winning the game, but I do know that I’m looking forward to when he launches his Kickstarter so I can order myself a copy.
Since time has gotten away from me and it is over a week since these events passed, I don’t clearly recall what I did next. I think I popped back over the Biltmore briefly before I settled back in at the Providence to prep for my game that evening. I do know that I shouldn’t have skipped dinner. As six approached (the start time for my game) I was in a bit of a worry as the ballroom I was scheduled to run Machine Tractor Station Kharkov-37 had been reassigned to the good lads at HPPodcraft for their live show (which is sad since I’d backed the Kickstarter but couldn’t go due to being double-booked). After some questioning of the Minions (the Con kind, not the yellow cross-promotional toy kind) I determined my game had been moved upstairs instead.
Good old Machine Tractor Station Kharkov-37. So many dead Soviets… but I’ll save that for next time.
The good folks at 314 Games, the Spanish-language publisher of Call of Cthulhu games, contacted me a while back about publishing a Spanish-language version of my monograph Machine Tractor Station Kharkov-37. I’m happy to announce that they’ve just released both a PDF and print version.
For the curious (and Spanish speaking), the gang at 314 took the raw text of the monograph and revised and expanded it with only a little input on my part (since sadly my Spanish is limited to asking directions to the library). I’d love to put together a revised and expanded version in English at some point (and had been working on that before the Masks Companion completely ground to a halt…)
I hope CoC gamers in the Hispanophone world will enjoy my nightmarish foray into Soviet horror. My thanks to Enrique and 314 Games for taking an interest in my little scenario.
I contributed two pieces- A Mythos Gazetteer for South East Asia and a regional Bestiary. For the former I confined myself to the fiction (mostly but not entirely Lovecraft) as well as previously published materials, while for the later I attempted some original research (with the help of some material sent to the Black Seal from another contributor). I was shockingly disappointed with my local library; their collection was sorely lacking when it came to Asian mythology and legend. Happily google books was a wee bit more helpful, albeit slightly archaic.
Now I’m off to the library to do some more research on [redacted]!
Been remiss, but for once this means I’ve been doing some work. Huzzah.
Project Zero: Finally heard back from Adam C. who is doing the layout. Unfortunately we’re not at the place I had hoped we’d be by the point (i.e. DONE). Instead, I’ve worked with Adam to find a pair of experienced volunteers to take some of the load off his shoulders. Do I have a new estimate for when the Masks Companion will be done. Sadly not yet. Hopefully the extra layout gang will have some happy progress news for me soon… I’ll post more when I have it.
Project 1: The Tractor station… I’ve been thinking a great deal about this but that’s about all the actual progress I can report. I usually have a long period of contemplation followed by a nice sustained burst of work when I get to this point in a project- let us hope that is the case again. Sorry Dustin.
Project 2: Nothing to report as I’m not putting much effort into this until publisher who shall remain nameless makes progress on other fronts.
Project 3: Done some helpful research on all topics and have a general outline of both the pieces I’m working on for the Unspeakable Oath. I only have until the 18th to get these done so I’ll be plugging away until then. I’m happy with what I have so far and am hopeful they will be well received.
“Project 4”: (Do not laugh). Yeah, I take on too much as once, but I like to work when inspiration strikes. I had an idea for a piece involving New England cemeteries for one of the CoC licensees. I’ve done some preliminary research, including mucking about a few old burying yards (one of the perks of living in New England). Not a priority right now but I think there is enough there to keep this one on the steady burner for a while.
Other stuff: Amusingly enough I finally got in touch with a couple other Cthulhu authors in my neck of the woods only to discover one of them is my neighbor. Literally. To celebrate, we’ll be playtesting Dan Harm’s Fury of Yig campaign. I’ll post oblique updates (since I don’t want to spoil it) as they warrant.
I recently made a trip to the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts and found it to be an interesting artistic counterpoint to the Soviet aesthetic that underpins MTS. In my original version one of the communities affected by the Colour was a village of Old Believers and I think there is something to be gained by perhaps adding a mad icon maker to their ranks…
While in Clinton (which is oddly enough a town on the edge of the Wachusett Reservoir (yeah, I’ll get to “The Colour Out of Space” soon)), I recommend Lou’s Diner which has truly excellent french fries.
My monograph was inspired by a mix of Lovecraft’s story The Colour Out of Space and taking a course on 20th century Russian history. One day my brain made a connection between the Colour’s unnatural effect of corrupt growth then decay on its environment and, well, Stalinism. Everything else stemmed from that concept and it is the anchor for the piece.
So, now that I am working to revise the monograph, I figure I should carefully reread, again, The Colour Out of Space… I’ll post more on that when I finish.
Any suggestions for other fiction that used the Colour well?
When I ponder revising my scenario “Machine Tractor Station Kharkov-37” (hereafter MTS or Project 1), I have several considerations to weigh. Firstly, how do I improve on the scenario, which I was ultimately generally happy with, without exceeding my alloted word length or losing those key elements that I think are its strengths? How to I craft it to be as appealing as possible to potential buyers? How can I do these in as timely a manner as possible?
On the first question (and I’m assuming here you’re read the original otherwise go buy it now to support my Faberge Egg habit), I see several areas of possible improvement, namely:
Adjustments to pacing, either as options for the Keeper or built into the scenario itself (or both).
More guidance for Keepers; it’s a somewhat unusual scenario considering that most of the dangers are posed by other people compounded by the likely foreign quality of the setting (apologies if you’re well versed in the USSR circa 1930). Most of the questions I’ve read posted at various places online touch on this issue so, at some point, I should probably get more feedback here.
Notes on running a campaign in the Soviet Union. I know I can’t give it great detail, but a little material here goes a long way to increasing the book’s utility once the scenario has been played.