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)

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Speaking with the Unspeakable (Oath Podcast)

I had the distinct pleasure recently to talk with Shane Ivey, Adam Scott Glancy, and Ross Payton

An ashcan copy of the Companion

of the Unspeakable Oath podcast.  We talked about their respective projects (The Unspeakable Oath #25, Horrors of War, Role-playing Public Radio and other projects), my projects (The Arkham Gazette) and, for most of the show Masks of Nyarlathotep and The Masks of Nyarlathotep CompanionDo give it a listen.

It was a lot of fun to chat with the UO crew and hear about their experiences running Masks.  I hope I remembered to speak slowly and enunciate.  If you haven’t taken a look yet, there are (currently) about 5 days to go in the MoNC Kickstarter.

I was interviewed and the Good Friends of Jackson Elias talk about the Masks Companion

J.P. Chapleau has posted an interview I did with him about the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion and the Arkham Gazette:

Additionally the Good Friends of Jackson Elias released their latest episode, in which they talk about Masks of Nyarlathotep and its Companion and interview Adam Crossingham as well as Keeper Steve Ellis, who talks about his experiences porting MoN into 7th edition (and using the Companion).

(Sorry for the lack of updates recently – I’ve been using up all my spare time wrapping up issue #3 of the Arkham Gazette!)

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?

Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion news

To quote Paul of Cthulhu:

ImageThe completed/corrected/updated version of the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion has just been delivered to my inbox.

It looks fantastic.

It is a beast.

It is an epic publication at over 600 pages. Giant “thank yous” and appreciation are due to everyone involved. Adam of Sixtystone Press has done a wonderful job tackling the layout of this great tome.

Obviously the question once again becomes that of the topic title. “Where can I get it?” – we’ll have more information on that in a little while as we sort out exactly how we mean to deliver the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion: Bloody Tongue Edition (and provide printed copies).

So do please stay tuned (and allow a little forbearance) as we begin to conclude this seven year project.

You’ll excuse me while I do a little dance.

A return to abnormalcy

The downside of a just-for-kicks blog is that when those times arise when you are kick deprived or even kick deficient, you have to let things slide a while. I’m hoping no one was too badly put out that my updates have been quasi-monthly of late.

Autoduel!!!In a nutshell – the whole of the the Tomes in Progress crew (i.e. me, the homunculus, and the mother of the homunculus) have moved westward, in a manner not wholly unlike the narrator of “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” (i.e. from New England to the Midwest, though thankfully no ichthyoid transformations have occurred). This took a couple of months to arrange, enact, and recover from. Leaving behind friends and family, as well as a home you’ve lived in for close to a decade is trying. It is only now that we have that wonderful conjunction of technology and time which allows me to, hopefully, restart blogging on a more regular basis. I fear though that the black squirrels that control my lawn are not my friends…

A bit of my gaming work has suffered, as is to be expected with a low (or no) pay sideline. My scenario for the forthcoming London Boxed Set had to be dropped. While I’m happy I got to make a small submission to that really excellent looking project, I wish I’d been able to wrap that up. I want to offer my thanks to Cubicle 7 and the magnanimous Stuart Boon in particular for being more than understanding. It may see the light of day somewhere, someday. Keep your fingers crossed.

The Arkham Gazette has been slowed but not stopped. The nice thing about working on a magazine is that there are lots of little projects that can be done, even in very short bursts. I’ve posted about the next issue’s status and sincerely hope to finish it up before the month is out. We’re still taking submissions for future issues, of course, with issue 3 most likely going to be focused on witches and witchcraft in Lovecraft Country.  I may talk the Miskatonic University Podcast crew into interviewing me about the next issue as well.  (By the way – their new ;yearbook’ Cephalophobia is beautiful.)

As for near term gaming news, aside from the Arkham Gazette I’ve got a couple pieces submitted to the Unspeakable Oath so I hope to have something in the next issue, which is supposed to be released shortly. A recent Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff episode spurred me to start yet another piece for the Oath as well. I hope to have news about the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion print release soon as well. Watch this space… and Yog-Sothoth.com, since they get several order of magnitude more readers than I. There are one or two other long-dormant projects that have begun to quicken recently as well, though I cannot say more… yet.

I think the list of new Lovecraftian RPG products is up to date, at least it will be once I sort out the PDF dump the Modiphius crew put out recently. If I’ve missed something, let me know.

Speaking of which, if I owe you an email or a call, bear with me a little while longer or feel free to remind me to do so. Hopefully the stars will remain rights for a while.

What a year (part 2)

Continuing on…

Innsmouth House Press
The Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion {PDF}

I edited all of and wrote much of this titanic project. Hopefully I will be able to announce a print version soon.

Miskatonic River Press
Tales of the Sleepless City

MRP’s swan song (not counting the delayed “Punktown”), Tales was bittersweet; a great book but one that marked the end of a publisher. Unlike the forgettable scenarios included with Secrets of New York, it managed to wed the Cthulhu Mythos to its New York setting in a way that would no doubt driven Lovecraft from Brooklyn even faster. If you are running Masks of Nyarlathotep or want a change of pace from remote places or rural New England, give this book a look.

Modiphius
The Trellborg Monstrosities {PDF}
Achtung Cthulhu: Keeper’s Guide to the Secret War {PDF}
Achtung Cthulhu: Investigator’s Guide to the Secret War {PDF}

As per my comments about World War Cthulhu yesterday, while I’m very glad that Modiphius has had great success, this series simply didn’t capture my imagination. Perhaps some day I’ll pick up a copy and be swayed.

Pelgrane Press
The Final Revelation

I’ve read (and enjoyed) all but the framing scenario when they were published previously, but I wanted to have a reading copy so I can keep my limited edition Dragonmeet copies up on the shelf. I should probably read that framing scenario…

Eternal Lies {PDF}

Time for another confession… I can’t get into this. There is something so clinical about most Trail of Cthulhu scenarios that they simply are not, unlike Call of Cthulhu ones, fun to read. It’s like reading a grocery list merged with a horror story. Maybe it was the overall plot (which reviewers have appropriately avoided spoiling and I will do likewise) but I’ve still not finished it despite making a couple attempts. I should read it since it is Trail’s first campaign and I’m curious to see how they handle an on-going game.

Sentinel Hill Press
The Arkham Gazette #0 (PDF)
The Arkham Gazette #1 (PDF)

Wrote and edited most of these two. Give them a read!

Sixtystone Press
Lost in the Lights (PDF only)

An interesting, well-written and attractively presented modern scenario. Wondering why it still hasn’t come out in print.

Investigator Weapons, Vol. 1 (Classic era)

Essential for any Classic era game. Hans knows his stuff but this isn’t a dry catalog of weapon stats and damage tables. This presents weapons as historical artifacts that enriches your game, not just adds nifty kill machines, by giving you the context to the weapon and a deeper understanding of how they function. If you’re like me and aren’t someone with a lot of experience with weapons (reading that polearm table in Unearthed Arcana counts as experience, yes?) this is fascinating.

Solace Games
Fungi Mine (PDF)

I tend not to read PDF-only release. I may pick this up at some point, but I am in no rush.

Tomorrow, Chaosium and perhaps additional comments.