Page XX logo (2015_04_01 16_53_09 UTC)

It’s convention season again, and we’re dashing around from place to place, delighted to catch up with customers and colleagues in such far-flung destinations as Birmingham, UK and Columbus, OH. If you can’t make it to your local convention, you can pick up our latest releases as they happen here on See Page XX, with the luxuriously tentacled Cthulhu City Limited Edition now available. Getting closer to print now are the pre-orders for the long-awaited 13th Age sandbox campaign Shards of the Broken Sky, and the simultaneously gritty and super-powered police procedural Mutant City Blues 2nd Edition, as well as the pre-orders for the four-panel Director’s Screen and Resource Guideand the solitary Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops

New Releases

Articles

13th Age

See Page XX Poll

What is the most you would be willing to pay for a physical RPG corebook?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

NEW! Cthulhu City limited edition

I spent a lot of time with Cthulhu City, and it’s still one of my favourite Trail of Cthulhu settings. Packed full of easter eggs for Lovecraft fans, with a depth of focus on the Lovecraft Country settings, Cthulhu City is a clever inversion of the usual mythos setting. Instead of being the ones with the moral right, and able to depend on support from the police and authorities with their adventuring, PCs trapped in these eldritch streets are underground agitators, resisting against the servitors of the Great Old Ones who entirely control the governmental, economic, and religious spheres.

This month sees the release of the faux-leatherbound limited edition, with Jen McCleary (The Fall of DELTA GREEN)‘s fantastic tentacled-wrapped cover, and a Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan signed bookplate, along with the same, sullen-eyed basalt cyclopean buildings raised by no human hands that riddled the standard edition.

Work in progress update: Shards of the Broken Sky

Jen McCleary has finished the layout of Shards of the Broken Sky, and Rob’s gone through it and added all the “see page XX” references, which are usually one of the last things to be done to a book. We’re doing one final review of the print files, and hoping to send it to the printers by the end of next week.

Work in progress update: Mutant City Blues 2nd Edition

Mike, the new layout artist we’re working with, has sent through a first draft of the layout, which is a very rough sense of how the final book is going to look. It needs some revisions, so there’ll be a bit of back and forth over the next few weeks as we take it to a print-ready final file.

Other issues update: Free RPG Day

You may have noticed that Pelgrane is now longer on the Free RPG Day page. Sadly, this is because our regular US printer, Thomson-Shore, has gone into liquidation, and their assets have been bought out by another company, and as a result of the internal upheaval, they failed to ship our Free RPG Day books in time for the mass shipment, so we won’t be taking part in Free RPG Day 2019.

We’ve been big supporters of Free RPG Day for a few years, so it’s very disappointing to miss it. We’ve now received the print Free RPG Day books – three weeks too late – so if you have any suggestions for what we could do instead, let us know in the comments!

Team update: we’re hiring!

Mika Talley, who’s been running our Zendesk customer support system, as well as keeping our social media bubbling, left us at the end of last month, so wishing her the best in her new endeavours, we’re now looking for a new Administrative Assistant. As well as managing our customer relationships, our Admin Assistant will also administer our inventory and help with print buying. The full details are here. We appreciate your patience and forgiveness if our support queues run slower than we’d like during the recruitment process.

Convention update: UK Games Expo

Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan and I are just back from UK Games Expo, which must be the UK’s largest games convention now by a long shot. We had a great time! It’s considerably bigger than I remember it being – the last time I was there, in 2015, the whole convention took place in the Hilton, unlike the three halls it now occupies. We’re glad to see the convention has changed their mind about the necessity of an anti-harassment policy, and their very quick action, response, and apology to the players involved in an incident on Friday speaks volumes for their dedication to creating a safer space for attendees.

It was great to be able to showcase the mighty tome that is Hideous Creatures to people in person, and also to finally have the print books of The Persephone Extraction. I also brought along the proof copy of the Night’s Black Agents Director’s Screen to show pre-orderers. As well as being able to hang out with some of our core customers (thanks Andrew and Matthew!), I got to catch up with esteemed Pelgranistas Steve and Paula Dempsey, as well as Paul and Helen of Cthulhu, who kindly recorded Gareth and I on the Pelgrane booth, chatting about Cthulhu City and Hideous Creatures – you can watch the video here.

Pelgranes in the Wild!! part 2 – Origins Game Fair

And we’re off again, this time to the culinary delights of Columbus, Ohio for the Origins Game Fair. I’ll be on the Pelgrane booth for the weekend; Kenneth Hite and Will Hindmarch will also be in at the show. If you’re going (June 12th – 16th, 2019 in the Greater Columbus Convention Center), swing by the booth we’re sharing with our good buddies Indie Press Revolutions, Bully Pulpit, and Evil Hat (booth #931) and say hello!

Playtesting: The Borellus Connection, revised

We’ve had a number of dropouts for playtesting for the eight adventures in The Fall of DELTA GREEN adventure collection, The Borellus Connection, so we’re putting them back up for playtesting again this month. As a reminder, these adventures can serve as part of a connected campaign, or as stand-alone operations the Handler can drop into the course of an ongoing investigation. So if you’re interested, drop us an email.

An adventure hook for The Esoterrorists, by Adam Gauntlett

Who, or what, killed Larry and Paula Charters aboard the Nautilus Cruise Line ship Festival Allure?

Incident Report

Friday 8th June, Death (suspicious): Larry Charters, found in Ocean View stateroom, apparent suicide (overdose, prescription medication). Death (homicide) Paula Charters, found in Apollo Deck Sports Park 0340 hours, violent assault. Incident passed to local authorities, Bahamas, for further investigation.

This report, with a copy of security footage taken on the night of the incident and other evidence, is forwarded to Ordo Veritatis by an unnamed whistleblower, presumably one of the Festival Allure’s crew. After some initial study, the information is added to OPERATION VENICE BEACH casefile and assigned to the agents for follow-up.

The security footage (video, no audio) shows the approach to the Apollo Sports Deck, 0252 hours to 0259 hours. The sports deck, and its approaches, is off-limits to staff and passengers after 2000 hours, and the doors that lead there have keycard only access exterior, with emergency push-bar exit on the interior side. Judging by the footage, the door used was propped open, which suggests planning.

The footage shows Paula Charters entering the approach at 0252 hours. At that time she shows no panic or alarm. She carries an open bottle of champagne and two glasses, and by her gait and behavior is probably intoxicated. At 0257 she is alerted by an unknown event, possibly a noise, and looks behind her. Whatever she sees causes her to run, and she leaves shot at 0258. At 0259 the feed is cut off.

Initial report from the Bahamian forensics team indicates Paula died from repeated sharp force trauma, chop wounds, delivered by an implement similar to a kitchen cleaver. All such implements found in the Festival Allure’s kitchens have been taken for examination.

Reports from the Festival Allure’s security team suggest the likely avenue of investigation is the husband, a chef in a New Orleans restaurant, who, it is suggested, committed suicide after killing his wife in a drunken rage. No weapon has been found; the security team thinks it was thrown overboard from the couple’s Ocean View stateroom. Core clue, Electronic Surveillance:  if so, there ought to be footage of Larry Charters returning from the Sports Deck to his stateroom after 0259, but there is not.

Finally, there is a brief section of footage shot by persons unknown, taken by a UV smartphone camera. It shows the same section of approach corridor Paula ran down. There are trace signs of some substance that shows up in UV light all along the corridor, as if someone covered in that substance ran down it, touching walls and door handles as they went. There’s not enough here to determine what that substance is.

The agents’ backstory is that they are Federal agents carrying out preliminary investigation to determine whether Larry Charters can be linked to a string of offences in Louisiana and Texas.

Bajan Sharp

The agents may use Cop Talk, or Bureaucracy, to lean on the Bahaman Police via the American Embassy.

Larry suffered bruising indicative of a struggle before he died. It is likely he was force-fed the pills. The pills used were not his prescription nor his wife’s; the pills belong to an Ocean View passenger two staterooms away, who was unaware they were missing.  The injuries done to Paula indicate a left-handed attacker with considerable upper body strength. Larry was right-handed. Both Larry and Paula have trace elements of an unknown substance on their bodies, which can be seen under UV light. The substance has been sent to local labs for testing, but the Bahaman Government is very keen to end the investigation as soon as possible. It doesn’t want to upset Nautilus Cruise Line; tourism dollars are at stake. The Government will brush all this under the rug and ensure the lab ‘loses’ its samples, unless the agents intervene. If saved and sent to the OV for analysis, the report comes back within 24 hours: fungal substance, indicative of Glistening infestation.

Potential ally: Michael Digson, honest cop, wiry, greying, suspicious dark eyes, Athletics 8, Scuffling 6, Surveillance 6.

Security: Deliver The WOW

Guest Security Supervisor Dennis Anand and his team will only cooperate on sufferance; they work for Nautilus, and Nautilus wants this kept out of the media and as far away as possible from the US Federal Government. This is because the Government is considering changes to the Death on the High Seas Act that would be very disadvantageous to cruise lines, and Nautilus doesn’t want to give Federal agents any ammunition that a Congressman or Senator might use to harm them. Agents with Law realize this and can use it to Intimidate Anand. Without this, the security team nod politely and do very little.

Anand and his team stick to the Nautilus-approved story, that Larry killed Paula and then himself. Larry must have fixed things so they could get onto the Sports Deck after hours, probably using a wedge to keep the door open.

Evidence Collection, Cop Talk or similar notices that one of Anand’s team is missing. Security Guard Jennifer Yang is listed sick, though she isn’t in her cabin nor is she in the medical bay. Anand makes any excuse he can to explain away her absence, no matter how absurd. “Oh, you just missed her – she was here a minute ago,” even though there’s no way she could leave the room without the agents seeing her. Yang was the guard who first discovered Paula’s body. She ought to have submitted a written report, but that report is missing, as is all security camera footage for the Sports Deck approach.

Opposition: Dennis Anand, Glistening Slave, Athletics 6, Health 3, Infiltration 4 (increases to 8 with Master Access keycard), Scuffling 6, Shooting 6. Not all Anand’s team are Glistening Slaves, and can be persuaded not to follow his instructions, but only if Anand behaves erratically, or if significant pressure – Reassurance, Intimidation – is applied.

Ready To Take A Chance Again

The agents may try talking to the passengers, particularly those on the Ocean View deck where the Charters’ were staying. Reassurance, Flattery and possibly Flirting work best. Intimidation also works, but the passengers complain to ship staff, who pass on complaints to Security Supervisor Anand.

According to the passengers, the Charters’ were a happy couple who were having a good time. Paula attracted a lot of attention, particularly from one of the bartenders at the Tequila Bar. Larry liked playing on the Sports Deck mini golf course.

The pills used to kill Larry were taken from Fiona Nilsson’s Ocean View suite. She says she saw one of the Tequila Bar’s bartenders hanging around on the Ocean View deck, where he had no business being. She doesn’t know his name.

Tequila Sunrise & Whistleblower

The agents may follow up the bartender angle, or may try tracing Jennifer Yang.

The bartender, Richard ‘Ricky’ Ryan, has a sexual assault record. He’s worked for three different cruise lines and was fired from each, one step ahead of criminal charges. Law knows that cruise lines are quick to share information about criminal or sharp practice from guests, but never share employee records, allowing bad actors to skip from line to line without consequence. He works his regular shift at the Tequila Bar and, after hours, chases guests who catch his eye. Ryan is a Glistening Slave. He still has the cleaver he used to kill Paula.

Ricky Ryan, if Interrogated, admits he killed Paula and then Larry. His story makes very little sense; there’s no way he could have known Fiona Nilsson had the pills he needed to kill Larry, nor does he have the access needed to get past the card key system and into their staterooms. Yet Ryan has a Master Access keycard [Director: given him by Anand].

Opposition: Ricky Ryan, Glistening Slave, Athletics 8, Health 6, Infiltration 4 (increases to 8 with Master Access keycard), Scuffling 8, Shooting 4. When armed with cleaver, Damage +0.

Jennifer Yang is held in an unoccupied interior stateroom, portside, no porthole. She can be traced by following Anand, persuading uninfected security officers to talk, by using Data Retrieval to check which doors Anand has most often used his security card to access, or similar clever agent schemes.

Yang is being infected with Glistening, but the infection hasn’t progressed far and can be cured with a Difficulty 5 Medic test or a Chemistry spend. If found and cured, she says she’s distrusted Anand’s judgment for some time. She’s been conducting an investigation of her own, and is convinced that this can all be traced back to the disappearance of another passenger, Emily Alanis, eight months ago. Alanis was written off as a suicide who jumped overboard, but Yang thinks Alanis is still here. “I could hear her voice in my head.”

Agents who cross-reference the name Emily Alanis with other Esoterror incidents finds that Alanis was involved in Operation QUEEN PAWN, in which a Glistening outbreak was discovered in Tampa Bay, the home port of Nautilus Cruise Lines.

Sessile

The Sessile, formerly Emily Alanis, is hiding down in the bowels of the ship, close to the HVAC system supply. Almost all the ship’s HVAC engineers are Slaves, and defend the Sessile if necessary. The Sessile spreads its spore puffs via the air conditioning ducts, but has only been doing so for a few days. It knew it could potentially reach the entire ship and crew this way, but wasn’t sure it would work. Its preferred method is the old-fashioned way, by touch. However it is reaching the end of its cycle and needs a new host. It wanted to suborn one of the passengers, someone who could go missing without too much fuss.

The whole incident arose because of Ricky. He was supposed to spread the infection through his job at Tequila Sunrise, but his natural inclination led him to chase Paula, with catastrophic results. The Sessile coached him on what to do next. The Sessile wants to get rid of Ricky, but daren’t do so now, when everyone’s watching.

If not stopped, the Sessile can spread Glistening infection points along the liner’s route, and everywhere the passengers visit or call home.

Veil-out may potentially involve quarantining the Festival Allure, which allows the OV to thoroughly disinfect the ship and its passengers.

   where we wake up electrified out of the coma by our own souls’ airplanes roaring over the roof they’ve come to drop angelic bombs the hospital illuminates itself    imaginary walls collapse    

– Allen Ginsburg, Howl

Cthulhu City slides into The Fall of Delta Green like a cartridge into a chamber. As written, Great Arkham’s a nightmare reflection of the 1930s, but updating it to the 1960s is relatively trivial. The sinister gas-masked Transport Police and oppressive surveillance state fit perfectly; mistrust of the government resonates even more after the Kennedy assassination and Kent State. Some specific suggestions to bring the city to the era of the Fall.

  • Old Arkham hasn’t changed – so it’s now an absurd throwback, a foolish or desperate attempt to turn the clock back to a pre-war era.
  • The Depression-era Hoovertowns and hoboes in rotting Salamander Fields become drop-outs, dope fiends and draft dodgers.
  • Hippie communes and flower children dance amid the standing stones out in Billington’s Woods near Dunwich.
  • Mayor Ward is more of a Kennedy-esque figure – young, handsome, inspiring, as compelling and sinister as the Black Pharoah of Nyarlathotep.
  • The city’s textile industry has given way to the military-industrial complex – the Northside factories churn out cryptic, obscure machinery for the war effort, but it’s never clear if the components are for Vietnam, or for some other facet of the Cold War, or some stranger conflict.
  • The international jet set, cosmopolitan and jaded, fly in to the new Danfort Airport in Kingsport from Monte Carlo and Milan, London and Beirut, Baharna and Celephais. The airport crawls with Transport Police, and its bizarre hypergeometic topography means that some would-be travellers have ended up lost in its endless shifting concourses for years, roaming naked and starving past departure gates that never open. Stephen Alzis summers in Great Arkham.
  • The raid on Miskatonic University resulted in the shooting of a half-dozen students by Transport Police. Protests and riots have wracked the city since then; there are regular clashes between Transport Police and students. Anarchist cells meet and plot in the attic of the old Witch House.
  • The Marsh gang import and distribute heroin shipped in the holds of the infamous Black Freighters.
  • The battle between the various cults and factions is no longer so covert. Fringe scientists from the Halsey Institute (formerly the clandestine Halsey Fraternity) openly advocate for experimentation in necromancy and revivification; pamphlets and graffiti on the sides of cyclopean towers advocate for the Witch Cult or the Silver Lodge. Mayor Upton was shot by a brain-washed assassin.
  • Armitage wasn’t a librarian or occult expert – he was a chemist, experimenting with drugs that altered human perceptions to enable them to see the true nature of reality. After the Raid, he went underground, moving from one hidden lab to another, sheltered by the Black Panthers and other groups, manufacturing more potent solvents to dissolve the great illusion and reveal the ultimate truth.

And what is that ultimate truth? The DELTA GREEN setting suggests some new options for the ultimate reality behind Cthulhu City…

  • The Revolution Will Be Dematerisalised: Curwen and his allies mastered hypergeometry and fractured reality in the 1750s. We’re still a colony – it’s simultaneously the 1960s and 1770s, the Transport Police are Redcoats, the revolution is always coming. DELTA GREEN’s a conspiracy founded by Captain Whipple and the “band of serious citizens” who raided Curwen’s house; the characters flicker back and forth between the Mythos-conjured hallucination of the 1960s and the ‘reality’ of the 1770s.
  • Interzone: Cthulhu City’s a surreal nightmare. Monsters on the streets, monsters under your skin. Gangs of shrieking cultists roam the night, pursued by agents of absurd alphabet-soup government departments. The city’s accessed by drugs, or by trauma, or by psychic reflexes triggered by the right poetry. It’s Al Amarj on the Miskatonic.
  • The Vorsht Letters: A DELTA GREEN Agent, Isaac Vorsht, vanished in 1962. His car was found abandoned on a back road near Salem; he hasn’t been seen since. Somehow, though, he’s still sending reports to the DELTA GREEN Steering Committee about his experiences and investigations in ‘Great Arkham’. Vorsht’s reports never seem to acknowledge the bizarre nature of the city, or describe how he got there. It’s as though he’s slipped into a parallel dimension – but if he has, how are his letters getting into the conventional US postal service? Oh – his most recent letter thanked DELTA GREEN for assigning the Agents to his operation. The Steering Committee don’t know what to make of it, but clearly the Agents are fated to investigate the case…
  • Project PLATO: PLATO’s mandate is to prepare a defensive posture for humanity in case of alien invasion. “Great Arkham” is a PLATO construct, a simulation designed to determine how the population might behave if the Mythos were to become more public. Are the Agents under hypnosis? Brainwashed with LSD and subliminal messaging? Critically injured and comatose Vietnam veterans in an electronically generated shared hallucination? Or did MOON DUST just salvage some Mi-Go technology? Are those cyclopean towers actually gigantic brain-cases…

 

Dice imagePlease email support@pelgranepress.com for instructions on how to take part in this month’s playtest!

 

Title: The Borellus Connection

System: The Fall of DELTA GREEN

Author: Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Kenneth Hite

Deadline: July 31st 2019

Number of sessions: 2-3 per adventure

Description:

The Borellus Connection is a campaign for Fall of Delta Green, using the heroin trade and the United States Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs as a narrative spine. The campaign runs from South-East Asia to the Middle East to Europe, as the Agents uncover the sinister machinations of a necromantic cult.

  • Operation JADE PHOENIX (North-Eastern Burma): The CIA wants the Chinese-backed Shan warlord Li Bao Lung assassinated, and the Agents are tasked to escort a Marine sniper, Sergeant Adolph Lepus, to Li’s headquarters in the Wa state of northeast Burma, with orders to eliminate Li and return with proof of Li’s (and therefore Peking’s involvement in the opium trade. DELTA GREEN has identified one of Li’s advisers, Ming Yuan, as a Kuen-Yuin sorcerer; Li’s compound is a target-rich environment. The team must travel into Burma, avoiding detection en route, and penetrate the defences around Li’s compound to ensure Lepus has a clear shot on both targets.
  • Operation HORUS HOURS (Hong Kong to Los Angeles, by air): Clues uncovered during ALONSO point to the existence of a heroin smuggling route running from Hong Kong to Los Angeles. The Agents have to hastily follow the couriers on the trans-Pacific flight via numerous stops and layovers, watching for the critical moment of the handover.
  • Operation DE PROFUNDIS (Bozuktepe, Turkey): Using a BNDD investigation into opium smuggling as cover, DELTA GREEN sends the Agents to investigate the suicide and disappearance of archaeologist Charles Whiteman. He was excavating a ceremonial site at Bozuktepe before mysteriously killing himself; his body vanished en route back to England. What did he bring up from the depths before he died?
  • Operation SECOND LOOK (Beirut, Lebanon): The Agents are sent in to surveil another drug deal and gather evidence; this time, an unreliable DELTA GREEN informant, Francois Genoud, is in the mix, and the Agents are ordered to remind him where his loyalties lie – but there’s more at stake here than they know, as sinister powers make a second attempt to uncover secrets of the Mythos…
  • Operation PURITAN (Munich, Germany to Prague, Czechoslovakia): The Agents follow Unione Corse heroin shipments into Munich, but while there, another DELTA GREEN case officer tasks them to investigate unnatural contamination of the CIA’s QK-ACTIVE propaganda broadcasts into the Soviet Union. Who is broadcasting elements of the Necronomicon from a CIA-backed radio station? Finding the truth sends the Agents on a desperate race into Prague.
  • Operation MISTRAL (Marseille, France): During the May ’68 riots, the Agents are sent to Marseille to investigate gang conflicts – and possible Unnatural activity in the troubled city.
  • Operation ALONSO (Saigon, Vietnam): The NBDD assigns the Agents to surveil a drug summit at the Continental Palace hotel between Unione Corse bosses and emissaries from Marseille. While there, DELTA GREEN wants them to ascertain the status of the Cthulhu cult in the Rung Sat region south-east of the city.
  • Operation NEPENTHE (Baltimore, Maryland):  Orne intends to use Baltimore as his stepping stone towards his ultimate goal – transcending humanity and becoming one with Yog-Sothoth. He uses the occult resources he’s assembled over the course of the campaign to warp the city, piggybacking on the minds of the drug users to cast a vast necromantic ritual, opening the door between our reality and the Unnatural. He can step through – but what approaches from the other side?

Pelgrane Press Seeks Administrative Assistant

rainbow-pelgrane_150We’re currently recruiting for an Administrative Assistant to provide fantastic customer service to our community, and help out with the multitude of administrative tasks involved in a small publishing company. The position is intended for a remote worker, and may involve travel to conventions, some overnight stays and weekend work where necessary.

Pelgrane Press is committed to building a culturally diverse company and strongly encourages applications from women and minority candidates.

Our Administrative Assistant will be responsible for ensuring a prompt, friendly and professional response to all queries from our customers and colleagues, over email, on social media, and in person.

They will manage and develop our supply chain, monitoring and maintaining inventories of products in our mail order and distribution warehouses to maximize efficiency, liaise with key fulfilment and print partners to ensure high service levels and stock quality, and work with the Managing Director on print quotes and print buying.

They will also assist the Managing Director with ad-hoc administrative and marketing tasks where necessary.

This is an ideal opportunity for someone who is looking for a permanent position in publishing within the roleplaying industry. As a small, growing company, there will be opportunities in the future to expand the role for candidates with drive and initiative. Game writing and design work are not part of this position, nor will this position afford opportunities in those areas.

The successful candidate will have a passion for roleplaying games, excellent organisational and communication skills, thoroughness and attention to detail, and the ability to set priorities under pressure. A solid grasp of Word and Excel are essential.

The position is permanent, with an initial six-month evaluation period. The position is 15 hours per week, and the salary is US$900 per month. The position doesn’t include health insurance, so if your country of residence doesn’t have universal health care, you will need to be able to demonstrate having your own health care provision.

The full job spec is here.

To apply, please send a covering letter via email with your CV attached as a PDF to Cat Tobin before Monday, June 24th 2019.

I just finished the final pass on the “page XX” references for Shards of the Broken Sky. Some designers dislike this type of finicky work, but I sort of love it. Partly it’s a great moment in the lifecycle of a book—it’s actually about to be finished! Partly you get to take a last look at things; and when you’re working with a great layout artist like Jen McCleary, it’s a calm look at things that are very much where they should be.

So a couple days later, I’m thinking about the finished adventure and asking myself: what isn’t in Shards that could have been? My first thought is that it would be interesting to think about how specific character classes could find special uses or unique stories in a Shards campaign. We generally don’t tailor elements of our adventures to individual classes; from a design perspective it’s usually better to avoid spending too much time on ideas that only apply to some characters. But a quick blog post is just about right!

Shards was first conceived of before 13 True Ways was released, so the default adventuring group at the time consisted of classes from the core book. Here are some ideas for how players whose characters’ classes come from 13TW might experience the adventure differently.

  • Chaos Mage: There is a whole lot of chaos in Shards of the Broken Sky. So much chaos that a chaos mage player character is either going to feel supremely at home OR feel a bit resentful that the world has barged in and taken over their party trick. Maybe this will be a chance for the chaos mage to develop in a new direction, towards taming some of the weirdness-from-on-high that fell to earth with Vantage.
  • Commander: For an early approach to the post-Fall chaos, a commander PC might be the imperial legionnaire who is ostensibly next in command after the disaster. But with no soldiers to command and a catastrophe in progress, maybe an adventuring party of misfits will do!
  • Druid: If I ever play in a Shards campaign, I’m going to play a druid with the Terrain Caster talent; and then I’m going to have SO MUCH FUN with the smashed and scattered terrain across Redfield Valley.
  • Monk: None of the big secrets in Shards directly relate to the monk class or its themes, so if I were running it with a monk character in the group, I’d start by changing that. In this campaign, the secret of the death/disappearance/status of the Grand Master of Flowers can be found in Redfields.
  • Necromancer: Unlike the monk, the necromancer gets LOTS of love in Shards. Indirect love, in the sense that the valley is full of ancient quasi-living battlefields, but that’s love a necromancer understands. 
  • The Occultist: Vantage falls, the Occultist rises from the wreckage. 

13th Age combines the best parts of traditional d20-rolling fantasy gaming with new story-focused rules, designed so you can run the kind of game you most want to play with your group. Created by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, 13th Age gives you all the tools you need to make unique characters who are immediately embedded in the setting in important ways; quickly prepare adventures based on the PCs’ backgrounds and goals; create your own monsters; fight exciting battles; and focus on what’s always been cool and fun about fantasy adventure gaming. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

Page XX logo (2015_04_01 16_53_09 UTC)

Don’t let the May Day bonfires deter your vampiric purchases in yet another Night’s Black Agents-packed release month. We’ve got the PDF release of the era- and Europe-spanning campaign The Persephone Extraction, along with the pre-orders for the four-panel Director’s Screen and Resource Guideand the solitary Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops. Also still on pre-order are the long-awaited 13th Age sandbox campaign Shards of the Broken Sky, and the simultaneously gritty and super-powered police procedural Mutant City Blues 2nd Edition.

New Releases

Articles

13th Age

See Page XX Poll

What Pelgrane merchandise (e.g. t-shirts, baseball caps, enamel pins) would you most like to see?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

NEW! The Persephone Extraction PDF

Some of the books we publish sail through the process without ever touching the side, and some…are not like that. The Persephone Extraction was the first book we released for Night’s Black Agents after The Dracula Dossier collection, and I suspect that the foul Count still hadn’t forgiven us for setting so many brilliant players and GMs up to take him down when we started working on Persephone. Once we got the manuscript in from the writers, pretty much everything that could go wrong with a book, has gone wrong with The Persephone Extraction at some point.

With the PDF release of this ambitious NBA campaign – and it is ambitious in its scope, drawing from the ancient horrors of classical mythology all the way up to the modern terrors of conspiracy and bioterrorism – I’m hopeful that we’ve finally got it finished. (As always, though, contact us at our support address if there’s anything we could do to improve it). If you’d previously ordered The Persephone Extraction in print format, an updated PDF is now available to download from your bookshelf.

Work in progress update: Night’s Black Agents Director’s Screen & Resource Guide

I know I just posted about the Night’s Black Agents Director’s Screen last month, but I just got through the print proofs for the revised screen and it looks very cool, so I wanted to share more photos with you. I mentioned last month how hefty and solid this new four-fold screen is, but the updated screen art really makes it shine. Of course, what it *also* makes me want to do is more hefty four-fold screens, so let us know if that’s something you’d like to see more of.

If you’ve already picked up the NBA Director’s Screen and Resource Guide, the updated screen PDF is now available to download from your bookshelf.

Work in progress update: NBA: Solo Ops

The incredibly talented Jen McCleary (The Fall of DELTA GREEN) has been working her magic on the interior of Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops, and has finished the layout, which looks great – a perfect blend of the ultramodern Night’s Black Agents with the GUMSHOE One-2-One aesthetic. She’s now handed that over to me for indexing, while she works on the layout of longtime Artist of the Pelgranes Jérôme Huguenin’s perfect cover. On the left is a draft WIP version he’s sent through.

Now shipping: Hideous Creatures: A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos

The epic tomes of mythos beastiness arrived in our UK & US shipping points a week ago, and so if you’ve pre-ordered Hideous Creatures: A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos, it should be winging its way to you as I type. Let us know on social media when it arrives with you!

Pelgranes in the Wild!! part 1 – UK Games Expo

Regular readers of our scribblings may recall that we have been (very sadly) absent from UK Games Expo for the last couple of years, due to the convention organisers’ refusal to implement an anti-harassment policy (we believe they’re vital to establishing and ensuring safe spaces for all Pelgranistas to play games, and will only support conventions that have them). We’re delighted to be going back to the UK’s largest gaming convention this year, sharing a booth with our good buddies Kixto (who do all our non-US & Canada mail order fulfillment) and our sister (through-our-shared-father) company, ProFantasy Software. If you’re going to UK Games Expo (May 31st to June 2nd in the Birmingham NEC), swing by our booth (1-594) and say hello to me and Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan!

Playtesting: The Borellus Connection, continued

Two months ago, we released six of the eight adventures in The Fall of DELTA GREEN adventure collection, The Borellus Connection, for playtestingThis month, the remaining two thematically linked operations are up for playtesting. These can serve as part of a connected campaign, or as stand-alone operations the Handler can drop into the course of an ongoing investigation. So if you’re interested, drop us an email.

YET ANOTHER call for help!!

Are you going to Gen Con Indianapolis this year? Every year, the good Events People at Gen Con contact us to let us know our games are sold out, and ask if we can run more events, so if you’re able to run 13th Age, Night’s Black Agents, Trail of Cthulhu – or any other Pelgrane game! – at Gen Con 2019, you can see the list of slots available here. Drop us an email at support@pelgranepress.com so we can share our great games with even more people this year! You can see the full list of adventures available here.

 

See P. XX

a column about roleplaying

by Robin D. Laws

 

As the field of roleplaying expands its audience, and new platforms appear to provide an ever wider array of ways to get material into the hands of gamers, more folks than ever have jumped in to try their hand at writing. Whether you’re working, as an emerging RPG writer, on supplements, adventures, or games, you can increase the appeal of your work by adopting key techniques to sharpen your prose style.

Most writers, myself included, prefer to focus on style nitty-gritty when revising. Worry about it too much during the first draft and you’ll bog down, losing both your thread of meaning and your will to go on. After a while you’ll absorb techniques like the ones given here and instinctively adopt them into your initial writing phase. When you do revise, you’ll then be working from a stronger starting point.

Many of the tips below elevate any piece of writing, but let’s look at them from an RPG perspective.

Before the tips, a caveat: with rules text in particular, you want clear and stylish prose. When those two values conflict, technical precision outweighs style concerns. You may for example need to repeat the same word multiple times in close succession, which you wouldn’t do even in other, more story-oriented sections of the same game book.

1. Replace Inactive Verbs

Almost every emerging writer over-relies on a few frequently used, dead verbs: is, are, be, have. When you can, reconfigure your sentences to favor more specific, dynamic alternatives. Altering sentences to weed out inactive verbs forces you to tune up a sentences in other ways, finding greater specificity or concision.

Mercutio is a hot-blooded young man, driven by a churning intellect and a presentiment of his own doom.

Might become:

Mercutio’s hot blood, churning intellect and a presentiment of doom drive him to flights of poetic fancy.

The first describes him in a static state. The second puts him in action. Nipping out the “is” led us to show the GM more directly what Mercutio might do in a scenario.

The renderers are figures of terror throughout the neighborhood.

Becomes:

The renderers spread terror throughout the neighborhood.

Again, this moves us from situation to action.

The agents must be careful to keep up the pretense, or be attacked by the mutons.

Becomes:

The agents must keep up the pretense, or face a muton attack.

This distills the action into a simpler, shorter, punchier sentence.

Don’t expect to altogether avoid inactive verbs. You’ll find yourself testing and rejecting alternates because they confuse your sequence of thoughts, or require many more words than the original, inactive version.

2. Strike Instances of “Will”

RPG writing frequently puts us in the unusual position of describing a hypothetical future action:

The octopus will pick up the phone.

The monster will run at the PCs.

Amy will withhold that information until she’s sure the group can be trusted.

Dropping the “will” excises an unnecessary word, tightens the sentence, and allows the reader to envision the described action:

The octopus picks up the phone.

The monster runs at the PCs.

Amy withholds that information until she’s sure the group can be trusted.

I’ve been writing RPG books for a long time now, and still during my revision pass spot instances of the dreaded “will” begging to be cut.

3. Shorten Your Sentences

In RPG writing we can get caught up in a tumble of creative thought. As we get those thoughts up on the screen, we tumble from one idea to the next. That leads to overlong sentences that try to express too much. Almost any submission draft from a starting writer arrives full of sentences whose commas beg to be turned into periods. Get chopping!

Under the neon bridge the garoons thrash and cry, haunted by memories of their past lives, seldom heeding the worries of Old Chan, who gazes at them with a worried expression and silently rolls and lights another cigarette, because that’s what he’s been reduced to now.

Becomes:

Under the neon bridge the garoons thrash and cry. Memories of their past lives haunt them. Seldom do they heed the worries of Old Chan. He gazes at them and silently rolls and lights another cigarette. Fate has reduced him to this, he thinks.

Periods give the reader time to stop and take in each idea before moving on to the next. Resist the impulse to slap rope together with a kit-bag of conjunctions. The appearance of “and” near the end of a lengthy sentence often marks a trouble spot in your sentence. Look carefully at the final clauses of your sentences. Many times you can cut them entirely. In other cases you’ll see that they bear little relation to the rest of your thought and should break free to become their own sentences.

4. Remove Passive Construction

This standard piece of style advice still bears repeating. Except when used for (usually ironic) effect, cut out sentences that bury their subjects by shunting them to the end of the sentence, or omitting them entirely.

Dogs all around the neighborhood were terrified by ravager activity.

Becomes:

The ravagers terrified neighborhood dogs.

5. Strip Out Introductory Flab

When revising text, take an extra hard squint at passages introducing new subjects. You may see that you eased your way into the topic with a series of broad introductory statements. If you did, you were probably getting your mental gears going as you found your way to what you really wanted to say. See how many initial sentences you can pare away without cutting into the true meat of your piece.

Ever since the dawn of time humankind has feared the dark. Throughout the ages people have whispered of strange doings in the woods. Combining the dark and the woods together creates unique and special fears. The shadowy beings known as woodhaunts stalk the forests of southeastern Poland.

Becomes:

The shadowy beings known as woodhaunts stalk the forests of southeastern Poland.

Previous Entries