The latest edition of See Page XX is out now! Featuring Icons for Ashen Stars, our official Community Use policy, and mo’ Mythos problems for Cthulhu Confidential, as well as new releases The Valkyrie Gambit and GM Screen and Resource Book for TimeWatch.
We’re putting the finishing touches to some overdue projects this month, including sending the final version of Cthulhu Confidential – now with an additional chapter about the Mythos, and many typo fixes – to the printers. We’ll be closing pre-orders for this on March 21st. We’re also shipping the physical Hawkins Papers to Kickstarter backers this month, so Pelgranista homes no longer double as “Hawkins document storage”. Both projects have been greatly improved by the additional time we’ve spent on them, and we’re excited to see what you make of them.
Speaking of time, here’s what we’re releasing this month, too – specifically, pre-orders for a set of three new adventures called The Valkyrie Gambit, along with the GM Screen and Resource Guide, both of which are for the TimeWatch RPG. The PDFs will be available to download in mid-March. And as we’re on the subject, today’s date is significant – it’s Gareth’s birthday. Have a good one, Gareth!
- The TimeWatch GM Screen and Resource Guide – Featuring art by Rich Longmore and Lee Moyer, and a 40-page resource book filled with advice and time seeds.
- The Valkyrie Gambit – Three adventures for the TimeWatch RPG
- Cthulhu Confidential: Case Notes Edition Preorder – Fight the Mythos alone, in this noir-flavoured GUMSHOE One-2-One game for one player and one GM – pre-order closes on March 21st
- View from the Pelgrane’s Nest – Simon Rogers on what’s new in the Nest
- Why, That Forensic Report Isn’t Worth a Used Cup of Fly Spit! – Robin D. Laws on how to use the The Esoterrorists Forensic Entomology ability to horrify and disgust
- The Plain People of Gaming: Icons of the Ashen Stars – Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan suggests some Icon relationships for your Ashen Stars game
- See Page XX: Our Mythos Creature Problems Continue – Robin D. Laws brings some more Problem cards to use with GUMSHOE One-2-One mythos creature encounters
- What Would You Create With All Our Stuff? – Read our new Community Use Policy, and what you can do with our published materials
- Call of Chicago: OFTEN Is A Word They Seldom Use – Kenneth Hite brings you the real secrets behind the modified limited hangout of MK-ULTRA
- Pelgrane GMs still needed for GenCon – The Origins deadline has passed, but there are still spaces on our Gen Con 50 GM team.
- February playtesting – Playtest five new adventures for The Persephone Extraction, our upcoming Night’s Black Agents campaign
See Page XX Poll
If you are interested any of these games, please email us with the adventure you wish to playtest in the subject line.
Title: The Persephone Extraction
System: Night’s Black Agents
Author: See individual entries
Deadline: 31st March
Number of sessions: 2-4
THE PERSEPHONE EXTRACTION is a campaign for Night’s Black Agents. Each of the adventures below should take 2-4 sessions to play through, and is largely standalone. Please let us know which one you would like to playtest – once you have submitted your playtest feedback, you can playtest a second adventure. THE PERSEPHONE EXTRACTION is the first adventure in the sequence and THE PEOPLE OF ASH is the last; the other three can be played in any order. The adventures are:
- THE PERSEPHONE EXTRACTION (Emma Marlow): Someone’s framed the Agents for a murder that hasn’t happened – yet. Warring factions within the Conspiracy struggle for control of a biological weapon, and its designer holds the answers the Agents need. Can they find Morgane Le Corre before her pursuers track her down – and just who else is hunting her?
- SLEEPING GIANTS (Will Plant): The trail leads through Moscow to a sealed city, where forbidden plagues slumber in a concrete tomb buried deep beneath the tundra. The Conspiracy are on their way here, to obtain more of the pathogen they need to implement their cryptic Pale Agenda. The Agents are all that stands between the vampires and the plague…
- CLEAN-HEELED ACHILLES (Heather Albano): Mysterious disappearances and archaeological traces bring the Agents to Istanbul, where they must uncover the secrets of an ancient monastery – and descend into the Underworld to confront the living dead.
- THE PALE AGENDA (Bill White): The Conspiracy intends to recruit an international drug smuggler as part of their plan to end the world – but that initiation gives the Agents a vitally needed entry vector into the vampires’ most cherished tool. Corporate intrigue meets occult rituals in Madrid…
- THE PEOPLE OF ASH (Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan): The final assault on the Conspiracy takes the Agents to Greece. There, they must uncover the ancient lair of the vampire elders and destroy them, once and for all time. Their clandestine odyssey ends in darkness…
My current project (ONE of my current projects, so many current projects) is the (provisionally-titled) Book of Ages, for 13th Age. It’s mostly a grab bag of “cool stuff from previous Ages” – monsters, magic, feats, legends, adventure seeds – but here’s one of the early sections, discussing persnickety world-building questions and assumptions.
* * *
Twelve Ages have passed since the foundation of the Empire and the reign of the Wizard King… but what’s an Age? And how long is that exactly? These questions are of comparatively little importance in a regular 13th Age campaign compared to “what’s that scaly firebreathing monster-snake over there” and “how long is it, roughly, because if it’s a Huge monster we’re screwed”, but in a book all about Ages we must at least briefly define our terms.
What is an Age?
An Age is a period of history that, in retrospect, has a discernible arc or overriding influence. Ages are book-ended by catastrophes. So, the First Age was dominated by the founding of the Empire in the aftermath of the Wizard King’s defeat, and ended when the giants razed Axis. The Sixth Age’s defining influence was the spread of lycanthropy among the aristocracy; like other Ages, it began and ended in catastrophe.
That isn’t to say, of course, that there isn’t tumult and catastrophe at times other than the start and end of Ages. Every peril that threatens the Empire is hailed by doom-sayers as the turning of the 13th Age. You don’t know that the world is falling apart when you’re trying to survive in the middle of it.
Who Defines An Age?
The historians and chroniclers in the court of the Archmage in Horizon are responsible for declaring the beginning of a new Age. This usually happens retrospectively – “clearly”, they might say, “the defeat of the Sea Raiders a generation ago marked a great change in the affairs of the Empire, so we have decided that the 11th Age ended at the Battle of the Redwater and we are now in the first century of the 12th Age”. At times, ambitious Emperors have pressured the sages into prematurely declaring the start of a new Age, but such hubris is punished by history – and anyway, only sages, historians, dungeon-crawling adventurous archaeologists and long-lived elves really care that much about when precisely an Age begins.
How Long Is An Age?
It varies. Recent Ages are all a few hundred years long. Earlier Ages might have been much longer, for the further back you go in the history of the Dragon Empire, the more uncertain things become. (All those catastrophes play havoc with proper record-keeping, after all.) So, Ages last as long as the Gamemaster needs. If you like an absurdly ancient Empire, then maybe the first Age lasted ten thousand years. If you want something faster and more chaotic, then Ages might last scarcely a century, and some of the earlier Ages might be entirely fraudulent. (“Historians!”, shouts the barbarian king who’s just claimed the throne, “insert another Age, and relate to me tales from that era about how my ancestors ruled the Empire, and how I am therefore reclaiming my rightful inheritance from a usurper and now, as it might appear, a bloody-handed mass murderer.”)
Do Ages Mean Anything?
Now that’s an interesting question. How much mystical significance does an Age have? The catastrophe that ends an Age usually results in the death, diminishment or transformation of one or more Icons; it’s unheard-of for two Ages to have exactly the same roster of Icons.
Of course, that implies other questions, like: is an Icon simply a powerful or influential individual, or are they somehow an embodiment/reflection/wellspring of mystical power? Does the appearance of the Priestess in the 13th Age mean that divine magic will become more powerful? Does the loss of the Oracle mean that it’s now harder – or even impossible – to see the future? If an Age is defined by its Icons, then are there a limited number of Iconic “slots” available? If there are always 13 Icons, no more and no less, and the existence of an Icon has mystical significance, then the goal of every sinister conspiracy and cult might be to eliminate an existing Icon to elevate their own champion. If the Orc Lord dies in battle, and the Lizard Queen takes his place, then will orcs become weak and fearful, and lizard-folk become stronger and fiercer in their stead?
An interesting variant assumes that the number of an Age determines how many Iconic ‘slots’ there are. So, in the First Age there was only one Icon, two in the Second, three in the Third and so forth. The Great Gold Wyrm was the first Icon; in the Second Age, the dwarves defeat the giants and the Dwarf King ascends to Iconic status. In the third, the Four Dragons arrive, drawn by the wealth of the underground kingdom. In the fourth, the Elf Queen binds the Green, making the Four into the Three and marking her as an Icon…
Alternatively, Icons might be purely a measure of local praxis – the Emperor’s an icon in the Empire, but has no reach beyond it, and if you follow the Koru trail up north, then local potentates like the Frostjack, the Living Glacier or the Hobgoblin Chieftain take on Iconic roles. In that interpretation, a player could even take Icon-style relationships with these smaller-scale Icons that would only work when in that Icon’s zone of influence. There still might be a Grandmaster of Flowers in some hidden monastery where she trains monks, and she works as an Icon when you’re adventuring near that holy mountain, but she doesn’t have the Empire-wide reach of her forebears.
Another possibility is that some forms of magic might be possible in one Age, but not in others. There might be Ages when all arcane magic just stopped working for centuries, until the world turned again. There might be Ages when other forms of magical power (psionics, maybe) worked, but they stopped when the Age changed, leaving behind only a few impossible relics and the memories of wonder.
Some astoundingly potent rituals and spells might be restricted to once-per-Age, just as resurrection is once-per-lifetime, more or less.
Does Everyone Agree on the Ages?
Even if you assume that the turning of an Age is marked with completely obvious and unambiguous signs and portents, even if giant letters of fire appear in the sky saying ‘NOW TURN TO THE NEXT AGE’ when the time is at hand, some people are going to argue. The Elves might refuse to acknowledge that the 12th Age ever ended; historians might argue over whether Horizon was built in the 3rd or the 4th Age, or if it was actually built in the 18th and is moving backwards in time (because the Archmage, that’s why.) Not only will the ordering of the Ages vary from campaign to campaign, but there can be plenty of disagreement and ambiguity within a campaign too. After all, an Age is just the high-fantasy way of saying “once upon a time…”
The TimeWatch and Dracula Dossier Kickstarters have reached new milestones. TimeWatch backers have received the PDF versions of the The TimeWatch GM Screen and Resource Guide and The Valkyrie Gambit, in advance of the pre-orderers for these. The Hawkins Papers are being assembled over the next week.
Today is new Pelgrane Alex Roberts’ first day! We welcome her to the nest. She has undergone the secret three-fold ritual, and learned the company song.
We will be closing pre-orders for Cthulhu Confidential on 21st March. Fight the Mythos alone, in this noir-flavoured GUMSHOE One-2-One game for one player and one GM. It’s our best selling game since 13th Age! Next month will see the release of the first of the PDF adventures, for House Up in the Hill.
A set of three adventures for TimeWatch, The Valkyrie Gambit and The TimeWatch GM Screen and Resource Book are on pre-order this month. Backers have the PDFs; pre-orderers will get them in a week or so’s time. They will be printed and shipped to backers first.
13th Age has suffered from a log jam. We have a host of amazing products lined up and in development, but we’ve had problems clearing them through. Gen Con ends up being our target for these books, so we’ve had to do a lot of juggling and hard thinking. This is the tentative release order as it stand for the next three books at least The Bestiary 2, Battle Scenes 3, The Book of Demons then Shards of the Broken Sky.
I’ve been running a weekly game of 13th Age, and testing out the new Bestiary 2 creatures, including the Hellmarsh Cultists, Gibbering Mouther and Salamander, in part to deal with a character with a very, very high AC. It did the trick!
Trail of Cthulhu
Steve Dempsey has been on a mammoth writing spree and Fearful Symmetries – in which you play a group of magicians in 1930s England – now stands at 80,000 words. We expect the first draft by the end of March.
It’s one month until the Yellow King RPG Kickstarter. Here is Robin’ sneak preview of what you can expect in actual play.
There are a lot of books in the pipeline right now, but none of them are quite cooked yet, so here’s a little bit of whimsy before the cannon of self-promotion is brought to bear on this space. As you know, Bob, Icons are a lovely little mechanic from 13th Age that model the player characters’ relationships with various powerful individuals/factions – the Archmage, the Emperor, the Lich King and so forth. (There’ll be lots of new – or rather, old – Icons in the upcoming Book of Ages, but I said I’d save the self-promotion).
We’ve adapted Icons to other GUMSHOE games before – here’s Ken talking about Icons in Night’s Black Agents, and in the Dracula Dossier, and in Trail of Cthulhu, and now that I think about it I should really do a set for Cthulhu City (more self-promotion – for shame!). They work especially well, though, in the wild and vasty space of the Bleed in Ashen Stars.
Quick rules reminder. Each player gets three Relationship dice to allocate among the Icons. Relationships can be positive, negative or conflicted. At the start of each session, everyone rolls their Icon Relationships (d6s); a 6 indicates that that Icon is going to get worked into the adventure somehow in a way that benefits the player, and a 5 means that things are complicated and messy. And, given this is Ashen Stars, a spend from an appropriate Investigative Ability like Cybe Culture gives a re-roll for the matching relationship.
Rasal, The Practitioner
Coordinator of the Combine’s reconstruction and redevelopment projects, Rasal embodies the distant, technocratic civilisation in its efforts to reclaim the Bleed. Rasal makes little effort to hide his distaste for the rough, chaotic region, and makes as many trips back to the safety of the Proper as he can. Whenever he returns, though, he brings vast resources – both financial and technological – to help solve the problems of these war-torn stars.
Allies: The Viceroy, the Princess in Exile, the Merchant
Enemies: The Rebel, The Transer
Judy Coyle, The Viceroy
The commander of Ossa One, the Special Legate to the Far Settlements is in charge of keeping law and order in the Bleed. She’s responsible for licensing Laser crews, as well as commanding the Combine naval forces in the region. Coyle must balance her loyalty to her distant superiors in the Ministry of Settlement to the needs of the local worlds.
Allies: The Practitioner, Grand Arbiter Koket, the Merchant
Enemies: The Master of the Plunderbund, The Seeker, the Rebel
Azela Shaw, The Rebel of the Bleed
The most outspoken of the Bleedists, Shaw is a former naval officer who now rejects Combine control of the region. She’s proved to be a formidable organiser, rallying the disparate groups and worlds that oppose the Combine into an ad hoc alliance. Coyle claims that Shaw’s rumoured criminal connections taint the whole alliance, but Shaw’s allies dismiss such claims as Combine mudslinging.
Allies: The Healer, the Merchant, The Transer
Enemies: The Viceroy, the Practitioner, the Connoisseur
The Master of the Plunderbund
The Plunderbund is a syndicate of criminal gangs, pirates, thieves, unscrupulous mercenaries and shady corporations – a shadow economy, even a shadow government, slithering into the gaps left by the shattered Combine. The Plunderbund, for all its many faults, gets things done – if you need something, they can get it for you, but at a high price. The mysterious Master of the Plunderbund is an elusive figure, and may be the figurehead for a ring of crime lords.
Allies: The Rebel, The Princess in Exile, the Connoisseur
Enemies: The Viceroy, The Merchant, Grand Arbiter Koket
Klaadarr, The Seeker
The stagnant, sterile Combine is a secular realm, devoid of spirituality. The Bleed, though, is afire with mystic revelation and revitalized nufaiths. New religions – or resurrected old ones – boil across the stars, finding eager converts and fanatical followers on worlds desperate for something to believe in now that the Combine is gone. Into this tumult comes the Seeker, an alien prophet of all Nufaiths and none, who claims that that God can be found in the Bleed. Listen to him – he’s right.
Allies: The Transer, the Healer
Enemies: The Meddler, the Pracitioner
Anacar Inatuy, The Merchant
Inatuy and her corporate allies made their fortune in the Bleed in the chaotic years after the war. There is still unimaginable wealth to be made out here, in the wild frontier, as long as they can thread a course between the stultifying control of the Combine and the apocalyptic chaos of a galaxy without law or justice. Of course, moral ambiguity is very much within the Merchant’s wheelhouse.
Inatuy is merely the most visible member of a cabal of corporate magnates and industrialists; the Connoisseur remains aloof from this cabal, and while he may be wealthier than any one of them individually, they vastly outmatch him as a group.
Allies: The Pracitioner, The Rebel, the Princess in Exile
Enemies: The Healer, The Connoisseur, the Transer, the Master of the Plunderbund
Starwind, The Healer (Balla)
Starwind led an exodus of Balla artists, scientists and adventurers out of Combine space to settle in the Bleed. Her movement seeks to channel Balla emotional energy into healing and remaking the galaxy, instead of suppressing it. Her followers – the Chorus – have the potential to accomplish wonders, but might equally drag the Bleed down with them into madness.
Allies: The Transer, the Viceroy, the Seeker
Enemies: The Master of the Plunderbund, the Rebel
Grand Arbiter Koket (Tavak)
Koket is a legend back in the Combine – a decorated general, an accomplished philosopher, and a legal scholar who helped shape the decisions of the Combine Bench for decades. He was rumoured to be a candidate for Chief Justice, but instead chose to travel to the Bleed instead. While semi-retired, he retains his status as a judge, and serves as arbiter or investigator in especially complex or controversial cases.
Allies: The Viceroy, the Practitioner, the Transer
Enemies: The Master of the Plunderbund, the Princess in Exile
Krtch-Ick, The Connoisseur (Kch-thk)
Krtch-Ick is an immensely wealthy Kch-thk; he made his fortune back during the Mohilar War in dubious circumstances, and moved to the Bleed to evade Combine jurisdiction. He collects all manner of things – new foodstuffs, alien artefacts, “interesting people”, wrecked starships, military hardware. Whole planets, on occasion.
He owns corporations too – among his assets is the Freedom Egg, a Bleed-wide media conglomerate that broadcasts news and entertainment across the region. Krtch-Ick’s word can shape opinion throughout the Bleed, so rumours that he’s becoming more unstable with each reincarnation worry the authorities.
Allies: The Rebel, the Seeker, the Master of the Plunderbund
Enemies: The Merchant, the Viceroy
Ukshqnza, The Princess in Exile (Durugh)
The death of martyred King Ukshqa and the Mohilar War transformed Durugh society. The old police state hierarchy collapsed, leaving their civilisation in a state of near-anarchy. Princess Ukshqnza was one of the few members of the king’s immediate family who escaped the chaos. She fled to the Bleed with an entourage of loyalists – not to mention several warships, a large portion of the Durugh state coffers, and (allegedly) a complete copy of the fabled Silent Gallery, the archive of Durugh espionage and blackmail. While the Durugh are now part of the Combine and Ukshqnza has no official standing, many Durugh see her as their ruler in exile, and the Combine look warily at her as a rallying symbol for Durugh separatists in the Bleed. At the same time, her combination of military force and unmatched intelligence-gathering capabilities make her a vital ally to Combine forces trying to keep order in wild space.
Allies: The Practitioner, the Master of the Plunderbund, the Meddler
Enemies: Grand Arbiter Koket, the Transer
Remaker, The Transer (Cybe)
The military records that might have identified who Remaker was before she was transformed were lost in the war. She emerged onto the political scene in the Bleed full-formed like Athena, as the champion of a wide-ranging coalition of cybe veterans. Remaker’s allies include mercenary legions and charitable foundations, cybe researchers and prophets, raiders and lasers alike – wherever one finds cybes, there too are her followers. Her avowed goal is to establish an independent cybe state in the Bleed; rumours connect her to illegal experimentation in creating new cybes, and some claim that her secret aim is to transform the entire population of the Bleed into her mind-slaves.
Allies: The Rebel, The Healer, the Seeker
Enemies: The Viceroy, The Practitioner
The Meddler (Vas Mal)
The mysterious Meddler is a Vas Mal who retained considerably more of his cosmic awareness than the rest of his kind. He can, it seems, see the future, and can also see the temporal nexuses and pressure points that can change that future if poked in just the right way. The Meddler manipulates events and individuals to bring about those changes.
Allies: The Seeker, the Princess in Exile
Enemies: The Master of the Plunderbund, the Practitioner, the Connoisseur, the Merchant
The Ashen Shadow (Mohilar)
And they are still out there, moving in the dark places between the stars. Their recent defeat stripped away much of their power and has shown them they are not invincible. They must work in secret, through agents and intermediaries – until the stars turn dark, and the Mohilar can return…
Ashen Stars is a gritty space opera game where freelance troubleshooters solve mysteries, fix thorny problems, and explore strange corners of space — all on a contract basis. The game includes streamlined rules for space combat, 14 different types of ship, a rogues’ gallery of NPC threats and hostile species, and a short adventure to get you started. Purchase Ashen Stars in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.
The latest issue of See Page XX is out now! New releases include the Dreamhounds of Paris limited edition, The Crown Commands and Map Folio PDF bundle, and a Low and Slow Looking Glass: Hong Kong, for all your GUMSHOE city setting needs.
Articles include some blasphemous tomes and cryptic relics culled from the pages of Cthulhu City, a procedural guide for The Esoterrorists field agents, a welcome to our new Production Assistant along with notes on how we found her, using TimeWatch as a teaching aid, and playtesting The Fall of Delta Green. It’s all in the new See Page XX!
Happy new year, all, and best wishes for a fantastic 2017! After a largely-good, sometimes-bad, always-tumultuous 2016, we’ve been steadily clearing the decks to usher in a new year of progress in 2017, including hiring a new Production Assistant to help us deliver the best possible customer service, and allow us to produce even more wonderful books. You can find out more about the whole application and hiring process below.
New this month is the limited edition Dreamhounds of Paris, featuring the same surrealist art and Trail of Cthulhu setting, but a lush faux-leatherbound cover, and a bookplate signed by the authors. And in PDF, we have Looking Glass: Hong Kong, a “Low and Slow” city setting for Asia’s most chaotic port; The Crown Commands and Map Folio PDF Bundle, with forty battles for four crowned icons of the Dragon Empire, and the final edition of 13th Age Monthly, High Druid’s World, available now.
- Dreamhounds of Paris Limited Edition – Only 100 copies of this gold-foiled version – beautifully bound in a faux leather cover, with a signed bookplate – exist
- Cthulhu Confidential: Case Notes Edition Preorder – Fight the Mythos alone, in this noir-flavoured GUMSHOE One-2-One game for one player and one GM
- The Crown Commands and Map Folio PDF Bundle – 40 illustrated and mapped battle scenes for the Dwarf King, Elf Queen, Emperor, and Lich King: one set of battles for each of the three tiers of play.
- Looking Glass: Hong Kong – A “Low and Slow” city setting for Night’s Black Agents, The Esoterrorists, Fear Itself, and Trail of Cthulhu
- High Druid’s World – The final edition of 13th Age Monthly Volume 2 features playable monster stats for NPC druids and powerful druidic dragons.
- View from the Pelgrane’s Nest – Simon Rogers on what’s new in the Nest
- 2016 – A Year in Review – Cat Tobin does a guest post over on Flames Rising about Pelgrane’s 2016
- See P. XX: Cannibalism – Such a Loaded Term – Robin D. Laws talks design and reusing game system elements
- Who Would You One-2-One With Over the Holidays? – The Pelgranistas share their dream One-2-One players
- Using TimeWatch as an educational tool – Daniel Fidelman on how he uses TimeWatch to teach history
- Testing for Residue of the Outer Dark – A procedural guide for The Esoterrorists field agents, by Robin D. Laws
- Call of Chicago: 13 Olympikons – Kenneth Hite on how he’s mapping the Twelve Olympians to the thirteen 13th Age Icons for his home game
- Pelgrane GMs needed for Origins and GenCon – Full details on how to sign up on this page
- Mo Mythos Creatures. Mo Mythos Problems – Robin D. Laws on mythos creatures in GUMSHOE One-2-One
- Finding our Production Assistant – Cat Tobin on how the recruitment process worked
- Heeeeeere’s Alex – Welcome to Alex Roberts, our new Production Assistant!
- Call of Chicago: John C. Lilly, One-Man Mythos – Continuing the theme of things he ran out of room for, Kenneth Hite couldn’t fit all this man’s lore into Fall of Delta Green
- The Plain People of Gaming: From the Sylvanus St. Flea Market– Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan has saved some blasphemous tomes and cryptic relics from the pages of Cthulhu City
- January playtesting – Playtest Operation ALADDIN’S CAVE, the introductory adventure for Fall of Delta Green
Resource Page Updates
- A write-up of Dorian Gray, by Nick Ingham
- A write-up of Good Lady Ducayne, by Nick Ingham
- Write-ups of the Edom Field Manual‘s szohordoks as innocents, by Nick Ingham
See Page XX Poll
The Pelgranes have returned from their annual pilgrimage to WarpCon, a feast of gaming, socialising and drinking. Gareth and Cat are both former con directors, game runners and writers, and form part of the WarpCon brain trust. It’s undoubtedly the friendliest convention I’ve attended. We playtested Gareth’s game Drone, in which one character is a semi-autonomous corpse powered be cybernetic implants and the others are the remote operators. As the game progresses, the drone gains more memories and more autonomy, so it becomes a three-way battle between the drone, the operators and the GM to see what happens – tl;dr never ends well for the drone. Cat and I also worked on Pelgrane Press’s strategic goals – don’t worry, they feature only the creation of table-top RPGs.
This month’s new releases include the Dreamhounds of Paris Limited Edition, The Crown Commands and Map Folio PDF Bundle – forty pre-planned encounters to drop anywhere into your 13th Age campaign, High Druid’s World – the final edition of 13th Age Monthly and Cthulhu Confidential: Case Notes Edition Preorder game for one player and one GM.
The biggest news is that after an exhaustive recruitment process which attracted candidates of the highest calibre, we’ve invited a new Pelgrane to the nest – Alex Roberts. Reporting to the managing director, she will take on the support role but also bring her wide experience and unfailing positivity into all aspects of our roleplaying game publishing.
After two years of exuberance and invention, 13th Age Monthly is ending. I do apologize for the late delivery of the final episode, High Druid’s World. It features summoning sorcerers, dragons riders, nymphs, elves and even the fiery phoenix. If you’ve not experienced it, volumes one and two are available from the webstore. 13th Age Monthly was financially viable, but it was holding Rob Heinsoo back from delivering the many new books we have planned for the line. Rob has been able to work towards finishing the Demonologist and push forward with icon follower and class-based books and concentrate on getting the Bestiary 2 developed. This bumper monster manual features the salamander, battle shade, elemental beast and xorn. And who wouldn’t want a fire axolotl as a familiar?
A set of adventures for TimeWatch, The Valkyrie Gambit is in layout, followed closely by the The TimeWatch GM Screen and Resource Book. They will be printed and shipped to backers first, but we will put them on pre-order next month for other customers to ship a little later.
TimeWatch will also feature as one half of the forthcoming Free RPG Day book, along with a 13th Age adventure written by Kevin Kulp. Warning – it features Comic Sans!
PDF Sales and Offer
For many years, we’ve sold PDFs through a variety of outlets, including Warehouse 23, Paizo, Indie Press Revolution and DriveThruRPG, and of course our very own mail order store. DriveThruRPG offer a much better rate to exclusive publishers, and last year it because clear that the that difference and our choice to sell through the other outlets was costing us many thousands of dollars, and despite our long-running relationship with these excellent outlets, this has become untenable. So, now, the only place you’ll be able to get our ebooks is through the Pelgrane store or DriveThruRPG.
Night’s Black Agents and Dracula Dossier
We’ve shipped the first batch of the Hawkins Papers to our shipper Kixto, ready for assembly. My happiness in this image is as a result of having finally loaded the last of more than fifty boxes on the van. We’ve used child labour (both mine, and Cat’s family were involved) set fire to ovens, boiled multiple gallons of tea, and angered a printer (the mechanical kind) but we are nearly there. We are not likely to have any spares, alas.
The Fall of Delta Green
The Fall of Delta Green is two-thirds done and ready for playtesting. As a big Delta Green fan, and as an internal playtester, I can tell you this GUMSHOE adaptation does just what it’s meant to – combines GUMSHOE and DG so can you can find the clues, then regret you have. Sign up here.
See Page XX
a column on roleplaying by Robin D. Laws
Adversaries in GUMSHOE One-2-One don’t have game statistics per se. This applies to mundane foes and Mythos creatures alike. Instead, when your investigator encounters something nasty that might want to do her harm, a Challenge block describes all the dangers and difficulties of dealing with it, treating its fighting capability as one of those various factors. The threshold numbers assigned to the three outcomes (Setback, Hold, Advance) reflect that particular situation in that scenario. In another scene in the same mystery, or when you next run into that creature in a completely different adventure, the Challenge block might be framed quite differently. The GM or scenario designer starts with the role the Challenge plays in the story and then creates descriptive factors to justify why this Deep One dust-up is tougher (or easier) than the one before it.
One-2-One encounters never lead to the immediate and sudden demise of a character, or a likewise abrupt, story-stopping descent into Lovecraftian madness. Instead a bad result gives you a Problem card. (Or two, if you chose to accept a higher price for an added possibility of success.) Certain Problem cards destroy the character at scenario’s end, after the mystery has been solved, if you still have them on hand. Naturally, you’ll do everything you can to get rid of fatal Problems before the story ends, so that you can continue to have adventures as Viv Sinclair, Langston Wright or Dex Raymond. Otherwise you have to grieve your character’s demise and then create a replacement PC.
Although the Problem cards you take from meeting with a mythos creature, whether you fight it or merely behold it and feel your mind go snap, might vary from one Challenge to the next, the prepared GM might enjoy seeing some samples to either use as is, or to modify to fit her own Challenges.
So for this month and next in See Page XX, I’ll be providing some free-floating Problem cards that might stem from Challenges involving various classic Mythos creatures. These include both Problem cards that come with Setbacks from:
- Fighting Challenges, resulting in physical injuries
- Stability Challenges, resulting in emotional or philosophical stress
You can download the laid out Problem Cards here.
Problem from Fighting Challenge:
Something about the way that bat-winged monstrosity beak clamped into your flesh makes you think the damage hasn’t stopped. You’re not a doctor, but that hideously spreading bruise might be your first clue.
Each time you get a core clue, roll a die. On an odd result, place a tick mark on this card. Erase a tick mark by Taking Time. If you end the scenario with three or more tick marks on the card, your character dies from a cranial blood clot.
Problem from Stability Challenge:
Fear the Skies
Those awful flapping things could come back at any moment. They could tear you limb from limb. How do you defend yourself against something like that?
Put a tick mark on this card. Each time you move about in an isolated outdoors location rendering you vulnerable to aerial attack, add another tick. Take a penalty to Stability tests equal to the number of ticks. Take a penalty to Sense Trouble tests equal to the number of ticks— except when the danger actually comes from the sky, in which case, gain a bonus equal to the number of ticks.
Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath
Problem from Fighting Challenge
You didn’t know what to expect from a walking tree, even when you got closer and saw that the branches were really tentacles. But being trampled under giant hooves? Not what you anticipated.
Until you Take Time to recuperate, -3 to all Physical / General tests and -1 to all Physical / Manual tests. After that, -1 to all Physical / General tests. Discard when you solve the central mystery.
The Trees Are Watching
You know those things weren’t trees, but out of the corner of your eye trees sure look like those things.
Whenever you can see a tree in the distance, you are unable to make Pushes and take a -1 penalty to Physical / Manual tests. You may attempt to discard by Taking Time to visit your shrink contact. Then roll a die; on an even result, discard. On an odd result, this becomes a Continuity card.
Problem from Fighting Challenge:
That ape-insect thing raked through your clothing to lacerate your arm. The black goo weeping from the wound strikes you as something to get looked at. Or to try desperately to put out of your mind. One or the other.
Discard by Taking Time to visit your scientific or medical Contact. If still in hand at end of scenario, you die from blood poisoning.
Problem from Stability Challenge:
Ever since you saw that insect-ape thing, weird images have spun through your mind, of other spheres, other realities. Each one more appalling and predatory than the last.
In ordinary circumstances, -1 to Physical / Mental tests.
In the presence of a Mythos creature or manifestation, -2 to Physical / Mental tests and -1 to Physical / Manual tests.
Discard by destroying a Dimensional Shambler.
Problem from Fighting Challenge:
Banged Up All Over
That airborne jellyfish summoned a blast of wind that hit you like a tornado. You can’t decide which part of you hurts worse.
-2 to Fighting and -1 to all other General / Physical tests. Discard when you score a Hold or better on a General / Physical test.
Problem from Stability Challenge:
The creature came out of nowhere, like it was invisible. That means there could be a creature watching you, right now. You can’t help it if that leaves you looking a little twitchy.
To make an Interpersonal Push, you must first succeed at a Difficulty 5 Cool test, which then permits you to discard this card.