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.

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.

 

NEW! Shards of the Broken Sky

I’m really delighted to reveal this month’s newest release – the sandbox adventure Shards of the Broken Sky, for the 13th Age Roleplaying Game. We originally commissioned this back in 2013, and since then, we’ve been hack and slashing the double-sized behemoth that was ASH LAW’s original manuscript. Rob Heinsoo’s put a significant amount of work into the final product, and we’re very grateful to Trisha DeFoggi, who stepped in at the last minute and brought some much-needed editorial support. With more than 100 brand new creatures, 3-dimensional mapping (!!!), and catering to player characters from level 1-7 (and a bit beyond), I think 13th Age fans will enjoy the result.

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

I’ve had the first drafts through from the printers, and I’m really impressed with the look and feel of the Night’s Black Agents Director’s Screen. It’s slick and solid, and the four-fold structure gives it a serious heft. It looks great in the printer proof stark white, but the artwork I’d originally commissioned for it isn’t holding up as well as I’d hoped on the printed version, so I’m speaking to another artist to redo this.

Work in progress update: Swords of the Serpentine

We’ve received a fantastic volume of feedback for Swords of the Serpentine – it was the largest playtest of any game I’ve been involved with at Pelgrane, so if you took part in it, thank you! Kevin is currently working his way through the manuscript, clarifying and editing as he goes, based on your comments. Generous colleagues had flagged up to us that swords & sorcery is a genre that has historically had issues with exoticism, racism and sexism, so Misha Bushyager of Black Girl Gameworks has also gone through the manuscript, to make sure the final product reflects Kevin and Emily’s intent for the setting.

Playtesting, continued: The Borellus Connection

Last month, we released The Borellus Connection. which are for playtestingThis collection of eight thematically linked operations can serve as a connected campaign, or as stand-alone operations the Handler can drop into the course of an ongoing The Fall of DELTA GREEN investigation. We’ve got some spaces open for more playtesters, so if you’re interested, drop us an email.

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, please sign up here, so we can share our great games with even more people this year! You can see the full list of adventures available here.

 

NEW! Mutant City Blues 2nd Edition

This month sees the release of the second edition of what I tend to think of as one of our hidden gems, which doesn’t feature in the spotlight glare of our social media, or release schedule, nearly half enough, but which I know has a really passionate following. If you’re not familiar with it, Mutant City Blues is a GUMSHOE police procedural game, set in a near-future where 1% of the world’s population has developed mutant abilities – including some of the police. Use the Quade Diagram out-of-game to create your mutant-powered characters, but also in-game as part of Mutant City’s Heightened Crimes Investigation Unit to identify perpetrators of enhanced crimes. Eisner Award-winning comics artist Gene Ha has done a stunningly modern new cover – we’ll cover that in more detail over the coming weeks.

We’re proud of Pelgrane’s comparatively long history in the RPG industry, but having been around for nearly twenty years also brings some issues with it. One is that the file format of books from ~2002 doesn’t necessarily hold up that well seventeen years later (more on the original The Dying Earth RPG files some other time). Another is that earlier books like Mutant City Blues were published in less socially conscious times, and looking at it afresh in 2019, we see ideas and forms of expression that we now realise are deeply problematic. Some first edition playtest groups were generous enough to get in touch with us and send us their thoughts on that, and with their help, the resulting second edition improves on both the playability and the decency of the first.

Coming soon! Hideous Creatures – A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos

Long-term readers will no doubt have picked up on the epic war we constantly wage against our, and all publishers’, bitterest enemy: printers. Our foes won a major battle in October, ousting us from our familiar old haunts with a new weapon in the form of impossible price increases. Dashed from our comfort zone, we’ve been scouring the world for a replacement ever since. The reason I mention this is that the first print run of books from the NuPrinter are being set up as I type, and we’re hoping to have it with pre-orderers in a couple of months. I’m really excited to see the finished product, Hideous Creatures – A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos. NuPrinter has been great to work with, with plenty of good-looking proofs at each stage of the process (really important, when working with a new printer), which has included proofs of the final book, too. So uncharacteristically, I’m the first person to see this! (Usually, I have to go to a convention to see our latest releases in physical format, which is why you might have seen pictures of me being very impressed while opening boxes at Gen Con. That Cthulhu Confidential limited edition is sooo gorgeous, though!).

But I digress – I was going to show you some photos of proof copies. I hadn’t anticipated them sending through a blank book as a sample first, which they did, so that was a novelty. I’m wondering what to do with it – it’s so pristine and shiny and white!

URGENT PLEA!!!

Are you going to Gen Con Indianapolis this year? The closing date for submitting events is this coming Sunday, March 10th, and we urgently need more games! 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, please sign up here, so we can share our great games with even more people this year! You can see the full list of adventures available here.

Work in progress update: The Borellus Connection

Despite having a new baby, Nimuë Ryder-Hanrahan, earlier this month (congratulations!), Gareth’s finished most of his adventures for The Borellus Connection. which are available for playtesting this monthThis collection of eight thematically linked operations can serve as a connected campaign, or as stand-alone operations the Handler can drop into the course of an ongoing The Fall of DELTA GREEN investigation.

Work in progress update: Free RPG Day 2019

We’re happy to be taking part in Free RPG Day again in 2019, and this year, we’ve got a 13th Age adventure crowd-sourced from Twitter called Assault on the Dungeon of the Pogonomancer for 3rd level characters, and a new adventure for the Paris setting of The Yellow King RPG called The Doors to Heaven. Here’s some more details about each:

Behind Iron Doors, a Gateway to Doom!

Paris, 1895. A sensation-seeking band of art students confronts supernatural invasion from an alien realm. A play called The King in Yellow circulates in the city’s secret, decadent circles, twisting the ordinary and corrupting the sacred. In the students’ latest case, a fellow student’s disappearance draws them to the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Legend claims that its iron doors were sculpted through a pact with the devil. Behind this tale the investigators uncover a stranger truth, replete with hooded figures, an unearthly plague, and the terrifying creatures that inspired the gargoyles.

Assault on the Dungeon of the Pogonomancer

The renegade dwarf wizard has returned from exile, and now his army of thralls lays siege to the fortress of his ancestors. Doom and kinstrife threaten the lands of the dwarves! There’s but one chance – if a small band of heroic adventurers can brave the passage of the Underworld, they could strike at the wizard’s secret sanctum where he plots with his mysterious allies from the depths!

Battle through the tunnels of the world below! Navigate weird perils! Face fiendish horrors! It’s a race against time – if you tarry, the dwarves on the surface will most certainly perish!

Above all, don’t get entangled – for the dungeon of the Pogonomancer is certainly one hairy situation…

It’s a new year and a new Pelgrane, with a lot of changes around our virtual office. Simon has now started his one-year sabbatical, and to cover the skills gap left by his absence, we’re welcoming Sadhbh Warren to the team. She’s joining us on a temporary contract as a Project Manager, and will be continuing Simon’s work on the website upgrade, as well as starting off some projects I’ve wanted to get off the ground for ages, like developing our GM and community hubs, looking into a range of Pelgrane-themed merchandise, and providing a decent support package to bricks-and-mortar game stores. I’ve worked with Sadhbh on a number of events, and she’s always impressed me with her capability and initiative. I’m excited to see what she can bring to the company.

We’re also working on a job spec for a new part-time temporary position. This will be community-focused, and very involved in our social media, providing better communication for everyone interested in what we’re up to, as well as improving our existing resources, and developing a new suite of video resources for Twitch and YouTube. This role will also manage our customer support, taking over from Colleen Riley, who left Pelgrane at the end of December.

NEW! Even Death Can Die – an adventure collection for Cthulhu Confidential

I think this is the first time we’ve done an adventure collection that’s bigger than the core book! Even Death Can Die features three adventures for each of the three Cthulhu Confidential protagonists – Langston Wright, Vivian Sinclair, and Dex Raymond. Making ensure GMs have everything they need means a lot of text, and so this is weighing in at a whopping 360 pages. Pre-order this month, and get the pre-edited PDF straight away.

Work in progress update: Shards of the Broken Sky

Rob Heinsoo has been working his fingers to the bone this month on the final text of Shards of the Broken Sky. He’ll be posting an update himself during the month, going through the time-consuming and labour-intensive process involved in 13th Age development. We originally commissioned this from ASH LAW in 2015, but while we’ve been cutting it down from double the original word count, 13th Age tech and best practices have changed, meaning that a lot of the actual text has needed to be updated along the way. The art and cartography is now finished apart from one or two pieces, and I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made on getting the text to the standard Rob wants it to be. We’re hoping to release this on pre-order at the end of January.

Work in progress update: Swords of the Serpentine

Kevin and Emily have also been hard at work, finishing the first draft of Swords of the Serpentine, which we’re delighted to be releasing for public playtesting this month. You can find out more about what’s in the playtest in this post.

Other news: New Gamemaster Month

Last year, we joined our good colleagues at Monte Cook Games and Atlas Games for the first ever New Gamemaster Month. Designed to inspire “maybe…”GMs and “…sometime” GMs to pick up and run their first ever game, we provided all you needed to run your first Trail of Cthulhu game. We had such great feedback from it, with a number of newbie GMs taking the plunge, that we’ve decided to do it again this year, with Chaosium joining the initiative. This will be kicking off on the website tomorrow, Tuesday January 8th; you can also follow it along on Facebook and Twitter. Even if you’re an experienced GM, we’d love you to get involved on the social media, to offer advice and cheerleading to those taking their first steps into Trail of Cthulhu GMing.

Other other news: The Black Book character generator update

As well as The Fall of DELTA GREEN, Trail of Cthulhu and Night’s Black Agents, the GUMSHOE character generator, the Black Book, will soon support The Yellow King RPG. Steven Hammond has shared some some preview screen shots over on the Facebook GUMSHOE Roleplaying Games Community.

The first image shows edit mode with the new “poolless” Investigative Skills. The second shows play mode with Push tracking instead of Health. Finally, the third image shows the new game picker. This new version is more mobile friendly (without the cover image) and makes it easier to games that are variations on another game (like the Dracula Dossier or Bookhounds). The scroll icon, shows a game with an unanswered campaign invite from a GM.

This months’ View is more remote than usual, coming to you from the heady heights of New York City, where I’m waiting for my flight back to Europe after PAX Unplugged.

This was our second time at this Philadelphia-based show, and it went very well for us this year. I’m very excited by how our 2019 is shaping up as a result of the meetings I had there, and it’s always great to catch up with customers and colleagues new and old. Profane Miracles writer Leonard Balsera helped us out on the booth this year; he had some…interesting ideas about promoting the company. So, too, did freelance marketing and business consultant Melissa Lewis-Gentry, who also jumped in to help us out at the show.

Melissa was also on the Executive Women in Tabletop seminar I was fortunate enough to take part in. This was a formidable round-up of brilliant women working at the highest levels in the boardgaming and roleplaying industries. I was particularly fascinated by the career and experiences of Elaine Chase, Vice President, Global Brand Strategy & Marketing at Wizards of the Coast, who’s worked her way up through the company to her current level from being a Magic: The Gathering judge and enthusiast over the last twenty years.

She’s had a very different career and role to me, and yet we – and the others on the panel – shared quite a few of the same frustrations and doubts on our respective Lady Hero’s Journeys. It was inspiring and enlightening, and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to meet and get to know these kickass women.

Outside of our convention attendance and cake-eating (you can read more about our Dragonmeet experiences this year in Simon’s post here), we’ve been moving on with a number of other products.

NEW! Night’s Black Agents Director’s Screen and Resource Guide

An (unintentionally) stealthy new release, although Gareth’s been working away on this for the last few months, the Night’s Black Agents Director’s Screen and Resource Guide will be our first four-panel GM screen. The accompanying Resource Guide is stuffed full of useful advice and new features for your NBA game, like initiations (vignettes describing how an Agent got baptized into the secret world of vampires), new monsters; a dozen mid-ranking NPCs that can be dropped into any conspiracy, how to deal with complicated action sequences like fights and chases, story elements that show up in many Night’s Black Agents scenarios like trailing a suspect, meeting a source, or blowing things up; Mission Skeletons, which describe the nine basic Night’s Black Agents missions and explain how to build or improvise stories around each of them, and a selection of modern-day locations, complete with suggested clues or combat options.

NEW! Book of Ages and Loot Harder PDFs

The wait is over for the digital versions of our newest 13th Age books. The Book of Ages focuses on the dozen former ages before there was the 13th, with new icons, monsters, treasures and powers, and a literal wealth of story prompts and random tables to generate epic stories. It also includes the Engine of the Ages, a collaborative method for creating the extended history of your campaign.

Loot Harder continues in the lootylicious tradition of its predecessor, The Book of Loot, bringing even more game-changing, campaign-defining iconic relics, plus adventure hooks, new item types (scepters, chalices, orbs), lair items, linked thematic item sets, and iconic artifacts!

Work in progress update: Swords of the Serpentine

Over on our Facebook page, we revealed Jérôme Huguenin’s gorgeous cover for Kevin Kulp and Emily Dresner’s upcoming GUMSHOE swords and sorcery fantasy game, Swords of the Serpentine. You can see it in its nearly full-sized glory in this post. The book draft itself is finished, and Kevin and Emily are putting the final polishes on the manuscript to get it ready for playtesting. Having run some internal playtests at Metatopia, they’re updating the core book adventure at the moment, as the first adventure concept didn’t work as well as they’d like as an introduction to the setting and system. We’re hoping to be able to make this available for playtesting in the next edition of See Page XX. And if you’re wondering what “swords and sorcery” means in the context of this new GUMSHOE game, Kevin and Emily have shared the guidelines they used when writing Swords of the Serpentine – you can read them here.

 

Hallowe’en is sadly over, but this month, it’s our printers who’ve been largely horrifying me, with tales of a 10% increase in paper prices. This has generated some hair-raising quotes for our upcoming books, specifically impacting the printing of The Yellow King RPG. Kickstarter backers will be unaffected, but it may make the final book collection more expensive than we’d originally anticipated. This seems to be an industry-wide development, so consider making any holiday book purchases sooner rather than later.

NEW! Limited editions of The Fall of DELTA GREEN and the 13th Age Bestiary 2

If you’ve ever listened to Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff (and if you haven’t, you should!), you’ll know that Ken loves books. This is particularly true of lush and exclusive books, so we’re excited to be releasing the limited edition of The Fall of DELTA GREEN this month. Wrapped in a green faux leather cover, reminiscent of Indochine jungles, this luxury version of the GUMSHOE adaptation of Arc Dream’s Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game includes a bookplate straight from the pen of Ken himself.

Brown faux owlbear-skin wraps the limited edition of the 13th Age Bestiary 2. Rob Heinsoo didn’t capture the creatures for the binding himself, but he has hand-signed a bookplate for each copy. Rob was ably assisted in the writing of the Bestiary 2 by a Monstrous Legion of co-authors – too many to include on the bookplate, sadly, but maybe you can catch ’em all at conventions? If you do, we’d love to see photos of your bookplate!

The Persephone Extraction

I’m delighted to report that we’ve been able to add the final PDF of The Persephone Extraction to pre-orderers’ bookshelves. It’s eight pages longer, and £7/$8 cheaper, than we anticipated when we innocently released it on pre-order last year, but it’s done, and in the hands of the printers. Assuming we’ve broken the back of the Count (you know which one)’s curse on releasing Night’s Black Agents books, we’ll be shipping this out to pre-orderers in January.

Hideous Creatures: A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos

And speaking of books being longer than anticipated, we’ve just added another eight pages of an index to Hideous Creatures: A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos. We’re putting the final touches to this now, and will be updating pre-orderer PDFs later this month. Indexing something so information dense is a fascinating task, and it’s given me a new appreciate for the depth of research Ken puts into his work. Every page is rich with the accumulation of a lifetime’s study of esoteric lore, and the whole is a deep dive into the mystic and mythostic.

Cthulhu Confidential Problem and Edge card deck

Many of you have expressed interest in a printed copy of the Cthulhu Confidential Problem and Edge card deck, and we’ve been working with our partners at DriveThruRPG to make this happen. You can now print your own deck of Cthulhu Confidential cards on demand over on their website, along with our other card decks like the Hillfolk and Dracula Dossier card decks.

Conventions

If you’re out and about this month, you can catch up with us at a number of conventions. Ken and I will be doing panels and hanging out at Metatopia in New Jersey this weekend. Colleen will be holding down the fort at our first ever Gamehole Con booth in Madison, WI. Ken is a Guest of Honour at U-Con in Michigan. Colleen and I will be boothing at PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia, but if you’re on the other side of the pond, Simon, Gareth, Ken, Robin and Rob Heinsoo will be propping up the Pelgrane booth at Dragonmeet in London, England.

 

 

It’s October, and my social media feeds have turned into an endless display of pumpkins, interspersed with occasional #Inktober images from some of Pelgrane’s talented artists. There’s little sign of Hallowe’en-related activity on there yet, which is disappointing. Hallowe’en is my second-favourite holiday (after St. Patrick’s Day, of course), and I’m looking forward to the all the DIY “ghost” and “vampire” videos of the season.

Here in the Nest, our company accountants have been getting into the spirit of it, horrifying me with tales of official deadlines, so getting them the figures they need before they kill me has taken up most of my time this month.

NEW! Hideous Creatures: A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos

One of the first things I worked on at Pelgrane was Ken Hite’s then-new “Ken Writes About Stuff” subscription, which taught me everything I know about layout, die Glocke, and the Starry Wisdom sect. There’s an incredible wealth of information in those three collections, and we’ve wanted to bring that knowledge to a wider audience since we reluctantly finished the last series.

Enter Hideous Creatures: A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos, on pre-order now just in time for Hallowe’en. This 352-page hardback book collects the original fifteen Hideous Creatures, rounds out the nine Foul Congeries sketches into full Hideous Creature write-ups, and adds seven new horrible beasts to the collection. The original Hideous Creatures have been scrubbed up in parts, with some having new art and adventure seeds, and all 31 – 31!! – creatures have been given brand new in-world documents by the brilliant Dean Engelhardt (of Dracula Dossier: Hawkins Papers fame).

To thank those of you who helped make this fantastic bestiary happen, we’ve emailed a voucher code for a discount to all KWAS subscribers – contact us at our support address if you haven’t got it!

Now in PDF!

We release PDFs of new products three months after publication, so we’ve got The Fall of DELTA GREEN (one of Geek & Sundry’s best Table Top Games of 2018 so far). and the PDF of the Book of Demons available now.

13th Age

In 13th Age news, the Loot Harder and Book of Ages books have finally arrived with our US shipper; we’ve passed on the details of the pre-orders, and those should start shipping this week. We’ve also released the pre-orders of 13th Age Glorantha, and our colleagues at Chaosium have released this to stores now.

The good people over at the Iconic Podcast interviewed me a few weeks ago. You can listen to it here. I mentioned in that interview that work is continuing on Shards of the Broken Sky; Rob is polishing off the text, Simon is commissioning the cartography, and I’m commissioning the art. It’s been a long process to get to this point, but we’re finally into the home straight on it, and that’ll be our next 13th Age release. Here’s one of Rich Longmore’s finished pieces, a tower collapse, for it.

Rob’s also working on a book called Icon Followers, which will be similar to the 13th Age Bestiary, but for NPCs and organizations devoted to the icons. Rob’s commissioned a couple of authors to work on this, and will be heavily involved in the development of it himself.

We’re also looking at another few 13th Age pitches; Simon and Gareth are both keen to do another epic campaign, with a working title of “Dragons of the Pyre”. Your One Unique Thing is that you have the soul of a dragon, and you invent the unique dragon. We’ve also been pitched “Gangs of Drakkenhall”, a short book of street level gang fun in the Blue’s bloody city of monsters, which we liked the sound of.

Other Works In Progress

Speaking of October and all things spooky, The Persephone Extraction is, I believe, cursed, continuing on the fine tradition of the Conspiracy not wanting us to release Night’s Black Agents campaign information. After a lot of blood, sweat and tears, it’s now a Table of Contents and cover away from completion.

Even Death Can Die, a collection of three adventures each for the three Cthulhu Confidential protagonist characters, is in layout, and should be ready for pre-order next month. The rough layout is suggesting the hardback book will be somewhere in the region of 360 pages.

And this month sees more details of the long-rumoured GUMSHOE swords & sorcery fantasy game, Swords of the Serpentine. This is being written by Kevin Kulp and Emily Dresner, and allows you to track down foul sorcerers in a corrupt and decadent city (inspired by Lankhmar and Ankh-Morpork), clamber through underground ruins to sneak into an enemy’s home and rob them blind, or wage a secret war against a rival political faction. Jérôme Huguenin is very excited about it, and delightedly working on a cover for it.

Mutant City Blues 2nd Edition is out with a number of playtesting groups at the moment, and initial feedback suggests that the changes we’ve made to it are being well received.

This is my last View article for a while. Pelgrane Press’s managing director Cat Tobin will be taking over this column, and I’ll be stepping back into an advisory role as I take a year-long sabbatical.

Cat asked me recently – what exactly is a pelgrane anyway? And I thought back to my own introduction to this quirky creature.

When I was twelve, my parents bought me the AD&D DMs Guide and Players Handbook in advance of my birthday. I’d played D&D at school once, which was frustrating but intriguing, and heard older kids from the local boy’s grammar school taking about “casting spells” in a game. I was an SF and fantasy fan, and this was electrifying.

My mother hid the books inadequately in a cupboard, and each night I read them under the covers in bed, absorbing Gary Gygax’s unique prose, and trying to imagine the game that would come out of it. I read every word, including the reading list in the DM”s Guide- some of which I had sampled – but not Jack Vance’s Eyes of the Overworld and the Dying Earth.

Alongside fire-and-forget magic, extravagant gourmandism and peculiar cultural practices were a menagerie of bizzare creatures unique to Vance – often fearsome, sometimes erudite and with a penchant for human flesh.  The one which fired my imagination was the pelgrane, a word both singular and plural, a creature with wings which sounded like rusty hinges, a hatchet beak and learing eyes. There original appearance in the Dying Earth was as an ever-present threat but distant threat, rather than a character, looming in the sky, discouraging travel which was inconvenient to the narrative. The Eyes of the Overworld introduced me to Cugel – the fox-faced vagabond whose presence upends delicately balance social structures – inevitably leading to his swift exit, pursued by a mob.

 It was in Cugel’s Saga that the pelgrane demonstrated the capacity for language and mordant humour. A wizard imprisons Cugel the Clever in a bedroom. Cugel escapes by applying ossip wax his bed to negate its gravity. On the bed he drifts high into the sky and, as night descends, falls into slumber.

“A black shadow fluttered across the sun; a heavy black object swooped down to alight at the foot of Cugel’s bed; a pelgrane of middle years, to judge by the silky gray hair of its globular abdomen. Its head, two feet long, was carved of black horn, like that of a stag-beetle and white fangs curled up past its snout. Perching on the bedstead it regarded Cugel with both avidity and amusement.”

“Today I shall breakfast in bed,” says the pelgrane. “Not often do I so indulge myself.”

Twenty years and hundreds of games later, I’ve acquired a license to publish a roleplaying game based on the Dying Earth and I am speaking to Jack Vance on the phone, hearing the same mordant humour, a child-like chuckle as he shared more of Cugel’s tales. We turned to the pelgrane. It was his suggestion which lead to us not pinning down in the text exactly what a pelgrane looks like, or how it behaves, and leaving much of it to the reader, or in our case, the GM and players. The pelgrane can be a source of horror, a threat, a swooping nuisance, a foil for the proud, or the name of a nascent RPG company.

The pelgrane featured widely in our Dying Earth series, illustrated by Hilary Wade, and developed a stronger personality. We imagined it nesting high in the mountains swooping on unwary freelancers, and even delivering parcels.

To some extent I was always the pelgrane, but “pelgranistas” gradually became the word for our inner circle of freelancers – we talked about people being “pelgrane-y” – an ineffable quality in people which Roald Dahl described as “spark” – we nurtured these people, always trying to expand our circle. They are talented, skilled, creative and fun to be with. And Cat Tobin, when she took over from Beth Lewis, fitted the pelgrane mold perfectly, but with the hint of steel needed to be a publisher and not just some fly-by-night freelancer. (Pelgranes fly night and day.)

Since co-owner Cat Tobin took over as managing director I’ve been trying to de-Simon-ify the company.  But while I am working for the company that’s pretty tough. I’ve been doing stuff, but I get credit where it’s not due – unavoidably. As an entrepreneur I’ve been adequate at most things, but not great at anything, expect perhaps finding good people. It’s tough to remove legacy processes for example, if there is no need. Cat is a pelgrane through and through, dedicated, through and more experienced at publishing than me. Cat has changed what a pelgrane is.

Pelgrane Press is a collaborative effort, with Cat now the driving force, and its full-time leader. I’ve been overwhelmed with stuff in my personal life, and not been able to give the company the attention it deserves. I am stepping back into an advisory role, giving Cat the freedom to run the company as she sees fit, and offering my tuppence-worth to the Pelgrane slack channel. You may see me at conventions, looking relaxed, as others do actual work. I want Pelgrane Press to be pelgrane without pelgrane being me.

And you, if you are reading this and playing our games, are a pelgrane too.

 

We are in the all-too-narrow gap between Origins and Gen Con, and the Nest is a hive of frenzied activity (if you’d forgive the mixed metaphor). Some new releases will make Gen Con, others won’t.  Origins is a little like a relaxed dress rehearsal for Gen Con. It has shorter exhibition hours, and while it’s busy, the aisles never get blocked with throngs of people. I had the pleasure of meeting Colleen Riley, our Administrative Assistant, and we mingled as always with game designers and fellow publishers new and old. By contrast, Gen Con will be at maximum capacity – hotel booking has become even more fraught this year as they play Tetris with the Pelgrane Crew. We’ll be having a GUMSHOE workshop and annual summit pre-convention to ease us into the mayhem.

This month’s new releases and pre-orders include, for 13th AgeLoot Harder: A Book of Treasures and the Book of Ages. The Fall of DELTA GREEN is now on general sale.

The Fall of Delta Green

The Fall of DELTA GREEN is in stores, its launch coinciding with Free RPG Day. Kickstarter backers and pre-orderers were shipped their copies some time ago. For pre-orderers, the Free RPG Day release PDF is now available as a download on your bookshelf, and Kickstarter backers will also receive a grabcode. Geek and Sundry has written a detailed review of Fall – describing it as:

“… a game you need to try because it is one of the greatest settings of all-time, uses a system that perfectly matches the investigative genre, is produced by a team of publishers, designers, and artists all working at the height of their powers to produce what may prove to be an iconic product of this current golden age of role-playing.”

They also added Fall to their list of best Table Top Games this year to date. You could also check out this interview with Kenneth Hite on Geek Nation.

Cthulhu Confidential

If you bought a physical copy from Pelgrane, the Free RPG Day release is now available for download from your bookshelf.

Trail of Cthulhu

13th Age

Loot Harder: A Book of Treasures is now available for pre-order.

The Book of Ages layout is nearly complete, and includes in it tools for your to chronicle your own Ages, unique to your campaign. If you need an Age-ending cataclysm, try these:

RANDOM WORLDSHATTERING CATACLYSM TABLE

Roll a d6.

1. Dimensional barriers failed, allowing demons, elementals and entities from other worlds to rampage across the Empire.

Reality collapsed and had to be rebuilt. The barriers fell because (roll a d6)

1. Magic stopped working

2. An evil cult completed a ritual

3. Fools opened an ancient ward

4. Invaders from the far side broke through

5. The stars were right

6. No-one knows, and it might happen again at any time.

2. Plague stalked the land, killing 5d20% of the population. Victims of the plague (roll a d6)

1. Rose as zombies

2. Exploded into flames

3. Became brain-slaves of the Overmind

4. Ascended bodily into the divine realms

5. Became hosts for the killer insects

6. Marched into the Midland Sea and drowned

3. A gigantic beast marauded across the land and destroyed the Empire. It was… (roll a d6)

1. The Red

2. A Koru Behemoth

3. A Living Dungeon

4. A monster from the Iron Sea

5. An extradimensional invader with lots of tentacles

6. An icon gone insane

4. Something fell from the sky. What was it? (roll a d6)

1. Giant flaming meteors of doom

2. Spears of ice

3. Monstrous alien eggs

4. Murderous insane angels

5. Face-eating jaguars

6. Chunks of the sky

5. Volcanoes erupted, vomiting gouts of hellfire and demonbile, and smoke darkened the sky creating a year without light. What horrors followed? (roll a d6)

1. Crops failed and famine stalked the land.

2. Fire elementals everywhere.

3. The volcanoes became hellholes and demons reigned.

4. The survivors were forced to hide underground in caves and dungeons for a century.

5. The survivors evacuated to flying islands and could not return to the surface for many years.

6. Attempts by the Archmage to tame the volcanoes broke the foundations of magic.

6. The Empire was destroyed by civil war (roll a d6)

1. Between rival heirs to the throne

2. Between the various races of Elves, Dwarves and Humans

3. When the Emperor went mad and had to be overthrown

4. Because evil cults had taken over the Empress’s court and poisoned her mind against the people

5. Triggered by economic collapse

6. Between rival religions

Mutant City Blues

Mutant City Blues second edition is underway. Gareth has made a pass through updating the text, he’s added a Private Detective option for Luke Cage / Jessica Jones style action, and Robin is tweaking the rules to update the blast rules. It will have all new art, to reflect a more modern sensibility.

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