In the latest episode of their fast-running podcast, Ken and Robin talk Anglo Saxons at the British Library, chase scenes and Ken’s latest London book raid.

Game Masters are needed to run Pelgrane RPGs at OrcaCon 2019 in Bellevue, WA January 11th-13th! We’d love to introduce this audience to games like Fall of DELTA GREEN, TimeWatch, Night’s Black Agents, 13th Age, Hillfolk/DramaSystem, Yellow King RPG, Trail of Cthulhu, #Feminism, and more.

In return you’ll get a free GM badge, $5 credit at the Pelgrane online store, and perhaps other swag!

UPDATE: The deadline to submit your games, and contact Pelgrane in time for your free GM badge to be ordered, is Friday, December 14th.

Here’s how to join our GM crew at OrcaCon:

  • Create a Sched.com account if you don’t already have one (the games submission form requires your account name)
  • Submit your games to OrcaCon using this submission form
  • Email us at support@pelgranepress.zendesk.com to let us know you’re on board to be an OrcaCon GM.
    • In your email, include the name and email address you used to submit your game, so we can send it to OrcaCon for badge pickup onsite at the Registration desk

Here are the adventures available:

We hope to see you there!

 

 

In the latest episode of their unswervingly clear and declarative podcast, Ken and Robin talk scenario spoilers, ambigiuty in RPG settings, Cromwell’s spies and Camille Flammarion.

If you use background music in your 13thAge games – such as the wonderful 13thAge soundtrack – you can replace the regular rules for icon relationships with a more improvisational approach. Here’s how it works.

  1. Players choose their icon relationships as normal during character creation.
  2. The GM creates a playlist, mixing in the songs for each players’ icons plus a few more suitably atmospheric tracks. The playlist should be longer than the expected length of the game session. Play it on random shuffle.
  3. Instead of rolling relationship dice, whenever an icon’s song comes up, the first player to invoke that song gets to call on it for a suitable story-based benefit, or a +d6 bonus to an attack roll or background check.
  4. More than one player can invoke the same icon at the same time, but that’s the equivalent of rolling a 5 on a regular icon die – it’s a benefit with strings attached. There’ll be an icon-related complication later on.

The trick here is that the songs act as immediate prompts. Players who freeze at the question “how might your relationship with the Priestess help you in this session?” have far less trouble with the question “how might the Priestess help you right now, in the middle of this conversation you’re in?” It’s an approach better suited to a free-wheeling, anarchic, anything-goes campaign than a carefully plotted one.

Possible variants

  • Bardic balladeers get to add songs to the playlist.
  • The GM adds hostile icons to the mix – badness gets triggered when they play
  • Hit next whenever anyone gets a crit
  • Hit next whenever the escalation die increases
  • Players can add their personal theme songs as well as their icon relationships

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.

Villele, in his turn, was summoned to Paris. His boss asked him what he thought of the paratroops.

“There’s a lot of good and a lot of bad in them,” he replied. “They’re dangerous because they go to any lengths and nothing will hold them back … they’re beyond the … notion of good and evil.”

— Jean Lartéguy, The Centurions

In case you haven’t heard, the lovely folks at Studio Deadcrows are successfully crowdfunding a French translation of The Fall of DELTA GREEN. For good and sufficient world-building reasons, Arc Dream remain shy of creating a full-bore French government DG- or PISCES-equivalent unit, but every so often people at the fringes of power touch the edges of the Unnatural. And some of those people have machine guns.

Thus Organisation Claude, not a government outfit like GRU-SV8 or PISCES, or even a deniable program like DELTA GREEN. No, Organisation Claude runs as a straight-up illegal operation on a cell system, behind and sometimes against the walls of the bureaucracy. Now where have we seen that model before? Oh, yes, in the days of the Resistance. And thus Claude began, as a ring of the Resistance within the arch-Catholic Confrérie Notre-Dame network active in the north of France after the end of 1940. Its leader “Claude Griffon” was actually a shared nom du guerre for any cell to use for propaganda, which didn’t stop Claude Griffon from being wanted by the Gestapo … and becoming a DELTA GREEN “friendly.”

In 1942, Organisation Claude provided the Resistance fighters and escorts for the OSS DELTA GREEN operations LIFEGUARD in Cap de la Hague and UPROAR in Fécamp, and the survivors of those actions sniffed out and destroyed a few other Karotechia operations on French soil. They resolved that such sacrileges must be fought wherever they emerged. Despite Gestapo manhunts and the ongoing toll of partisan operations — and nameless horrors — enough of Claude survived the war that when Captain Hugues de Marigny (b. 1917) joined the 1er Régiment du Chasseurs Parachutistes in 1948, he could bring the hard core of the Organisation with him to Indochina. More horror awaited there, but de Marigny survived Dien Bien Phu and a Vietminh POW camp and returned to … Algeria.

          Not pictured: Claude Griffon

In 1956, Commandant de Marigny joined the 3e Régiment de Hussards Parachutistes (3e RHP), newly organized to put down the NLF colonial revolution in France’s keystone colony. He fought terrorists and revolutionaries and the Unnatural all over Algeria, eventually becoming Lieutenant-Colonel in command of the regiment. He seeded new OC cells, or “commandos,” within the Foreign Legion and other paratrooper regiments — his cousin Étienne-Laurent in America had served in the Legion with Randolph Carter in WWI and provided crucial contacts on the Quai d’Orsay and elsewhere. Following the Salan coup attempt in 1961, the 3e RHP is dissolved and de Marigny retires as a Colonel.

De Marigny won’t work with the Communists, as he believes they would consider the Unnatural just another technology or turn it over to Moscow or both, but he has few other scruples. OC commandos, four to six men or women strong (de Marigny knew far too many female fighters in the Resistance to let chivalry guide him here), stand ready not just within the Legion and the security services, but inside the SAC (the Gaullist party covert ops unit), the OAS terrorist organization, and the Marseille Milieu.

Communiques from de Marigny come with the griffon flash of the 3e RHP and the signature “Claude needs you.” Somehow a plane frees up, and “training orders” sometimes get cut. Every so often an arsenal is unguarded, or a pier unwatched. Someone higher up — possibly even de Gaulle himself, who famously keeps personal control of extraordinary units — must be greasing the wheels for OC, but they’re even more anonymous than de Marigny.

De Marigny takes that and all of Claude’s other secrets with him when he commits suicide by pistol on 21 May 1981, while watching the inauguration of President Mitterrand on television at his ancestral home in Normandy.

“What about orders?” an elderly captain inquired.

“No written orders. Do as you see fit. You’ll be covered by the general, you’ve got his word for this.”

— Jean Lartéguy, The Centurions

Regular DELTA GREEN Agents might run across OC commandos in France, or France’s former colonies in Africa, or even in Indochina or the South Pacific. Whether they consider them allies, stooges, or dangerous hyper-Catholic weirdos depends on the cell, and on the Handler’s approach. Only the oldest of OSS hands might remember the name “Claude Griffon,” but OC has an even more paranoid attitude toward security than DG does, so it’s unlikely to come up.

These action items might come up for DG overseas, or for a French-based OC campaign (for which, see the French-US 1960s agency equivalencies table below), or both:

  • France tests nuclear weapons at the In Ekker site (1961-1966) on the northwestern edge of the Hoggar (where “Medusa’s Coil” and “The Last Test” place Atlantean or even prehuman cities) in Algeria, then in convenient-to-R’lyeh Muroroa Atoll (1966-1970). Nukes plus hypergeometry, what could go wrong? Or is France trying to stop Something from coming out?
  • Jean-Luc Bruneau of the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique heads up a UFO investigation portfolio personally authorized by de Gaulle in 1967. Before that he or the OC might investigate the Valensole UFO incident (1 Jul 1965) or the Cussac close encounter (29 Aug 1967).
  • The OC goes in all-hands during the May 1968 Hastur outbreak.
  • Newly extended nickel mines in New Caledonia (1969) could open up Pnakotic shafts or release spectral polyps.

Handlers might also wonder what the heirs of the Comte d’Erlette are up to, or the various French cults from Dreamhounds of Paris thirty years later. A few of the old Surrealists remain alive and kicking in the 1960s, offering a chance to combine blasts of inspiration with blasts of gelignite.

 

French Agencies :: US Agencies Table

Commandos-Marine :: Special Forces (Sailor)

Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique (CEA) :: AEC

Deuxième Bureau :: DIA or ONI

Direction Centrale Police Judiciare (DCPJ; after 1966) :: FBI or FBN

Direction Centrale Reseignements Généraux (DCRG) :: FBI or USAIC

Direction de la Surveillance Territoire (DST) :: FBI; add Cryptography 1 to Investigative options

Direction de la Securité Militaire (DSM) :: AFOSI but may also be Soldier, Marine, or Sailor; add Firearms 3 to General options

Gendarmerie Nationale :: Soldier + FBI Special Agent (without Accounting or Investigative options)

Régiment Ètranger de Parachutistes (REP) :: Special Forces (Soldier), Parachuting as mandatory Special Skill

Service de Action Civique (SAC) :: CIA (DPlans Operative, PAD), USAIC, or Gangster

Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionage (SDECE) :: CIA or DIA

SDECE Groupement des Communications Radioélectriques (GCR) :: NSA

SDECE Service Action :: CIA Special Operations Division

Sûreté Nationale (Police Nationale after 1966) :: FBI or US Marshals


The Fall of DELTA GREEN adapts DELTA GREEN: THE ROLE-PLAYING GAME to the GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system, opening the files on a lost decade of anti-Mythos operations: the 1960s. Players take on the role of DELTA GREEN operatives, assets, and friendlies. Hunt Deep Ones beneath the Atlantic, shut down dangerous artists in San Francisco, and delve into the heart of Vietnam’s darkness. Purchase The Fall of DELTA GREEN in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

In the latest episode of their exquisitely paced podcast, Ken and Robin talk vamping for time, Houska Castle, Sarah Richardson, and Albert de Rochas.

The holiday season is quickly approaching and we’re looking forward to spending quality time with family and friends. The Pelgrane office will be closed from December 25 through January 1.

Holiday Shipping Dates for the US and Canada

Orders received by December 7 should be received by December 25 but this cannot be guaranteed. Because we ship via media mail from Nevada, orders to the west coast will arrive sooner than orders to the east coast. Our US shipping point will be closed from December 22 through December 26.

Holiday Shipping Dates for Europe and the Rest of the World

  • Within the UK and Europe, most orders under 2kg will ship post. Orders heavier than 2kg, e.g. two hardback rulebooks, will generally ship by parcel carrier.
  • Outside Europe, post generally works best up to 5kg, and then parcel carriers take over.
  • Our non-US shipping point will be closed from December 25 through January 1.
Last Posting Dates
Parcel Carrier
Post
UK Friday, December 21 Monday, December 17
Europe (EU and non-EU) Monday, December 17 Friday, December 14*
Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of the world Monday, December 17 Monday, December 10*

*There are a few exceptions to the last posting date for post services:

  • Monday, December 3 for Africa and the Middle East
  • Friday, December 7 for Cyprus, Malta, Asia, Eastern Europe (except Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia), Caribbean, Central and South America
  • Monday, December 10 for Greece and Turkey

Please note that these dates are estimates. We cannot guarantee delivery by a particular date and we suggesting ordering as early as possible.

Ken and Robin wear no masks. No masks! In a special all King in Yellow edition, they talk Robert W. Chambers, annotation, Belle Epoque food & drink, and Leo Taxil.

During the Kickstarter for The Yellow King Roleplaying Game, I laid out one method of serving Shock and Injury cards to players electronically, as image files sent to a mobile-enabled platform. At that time, I recommended using Google Photos for this purpose. Belatedly I realize that there was a better way to do it, using the workspace application Slack.

Here’s how to do that:

If you haven’t done so already, create a Slack workspace for your game group.

(I now find this an essential tool for my group, no matter what we’re playing. The Polly poll app, for example, gives you a handy way to conduct an advance roll call and make sure you have quorum before anyone grabs their dice and heads your way.)

Within the workspace, create a separate channel for each player character. Depending on how well you remember PC names, you may want to name it after the character, or place the player’s name before or after the investigator name. Slack doesn’t allow spaces or upper case letters in channel names so you’ll have to resort to underscores:

#ella_wharton

#noelle_ella_wharton

#ella_wharton_noelle

Alternately, you could serve cards into the private message inbox of each player. However, some players like to use that for banter, out of game arrangements and other side business. Creating a channel for each player keeps that clear for cards and in-game notes, and reminds other players of the cast of investigators.

Also, if a member of your group is without a mobile device, they can sit next to a player with a laptop or tablet. With a little looking over-the-shoulder, the obliging device owner can switch between channels as needed to allow the other person to check their cards in hand.

When a character receives a Shock or Injury card, you upload it to the appropriate channel. You can do this directly from a folder if using a laptop. On a tablet, you can put the card images in Dropbox and share them from that service’s mobile app into the Slack app.

Slack permits only the creator of a message line to delete that line, so when a player discards a card, you’ll have to delete it in order for it to disappear. Be sure your players let you know when they fulfill a discard condition.

We’re currently assembling materials for our YKRPG resources page, including image files for each card. If you need them before we get that done, you can check the books for the cards you think you’ll need and turn them into images. Accomplish this either by screenshotting the PDF or by opening the PDF in an image editing program such as GIMP. Then crop the cards into separate images, save with the card titles as file names, and you’re good to go.

Some GMs will still prefer the tactile quality of paper cards printed, cut up, and handed to players. But for those, like me, who consider immediate access to all the cards in the game the ideal, a Slack full of pallid masks and black stars should do the trick.

People Have Opinions about service platforms. If you come up with an even better way, let us know!


The Yellow King Roleplaying Game takes you on a brain-bending spiral through multiple selves and timelines, pitting characters against the reality-altering horror of The King in Yellow. When read, this suppressed play invites madness, and remolds our world into a colony of the alien planet Carcosa. Four core books, served up together in a beautiful slipcase, confront layers with an epic journey into horror in four alternate-reality settings: Belle Epoque Paris, The Wars, Aftermath, and This Is Normal Now. Purchase The Yellow King Roleplaying Game in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

In the latest episode of their ineluctably sly podcast, Ken and Robin talk pulling switcheroos on players, the Chicago film fest, GUMSHOE 101, and the Easter Rising.

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