CoverFrequent contributor and friend of the Pelgrane Adam Gauntlett is here to talk about The Private Life of Elder Things.


Right! Hello again. So nice to see you. I have something I’d like to tell you, about a short story collection I’ve been working on: The Private Life of Elder Things, due out this September.

It’s a Lovecraftian collection, a collaboration between myself, handless loon that I am, Adrian Tchaikovsky, who some of you may know as the Shadows of the Apt fella, and Keris McDonald, a regular at Ash Tree, Supernatural Tales, Weird Tales and other fun places. We all got together about this time last year and thought, yes, now’s the time to spread the madness. At first we wondered if self-publishing wasn’t the better way to go, but in the end we decided to work with Alchemy, an outfit that Adrian knows well. So here we are, with a book launch due at Fantasycon By The Sea in sunny Scarborough. Scarborough is sunny, isn’t it? I’ve never been.

Why me, and why these three?

Once upon a time I was much younger than I am now, which can be said of all of us. Adrian and I went to the same Uni, down in Reading. I’m not sure why. We must have done awful things in a former life. Any road, we were both members of the Drama society, and afterward Progress Theatre, where we wrote and directed short plays. Somewhere along the path we picked up Keris, whose enthusiasm for horror rivalled our own.

That’s how we met, and for many a month we geeked out over RPGs, movies, or what have you. All good things come to an end, which in this case means I moved back to Bermuda while the pair of them went up to Yorkshire. They really must have done something hideous in a former life, but I’ve never liked to enquire.

Working together was a lot of fun! I ended up being the one who put everything together and stitched it, Frankenstine-style, into EPUB format. It’s the first time I’ve done that. While it kinda-sorta worked, I’m glad the folks at Alchemy didn’t rely exclusively on my version!

I was also the one who did a chunk of the editing. We passed the stories around, each getting the opinion of the other. That’s always a sensitive subject, particularly when it’s writer to writer. I’d thought that since we know each other so well there’d be no real problem, but the overprotective instincts kick in when it’s your own stuff. Nobody came to blows over it, and we’re all still mates.

Then it was handed over to Peter at Alchemy. I wasn’t sure what to expect at that point. You know how it is: someone may recommend such-a-person to you, and say all kinds of wonderful things about such-a-person, but there’s still that residual suspicion. It’s like hearing someone praised for their honesty; after a while you start to wonder what they’ve been getting away with unsuspected all this time. That said, Peter and Alchemy have been a joy to work with. So this time the residual suspicion was way off base!

But what’s in this collection, you ask? Eleven chilling tales, that’s what. Each of them inspired by an aspect of the Mythos we’ve come to love. One of Keris’, for instance, comes to you in part because of the old ghoulish scenario Paper Chase. Adrian’s written stories about Deep Ones, Shoggoths and similar large and menacing things, which is about right for a fella who’s eight foot tall and growing every year. As for me, I’ve reminisced about strange dogs, rats, and derelict ships, as is my wont.

What are the stories like? Well, take a look at this excerpt from my tale Pitter Patter:


There were mice, mice, eating up the rice, in the stores, in the stores; there were rats, rats, big as blooming cats, in the Quartermaster’s stores.

Can’t get that out of my head. You know how you want to think about something else, anything else, but that one thing’s there, again and again and again?

Rats, rats, big as blooming cats, in the Quartermaster’s stores

They sung that in the War. It was up on one of the walls of the TAC, along with a bunch of other stuff. I remember seeing this documentary once, saying about the rats in the trenches, how they ate the corpses, grew fat on them. One bloke, his abiding memory was going to his new digs, hearing noises, shining a light on the bed and seeing two of the shits on his bed’s blanket, fighting for possession of a severed hand.

They went for the eyes first, you know that? If they found a corpse, they’d chew right through the eyes, then get into the head. After that they did as they pleased. Fuckers.

Rats, rats, big as blooming cats, in the Quartermaster’s stores. My eyes are dim, I cannot see, I have not brought my specs with me
If that excerpt has piqued your interest, then check out the Facebook page, and remember these words: The Private Life of Elder Things. Tchaikovky, McDonald, Gauntlett. September. Alchemy Press.

Mine’s a bitter, next time we meet. Be seeing you!

Edward_Bigsby_cover_350The flamboyant artist Edward Bigsby pays a call to the Investigators on the recommendation of a mutual friend, but dies horrifically before he can tell them what he needs. Soon afterward, the police question the PCs – another corpse matching Bisgby’s description has been found, with their address in his coat pocket. It does not end there; dead Bigsbys are being found all over London.

Follow the trail of Bigsbys through the bohemian streets of crime-filled 1930s Soho, dodging Chinese triads, Dope Kings, and the Metropolitan Police force to find out once and for all who Edward Bigsby is, and why he keeps dying.

The Many Deaths of Edward Bigsby is a stand-alone Trail of Cthulhu scenario from the pen of Adam Gauntlett (Soldiers of Pen and InkDulce et Decorum Est, and many more).


Stock #: PELGT42D Author: Adam Gauntlett
Artist: Pat Loboyko, Miguel Santos, Georgia Roan Type: 27-page PDF

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The_Long_Con_cover_350Sidney Pryce wants the protagonists’ help to set up a Big Store, to sucker a rich American into thinking he’s buying into a Burnt Auction. The rewards, Pryce promises, are incalculable; but soon after Pryce enlists their help, strange bird-creatures haunt the protagonists. How, they wonder, does Japanese folklore figure into it?

The Long Con is a new stand-alone Trail of Cthulhu scenario from the pen of Adam Gauntlett (Soldiers of Pen and InkDulce et Decorum Est, and many more).

Stock #: PELGT41D Author: Adam Gauntlett
Artist: Pat Loboyko, Eric Quigley Type: 32-page PDF

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BermudaAdam Gauntlett (aka Karloff), the author of Dulce et Decorum Est, Soldiers of Pen and Ink and a number of Trail of Cthulhu adventures, is creating fiction and RPG material over on his new Patreon page. As well as Pelgrane Press, Adam has written for the Escapist Magazine, Chaosium, Miskatonic River, Pagan Publishing and Atlas Games, among others. You can find his work online at the Escapist, or you can check out his blog Ephemera. To celebrate the launch of his Patreon, Adam has very kindly given us a sneak preview of the kind of work he’ll be creating for his Patreon supporters: Welcome to ‘D-Notice’, in which the shadowy world of British intelligence comes a little too close to the otherworldly.

Download the free preview of ‘D-Notice’ here, and get more exclusive fiction and RPG content from Adam Gauntlett over on his Patreon page here.


If you go down to the woods today…

The shadowy depths of the primeval forest are the ancient source of our collective fears. But there is worse in the woods than timber wolves and fairy tales; you can lose not just your way, but your mind, too.  This brand new collection of Trail of Cthulhu adventures explores hidden groves and endless avenues – the hideous soul of Lovecraft’s forest.

  • Midnight Sub Rosa: The diary of Ezekiel de la Poer, a colonial-era French necromancer hanged for child-murder in 1736 was stolen at the home of an emeritus professor in the small town of Rosa, Alabama. His house lives in the eaves of a forest of white ash. Can the Investigators find the book before its thief becomes something else entirely?
  • The Silence Mill: In a small village in Brittany close on the Arthurian forest of Brocéliande, a friend of the Investigators stands accused of serial murder, cannibalism and even lycanthropy. Can they ascertain the truth, or will the truth find them?
  • Dreaming of a Better Tomorrow for 30 Dollars a Month: Amongst crowded green precipices and muttering forest streams of Vermont, labourers from one of Roosevelt’s integrated Civilian Conservation Corps camps disappear. In an atmosphere fraught with political intrigue and Jim Crow laws, can a mixed bag of Investigators find the primordial peril which threatens more than just one camp, or even one state?
  • The Coldest Walk: Deep in Wisconsin’s northern woods lies the town of Four Pines – a quiet, almost forgettable community. However, whenever the aurora flashes in the sky the inhabitants have a terrible choice to make. Can the Investigators stop the inevitable, or must they take the Walk for themselves?
  • Trembling Giant: In 1937, the United States government transferred 300 acres to the newly recognized Koosharem Band of Paiute Indians. But this new land is throttled by distorted trees and stalked by unnatural beasts. Nightmares grip the shaman and warning totems shatter – what is the legacy of this ancient land, and can the tribesfolk fight this ancient evil?

Containing extensive handouts, maps and pre-generated characters for each adventure, Out of the Woods takes your hand and leads you gently through the eaves and into the darkness.

…you are in for a big surprise!

Stock #: PELGT43 Author: Adam Gauntlett, Lauren Roy, Chris Spivey, Ruth Tillman, Aaron Vanek
Artist: Stefano Azzalin, Jesús Blones, Nyra Drakae, Valentina Filic, Christine Griffin, Brittany Heiner, Dave Lewis Johnson, Rich Longmore, Olivia Ongai, Gillian Pearse, Miguel Santos, Ernanda Souza, Alicia Vogel. Pages: 168pg Perfect Bound

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Hemingwayby Adam Gauntlett

Dos comes in. Has found out Robles executed. Wants to investigate. Discuss with Hem the danger of D investigating. R had fair trial – gave away military secrets. Josephine Herbst, a novelist and columnist covering the Spanish Civil War, wrote that entry in her diary after a post-artillery bombardment drinking session in Hemingway’s room at the Hotel Florida. It was the first indication of what was to become a serious rift in the friendship between Hemingway and Dos Passos, over the fate of Jose Robles, a mutual friend who had been taken by the authorities. Hemingway believed the action, and execution, had been justified; Dos Passos was appalled that a secret trial – if trial there had been – could result in summary execution. Was this Madrid, or Chicago under Capone?

That event is the inspiration for Soldiers of Pen and Ink. Imagine a world in which anyone could be snatched off the street and just vanish, as if they had never been. Imagine what your friends would say. Would they be like Hemingway, unquestionably accepting your guilt without demanding evidence? Would they be like Dos Passos, an anguished man trying to find out what happened to his friend? Would they do as Robles’ own son did, and publicly accept his father’s guilt for the sake of the Republican cause?

Even now nobody really knows what happened to Robles. None of the people who were there at the time agree; was Robles a Fascist spy, caught with sensitive documents in his possession? Was he falsely accused? Was his knowledge of Soviet backstage shenanigans inconvenient to the Stalinists? Was there even a trial? Was he shot by firing squad, assassinated by the NKVD, or did something else happen to him?

That kind of world seems, in retrospect, to be almost a fever dream. I’m irresistibly reminded of Through the Looking Glass, in which the Mad Hatter is accused and sentenced, not of a crime he did commit, but for one he might commit at some future date. Or perhaps he won’t commit it at all, but since when did Wonderland care about these piffling details?

Fever dreams lead, of course, to Carcosa, in the Lovecraftian mythos. I’m particularly fond of John Tynes’ take on the concept: It breaks things down not from without, but within. As perfect a description of the Fifth Column as you could wish for, and what is Carcosa in this context if not the ultimate Fifth Column, with the ultimate goal of making all things like itself, in the end?

Or put it another way:

The Tattered King may be symbolic of the beginning of the end, its shredded form a warning that the viewer is reaching lethal mneme toxicity. That would suggest the Tattered King is not actually part of the Hastur mneme at all, but a projection of the viewer’s own mental state. That would make it a kind of forerunner of destruction, the Pallid Mask the viewer’s own face, so distorted due to the influence of the mneme that the viewer can no longer recognize it.

I trust you’ll enjoy your time in Madrid. You may never want to leave …


BattlefieldLoreby Adam Gauntlett

That primal fear of dissolution survives in metaphor. Corruption scandals are still branded ‘a moral Caporetto’. Politicians accuse each other of facing ‘an electoral Caporetto’. When small businesses are snarled up in Italy’s notorious red tape, they complain about ‘an administrative Caporetto’. When England lost to Northern Ireland at football, it was ‘the English Caporetto’. This figure of speech stands for more than simple defeat; it involves a hint of stomach-churning exposure; rottenness laid bare.

Mark Thompson, The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front.

In October 1917 the Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo, also known as the Battle of Caporetto, began near the town of Kobarid, in what is now Slovenia. By the time it was over the Italians had 10,000 killed, 30,000 wounded, and over a quarter million taken prisoner, most of whom surrendered willingly. This is the battle at which Irwin Rommel, then an Oberleutnant, made his famous capture of 1,500 men and 43 officers; Rommel had only 3 riflemen and 2 officers to help him take control of his prisoners. Hemingway became a household name after Caporetto, with his novel A Farewell to Arms. For Italy, it was the defining moment of the war.

It is impossible to discuss an event like the Great War if you only talk about the trenches of the Western Front, and confine the discussion to the Somme and Ypres. It was a world event; it touched everything from the farthest islands in the Pacific to the emerging nations of the Middle East. Even today they still retrieve frozen corpses of Italian and Austrian soldiers from the Alps, and shelling during the White War was so intense it shortened a mountain, San Mateo, by twenty feet.

Yet the trenches exercise a peculiar horror that draw every historian’s gaze towards them, and not just because poets wrote heart-wrenching lines about gas attacks. The trenches were beyond imagination. They exist in that special corner of history reserved for great atrocities, and can still be traced, often by the shell holes left behind.

The Great War is horror, in all its masks, from the sudden shock of a jump scare to the lingering paranoia that comes with suspense; from the decayed death’s head of mortality, to the silent, steady loss of function brought on by frostbite. It is waiting, trapped, in an American port with little chance of repatriation. It is the sudden tragedy of 1,195 people, mostly civilians and many children, drowned at sea. It is sudden, searing death at Hooge. It is a knife in the back in some trackless desert, and it is the systematic extermination of over one million Armenians.

The Great Lie must have been overjoyed, to have such a feast laid out for it.

While I tried to present as much of the conflict as I could, there was never any hope I’d be able to portray all of it. There’s too much there there, as Gertrude Stein didn’t say. It is something that has fascinated me for a very long time, and the chance to represent it in fiction was too good to pass up. I trust the purists out there will forgive me reinventing Mordiggian slightly, but of all the Old Ones who might be interested in the Great War, the Charnel God seemed above all other contenders the most likely.

Yet for all that, we are but bait …


Bigsbyby Adam Gauntlett

As I write this, The Many Deaths of Edward Bigsby has been out for about a month. It’s been favourably received – many thanks to those who reviewed it, and I hope those who play it enjoy it – and I’m told sales are going well! Especially the limited print run that Paul Maclean of YSDC kindly put together; round of applause for that man!

So, why do it at all? Well, back when the GUMSHOE OGL was being promoted, it occurred to me that this was a good opportunity to get my work out there. As it happened I was in the UK on other business, and had a chance to talk to Paul about collaborating, as soon as we had a better idea what the license would offer. He’d publish via YSDC, I’d write. That was how it stood for a while: we waited until we knew more, but there was a deal on the table.

Then the license came out, and I began talking with Simon to get a better understanding of what I could and could not do with it. Simon did one better than the license: he offered to let me write it for Trail of Cthulhu, provided all profits went to YSDC. Trail is something the license wouldn’t let me touch, and it’s a system I’m already very familiar with. I didn’t have a problem with that, and so we forged ahead with Edward Bigbsy.

Bigsby isn’t going to be the only scenario I publish via YSDC. There are several others, some of them already written, which will come out over the next year or two. Eventually I plan on taking another stab at the GUMSHOE OGL, which means I won’t be writing a Trail scenario, but it will be horror. I already know what I want to write; the only question is when.

Next up, The Long Con, a Trail/Bookhounds scenario set in London. I don’t want to talk too much about that here, but it will be available in .pdf very, very soon. A brief teaser:

Sidney Pryce wants the protagonists’ help to set up a Big Store, to sucker a rich American into thinking he’s buying into a Burnt Auction. The rewards, Pryce promises, are incalculable; but soon after Pryce enlists their help, strange bird-creatures haunt the protagonists. How, they wonder, does Japanese folklore figure into it?

I hope you enjoy Bigbsy! Look forward to more, coming soon!

Dulce_Et_Decorum_Est_cover_400And the dead were the dead; this was no time to be pitying them or asking silly questions about their outraged lives. Such sights must be taken for granted, I thought, as I gasped and slithered and stumbled with my disconsolate crew. Floating on the surface of the flooded trench was the mask of a human face which had detached itself from the skull.

– Siegfried Sassoon

This collection of adventures considers the Great War, 1914-18, from the perspective of Trail of Cthulhu.  From the conflict in the air, to the depths of the sea, the home front and the different battle fronts, the Great War affects the lives of countless millions of people. It also brings humanity into conflict with elements of the Mythos, and in particular the Charnel God Mordiggian who, for the first time in centuries, may actually have more to devour than it can stomach.

The forces of the Gods do not take kindly to being disturbed, and nor do they usually play favourites; unless your players are careful, they may find themselves attacked and wiped out in an instant, caught in an otherworldly crossfire they can only hope to survive, not understand.

Campaign Frame

Dulce et Decorum Est features GUMSHOE adaptations and new abilities for war in the air, and on the sea and land, and how the mythos might interact with the horrors of the war, and the participants.

Dulce et Decorum Est – Great War Trail of Cthulhu contains the following scenarios:


The once-mighty Vaterland is a prisoner of politics. She is trapped in New York Harbour, as war rages in Europe. Her crew and Commodore are just as much prisoners as the ship herself, though they are making the best of their captivity by hosting concerts in support of the German relief effort. You’ve come aboard at the behest of John Rathom, editor of the Providence Journal, in hopes of uncovering a German plot.

Dead Horse Corner

The protagonists discover that a trench which ought to have been occupied by their fellow soldiers has been abandoned. Twenty men vanished without a trace, food still on the table and coffee cooling in their mugs. Was it an enemy attack, or something less ordinary?

Sisters of Sorrow

The crew of German U-boat UC-12, is sent on a standard mission; penetrate the North Sea defensive zone, make their way to Tyneside, lay their mines and return. But nothing in the Great War is that simple. While underwater, the crew start to hear a strange, muffled booming noise, ringing like a sequence of church bells. It’s not whales. It’s not enemy forces. Something else is down here. While settled on the sea floor to get some much-needed rest, the crew starts to act suspiciously. Someone is up to no good. The ship’s cat disappears and a strange weed is found growing on board.

Then the tapping on the hull begins…

Stock #: PELGT32 Author: Adam Gauntlett
Artist: Jérôme Huguenin, Leah Huete, Phil Reeves Pages: 112 page perfect bound

Price: $19.95



Soldiers of Pen and Ink is a Trail of Cthulhu campaign set in the dark heart of the Spanish Civil War

A comrade is lost. Enemies surround you, and your fellow soliders cannot be trusted. Can you rescue your friend while retaining your sanity?

Madrid, 1936. The Investigators have come to Spain to shoot a documentary on the war sympathetic to the Republican cause, but find themselves trapped in the Siege of Madrid. One of their team goes missing, and their literary colleagues say it’s pointless – even dangerous – to ask what happened to him.

In a war of competing ideologies, unorthodoxy can merit the death penalty, even amongst those opposing Fascism, but is this Communist oppression or something more sinister?

Players need have no knowledge of the Spanish Civil War to experience this adventure – their Investigators can be naive idealists, and Keepers can be confident that the text explains historical background.

Dare you negotiate steely-eyed Communist ideologues, blood-thirst fascists and the horrors of an inhuman cult to rescue a friend?

“[I often have] the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world….From the anti-Fascist angle one could write a broadly truthful history of the war, but it would be a partisan history, unreliable on every minor point. Yet, after all, some kind of history will be written, and after those who actually remember the war are dead, it will be universally accepted. So for all practical purposes the lie will have become truth.”

– George Orwell, “Looking back on the Spanish War”


Review Highlights

Gauntlett marvelously captures this mood and weaves a Mythos tale of intrigue and clandestine activity with the strong affinity of good Mythos literature”, kafka on


Stock #: PELGT36 Author: Adam Gauntlett
Artist: Jérôme Huguenin, Melissa Gay Pages: 72 page perfect bound


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