The following article originally appeared on an earlier iteration of See Page XX in April 2008. 

News from Pelgrane Press

We’ve had a great month, although some shipping issues have reared their ugly heads, mainly with shipments from the US taking their time to reach Europe. We’ve fixed those now. Leonard Balsera’s Profane Miracles, another fastplay Esoterrorists adventure is also out now from sale from Indie Press Revolution. You can also get it from the Pelgrane Press Store.

Trail of Cthulhu

Trail of Cthulhu is our quickest selling game ever, and I am delighted with the response, through all channels. We’ve sold through 70% of the first print run already, and I’m now concerned that we won’t get the reprint out in time. We had a great Trail of Cthulhu launch party, and I had the pleasure of going to see James Semple in his amazing studio. We are very lucky to have him working with us to create original music for the various GUMSHOE games. We’ll be putting together a package of sound effects music, and stings as a new RPG product.

Out Now

Out recently

Available from the Pelgrane Store and IPR.

Printing

Laid Out and Ready to Print

Stunning Eldritch Tales, a set of four Trail of Cthulhu adventures is in playtest,

Further Work

Robin is writing an action-packed new adventure for Mutant City Blues, and Jerome is working on new illustrations for MCB.

The following article originally appeared on an earlier iteration of See Page XX in October 2007. 

News from Pelgrane Press

Since the last missive, we’ve attended GenCon, released three new books and playtested the first pass of Trail of Cthulhu. Three new manuscripts have been laid out and are queued for printing, one awaits layout and another is queued for playtesting. Jérome Huguenin has been doing amazing work, illustrating and laying books out. New products have been added to the store, and they’ll soon be available for sale in retailers. Finally, the collected wisdom of Robin D Laws first twenty-four columns are available from rpgnow.com. (Ed. – These articles are now being released into the main Pelgrane Press blog feed.)

GenCon

I haven’t been to GenCon since the first Indy, and it was a real pleasure to see all the people I haven’t seen for years, and meet for the first time fellow industry professionals and players I’ve got to know online. Robin Laws spent a decent amount of time behind the stand, and Ken Hite did a Trail of Cthulhu Q&A. It was great to see so many excellent games rewarded at the Ennie Awards, in particular Qin, published by French publishers 7ème Cercle. They have done a great  job translating Esoterrorists and Fear Itself, and they are aiming to publish Trail of Cthulhu in French simultanously with us.

New Releases

The Book of Unremitting Horror a crossover book for Fear Itself and The Esoterrorists is now out. For the first time, it is released simultaneously as a PDF and print book. For the Dying Earth RPG, the paperback version of the Compendium of Universal Knowledge is also out. The hardback has been delayed due to printing issues.

Printing Problems

Problems with the printer mean that there has been a delay in publishing GUMSHOE Unremitting Horror and The Compendium of Universal Knowledge. A few were delivered to GenCon, and these are the ones available from our store . I do hope that the others will delivered to Impressions, our fulfilment agent so we can get retailers stocked soon.

Reviews

A review (and mini-review) of all of our GUMSHOE releases here. Fear Itself has been reviewed here on rpg.net.

Laid Out and Ready to Go

Now ready to print are:

Ready to Lay Out

Leonard Balsera has completed Profane Miracles, a short Esoterrorists adventure, which is being illustrated and laid out now.

In Playtesting

Trail of Cthulhu has completed its first round of playtesting, and is waiting on Kenneth Hite’s next draft to enter the second round. In addition, I’ll be soliciting for Mutant City Blues playtesters shortly.

The following article for the Dying Earth RPG originally appeared on DyingEarth.com in December 2005.

At last – a new Dying Earth release – All’s Fair in Azenomei! It’s available as a downloadable PDF exclusively from Pelgrane. This professionally produced scenario gives your PCs the chance to explore Azenomei in depth, enjoy all the fun of the fair, and take part in a series of contests on behalf of a local sponsor of dubious repute. The PCs will have to use their full repertoire of chicaneries and wiles to triumph over the predicaments in which they find themselves.

While we wait for a full review of the Book of Unremitting Horror, I recommend you pop over to the Ogre’s Cave to see their Christmas recommendations .

This month, we’ve finally sorted out what is going in XPS 7/8 (ed: now collected as the Excellent Prismatic Spray) and what is going in the Compendium of Universal Knowledge – our next major release. A sample entry can be seen here.

The Compendium is a gazetteer, a bestiary and an encyclopedia of the Dying Earth. It includes entries by almost all our writers, and is being compiled and edited with additional material by David Thomas. At the moment, I am tending towards a thick hardback volume with color plates, probably a limited edition, with a paperback version later.

The Rhialto supplement is being edited by John Kahane, but Robin will be adding a new chapter on Sandestins and offering some simplified rules in Mid-February.


The Dying Earth — and its rules-lighter version the Revivification Folio — take you into the world of master fantasist Jack Vance, where a flashing sword is less important than nimble wits, persuasive words,and a fine sense of fashion. Survive by your cunning, search for lost lore, or command the omnipotent but quarrelsome sandestins. Purchase The Dying Earth or the Revivification Folio in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

The following article on the Dying Earth RPG originally appeared on DyingEarth.com between 2004 and 2007.

The Primer of Practical Magic

by Jeanry Chandler

Not long ago, in an interview in the Excellent Prismatic Spray magazine, Gary Gygax described the profound influence that the work of Jack Vance had upon the original design and overall feel of Dungeons and Dragons™. For perhaps the first time since the very early days of that game, a new d20 sourcebook is being introduced, which draws heavily upon the influence of the realm of the Dying Earth.

The Primer of Practical Magic, represents a return to a darker, more eerie feel to roleplaying, to a time when the game wasn’t as polarized between pure good and pure evil, but had more moral gray areas. When a thief was a dubious individual who stole things for a living, not just a loner with an alternative lifestyle and a knack for picking locks. A time when a magician was someone you couldn’t always assume was a kindly old man or a stereotypical villain, but was likely to be something in between, yet always dangerous to annoy without good reason.

The Primer of Practical Magic hearkens to a time when players didn’t know all the spells in the rulebook yet, or all the monsters one could possibly encounter; a time before players argued about every rule, because they were still caught up in the mystery of the game. Toward this noble end of casting a shadow of renewed mystery over the d20 gaming experience, The Primer includes many features which the discerning gamer will appreciate.

The incantations found in The Primer come directly from Jack Vance’s Dying Earth novels such as The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugels Saga, The Dying Earth, and Rhialto The Marvelous. These spells are sometimes discreet in their effects, sometimes flashy and powerful, but always clever and amusing in their application. They range from the subtle, thinking magician’s cantrips and low-level charms, such as spells to calm a barking dog; put the smell of wine on a rival’s breath; instantly clear the roadside dust from one’s garments; or cantrips to curdle a neighbors soup, or make a frog take on the temporary appearance of a beautiful maiden; through the unwholesome and dangerous summoning magic of the Diabolist, such as The Spell of the Ominous Enthusiast, which conjures forth a small blue demon which can perform any single task with the greatest of skill, but then demands and attempts to forcibly acquire the liver of its summoner as payment.

Finally, the Primer includes a few of the truly mighty spells which made the Magicians of the Dying Earth individuals to be both feared and respected: Phandaal’s Gyrator, The Evocation of Blue Havoc, The Charm of Forlorn Encystment, The Charm of the Omnipotent Sphere and the original Excellent Prismatic Spray (not to be confused with another spell with a similar name.) All are mighty new weapons suitable the magical arsenals of the powerful magicians.

For those who always felt there should have been some element of danger and uncertainty to spellcasting, the Primer introduces an optional spell failure system, based on the system in the Dying Earth RPG™. No longer is casting a spell automatic guarantee of its routine success. Rather, the outcome is a function of the power of the spell contrasted with the skill of the caster, and results can range from Dismal Failure to Illustrious Success. The latter may be an unexpected boon, while the former can cause dire consequences indeed, which is why inexperienced spell dabblers and hedge wizards should think twice before attempting to wield the more powerful arcane magical formulae found in this book. In addition to spells, there are numerous new magical items. Over 40 new Ioun Stones convey a variety of powers and skill effects, and dozens of other curious magic items fill the pages of the Primer. These again range from the very subtle, such as a sheath to wear over your tongue so that one can endure the most disgusting repasts without crying out or vomiting (and thus potentially offending the wrong person), or books containing insulting verses so scathing they can bring a strong man to his knees; through such powerful and useful artifacts as the ever-lengthening rope; Laccodel’s Rune, which protects the wearer against nearly any form of caustic magic; Mieux’s Pantelloons which puff up to frustrate arrows or darts, and can allow the wearer to float away to safety; or the much-feared Schiavona of Kavic which conveys superb fighting ability to even the most inept fencer.

Those players not satisfied with the magical creations of others can dabble with the manufacture of their own Vat Creatures, and through the medium of magic and living flesh, create anything from a comely concubine with whom to while away the twilight hours, to a burly and hirsute guard – beast to chase away uninvited solicitors.

Finally, The Primer includes three remarkable prestige classes for those interested in fully immersing themselves in the Dying Earth milieu. The Sharper is a con artist and a thief, whose natural abilities make it just as easy for her to earn a living taking down marks in any big city as creeping around in the wilderness on a foolhardy adventure. The Diabolist is that rather scary individual who specializes in the control, banishment, and / or binding of Demons and creatures from the outer planes. Thanks to the invaluable contributions of Ian Thomson, The Primer includes several of the unique spells and abilities from the DERPG Demons of the Dying Earth book, from which are formed a deadly arsenal of abilities and skills for the formidable Diabolist. Finally, the mighty Arch-Magician class allows players to flex true magical muscles, and become the kind of character you thought of the first time you ever heard Black Sabbath’s ‘The Wizard’.

Not since Call of Cthulhu™ introduced the feel of Lovecraft to roleplaying games, has a genre as rich as the high fantasy world of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth been so accessible to d20 gamers. The Primer of Practical Magic, available soon from Pelgrane press, is sure to profoundly enrich the d20 experience, and hopefully it will be only the beginning.


The Dying Earth — and its rules-lighter version the Revivification Folio — take you into the world of master fantasist Jack Vance, where a flashing sword is less important than nimble wits, persuasive words,and a fine sense of fashion. Survive by your cunning, search for lost lore, or command the omnipotent but quarrelsome sandestins. Purchase The Dying Earth or the Revivification Folio in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

The following article for the Dying Earth RPG originally appeared on DyingEarth.com in November 2005.

Push aside the detritus to see the shiny gew-gaws horded by the Pelgrane

I have two things to announce, one horrifying, the other edifying.

For your edification, we have relaunched the webstore after its long hiatus. Rather than leave you at the mercy of unreliable sandestins, we’ve come to an arrangement with our sister company, ProFantasy Software Ltd. Their minions have been working for over a decade processing multiple mail orders every day, and will deal with Pelgrane orders with barely a mumble of protest and with their customary efficiency.

If you buy any of our older books, you’ll find that you can get the PDF within minutes of your order. The link will be presented on your receipt.

We also are proud to launch the Book of Unremitting Horror, full of creatures which would grace the snopes urban legend site. The disturbing content contrasts admirably with the quality of the layout. There is already a short review , and one commentator suggests that it “puts the V in vile.” Persons of quality will buy it forthwith.

XPS 7/8 (now collected in the Excellent Prismatic Spray) is progressing, and Jim Webster has agreed to field any and all questions on the topic after I threatened him with desanguination. We would also appreciate any letters to the editor, either in or out of character.

Finally, I must report on a complex development. The Gazetteer and Bestiary are to be rolled into a larger work – The Dying Earth Cyclopedia (ed: now called the Compendium of Universal Knowledge). Edited by David Thomas it will be our largest work, and our most impressive.


The Dying Earth — and its rules-lighter version the Revivification Folio — take you into the world of master fantasist Jack Vance, where a flashing sword is less important than nimble wits, persuasive words,and a fine sense of fashion. Survive by your cunning, search for lost lore, or command the omnipotent but quarrelsome sandestins. Purchase The Dying Earth or the Revivification Folio in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

The following article for the Dying Earth RPG and Fear Itself originally appeared on DyingEarth.com in November 2004.

Push aside the detritus to see the shiny gew-gaws horded by the Pelgrane

Our last release was XPS 6 (ed: now bundled as The Excellent Prismatic Spray) – a good few months’ ago now. But we aren’t slacking, I promise you – certain persons have been eaten, others dropped from a great height. The manuscripts are stacked up, and at last an artist is licking his nib, and our schedule is a thing of beauty, if not truth. We’ve employed the artistic services of Dave Allsop, best known in the RPG community for SLA Industries; although he has also created Magic card images and D&D® creatures for Wizards of the Coast. We are lucky to have him, trapped in the nest, to be released when his work is done, or eaten as a light snack if it is unfinished. Dave is also the artist and co-creator of a non-Dying Earth project we’ve been working on – The Book of Unremitting Horror – more on that later.

We’ve commissioned Robin D Laws to create the Arch-Magicians book – a whole new style of Dying Earth play. The vigilant questing of

the magician gives way to power; but with ultimate power comes ennui, and only the other Arch-Magicians provide a suitable challenge. Squabbling, intrigue and pettifoggery might cause even the affable Preceptor of the Conclave to tear out his hair. Robin is devising a clever new mechanic, dare I say a metagame mechanic. I can’t say much yet, but what I can reveal is that in this version of the Dying Earth RPG you can win, and it won’t be by conjuring up a dark army of underlings and conquering the world. Robin is in little danger of being eaten, partly due to his past services, but mainly because of his personal chaffe and offensive shirts.

Jim Webster and Peter Freeman have created the Dying Earth Gazetteer (ed: now The Scaum Valley Gazetteer), a splendid overview of the entire known world, and elsewhere. Its accuracy is absolutely and unreservedly guaranteed – at least that is what they assured me as I dangled them, one in each claw, over the edge of the nest. Dave Allsop is currently illustrating the more significant entries. I find a friendly grin and a few kind words hurry him on.

The Book of Unremitting Horror is a bleak book of horrific monsters for use in an OGL setting. Each horror is detailed in depth, so much so that it each is more a complete adventure in itself. Each one has its own agenda, its own reason for existence and its own legend. The book includes GM and player information. A PDF sample will follow next month, but for the moment, here is a little teaser for one of the creatures.

Dave Allsop is the artist and creator, and the creatures have been detailed by Adrian Bott, who has written The Book of Hell for Mongoose Publishing amongst other RPG titles.

Tooth, Talon and Pinion, The Dying Earth Bestiary is now ready for the first round of editing. Compiled with extra material by Ian Thomson (Demons of the Dying Earth) it will cover all the beasts and humanoids. It includes authoritative discussions of each creature, with a little polite scholarly disagreement over the nature of each beast, allowing you to choose which version to use. Many of the creatures are tied together in a grand adventure, although each segment can be run separately. If only Ian can curb his natural exuberance, and present me with more shiny things, I will in turn curb my natural appetite.

The Shining Fields (ed: now The Fields of Silver,) written by Lynne Hardy, is a Turjan-level campaign in the style of the old Call of Cthulu™ campaign books is languishing awaiting art. It is with regret that I can find no excuse to consume Lynne, as she is without fault in this matter. That small nicety has not concerned me before, however.

XPS 7 (ed: now bundled as The Excellent Prismatic Spray)is underway, but you will have to ask Jim Webster, the editor, if you want to know more. I dare not.


The Dying Earth — and its rules-lighter version the Revivification Folio — take you into the world of master fantasist Jack Vance, where a flashing sword is less important than nimble wits, persuasive words,and a fine sense of fashion. Survive by your cunning, search for lost lore, or command the omnipotent but quarrelsome sandestins. Purchase The Dying Earth or the Revivification Folio in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

TTPcover

TOOTH, TALON & PINION: Excellent Prismatic Spray Double Issue #7/8

The second double-issue of the Excellent Prismatic Spray magazine to be so voluminous as to (in this case literally) claw its way into being a DERPG sourcebook in its own right!

Stranger, stay your hand a while…

Wonder at the pets of the Dying Earth, frolic in the icy streets of The Hidden City in the Mountains, gawp at Bildazan, God of Merchants and Thieves. Once again Pelgrane Press spares no expense or effort to bring to your attention what they most modestly assure me must surely be the finest collection of scenarios, background information, and plot hooks for the Dying Earth as has ever been collected into one place.

But lest you think that we have succumbed to chronic philotherianism we also venture into other areas and continue to elucidate and examine the farther corners of our ancient world.

Twenty creatures are detailed here by our most reliable commentators, offered with their Known Facts, reliable Scholarly Conjectures with game effects, and Adventure Hooks for unsuspecting PCs:

  • The familiar deodand gets a new lick of paint in the Carnival of Grotesques…
  • There is a choice of dangerous and docile pets…
  • You might learn the secrets of the Twk-Folk…
  • choose your words carefully with the Equivocal Leucomorph…
  • And Grashpotel’s walking tour enlightens us on the culinary merits of beasts, although many of his students end up on the menu!

So, stranger, should you merely be desirous of titillation, of generously endowed maidens dressed in unlikely and uncomfortable combinations of chain mail and leather, of facile stories and shallow plots suitable only for the most juvenile, then carefully place this back on the shelf where your betters can find it.

If, on the other hand, you are a person of wit and discernment, welcome, this book has found its rightful home.

This also serves as a companion volume to the DE Compendium, being made up of much high quality material originally intended for an earlier version of that work.

CONTENTS:

Editorial: Jim Webster
The Letters of Bracht, Green Legionnaire: M.D. Jackson
Pets of the Dying Earth: Lizard
The Hidden City of the Mountains: Lynne Hardy
The Twk-men: Nicholas Caldwell
Grashpotel’s Symposium: David Thomas
The Clevenger Collectors: Jeanry Chandler
The Duniwassal Mattock: Justinian Merrihew
The Travelers Guide to the Exotic and Quixotic Bildazan, God of Merchants and Thieves: Greg Saunders
The Animal Apocrypha: Ian Thomson
A Treatise on the Origins and Intelligence of Certain Dumb Beasts: David Thomas

Once upon a time a DE Bestiary was mooted, and indeed written to first draft. Then the concept changed. Much of the material created was subsumed into the Compendium, with sufficient overflow to become Tooth, Talon & Pinion. However, some smaller pieces were left homeless and found their way into the Footsteps of Fools scenarios, and at the end of the day the large appendices also still remained – and are here offered freely for your delight:
Gilgad’s Wilderness Survival Guide
The Magic of the Wilds
Weapons of the Dying Earth (written independently of the XPS article)
The High Road to Kaiin (adventure part 1)
A Walk in the Woods (adventure part 2)

Click here: for a complete listing of all DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

Stock #: PELXPS07 Author: Ed: Jim Webster with Ian Thomson
Artist: Ossi Hiekkala Pages: 134 page paperback

Buy

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XPS4-5BodyDouble Book-Size Issue of ‘The Excellent Prismatic Spray’ (Volume 1, Number 4/5)

A source book for the Dying Earth RPG
To Ascolais, the Falling Wall and Beyond! This first double volume of the XPS is so vast in scope that it has graduated to its own page as a sourcebook in its own right.

Once the heart of the reach of Grand Motholam, the Land of the Falling Wall and Ascolais are now picturesque ruins. The people are strange, the places stranger, the opportunities and diversions unparalleled. This double issue of The Excellent Prismatic Spray is your well-nigh irresistible invitation to discover the Dying Earth’s heartlands for yourself. While waiting for Time’s death rattle, why not:

    • Defraud merchants amid the probity and decorum of cruel Lumarth and its ruinous neighbour Aktabras…
    • Lose yourself (or your pursuers) in Forrell’s Port, gateway to the Sousenene Coast…
    • Cross the Plain of Standing Stones…
    • Discover whether you or any of your fellows are unknowingly vat creatures…
    • Hide from your enemies in cosmopolitan Efred, City of Sanctuary…
    • Tangle with mermelants in Aldusfeld Village…
    • Interfere with cranes in white-walled Kaiin…
    • Or take the opportunity to hunt mutroons and social status in the Great Da Forest.

    Ascolais and the Land of the Falling Wall features adventures, recipes, ghosts, ships, vat creatures, gods, daihaks and demons. The material is suitable for all levels of play and will satisfy every palate, however ghoulish or finicky.

    • CONTENTS:
      Vance’s Spell of the Ineffably Pleasurable Prolonged Hour and What It Did To Me (Ed Greenwood)
      The Den-Phu Cranes [adventure] (Robin D Laws)
      The Dying Earth Needs You (Lynne Hardy)
      A Map of The Known World (Sarah Wroot)
      Efred, City of Sanctuary (David Thomas)
      Mermelants Unite! (Thomas Russell)
      ARCANA of Grashpotel (Peter Freeman)
      The City of Lumarth (Ian Thomson)
      Caravan to Akatabras [adventure] (Ian Thomson)
      Forell’s Port (Lizard)
      Home Brewed Heroes [Vat Creature PCs] (Ian Thomson)
      The Laughing Magician [adventure] (Steve Dempsey)
      The Sculpted Chair (Lynne Hardy)
      The Luminarion (Mark Baker)
      Ghosts of the Forgotten Past (Kurt Brown)
      The Encroaching Green (Lizard & Ian Thomson)
      Cozeners Expedients (Various)

    Click here: for a complete listing of all DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

    Stock #: PELXPS004D Author: Ed: Jim Webster
    Artist: Sarah Wroot & others Pages: 148 page paperback

    Buy

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xps6coverTHE EXCELLENT PRISMATIC SPRAY MAGAZINE SERIES

The XPS series features adventures, background and words of wisdom for the Dying Earth RPG. It has included articles by such luminaries and regulars as Robin D Laws, Gary Gygax, Phil Masters, Monte Cook, Ed Greenwood, Steve Long, David Thomas, Lynne Hardy & Ian Thomson. It is indispensable to fans of the Dying Earth.

  • Our first issue features the much-feared Pirates of the Jhardine Coast, the Vineyards of the Scaum, Zamaranth a Turjan-level adventure set in the Forest of Da, as well as career advice from Phil Masters and hints on play by our foremost playtesters. This issue is now made most generously available as a free pdf download.
  • In the second issue Robin D. Laws presents “Phasms”, an adventure for powerful arch-magicians; Gary Gygax details the influence of Jack Vance on the D&D game. Phil Masters, Steven Long, and many other stellar names present material of comparable interest.
  • The third issue includes The Gold and Amber Cabal, an adventure for aspiring mages; The Valley of the Graven Tombs, laden with ghosts and curses; and The Laughing Magician, part one of a three-part adventure series in which the characters must race up the Scaum river against stiff opposition, as well as articles by Robin D Laws and Lizard.
  • Ascolais and the Land of the Falling Wall is a double issue (XPS 4 & 5), cunningly disguised as an adventure supplement. This fine collection of game material includes the first published representation of the long-awaited speculative map of the Dying Earth. With contributors such as Robin D Laws, Ed Greenwood, Jeanry Chandler & Ian Thomson, and articles on vat creatures, mermelants and religion, it is the best XPS yet. Settlements across this region of the Dying Earth are detailed, with opportunities for adventure, trickery and gourmandism.
  • Issue Six features an article on Vancean magic by Arcana Unearthed author Monte Cook; a d20 conversion of Dying Earth rules by Keith Baker, creator of the new Eberron campaign setting for Wizards of the Coast. Hogshead’s Mark Ricketts gives sterling advice on adding horror into your Dying Earth games. XPS 6 also includes adventures, new weapons, cults of the Dying Earth and much more. With such well-known names and an attractive layout, XPS 6 is a must for any Dying Earth player, and others besides.
  • Tooth, Talon & Pinion (double issue: XPS 7 & 8) is an expose on the fauna of the Dying Earth, released as a supplement to the DERPG Compendium. Twenty creatures are detailed here by our most reliable commentators. The familiar deodand gets a new lick of paint in the Carnival of Grotesques; there are a choice of dangerous and docile pets; and you might learn the secrets of the Twk-Folk, or choose your words carefully with the Equivocal Leucomorph. Grashpotel’s walking tour enlightens us on the culinary merits of beasts, although many of his students end up on the menu. Beasts are offered with their Known Facts, reliable Scholarly Conjectures with game effects, and Adventure Hooks for unsuspecting PCs.

XPSbundle

 

Click here: for a complete listing of all DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

Stock #:PELXPS002D Author: Various
Artist: Various Pages: Various

Buy

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