Forty years ago this month (as far as we can work out), Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson first advertised that the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association had “released its set of fantasy campaign rules (Dungeons and Dragons)”. Little did they – or indeed, anyone – suspect how big this innovative game would get, and the hobby it would ultimately spawn.

We all owe a massive debt of gratitude to D&D, so to celebrate the birth of this incredible game, we are giving 40% off the 13th Age PDF all day today in our webstore.

UPDATE: Now you can also take 40% off at DriveThru RPG!

Happy birthday, Dungeons & Dragons, and hope you have many more of them!


Chris Huth has produced excellent art and layout for Pelgrane Press including Ashen Stars, Night’s Black Agents and 13th Age. Last week his apartment suffered extensive damage from a fire. (You can read more news reports here and here.) Luckily, no one was hurt, but he and his partner have lost their home and most of their possessions. His computer and software – the tools of his trade –  and all backup drives have been destroyed with very little chance of recovery. Chris is sleeping in friends’ houses while he searches for somewhere to live.

The Chris Huth Fire Sale

Hard drive after fire damage

Hard drive after fire damageIt’s tough enough being an rpg freelancer and Chris is one of ours, so, until Friday 00:00 GMT, all margin on sales from Pelgrane Press products from the store will go to help Chris get back on his feet. DriveThruRPG will also give their royalty share to Chris on Pelgrane products.100% of the price of download sales, and 50% of all physical sales will go to Chris. This is one step of several that 13th Age creators Fire Opal Media and Pelgrane will be taking to help out.

The sale is over, you can donate direct here:

How might this affect you?

Well, all the layout for 13th Age and templates for future Pelgrane projects are lost. Chris has to start over from scratch with all of these. It will certainly go quicker the second time, but will delay these projects none the less. More details on specific products follow.

13th Age

We have the PDFs for most of the layout – in fact, it’s likely Chris would have finished the whole thing this week if it weren’t for the fire. I’ve uploaded the chapters Chris completed to the download page for pre-orderers – nearly all of them.

However, PDFs are not InDesign files, and the best and most efficient way to reproduce the layout is to start from scratch. Reverse engineering PDFs is not a useful option. So as of right now, I think that 13th Age will be delayed for a month. I am very sorry about this – it’s already taken a lot longer than we expected. I suspect it will be out towards the end of June.

Esoterrorist 2.0 and Gaean Reach

Chris had created layout templates for both of these projects, which will now have to be recreated. This isn’t such a big job, but it’s still a lot of work. I suspect both of these will also be set back by a month. I still hope to have them out by GenCon.

Other projects are unlikely to be affected.

About Chris

Chris Huth originally came to my attention in 2010 when Robin Laws pointed out that a guy in his game group is a talented artist. After a bit of prodding, Chris came up with sample art for Ashen Stars which meshed very well with the art that Jerome created for the setting, and he improved in leaps and bounds.  He then produced all the art and did the layout for the GUMSHOE/Pathfinder mash-up Lorefinder. Most recently he did much of the art and all the layout for Night’s Black Agents. When the layout for 13th Age turned out to be a much bigger challenge than we expected, Chris stepped in to create a layout in InDesign which based on the concept produced by Lee Moyer in PhotoShop. Samples of Chris’s work follow.


Ashen Stars Art

Nights Black Agents Layout Preview

To celebrate the birth of the great H P Lovecraft, Pelgrane Press is offering 20% off all Trail of Cthulhu titles on RPGNow for a week from Monday 20th August. The whole line of Trail of Cthulhu products will be included in the sale, from the core book to the most recent PDF release, The Book of the Smoke.

Pelgrane Press 20% Off Sale!

Sometimes products are unappreciated, and it’s very hard to see why. I present to you four such treasures, and my speculation for their neglect.

Until 16th March 2012 we are offering the chance to pick up one or more of these neglected gems at a 25% discount at the store in both print and PDF versions where they exist.

Repairer of Reputations

…it is one of the best Trail of Cthulhu adventures written to date. Laws has done an admirable job at adapting the story and making a fine adventure. – rpg.net review

Why it’s treasure: The Repairer of Reputations  is a Trail of Cthulhu adventure based on a story by Robert W Chambers and featuring The King In Yellow, a decadent, maddening play. Robin ran this for me and my group at Dragonmeet 2010, and it was a blast – it incorporates an entire setting (an alernatve 1920s New York), new optional GUMSHOE rules, Chamber’s story and a nation-shaking conspiracy all in under 45 pages.

Why it’s hidden: It’s mystifying why this should not have sold better, and the irony is it’s the first piece Robin has written which he is being paid royalties rather than in a word rate. I was expecting this would be better for him, but that’s not how it turned out. I also hoped that it would lead to a quartet of adventures based on other Chamber’s stories. The only explanation for its poor sales I can think of is that it was released just before GenCon, as a PDF, so it wasn’t available there.


 Do I recommend the book? Yes, absolutely! The brief book provides an excellent paradigm for regulating information in a fantasy RPG. Even if you follow that paradigm within the core Pathfinder rules (with skill checks), GUMSHOE is an excellent model and will enrich your game. The advice on divinations and “clues” in combat are also excellent.

Why it’s treasure: Lorefinder merges the action-oriented fantasy rules of The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game with the streamlined investigative focus of Robin D Law’s GUMSHOE system. It’s the first in what I had hoped was a series of mash-ups between GUMSHOE and other systems. Like Repuration it packs in a lot in a small package – a new rule simple set with easy conversion guide, new abilities, spells and feats, a guide for designing mysteries and an adventure. Chris Huth shows his layout and art chops, and Ralf Schemmann provides maps in CC3 and PNG format.

Why it’s hidden: To be fair, this has been a modest success, but still not quite what I had hoped. Perhaps Pathfinder fans are inherently conservative, or the idea of new rule system was too much (it’s really not hard to absorb) or perhaps people don’t consider the investigative side of fantasy RPGs that imporant. In fact, one lesser-known benefit of GUMSHOE is that it can handle investigation quickly and discretely, allowing your PCs to get on with what they do best, killing monsters and taking their stuff.

Invasive Procedures

Gareth has written a fantastic scenario filled with anxiety and genuine horror 10/10 rpg.net review

Why it’s treasure: In Invasive Procedures, you are a patient in an old, rambling hospital facing the schemes of a sinister doctor. It’s creepy and disturbing. I was terrified by Paper Mask, so I would be very uncomfortable playing this. It’s written for Fear Itself, but is also adapted for Trail of Cthulhu use. One actual play report we received for this one-shot adventure set in a hospital said it was “perhaps too creepy”.

Why it’s hidden: Like The Book of Unremitting Horror, this book is well-reviewed but has sold modestly. That said, it is a supplement for Fear Itself, and so its potential audience is a subset of a subset. It includes body horror, which is too much for many people. With Trail of Cthulhu conversion now included, we are hoping it will be more popular.

Brief Cases

 The crime in this one is fascinating …  Definitely had me hooked.  The killer was a real surprise to the players in my game. Playtest report

Why it’s treasure: Brief Cases features three session-length adventures for your Heightened Crime Investigators. They present a straightforward way for you and your group to try out Mutant City Blues. It also features Pascal Quidault’s artwork taken to a new level, surpassed only in Dead Rock Seven, I’d argue.

Why it’s hidden: There was a big gap between Hard Helix (the first supplement for Mutant City Blues) and this one. While I think MCB is the most perfect match to the GUMSHOE system, and I love playing it, MCB itself is not our best seller, and I don’t think it gets wide play. The other issue is that I’ve not been able to get it reviewed yet.

Over to you…

What, if anything, made you reject these supplements or overlook them, and how might we improve things in future?

All these supplements are avaiable from the store at 25% off until 16th March.

The IPR Pelgrane Press sale will be closing very soon – it’s 15% off all Pelgrane Press products, including PDFs. Go there while you can!

Edit: The sale is over.

For a limited time, Pelgrane Press PDFs are available at 15% off over at Paizo. Here is the sale page.

All of our GUMSHOE PDF products are on sale over at rpgnow.com at a 15% discount until 19th March. Our average rating over 22 reviews is over 4 out of 5. So that’s Trail of Cthulhu, Mutant City Blues, Esoterrorists and Fear Itself. Get them while you can!