At this time of year, my immune system shuts down in protest at winter as a concept, so I’m recovering from a nasty headcold, and pretty much living in my favourite GUMSHOE hoodie at the moment. The illness may be due to travel; I’m just back from my first Big Bad Con in California, followed the next weekend by The Kraken in Germany, where Robin was one of the guests of honour. Their proximity to each other really highlighted how very different they are – BBC was (in large part thanks to the quite amazing Babble On Equity Project), a genuinely diverse crowd, concentrated in the story games/larp/itch.io design space, whereas The Kraken had a lot of familiar faces, and a focus on the Cthulhu & Runequest, more traditional RPG design space. Both were excellent, for entirely different reasons, and I’m still processing the discerning conversations I had at each. Unfortunately, not being able to speak meant I couldn’t run my scheduled events at Gauntlet Con 2019, so Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan fearlessly stepped up to do the What’s New With Pelgrane panel by himself. Thanks Gar! We’ll be posting the audio of this on our social media over the coming weeks, so keep an ear out.

NEW! The Best of Intentions PDF

New out this month is a stand-alone PDF adventure for the second GUMSHOE One-2-One game for one Director and one player, Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops. Play burned MI6 agent Leyla Khan, dragged into a perilous web of occult horrors and organised crime when a scouting mission in Prague goes sour. Will this be Leyla’s chance for redemption – or will she be dragged back into the darkness of the vampiric control she thought she’d escaped?

NEW! Shards of the Broken Sky PDF

It took us an epic six years to finish, but you can access the PDF of the sandbox 13th Age adventure right now! The flying realm of Vantage has crashed to earth, affording a rare glimpse into its mysteries – and secret. Will you rescue its survivors, and restore its magical wards, which were keeping a dozen ancient evils in check? Or are your players the type to loot everything that isn’t nailed down while trying to stay one step ahead of the apocalypse?

Work in progress update: Swords of the Serpentine

This was one of our biggest playtests to date, resulting in a small mountain of post-playtest feedback. Kevin Kulp’s been working hard on reviewing this, and has now incorporated most of the playtest comments, as well as the comments from Misha Bushyager’s sensitivity read, into the main manuscript, along with short designer sidebars to provide design intent, as requested in the playtest.

The manuscript is currently sitting at a solid and very respectable 180K words, meaning the core book will be somewhere in the 340+ page range.

The core book adventure, which got well playtested at Gen Con, has been revised and is now sold. Kevin’s currently finishing a simplification of the enemy stat block, and once that’s done and the rest of the playtest comments are incorporated, it’ll get a full read through for inconsistencies, and we’ll start commissioning the interior art, and being copyediting.

Work in progress update: Mutant City Blues 2nd Edition

Travel and illness have impacted the delivery time, but the index is nearly finished, and the first draft PDF is now on pre-orderers bookshelves. I’m hoping to be able to get the index finalised and the manuscript to the printers this week, so it’ll be with pre-orderers in early February.

Work in progress update: Book of the Underworld

Lee Moyer has taken Rich Longmore’s pencils and combined them into a really magical cover for Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s 13th Age Book of the Underworld. You can see the result in Rob Heinsoo’s cover reveal here. Meanwhile, work continues apace on the interior art direct and development.

Pelgranes in the Wild, part XX – Metatopia

I’m in New York at the moment on my way to Metatopia , the game design festival in New Jersey. If you’ve got a game to playtest, watch out for myself, Ken Hite and Kevin Kulp, as we’ll be around for the weekend playtesting and panelling.

Pelgranes in the Wild, winter edition – Dragonmeet 2019

Coming up at the start of December is the Pelgrane home convention of Dragonmeet. If you’ve seen the flyer, you may have been concerned at our absence, but never fear – we’ve been assured that our booth is booked in our usual corner, and Ken, Robin and Gareth have all booked their flights to come over, with Ken & Robin scheduled for their usual KARTAS Live session. For family reasons, we’re down Dragonmeet regular Rob Heinsoo, who’ll be sadly missed, although it does mean more ice wine and sticky toffee pudding for the rest of us!

Hopefully we’ll see you there, but if not, until next time…

^^ Cat

 

I’m just back from the wilds of London’s Alexandra Palace, where Becky and I, ably assisted by knowledgeable Pelgrane playtester CJ Romer, ran the Pelgrane booth at the second ever Tabletop Gaming Live. The venue itself is lovely, and the staff were really friendly and helpful. It was mostly boardgames-focused, with very few RPG companies – I didn’t do a full tour of the hall, but I only spotted our good friends over at the UK Indie RPG League, and our Cthulhoid masters at Chaosium, who were running demo games.

NEW! Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops PDF

New out this month is the PDF for the second GUMSHOE One-2-One game, Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops. All you need is one Director, and one player, to get your fix of high-octane NBA action. Play burned MI6 agent Leyla Khan, who – over the course of three full adventures – must escape from the vampiric conspiracy who’ve trapped her in their thrall, and track down and destroys her former masters before they recapture her.

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

The Night’s Black Agents Director’s Screen is 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.

Work in progress update: Book of the Underworld

Gareth’s finished the writing on Book of the Underworld, and has handed over the manuscript to developers Rob Heinsoo and J-M deFoggi, who have dived into it and are working hard to get it to the copyeditor as quickly as they can. Rich Longmore and Lee Moyer are working on the cover – Lee will be painting Rich’s linework. We should be able to show you that during the month. Rob and J-M are starting to commission the interior art later this week, too.

Work in progress update: The Borellus Connection

Gareth’s hacking work on The Borellus Connection is now finished, and we’ve handed it over to Arc Dream for approval. We’ll be posting all the bits cuts out as a series of See Page XX articles titled “FINEST EFFECTS” over the coming months. Be warned, though, that these will all be for the Handler’s Eyes Only! This month’s article is a useful timeline for the Handler.

Work in progress update: Born Robot

Kate Bullock has been making good progress on Born Robot, and now has three out of the five main book sections finished. This covers almost all of the robot world setting design, and she’s now jumping into the GM-focused chapter.

Until next time,

^^ Cat

 

Gen Con!

It seems like forever ago, and yet it’s only a month since it finished. We had a particularly good time at Gen Con last year – our sales were up on last year, we had new and enthusiastic booth staff, and we won the Gold ENnie for Best Setting for The Fall of DELTA GREEN. (Also, Ken and Robin won the Gold ENnie for Best Podcast, and we discovered that Ken and Robin will be hosting the ENnie Awards next year!). It continues to be an exhausting week, though, and it casts a long shadow over our productivity in the months preceding (and weeks succeeding, although in my case, I went off to run the RPG section at Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon, so it’s my own fault my August disappeared).

NEW! Trail of Cthulhu cluebook

I have a terrible memory, and so it’s vital that I take notes in games or I’ll have completely forgotten what’s happened by the next session. As a Keeper for Trail of Cthulhu, it’s even more important to have all the important details of your game available at your fingertips. This Art Deco-styled custom 5” x 7” cluebook helps Keepers hold their campaign in focus. It’s got custom pages for recording everything you need, from Investigators’ abilities, to key NPCs, and maps of significant locales along with the clues they contain.

The GUMSHOE Community Content program

We announced this in our Swords, Spies and Shoggoths panel at Gen Con (which you can listen to here, thanks to our friends at the Plot Points podcast), and here’s a bit more on the rollout plans. At the end of this month, we’ll be officially launching the GUMSHOE Community Content program, making Ashen Stars available to creators. If you’re not familiar with the Community Content concept, it means we’ll be making some elements of Ashen Stars (e.g. some IP elements, art, and layout assets) open for members of the community (that is, you!) to write and publish your own Ashen Stars content on DriveThruRPG.

We’re currently working with a number of people to have some interesting and varied content available for launch, so you can better visualise the creative possibilities. Confirmed content includes long-time Pelgrane GM Chris Sellers’s Rogues’ Gallery – a supplement to play Ashen Stars as a morally dubious crew; a new adventure from Ashen Stars fan Jakob Schmidt, and new ship schematics from cartographer extraordinare Ralf Schemmann. We’ll be releasing full details on how to take part later this month, so watch this space!

Work in progress update: Mutant City Blues 2nd Edition

I’ve dropped the ball on this in all the Gen Con and Worldcon kerfuffling. Jen McCleary’s been waiting patiently for me to get back to her with a review of her first draft layout, which is my #1 priority now that I’m back in the office. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get the layout finalised in the next month, and then it’s in the hands of The Printers.

Work in progress update: Even Death Can Die

Christian Knutsson has taken over the layout of this, and will be adding new art and graphical elements, as well as cleaning up the layout of the existing PDF products. We’re also hoping we can get the layout of this finalised in the next month so it can join MCB2 at the printers.

Work in progress update: The Borellus Connection

Once we’d pulled together all the adventures, and made all the post-playtest feedback edits, this turned out big. Too big, realistically. And so Gareth’s been hacking away at it for the last while, trying to wrangle it into a more manageable shape so it can move on through the Arc Dream approval process and on to production. You can see the result of his hacks in his Rung Sat Swamp article here.

Pelgranes in the Wild!! – Tabletop Gaming Live

Now that we’ve got UK-based Becky on board (and I hope you’ll join me in giving her a warm and positive welcome to our community!), we’ll hopefully be better resourced to attend more UK-based conventions, starting this month with Tabletop Gaming Live in the Alexandra Palace in London. Becky and I will be trying out a Pelgrane booth there for the first time, so please do come along and say hello, if you’re around!

Until next time,

^^ Cat

 

The Nest is aflurry this month with today’s news of the 2019 ENnie Award nominations. It is always an honour to be nominated by the hard-working judging team, and this year in particular we’re sharing the nomination field with an impressive breadth of games and industry colleagues. We’ve been nominated in four categories:

Beloved Pelgranistas Ken & Robin have also been nominated in the Best Podcast category, for Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff.

Voting for Fan Favourite Best Publisher is open now, and we’d be grateful if you would consider voting for us – click on this link to go to the voting page. Voting for the 2019 ENnies will open next Wednesday, July 10th.

NEW! Pelgrane Press merchandise

Over the years, a number of people have asked if they can get Pelgrane t-shirts and other merchandise, and it’s been in the works for a while. This month, we’re launching a pop-up merchandise store, with items from t-shirts, hoodies, and phone cases to mugs, wall art, and stickers. You can access the Pelgrane merchandise store here. It’s still in its infancy, and designer Will Hindmarch is individually hand-selecting what is available in each category. Our plan, if there’s sufficient demand, is to have a core range, with seasonal stock available for a few months at a time, so if there’s anything you’d love to see in there let us know in the comments!

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

These have been printed, and are on their way across the seas to our US & UK fulfilment centres. Our printers have told us it will arrive at both locations around July 15th, so we’ll be sending out an email to all pre-orderers in the next few weeks to confirm your shipping addresses, and check whether you’d like it shipped to you, or if you’d prefer to pick up your copy at Gen Con to save on shipping.

Work in progress update: Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops

Layout of this is now finished, and the final PDF is available to all pre-orderers – download it now from your Pelgrane Press bookshelf. We’re currently trying to find a printer who would be able to print and ship these this month – if we can, we’ll be sending out an email to all pre-orderers in the next few weeks to confirm your shipping addresses, and check whether you’d like it shipped to you, or if you’d prefer to pick up your copy at Gen Con to save on shipping.

Work in progress update: Shards of the Broken Sky

This is also at the mercy of the printers, who are claiming it will be shipping to our mail order distribution warehouses on July 15th. We’ll be emailing pre-orderers in the next few weeks to confirm your shipping addresses. The final PDF is available to all pre-orderers – download it now from your Pelgrane Press bookshelf.

Work in progress update: Mutant City Blues 2nd Edition

Jen McCleary, layout artist extraordinaire, has had to redo the layout of this, as the first version was unusable. She’s sent through a second draft now, which is very close to completion; we’re hoping to get this to the printers in mid-July, and to start shipping out to pre-orderers towards the end of August. We should have the final PDF ready for pre-orderers by mid-July.

Work in progress update: The Yellow King RPG

We’ve just posted an update for Kickstarter backers, the TL;DR of which was that our print liaison left the company suddenly for mental health reasons, and so we’ve had to rescue our (printed) Yellow King RPG books from the dusty corner of the warehouse they were abandoned to on his departure. The books are all printed, and we’ve made contact with the slipcase printer; they’re starting work on the slipcases & GM screens now, and estimate they’ll have them finished within a month, and they will then be able to ship out the completed books-in-slipcases to our US & UK fulfilment houses. So at the moment, we’re hoping to be able to start shipping everything to backers in early August, with the pre-orderer books shipping as soon as they’re finished.

In the meantime, anyone who pre-ordered the print books has the following new files on their bookshelf:

  • All Shock, Injury, Goal, Hit and Chit cards, from each of the four YKRPG books, in PNG format. Ideal for sharing with players electronically, for your online games, or pop a couple into a Word document for easy printing before a game.
  • Blank templates for creating your own Shock, Injury, Goal Hit and Chit cards. In GIMP and PSD format.
  • The official YKRPG Shock and Injury decks in PDF format. Robin has chosen 76 Shock cards, and 76 Injury cards, to form the official decks.
  • The 2019 Free RPG Day book
  • The YKRPG Suite – Official music for the Yellow King RPG

Pelgranes in the Wild!! part 3 – Gen Con, booth #1417

We’re less than a month (aaaaaaargh!) from Gen Con, and preparations for our biggest show of the year are frantically underway in the Nest. I’ll be on the Pelgrane booth for the weekend along with Simon, Ken, Robin, Rob Heinsoo, Sadhbh and (hopefully!) our as-yet-unnamed Admin Assistant. You can also spot Pelgranes in the wild at the ENnie Awards ceremony on Friday night, and at our seminars:

  • Gaming with the King in Yellow Robin D. Laws, Sarah Saltiel & John Harness bring the reality-bending horror of Robert W Chambers to your table. Our mavens of terror are here to tear off their pallid masks and reveal the shattering secrets of the Hyades. Thursday 1st August 16:00 -17:00 Stadium : Meeting Rm 8
  • 13th Age Monster Workshop Join Rob Heinsoo and seasoned 13th Age designers to build a brand-new monster that takes advantage of the game’s mechanics to deliver some nasty surprises at the table. Friday 2nd August 11:00 – 12:00 Stadium : Meeting Rm 12
  • Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Robin D. Laws & Kenneth Hite talk roleplaying, history, conspiracy, occultism, writing, food, movies & whatever you ask them about in this live edition of their award-winning podcast. Friday 2nd August 13:00-14:00 Stadium : Meeting Rm 8
  • Investigative Roleplaying MasterClass Mystery scenario masters Kenneth Hite and Robin D. Laws train their magnifying glasses on clue-gathering adventures to reveal the unlikely suspects behind your tabletop woes. Friday 2nd August 17:00-18:00 Westin : Grand Bllrm IV
  • Swords, Spies & Shoggoths: The Pelgrane Press Panel Join Simon Rogers, Cat Tobin & others from the Pelgrane team for a behind-the-scenes look at what the award-winning UK publisher’s been up to this year, & what they’ve planned for the coming year. Saturday 3rd August 14:00-15:00 Crowne Plaza : Pennsylvania Stn A
  • Dramatic Interaction Masterclass Robin D. Laws, Kate Bullock, John Harness and Emily Reinhart teach structures & techniques to turn emotional confrontations between PCs frustrating roadblocks into rich moments of human drama. Saturday 3rd August 16:00-17:00 JW : 202

If you’re going (it’s on in the Indianapolis Convention Centre, from Thursday, August 1st to Sunday, August 5th), be sure to swing by booth #1417 and say hi. You might even be able to pick up a rare Pelgrane GM ribbon or button – if you volunteer to GM one of the games we’re still seeking GMs for (the list is here), you’re guaranteed one of each. Drop us an email at support@pelgranepress.com if you’re available!

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! 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.

 

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