View from the Pelgrane’s Nest

Cat Tobin is off back to Ireland in a few days, so in the meantime we’ve been planning how Pelgrane Press will level-up under its new management, with improved marketing, better organised play and (my favourite) spending more time playing games and attending conventions. Mark Fulford of sister company ProFantasy Software has been working on the back end Pelgrane Press store and John Clayton is looking at the website, which is currently creaking under the weight of its content. Expect to see visible change in May.

This month, the vast weight of The Eyes of the Stone Thief has been flattening doormats everywhere, 13th Age Monthly offers a bizarre collection of magic items, the surrealist Dreamhounds of Paris and Book of Ants are available as PDFs, and Ken Writes About Stuff begins its third year.

Trail of Cthulhu

Ken Writes About Stuff Volumes 2 and  3: To date, Kenneth Hite has created 24 supplements, one a month, covering the nazi occult, hideous Mythos creatures and new GUMSHOE rules and settings. These supplements are now collected in Ken Writes About Stuff volumes One and Two. This year completes its run with Tombhounds of Egypt – everything you need to run a pulp archaeology campaign set in the 1930s.

This month sees the release of volume 3, which kicks off with the poisonous Tcho-tcho. We’ve sent subscribers a voucher to renew your subscription – visit Customer Service if you haven’t had yours.

Eternal Lies: Eternal Lies now has an alternative ending for Keepers to spring on blasé players who have been peeking between the covers. Download the new ending from your order page. Read more here.

Dreamhounds of Paris and the Book of the Ants: It seems appropriate that Dreamhounds and the Book of Ants are being released in the ephemeral form of PDFs – there is a TimeWatch adventure somewhere in transporting the surrealists to the modern age to see what they’d do with the internet.

If you are still undecided by the release of the more modestly priced elestronic version, consider this review:

“…this is a fascinating, challenging campaign that pays homage to Lovecraft’s ‘canon’ Dreamlands, but, since it simultaneously upends and mutates them, might be just as well suited to people who *hate* the Dreamlands (shame on you). If I had one wish, I could have used more of everything…”

I had the pleasure of playing in the first vignette of The Poison Tree – On a Wild and Savage Hillside – written and run by Scott Dorward at the ConcreteCow convention. It opens with a birth, and features an extended family of Welsh farmers.  It follows Matthew Sanderson’s model of creating a set of pregenerated characters with strong reasons to interact – this takes a lot of work from the Keeper and encourages great roleplaying. Scott introduces a particularly nasty GUMSHOE variation for this vignette, a roll of a one is always a fail, which suits the setting very well.

New Trail adventures from Bill White and Ruth Tillman are in playtest, and Paula and Steve Dempsey are working on Fearful Symmetries.

13th Age

The Eyes of The Stone Thief, our great white whale of of a dungeon, is out now.  It’s generated excitement and confusion as you can see over on this thread.  “…I am leaning much harder to the side of “its gonna be AMAZING!” than the “… wow, what were they smoking when they thought that up…?””

This last tweet reveals that a few pages of the Stone Thief were laid out in a different style to the rest, and as Easter is nearly upon us, I’ll let you in the background to that, as its caused confusion particularly amongst younger gamers.

I ran my first ever game using B1, the introductory D&D adventure, when it was released, and I have great affection for the old TSR modules. In more recent years, Wizards released a Tomb of Horrors box set with a replica of the original in it, which sowed a seed. (Tomb of Horrors was also the inspiration for another Pelgrane release, but I don’t want to be direct about that.) Also, in my youth, the UK had a substantial games industry focused on D&D which produced quirky and very British supplements, including Fiend Folio, with illustrations by Russ Nicholson. So I wanted the very oldest section of the dungeon – one much older even than the Stone Thief itself – recreated in this original style. We bought the font, and Chris Huth pulled out the stops to give the old-school impression – not exactly a facsimile, but how we remembered it. To have Russ illustrate it with a full-page monochrome piece of the Stone Thief was spectacular.

If I’d had my way completely, we’d have had a blue dungeon map, hand-out illustrations, scribbled out hit points and TPK in the margin.

Night’s Black Agents – The Dracula Dossier

In the spy/vampire world no news is good news, but we realise tradecraft sometimes has to stand aside for intel.

First, it’s not too late to jump aboard the steamship to Draculatown. You can see the list of available pledge levels and add-ons here. New backers can still pledge at any available level, and get add-ons via paypal. Email us with details of the pledge you want, an we’ll let you know what to do.

There is a full update for backers here.

Cat’s managed our most ambitious project to date with stern efficiency tempared with kindness. We are still on target, but targets can slip for projects as complex as this.

Ken and Gareth are doing little but immerse themselves in Stoker’s manuscript to create the agents’ annotations, which will then lead to changes in the original novel. We are trying to work out the best way to lay out Dracula Unreactied – it’s a tough decision, balancing utility with authenticity.

We’ve had first drafts of adventure stretch goals: Blood Coda from Ruth Tillman, John Adamus’ Slayer Elite, Moldavian Candidate from Emma Marlow and Stoker First Blood by Bill White. Dean of Cthulhu Reborn website has been creating excellent facsimile documents for the Hakwins Papers stretch goal.

James Semple has written and delivered the music for each Edom era. I’ve enjoyed listening the original music for the Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Stockhausen and the evocative tones of the cimbalom. We’ve stretched the budget with some live violin for the 1890 theme, and all four provide a stirring bookend for any DD game.

TimeWatch RPG

TimeWatch has dropped behind its projected schedule. I am sorry about this. I don’t have a clear estimate of the release date, but we’ll provide one when we have better information. Writer and TimeWatch creator Kevin Kulp is making solid progress, though, with what is a much bigger manuscript than we originally imagined. Word count on the core rules stands at 121,210 words. Third-party contributors to the main rules have delivered their first drafts, including Chris Lackey’s Mythos tie-in and Jeff Yaus’ adventure hooks. Behind Enemy Times has a solid outline for writers to fill, and most of the Book of Changing Years individual contributions are in. More on this when we have it.

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View from the Pelgrane’s Nest

So much to talk about! In short – subscribe to KWAS 2, join up with 13th Age Organized Play and read about our array of forthcoming gaming goodness.

Ken Writes About Stuff AgainHC Dark Young_cover

The first year of Ken Writes About Stuff draws to a close. As an end-of-year treat, all KWAS issues are also available as eBooks, there is a free bonus issue and subscribers have been sent an email with a discount code for KWAS 2. Next month, KWAS 1 will be available as a bundle to non-subscribers.

The second annual KWAS is now available – opening up with Hideous Creatures: Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath.

We were a bit lax in getting KWAS and your KWAS emails out in the first year, and we didn’t want to repeat this, so Ken is producing two issues this month, so we always have an issue in hand. Starting from June 1st, we’ll aim get you your latest issue on the first working day of the month.

Organised Play

The 13th Age Organised Play run by ASH LAW, Wade Rockett and Jay Schneider has hit the amazing 1000-GM mark. To participate in the growing 13th Age community and get access to the free adventures, sign up here.

Inspired by this, and the result of our poll of 13th Age GMs which show a big cross-over between 13th Agers and GUMSHOE, we are looking at expanding this program to include other Pelgrane games. Step one is to produce a solid set of convention adventures, the first of which for Trail is in first draft. I’ll provide more details next month.

13th Age

The 13th Age Bestiary is with the printers, on target for a May / early June delivery date. Pre-order your copy now from the Pelgrane store. It’s available on Bits and Mortar, too, so you can pre-order it from your local retailer and get the PDF now.

The Bestiary limited edition is in the changing rooms at the boutique, trying out new outfits of faux leather colours and gold foil. The limited B will be up for preorder next month with Hatchling edition customers geting first dibs.

13 True Ways is finally in layout. We apologize for the extreme delay in getting this Kickstarted product out to you – we think it’s worth the wait. We’ll put in on pre-order this month. It’s touch and go if we’ll have it out in time for GenCon and Kickstarter backers come first. A non-laid out PDF version should be out with backers in the next couple of weeks.

For FreeRPGDay , Saturday 21st June, we’ll be releasing a new retail-exclusive adventure Make Your Own Luck. 3500 of these adventures will be distributed free in up to 700 hobby stores. Stores can sign up here  and you can find your nearest participating retailer here.freerpg

Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan is nursing the great whale that is The Eyes of the Stone Thief into the the deep waters of art direction; Rich Longmore, Anna Kryczkowska, Juha Makkonen and Pat Loboyko are doing the interior work, and Ben Wootten the cover.The Flesh Tailor

Cartographer Pär Lindstrom is producing maps for Shadows of Eldolan, and we have a first colour draft of the cover by Joshua Calloway here.

ASH LAW has delivered a draft of Shards of the Broken Sky, which Rob will look at when 13 True Ways is laid out.

The Book of Loot, a delicious collection of potent and quirky Icon-featured items is in first draft, also awaiting Rob’s seal of approval.

Ashen Stars, Night’s Black Agents, Fear Itself

Accretion Disk, the Ashen Stars expansion book is awaiting a little more content from Kevin Kulp. To keep the space juices flowing, here is Jerome’s cover.


With four episodes of KWAS and an HP Lovecraft Film Festival to attend as Guest of Honor, Ken has not had much chance to work on Night’s Black Agents material, but I’m expecting a solid update at the end of May.

Art is being done for Matthew Sanderson’s ghost-busting Fear Itself adventure The Seventh Circle by Martin Pikkaart.

P 52

Robin’s The Tabletop RPG Starter Guide or some other such title

Robin is writing an introductory to guide to Tabletop RPGs – his first stand-alone advice since the seminal Robin’s Laws of Gaming. I gather he knows what he is doing and it will be aces.

We are tossing around other ideas for Robin’s next project – a world-spanning Esoterrorist adventure and a Mutant City Blues expansion book are both possibilities. If you’ve read this far, let us know what you’d like to see.

Gaean Reach and The Dying Earth

The quotes for printing The Gaean Reach and The Gaean Reach Gazetteer have been stratospheric; we aren’t really sure why. I am sorry about the delay in getting it to you. We are looking at some other printers and arm-twisting our existing one and we’ll get it printed soon even if it hurts.

Thanks to the success of the Dying Earth Bundle of Holding, I’m looking at renewing my Vancean licenses.

Trail of Cthulhu

Dulce et Decorum Est: Great War Trail of Cthulhu is nearly ready for prerelease.

Melissa Gay is finishing up the art for Soldiers of Pen and Ink, and has been discovering a love of propaganda posters.

The final pieces of Mythos Expeditions art are being revised and then all that will be left are the expedition maps. Pär will be working on those after he has finished with Shadows over Eldolan for 13th Age. It’s much more art-heavy than usual, with images of pretty much every NPC.

Dreamhounds of Paris has received a once-over from 7éme Cercle, and is in art direction.



12 Responses to “View from the Pelgrane’s Nest”

  1. Bryant says:

    A world-spanning Esoterrorists adventure sounds fun to me.

    I would also like to see a book supporting Trail of Cthulhu play in the 1960s. I believe Rob MacDougall and I may be the entire constituency for such a tome, but the 60s are horribly underrepresented in tabletop gaming and there’s a lot of potential for Cthulhoid awfulness. Plus it doesn’t overlap with any other published Cthulhu time periods.

  2. Niclas M says:

    While both options sound nice to me, I am leaning slightly towards more Mutant City Blues material.

  3. Brendan says:

    I’m also up for a world-spanning Esoterrorists adventure, but I’ll take anything Laws-ian.

  4. Lisa Padol says:

    I vote for world-spanning Esoterrorists adventure.

  5. Matthew Strachan says:

    I vote for Esoterrorists

  6. Matt says:

    Anything that gives Mutant City Blues a boost is good in my book.

  7. Pnick says:

    Very much hoping for the return of the Dying Earth and other things Vancian….

  8. Melody Haren Anderson says:

    All about the Esoterrorits.

  9. Chris Bloxham says:

    Hey Simon,

    Would you ever consider obtaining a license to publish a Lyonesse RPG?

  10. Kieran T says:

    Would love to see more Mutant City Blues love. That game has such great potential.

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View From the Pelgrane’s Nest

The recovery from our very successful GenCon has taken longer than expected, with many loose ends to tie, leads to follow and products to commission. Night’s Black Agents and The Zalozhniy Quartet are out now, the pre-order [REDACTED] Editions having shipped yesterday.  The 13th Age 13 True Ways Kickstarter has hit its funding goal and we are pushing for stretch goals while we start to fulfil the Stone Skin Press Kickstarter rewards.

13th Age


The biggest news is the Kickstarter for the 13 True Ways supplement, which is now funded.This is shaping-up to be a fantastic supplement, but I really hope we get the necromancer, new monsters and the city. It’s going to be tough to hit the upper stretch goals, but I think doable.

My take on the Kickstarter is here. A shout out from Penny Arcade really helped the cause (thanks, guys) and improved rewards have caused some great bump-ups.

Escalation Edition Update

Version 4 of the Escalation Edition is available to pre-orderers on the order page and it’s very nearly finished. Layout has begun. Expect to see one final pre-layout version, then the full PDF. I am cautiously optimistic that we will have the final printed version out in December.

Anyone can get a glimpse of the laid out first chapter in here.


Once again, this year’s GenCon topped all previous years in terms of sales, people and overall fun.

Beth and I missed the connecting flight from Boston to Indy, and spent five hours in the Hilton bar wrangling the Fire Opal 13 True Ways Kickstarter for its launch on GenCon Day One. Set up was relatively straight forward, with IPR bringing in our product and some booth equipment which Beth had organised. Doug Behringer (who has represented ProFantasy at Origins) shared ProFantasy booth duties with Ralf, and exuded efficiency and competence. Every GenCon booth needs at least one stalwart conservative American, and Ken Hite and Doug fill these roles admirably for Pelgrane and ProFantasy respectively.

Thomson Shore and Taylor our printers did not let us down, and a clutch of new books arrived without a hitch, beautifully printed. I was very pleased.

ARC copies of Stone Skin Press anthologies were on sale, and sold through, and we distributed signed authors’ copies to those authors present.

There was rarely a moment where someone wasn’t at the booth, and while many people were familiar, Steve Dempsey, Kevin Kulp and Matthew Sanderson’s demo games drove people into the the grip of Beth’s fiendish sales tentacles and the 4 for 3 offer.

I was amazed that we received two gold and two silvers in the ENnies, for Graham Walmsley, debut author Paula,  Robin Laws and Gareth Hanrahan. The highlight for me was Occult Guide author Paula Dempsey receiving her Gold ENnie award, and the serving of the West Mass Posse by Steve Dempsey in the acceptance speech. More on the ENnies here.

 Night’s Black Agents

Night’s Black Agents is on general release, and you can get it and the The Zalozhniy Quartet from the store now. The Dracula Dossier, Agent’s Companion and Dracula Unredacted are underway.

Trail of Cthulhu

  • Christopher Smith Edair has finished copyediting Eternal Lies, with will confirming the edits by the end of this week. See our front page poll to help us with our publishing options.
  • Scott Dorward will be adding additional material to the print version of Graham Walmsley’s Purist Adventures for which we are still to determine a title
  • Gareth is working on the next chapter The Apocalypse Machine and adding, at last, the rewards promised for the completed Character Builder.
  • Robin is continuing to delve into the Dreamlands with his Dreamhounds of Paris, and is also working on a companion volume in the mold of The Occult Guide called the Livre de Fourmis  – Book of Ants.

The Black Book Character Builder

While the character builder has been working now for many months, there were some features which I regret were not included on time. John “Detective” Clayton stepped into the breech to finish these – we now have Fear Itself, Esoterrorists, Bookhounds and the Apocalypse Machine supported. All rewards involving adventures are now in Gareth’s Hanra-hands to be included in the next part of Cthulhu Apolcalypse.

Access the Black Book Character Generator here.

DC is looking into adding Night’s Black Agents and our other games to the generator, too.

Ashen Stars

The final piece of the Ashen Stars Suite music by James Semple is just a gnat’s crochet away from completion. At GenCon we released a Tartarus / Terra Nova flip book which was really rather attractive, so we’ll put that on general release next month, with discounts for existing PDF purchasers.

Everything Else

Believe me, everything else is happening but this was supposed to be a mini Page XX, and I am now in danger of not getting stuff out in time!

One Response to “View From the Pelgrane’s Nest”

  1. Robert Saint John says:

    Just wanted to voice a sincere interest in the print version of the Tartarus / Terra Nova flip book. I’ve been popping by each week to see if there’s any new news about it or if it’s popped up in the store. Probably not going to happen this month, but I do hope it’s still in the cards for the near future!

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View from the Pelgrane’s Nest

The Pelgrane has flown the nest, leaving the fledglings in the capable pinions of the Mother of All Pelgranes to explore the verdant mountains and arroyos of Andalucía and feast on wild pigs and what I will describe as peasant food. So, expect little detail, but much excitement.  The Dying Earth Revivification Folio is on pre-order, The Book of the Smoke is available as a PDF and there has been a flurry of activity over at Stone Skin Press. The [REDACTED] Edition of Night’s Black Agents will be on sale for a couple more weeks before switching to the standard pre-order version. The 13th Age playtest is now closed, and the pre-order will open quite soon.

The Dying Earth

My first love is reborn! The Revivification Folio works both as a stand-alone game and as an adjunct to Skulduggery and the original Dying Earth. It features card-based super-quick character generation, three adventures and rapid play mechanics. It’s a hoot. You could also take this opportunity to pre-order the newly back-in-print XPS 4/5 and XPS 7/8 as well as Turjan’s Tome. Pre-order The Revivification Folio through our shop.

13th Age

We’ve had an amazing and gratifying response to 13th Age (I’m looking at you, and now the playtest is over.  Rob Heinsoo is ploughing through the large number of playtests to finalise the manuscript, and the game will be available on pre-order soon. Playtesters who submitted a response are now able to blog and discuss the game online, and Lee and Andrew have been beavering away on the artwork. Here is a sneak peek of the cover as it currently stands. The pre-order will include the perks you’ve grown to expect with Ashen Stars and Night’s Black Agents, though the lead time to release will be a lot shorter.

Night’s Black Agents

This month, we released the epub version of Night’s Black Agents, and we’ll soon be releasing the mobi version, too, as part of the [REDACTED] edition. The [REDACTED] Edition will be available for a couple more weeks, while the layout is underway.  Those of you who already have NIGHT level clearance or higher will receive a message next week.  And remember – KYBOI.

Trail of Cthulhu

Will Hindmarch has returned from Origins and will have the final ms of Eternal Lies in my hands very soon.

Out of Space – a follow-up print collection to Out of Time is now underway, and should be out in July.

Graham Walmsley says he will look at the character generator and Cthulhu Apocalypse later this month.

Robin D Laws has provided some tasty morsels of Dreamhounds of Paris – a list of surrealists that the players will use as PCs, and some (to me) distasteful dreamland cats.

Adam Gauntlett’s new adventure, Sisters of Sorrow, set on a U-boat in the North Atlantic is available for playtest.

We are starting the slow and painful process of collating information and feedback for a 2nd edition of the core book which might be released late in 2013, though I wouldn’t put money on it.

Owl Hoot Trail

Kevin Kulp has taken over Owl Hoot Trail, knocked it into shape written a solid and fun adventure for it. It’s a great game to playtest – character generation is very fast, and it’s much more a Western with fantasy elements than the other way round. Please playtest it here.


The Enhanced Edition is awaiting art direction. It will probably be out in Russia before it is here.

Matt Sanderson’s great adventure The Love of Money is not quite getting the love it deserves. It’s an excellent convention game and a perfect example of how to integrate pre-gens with each other and with an adventure.

Stone Skin Press

See the Stone Skin Press round-up here, including a picture of delicious ARC copies of Shotguns vs Cthulhu. International Short Story Day will see the official launch of Stone Skin Press. If you are in London on June 20th and would like to attend, you can find all the information you need here.

2 Responses to “View from the Pelgrane’s Nest”

  1. Hsilgne the Orange says:

    Turjan’s Tome? The magical shop at this Embelyon-like domain still indicates that no copies of this work are available [“out of print”]. If you rectify this discordance, you will find my terces flowing into your coffers quite prodigiously.

  2. Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

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View from the Pelgrane’s Nest

Today marks the 75th anniversary of HP Lovecraft’s death. Perhaps it’s morbid to mark his death rather than his birth, a little grim to dwell on the unstoppable ravages of time, indifferent and uncaring. Morbid? Perhaps. Appropriate? Definitely. For contrast, we add to this cocktail of the grim and the deathly a healthy dose of opportunism, with a new Trail Core Bundle for new Keepers at a temporary 25% discount in the store, and set of Hidden Treasures – sadly over looked Pelgrane gems, also at 25% off.

13th Age

We are publishing a new fantasy game by Jonathan Tweet and Rob Heinsoo, 3rd and 4th Edition D&D designers. That’s all I’ll say for the moment, but if you want to play test, you can apply here.

Night’s Black Agents

We really could do with some more REDACTED edition sales to cover our printing costs, so please consider buying it from our store. We need to sell 100 more to break even on our print costs.

Thank you for all your feedback on Night’s Black Agents. Ken will have completed the final ms by the end of the month. Art is progressing well. I’ve been running Night’s Black Agents for my group, and it has a real cinematic feel. The rules at the micro level and the conspiracy structure at the macro level mesh to create a thrilling atmosphere. Every clue leads to danger. Preparedness means you don’t have to micromanage all your planning, and GUMSHOE’s resource management could have been tailor-made for the limited network, cover identities and equipment in a spy game.

If you have any tables or references you want added, or are willing to give us actual play feedback for the DVD notes, that would be great.

Trail of Cthulhu

Robin Laws and Steve Dempsey are outlining the concept and doing the research for a Dreamlands supplement based in Paris. This is Robin’s pitch:

Dreamhounds of Paris* is the Dreamlands book for people who hate the Dreamlands.  The players are prominent surrealists, their rivals, and occult adversaries, fighting to control the Dreamlands and thus alter human consciousness.  The fractious, iconoclastic surrealists were the premiere troublemakers of the intellectual scene of 1930s Paris. Andre Breton, their ideological enforcer, considered the movement not an art or avant garde pursuit, but an exercise in literally changing the human spirit.  The exploration of dreams was but one part of this quasi-mystical pursuit.  In Dreamhounds of Paris, top surrealists–but never the hyper-rational Breton himself–not only discover a way of breaking through to the Dreamlands by randomly walking the streets of the city.  They discover that their powerful imaginations allow them to reshape its oneric geography. Soon the Dreamlands look more like something envisioned by Lautreamont than Dunsany–then they’re overrun by melting watches, ants streaming from giant hands, and bowler-hatted men whose faces can never be seen.

*I haven’t yet decided whether this title is a joke, or brilliant marketing.

  • When Ken has finished Night’s Black Agents, he’ll be moving on to managing Mythos Expeditions and the a supplement set in China.
  • Adam Gauntlett’s Coffins is in illustration and will be out next month, and new adventure set in Civil War Spain will be in playtest shortly.
  • Note the Robin’s Repairer of Reputations, a hidden treasure, is available at a discount for a while.

Ashen Stars

  • Kevin Kulp, who created the Stowaway demo game for Ashen Stars is working on new adventures for Ashen Stars.
  • We are still considering what other supplements to release – it appeared that a massive campaign would be the most popular, but that is a huge undertaking and even if we sell through the first print run (which seems highly likely) it’s a relatively small market. That’s not to exclude the possibilty.
  • Terra Nova, Lenny’s excellent Ashen Stars adventure is now available on


  • Love of Money, Matthew Sanderson’s sombre and exciting adventure is now on sale at We are considering a print version, and we’ll offer a discount to PDF purchasers if we do this.
  • Eso 2.0 is being illustrated, other products are in editing.

Owl Hoot Trail, New World, Gaean Reach, et all

  • Clinton has passed Owl Hoot Trail on to us for completion, and Kevin Kulp will be writing the playtest adventure for it.
  • New World is in playtest, and we could do with some more playtesters for it. You can hear about it, and listen to some actual play with Bill White on this podcast.
  • Robin has written most of the Gaean Reach, which mixes up GUMSHOE with Skulduggery, and where character’s primary motive is revenge.
  • Paula Dempsey has written the first draft of Salem, which is a story game based on Monsegur 1244, where you play folks involved in the witchcraft trials.
  • She is also working on her follow up to the Book of the Smoke, the Book of the New Jerusalem.

3 Responses to “View from the Pelgrane’s Nest”

  1. Adam Baulderstone says:

    I know it must have been hard for you to approve a Dreamlands supplement, Simon, but this sounds like a wonderful approach. Any time I use the Dreamlands, I make it much more malleable and gonzo than we see in Lovecraft’s stories.

    We only ever see them from Randolph Carter’s perspective, so I like to think there is bias based on his personal subconscious. Nailing them down based on canon kind of seems to defeat the purpose of adventuring in dreams.

    13th Age sound interesting. I’m really tempted to volunteer to run a playtest, but I’d risk my players wrath if I whiplashed them into playing yet another new game in the next month. I’m not sure I’m in the right headspace for running a D&Desque game right not anyway, but I suspect you won’t be hurting for playtesters on that one.

    I think I will hold out for Gaean Reach to hit the playtest stage. Vance + Skullduggery + Gumshoe might just make my head explode. I might need to rotate some of the books from shelf-load of Vance back in to my reading rotation as preparation.

  2. Dreamhounds of Paris is the Dreamlands supplement I’ve always dreamed of writing. I cannot wait for this.

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View from the Pelgrane’s Nest

This month we release Terra Nova, Lenny Balsera’s Ashen Stars Lenny’s murder mystery set on a dying space liner and the PDF of Lorefinder, the GUMSHOE / Pathfinder mashup. New World and DramaSystem are ready for external playtest.

A Year in Pelgrane

2011 was an excellent year for Pelgrane. Much of this is the shear rate we released products – with Beth’s help, we were able to whizz through a backlog of manuscripts, releasing an amazing nineteen products, while maintaining our high standards, at least judging by the reviews.

This year, I expect we’ll have fewer releases, but they include Night’s Black Agents and the long-awaited Eternal Lies campaign for Trail of Cthulhu – blockbusters in scope, and we hope, in sales. There is another major non-GUMSHOE project in the pipeline which I hinted at last month – it will be announced next month.

Something very definitely changed last year in the GUMSHOE community – when a question is asked on the major forums, a knowledgeable person or two will step in with actual play experience to answer. As for widespread influence, stainless on the yog-sothoth forum pointed out that in Q&A session to the current D&D designers, Mike Mearls and the team said they were playing Trail of Cthulhu. I hope they take whatever they want from GUMSHOE to improve 5e.

Night’s Black Agents

The first episode of the The Zalozhniy Quartet, The Zalozhniy Sanction is now available as a free download with the Night’s Black Agents [REDACTED] edition. If you are an existing pre-orderer, just follow your order link to download it*. If not, get the [REDACTED] edition from the Store.

Beth has been working with artists Chris Huth and Alessandro Alaia to illustrate Night’s Black Agents.

* If you’ve mislaid your link to this or any other order, you can get it resent here.

Ashen Stars

Terra Nova, our first PDF supplement for Ashen Stars puts me in a quandary. In it Lenny Balsera introduces an excellent new core GUMSHOE technique which I can’t describe to you without spoiling the adventure. The technique will be divisive, in that 90% of people will love it, and 10% will hate it. (1% will insist they are not bothered either way. Estimates may be subject to rounding errors.) I suspect “buy it and find out” seems somewhat self-interested, but there we are.

We are considering our next release, but the speed and scope of it will depend on the take-up of Terra Nova.


GUMSHOE is a modular system, and we’ve often suggested replacing the General system with whichever system you prefer. Lorefinder applies GUMSHOE techniques to Pathfinder – replacing the investigative side with GUMSHOE’s clue finding and special benefit system, while allowing you to stick with the d20-based conflict resolution you enjoy. Lorefinder is now available as a PDF from the store.

Download a PDF of the 2-page character sheet.

Hillfolk / DramaSystem

Next month, we’ll start the fundraiser for DramaSystem using IndieGoGo.

The internal playtest is now finished, and we are ready for external playtesting. This is a little different to the usual playtests, in that Robin does not need the system testing – he just wants to ensure that the game text results in the actual play he wants.

We also publish some playtesting which Ralf Schemmann, my ProFantasy colleague did recently.

I think DramaSystem has a good chance of doing a GUMSHOE – it does something apparently obvious which is in fact innovative, and involves a rethink on how you roleplay.

One player in Ralf’s group expressed concerns after the first session, saying that he had some reservations about the game becoming a “soap opera” without a “real” story.  A couple of sessions later, he said, “We had a absolutely great 2nd part of a Hillfolk playtest using the Drama System moderated by wicked gamemaster Ralf. It was in fact dramatic and there were fantastic lose-lose situations:) Guess we’re all keen on do it again.”

Esoterrorists 2.0

  • The playtest of the example adventure is finished, and Robin has updated the text. It’s ready for layout.
  • The Love of Money, our most recent Esoterrorists release is available from the store.

Trail of Cthulhu

  • The team are editing Eternal Lies in response to playtesting and Coffins is being redrafted post playtest.
  • Gareth Hanrahan takes over writing duties with Graham Walmsley doing story design for the next part of Cthulhu Apocalyspe.
  • Graham is aiming to finish the generator in the next couple of week. We’ve sent out Ken’s monster pictures to the $100 donors, and the various Esoterrorists Operations are being incorporated into the new edition of Esoterrorists. Trail characters,  towns and locations will be included in Cthulhu Apocalypse.

New World

After extensive design and redesign Bill White’s game New World is now ready for playtesting:

Create a mashed‐up historical or quasi‐historical setting and then people it with individual characters whom they role‐play in facing the perils and possibilities of a New World. Their actions have consequences for the ultimate fate of the New World as well as for their own individual destinies. As the game plays out, it works to create an imagined history of a New World that never was.


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View from the Pelgrane’s Nest

News from Pelgrane Press

This month is last month of the Dying Earth, and we have sale to commerate it. We also release our first purely Purist Trail of Cthulhu adventure, offer you an Esoterrorists competition, and give you tidbits of our future releases. We’ve also launched a new, improved store which accepts Paypal, in addition to credit cards. Our PDFs are now available from

The Dying Earth

Dying Earth Sale

At the end of April, the Dying Earth will no longer be available. All PDFs, and the remaining Dying Earth books are available at 50% off at the Pelgrane Press Store. This is an amazing bargain.

About half of our Dying Earth releases have very few copies left; the new store will show out-of-print and out-of-stock books. I’ve also uploaded XPS 7/8 – the only remaining PDF release. I think we have done justice by the license, and the time has come to let the febrile sun stutter and fret its last. Thank you so much to you all for your support over many years.

Trail of Cthulhu

The Dying of St Margaret’s


Graham Walmsley’s Purist adventure The Dying of St Margaret’s has been released, thanks to some rapid layout and art work by Jérome. It’s available as a PDF from thePelgrane Press store, rpgnow, and IPR. In it, you play new teachers at a school investigating the disappearance of former colleagues. It’s not likely to have a happy ending!

Shadows Over Filmland Update

I’ve had to reprint these. They are due to be completed next week. The full story…

The books turned up from the printer on time, they are beautifully printed and bound – even better than Trail, very sturdy, smythe-sewn with head and foot bands. The artwork glows with silver-screen light. The black end papers contrast effectively with the lurid cover. But there is one great big bloody problem, and I can’t release the books.

There are no headers or page numbers on any even page. Of course, they are present on both proofs. I always insist on hanging on to proofs instead of sending them back. IPR pre-orderers have been contacted.

Arkham Detective Tales

This four-adventure supplement is ready for illustration and layout after heavy playtesting. Investigators play the roles of New York’s finest and their civilian consultants, pursuing the unspeakable in the less savoury parts of the city.

Mutant City Blues


The launch of MCB went very well – I’m just waiting to get the final retail numbers for the first month’s sales, but I think it is our most successful launch since Trail.

  • Jérome has produced a printer-friendly Quade Diagram, available here.
  • We’ve also added a cover to the PDF version. Redownload it from your download store.
  • Our first set of Mutant City Blues adventures, Hard Helix has been illustrated and is in layout.
  • The winners of (and solution to) our Mutant City Blues competition are announced. We had over forty entries of a high calibre.



I’ve just had the proof of the Esoterror Factbook; it’s approved and should be ready by the end of the month. To celebrate its release, we offer you an Esoterror Factbook competition. It is more nebulous than our Mutant City Blues one – but what do you expect from the Esoterrorists?

Project SF

Robin Laws has started work on a spacefaring GUMSHOE game. That’s all I can say at the moment!

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