Adventures, Source Material 0 comments on Thro’ Margins Fixed

Thro’ Margins Fixed

thro-centuries-fixed-the-cthulhu-hackSince I wrote The Haunter in the Dark, my appreciation of Lovecraft’s stories has changed considerably. I find myself unable to simply read one of these tales; I have to take a mental scalpel to them to slice them into gameable slivers and chunks. I still enjoy the stories; I actually feel like I’m getting more enjoyment out of reading each one because of the extra layer of activity. As The Cthulhu Hack: The Haunter of the Dark suggests, I find I now read each story a couple of times and come away the second time with a wealth of ideas, potential gameable material and a lot of questions.

When I prepared Thro’ Centuries Fixed for publication, I presented it in a format with a wide margin on one side. While I’m not 100% committed at the moment to the idea of this being a physical print product, I am 100% certain it isn’t quite finished yet. I have the need to fill that margin with notes.

I’m re-reading the source story for the third time.

I have thoughts. I’m certain to find facets that warrant dwelling on, extrapolating from, and expanding along new lines. While this modern adventure has one-shot written all over it on first read-through, I think it also has the potential to kick off a campaign. The weird thing about the campaign angle for me is that this could be a campaign with the characters – or it could be a campaign that follows on from the premise and purposes established, but using other characters.

2016-07-03 17.46.09As I explain in Haunter, you should always keep notes when you’re reading or have a highlighter handy. I have two copies of this adventure printed out and plan to have it looking like my copy of Lovecraft’s The Haunter of the Dark in no time at all. I try to scatter pens around the house specifically to facilitate and accommodate my need to annotate – else I fear I’m going to forget something before I have time to take note.

I think it might be too fresh to start citing ideas here – because I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone playing it. Instead, the campaign ideas and possible cross-reading / viewing will get themselves a place in those margin notes I haven’t finished writing yet.

Now you know. When you print it out at home and wonder why I’ve left all that white space, you can be assured that it won’t all remain open and airy forever. I have marginalia incoming.

And, for that matter, by leaving those wide margins I’m empowering you to fill them.

UPDATE: The current version of Thro’ Centuries Fixed includes extensive new margin notes, a map of the adventure site, and tweaks to the text.

Events, Releases 0 comments on Cthulhu Hack Goes Silver

Cthulhu Hack Goes Silver

st-johns-federal-hill-1934A little over two weeks since the release of The Cthulhu Hack, I’m overjoyed about the response. Not only have I had a chance to play more Cthulhu as a result of the book – which works for me because I have been investigating the unnameable horrors since the early 1980s and you can never get enough – but others now have the simple tools to get their own game up and running in no time.

At DriveThruRPG, The Cthulhu Hack now rates a Silver Best Seller – for which I give thanks. I certainly didn’t have any idea that the hack would take off like this and appreciate your support. Play some games, spread the word, send me feedback – I appreciate everything you do.

With UK Games Expo looming, I now have a couple of boxes of physical game product in the house. I have a couple because initially I ordered a few and then I realised that this might not be enough after posting about it on Google+ and Facebook. I have made the book available online through the All Rolled Up store for those who can’t make it to Birmingham next weekend – or who can’t wait that long to get hold of a copy!

On the writing front, I have two projects in the works. As well as the companion volume, Der Unaussprechlichen Hack, I have been sketching out something that lies between a supplement and a how-to adventure. Given the way The Cthulhu Hack uses resource management of investigation within the team as well as more standard do-or-die Save rolls, I wanted to show how you can take an existing story or adventure and convert it.

The supplement will include the adventure notes, marginalia on some of the decisions and alternatives, at least a couple of maps, a few random and reference tables and whatever else seems to make sense. Right now, I aspire to get this all crammed into a fairly slim booklet, if not a single double-sided A4 sheet. I’ll see how it pans out and I hope to have the core text drafted very soon.

Adventures, Events 2 comments on Morphs and Blessings

Morphs and Blessings

Blessing of St Agnes adventure with extra bitsI have been tinkering with the idea of creating geomorph dungeon cards to a design that would allow you to use them when running a game of The Blessing of St Agnes. Once you’ve finished using them for the game, you can carry on using them as a random method of creating other dungeons and structures, but the core of the set would support laying out a map for the players as a point of reference to the adventure.

I like the whole (mildly therapeutic) process of creating the geomorph cards. I used a blank playing card stock for the geomorphs and draw on them directly with a Rotring Tikki Graphic 0.4 and a medium Staedtler whiteboard marker. The therapy comes from adding all the hashing that surrounds each element of the map. You add several of them in one direction, then turn the angle of the card and apply more, then turn and again. Eventually, you just start to fill in the gaps inbetween.

I have also been working on some additional content for the UK Games Expo edition of the Blessing adventure. You can get the Lulu-printed edition via Amazon at the moment, fulfilled by myself. It might seem odd doing it that way, but it means that I can include the special edition elements in the product that you get sent out to you, while Amazon processes the payments and such. What you get is a one-of-a-kind edition of the adventure, as all the extra bits get cut out and applied by hand. If I can sort out a way of printing the hand-drawn geomorphs on-masse, I will look to offering them as an extra – though I have no clue on the prices of availability. Something for me to consider and work on.

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News 0 comments on What’s Really Going On?

What’s Really Going On?

The Blessing of St Agnes front coverIn a fit of tinkering, I have added additional content to the existing text of ‘The Blessing of St Agnes’. Consigned to the appendix, the extra content covers a couple of additional angles you might take with the adventure. Almost as if I can’t stop myself, I offer up a little extra history about the site and the bloody past of the inner chapel…

You can get a copy of The Blessing of St Agnes from RPG Now or Drive Thru RPG.

The Sisterhood didn’t build the Chapel of St Agnes, nor did the location start out associated with the blessed martyr. While the benefactors of the Sisterhood did construct the outer chapel, the inner sanctum – beyond the Dusky Passage, existed in this place long before.

Hundreds of years ago, a warrior race called the Kem, built a fortress in the woods overlooking the sea to the south and a significant trade route to the north. The fortress extended below ground and included storage rooms, barracks, open sleeping quarters and other necessities, locations that either needed to be kept cool or out of harms way. Unfortunately, the Yloe, sworn enemies of the Kem, defeated the warriors in a great siege that lasted for more than a year. The Yloe razed the upper fortress to the ground and then beat the Kem back into the rooms below. Thirsty for victory the Yloe showed no mercy and slaughtered every last inhabitant, killing the sleeping, the wounded, and the defenceless. The warrior sacked the location for treasures, supplies, and weaponry, then left it open to bandits and travellers. Long afterwards, the Sisterhood discovered the place during a pilgrimage to the Holy Stone of Het Mora, chancing across the location when one of their horses escaped. The place seemed to call to the Sisters, a site of potential filled with a sense of the lost.

At night, a visitor might hear a forlorn cry for help or a moan. The truly unlucky may chance upon an actual Spectre in the sleeping quarters of the Sisters, a spirit that manifests impaled by three swords and with eyes gouged out. The tortured entity attacks blindly, seeking revenge on those who tortured and killed it, unaware of the passage of time and the passing of the Yloe. If the characters head into the southerly passage alongside the Sister’s dorm in the lower left of the map, they can hear a sound like bubbling water, perhaps from a stream beyond the wall. The gurgling sound grows stronger until the Spectre emerges from the dead end, taking anyone present by surprise on a d6 roll of 3 or higher.

The tortured spirit attacks with clawed fingers, swiping wildly. The Kem warrior wears a padded jerkin, breeches and long boots. He wears shoulder length hair scraped back into a ponytail. Three swords skewered his torso and he shows signs of other wounds, with tears and rips in the fabric of his armour and clothes. Glittering streams of ethereal gore ooze from open wounds, including the empty sockets of his eyes. Characters may need to make a check to avoid sickening at the sight.

A character investigating the wall at the end of the southern passage might, with a suitably difficult check or a slightly easier one if spending a great deal of time, find an area, about a foot above the ground, that sounds hollow. Hacking away the plaster and earth, the character will find, not too deeply buried, the skull of one of the Kem warriors. Close scrutiny reveals scouring around the edge of the eye holes, small groves and notches in the bone that suggest this could be the remains of the Spectre. Burial or a blessing on the bones will release the tortured spirit – and might bestow some good luck to the character who suggested it or completed the blessing.

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Adventures, Releases 1 comment on The Blessing of St Agnes

The Blessing of St Agnes

Saint Agnes of Rome

Martyred somewhere around the end of the 3rd century, St. Agnes of Rome was only a young girl – around 12 or 13 years old – when she died for her belief that her heart belonged to just one suitor, and he was not a common mortal. Alas, Procop, the Governor’s son, did not take kindly to her stance and the Governor attempted to coax, sully and torture her, before finally putting her to death.

Today is St. Agnes’ Day.

Her story, in some measure, inspired the poet Keats to write The Eve of St. Agnes, a beautiful and romantic poem published in 1820. A brilliant narrative poem, completed in 42 stanzas in the Spenserian style, it tells of  a young man seeking to revive his love from an enchanted sleep, only for her waking expectations not to meet her dreaming desires… but it all works out in the end in a raging storm and a couple of incidental deaths.

Keats has gone on to inspire me to write a short system-free fantasy/historical role playing adventure, The Blessing of St. Agnes, available now on RPGNow. The young daughter of a wealthy merchant has vanished, leaving him distraught and pleading for assistance. In the depths of the dark woods beyond the bounds of the town, the ruinous remains of a chapel to St Agnes hide more than a few secrets of a forgotten sisterhood and hope for the helpless.

An inspiring life inspires…

The Blessing of St. Agnes on RPGNow:

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