I’m pleased to announce the release of four books to Print on Demand through Lulu. From today, you can find The Cthulhu Hack, From Unformed Realms, The Haunter of the Dark, and Thro’ Centuries Fixed under my “Author Spotlight” on Lulu.
In practice I hope that makes it simpler for those not in the UK to get hold of these books in print. I will also look to add them on OneBookShelf, but that requires a slightly longer process.
As The Cthulhu Hack now features four books on Lulu, it means you can also take advantage of their various ongoing and occasional offers. Most of the time you will find TRGE15 offering a BUY 3, GET 4th FREE offer. At the moment, if you want to buy these and more, JULYYAY could offer you a more substantial discount.
If you’ve been holding off from holiday shopping waiting for the sales or a good offer, today seems to be as good as any for The Cthulhu Hack (and more).
At LULU, if you input codes NIGEL35 and 15MAILNOV (in that order) you can stack 35% off and free shipping. If you add in a few choice OSR items, you can really make the most of this – which pretty much represents the best offer LULU make these days.
These codes appear to work in UK and US, so you should give it a go – and make sure you enter the codes in the order shown for them to stack (they don’t stack if you enter the free shipping code first).
At REDBUBBLE, the code GIVEAGIFT20 will give you 20% off everything. So, if you have been holding back on getting a couple of Elder Sign Throw Cushion covers and a Cthulhu Hack Graphic T-Shirt, now looks to be as good a time as any!
(And if you don’t fancy a cushion that will protect you against eldritch and cosmic horrors – scroll down past the cushion for a range of other Redbubble merchandise)
Spiel proved to be an incredible experience, with attendees in the tens of thousands strolling through the doors and weathering the crowds. Some days, you could hardly shuffle for the press of people – and somehow the days flew by. I had the chance to meet so many existing customers of All Rolled Up and Just Crunch Games, while also introducing many, many more to our products.
I think “It’s a fast-to-learn horror investigation roleplaying game that you can read in 20 minutes, explain in 5, and generate characters in 2.” must have tumbled through my lips hundreds of times.
How does it work? “It has two mechanics. Threats hurt your character and you need to save them. If you’re being chased, you Save on DEX. If someone is attempting to control your mind, you Save on CHA. If you roll lower than your score, you succeed. Equal or higher, you get hurt or compromised or just inconvenienced in a bad way.”
“The other mechanic is Usage Dice. When you want to use a resource in limited supply, like Sanity or your focus on Investigation, you roll a die. All resource start with a die, like a 10-sided or 8-sided. When you see a horror or want to search a room, you roll. You always succeed, but a roll of 1 or 2 means you lose resources or lose control for a moment. The die size drops down a level – so, a 8-sided becomes a 6-sided.”
“If you rolled your Sanity, you screamed or blacked out as well. If it’s investigation using a Flashlight or Smokes, you foudn what you wanted, but it’s getting harder to focus or people are hearing about your questions and might just stop talking to you. Roll a 1 or 2 when you get down to a 4-sided die and you go insane, lose focus, or burn all your contacts.”
“That’s it. Those are the mechanics – Saves against Threats and Usage Dice.”
Having said that it takes 5 minutes to explain, I proved it time and again. I had to get it down pat because I doubted my voice would last the weekend otherwise!
I had the chance to speak to a lot of people who have played other Cthulhu-themed games in the past and most walked away with a slim black box. The addition to the explanation here was that all your existing material works fine with The Cthulhu Hack – as skills in Call and Trail broadly come down to search for things or speak to people, and anything else is a response to threat. I have done conversions on the fly with no prep at all — although, I think to get the best payback it’s worth reading through an adventure once and highlighting potential clues from the outset.
(Check out The Haunter of the Dark for more guidance and advice on the read-through-and-highlight process of adventure prep!)
The slim black boxes sold the best, packed with all the current books for The Cthulhu Hack. It feels nice and hefty and worked out at 26 euros including the new adventure, Save Innsmouth.
I got a lot of smiles when I explained the premise of Save Innsmouth – and James Raggi commented that he liked the cover image. I wanted to get an innocuous image on the front with Innsmouth clear and legible. Anyone with a fate idea of where and what Innsmouth is immediately smiled.
“A tycoon plans to bulldoze a town on the coast that has been abandoned since the Feds raided and razed half of it during Prohibition more than 80 years ago. He plans to redevelop the site as a spa resort. Students at Miskatonic University plan to protest the project, and a few make the trip north-east to take video footage of the place – a documentary on the threat to America’s heritage. That place is Innsmouth and… well…”
I sold about half of the physical copies of the adventure – which means I will have stock for the web site at All Rolled Up and Dragonmeet, all being well.
I’m also really pleased that I’ve managed to sell 50 copies of the adventure through RPGNow. It would be nice to go Copper in the first week — so, if you haven’t picked it up, you can grab a copy through RPGNow and DriveThruRPG.
If you have anything to report about the adventure or just want to help promote it, remember to tag your post — anywhere — with #SaveInnsmouth and I’ll track it down!
All the evil in the universe was concentrated in their lean, hungry bodies. Or had they bodies? I saw them only for a moment; I cannot be certain. But I heard them breathe…
Keeping busy here, with more work on The Haunter of the Dark for The Cthulhu Hack ongoing and ideas trickling in for Unaussprechlichen Kulten, which will provide options for expanding or swapping out features of the game, along with dozens of tables for random content.
Now that The Cthulhu Hack has been out for a week, I have had the chance to play another session with the rules and get a lot of feedback from people.
With UK Games Expo fast approaching, I will have physical copies in hand, but they will be specific to the event. With a short time frame for printing, I’ll be going with Lulu for print – because they are quick and reliable. I have used them many times before for short print runs.
In the longer term, I’m getting quotes from other printers because I would really like to have a matt cover and Lulu only do the glossy variety for books the size I’m doing. Unless I add more content and opt for a hardback!Finding another printer that offers what I want means shopping around. I will also need to see and approve proofs before printing. That will mean such copies will be available AFTER Expo some time, probably toward the end of June.
Finding another printer that offers what I want means shopping around. I will also need to see and approve proofs before printing. That will mean such copies will be available AFTER Expo some time, probably toward the end of June.
Version 2 Cometh
Right now, I’m working on Version 2 of the core rules. Obviously, anyone who already has a copy through RPGNow or DriveThru will get that update automatically through their Library.
This will be the copy that goes to print – and it seems to have expanded to 43-pages in the process. Version 2 includes two A4 covers – one black, one white – so you can choose how hard you want to punish your printer! It will also include the existing character sheet alternatives – basic and extended.
The possibility of a meatier boxed set version with more content and a couple of adventures – well, that might be in the offing if enough interest exists. Any rumours of an All Rolled Up would be purely circumstantial…
Review The Cthulhu Hack
If you have had the chance to play, I’d love to hear about it. Better yet, play more of it. Tell your friends about it. Convert existing adventures and tell me about it.
I’ve had positive feedback from the sessions I’ve run with the ruleset and next week I hope to have the chance to play in a game run by another GM. You can post feedback here or on Google+ – and reviews on the PDF at RPGNow, DriveThru or elsewhere are always appreciated.
With thoughts pressing ahead to the end of May and the whole business of UK Games Expo, I have been busy preparing the papery versions of my three main supplements at the moment. Consult Appendix Z, both CAZ No 1 and CAZ No 2, and The Blessing of St Agnes will all be available in physical saddle-stapled format, with glossy covers.
In the case of St Agnes, the book has a weathered green leather cover-look. I admit that this comes as one of the standards for a basic bit of Lulu self-publishing, but to my mind it fits the adventure setting for some reason.
The second Consult Appendix Z volume, Another Bug Hunt, already has a great cover image from Nicholas Cloister’s Monsters By Email. Nicholas does some truly incredible work and you can subscribe to his Monsters scheme that makes some of the images you receive available for personal usage and others available for wider distribution, like this one.
The first Consult Appendix Z volume, Interstellar Travel Events, felt a little bit like a poor cousin. I used a public domain image from a classic science fiction magazine, black and white, but just what I wanted. I can’t claim to have corrected the balance significantly, but I have engaged in some basic colour retouching to make the picture less monochrome. I have gone for a bit of a nebula thing and add hints of colour to the shadows and drive streams. Like I say, nothing exactly awe-inspiring, but the end result comes across as slightly less intense than the original.
I now have a box of these print goodies ready to roll – and I hope to drum up some custom at the event and retain the rest for customers keen to acquire physical copies later. Indeed, if you want any of these now – get in touch with me and we can sort something out in terms of cost, postage and so forth.
I 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.