This month I have more 13th Age projects to announce, Cthulhu Apocalypse reaches its – well – apocalyptic conclusion, and we reach the final installment of the first Ken and Robin Writes About stuff.

Cthulhu Apolcalypse

Graham Walmsley’s epic and award-winning Cthulhu Apocalypse concludes in Slaves of the Mother, crafted with Gareth Hanrahan. It includes our ridiculously belated rewards for the Black Book character builder – so expect alternative endings, cities crushed an mysterious tomes.

Slaves_Cover_finalPraise for previous episodes:

“The text of {The Apocalypse Machine] deviates away from the neutral, descriptive voice that many RPG authors prefer and instead takes a direct and prescriptive tone. This results in a lively, readable book that shows Walmsley is both excited about the Cthulhu Apocalypse setting and is keen to describe how such games run, leaving little doubt for both players and keepers about what to expect and how to achieve it.”

“I think it is this degree of control that makes this supplement so unique and what appeals to me – that the apocalypse might be slow and insidious or has already occurred or happened in the distant past.”

“Everyone was very happy with [The Dead White World] at its end. It was bleak, very Lovecraftian, and will be remembered as a gaming highlight by myself for many years to come. A lot of the credit for the excellent series of sessions must rest on the author – Graham Walmsley – who has crafted a horrible situation for players to navigate that is not a familiar Mythos monster charging down upon you, or a cult needing foiling. For this original conceit, I must applaud the author. His many sidebars, ideas, and notes (including the Save Vs. Apocalypse sidebar on escaping Dover as it is destroyed) make the scenario an inspiring piece to run.”

13th Age

  • 13 True Ways, like 13th Age before it has turned out to be far more work than originally planned, but it’s much better than even my expectations. I will be very disappointed if it’s not off to Kickstarter backers by 1st August. The original Fire Opal team are working on this, so you can be assured it won’t be delayed by other 13th Age projects from
  • We’ve provided the laid-out version of the 13th Age Bestiary for download from your order page and it’s on target for a May release.
  • Gareth Hanrahan continues his work on Eyes of the Stone Thief,. He’s incorporating playtest feedback, hammering out art direction and working with 13th Age line developer Cal Moore to polish the manuscript.
  • Gareth has also began work on The Book Of Loot a collection of new magic items, including more potions and runes with 13th Age story focus you expect along side the crunch.
  • ASH LAW has taken Shards of the Broken Sky and is writing it under Rob Heinsoo’s guidance. I hope to have a first draft by April.
  • Cal Moore will be working on a collection of pre-designed encounters for each Icon which GMs can slot into their games. We don’t have a name for this yet – suggestions in the comments are welcome.

Ken Writes About Stuff

kwasKen’s subscription offering reaches the end of its first year this month with Lilith. Get a subscription now to download all twelve issues now. Next month, KWAS 2 begins. We are polling our subscribers to ask you what you’d like to see next year. Read what Paul Baldowski over at GeekNative says:

“I consider this series a wake-up call to the lacklustre, to remind them tales of the Mythos, using whatever system, should instil uneasiness, upset and fear. Grasp the potential of the unearthly and inhuman, and make sure next time the investigator’s meet a Shoggoth they have have a truly memorable encounter.”

This year featured Ken’s take on Lovecratian Hideous Creatures Deep Ones , Star Vampires, Ghouls, Shoggoth, Mi-Go, and Hounds of Tindalos; GUMSHOE settings and extras such as Moon Dust Men, Martial Arts, Mind Control, and Mumbai and the mysterious Nazi artifact, Die Glocke.

 GUMSHOE

Our main logjam is art direction and a shortage of artists, but we are working through it. Cat is working as hard as humanely possible.


wrist comIn The Zalozhniy Quartet, there’s a scene (not really a spoiler) where the PCs are outmatched and are ‘supposed’ to flee, leading into a tense chase. Expecting player characters to take a particular action is always hazardous design – you can set up a situation where there’s only one valid route for the PCs to follow, and they’ll still stall and try a hundred alternate approaches before doing the obvious. In this case, waiting for the players to decide the situation was untenable and choose to retreat wasn’t an option – the scene involves a direct confrontation with… things they’re not equipped to deal with.

In my initial draft, I suggested a bunch of ways for the Director to make it clear to the PCs that running away was their best – indeed, only – option. Sense Trouble rolls. Having the bad guys beat up the PCs with ease. Having the NPCs soldiers accompanying the mission heroically sacrifice themselves, giving the PCs a chance to escape.

The solution, as pointed out by Robin, was to make the overwhelming odds a Core Clue, obtained with Military Science. The player character – a veteran of a hundred black operations and brush wars – instantly sizes up the situation, and realizes that hanging around is suicide. They’ve got to run. Making it a core clue changes the dynamic from “the GM forces the PCs to act” to “the PCs, by dint of their superior skills and experience, fight their way out of a lethal ambush and escape to safety”.

What makes this especially interesting, from a scenario design point of view, is that Military Science isn’t often used passively. It’s the sort of skill that a player brings up when they’re spying on a furtive meeting between two mercenaries, or when they’re trying to bluff their way onto a military base. Writing a scene that takes a skill normally used as an active, ‘I ferret out the clues thusly’ and just handing a clue to the players can produce interesting results.

Esoterrorists – Document Analysis: While paying for take-out at a nearby diner, you spot a cheque in the drawer of the cash register. The handwriting on the check matches that of the author of the Esoterror manifesto you’re in town to find. The check was right on top of the drawer – the target might still be right here in the restaurant.

Recalled Information & Flashbacks

Revealing facts to players as Core Clues (or as a benefit for spending points) is the core of GUMSHOE. A Mutant City Blues player uses Ballistics, and you describe how they work out that the killer must have been standing on the third floor balcony of the building across the street. Searching CCTV camera footage with Data Retrieval gets them a photo of the gunman, and running that through a police database with Research gets them a name.

Or, in Trail of Cthulhu, they use Occult, and learn that the owl sigil they found is associated with the Minervan League, and then use Credit Rating to get an invitation to a League-sponsored lecture.

You can go further than that. A Ballistics clue could equally point the characters towards a roleplaying scene.

“At that range, with the weather that night, it would have been a hell of a shot. You know one guy who could have pulled it off – an old army buddy of yours, an ex-sniper who’s now a shooting instructor. He probably knows all the good marksmen in this region. Maybe he knows the shooter; it’s definitely worth talking to him”

Or.

You’ve seen this symbol before. You remember reading a book in the restricted stacks of the Orne Library, back at good old Miskatonic. The owl sigil is used by a sect called the Minervan league. In fact, you recall that that particular book was donated to the library collection after the death of its previous owner. Thinking about it, he lived near here. Maybe his family know more.”

More ambitiously, you can embed scenes inside other scenes, by means of a flashback. Keep flashbacks short, and be prepared to improvise in response to player actions in the ‘past’.

Occult: “You recognise that symbol – it’s the sign of the Minervan League. You know that because in your youth, you were acquainted with a member of the league. You even applied for membership, but weren’t accepted – did an existing member blackball you, or did you back out at the last minute?

Anyway, you remember your friend hinting about the league’s secret purpose. He started to say something about a Great Work… then he fell silent, as if suddenly frightened. What did you do?”  

NPCs as Clues

A clue – especially an Interpersonal one – can be incarnated in the form of an NPC from the PCs’ past. Instead of, say, getting information from the waitress at the bar through Flirting, maybe the waitress is an ex-girlfriend of the Flirting player character. She’ll tell you what she overheard – but only if you apologise for what happened the last time she saw you.

If a PC has a high Intimidate, then presumably they’ve intimidated people in the past. So, when the PCs are combing the dark streets of the city, ask who’s got the highest Intimidate – the PC with the second highest rating is the one who gets jumped by the vengeful goons. (Of course they don’t go after the highest rating – that guy’s scary). Beating up the goons yields the next Core Clue.

A Core Clue points the way to another scene. It doesn’t have to be evidence interpreted by the PCs. Anything that opens up a new avenue of investigation works. Mix up the way you present core clues whenever you feel your game is getting repetitive!

Page XX logoSpring has arrived in London; birds are singing, flowers are blooming and even the sun has deigned to shine on us. Infused with the joys of the season, we’ve planted article seeds in people’s heads and can now show you what we’ve cultivated.

New in the shop this month are the conclusion to the Cthulhu Apocalypse setting, Slaves of the Mother, as well as the final edition of this year’s KWAS subscription about Lilith. There’s also a new Series Pitch of the Month club edition by ASH LAW. Articles this month include Simon’s View from the Pelgrane’s Nest, an article from Robin D. Laws about reducing the tendency towards violence in DramaSystem one-shots while Kenneth Hite teases us with Dracula Dossier titbits. Kevin Kulp is also looking at one-shots, but making TimeWatch better by avoiding gimmicks and; Gareth is helping you get clues to players more effectively and Kendall Jung talks about our Gen Con GMing plans.

Over in 13th Age corner, Casey Peavler and Ryven Cedrylle have been hard at work coming up with a whole series of new races, and one new class, while ASH LAW explains how to repurpose 4e monsters for 13th Age. Martin Killman has come up with some new barbarian talents, and Wade Rockett explains the special Pelgrane customer deal for the Midgard Bestiary.

New Releases

Articles

Resource page updates

  • Ashen Stars – Sam Carter has created a fillable, saveable Ashen Stars character sheet
  • 13th Age – A high-resolution Dragon Empire map is now available for download

13th Age

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The TimeWatch RPG  is backed – more than backed! Thank you to everyone who pledged, encouraged others to back and upgrade their pledges – everyone has benefitted with a full colour hardback.

You can see the list of available pledge levels and add-ons here.

Until 1st April, new backers can still pledge at any available level, and get add-ons via paypal. Email us and Paypal funds to simon@dyingearth.com.

Until further notice existing backers can add add-ons and  increase their pledges via paypal. Email us and Paypal funds to simon@dyingearth.com.

Page XX logo We’re into the final days of Kevin Kulp’s TimeWatch Kickstarter, so there’s not much time left to get this latest GUMSHOE game at a knockdown price (unless you have your own time machine). The $80,000 stretch level is just under $500 away as I type, so if you haven’t already backed it, go and do it now. I’ll wait for you.

Now you’re back, here are this month’s articles – as well as Simon’s View from the Pelgrane’s Nest, Robin D. Laws has done a DramaSystem mini-Series Pitch and Kenneth Hite’s Call of Chicago teaches you how to gain the kind of instant expertise he’s become famous for. Over in 13th Age corner, your sorcerer and barbarian are about to get a makeover thanks to Brian Slaby and Martin Killmann; Gar Ryder-Hanrahan looks back to a time when all this was dominions, and Lawrence Mingoa creates a new monster inspired by Phillipine mythology. And you have another two weeks to enter the Owlbear Cub and Bronze Golem competition, so get your entries in now!

New Releases

Articles

13th Age

Resource page updates

13th Age Resource page updates

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Our schedule has settled down now, with regular monthly releases. It’s still hectic, but its hectically doing layout, editing, art direction and development on different books rather than working on a stacks of manuscripts at the same stage in development.

The TimeWatch RPG Kickstarter is in its final stages, and has hit its Mythos stretch goal and as I write is whizzing towards a 96-page adventure supplement free to all backers $25. It really brings something new to GUMSHOE.

Up this month is the pre-order for The Gaean Reach Gazetteer, the essential companion volume for Vancian sci-fi game The Gaean Reach . We’re also releasing the PDFs of Robin D. Laws’ first DramaSystem game, Hillfolk, as well as its companion volume Blood on the Snow. Hideous Creatures: Star Vampires is the latest edition of Ken Writes about Stuff, and Rob Wieland’s Encore rounds off this month’s new releases for the Series Pitch of the Month club.

Shipping Pricing

We’ve held back shipping costs for as long as we can, but with additional printing costs chomping at us from both ends, we will be increasing them on 1st March 2014. So, now is a very good time to order anything you’ve been considering, particularly if you are based outside the US and UK. We will still be subsidising shipping to a certain extent, even after these changes.

13th Age

  • We’re releasing an introductory adventure for Free RPG Day – Make Your Own Luck. It’s a prequel to Gareth’s Eyes of the Stone Thief, in which the characters must hold out in a town under siege while seeking out the enemy with in. This will be available in stores, and we hope that players of f20 games will grab this and give 13th Age a shot.
  • The Bestiary layout is being proofed and we should have it with the printers next week. It’s gorgeous.
  • We distracted Gareth briefly from his Stone Thief writing duties to work on Make Your Own Luck, but the first draft should be finished in the first week of March. We’ve had lots and lots of playtest reports – thank you for that!
  • The Monk, Commander and Druid from 13 True Ways are available for download on your 13th Age Core Book order page. Try them out! Rob, Lee and Jonathan having been working very productively on True Ways this month – it’s progressing nicely.
  • blackdragon
  • We’ve now released our official licenses – two compatibility licenses, and a community use license with their associated logos. If you want to create 13th Age supplements, stand-alone books with the Archmage Engine rules or create a fan site, these articles are for you.
  • I talked to our potential big licensee recently, but I can’t say anything until the t’s are crossed.
  • The 13th Age Organised Play is doing amazingly well with more than 300 active groups. We will be using this knowledge to spread the OP goodness to our other lines.

Hillfolk and DramaSystem

Ultra limited edition 2Hillfolk and its supplement Blood on the Snow are now available as PDFs from the store. The Series Pitch of the Month is now in its fifth month – subscribe now to get all five now and the other seven over the following months. It features celestial cast of game designers including Jess Scoble, John Wick and John Kovalic.

The Ultra Limited Edition Hillfolk books with their embroidered covers for top-level Kickstarter backers (all eight of them) will be ready to ship next week.

The Gaean Reach RPG

To support the Gaean Reach RPG, we’ve released a Gazetter of Jack Vance’s SF setting – PDF now, print later. The Gaean Reach RPG itself has received a stellar review (as it were) from the Vircades Project:

The Gaean Reach sets out to do one thing – cover a Jack Vance-style vengeance plot. It does this very well, providing the tools for a fast-moving game built around collaborative plot creation and world-building.

You can read the full review here.

Trail of Cthulhu

Library

Other GUMSHOE Goodness

Accretion Disk for Ashen Stars progresses well. We’ve got firm plans for a new edition of Fear Itself, featuring Dave Allsop’s Ocean Game and the latest GUMSHOE developments. Esoterrorists 2.0 is doing better than I expected. Ken Hite has been doing little apart from work on the Dracula Dossier this month, so expect big progress.

 

TimeWatch cover 300Scenes from TimeWatch:

An adversary flees across the pristine diamond-bearing beaches of South Africa, ocean on his left and TimeWatch agents far behind. “It’s a shame that I’ll be going back to last week and covering that area with stun mines,” says an agent. roll roll The sound of an explosion echoes across the beach, ending the easiest chase ever.

– o –

“You!” taunts agent Mace Hunter, screaming up at a rogue T-Rex summoned by Nazi scientists into 1940s Berlin. “Stop eating my teammate!” The massive dinosaur swallows what’s left of Dr. Breen, swings its ponderous head towards Mace, and lurches forward like the predator it is. Its roar shakes the building. Mace raises his high-tech elephant gun, squints his eyes, and smiles.

– o –

“You can not trust these people!” claims a rogue time traveler from the future, hoping to influence the Great Khan. “They are unnatural witches who you barely know!”

“These people?” growls the Khan. He slaps a grizzled TimeWatch agent on the back. “They have been my friends, commanders, and bodyguards for almost 20 years. It is YOU who can not be trusted. Guards, kill him.”

“Best long con ever,” mutters one of the agents to the others. They palm their PaciFists and move in.

– o –

A TimeWatch agent arrives in ancient Egypt, only to see the Sphinx bearing her own face. “Why does the sphinx look like you?” asks the rest of the team.

“I don’t know?” she hazards. “I look pretty good up there. But we better go see what my future self has gotten up to. Something, I think, has gone horribly wrong.”

“Guys? There’s a 27th century starship hovering over that pyramid,” says their scout. “That might be an understatement.”

– o –

“Stay away from that — kzkt! — body!” The Russian soldier starts to move, but is held back by Altani, a TimeWatch agent with a drawn pistol and a bad attitude.

“This body?” asks Dr. Breen innocently, and she rips off another hunk of the psi-active bile that coats the unconscious form. The Russian soldier’s face bulges as a giant mandible swells and pops through the skin, mottled brown chitin reflecting dully in the overhead fluorescents. An extra arm bursts through the front of the soldier’s chest, followed by several more. Flesh splatters. Now the soldier’s flesh-mask is hanging loosely from its head, and the ezeru’s true eyes can be seen behind the disguise. They are entirely inhuman.

“Poor choice,” buzzes the insectoid ezeru, and its limbs move faster than a human eye can follow. Altani screams.

– o –

Three days left to join 1500 other fans and back the Kickstarter! Forget these; go make your OWN TimeWatch stories.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kevinkulp/timewatch-gumshoe-investigative-time-travel-rpg

 

 

MV_Lyubov_OrlowaGUMSHOE is a game system that privileges bite-size morsels of neat-sounding knowledge. Ideally creepy neat-sounding knowledge, handed out in such a way as to imply a whole universe of such things just beyond the players’ horizon. It’s as though Robin invented it thinking solely of me. Even before Trail of Cthulhu, I liked to make a habit of flavoring my game books with morsels of neat-sounding knowledge, laid out in such a way as to imply … that I knew all there was to know about architecture, or Gnosticism, or astrological decans, or aviation history, and had just picked one or two morsels for the delectation of the reader. Friends, I am here to tell you that is an illusion. I am frighteningly widely (that is, mostly uselessly) read and at have been trying with some success to drown a trick memory under waves of vodka, but I do not know all there is to know about any of those things (except possibly astrological decans, because there isn’t much to know about those in the first place).

With that confession off our chest, let me proceed to show you that such knowledge is an illusion. Better still, it is an illusion YOU can cultivate in the service of being a GUMSHOE adventure writer, whether pro or am. Any GUMSHOE GM can use this foolproof method on pretty much anything. You just need about an hour and a search engine.

It begins.

In the fourth week of January of this year, my Twitter, Facebook, and email feeds all blew up with the news that there was a Cannibal-Rat Ghost Ship approaching England. A decommissioned 300-foot Russian cruise ship, the MV Lyubov Orlova, broke its chain off Newfoundland on January 23, 2013 while being towed to the Dominican Republic to be scrapped. Its emergency beacons transmitted in the mid-Atlantic, then went silent. About a year later, a Belgian “marine missions specialist” (read: excitable goof) speculated in the press (well, in the Sun) that the ship’s rats had devolved into cannibalism. Hey presto, Cannibal-Rat Ghost Ship. I should not have to explain, at this late date, why or even how this is essentially a perfect Night’s Black Agents story hook.

As with so many perfect garat_monkey_deadaliveme hooks, various  killjoys set about pouring cold water (the icy waters of the North Atlantic!) on the story. (I don’t really want to get political about this, but I just love that the Guardian went the extra mile and found someone to assure their readership that the rats would instead set up a socialist utopia.) As with so many debunkers, they let their skepticism out-race the facts on the ground. Er, water. Or, as the Robert Benchley of the 21st century, Mallory Ortberg, put it on Twitter:

“the ocean is a PRETTY big place, I don’t think you can definitively say there are NO rat-ghost ships on their way to England right now”

But the skeptics did one great favor for Night’s Black Agents Directors; the Smithsonian piece provided a link to the MV Lyubov Orlova search blog, “Where Is Orlova?” Which, unlike the slackers in the British media, has apparently been quietly looking for the Cannibal-Rat Ghost Ship since it vanished.

See what you have already? You have a hook. You have the best (i.e., most sensationalistic) version of the story. You have a debunking for the NPC coverup to parrot. And you have a blogful of huge amounts of data and parallel info thanks to the kind of quiet obsessive who makes the Web so Wonderful. Combine that with the Wikipedia article and you have more than enough material for your Cannibal-Rat Ghost Ship adventure, whether the ship heaves up in Norway, or the PCs rappel down onto it from a borrowed Sikorsky, or the Director decides to put the Orlova in her pocket as the floating HQ of a dissident Nosferaterrorist and sprinkle clues (and cannibal rats) over the next six adventures.

It took me about half an hour to become as much of an expert on the Cannibal-Rat Ghost Ship as anyone except perhaps the rats themselves. Go thou and do likewise.

This editorial originally appeared in the January issue of See Page XX as Trail of Cthulhu and 13th Age, and we want to make sure everyone who follows 13th Age news has a chance to see it. In it, Pelgrane Press publisher Simon Rogers makes a commitment to support for 13th Age that will match the support for its best-selling game line to date — Trail of Cthulhu. 

If you’re deciding on your next fantasy RPG and publisher support is a factor, you can be confident that 13th Age is a strong product line with many adventures and supplements to come. Here are just a few.

Trail of Cthulhu was a game-changer for Pelgrane. I was very excited when Chaosium agreed to the license, and when I added Kenneth Hite to Robin Laws’ GUMSHOE system I was pretty sure we had horror gamer catnip.

The analogy with 13th Age is plain. Take the two developers of the previous versions of D&D, free them to do exactly as they wish, and we get something fresh, original and idiosyncratic for fantasy gamers. If you look at my business post – you can see what happened in 2008 when Trail was released, and in 2011 when 13th Age was placed on pre-order.

For both projects, the look and art was a given – it had to be Jérome Huguenin for Trail, and Lee Moyer and Aaron McConnell for 13th Age. Ken’s interactions with Jérome’s art influenced the final Trail manuscript, and Rob riffed off Aaron and Lee’s take on the 13th Age. These weren’t artists called into illustrate a finished project – their art influenced the writers and designers, and vice versa.

The two lines have another similarity. They are both commercial and critical successes. 13th Age is rapidly catching up with Trail in terms of core book sales, and reviews of both lines are stellar. So why am I banging on about this?

Well, 13th Age is at the stage where Trail of Cthulhu was in 2008, and I want to give 13th Age players an idea of  the extent of support we will give 13th Age; so that if you mount the 13th Age dragon, you have some idea where the ride might take you.

Trail of Cthulhu

Since Trail launched in 2008, we’ve released 33 supplements, including music and compilations, racking up 13 ENnie awards, nominations and honourable http://www.pelgranepress.com/trail/images/cover/shadowsoverfilmland.pngmentions. Our most widely acknowledged contribution to Mythos gaming is in the breadth and innovation of our adventure design and 21 of these releases were adventures. The first supplement for Trail of Cthulhu was Stunning Eldritch Tales – Robin Laws establishing a benchmark for Trail adventures, which Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan followed up with Arkham Detective Tales. Here are a few more highlights:

Shadows over Filmland: this set of adventures mixes up the Mythos with the horror films of the 1930s, and includes the Backlot Gothic , the gloomy and torch-wieldling festooned setting for thos films. Each chapter has a frontispiece illustrated by Jérome in the style of a film still. So, meet the Lord of the Apes, Dracula, the invisible man, zombies and Dr Frankenstein – who has Herbert West’s lab notes.

Rough Magicks – Ken’s more detailed take of mythos spells and rituals was followed by Robin’s Armitage Files, a new take on GUMSHOE which encouraged improvised play, showing the versatility of the system (and the creator).

Graham Walmsley’s Purist adventures: featuring the sad and the soul-sapping, Graham brought a new aesthetic to Trail, where hope is lost, characters have no good choices and the Mythos is victorious. They have since been collected together in Final Revelation.

http://www.pelgranepress.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Eternal_Lies_cover_mockup.jpgA series of PDF adventures: by authors including Jason Morningstar, Bill White and  Adam Guantlett allowed those authors to play their own games in our playground of despond, giving us scenarios set in Georgian times, in the Great War, at the dawn of the Nuclear Age and in a 1930s apocalypse, now collected in Out of Time and Out of Space.

Bookhounds of London is Ken’s bravura take on a Mythos city book, which with its companion volume Paulas Dempsey’s Book of the Smoke formed part of the amazing Bookhounds of London limited edition.

Finally, I’ll mention the culmination of years of work from Will Hindmarch and Jeff Tidball, with help from many others: Eternal Lies, the world-spanning adventure inspired by Chaosium’s seminal campaigns. Combined with James Semple and his team’s music this is truly epic and the most ambitious book we have created to date.

We will continue to support Trail with vigour – it is evergreen. Coming up are Mythos Expeditions, Dreamhounds of Paris  and Fearful Symmetry. Many more are in the pipeline.

13th Age

Its clear that 13th Age will be bigger than Trail. We will support 13th Age just as solidly and vigourously as we have Trail of Cthulhu, bring in top writers and artists, and our own uninhibited take on fantasy roleplaying.

Fire Opal Media are producing some books in-house for Pelgrane to publish (13 True Ways) – with others we are working with various degrees of collaboration mainly with Rob Heinsoo on the Fire Opal side. So what should you expect?

We will work with the best people we can find who are inspired by 13th Age. Whether that’s our staff, freelancers we respect, or third-parties taking our open game license engine and having their own take on the Archmage Engine, we are happy.

So what’s to come?

  • The 13th Age Bestiary is in layout, and it combines everything we’ve learnt from monster creation in the Dying Earth, the Book of Unremitting Horror and Trail itself – that is, monsters should be entertaining and carefully constructed opponents, but also adventures in their own right with life and background – but they should not be set in stone. We want GMs to have the material they need to reimagine their creatures to fit their version of the 13th Age.WoodElves
  • 13 True Ways is a labour of love by the original designers at Fire Opal, and features the elements 13th Age fans have said are missing from their games – in particular a wider range of classes and creatures. Progress report here.
  • Shadows in Eldolan brings an urban mystery for 1st level adventurers featuring rival wizard schools and the undead – a benchmark adventure.
  • The Lair of the Stone Thief is Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s dungeon campaign featuring a living dungeon, malevolent and viscious with a similarity to a certain white whale.
  • Shards of the Broken Sky is a  sandbox adventure for 13th Age centering on the crash of one of the Archmage’s flying realms. As threats multiply, the flying land turns out to have been the control point for magical wards neutralizing three ancient evils. With the cone of secrecy shattered, each of the thirteen icons offers rival opportunities for glory, plunder, or heroic sacrifice.
  • The Strangling Sea is Robin D Laws introductory adventure. In this 13th Age adventure for a party of 4-6 1st-level adventurers, our heroes attempt to retrieve the enigmatic engineer Inigo Sharpe from his unfortunate imprisonment in the Stranglesea. This fantastical equivalent of our world’s Sargasso Sea traps wrecked ships, strands castaways, and supports an array of dangerous animal life.

These are still at the pitch stage – let us have your comments:

A 13th Age GM’s screen which is based on The Noteboard, and a Noteboard based battlemat with the 13th Age map on one side and a whiteboard on the other.

All for Love: (1st to 10th level campaign) Every generation, the rich, beautiful, politically powerful Orlando family introduces its sons and daughters into Imperial court life in a series of balls, jousts, tournaments, and increasingly perilous quests.

Every generation, the Orlandos’ rivals (human and otherwise) try to destroy them in a series of vendettas, assassinations, and increasingly unhinged proposals of marriage. You and your fellow heroes have fallen in love with the newest generation of Orlandos — or at least with their wealth, beauty, and political power. What will you do to win their attentions, to protect the things — and perhaps even the people — you love? Everything it takes, of course.

A book on Icons and their organisations.

Kenneth Hite’s Swords and Mythos – either a straight Earth port, or set in an earlier age: both of Ken’s pitches follow:

Swords and Mythos – Terran Version

From Sarnath to Mu to Hyperborea to Cimmeria, the ancient Earth swarms with dark cults, eldritch horrors, and foul magics — and with mighty heroes who drive them back into nightmare or master inhuman lore for human gain. This sourcebook reframes 13th Age for the primal Earth of heroic dark fantasists like Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Karl Edward Wagner, and Richard Tierney — and for a surprising amount of Lovecraft! Gods and monsters of the antediluvian Earth appear, ready to topple civilization or sink a continent. Magic, Icons, Relationships, and One Unique Things get their own spin for a world where attracting something more powerful than you isn’t always the best idea … but you’ve got the steel to meet them in the shadows.frostgiant

Swords and Mythos – 13th Age Version

Before the Dragon Empire, before the storms calmed in the Midland Sea, before the Elf Queen took her oaken throne, before the Orcs were formed from the corpse-meat of a forgotten species, there was an age of terror and wonder — the Zeroth Age. The oldest Icons ruled, then: the Tattered King, the Dreamer in the Deep, and the Crawling Chaos, Icons that walked the world as Avatars and selected heroes to carry steel and shape sorcery in the names of those Great Old Ones. In this “swords and Mythos” setting, the familiar 13th Age rules and Relationships get their own spin for a world where attracting something more powerful than you isn’t always the best idea … but you’ve got what it takes to meet them in the shadows.

The OGL and Third Party Publishers

We’ve presented a clear and complete SRD, and in the next week or two, expect to see compatibilty licenses for publishers similar to those used for Pathfinder (we thank Paizo for the use of their license). The following creators have added 13th Age to their project.

  • Dragon Kings project: Timothy Brown, creator of Dark Sun setting is providing a PDF rules supplement, funded through his Kickstarter.
  •  Sasquatch Game Studio: Features Richard Baker (3rd edition, Pathfinder), Stephen Schubert (3e, 4e, D&D Miniatures), and David Noonan (3e, 4e, Pathfinder) and their Primeval Thule offers 13th Age rules alongside D&D and Pathfinder
  • Vorpal Games: Brian R. James (3e, 4e, Pathfinder), Matt James (4e, Pathfinder) in their Red Aegis RPG.
  • RKDN Studios: artist Chris McFann, whose work with publishers helps him bring designers such as Monte Cook, Wolfgang Baur and Ed Greenwood to projects such as the Bestiary of the Curiously Odd .

Watch out for a big announcement in the next couple of months, featuring a big RPG name.

 

 

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New Releases

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