[Ed's note: Long-time freelance writer for Pelgrane Press Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan will be working for Pelgrane Press as of October. We are very fortunate to have him – he is consistently reliable, knows and loves the GUMSHOE system and produces excellent quality writing and plays well with Ken and Robin. You can read about his work here.]
Here’s what Gar had to say about it:
Gaming (Core Clue): You pitch five campaigns you really want to run to your regular group, and every one of them is a Pelgrane Press product.
That wasn’t the only factor in accepting Pelgrane’s offer, but life throws very few Core Clues at you, so when one comes along it’s best to follow it. Otherwise, I’d be thrown back on my General Abilities, and that’s never a good idea.
Pelgrane Press has engaged my services part-time for the next six months (for the rest of that time, I’ll be training the next generation of gamers to roll the dice instead of eating them). For the first few months, my targets are assembling Accretion Disk for Ashen Stars, continuing to work on Dracula Dossier with Ken, and developing 13th Age material for several different projects, like the Living Dungeon campaign we’re codenaming Moby Dungeon. No doubt there’ll be other projects, but those should keep me busy and sleepless for a while.
I also intend, of course, to continue the secret Irish takeover of Pelgrane Press, now that Cat’s established a beachhead in the main office. Ken’ll should be a pushover after his experiences at Warpcon last year; all that remains is to convince Robin that what he perceives as Canada was actually Ireland all along (doubtless one of the more obscure schemes perpetrated by the Esoterrorists), and then we’ll have Simon surrounded.
A lot has happened since our last mail out, including GenCon. This is summary for occasional browsers:
- The Dance in the Blood, the third and penultimate in Graham Walmsley’s Purist series is out now. The three adventures are available in a printed, limited edition form in a clean, simple and Keeper-friendly layout. Graham has signed and numbered them all.
- Skulduggery is now available as a PDF, and three playsets are in draft format. We’ll announce the playtest shortly.
- Pelgrane Press now has an employee, Beth Lewis, to speed up our production schedule and generally make things more efficient. She has already laid out the new Arkham Extended Edition, Dance in the Blood and is now working on laying out Not So Quiet, an adventure set in a hospital on the Western Front in the Great War.
- As proof of concept, Beth is converting Esoterrorists into ePub and mobi format for use with most ebook readers. We’ll supply this to all existing Esoterorists customers at no charge. Vote here to let us know whether or not you have an ebook reader.
- A new adventure by Bill White – The Big Hoodoo features SF writers Phil K Dick and Robert Heinlein amongst the characters. Read more and sign up for the playtest here.
- Bookhounds of London is ready for layout. Paula Dempsey is putting the finishing touched on its companion volume, the Occult Guide.
- Gareth Hanrahan will be writing new content for us to release every month for Pelgrane, starting with three Skulduggery playsets. He’s written a four episode campaign called Dead Rock Seven for Ashen Stars, and he’ll be moving on to other supplements. Let us know what you’d like to see here.
- The first set of Cthulhu Apocalypse adventures is out of playtest, and is ready for illustration and layout.
- Ashen Stars is out of playtest and is now ready for a second pass from Robin Laws.
For the first time, Pelgrane Press has an employee, Beth Lewis.
She came into the office in response to a livejournal post in which I asked for a volunteer. When I described a forthcoming competition, the prize for which is an obsidian sphere etched with the elder sign, she asked “which one, Lovecraft or Derleth?” How could I not offer her a job?
Beth is a qualified publisher and keen horror roleplayer. She will enable Pelgrane to substantially speed up our production schedule, as well as start a new project – a fiction line. More on that later.
Ok I promised that I would give out a preview of the Eternal Lies Suite.
Here is a piece from early in the game. It’s an ambient piece designed to be played as a loop during a specific scene and it introduces an important theme that will be heard throughout the suite.
Melancholy ambient theme by James Semple
The music in the suite varies from adventure through sentimental to horror. This is probably the most sentimental piece in there and although there’s an element of surreality, the theme feels familiar and comfortable.
Hopefully we’ll have a chance to give out more previews in the coming months. After all the suite will be around 70 minutes in total!
Podcast: Play in new window
This is the last of the introductions to the composers for the Eternal Lies suite.
My name is Yaiza Varona, I’m Spanish, born in Barcelone but lived most of my life in Tenerife,
Canary Islands. I am a musicologist and composer.
When James Semple offered me the chance to be part of this project, even before he had finished to
fully explain what it was about, I knew I had to do it, because even with first words “Eternal lies”
sounded so interesting and because of the chance of working with all three such talented composers.
Writing music for a Roleplay game means for me to create a subtle musical background that can
help boost the play´s emotions and contribute to “taste” more effectively all the experiences that
shall bring with it. This, in a way, offers the composer the chance to share that same experience as
well, and in that respect it is absolutely useful all the information we are provided about the game.
My personal approach to the project tries to focus on translating the character´s feelings into sound.
The weariness, solitude, concern or responsability weight that can appear during the playing in the
different scenario possible can be conveyed musically in a way that becomes part of the game itself,
or at least that is what I intend to achieve.
It is a huge pleasure for me to be here. I am really excited to be part of this, and am enjoying the
project since the first minute.
Great emotions can be expected from “Eternal lies”, and I will try my very best to make the perfect
music for it.
Yaiza’s website is here, and you can listen to a sample of her music here.
Following on with the music blog, I’m going to let Mike Torr introduce himself…
I’m a composer with a broad spectrum of experience and influences. A long history as a keyboard performer (and one-time double bass player) has taken me through a landscape of Electronica, Blues, Classical, Jazz, and Rock; via the usual grind of touring and recording with bands; and landed me on the shores of media music land. Writing music is always an adventure, and I’m attracted to it because it feels like a back door into the human subconscious. Perhaps I was a necromancer in a previous life…
I live and work in Southampton and I’ve known James for a few years. He’s already written some great material for Eternal Lies and I’m going to be joining his team and helping him to express his ideas in a variety of ways. With Marie-Anne and Yaiza on board, I’m in the company of a great group of talented and creative people, and I’m really looking forward to discovering where this is going to lead!
Hi … I thought it apt to begin introducing the various composers who are working on the Eternal Lies suite.
Here is Marie-Anne Fischer in her own words…
I fell in love with composing music when in South Africa, after moving from my native Belgium. Rhythms, beats and sounds of Africa stylised my music, some of which was used for television, wildlife documentaries, sport and corporate video. Further colour was added during time spent in the USA. I moved to the UK where I focused on composing music for media after completing a diploma course in the same. My main instruments are piano and violin.
I look forward to co-writing music for “Eternal Lies” and have already been exploring the range of possible emotions and ambient sounds that might accompany live role play. Composing can be solitary, so I welcome working alongside such talented friends and taking the opportunity to broaden my musical spectrum.
I’ll be introducing Mike and Yaiza in the coming weeks and hopefully I can bring a few of these musical types along to Dragonmeet in November.
I believe next week we will post up the first preview of the music!
Here’s a quick update on the state of the Eternal Lies suite.
This has been a truly phenomenal week with a chance for composers and authors to finally bounce ideas of one another. I’ve been absolutely amazed by the exceptional ideas coming from Will and Jeff and I’m so pleased about their enthusiasm for having their adventure scored. This week we began looking at the various chapters and how they will be scored.
Without giving away too much here, we have come up with around five distinct musical themes each representing concepts within the campaign. Therefore, chapters will reference themes based on the relevance of the concepts at the time. We’ll also be using this idea for the various stings that are to be used for specific circumstances. For instance, this week I created the sting for when a character is … well let’s politely say ‘retired’ from the game for whatever reason. This sting is a piano version of a theme which in one sense represents failure but is really part of a bigger concept. Perhaps I’ve said too much already…
We also agreed to include a new piece specifically to be played when the group are sitting back and reviewing the information they’ve amassed. We felt this would be a useful piece of music for keepers. In fact we’ve really spent a lot of time looking at the utility of this music for a group playing a game. That whole aspect has been very important for keeping us focused. The music must serve the game.
I hope that I’ll get a chance to include samples of the music during these articles to whet appetites!
Next week I’m going to start introducing the wonderful composers working alongside me to create this enormous suite of music.
Castle Bravo, Bill White’s PDF Atomic Age adventure for Trail of Cthulhu is out now from the Pelgrane Press store.
Skulduggery is available on pre-order – get the PDF now, and the printed version when it ships 1st July.
Night’s Black Agents won two silver ENnie awards for Best Game and BestWriting, and was nominated for Best Rules, Best Interior Art and Product of the Year. Find out why!
Night’s Black Agents puts you in the role of a deadly secret agent, taking down the forces of darkness. Get it now from the Pelgrane Store.
Bring your favorite high-octane spy thrillers to the table with Night’s Black Agents from legendary designer Kenneth Hite (Trail of Cthulhu). Have friends who love console shooters? This is the tabletop RPG for them! Access the eyes-only Resources page for blank agent dossiers, quick-reference sheets, a 20-minute demo and more — but sweep for tracking devices first.
The Cold War is over. Bush’s War is winding down.
You were a shadowy soldier in those fights, trained to move through the secret world: deniable and deadly.
Then you got out, or you got shut out, or you got burned out. You didn’t come in from the cold. Instead, you found your own entrances into Europe’s clandestine networks of power and crime. You did a few ops, and you asked even fewer questions. Who gave you that job in Prague? Who paid for your silence in that Swiss account? You told yourself it didn’t matter.
It turned out to matter a lot. Because it turned out you were working for vampires.
Vampires exist. What can they do? Who do they own? Where is safe? You don’t know those answers yet. So you’d better start asking questions. You have to trace the bloodsuckers’ operations, penetrate their networks, follow their trail, and target their weak points. Because if you don’t hunt them, they will hunt you. And they will kill you.
Night’s Black Agents brings the GUMSHOE engine to the spy thriller genre, combining the propulsive paranoia of movies like Ronin and The Bourne Identity with supernatural horror straight out of Bram Stoker. Investigation is crucial, but it never slows down the action, which explodes with expanded options for bone-crunching combat, high-tech tradecraft, and adrenaline-fueled chases.
Updating classic Gothic terrors for the postmodern age, Night’s Black Agents presents thoroughly modular monstrosity: GMs can build their own vampires, mashup their own minions, kitbash their own conspiracies to suit their personal sense of style and story. Rules options let you set the level of betrayal, grit, and action in your game. Riff from the worked examples or mix and match vampiric abilities, agendas, and assets for a completely custom sanguinary spy saga.
The included hook adventure gets the campaign going; the included city setting shows you what might be clotting in Marseilles’ veins even now. Rack silver bullets in your Glock, twist a UV bulb into your Maglite, and keep watching the mirrors … and pray you’ve got your vampire stories straight.
Designer’s blog entries.
An interview with the publisher.
Listen to Ken Hite talk about Night’s Black Agents on the Fear the Boot podcast
Read all the reviews here.
As good as the toolkits that Night’s Black Agents provides are, the rules and advice deliver on the game and genre that they promise. Whether it is blood pumping action or heart stopping shocks, Night’s Black Agents is probably best shaken, and definitely has the “Vampire Spy Thriller” staked. – Matthew Pook
Vampires and spies – once you’re past the initial surprise, you’ll see that they work tremendously well in tandem. Well, I think they do, and I think the book’s an absolute knockout. – Sidney Roundwood