Eidolons_cover

Eidolons cover

These bizarre, other-dimensional creatures present themselves as aspects of mortal concepts — meanwhile twisting reality into shapes that have nothing to do with mortal concepts. This comprehensive 13th Age Bestiary-style monster writeup is a gift to GMs who don’t mind shaking the tree until walruses and new philosophies fall out.

Eidolons is the fifth installment of the 13th Age Monthly subscription. It will be available to buy in the webstore in June. When you subscribe to 13th Age Monthly, you will get all issues of the subscription to date.

 

Stock #: PEL13AM06 Author: ASH LAW
Artist: Rich Longmore Type: PDF
Great Race of Yith cover

Great Race of Yith cover

“As mental barriers wore down, I beheld great masses of thin vapour in various parts of the building and in the streets below. These steadily grew more solid and distinct, till at last I could trace their monstrous outlines with uncomfortable ease.” From unguessable aliens to cone-shaped librarians to beetle-conquerors, the Great Race of Yith takes many forms. Learn to recognize them, before they take yours!

Hideous Creatures: Great Race of Yith is the third installment of the third Ken Writes About Stuff subscription and is now available to subscribers – it will be available to buy in the webstore in June. If you have subscribed to the third KWAS subscription, Hideous Creatures: Great Race of Yith is now on your order receipt page, so all you have to do is click on the new link in your order email. (If you can’t find your receipt email, you can get another one sent to you by entering your email address here).

Stock #: PELH30D Author: Kenneth Hite
Artist: Melissa Gay
Pages: 11pg PDF

Tales-of-the-13th-Age-LogoComing Soon

ASH LAW reports that The Battle of Axis will be the next adventure in our Tales of the 13th Age organized play program. This epic-tier adventure features a multi-session battle against the undead in the very heart of the Dragon Empire!

Gen Con Play Events Sold Out

We submitted nearly 70 organized play events for Gen Con, and tickets for all of them have been snapped up. Which is partly great news, and partly a bummer if you weren’t able to get tickets. We’ve heard of at least one GM who’ll be set up in Games on Demand to run Pelgrane games, and we might get additional volunteer GMs to run more official slots for us.

Girl Scouts Demo 13th Age

A Girl Scout troop in Colorado is going to start hosting tabletop games demos in the meeting room at their local library, and 13th Age is one of them! The scouts will demo a different game each week to acquire badges, learn valuable business and life skills, and (of course) have fun. We sent them PDFs of our more kid-friendly adventures, and an organized play kit that included a copy of 13th Age, a t-shirt for the organizer, promotional flyers, pre-generated characters, printable minis and icon postcards.

Play 13th Age at DexCon 18

Andrew Heo is organizing a team of GMs to run a 13th Age track at DexCon 18. Here’s the planned schedule:

Thursday: Shadow Port Shuffle, Wyrd of the Wild Wood, Quest in the Cathedral

Friday: Fungaloid Infection, The Folding of Screamhaunt Castle, Tower of the Ogre Mage

Saturday: Wrath of the Orc Lord, The Elf Queen’s Enchantment, Domain of the Dwarf King

Sunday: Three Hearts Over Glitterhaegen, The Feast of Gold

Keep an eye on the DexCon website, where event signup should be open soon!

13A Dark Lanterns LightWatch Dark Lantern’s Light Online

Hey, did you know that we have a head of online organized play, and that you can watch his group (including Seattle radio personality Rev. En Fuego) play online? It’s true — watch Aaron R.’s 13th Age Eberron campaign Dark Lantern’s Light and follow it on Obsidian Portal.

A while back we had a creepy rhapsody over archived crime scene photos from the NYPD, as useful handouts in Trail of Cthulhu games. On a like note, let’s applaud the team who took historical photos of New York as digitized by the New York Public Library and keyed them to a map of the city. Now whenever your investigators prowl the streets of the Big Apple in search of shoggoths and/or Nyarlathotep’s pulsing network of financial interests, you can call up images of their locations rife with period flavor. Not all of the images date to the 20s and 30s, but enough of them do that an exploration of the map is well in order for any GM planning an excursion into urban terror. You can easily use your Keeper’s license to pretend that the photos depict street scenes of other large American centers. The NYPL has not licensed the images for commercial use, so I’m going to respect that by linking to the images rather than embedding them.

At Grand and Ludlow we see a fortune teller with kid sidekick, plus parrot to bring in business. Talk about your combination of evocative details you’d never think to make up!

Or how about this excavation on Court Street in Brooklyn, from 1926, near the events of “Horror at Red Hook”? You decide what’s lurking in its shadows at night. You could even sell it to your players as the aftermath of the building collapse mentioned in that cringeworthy entry in the Lovecraft canon.

In need of inspiration? Click on a dot in the map and find what it throws up as the site of your next unspeakable incident. Hey, here’s the Brooklyn Eye and Ear Hospital, in all its stolid, sepia glory, overshadowed by the gothic heights of a German evangelical church. What this tells me is that Mi-Go have occupied the hospital on a tissue harvesting mission, and have installed a beacon in the church spire to guide the mothership back to them when the time comes. You of course might interpret these elements entirely differently.

At Manhattan and Wooster we see two lonely figures walking together in what I can’t help seeing as the early morning gloom. This historical-geographical flashcard might inspire you to think about a surveillance scene, in which the investigators will want to shadow these guys and find out what they’re whispering to each other.

I’m sure no Trail Keeper needs any more prompting that that, so I’ll leave you to it. If you find a shot of ghouls dragging a victim into an alleyway, I’m not sure I want to know…


Trail of Cthulhu is an award-winning 1930s horror roleplaying game by Kenneth Hite, produced under license from Chaosium. Whether you’re playing in two-fisted Pulp mode or sanity-shredding Purist mode, its GUMSHOE system enables taut, thrilling investigative adventures where the challenge is in interpreting clues, not finding them. Purchase Trail of Cthulhu and its many supplements and adventures in the Pelgrane Shop.

Released for Free RPG Day 2015 – exclusively through retailers on 20th June 2015.

This adventure will be also be available for download as part of the 13th Age Monthly and KWAS subscriptions in July.

TWO QUICK-START ADVENTURES ONE BOOK

Night’s Black Agents

Once, you were a spy. From Moscow to Melbourne, London to Lagos, you worked behind the scenes. Black operations. Deniable missions. Surgical strikes. Now, you know there’s a secret behind all the secrets. You know who’s really pulling the strings.

Vampires. The actual, no-kidding bloodsucking undead.

When you found out, they destroyed you. Wiped out your old networks, blackened your name, left you broken and burned.

But you’re still alive. You’ve found allies, others like you. And you’re going to kill the dead.

In THE HARKER INTRUSION, A mysterious tip-off sends you to Morocco. There’s a journalist there. She knows too much, and won’t see the dawn unless you save her. With six pregenerated player characters and a quick-start version of the award-winning NIGHTS BLACK AGENTS rules, this adventure has everything you need to go hunting vampires…

13th Age

You set off with a fair wind behind you and the blessings of the Icons lighting your way. You hoped for an easy voyage.

That was before the unnatural storm shipwrecked you.

That was before a gigantic living dungeon rose out of the ocean and vomited a swarm of monsters.

That was before everything went wrong.

Now you’ve got to – quite literally – salvage the situation. Reunite your crew, repair the ship, plumb the mysteries of this strange island, and escape before the living dungeon returns. You’re right on the precipice of doom here, in AT LAND’S EDGE.

13th Age is a d20 game of battle, treasure, group storytelling and heroic adventure. This introduction to the game includes pre-generated characters and a full adventure for the GM and 3-6 players.

 

Stock #: PEL13AN01
Author: Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
Artist: Chris Huth, Jeff Porter Pages: 40 Page PDF

Released for Free RPG Day 2014: this adventure is available as part of the 13th Age Monthly subscription.

The town of Harrowdale holds a treasure. An army of trolls wants that
treasure. You must hold the town until the Imperial dragon cavalry arrives.
You’re outnumbered and your forces are outmatched – and to cap it all off,
they’ve got a secret weapon set to bring doom down upon you.

Relying on the old ways – on nothing but a strong sword and a lucky blow –
won’t help you now. Time to make your own luck.

Make Your Own Luck is also a prequel to the 13th
Age megadungeon campaign pack, The Eyes of the Stone Thief,
where the player characters embark on a mission of vengeance
This introduction to the  game includes pregenerated characters, a quick summary of the rules, and a full adventure for a GM and 3-6 players and you don’t need the 13th Age rulebook to play.

Stock #: PEL13A03
Author: Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
Artist: Lee Moyer, Pat Loboyko Pages: 20 Page PDF

 

In this week’s episode of their all-conquering podcast, Ken and Robin talk playing real people, juju-using drug cartels, collaboration tips, and Ogedei Khan.

In Bram Stoker’s original Notes for Dracula, we find the following cryptic line:

Lawyer – (Sortes Virgilianae) conveyance of body

Stoker originally thought perhaps the “lawyer” character Peter Hawkins, mostly written out of the book, would perform the sortes Virgilianae, literally the “Virgilian lots,” to find out how his new client would work out. Both pagan Romans (who thought poets divinely inspired) and medieval and early modern Christians (who found a prophecy of Jesus in Virgil’s fourth Eclogue) considered Virgil a prophet. The sortes Virgilianae thus refers to a form of bibliomancy in which the querent randomly opens a copy of Virgil’s Aeneid (or sometimes the complete works of Virgil) to receive prophetic guidance on some venture.

Sortes Virgilianae Virgilianae *INCEPTION sound*
Sortes Virgilianae Virgilianae *INCEPTION sound*

The “conveyance of body” seems like Stoker’s legalistic joke on the dual meaning of “conveyance”: both transportation and transfer of property rights. Anyhow, the phrase points us at Book VI; line 530 of the Aeneid (Dryden’s translation):

“My boat conveys no living bodies o’er”

Which pretty neatly prefigures the doomed Demeter’s voyage from Whitby, which is why I put it right back in Dracula Unredacted.

Later on in the Notes, Stoker suggests maybe Harker performs sortes Virgilianae in Dracula’s library, or discovers that Dracula has been using this medieval magic system, or perhaps Seward does it while feeling blue and neurotic. Eventually Stoker tossed the whole idea. But you don’t have to!

The Bibliomancy Option

Either in your Dracula Dossier game or in a Bookhounds of London campaign it can be creepy fun to introduce a bibliomantic element. The trick, of course, is to pre-load the prophecy. Go to one of the many searchable Aeneids on the Internet and search for the thing you want to show up in the next session.

Gutenberg has the whole poem on one page, and you can search for word fragments (searching on “blood” finds “bloody”); Bartleby has line numbers if you value such things or want to add a numbers-code feeling, but the poem pages are broken up by books so you can use only whole-word searches from the main page.

Or genuinely randomize it: Roll a d12 to select the Book and then a d2000 (d20, d100) to pick the Line (count a 20 result on the d20 as 0). In Dryden’s translation, no Book is longer than 1400 lines, so prepare to re-roll that first die a lot. If you’re more digitally minded, John Clayton’s Two random lines from Virgil does just that, but does not yet support a search.

Then, when the characters decide to sort out a sortilege, you can spring the right creepy line on them. Or, you can read the whole poem looking for naturally awesome couplets like this (Book II; lines 212-213):

“Reveal the secrets of the guilty state,
And justly punish whom I justly hate!”

And then come up with a neat scene that tag can retrospectively be seen to have predicted. Characters that bring about or otherwise invoke that prophecy can claim an Achievement-style 3-point refresh, if you’re feeling generous.

The following perhaps-magic item can appear in either sort of campaign, but it’s written up for the Dracula Dossier.

Hawkins’ Aeneid

Appearance: An copy of Virgil’s Aeneid, in Latin and Dryden’s English translation, on facing pages, with numbered lines. Octavo, bound in pale yellow buckram, published by “Faelix Press, London, 1864.” It gives every appearance of heavy use; many pages are marked with pinpricks or brownish ink checks. It is autographed on the frontispiece, “From C. to ‘Mr. P.H., the onlie begetter.’”

Supposed History: This was the copy of the Aeneid used by Peter Hawkins to cast the sortes Virgilianae during the 1894 operation. Art History suggests the inscription is a literary joke, after the dedication of Shakespeare’s Sonnets to “Mr. W.H., the onlie begetter.” The inscription implies that “P.H.” created Edom, and hints that his real initials are W.H. “C.” might be “Cyprian” Bridge, Director of Naval Intelligence, or the not yet officially on the clandestine books Captain Mansfield Smith-Cumming, or someone else entirely.

Major Item: The book allows the accurate casting of sortes Virgilianae, with a proper knife (the Jeweled Dagger (p. XX) or something from the Knife Set (p. XX) perhaps). Riffling through the book and striking a page at random reveals a line or two of Virgil that provide prophetic insight or warning into (usually) the next session’s events. (This lets the Director think a little about how best to work the prophecy in.) During that session, each forewarned agent gains 1 pool point that can be assigned retroactively to either Sense Trouble or Preparedness.

Minor Item: This is indeed Hawkins’ desk copy of Virgil, but it only provides possible leads to Hawkins’ identity or that of his mysterious supervisors in the murky prehistory of British intelligence. Whether either clue points to the current “D” or anywhere else in Edom is up to the Director.

Fraudulent: It’s an authentic 1864 edition of Virgil, but has no connection to Hawkins or to Edom.

Connections: Could turn up in the library at Ring (p. XX) or the Korea Club (p. XX), in the Exeter house (p. XX), or if meant as a clue to the real “Hawkins,” on a dead GMC, with his finger pointing to lines 870-871 of Book II:

“Make haste to save the poor remaining crew,
And give this useless corpse a long adieu.”

Dulce_Et_Decorum_Est_cover_400Pookie reviewed Dulce et Decorum Est on Reviews from R’lyeh. You can check out the full review here. Thanks Pookie!

“Dulce et Decorum Est gives the tools for the Keeper to run scenarios set during the war, plus numerous good ideas…Physically, Dulce et Decorum Est is solidly presented. The art is excellent”

On the Vaterland scenario:

A relatively short, straightforward and confined affair, ‘Vaterland’ is a primarily interesting because of its setting, one that plays against our anti-German notions of the period. The inclusion of Hearst as an NPC adds an interesting wrinkle and a certain impetus to the scenario.

On the Dead Horse Corner scenario:

“it nicely builds on a strong sense of isolation and of the three scenarios in the book, is probably best suited to add to an ongoing campaign set during the Great War.”

 

 

 

 

 

 


Trail of Cthulhu is an award-winning 1930s horror roleplaying game by Kenneth Hite, produced under license from Chaosium. Whether you’re playing in two-fisted Pulp mode or sanity-shredding Purist mode, its GUMSHOE system enables taut, thrilling investigative adventures where the challenge is in interpreting clues, not finding them. Purchase Trail of Cthulhu and its many supplements and adventures in the Pelgrane Shop.

Just as DramaSystem characters are torn between two dramatic poles, we as roleplayers may find ourselves torn between two roles: character and co-author.

Certain games and play styles encourage us to think only of what our PCs would do. Some players who prefer this approach take a semantic leap overboard and declare any game where you do anything other than that as definitionally not an RPG.

(Really they mean it’s not the kind of RPG they like, but hey. Without hyperbole, we would all be thrown into the sun and instantly incinerated by the screams of a million super-demons.)

Focus only on the character as decision-maker can become a challenge if the player is also intensely self-protective. The extreme version of this player requires the GM to petition him for permission to insert the group into a genre situation. “Why would I go down the basement into the old house? My character would just stay home and call the police!”

GUMSHOE players will recognize that as the problem Drives address. They put the onus of engaging with the premise on the players. GUMSHOE assumes engagement and asks you to specify the flavor of it that suits your investigator’s personality.

Most of us move fluidly between character and co-author states without having to think about it. Your character might talk over everyone else if given the chance. As a player you know enough to establish her as relentlessly verbal, then step back and allow your fellow participants equal time to speak. Your character might want to murder that hobo, but as player you rely on the other players, talking in character, to convince you otherwise. That way you get to show a key point about your character, but the plot doesn’t go in a direction you don’t actually want.

An equivalent disjuncture occurs in our experience as audience members for fiction. We may identify with a character and hope that everything works out for them. At the same time, we might see that the goal they’re pursuing will actually lead them to ruin. So we are rooting for them in general but against them on the specific, tactical level. That’s a type of dramatic irony. You can find it everywhere from Washington Square to “Better Call Saul.”

In a recent DramaSystem session, one of the players bumped into this. His character wanted to solve the problem at hand. (Something about a vat of unicorn blood.) However, as co-author he saw that there was still plenty of tension and story development to be had out of this plot device. If the problem got solved too quickly it would disappoint everyone at the table. As he groped for the right scene to call, I suggested that he come up with one that explained why his character would be unable to do what he wanted. He invented an obstacle in his own character’s way, called a scene around it, and the unicorn blood vat was preserved for another day.

That shows how far DramaSystem takes you onto the co-author side of the continuum. Where procedural games are all about problem-solving, Hillfolk may well encourage you to protect, nurture and cosset your characters’ problems.


Hillfolk is a game of high-stakes interpersonal conflict by acclaimed designer Robin D. Laws. Using its DramaSystem rules, you and your friends can weave enthralling sagas of Iron Age tribes, Regency socialites, border town drug kingpins, a troubled crime family, posthuman cyberpunks and more. Purchase Hillfolk and its companion Blood in the Snow in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

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