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Showing posts from 2018

Silent Movie Pacing

I’ve been watching a lot of silent movies lately – specifically as much of Lon Chaney's output as I can find (the man could act with every cell of his body and is a pleasure to watch – seriously go find his stuff and savour it) and one of the things that struck me is the pacing of the movies.

Without dialogue every scene has to convey all the emotional oomph and exposition in as condensed and pure a form as possible. If there is necessary dialogue then one or two captions take care of it and the rest is acted out and the movies gets on with the next scene. Once you watch a few in sequence and then go back to a more modern movie (or talkie, to be precise) it becomes obvious just how much filler there is.  Some people can write good dialogue (Mamet for instance), some is perfectly functional, but some is just filler.

I was wondering how this would apply to RPGs.

Obviously character interaction is a vital part of the experience in role-playing and I’m not suggesting it is eschewed i…

Beasts of the Bone Coast

After the wreck of the ship carrying them into slavery, a small band of survivors face the dangers of the hostile land where they have washed up. Gigantic insects, abandoned temples to alien gods, impenetrable jungles – and worst of all a city of hate-filled ape-men marching against an isolated human township that is our heroes’ only hope of escape from this hellish new world

My latest adventure BEASTS OF THE BONE COAST is now available for free download HERE.

This is a short survival based adventure in the sword & sorcery genre with game suggestions and statistics for both Barbarians of Lemuria and Index Card RPG.   Starting from nothing can your heroes survive a hostile land and save a helpless town from a horde of crazed beast-men?

Comes complete with rules for a Mammoth-back chase and hero-focussed mass combat.

NSFW

It was a hot day, and the office seemed hotter than the world outside.  Despite the air conditioning she was perspiring, feeling lazy and sticky and just a little bit horny.

Looking around herself, seeing that none of her co-workers were looking at her she slipped her cellphone from her purse and used her thumb to deftly caress words into a new text message for her lover
Text me something NSFW
She smiled a private smile as she sent it, and imagined how he’d react.    Seconds later her phone whispered to her that a new message had arrived.  Reaching down and holding the phone below desk level, flat against the so-proper dark blue skirt, she opened the message.
What’s NSFW?
She tsked in frustration.   Sometimes she half believed that he was a refugee from the Victorian era as he often joked.    Her thumb moved again on the slick screen, teasing out a new message letter by letter.
Not Safe For Work.   You know… something provocative.
She sent the message.   The word provocative pleased her…

Bride of the Rat King–an adventure for Barbarians of Lemuria

My new adventure for Barbarians of Lemuria – Mythic Edition is now available free.  Your bold heroes are engaged to investigate the disappearance of a young noblewoman in the shadowy underworld of the city of the Lich King.   Dangers, death, intrigue and some foul magic will surely await – as you would expect.The folder includes the pdf of the adventure itself plus some .png files ready made and scaled for use as Roll20 battlemaps (the file name gives the size of Roll20 screen to create for an exact fit)I’ve included some conversion notes for Index Card Role Playing Game the philosophy and mechanics of which have been inspiring me for a while now.I hope you enjoy the adventure – please let me know what you think and how things go if you bring it to your table.
DOWNLOAD LINK

Aru-Kamis–Return to the City of the Lich King

I’m currently working on a new Barbarians of Lemuria adventure Bride of the Rat King which is tentatively located in my existing setting of the dreadful haunted city of Aru-Kamis (though it can be dropped into any setting that has cities with disreputable areas, which is pretty much all of them).   Because it’s been a while since I posted my Aru-Kamis setting online, and because when I originally created it I inadvertently and spontaneously created a gang of criminals that had the same name as a gang of criminals from another and rather wonderful game, I thought I’d tidy up the setting material, correct the coincidental plagiarism and reupload it.So if your Barbarian heroes are likely to enjoy visiting a haunted city of shadows ruled over by an immortal lich, then you can find out all you need to know about Aru-Kamis (and hints about its sister cities) HERE

The Stone and the Seven

Cannot sleep my lady?  Then draw close to the candle and listen.I will tell you a tale of the old old days there were not in fact so long ago as you would hope.The King in those days had two sons.   The eldest son, the heir was a foul creature, handsome enough to look upon but nobody could long bear his presence without wanting to flee him or strike him.   The King indulged his eldest son and the people suffered for it, but not so much that they would rise up and turn horror into anger.In those days a traveller came through the wood, astray in the dark heart of it, lost and cold.  Each path mocked him with its turns and every way he took brought him back across his own earlier path.   If he called on the Virgin for guidance she did not hear him or choose to answer.The denizens of that house were several and they were foul welcoming him with mocking eagerness, complimenting the length of his limbs and the strength of his frame and the beauty of his features.   They themselves were shor…

Abandoned Beauty

“He’s on his way, I’ve seen him through the eyes of owls.  Young and full of vigour,” Her voice was self-satisfied, with just a hint of lewd appreciation.
“So romantic,” came the reply in gentle delicate tones of wistful contentment
“Romance be damned,” the third voice was a menacing rumble, “it’s the story that draws him.  Always the story.”
The three of them waited in an upper room, looking out of the window into the wooded valley below.   The house was glorious once, but that was before it had been abandoned to the elements and to time, before moss and vines grew over its surface and the burrowing creatures dug into its rocky foundations, before the rain and wind of countless years wore away the paint and etched age into the face of the building.   
The three of them wore the shapes, more or less, of women.
“We should try to stop him of course,” said the first of them, “Should I…?”
“No,” sighed the second, “let me.  Poor boy.”   She relaxed out of her vanishing body and the valle…

Oh my gosh

I’m far more excited than I have any right to be after receiving notification of a piddling little electronic payment.  My first ever royalties for my novel have just come through and while it will barely cover the cost of the new ICRPG core rulebook coming out today I am very happy indeed – Guess this means I’m a professional writer now!If you want to see what’s made me so happy check out “A Step Beyond Context”

The Star Flung Hammer

A new Sword & Sorcery adventure for Index Card RPG involving a daring expedition into hostile territory and the confrontation of an unexpected cosmic horror.

Something strange fell from the sky into the land of the Jötnar - and those brave souls who went in search of it never came back.  Now doom is prophesied and new heroes must arise to follow the path to danger and glory - but worse things than Jötnar dwell in the mountains, and the secret of the Star-Flung Hammer is nothing that those heroes could have imagined.

Download here

The Jötnar

The Jötnar, (singular Jötun, make the plural “Jotuns” if you want – they’re unlikely to call the Plurality Police) are an adversarial race suitable for a dark ages, particularly Viking inspired setting.   
The name is often mistranslated into English as “giant” (via a Norman/French word relating to a Hellenic Greek concept misapplied to a term in Hebrew if you’re interested) but the Norse folk did not see them as particularly being of great size.The name is more accurately translated as “devourer” or “wrecker” and the Jötnar are seen as forces opposed to good order and human society.Some may appear larger than normal folk, others smaller, others may have appealing features, others again may be monstrous in many ways.
They dwell outside the edges of the human controlled lands (a famous Jötun dwelled in Utgard, the name literally meaning “beyond the bounds”) and typically provide a force of external menace and opposition.
While they are not some sort of monstrous race like Orcs or Goblins,…

Devious in the Dark

I ran my first Blades in the Dark adventure last night and it was the proverbial blast.

The characters were three members of the same family, a pair of brother/sister twins of mixed Akorosi and Skovlan heritage and their cousin (mixed Akorosi/Iruvian), all former Imperial military and now running a small smuggling outfit out of Crowsfoot.

I decided to start with the classic "War in Crowsfoot" set up from the rulebook and Bazso Baz the Lampblack leader called them in for a nice chat.  He showed off a box of dirt grown carrots from the radiant farm that one of his contacts had procured for him, and enjoyed the gift of some nice whisky the smugglers (Hell Runner Corp) had brought for him.   Then he got down to business and invited them to join him against the Red Sashes, hoping that Pasha's part Iruvian heritage wouldn't get in the way of that.

"I'm suspicious of patriots," Baz explained, "saw too many shitty things happen under flags during the war.…

Avalon

My grandfather once told me that he’d spent his whole life in summer.   I was a child then and I didn’t understand, but I believed him.  There was sunshine in him, always warmth, and he took delight in everything.  Being around him was like an easy purposeless walk on an August evening through the wooded lanes around his house.   I’d walked those lanes and knew each turn, each fence, each sunbeam.    Those lanes had seen a thousand thousand of me -- the cowboy, the knight, the pirate, the explorer, latterly the thwarted romantic hero.   We’d walked those lanes for years and countless summer stories had been told in the dappled light. My summer was coming to an end.   As September slouched over the threshold I’d leave for university and take up a course that was practical and appropriate, which would be the gateway into growth and progression and forward planning and productivity and purpose and perhaps, someday, a comfortable retirement in which I could take long and easy walks to n…

Helping Hand

I clean the shop, I mend the shoes, I help the downcast maiden choose Her future prince, her future bright, her perfect brave and charming knight I bless the baby that she bears, I honour every oath she swears,
I prophesy of days unborn, of trials to come, of oaths foresworn Of fallen thrones and mirrors smashed, of crowns cast down and glories past And then I turn and start again, I’ve seen each story wax and wane
And in each tale of destiny, in each strange tale there’s always me A little voice, a hidden hand, a sprite perhaps with so much planned, A crone perhaps, a crone I am, Or sometimes yet a wizened man, Or youth in green, or far off light, or voice that whispers in the night,
My favours come to those in need, my favours plant the fertile seed I’ll stack the cups up on the table, to spin the straw to gold I’m able I’ll give you all the riddles’ answers, I’ll train the girl to join the dancers, To sing with angel’s voice and soar, to bring her love back from the war
I’ve seen …

Little Rosie - Chapter One

(Click here for the PROLOGUE)




I had been fortunate enough, in the two years after my father was murdered, to avoid the attentions of White Kenneth and his runners.   Many of the denizens of St Giles did not.   He preyed upon the isolated, the lonely and the helpless.  And the young.  Especially the young.   Do not think, sir, that one such as White Kenneth would have been stirred to sympathy with the plight of an eight year old orphan girl who found herself without protectors.   He would not.   He would have licked those pale lips of his and given the order for a couple of bag-men to go a-hunting.  And he would have mentally estimated his profits, and imagined spending them even before those bag-men returned with their quarry.

But I was sharp witted and sly, and well aware of the dangers.   I kept well clear of White Kenneth and his dreadful crew and although my path and his did cross, rather dramatically, that was not until much much later and ended rather... messily I'm afraid to …

Little Rosie. Prologue

Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, Rosie filches everything Sneaking, snatching, this and that Crafty as a creeping cat Bolt the doors, the shutters bar, Rosie reaches near and far, All in rags, not dainty frocks Little Rosie laughs at locks
I may be an old woman, young man, but there is nothing wrong with my memory I assure you.  Of course I remember that silly little ditty.   I suppose I was a little bit flattered by it. after all how many little girls are immortalised in playground chants and songs?
Oh don't look so surprised, goodness but you're a dreadful hand as a liar.    No don't act all innocent sir, for it won't wash.  You knew full well that I was the Little Rosie referred to in that piece of doggerel and don't dare deny it.   That's why you're here, and why you've spent the last few weeks ingratiating yourself with all the right people.  Or the wrong people, as most would say, eh?   Oh yes I was fully aware of your little investigation, and of all you…