View from the Pelgrane’s Nest – October 2010

Since the last issue in July, we’ve had our most successful GenCon ever, released two new products, gained an employee won an ENnie award and announced a fiction imprint.

A New Employee

The big news for Pelgrane Press is that we’ve taken on an employee – Beth Lewis. It certainly wasn’t my intention to employ somebody, but she volunteered to do some work experience, and proved herself to be versatile, knowledgeable and hard working. The fact she is a Lovecraft fan and roleplayer possibly helps, too. This means we can up our release schedule. Already, we’ve had two products out in a couple of months, compared with about four in the previous twelve months, and we’ll get better quotes for printers, better editing and proofing too, as well as more marketing activity. She will also bring her knowledge of publication to our new fiction imprint.

Trail of Cthulhu

Not So Quiet released

Today sees the release of Not So Quiet, a Trail of Cthulhu adventure by Adam Gauntlett. You can get it from the Pelgrane Press store. I’m keen to use the PDF format to explore other times and other styles of Cthulhu gaming, as well as introducing authors to the system and our playtesting regime. Thus, this adventure is set in a hospital in the Great War. The title, obviously, is a take on “All Quiet on the Western Front”, and it was amusing that the only German playtest group did not get the reference, because the novel, in the original German, is called “Im Westen nichts Neues” – literally “No News from the West.” Ralf Schemmann of ProFantasy suggests “Im Westen was Böses” as a replacement.

Book-Hounds of London

bookhoundsBook-Hounds has been illustrated and laid out in the main, but we are including a full street map and index of London in the 30s, the index created using optical character recognition and a team of excellent volunteers from yog-sothoth . We wanted to make it as useful as possible to anyone wanting to play roleplaying games set in London around that time, and I want the entire index linked up so that you can click on an index entry and jump to the map. Bookhounds will be printed monochrome with full colour plates for the maps, and there will be a limited edition with lots of extra goodies put together by Steve Dempsey and Beth.

An Occultist’s Guide

An Occulist’s Guide has returned from its final editing pass, and is ready for layout. Chaosium has agreed to allow us to put the Call of Cthulhu logo on it, as it’s a generic London supplement, as well as being the companion book for Book-Hounds.I hear that other companies have, or will, be putting out London Cthulhu mythos supplements, so this will be a useful adjunct for them, too.

The Big Hoodoo

Bill White’s The Big Hoodoo is nearing the completion of playtest. It features SF writers Robert Heinlein and Philip K Dick, mourning the death of a long-lost friend, rocket scientist-cum-occultist Jack Parsons, in an explosion in his garage laboratory. Non-roleplayer and Jack Parson’s expert Susan Pile contacted us with corrections and some excellent ideas. Susan recently uploaded this restored footage of Jack Parsons to YouTube.

Cthulhu Apocalypse

Graham Walmsley has been working on the Rending Box, the final adventure in his Purist quartet, but also Cthulhu Apocalypse. This will be a quartet of three adventures, set in the 30s after the fall of civilisation, and a source book. We’ve done in house playtesting, and the first trio of adventures is nearly ready for layout. The potential cover for this caused some contraversy, and we are doing a new one. I suspect we’ll release the first trio of adventures first, then the core book.

Eternal Lies

Eternal Lies , our massive Trail of Cthulhu campaign while behind schedule, is making good progress. We are about to start the first playtest, and James Semple’s team has almost finished the music , which is head and shoulders above anything I’ve heard for roleplaying games, and holds up well against good TV and film music.

Ashen Starscover_project

Ashen Stars has passed through the largest playtest we’ve ever done and Dead Rock Seven is undergoing playtesting amongst the same groups. We received more than twenty playtest reports. These were mainly positive, but showed up some particular problems with the space combat system which has since been completely rewritten. It’s a massive project, and required a complete overhaul of the GUMSHOE system to fit this new setting. To show the popularity, more than half the groups signed up to playtest Dead Rock Seven, the set of Ashen Stars adventures, and we’ll be running a new playtest shortly.

Fear Itself, Mutant City Blues and Esoterrorists

For Esoterrorists, Ian Sturrock has begun work on the sequel to Albion’s Ransom: Little Girl Lost . I’ll be playing in an Esoterrorists adventure at IndieCon which I hope will also be published.

Gareth Hanrahan has written a Fear Itself adventure set in a hospital – Invasive Procedures – which is as grim as it sounds. It’s been through the Robin Laws GUMSHOE editing wringer, and is in its second incarnation. Gareth is now working on a Mutant City Blues supplement, to keep up with the tough monthly release schedule we’ve set. It looks like the first will be out in December rather than November as originally promised.

Skulduggery and the Dying Earth

cardinal vespucci

Ian Thomson has been working hard on further adventures for his Dying Earth campaign , ready for the relaunch. Robin will be writing a Skulduggery/Dying Earth crossover, which will introduce The Dying Earth to Skulduggery players in a form which is easy to sell to players, and also introduce streamlined rules and a magic system for existing Dying Earth players. Gareth has written three settings for Skulduggery, The Wedding, Black Smoke, and Pacific’s Six. We are luck enough to have Hilary Wade, one of the Dying Earth artists, to illustrate them.

New World

Bill White has produced the first stab at a system and setting for New World, his colony game, and we’ve run and internal playtest. It’s early stages yet, but is shows disctinct promise, using cards for Ganakagok style oracles for character backgrounds and problems. The New World in this context is the mixture of indigenous and incoming peoples rather than a name for place “discovered” by potential colonists. In our playtest, our colonists had to face the fact the main source of protein was wild pig, and their religion prohibited it, that the local culture gains spouses by grabbing people and holding them, and that the promised City of Gold was not at the destination.

GM Advice

Adrian has produced a new chapter of Bott’s RPG Miscellany , and I’m commissioning a book of GM advice written by very experienced GMs.

Awards and Nominations

In last View, I mentioned that we’d been nominated for ENnie awards , and much to my surprise, we gained a Silver ENnie against very stiff competition for Armitage Files. Armitage is getting a lot of love at the moment, with a nomination for a Golden Geek award in the Best Supplement category.


I’m having a hellish time coming up with an imprint name I like for our fiction line which isn’t taken. I’ve googled over a hundred choices, but without much luck. When I get one, I’ll post more information on this. It’s very exciting.

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