August 2016: View from the Pelgrane’s Nest

This month has been dominated by the aftermath of Gen Con. We’ve been implementing the Pelgrane Plan for 2016 we decided in the Pelgrane Summit, followed up with licensees and distributors and generally bathing in the afterglow of the ENnie awards and meeting our lovely GMs and players. This month Cat and I have also been wrist-deep in tea working on the Hawkins Papers for Dracula Dossier backers. Fear Itself 2nd Edition and The Esoterrorists campaign Worldbreaker debuted at Gen Con, and are now available from the Pelgrane Store. We also have a handful of 13th Age icon tokens – beautiful metal tokens to represent your icon relationship rolls. Also for 13th Age Monthly is Alarums & Incursions: Downtime for Six Icons – Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s fun random tables, to generate mini-stories for player characters between adventures.

Fear Itself and Esoterrorists

This month sees seriously creepy releases for our first two GUMSHOE horror settings.

Fear Itself 2nd Edition – This update to our GUMSHOE core book stable, featuring the most up-to-date GUMSHOE GM advice for running horror one-shots, miniseries and campaigns, is out now in the store. The front cover creeped a lot of people out, particularly when they took a close look at the weird eye. I reproduce this in part for Wade Rockett, who shivered when he looked at it.


Worldbreaker – An appalling summoning, demons of the depths, slaughter on your mapping app, Ebola, and of course, murder clowns feature in this globe-spanning campaign for The Esoterrorists. It has one of the most effective opening scenes I’ve experienced – and is fresh and modern.

A Fear Itself adventure collection is in the works – it’s in first draft.

13th Age

The FreeRPGDay adventure Make Your Own Luck is available for play on the virtual tabletop platform roll20. The Pelgrane and Fire Opal crew tested it in-house a few months ago, and it’s works very well. It’s been very popular in its first few days of release with hundreds of players trying it out. And it’s free! We’ll be releasing more 13th Age adventures this way for which we’ll charge, and we hope to add GUMSHOE content eventually.

  • We have a limited supply of Campaign  Coins’ gorgeous metal Icon Tokens in the store.  Snag them while you can.
  • The Crown Commands: Battle Scenes for Four Icons is now in layout. As for the first Battle Scenes we’ll be releasing a Map Folio. The final Battle Scenes book Fire and Faith is awaiting art.
  • Shards of the Broken Sky has slipped out of development hell and is ready to be illustrated.
  • The Book of Demons requires character class development, Rob Heinsoo’s most treasured and rare skill, so we are waiting on that.
  • We are putting together a list of creatures for the Bestiary 2. Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan and I discussed a non-actionable Beholder equivalent called the eyecon – each of the eye stalks reflects the powers of an icon, but I’m not sure Rob Heinsoo bought it. Usually when I suggest silly ideas, he comes up with something way better, so it’s worth suggesting silly ideas.

Cthulhu Confidential

Madame Eva 01aCthulhu Confidential is now in post-playtest draft, ready for copy editing. Cat is art directing with great care and attention to complement Christian Knutsson’s clean, noirish layout, and the artists are rising to the challenge. Pelgrane Press has always considered the quality of our writing to be at the core of what we do, but now we want to raise quality of our design aesthetic, and while we’ve created great looking books before, this one is getting a very detailed treatment.

The book is due to be released at Dragonmeet, in December 2016.

From the number and nature of play test responses, it’s clear GUMSHOE One-2-One powered games have tapped something new. It’s not intended as a gateway to other games, though it could be, and it’s not the first one-on-one roleplaying game, but it will allow an untapped swathe of potential roleplayers to try the medium in a way which suits their lives and experience.

We want to do many more One-2-One games, and while we’ll certainly be doing genre games, this form of interactive fiction, and the people who want to play it, suggest to us that there is room for different, non-fantastical genres, too, such as crime, spy and historical fiction. Imagine playing Miss Marple, George Smiley, Brother Cadfael, or even Elizabeth Bennet!

Night’s Black Agents and Dracula Dossier

drying 2I made more tea last week than in the previous ten years, using more than 480 tea bags. Cat came over to London to begin the arduous process of creating the facsimile versions of the Hawkins Papers. We soaked 1500 maps in tea, laying them out to dry before they disintegrated. I took perhaps more copies of the Standard than is strictly permitted in order to lay them out to dry, and members of my family were both tolerant and helpful.

This is all crazily time-consuming, and we won’t release it on general sale (I hate to think how much we’d have to charge). We are working on it again next week. This has the unfortunate consequence of  if taking us a little longer to respond to your queries.

With Night’s Black Agents riding high on the bloody wave of Dracula Dossier’s success, we’ve returned to the core setting and we are working on a world-spanning campaign – The Persephone Extraction – where we’ll do all the work of vampire and conspiracy creation for you. Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan has written the outline, and we’ll be dividing it up between other writers, with Gar managing the process.


The books have shipped out to backers, and TimeWatch will be on sale for pre-order next week. I feel the gradual encroachment of evil in my marrow. How strange!



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