July 2017: View from the Pelgrane’s Nest

July, as always, is a scramble to get books out for Gen Con, complicated by managing our most successful Kickstarter. Our printers Thomson Shore have indulged us by pushing print deadlines to the limit. The 13th Age Bestiary 2 is printed and shipping to our fulfilment points, Cthulhu City and Out of the Woods are ready to print, which  means if you pre-order them, you’ll get the PDFs now. We have everything crossed we can cross to get the books out to Gen Con!  The Demonologist character is now available for 13th Age Monthly purchasers to playtest, and we’ve been working on some Cthulhu Confidential cards.

The Gen Con season always means new releases, and this year is no exception.

The Yellow King RPG

Our Yellow King RPG Kickstarter finished on a mind-blowing £167,341 – $221,358.43 as of today’s exchange rate. The entire Pelgrane team spent the last hour of the campaign on team  slack –  it was a roller coaster for us, and apparently some backers: one backer moved their pledge up and down eight times in the last hour, as if two people were fighting over the same keyboard. We toasted each other with bourbon on Google hangouts afterwards.

But if you didn’t pledge then, you didn’t miss out. You can still get Yellow King RPG pledges in our store, here.

13th Age

The 13th Age Bestiary 2 has been printed and is on its way to our fulfilment houses. You can see something of the printing process and glimpses of the pages in this article. We hope to ship out US pre-orders in the next week, the rest before the end of the month.

You always have to take your time when dealing with demons, and the Demonologist class from the forthcoming Book of Demons is no exception. We now have a playtestable version, and 13th Age Monthly 2 customers can download it from their bookshelf and test it out.

Rob Heinsoo has moved on from the brain work of class development to the final Battle Scenes book and then Gareth’s Book of Ages. ASH LAW has delivered a first draft of a sequel to the Book of Loot, which will be supplemented by other writers.

Trail of Cthulhu

It’s been a while since we’ve had a Trail of Cthulhu release, and here come two at once. Cthulhu City is all of Lovecraft’s conurbations crushed together, an inescapable locus of dread, ruled by two factions, one of which accepts the terrible status quo, the other wishes to end everything. It’s Cthulhu noir. This is a place where rats in the wall double up as the secret police. And players are not exactly helpless pawns, but they have to keep their heads down. As one of the playtesters said, “Forget it, Jake, it’s Cthulhutown”

It has beautiful, useful maps in period style, and atmospheric art and design.

Out of the Woods collects five original adventures for Trail, adventures, a follow-up to Out of Time and Out of Space and informed by years of experience of adventure design. It has full scene flow diagrams for every adventure, and tons of cartography. It’s our most diverse adventure collection with our widest variety of player characters. You can get it on pre-order, PDF now, from the store.

Cthulhu Confidential

We’ve released the first Cthulhu Confidential adventure The House Up in the Hills, for Robin’s noir detective Dex Raymond. Get it from the store.

By popular demand, we’ve also been experimenting with printed Problem and Edge cards. Having run this game, I’m all over these.  This is what they look like so far:


Ready for playtest next month, and written by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan is Drone. From the introduction:

Two forms of warfare dominated the battlefields in the early years of the 21st century.
Drones – remotely piloted vehicles – commoditized the battlefield. Guided by operators hundreds or even thousands
of kilometers away, these drones removed the risk of death from battle, while still accomplishing the objectives set
by their military – or, later, corporate – superiors.

Insurgents – small bands of irregular but highly trained fighters – could blend into the civilian population, using
cities as cover, vanishing into the crowds. With limited numbers and firepower, insurgencies quickly learned to do
whatever was necessary to win an asymmetric war – including sacrificing themselves in suicide attacks.
By the middle of the century, a synthesis of these two forms emerged.

Human drones. Corpses, reanimated and augmented by cybernetic implants, and guided by elite teams of remote
operators. Anyone could be killed and turned into the perfect weapon, a bespoke killing machine optimized for a
particular situation, a particular target.

Ideal, disposable weapons for the shadowy corporate conflicts and geopolitical chaos of the mid-21st century.
The operators of these drones reminded themselves that however human their tools seemed, they were just meat


I’ve playtested this game and it’s fascinating for a number of reasons. Primarily, it’s the asymmetry of the characters. One person plays the drone, who leaves the room as the mission is described, has pretty much zero autonomy but that grows during the game. Then there are the remote operators who control the drone and deploy other assets to the arena. Finally, the referee has a role constrained by the system. Just to give you a taste, here is the sheet for the Drone character.


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