August 2017: View from the Pelgrane’s Nest

Gen Con 50 is over, and we’re catching up on all the work it’s generated. Gen Con also acts as a magnet for new releases, so we’ve got a bunch of those, too.

The 13th Age Bestiary 2, Cthulhu City and Out of the Woods are all off pre-order and are available, shipping now. A new Cthulhu Confidential  adventure – The Howling Fog – is also out now, and if you pre-order The Persephone Extraction for Night’s Black Agents, you can get the plain text, linked version now. Finally, the  Eyes of the Stone Thief Limited Edition – get one of only 100 copies which are gold-foiled, and beautifully bound in a green faux leather cover, with a signed bookplate from the author.


At Gen Con we announced a new game by Emily Dresner and Kevin Kulp, code-named GUMTHEWS. It’s been under development for a while. It’s a game in which you track down malign sorcerers or wage a secret war against rival faction which features, heroism, sly politics and bloody death. It adds social combat to GUMSHOE as well as sorcery and niche protection for classes.

Gen Con 50

We began with the pre-Gen Con Pelgrane summit, in which we planned the year to come. Among our decisions were to close down the forums, connect with the kids on Twitch to promote our games, and discussed some heresies in order to promote critical thinking. One thing that came out of this was a comment that professional GUMSHOE leaves writers nowhere to hide so it exposes the quality of the adventure design more. It’s not that it’s harder, it’s just harder to disguise weaknesses. Another exercise we performed was to suggest words each person associates with Pelgrane (good and bad). Readers are welcome to offer their own words under the article.

Stand set up and put down was at its slickest, with artist Rachel Kahn wrangling us all. She’s an old hand at exhibitions, and has dealt with children, which apparently helped in managing the Pelgrane crew. Our sales were the second best ever, topped only by 2014, which saw the release of multiple 13th Age books. Our top-seller was Cthulhu Confidential, with the 13th Age Bestiary 2, #Feminism and Cthulhu City close behind. I was concerned before I arrived that the convention hall would be overcrowded, but with the Lucas Oil Stadium open, too, it was manageable. To celebrate the 50th Anniversary, Gen Con head honcho Peter Adkison set up a museum celebrating the history of roleplaying in the Stadium.

While Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff and Bubblegumshoe received ENnie awards, this year belonged to Chaosium and John Wick, who occupied the stage for most of the event. Seven Wonders won the Indie Groundbreaker Award for Game of the Year, while #Feminism was up for Best Art. On the Saturday evening, Kevin Kulp ran a playtest of a new game, codenamed GUMTHEWS, a Conan-esque baroque fantasy. The highlight for me was Gareth’s creepy sorcerer, who used leeches to perform his magic, and gave them all names.


13th Age: Rob Heinsoo has been working on the outstanding 13th Age books. The Book of Demons and Fire and Faith manuscripts are due in the next few days, with the Book of Ages due at the end of October.

Cthulhu Confidential: Following the recently released The House Up in the Hills for Dex Raymond, the first stand-alone Viv Sinclair adventure Ex Astoria is being copy edited by former Pelgrane intern Will Jobst.

Trail of Cthulhu: Out of the Woods is hot of the press and available in the store, as is Cthulhu City. Fearful Symmetries is being edited, post playtest. We’ve just reprinted Trail of Cthulhu.

The Yellow King RPG: You can currently still back the Yellow King Kickstarter here. The first draft of all books is 67% complete. You can also apply for the playtest here.

The Fall of Delta Green: The final manuscript for Fall of Delta Green has been approved, and will go into art direction and layout next.

Roll 20 and the Black Book Character Generator

Roll20 are working on adding GUMSHOE to their online play platform, starting with Night’s Black Agents and Trail of Cthulhu. We are in early discussions replace the Black Book character generator with something which offers equivalent functionality at a minimum, with premium paid-for features.

I’ll leave you with Cthulhu endorsing Cthulhu City. What finer recommendation is there than that?

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