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Nocturnal Media – Acknowledging a worldwide hobby

Roleplaying games are enjoyed worldwide and Stewart Wieck and Nocturnal Media seem to be on a mission to bring the very best foreign language games to English speaking audiences.

Nocturnal Media

Recently Nocturnal ran a very successful Kickstarter with the aim of publishing a translation of the classic Spanish RPG Aquellare (or “Coven”).  I’d been aware of Aquellare for many years; courtesy of a Spanish friend and long time Lovecraftian horror fan Amada Cabrera, so backing a project to translate this classic was for me an obvious choice.  If you too are not of faint heart, and like your medieval horror realistic and dark, then I urge you to head over to the Nocturnal Media website and consider treating yourself to a preorder of Aquellare while you still can!

Since the success of the Aquellare KS Nocturnal have announced their plans to publish a number of other outstanding Spanish language games that definitely deserve the attention of English-speaking gamers, and indeed they have already entered into the necessary agreements to do so over the course of the coming year.  Look out for the the first of these, Adventures in the East Mark”(AEM), created by Pedro Gil and published by Holocubierta Ediciones. AEM is a pre-eminent example of an OSR game that’s endorsed in an introduction by none other than Frank Mentzer.  See here for more detail.

But, despite how exciting I find all of this, it is not the games from Spain that drove me to my keyboard this morning, but a French title Hellywood.  Originally published in 2008 Hellywood is set in 1949 in the California city of Heaven Harbor, nicknamed “Hellywood”. It is a homage to the hardboiled, and gritty noir genre of RPG.  Made more challenging for its occupants by the fact that it seems to sit on Hell’s very doorstep.

There is no winning in Heaven Harbor, a city consumed by corruption, greed… & demons. There is only surviving for as long as you can.

In a nice touch the GM in a Hellywood game is referred to as the “voice-over” whilst players take on the roles of  Heaven Harbor inhabitants. Everyday people such as cops, bouncers, bums, thugs, artists, bartenders, trying to make sense of and hopefully survive the shadowy events around them. There is even scope to play the role of a “hornhead” — a golem, succubus, seraphim or possessed — a result of the mysterious Day of Ashes when Heaven Harbor and Hell came much closer together.


At the time of writing, there are just 13 days to run on the Kickstarter for Hellywood, and hopefully its on track to deliver a great game.  You can read all about it on the Kickstarter page, but there are a couple of things that I think merit note here.  Firstly, Hellywood is a very story led and “visual” game, the concept of the voice-over, the system based on the game of “craps” all lend themselves to an immersive and rich story.  Secondly, even though Hellywood provides a thoroughly detailed setting in Heaven Harbor there is more material available to get you going straight away.  Whilst stretch goal on the Kickstarter are looking to add more scenarios, included in the project from launch is the brand-new supplement, Justice of Angels.

Justice of Angels will be an enormous, estimated 300+ pages, hardcover book. Justice of Angels details a twelve-story campaign featuring three interconnected tales and is the subject of a parallel crowdfunding project by John Doe Editions.  Both projects are stand-alone, but there are joint stretch goals unlocked for backers based on the combined funding of the two projects. This unique collaboration has already achieved the stretch goal for a poster map of Heaven Harbor. Which means that all Kickstarter backers who pledge for a printed Hellywood rulebook ($45+) will now also receive this reward!

I’m excited by pretty much everything going on at Nocturnal Media at present.  From their acquisition of the almost legendary West End Games, to an already stunning line up of games which is being further enriched by this recognition that our global hobby has some hidden gems ripe for sharing with a wider audience.

Check out the Hellywood Kickstarter, you won’t be disappointed,

Jusqu’à la prochaine fois , au revoir …

Derek.

Where have we been?

pentagram-vector-element_MJxefoI_Ok – I know, more than six months without a single post.  The only excuse I can offer is that I’ve been busy!  But so has the increasingly exiting world of roleplay games.  Chaosium have *finally* delivered the long, long awaited seventh edition rules which I will concede are a significant enhancement.  The prolific Chris Birch at Modiphius continues to thrill us with an expanding line of high quality games, the latest and most exciting being Conan.  Sarah Newton has steered a Mindjammer kickstarter to a successful outcome, with the promise of much new and exciting material for what I still consider to be one of the most exciting games of recent times.

I’ve taken to running a “regular” game online using google hangouts/skype – bought about by moving from the east midlands of England to Scotland – and I’m amazed how well it works.  Platforms like Roll20 are becoming staples of a global network of gamers.

We are again less than 100 days away from Brighton’s annual ReuniCon RPG Day (see here if you fancy a day of games in the heart of the UK’s greatest city by the sea).  I find myself again planning and scheming about what games I want to run and hoping that once again we manage to grow the attendance at our small but well formed games day.

I do have plans for whole bunch of things that I want to  review, write and share with visitors here, so I guess I need to get back on this particular pony and start posting again.  I half expected the site to have faded over the last few months with no new articles to draw people in but visitors have remained steady – especially visitors to our download stacks.  I’ve also been blown away by the number of people who have emailed and asked if everything is ok and would we be back online soon, I love the RPG community – we’re a bit nerdy, but we are mainly good people.

Anyway, we are back and we have some great things to share with you, so lets get on with it…

Ia! F’tagn,

Derek.

The Mountains of Madness – Live! [INTERVIEW]

We have had a great response to our previous post about the Kickstarter for the Icarus Theatre Collective production of H.P Lovecraft’s iconic “At the Mountains of Madness“, and are thrilled to be able to share with you the following interviews with Tim Hardy (actor), Max Lewendel (director), and Theo Holloway (composer) taken during rehearsals.


The Kickstarter has a little while still to run and there is time for you to contribute to what promises to be a spectacular event.  It is worth bearing in mind that this project will go ahead and your pledges will go to making it the very best production that it can be.  It’s a superb opportunity to secure your tickets early, or even to grab a copy of the CD or Download of a “Radio Play” version of the show complete with sound effects and music, [estimated run time 60-79 minutes].



If you have the misfortune to not be near enough to any of the performances and you feel that the £50 pledge is a little too steep for the Radio Play, then the organisers of the Kickstarter are offering the option for you to support them with £25 (or more) and you can swap your tickets for a CD instead!

This is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience one of Lovecraft’s most famous stories in this way, after all, as Lovecraft himself put it; “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.”

So come on experience it in a very special way and back the project while you can!

 

H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness” starring RSC veteran Tim Hardy, will be touring across the UK and Ireland from January to December next year (see here for the latest schedule).

The Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft – Live!

“I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice…”

Here at miskatonic.co.uk we do our fair bit to promote campaigns on Kickstarter; we strongly believe in the power of crowdfunding to give life to projects that perhaps otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day, or in other cases to ensure that they get healthy jump start in life and succeed in being the very best that they can be.  Every now and again there is something on Kickstarter that really catches our eye. In this particular instance it was both the subject matter and the evident enthusiasm of the creators that appealed.


Icarus Theatre Collective will be touring an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness” starring RSC veteran Tim Hardy, across the UK and Ireland from January to December next year (see here for the latest schedule).

We are very excited by the prospect of experiencing this stage adaptation of one of  Lovecraft’s most famous tales, a veritable cornerstone of Weird fiction which has thrilled readers with its tale of a disastrous expedition to Antarctica, and the awful implications of what was discovered.   In this one man show Tim Hardy brings William Dyer vividly to life, trapped and tormented by visions of what he saw – and what he could not possibly have seen – in those ancient, Antarctic mountains of madness.

The Kickstarter gives you a great opportunity to contribute towards making the show the best it can be and to support the amazing people behind it.  This is probably your only chance to see a Lovecraftian tale produced for stage in the UK, and by backing the project you can secure some really great rewards for yourself including making sure you get those all important tickets!

You can find all the details you need here, the Kickstarter is live now and runs through to the 7th December, help the project and get to experience this amazing tale as never before.  We hope to bring you more details over the coming weeks, but don’t wait for that – back the project now!

AtMoM Poster

Ninja Crusade 2 Edition Kickstarter



A genre of RPG that I never really managed to get into for a long time was that of the Ninja, the Samurai, Medieval Asian settings – I think the reason being that my exposure to the history and culture was poor, it was a world that I found hard to visualise and to understand.  But, there were always elements that intrigued me – the honor, heroism, and mysticism of the genre would always have me picking up games and supplements and trying to get my head into the genre.  It never quite felt accessible and I think, in truth, I was always slightly nervous of being disrespectful and disingenuous to a cultural heritage that I was in reality very respectful of, but knew little.

Then a couple of years ago I played a single game of Wu-Xing: The Ninja Crusade, run by a friend – I might have opted out of playing that evening but for the fact that the game was produced by Third Eye Games and I already had a love for their game Apocalypse Prevention Inc.  As it turned out I played a really great game that evening, the games master did a fantastic job evoking the setting and explaining the back story to newbies like myself.

Basically behind the Ninja Crusade is the idea that a few years ago, a war was waged upon the ninja of the Izou Empire. This “Ninja Crusade” was ordered by the Emperor following the murder of the Empress and poisoning of the young princess.  Prior to this, the ninja of the Empire had been allies to the Emperor and his family, helping to protect citizens and keep the peace.  But now the Emperor suspecting that ninja had something to do with the tragic events in his family sought terrible vengeance.  The ninja, who live divided into discrete clans carving the Empire into numerous rival territories, were uncharacteristically caught unaware and many villages were destroyed by the Empire’s soldiers. The ninja clans now focussed on survival quickly put aside old rivalries and created the “Lotus Coalition”, a group of ninja to lead the rebellion against the Emperor.

We subsequently even gave the game a little plug here at miskatonic.co.uk when it was briefly available as a Pay-What-You-Want on DriveThruRPG (here).

It’s funny how the world sometimes conspires to bring things together.  It was, as I said, a few years ago that I played that single evening of Wu-Xing; The Ninja Crusade and I thought nothing of it until I was trying to select games for the ReuniCon 2015 RPG Day in Brighton this September when I thought briefly about running The Ninja Crusade.  In the end I decided against it, but still spent time re-reading the rulebook.  Then, unrelated, I had a bout of nostalgia when I saw a complete box set of “The Water Margin” for sale on eBay – unopened and unloved I purchased it for a pittance and have since relived many childhood memories watching two seasons of badly dubbed genius from start to finish (if your unfamiliar with it see here).  Then – because these things always seem to come in threes – I got an email, as a backer of previous Kickstarter’s, from Third Eye Games announcing The Ninja Crusade 2nd Ed.  Frankly I think its just the Great GM in the sky telling me that I need to play more of this game…

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The project is exciting, it is taking what is already a great game and addressing those bits that maybe weren’t quite the way that they wanted them to be, the wonderful story and background remain the same but the game system gets a major overhaul.

The Kickstarter for Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition is to produce a true system core book, containing all of the rules you need to create characters and play the game. This includes:

  • 10 ninja clans to pick from (plus an 11th clanless option)
  • Detailed history of the Ninja and the Izou Empire
  • Life path-style character creation system
  • Brand new d10 mechanics, redesigned from the ground up to bring stunning ninja action to your table
  • Opponent systems making it easy for GameMasters (GMs) to come up with enemies on the fly
  • New Dynamic Environments that make your choice of terrain a real part of the fight.
  • Plenty of advice on how to run the game

The final product is estimated to be 8.5 x 11, 240 pages, hardcover, black & white interior art, selling for around $40 when it hits the shops. The artwork looks to be superb with the highly talented Daniel Wong producing the majority of the artwork for the book. (See the Kickstarter page for some examples).

What is very exciting for anyone new to The Ninja Crusade is the fact that for the duration of this Kickstarter, Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade (1st Edition), original released in 2009, is once again available as a Pay-What-You-Want product through DriveThruRPG. Anyone interested in checking out the 1st Edition can simply download it and give it a read. All the guys at 3EG ask is that if you like it, then please consider backing Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition.