Thursday, October 15, 2009

AGC News October 15th 2009 (19:48)

With Mark, Mags, and Carol. Scott Rouse leaving Wizards of the Coast. An advance look at the Games 100 list. Goodman Games 3E "Stimulus Package." Chrysalis Revolt, a free game from Happy Bishop! Arcane Legions. voting is open for the Windhammer Prize. Mark's observation about Q-Workshop's efforts in conjunction with game companies. Skirmisher Press launches the Mythos Society. From the makers of 1960: Making of the President, the chance to relive the 2008 election as well!

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Scott Rouse leaves Wizards of the Coast (EN World)
Games Magazine
Games 100 List (
Goodman Games Tradein Offer
Happy Bishop Games (The Chrysalis Revolt 2709 - 2710)
Arcane Legions (Wells Expeditions)
Windhammer Prize
Mythos Society (Skirmisher Press)
Campaign Manager 2008 (Z-Man Games)

Contact Us! (Ben Balestra) (Carol) (Mags)

Friday, October 09, 2009

A More Intimate Horror: Our Ladies Of Sorrow

Our Ladies of Sorrow, written by Kevin Ross, published by Miskatonic River Press, 2009. 152 pages. $34.95 print. Review PDF provided.

Call of Cthulhu is, for good reason, a classic horror RPG, and long the standard by which others are measured. While the concept of investigating the strange and alien backgrounds of the Cthulhu Mythos is classic, on back to Lovecraft's tales and even before, Miskatonic River Press' Our Ladies of Sorrow reminds us it truly is a common element of a lot of horror tales, even the more personal ones presented within. Within the introduction, we see the tropes of such Japanese imports and adaptions as The Ring (Ringu) and The Grudge (Ju-On) set into far more familiar territory, and the Call of Cthulhu mechanics fit them like the layers of slime on a Deep One.

Like these stories, Our Ladies of Sorrow presents a trio of malevolent spirits, often equated with other mythical trios like the Fates, Furies, or Gorgons; we find at their core the Three Sisters, with their focus on the insane, outcast, and mournful. They are also connected to Hecate, or for a full Mythos injection the text even mentions Nyarlathotep, but even this isn't entirely necessary for the story to work, and this series (since, much as the text recommends, this works better interspersed with other stories than run concurrently as a campaign in and of itself) of modern-day horror tales is entirely self contained. Apart from a few possible uses of Mythos knowledge to help move things along in the adventures, the only other solid connection with mainline Call of Cthulhu is some commentary about using these scenarios with Delta Green. With that, we dive into the world of the Three Sisters, wherein we find not just the realm of the supernatural, but touches of our own modern mythologies.

In "House of Shadows," the investigators, in a small college town (left mostly open in the text, but the description of which reminded me very much of Bowling Green, Kentucky, home of my own alma mater -- all it took to fit was changing names and a few other facts), witness the death of an old man in the street. Connecting this to an old woman speaking to him right before the event, clues lead to his home, an old apartment building with a tragic past and an alarming number of "Night Hag" attacks among its population. That which drove the man to death has its grip on others around him, and maybe even an investigator or two before it's over. This scenario not only deals in its own mystery, but sets up the investigators to be pulled into future events.

"Desert of Sighs" places the action firmly in northwestern Arizona, where a group of college students are missing in a stretch of the Mojave Desert known for attracting those seeking spiritual fulfillment, and also for disappearances of those who have entered. Brought to the area to help in the search, the investigators find themselves confronted with the reappearance of the one they went to find, but his friends still lost in the mazes and formations of the Desert of Sighs. With a definite tinge of "otherness" about it, this scenario demands the most pushing by the Keeper to get the group to the meat of the story, but does its best to provide those means from a number of directions.

"River of Tears" takes place in a small river town (the fictional Baleford, Illinois in the text, but any smallish midwestern river town with a sizable Hispanic population will work) haunted by the ghostly child-killer La Llorona. Called in by a contact from a prior scenario, and specifically called out by the ghost itself, the investigators must face this threat to themselves and the children of the town, amid the heightened tension of impending storm and flood.

"The Final Cut" is an epilogue, where the investigators learn more about the background of the Sisters, and come to face a horrific choice.

Each scenario sets the scene, describes the players, and points to an act structure, leaving the Keeper to shape the specifics depending on investigator action and other needs. Connections abound in the adventures, with dreams and events pointing to aspects of future scenarios and the epilogue, and the subsequent scenarios calling back to that old apartment building where the investigators first came to the Sisters' attention. Keepers might struggle a little with the small details, making sure the clues find their way into the investigators' paths, but this allows for the more direct attention the vengeful ghost genre demands, and this series benefits immensely from that kind of careful work.

Additional materials include two new spells, six pages of the handouts expected of a Call of Cthulhu adventure, suggested reading and other media, and a story that inspired (and is mentioned within) this adventure series, Thomas De Quincey's "Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow."

Our Ladies of Sorrow presents a nice break from the cosmically indifferent entities of more classical tales, and for the Keeper of Arcane Lore looking for something with a slightly different flavor, its intimately creepy series of modern Cthulhu stories is well worth checking out.

Want to learn more about Our Ladies of Sorrow? Read

Drop by Miskatonic River Press today!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

AGC 114 October 6th 2009 (Gaming From The Past In The Future!) (1:26:58)

With Mark Kinney, Carol, and Mags. Illness, Carol's class reunion, and d20 stats for nice shoes. Mark's adventure in the Other Media Fantasy Wrestling Draft, and fictional pursuits. Podcast appearances. Old School and the retroclone! What is Old School? Games You May Never Have Heard Of: Mutant Future! Mark reviews some products from Lamentations of the Flame Princess (No Dignity In Death: The Three Brides, People of Pembrooktonshire, and Death Frost Doom). Mags is creeped out by a conflation of horror inspirations. Retroclone games. Reminiscing on old school gaming experiences, and both original and clones. Wrapping up with the legal questions. Shooting FRED. Need some more Bounty Head Bebop entries. In the future, stuff is coming.

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Show links
Tales of the Children (P.G. Holyfield)
Amorphous Blobcast
The Great Debate
War Pig Radio
Quick Primer for Old School Gaming (Lulu)
Mutant Future (Goblinoid Games)
Random Esoteric Creature Creator (Goodman Games)
Lamentations of the Flame Princess (No Dignity in Death, People of Pembrooktonshire, Death Frost Doom)
Traveller Reprints (Far Future Enterprises)
Traveller (Mongoose Publishing)
Empire of the Petal Throne (RPGNow)
HackMaster 4th (Kenzer and Company)
HackMaster Basic (Kenzer and Company)
Epées & Sorcellerie
Searchers of the Unknown
Castles and Crusades (Troll Lord Games)
Swords and Wizardry (Mythmere Games)
Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game
Labyrinth Lord (Goblinoid Games)
Old School Reference and Index Compilation (OSRIC)
Tiny AD&D Book Information
Mazes and Minotaurs
Spellcraft and Swordplay
4C System
Basic Roleplaying (Chaosium)
Generic Old School Roleplaying Engine (RPGNow/Goblinoid Games)
Knights and Knaves Alehouse
OSRIC Legal Stuff Mark Mentioned (EN World)
Will Hero RPG stop a bullet? (YouTube)

Canon Puncture
Solid Symbols

Contact Us! (Ben Balestra) (Carol) (Mags)
Mark's Twitter
Carol's Twitter
Mags' Twitter
NachtMedia Twitter
Nachtmedia Community

Saturday, October 03, 2009

AGCExtra 33 October 3rd 2009 (Bounty Head Bebop and Talismania Revised Part 2) (25:22)

Carol sits down with J.P. deHanaut to discuss Bounty Head Bebop, new rules, supplements, and a new ruleset to add to the spacefaring fun or to play on its own. Chris Heim and Logan Masterson follow up with Talismania Revised! Part 2: The Reaper!

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Bounty Head Bebop (Heroic Journey Publishing)
Talisman (Fantasy Flight Games)
Talisman Pics

Contact Us! (Ben Balestra) (Chris Heim) (Carol) (Mags)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

AGCExtra 32 October 1st 2009 (Looking Ahead to NeonCon 2009) (33:23)

Mark talks to Doug Daulton of NeonCon, in Las Vegas, Nevada, about planned activities and their GamesU "Unconference." For those listeners who might attend, there is talk of a promo code in there as well...

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Show links
NeonCon on Facebook
NeonCon 2009 Fan Page on Facebook
NeonCon on Twitter

Contact Us! (Ben Balestra) (Carol) (Mags)