Frock & Stone! - From 18th Century England to Asteroid Mining Space Dwarves...
This week we speak to Rock Paper Shotgun co-founder Jim Rossignol, look at new Space Dwarf RPG Stoneburner and throw a vast amount of stories at you to digest...
Ok, first things first, a couple of week’s ago we featured Zach Cox from SoulMuppet in our Wyrd Scene section. Well, with just a day to go on the Kickstarter for their new RPG Inevitable we’ve now also uploaded the interview we did with them for WS4 to this here Substack.
We cover quite a few topics from how Zach started out in the business, to the state of the current RPG scene and just what it takes to get books into people’s hands these days. It’s a longish one but really worth a read, so check it out here:
Publish & Be Damned: SoulMuppet Publishing
Lots to chew over. If you’d like to read more along those lines why not pick up the whole magazine, it’s a packed issue covering everything from dungeon crawler board games through to the latest RPGs such as Rivers of London and Errant.
Right, lots more to check out this week so on y va as we say here. Till next week…
Jim Rossignol - Big Robot
For this week’s Wyrd Scene we catch up with author, game designer, and publisher, Jim Rossignol. One of the four founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, quite possibly the best British website there’s so far been about video games, Jim’s bylines have also featured everywhere from the BBC to Wired and Eurogamer.
In 2010 he set up games development studio Big Robot, whose titles include Sir, You Are Being Hunted, The Signal From Tölva and the currently crowdfunding TEETH, a tabletop RPG of occult criminality and monster-hunting set in a cursed corner of 18th-century England.
Based on the Forged In The Dark system, Teeth is a complete role-playing game and the sumptuous looking book contains everything you need to throw yourself into the Godforsaken, monster blighted Vale of Deluth. With just over a week to go on the campaign do check it out as it looks great, but first here’s what he’s been up to recently apart from endlessly refreshing the Kickstarter campaign page…
What are you... playing?
It’s been a quiet gaming period for me over the last couple of months as I wrestle with exciting multi-headed workloads and, severing the neck of each, gasping in horror as two more grow back. The regular group that I GM for has been irregular enough of late for us to move to put on hold our campaign-length RPG stuff and play board games or one-shot stuff.
We’ve got /pretty/ good at Root and Roll For The Galaxy as a result, but it will soon be time for us to plunge back in, hopefully to the Mothership campaign I have half written, pending the arrival of the 1E box set, but possibly another FiTD game. (I have been reading the updates from the Mothership Kickstarter campaign with feverish anticipation. We ran the Dead Planet module for it — with the original rules, obviously — at the start of last year, and it went down extremely well. I cannot wait to start the new edition!)
I’m also part of another group being run by a good friend who knows more about Robert E Howard’s Conan The Barbarian than I suspect is healthy, but he’s using it for good by kicking off a game in Modiphius’ 2d20 game of the setting. I’ve been very interested in this since I first browsed the Dune book using that ruleset, and I am keen to see it at campaign length.
Oh and we also played Black Sword Hack, which was fantastic, with agreeably tonally-coherent tweaks to The Black Hack’s base rule set.
I’ve been reading Appendix N: The Eldritch Roots of Dungeons & Dragons, which is a collection of Sword & Sorcery books referenced in Appendix N of the original edition of D&D. I have encountered some of this stuff before (Howard again) and been surprised by the inclusion of a few others I barely knew about. It’s a great collection, recommended! [Editor’s note: it really is a great book and for more on this see our piece by the book’s editor Peter Berbergal from WS2]
… listening to?
It’s all been about “writing music“ for me as I struggle to hit various deadlines. Tim Hecker’s No Highs is great, Kali Malone’s Living Torch, and the spooky minimalism of KMRU are also keeping me in my right mind. Oh and I am also about 20 minutes from the end of The Revolutions podcast, which has possibly taken me longer to listen to than it took Mike Duncan to research, write and record it.
I… Hmm. This is embarrassing! Not much, is the answer. I don’t think I have seen a movie since last year? I do latently watch what my wife has on, which presently is a soap opera about very attractive American firefighters that she has already seen ten seasons of, but I’d struggle to even name it. Oh no, wait, I did recently watch Pixar’s Coco with my daughter, and that had me in floods of tears, so I think that’s enough moving images for one year.
… and working on?
More TEETH stuff! The book is finished, but we are now setting about creating a few more supplements for the Kickstarter’s stretch goals. I also started drafting something new, based on discussions that Marsh and I have had over the past year of finishing Teeth. I am already quite excited about it.
Stoneburner [Fari RPGs]
If the recent return of Squats, sorry… The League of Votann to Warhammer 40K has got you in the mood for more diminutive space miner action then Stoneburner, a new TTRPG inspired by DOOM, Deep Rock Galactic & Dwarf Fortress could be just what you need.
The premise e of the game is that you have inherited a derelict asteroid mine that needs bringing back online and making profitable. The only snag is that the stygian caverns of this not particularly desirable fixer upper already have tenants, fire spitting demonic hordes.
Yep, it’s HORROR IN SPACE time again (see our recent feature with the creators of ALIEN, The Wretched & Mothership for more of that) and to tighten the screws on our deep space delvers Stoneburner is powered by the Breathless system.
Designed to ratchet up the tension Breathless games revolve around characters’ skills being measured in dice steps (D4 - D12) and when you need to pass a test you have to roll more than 4 on the relevant die. Sounds simple enough, per-*haps, when rolling those higher value dice but after each test you also drop down a step, only moving back up after a rest.
This, as I’m sure you’re already thinking, is a great mechanic for survival horror style games where those GM gifted rests might be few and far between and ideal for a game of subterranean scares such as Stoneburner, where behind every corner of stalagmite could be some face eating fiend.
Designed for both solo and GM led play Stoneburner is written by René-Pier Deshaies-Gélinas, who designed the original Breathless system, features art by Galen Pejeau and is edited by Eric Lazure. There’s just 24 hours to go at the time of writing this and two stretch goal left to be unlocked so check it out now…
A collection of other things, both interesting and inspiring, gaming related and not, culled from around the web...
Being honest our ongoing attempt to de-clutter our life hasn’t been going all that well, especially now as having finally retired the foot high model of Biggie Smalls that’s been sat on my desk for a decade Hiya Toys have announced a 1/18 scale diorama of Judge Dredd punching a hole in the face of a Dark Judge. Forgive me Marie Kondo, for I am but weak flesh & blood…
On the off chance you’re in Margate tomorrow (11th) and nothing on then our cover artist Mat Pringle is hosting a linocut workshop, learn to carve with the best!
Whilst he’s probably doomed to forever be known as the man who came up with the ‘leopards ate my face’ tweet, Adrian Bott also puts in a pretty solid shift throughout the year debunking a lot of pagan pseudo-folklore/history. Anyway he’s just upped a new essay on what was really in the witches’ cauldron in Macbeth, putting to the sword several popular mythconceptions that have been doing the rounds recently.
Their titles are a little outside the kind of tabletop games that we usually cover but I am obsessed with Japanese publisher Oink Games and their graphic/product design. Anyway they’ve just revealed some new merch to go with their latest game Whale To Look and my god this is just wonderful…
We’ll feature this more in a later issue but I just powered through an advance copy of Adam Rowe’s Worlds Beyond Time - Sci-Fi Art of the Seventies, and for those who come here for our incisive cultural criticism I can say it is very rad. It’s not out until July but pre-orders have just gone up so check it out, also Adam runs the 70s SciFi Art Twitter account, which if you do have to be on that blue check benighted hellscape is worth following and will give you a fairly decent idea of what the book features.
“I’ve never been this close to ditching D&D - but will others follow?” I’m sorry but this is just too funny.
The wider Warhammer community is a strange beast. Hang around it long enough, say two to three minutes, and you’ll probably bump into someone genuinely irredeemable but then just as you’re about to give up hope for the future of humanity you’ll also read something really lovely like this.
Speaking of Warhammer when we got back into the game after a near 30 year break and rediscovered the joy of painting minis (which ultimately led to the creation of Wyrd Science), what helped more than anything were the painting tutorials by Duncan Rhodes and Chris Peach on Warhammer TV. So it was strange but lovely to see Wyrd Science in Chris’ hands in the latest show over at his new home The Painting Phase .
We featured a strange little pixelated ruined castle generator last week and lots of you seemed to like clicking on that. Anyway those behind it have just released a character one too. If you’re thinking this must all be heading somewhere then you’re probably right…
And finally, news just in as we were going to press that Rebellion Unplugged have bought the venerable and august Tunnels & Trolls RPG. A move which is both completely unexpected and a little bit bizarre as mirroring our companies respective fortunes I just bought a copy of the 1980 5th edition T&T rulebook on eBay last weekend.
Anyway have a read of the announcement, if only to discover that Rebellion’s Jason Kingsley had an elf character called Jelf. JELF.
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