This week I read:
Where the Wheat Grows Tall by Camilla Freer and Evlyn Moreau
This month’s haul of RPG books has all arrived: mostly OSR, a book of fictional mushrooms, and one Call of Cthulhu scenario. I also picked up a bunch of PDFs from the DriveThruRPG Halloween sale. I’ve got:
Rakham Vale1, a kind of fairytale fantasy setting inspired by the art of Arthur Rackham. I might put this south of Dolmenwood in my current campaign, though we’ve still got a lot of Dolmenwood to go (and the campaign is specifically about mapping Dolmenwood, not just random adventuring in the region) so maybe that’ll feature in a future campaign.
Fungi of the Far Realms2, a system-neutral supplement all about fictional mushrooms. This is by the Melsonian Arts Council, the creators of Troika, so I’ve had my eye on it for a while. No idea what I’ll use it for yet, but it’s certainly a very nice book, physically: hardback covers with bookcloth, a sewn binding, and nice thick paper. The only letdown is that, despite the sewn binding, it doesn’t lay completely flat, maybe it just needs breaking in a bit.
Longwinter3, a fantasy setting and adventure by Luka Rejec, creator of Ultraviolet Grasslands and many other adventures. It’s a charming generic European alpine setting with winter approaching… and then the horrifying winter spirit who wants that winter to never end. There are two books, a guidebook for the players and a setting book for the referee, which is an approach I quite like.
The Stygian Library4, a depthcrawl by Emmy Allen, creator of The Gardens of Ynn. It’s a neat little adventure where the referee rolls up locations (made up of a room, feature, and encounter), with the rolls modified by how deep into the library the party is. The goal is to delve into the depths and find some information, but the library gets more weird and dangerous the further you go.
Where the Wheat Grows Tall5, a Slavic fairytale adventure, which isn’t something I’m very familiar with. If nothing else, it’s nice seeing characters with names other than “made up Anglosphere or maybe Roman”. I read through it on the train today, I think I might be able to fit into one of my current campaigns (e.g., maybe the farm is inside Fairy (unbeknownst to the inhabitants) and can be reached from Dolmenwood). I’m a little unsure as to how to actually run the adventure though, we’re given this setting and a bunch of things in it, but not much guidance on how it should actually play out. I’ll have to read through it again and think.
Witchburner6, another adventure by Luka Rejec. This is about hunting down a witch who has been ruining crops and spoiling milk and whatnot with their fell powers… but the twist is that there’s actually no witch. The players will end up in this difficult situation where the highly superstitious townsfolk demand a witch to burn, perhaps even attacking and attempting to burn the player characters themselves if they fail to produce one. I’m tempted to run this on an isolated backwater planet in my future Traveller campaign, which is a setting without magic at all, which will give it an interesting thematic twist.
Viral7, a modern-day Call of Cthulhu scenario about a bunch of obnoxious youtubers live-streaming their investigation of an abandoned hospital off the coast of Italy. When I came across this, it spawned an entire campaign idea: I want to run the rest of the lives of these obnoxious youtubers, where they keep investigating stuff for their channel and most of it is just mundane, but some of it is the real deal, and the investigations we cover in sessions would be the real ones, with weeks or months of time passing for the characters (and repeated discouragement and dead ends) between each one. I think that would be a great game.
And there you have it. This month’s haul of books. I’m definitely not going to get to use all these in the near future, but I want to at some point, and even if I never run these things as written, just reading them is a good source of inspiration (or so I keep telling my budget).
I’ve still been playing around with Phoenix a bit this week. I think I’ve got everything needed for a basic anime / movie / TV tracking site (which isn’t a very complex thing, really), including a not-terrible UI, so I guess I need to decide if I’m really going ahead with this and—if so—begin the data entry.