The new year has kicked off with a lot of excitement for Arc Dream Publishing.
For Queen and Orphans
First off, we’ve learned that two of our games were nominated for the UK Role Players website’s Golden Crown Awards, which are celebrating the best RPG products of the past 10 years. They’ve included The Kerberos Club and The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor, both by Benjamin Baugh, among a collection of amazing works in the Best Supplement category. These nominations are a true honor. Having worked closely with the author on both of those books, I couldn’t be prouder of Ben and his wonderful creations.
Now, you’ve probably heard me whinging about the personal troubles that befell us in the last few months of 2012. Hurricane Sandy and then illnesses felled Todd Shearer, the artist for Better Angels, and we had to get new artists on board; and then a holiday plumbing disaster overturned my own house and office. Enough of that! Time to get to work.
The Unspeakable Oath 22
This week Jessica Hopkins is laying out the new issue of The Unspeakable Oath. It features a multi-system modern-day scenario by Greg Stolze, a Trail of Cthulhu scenario by Adam Gauntlett, and features, columns, and reviews by a host of the best writers in Cthulhu Mythos gaming. Look for The Unspeakable Oath 22 in February.
The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man
Dennis Detwiller and I are working hard on The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man, his amazing Dreamlands campaign for Call of Cthulhu. He’s polishing up the last text and illustrations and I’m laying it out and editing it. I hope it really makes a splash when it hits, because it is great. If you read the short-lived but excellent Call of Cthulhu magazine Worlds of Cthulhu, you saw the first part of Sense in its final issue. We are thrilled to bring the whole thing out at last. I expect to have it in hand in March.
Last week I sent a preliminary ebook preview of the full Better Angels rulebook to its Kickstarter backers. So if you didn’t get that link, let me know. If you got it, I hope you love it! Arc Dream newcomers Brett Barkley and Kurt Komoda are banging away at the art for Better Angels and it has been terrific to see their work coming in. In the next few weeks we’ll send the finished art to Simeon Cogswell for layout. (If you’re in Asheville, by the way, check out his game shop The Wyvern’s Tale.) I expect we’ll finally see Better Angels in all its nefarious, full-color glory sometime in April.
The Unspeakable Oath 23 and 24
I’ll be getting to work on The Unspeakable Oath 23 as soon as TUO 22 ships, so we ought to have it in April or May.
Then issue 24 in July.
The Courtyard of Hell
One Roll Engine line editor James Knevitt has a whole lot of excellence on the way. We have two new books for GODLIKE in editing now — they’ll go into playtesting in March and April — and Benjamin Baugh is in the final stages of his newest masterwork, Drachenritter.
First is The Courtyard of Hell by Allan Goodall, which deals with the vicious city fighting of Ortona, Italy, in December 1943. Allan conceived it as a one-shot adventure to go out free to the backers of the GODLIKE paperback and PDF edition at Kickstarter, but the more he developed it and playtested it, the more ambitious it got. The final project looks like it will be about 128 pages long, a full campaign that put Talents in some of the most brutal combat of the Italian campaign. Like we promised, the PDF will be free to GODLIKE’s Kickstarter backers. But it’ll be more than worth picking up in print as well. I expect The Courtyard of Hell to debut in print in July, fresh for GenCon.
Next comes Bloody Omaha, a GODLIKE adventure by Mike Montesa that sees a squad of ordinary grunts hitting Omaha Beach in the infamous ‘Ten Minutes of Hell,’ when entire units of Axis and Allied Talents squared off and annihilated each other. The regular men struggled just to survive — and some of them spontaneously became Talents themselves.
Bloody Omaha is the first part in a series of adventures that Mike is working on that follow the same unit through the Normandy campaign to the streets of Paris. Does it sound familiar? Mike played out and reported this campaign in a staggering Actual Play series on RPG.net a few years ago, “The Good War.” I’ve been angling to bring it to fruition as the definitive GODLIKE Normandy sourcebook ever since. Bloody Omaha is just the beginning. Look for a Kickstarter program to launch it in May and, assuming it succeeds, for it to be in print at GenCon.
Benjamin Baugh has been working on Drachenritter for years. It’s a roleplaying game about knights in grimy armor riding bad-ass dragons to war as they struggle to save their peoples and civilization itself from a looming Dark Age.
You play it out on multiple levels. In the big picture, you build up the kingdom or chapter house that your knights and dragons serve. On a tactical level, your dragons fight it out in the skies against other dragons and against the castles and weapons that the enemy brings to bear. On a character level your knights face conflicts with their enemies and rivals in political, legal and military disputes — and occasionally they track down monsters that still ravage after an ugly supernatural war. The dragon-knights are soldiers, marshals, judges and nobles, and there’s room for every kind of play style.
Drachenritter is high fantasy as told by the boots on the ground and the claws in the air. It’s dirty and muddy. It’s set in a land recovering from war. Villages burn. Families shatter. People die. Bad things happen. It’s up to the players to save their people from the worst of it.
Drachenritter uses a variant of the One Roll Engine that powers Reign and GODLIKE. Watch for playtesting in March, a fundraiser at Kickstarter in April, and a full-color hardback core book in July for a fire-breathing GenCon debut.
The Unspeakable Oath 25 and 26
We’ll have TUO 25 in September or October, and, knock wood, issue 26 to close the year in December.
Ah, Operation Torch. GODLIKE’s own perennial “development hell” project. Dennis Detwiller started it more than ten years ago. Then Brian Underhill and I worked on it a while. Then it languished. Then Allan Goodall turned out to be a genius at GODLIKE and came to the rescue.
Operation Torch is a full-length campaign that starts with espionage in Casablanca ahead of the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942. The German Army has been battered hard in the desert by Montgomery and is struggling on the Eastern Front. As the Americans and British approach the shores of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, all that stands to stop them are the half-hearted garrisons of colonial Vichy France. But there are also hundreds of Germany’s Übermenschen, superpowered veterans of years of war, who mean to throw the squabbling Allies back into the sea. It’s up to the untested Talents of the new Talent Operations Groups to stop them.
With James Knevitt’s help, Allan is in the last stages of rewriting, expanding and playing Torch now. We’ll open it up to outside playtesting and a Kickstarter campaign this summer. If that goes well, we will celebrate at GenCon and we’ll have the finished book shipping this fall.
A few years ago, Dr. Paul Mitchener came up with Blood of the Gods, a thrilling take on Wild Talents that sees the player characters as the superhuman offspring of the gods in mythological ancient Greece. In the meantime he’s been working on an even more ambitious idea. Under Knevitt’s stewardship it sees fruition this year.
Ninth Legion is a new campaign setting for Reign that features a lost imperial Roman Legion a hundred years after it vanished into a sprawling, fantastical Otherworld. The stranded soldiers named their new home Arcadia. Generations of their descendants have been born and died in New Rome, the colony that they forged. To the heirs of the Ninth Legion, Arcadia is the only world they know.
It’s a world of magic and passion, where the powers of far-off Roman gods vie with the strength Fey spirits of nature and old Celtic witchery. It’s a world where the traditions of New Rome struggle with the ancient ways of Gaelic tribes. It’s a world of monsters, adventures and war.
Look for playtesting for Ninth Legion to begin at the end of summer, a fundraiser to finish its development in the fall, and a beautiful finished book in the winter.
Delta Green: Failed Anatomies
We’re working on a collection of new Cthulhu Mythos fiction, Delta Green: Failed Anatomies. It’ll feature several stories by Dennis Detwiller, with guest appearances by Robin Laws, myself, and a few other friends. We don’t have a firm date for it yet but we expect to see it sometime in 2013.
The Silver Pavilion
After The Courtyard of Hell and Operation Torch, Allan Goodall will finish The Silver Pavilion, his long-gestating Wild Talents setting of magic, mythology and samurai in the days of Japan’s Onin War, just before the Warring States era. Look for it in 2014.
Delta Green: The Roleplaying Game
And in 2014 we’ll at last see Delta Green: The Roleplaying Game.
Delta Green: The Roleplaying Game uses a variant of the the rules that have always powered Call of Cthulhu. It brings the legendary Delta Green setting firmly into the 2010s and a world that’s been transformed by the War on Terror. It’s a standalone Cthulhu Mythos horror RPG in the “purist” style, low on pulp and high on tension, existential cosmic terror, and the violence of men and women investigating and struggling against powers they can’t hope to understand.
The design team — Dennis Detwiller, Adam Scott Glancy, Kenneth Hite, Greg Stolze and myself — will spend 2013 finishing and playtesting Delta Green: The Roleplaying Game under the watchful guidance of Delta Green creator John Scott Tynes.
But For Now . . .
It’s 2:25 p.m., January 14. Only a few hours left in the day. Only two weeks left in the month.
Back to work.