Monthly Archives: January 2015

I have a renewed and very energized interest in Steve Kenson‘s ICONS again (the reasons for which will be clear to my local gaming groups, and more so at large in the weeks and months ahead). The Assembled Edition really takes it to a new level, and I am excited about running supers again.

For those who want to really expand on the potential of the system, there’s the entire ICONS: A to Z line that you can subscribe to.

You can get the first installment for free (via the Pay What You Want mechanism) – “A is for Aliens.

This is the latest one, for those who want to do giant invasions or other warfare stories with large forces on either side, “B is for Battles.”

If anyone ever manages to drag me back into a Call of Cthulhu game, it will be only because they allowed me to bring this book to the table and use it.

Investigator Weapons 2 covers handguns, rifles and assault rifles, shotguns, submachine guns and personal defense weapons, machine guns, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, melee weapons, explosives, and special ammunition; and gathers together all the spot rules for injury, environmental conditions, and firearms combat in one place, as well as introducing many optional rules for enhanced play. It is particularly suited for settings using Chaosium’s Cthulhu Now, Pagan Publishing’s Delta Green, and Cubicle 7’s The Laundry.

I was just telling someone the other day that I figured Fantasy Flight was going to stick to Star Wars and Warhammer 40K for its RPG offerings. Looks like I was seriously wrong, as The End of the World: Zombie Apocalypse hit the virtual shelves yesterday. Yes, it’s another zombie game, but we all know FFG brings a high level of quality to whatever it does.

What’s more, this is just the first in a The End of the World product line… and we all know FFG tends to go big if they’re going at all, so there’s probably all kinds of other catastrophic fun ahead.

This roleplaying game offers you the chance to play as yourself during the tumult of the apocalypse, using an elegant, narrative ruleset. Zombie Apocalypse contains five unique scenarios, each offering a different take on the rise of the undead. Each scenario also contains an apocalypse and a post-apocalypse, allowing you to survive the initial panic and make your way in life after the world’s ending.

Savage Worlds fans discovered a very complete cyberpunk experience with Interface Zero, and now they have the Empire of the Setting Sun to explore in this data-drive, chrome-filled world.

In the Empire of the Setting Sun, honor is everything…or you are nothing. Welcome to the Japan of 2090, nakama. You’re being given access to a secure data cache that reveals what the country and its people have truly evolved into. Here, “ronin” isn’t just a street nickname, but a dark legacy fraught with deadly peril and crushing burdens. From the highest Zen master to the lowliest yakuza thug, from bio-molded cities to ancestral cyberspace vistas, prepare to be plunged into an empire transformed by its unique cultural identity as much as the world’s rampaging technology.

· New Archetypes, Simulacra, & Occupations!
· New Armor, Weapons, Augments, Vehicles, & Golemmechs!
· New Special Gear for the True Cyber-Samurai & Cyber-Ninja!
· Deadly Bioforms Inspired by Japan’s Rich Mythology!
· Dozens of New Threats to Defeat!
· Rich Details of Life in 2090 Japan
· Whole New Cityscapes of Cyberpunk Adventure!
· 10 Premade Savage Tales to Launch You into Action!

For today only, Creative Mountain Games is experimenting. Three products you can grab for a dollar each, but only today and only with the links below in their message –



I have noticed recently while crunching the numbers that even though sales are good, I have a huge number of folks who pick up the freebies but don’t purchase anything. My thinking on this is that while they might not be against using PDFs, they don’t value them (at least not as highly as others might). I’d like to see if I can change that.

To that end, I have discounted three products that are different enough from one another to give some idea of the range of CMG offerings available. I have set up a $1 coupon for each (not one dollar off, but one dollar for each product) but it is only good for a day, so they need to be used quickly. Hopefully, if you haven’t purchased a CMG product yet, you will take this time to give something a try.

Or, if you simply want to take advantage of the sale to pick up one of the three you do not have (or all of them), then by all means have at it.

I’d also appreciate it if folks spread the word to their gamer friends through messageboards and social media. The links will work for anyone who uses them in this short time frame.

30 Things Can Happen

LURCH! The Zombie Chess Game


Thank you for your patronage.

All the best,
Mark CMG

There are few names so closely identified with the confluence of gaming and fiction than Margaret Weis. Naturally, her own company is now producing excellent adventures from the fiction she’s developed with Robert Krammes in their Dragon Brigade series. This one’s called The Affair of the Orb.

Follow the trail of an assassin in the swashbuckling fantasy world of Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes’ DRAGON BRIGADE!

Based on the novella “The Affair of the Orb” by Chris Pierson, this self-contained adventure game book includes Cortex Plus rules system, characters, and a thrilling action mystery story for up to six players and one Game Master.

Just add polyhedral dice and your own witty repartee.

One of the greatest strengths of a system like Fate is how it allows you to flow from theme to theme fluidly, even with the same characters. The expression of all things in terms of their qualities offers some unique experiences in gaming, which Psychedemia exploits to the fullest.

Genetically advanced students at a psionic academy discover a mental realm inhabited by friendly but alien thought-forms in this Fate world of adventure by Paul Stefko. These beings teach the children to access deeper powers, and together they explore virtual worlds within their minds. But when the academy’s faculty learn of the realm, they seek to take control through force. Can the students save their alien friends? Can they convince their elders to live in peace? Or must they find a way to seal the realm off and themselves from it?

Psychedemia. Your mind is a battlefield.

Shaintar – Why and Where We Are

This thing is way overdue; I was supposed to do this on the evening of my birthday, and obviously failed. Insert list of personal excuses here; if you care, feel free to ping me direct about that, but they do not matter to the results you rightfully expect.

So let’s get to it. I don’t think I ever really explained how I managed to screw the plan for the Shaintar Guidebooks and Black Lantern Reports up so thoroughly. I know I meant to, and I’ve explained to a few of you at cons and otherwise over the last year and a half, but it hit me while I was at Chupacabracon this past weekend that I’d failed to really get into it as openly here as I should.

When I first conceived and presented my Guidebook plan to MMK and the Savage Mojo crew (the great and patient folks who managed the KS for me and are still doing all the art and production for these books), I did so with the underlying assumption that all I really had to do was take the material I’d developed and written over the decades and give it a solid re-tread. Some polish here, some punching-up there, and add in some mechanics stuff – book, instant books!

I was delusional.

First off, I was way too excited about the Kickstarter and its planning, so I utterly failed to go and do the research and review of all that material that should have occured. I didn’t really look until near the end, when it suddenly hit me that most of that stuff was way out of date, or else just not nearly as good as I’d remembered.

At the end of the KS, even as the massive gut-punch of realizing how I’d screwed myself by not actually paying myself out of it was setting in, the self-administered knife in the back slid in as I realized all of those books would have to be written very nearly from the beginning.

Try to imagine you’ve got the pre-set ingredients for thirty cakes and pastries, all ready to go in bags and plastic containers, and you’re thinking you can crank out all that breaded goodness in short order, since all you have to do is add a bit of milk, do some stirring, and maybe tinker a bit here and there.

Now imagine that you’ve opened those bags and plasticware and discovered the ingredients went too stale, or got rotten, or you’d completely screwed up the proportions from the very start.

Now you’ve got to start practically all over again; what was supposed to take a relatively short while is now looking to be a nearly impossible task, given when you were supposed to get all that baking done.

That’s been my life since July 2013. Ethically, I simply cannot cheese this stuff. I love and respect my world more than that, and I love and respect all of you more than that.

That, friends, is the crux of how and why all this became such a mess.

As for where things are now…

Kickstarters can be viewed like venture capital efforts for various kinds of buildings, most of which are big, elaborate towers. Some never even see the foundation get built, while others shoot right up to completion.

The Shaintar Tower got the foundation done (Shaintar: Legends Unleashed), and a few floors have been put in over time. It’s a very slow, often stalled project, and understandably the citizens of the city are sick of seeing cranes everywhere and not hearing the machinery going nearly enough.

The chief architect couldn’t get his act together; he threw the plans out, started all new plans. He finally brought a new foreman onto the site, who’s done a pretty awesome job of pushing more floors into place. The quality assurance inspector is powering through the various emplacements.

The architect took a vacation for mental health. He is, at long last, back on site and returning to the key design work. The foreman is planning a scheduling meeting soon.

In more direct, practical terms, here’s what we have going currently:

* Two more novellas (Scott Corum and Dan McGirt) in hand; one is edited and needs to enter production, the other just arrived and needs read-through, editing, then production.

* The first production draft of Magic and Cosmology: Volume I is in hand and Carinn will be doing a final read-through today. There are some art notes we need to see handled, but at this stage, I believe we can talk in terms of a couple of weeks for release. Assuming all goes well, perhaps even days.

* There’s a manuscript from Shawn Gore in hand for Black Lantern Report: Snakes Den, which Carinn has on her editing pile. Guidebook: Kal-a-Nar Empire’s been in from Betty Law Morgan for a while and has been put off for too long, so that’s next on my personal agenda. We also have Ed Greenwood’s Serenity: City of Secrets in hand, which came in during the holidays. We’re particularly excited about getting this through edits and into production ASAP.

* Not part of the KS fulfillment, but the City of Eastport is on Ross’ desk for production into a release product soon, as well.

There may even be more that I am forgetting (Ross will get me more fully up-to-speed this Friday at our next Evil Beagle meeting), but as you can see, we’re not idle by any means.

The next big decision is which Guidebook I am going to delve into writing first, and I’ll be letting you all know that soon. There is also that Huge Project I talked about, which I still cannot reveal publicly just yet. I will be working on that, too; as I explained, it’s going to be how I continue actually making a living, since I was so foolish with the structure of the KS and the product line. It’s important that you, the supporters, know that I am splitting my time. However, the tower will go up, all the way to the top.

As always, my deepest and most abiding gratitude for your continued patience and support.

Assassin’s Creed made highly trained professional murderers both sexy and popular again, and Purple Duck has some new high-end killer goodness for Pathfinder fans.

Assassins of Porphyra further expands the world of Porphyra with:

  • Information on the main assassin orders on Porphyra
  • The new Porphyran Assassin class (from Carl Cramér, the mastermind behind the Prestige Archetype: The Assassin.
  • Over 10 different Assassin Secrets to customize your character from the Arcane Assassin to the Shadow Assassin.
  • Favored Class Bonuses for the Core Book races.
  • Five new uses for skills.
  • A sample 1st level professional assassin.