Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Worm Ouroboros

Episode 30: The Worm Ouroboros
The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison is considered to be a classic of the fantasy genre, rediscovered during the 1960s as the canon of modern fantasy was developed in a post-Tolkien world. Drawing its influences from classic epics of the Nordic, Celtic, and Greek cultures, the novel tracks the culture clash between the noble and straight-dealing denizens of Demonland and their treacherous enemies in Witchland. It also has characters with names like Goldry Bluzsco, La Fireez, Spitfire, and Cargo, so strap yourselves in for some real high fantasy nonsense.
What will Kate and Jack make of the numerous old timey ballads and poems within the book's pages? Which characters does it seem like the author wanted to make kisses on? Who in their right mind would publish a ravenously pro-war novel four years after the close of World War I? What do Electric Wizard, decadent literature, and McDonaldLand have to do with any of this? Listen to the latest episode of Bad Books for Bad People and find out the answers to these questions and more.
BBfBP theme song by True Creature 
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Monday, February 11, 2019

The Circle

A faction in Umberwell:

The members of the Circle are ascetics who eschew worldly possessions. Adherents of the Circle’s ideology choose to live in poverty, and the nature of their beliefs means that they are often shabbily dressed and filthy from living rough on the streets. Since members of the Circle tend to live as squatters in abandoned buildings that shelter other members of the underclass, they are privy to secrets, street gossip, and idle talk. The Circle has a vast network for relaying information, and they trade knowledge for the coin they use to feed and clothe the city’s impoverished.

They who have nothing possess everything.

  • Wealth is a shackle that keeps the soul bound and unable to achieve peace after death.
  • Material goods should be given away freely to those who have less.
  • Information is more valuable than gold.
  • Gain wisdom through humility, privation, and suffering.
  • Operate soup kitchens and missions to ensure that no one in Umberwell goes hungry.
  • Convey sensitive information into the right hands.
  • Aid an orphanage besieged by a cruel landlord.
  • Rescue a captured Circle member from interrogators before they manage to extract an important secret.

If you like the content above (or any of the content here), consider checking out Umberwell: Blackened Be Thy Name, system agnostic New Weird city setting, now available in print and pdf from DriveThruRPG.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Two Good Tubes: Cartoonist Kayfabe and Global Overkill

There are a lot of ways to waste time on Youtube, but there are also a few channels that are really worth sitting down and paying attention to. Here are two I'd recommend if the subject matter appeals to you:

Cartoonist Kayfabe
Cartoonists Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg sit down with an old issue of Wizard Magazine, flip through the pages, and give their commentary. I'm not even all that interested in capes comics, the main focus of Wizard's end of the comics industry, but the enthusiasm and knowledge Piskor and Rugg bring to the table makes this a fascinating channel. They bring multiple perspectives to the analysis: they reminisce about being young comics fans during the era, bring the knowledge that comes with being artists themselves, and the insider knowledge of being professionals working in the industry. And they're not afraid to cut a promo on some knuckleheads when necessary. They've got big plans for the channel; look for them to diversify the portfolio with interviews and expanded content in the weeks to come.

Global Overkill
Global Overkill is a recurring segment of the Canadian heavy metal channel Banger TV. Global Overkill is a deep dive on niche metal scenes around the world. So far, the series has delved into Quebec Tech Death, Australian Prog Metal, Icelandic Black Metal, Finnish Doom Metal, Lebanese Extreme Metal, Russian Heavy Metal, French Avant Garde Black Metal, South African Slam & Brutal Metal, Chilean Blackened Death Metal, Japanese Metal Girl Groups, Indonesian Grindcore, Brazilian Death Metal, and Chinese Folk Metal. Unfortunately, Global Overkill is on hiatus right now, but those previous episodes will keep you busy for a long time if you're into searching out wild new sounds from every corner of the globe. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Feast Your Eyes on This

Art that inspired me in January, 2019:

Anne Simon

Colleen Doran

Tom Parkinson-Morgan

Hyun Lee

Doug Mahnke

John Blanche

Djuna Barnes

Dan Mumford

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Invasion Game

The first draft of Cinderheim: The Liberation of Wormwood is done! The premise of the supplement is simple: it's designed to help you set up a frontier town that has just been invaded by outsiders. It has a lot of random tables for creating characters that are tied to the town (and have a reason to care about it) as well as random tables to figure out who has invaded the town.

We did a "playtest" of sorts for the player-facing tables over on G+ that was pretty successful. Basically, I asked people in my circles to roll some dice and I would tell them about their characters from the tables that will be in the supplement.

Let's try something similar with the DM-facing tables for the invaders. If you want to play along, roll a d10, a d6, and another d6 and tell me the results in the comments section of this post. I'll reply for the next couple of days with who has invaded your version of Wormwood and some extra information about the occupiers. Also, if you play along let me know how you want to be credited and I'll stick your name on the dedication in the supplement.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Last Plane to Heaven, Electric Messiah, The End, What Should Not Be Unearthed

Things that brought me delight in January, 2019:

Jay Lake, Last Plane to Heaven
A long time ago, I posted an rpg monster riffing off a chapter from a Jay Lake novel. He found it on my blog, somehow, and seemed tickled by it. (That bit made it into my Umberwell book.) And now, after he's passed, it was time to read his last collection of short fiction. The man had no shortage of ideas or powerful language with which to convey them.

High on Fire, Electric Messiah
I don't care if this one is too fast to qualify as "doom"; this trashes too hard to be denied by gormless categorizers.

Gallhammer, The End
Gallhammer is a recent discovery for me. There is something really special about their brand of crusty, blackened doom & drone. The first time I heard this album was one of those rare "this is making the hair on my arms stand up" moments.

Nile, What Should Not be Unearthed
"Age of Famine" has proven highly inspiring lately.

Kentaro Miura, Berserk vols. 25 and 26
More shocking than the story's turn toward a D&D-style party complete with magic weapons is Guts's turn toward dad of the group.

Behemoth, The Apostasy
I've been trying to locate exactly where Behemoth became a supreme example of blackened death, but The Apostasy feels too fully formed to be the turning point. Which is to say, it's magnificent.

Behemoth, Demigod
Okay, I think I found it.

Cannibal Corpse, Butchered at Birth
Cannibal Corpse was the only band of its ilk that seemed scary back in the day. Still do, actually.

Caitlin R. Kiernan, Black Helicopters
Unexpected nostalgia hit from all supernatural conspiracy elements. Hit up this podcast episode for more.

Seven Soldiers
I went in on this one here.