Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Otherworld Miniatures Skirmish Game

As is typical of me, although this news has been out for a while, I've only just heard about it: Otherworld Miniatures is producing a tabletop skirmish game!  I thought I'd pass the news along in case there are others, like myself, who remain inexplicably oblivious to various happenings in the gaming world.

The game, which is due to be released this summer, is a small-scale skirmish game using small warbands that can be constructed with a point-buy system using any miniatures in Otherworld's line.  The game will apparently remain true to Otherworld's old school aesthetic, and capture the feel of classic D&D adventures.

I'm obviously pretty excited about this. I've already got a fair-sized collection of pig-faced orcs; more than enough to make a decent warband, and I'm always happy to see another alternative to the increasingly rapacious Games Workshop.

Here's a recent Youtube video interview with Otherworld at UK Games expo from the Duke of Blood Keep.

And here's an older post from last summer with more details about the game from Wargame News and Terrain.

Friday, March 28, 2014

In memoriam: Dave Trampier 1954 - Mar 24 2014

I was sad to learn of the passing of Dave Trampier earlier this week.  It was his art more than any other that I came to associate with Dungeons & Dragons, and he was certainly my favourite artist ever to illustrate the game.  I have no idea how many times in my life I've looked to his illustrations in the Player's Handbook or Monster Manual for inspiration, and I have no doubt that I will continue to do so for many years to come.

Here's to well-earned treasure at the end of the adventure:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Libram Mysterium Vol. 1 Now in Trade Paperback

The long wait is now over, and Libram Mysterium Volume 1, an anthology of thirteen OSR-inspired short stories is now available as a trade paperback!

You can order your copy from DriveThru Fiction for only $14.49 ($15.49 for trade paperback/PDF bundle).

Monday, January 20, 2014

Libram Mysterium Volume 1 Now on Sale

Here it is at long last, folks!  It's been a little more than six months since Pulp Mill Press opened to submissions, and now Libram Mysterium 1 is finally finished.  It's been a huge amount of work that has claimed the lion's share of my spare time for the last several months, but it's also been a lot of fun, and I'm tremendously proud of the finished product.  The contributors are a mix of established professional authors, and emerging authors who have never before been published, and I think you'll be as impressed by the quality of the stories as I was.

If you haven't heard of Pulp Mill Press or Libram Mysterium, the anthology was the brain-child of Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor who, back in June, proposed publishing a book of short stories of the sort that might appear in a modern-day Appendix-N.  A few others, including Ken Harrison of The Rusty Battleaxe, Boric Glandaum, and myself came on board and Pulp Mill Press was born.  In fact, I'd long been contemplating putting something like this together some day, but as we all know, some day never comes, and if it hadn't been for Tim proposing the project, I would probably never have gotten around to it.

Tim, Ken and Boric ended up not being as closely involved with the project as we would have liked, due to other commitments on their time, but their support and enthusiasm, especially in the early days, helped make Pulp Mill Press a reality.

Libram Mysterium 1 is the first in what I hope will be an ongoing series of pulp style fantasy, horror, and science fiction stories, and I hope that as many of you as possible will check it out and pass the word on.  At present the book is only available as a PDF download, but I am waiting on proofs and it should be available as a 6" x 9" trade paperback within a few weeks for those, like myself, who need a hard copy in hand.

The cost to buy the book is $2.99 for the PDF, $14.49 for the trade paperback, and $15.49 for the trade paperback/PDF combo pack.

Since I had no start-up money to fund this project, I was only able to offer the contributors free copies of the PDF in compensation, but I hope to be able to pay them actual money with proceeds from the sale of the book, so please do consider buying a copy - the authors and artist really do deserve to be paid for their outstanding work.

Join vengeance-seeking ghouls in Dylath-Leen; an expedition to the cursed ruins of an ancient city; and a mercenary company with only one criterion for recruits: they must already be dead.
This anthology recalls the pulp fantasy stories of the early- to mid-twentieth century: from pulse-pounding sword & sorcery adventure to chilling tales of the macabre, eldritch horrors, ruthless warriors, and fabulous treasures await within!

Josh Reynolds, Josh Graboff, Matthew Bottiglieri, Timothy P.
Remp, Tobias Loc, Trey Causey, James MacGeorge, Alasdair
Cunningham, Jared Plumber, Alex J. Christy, Garnett Elliot,
and Sean P. Robson

Christopher Conklin

Buy Libram Mysterium 1 at:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Adventures in Hybras

After a months-long gaming drought, I've finally started a new campaign to introduce my seven-year-old daughter to the joys of gaming.  I chose to use the Swords & Wizardry Core Rules; these rules are not quite as bare-bones as my usual Whitebox set, but not so cumbersome as S&W Complete.  In short, it is a great rule set for young gamers.

I've set the campaign on the fictional island of Hybras, off the south coast of Ireland, during the reign of the Roman Empire, and I've incorporated a lot of Welsh mythology into the setting.  I'm drawing primarily upon Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, Jack Vance's tales of Lyonesse (Suldrun's Garden, The Green Pearl, Madouc) and Grimm's Fairy Tales for inspiration.

One of the benefits of setting the campaign in a real-world setting is being able to use it as a spring board to teach my daughter about different ancient cultures and mythology.  While I've started the campaign in Hybras, I plan to eventually leave those shores and have the players travel the world and visit Rome, Greece and Egypt.

We're already two sessions into the campaign and my daughter is already pestering me for her own set of dice (because, as we all know, borrowed dice don't have the right mojo).  We're exploring the Caves of Chaos from the venerable Keep on the Borderlands.  This was my first introduction to D&D and I wanted it to be my daughter's as well.

The story, thus far, is that a vital trade caravan from Avalon has been hijacked by bands of goblins, depriving the isolated village of Caer Darrig of supplies it will desperately need before winter sets in.  A small group of villagers, led by Brianne the Bold and Ariana the Nimble have set out to track down the missing caravan.  While trekking through the woods late one afternoon, the band came upon a cozy-looking cottage in a clearing.  Ariana the Nimble horrified her mother and I by immediately proposing to "kill whoever lives there and take over the cottage!"  After sneaking up to the cottage and peering through the window she discovered the cottage was the home of a little old lady who was bustling about her kitchen, preparing her evening meal.  When my wife said, "See, it's just an old lady; she's no threat to us," my daughter replied, "Great, she'll be easy to kill!"  I can see that we have a natural born gamer on our hands.

It turned out that Ariana's instincts were correct, as the old woman predictably turned out to be a witch intent on charming and ultimately eating the party.  My daughter's indoctrination by the Brother's Grimm served her in good stead.

After dispatching the witch and looting her cottage of its valuables, the party tracked the caravan to the dreaded Caves of Chaos, where they explored one set of caverns, killing or capturing a band of wicked boggles that lived there.  They discovered the cache of captured supplies and rescued three captive merchants, who informed the party that Caer Darrig faced an even graver threat than missing supplies: an evil cleric of Chaos was uniting the various humanoid tribes to invade the village...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Reaper Kickstarter II: The Return of Mr. Bones

Having fulfilled the pledges from their first, fantastically successful Bones Kickstarter, Reaper is at it again and has launched a second Kickstarter, which threatens to eclipse the last.  The new Kickstarter has been live for about 20 minutes as I write this, and they are already have more than $211,000 in pledges (of a $30,000 goal).  So, if you missed out on the first Bones Kickstarter, or just want fill your entire house with polymer plastic miniatures and risk the ire of your wife (*cough, cough*), here's your chance!

Here's what the basic pledge will get you (they haven't put the stretch goal rewards on the site yet):

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Libram Mysterium: Submission Deadline

When I was a kid, summer holidays seemed to last forever and I had all the time in the world to do everything I wanted.  These days, not so much; each summer seems to pass more quickly than the last.  I feel like we only just opened Pulp Mill Press to submissions for the Libram Mysterium anthology, and now there are only two weeks left.

So if you're planning to submit a story and haven't done so yet, now's the time to finish it off and get it in.  If you are working on a story, but don't anticipate being able to finish by the September 1st deadline, email me at pulpmillpress4@gmail.com and we can work something out.  Go ahead, flood our inbox with submissions.