Tuesday, December 4, 2018

And the News from the Hill Cantons

What Ho, Frog Demons is finally out (print is still behind due to some more snafus with the printing of the maps and other quality issues, give us another week) and with my real world campaign runnings dwindling it's time to get back to the Hill Cantons campaign again. Hurrah!

And now the News from the Hill Cantons...
Hruz resin diviners at the Temple of All Pahr Gods on the Feral Shore speak of the Great Humbling and Relife of Radhošt/Radagest, a time of cosmic divergence in which the least dying of the Old Pahr deities is said to walk and work among mortals again after being tossed from the Firament of the Sky Dome after his divinely scandalous romance with Nocchula the Lady of Flame Orchids Beyond the Mural. Indeed wild rumors of a diminutive, hirsute, and suspiciously snaggle-toothed migrant field hand stepping in eleventh hour to bring in the dank-hops harvest, muck gorgon stables, club recalcitrant contrada dues supporters, and other proletarian tasks have flourished all through Marlinko Canton these days.

And well now some news from Himyar the Scarlet Sultanate...

Crystal rose blooms from the Xobi, the cold rocky wasteland deep in the Weird along the southern edge of that continent, are fetching record prices in the satrap town of Iltasiin. Namoj, the half-Kezmaroki bazaar merchant, is not only paying top gold suns per pound but will also throw in two husk-zombie porters for returning parties (control amulet/suppository included for a modest additional fee).

Ilmuqah the True Moon, the bull-headed patron-god of Himyar, will accomplish the final of the monthly disembowelments as he prepares for the annual wintry ass-kicking of the Sun Lord. Raw lightning, dark nights and frankly embarrassingly masochistic shows in front of northerners is likely by by fanatic worshipers over the next two days.

Travelers in the wooded oasis of Chaseribad should beware of a pack of Şüräle, single-horned, long-fingered cousins of our more familiar forest Leshy. Beware creatures offering “deep tissue massages”-- they mean it and their tickles can bring saves versus death itself.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

What Ho Frog Demons is Out, Here's its Origin Story

What Ho, Frog Demons is out (you can buy it here, print is still in the works).

One thing I can guarantee you about the entire four books of the Slumbering Ursine Dunes series is that while published details can and do vary to protect the wicked they all do represent years and years of actual at-the-table play (above and beyond the many hours of more straight playtesting that comes post-manuscript).

Michael aka Migellito (aka the player of Father Jack of Fever-Dreaming Marlinko fame) relayed a ritual that would happen each and every session of the Hill Cantons weekly game for two years regarding the Frog Demon Temple, which lays just a few miles out of town right on the road to the primetime adventure spots of the time in the Marlinko Canton:
“Chris, every week: "So, you want to go to the frog demon temple?" 
Us, every week: "NO!" 
After about two years of playing and probably more than 50 sessions, we finally say "you know what.. ok, lets go to the frog demon temple". 
We walk up the spooky dead tree aisle to the temple. We go inside the main door. We start down the.. HIRELING DIES. 
We immediately leave the frog demon temple.”

It took another 1-2 years and several levels more powerful before the Nefarious Nine, the Google Plus campaign group that never numbered nine, actually came back to loot and pillage the temple.

In emergent play places and things take on quickly a significance, dynamic, and meaning beyond the design origin. I had never intended the FDT to be anything more than a punctuation in the campaign. Much like the Manor of the Beet God (also presented in What Ho) had intentionally been designed as a “Saturday Night Special”, the kind of self-contained 1-3 session micro-site that MAR Barker threw at players to spice things up between longer explorations.

The original intention of What Ho as a stretch goal was to just throw these sites straight and unadorned at you in a 18-24 page adventure. But like the emergent play of the campaign proper the Hydra Cooperative's publishing mission seems to zig zag and explode out of proportion out of the sheer love of imagining the hell out of things. Untethered by worries about the bottom line we just wanted to make something that blossomed like the play it was based on.

So here we are. The book is out and its busting out of its britches at 114 pages. We threw everything we could at it (a whole Marlinko hexcrawl, tons of NPCs, an infection index, tons of Vanican monsters, etc). If you feel so inclined you should check it out, feel free to mangle it beyond repair. And drop me a line if you thoughts about it (good, bad, or critical I want to hear).