The Undercroft: Month One

I hope you like statistics and graphs! Inspired by +Tim Shorts's openness with sales figures I thought I'd join in. I know his posts helped me when I was starting, maybe this will help others.
Orcs nest is a FLG, INT is International, +PDF means Print & PDF

Total sold: 48
Net Income: -£58.61 

Expenses £115.40
Tools £75.00
Commisions (articles and images) £14.60
Additional Postage Charges £5.00
Undercroft 1 Obligatory Copies £3.80

Advertising (OSRToday) £17

Orcs nest is a FLGs, INT is International, +PDF means Print & PDF

I'm two short of my target with two hours to go. Two (twice)! However it's still 38 more than my initial "I'll be happy if it sells this number" target. A good opening month considering I turned up out of nowhere, zine in hand, and shoved it under your noses.

I was surprised by how slow the uptake in the UK was. I was banking on domestic sales being the core of this chart. But no, Americans and Australians all wanted to pay those nasty postage fees (welcome to my world!). I would have expected them to focus more on the PDF, considering how much cheaper it is.

As for that odd net income up top, I decided early on that I'm going to force this zine to walk on its own two feet. I tallied up every cost I've accrued in the process of making it. Every tool, every page, every staple. As you can see sales have put a nice dent in it and I'm hopeful that the next issue will kill it completely. Possibly somewhat optimistic considering how much more I'll be forking out in commissions (it's a lot), but I'm confident it'll be a solid issue.

So, next month's somewhat unreasonable targets are:

  1. Get to 100 copies sold
  2. Get a review (Good or bad, I'm not picky.)

You never know, it could happen

All in all I'm thrilled with the results and indebted to everyone who's helped me out so far. This most certainly includes those who are working with me on issue #2, it's going to be a step up for sure.


Slight update to the hunt for zine content. Thought I'd get back to my roots and put out the word for works of fiction. It'll be a short affair in sustained prose in the spirit of such writers as Clark Ashton Smith, Jeff Vandermeer, Karl Edward Wagner, anything you'd find in Weird Tales magazine. No recognisable Cthulhu mythos please.


  • Prose
  • 300-1000 words
  • Weird fantasy
  • No modern day settings
  • Can be as graphic and unpleasant as you like as long as you have the writing chops to pull it off
  • I can only take ONE.
  • It'll be covered by the rates & terms found here.

I'll be open for submissions until early September. If there's a great response to this I'll find something cool to do with the rest.

Note that there is still a little space for other submissions. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have an idea for an article.

For further details go check out the submissions page.

In which I talk about something I read

In the Prison of the Squid Sorceror is the kind of book I like: full of bits and things. Twelve of them to be exact, as per the front cover. Each is a weird adventure of varying length written in the spirit of Michael Moorcock. 

Firstly I'll get what I don't like out of the way: italicised read-aloud text. Horrible, ick, I hate the stuff. At best it makes the GM sound like he's reading off the back of a menu, at worst he turns into a primary school teacher enthusiastically telling the children a story with all the blood-soaked, night-falling, flame-flickering clichés you can handle. What's more it makes it hard to gather up information for processing into something more natural. If details are hidden in a block of prose you're likely to miss them.

The best bits are the small encounters that could be used pretty much anywhere with no planning. The Cult of the Flickering Sign is the best of the little ones, in my estimation; the party stumbles upon a grisly murder in an alleyway with typical oogly cult signs on it and quickly end up rumbling the bad folks and having a wonderful time. I'd love a book full of these little vignette adventures, as they always get to the point without any padding and are easily disassembled for the juicy bits.

Let's talk about Moorcock: we know that he often worked on a tight schedule, so much so that he would sometimes just throw out a bunch of weird stuff, drag Elric through it and call it a night. Some of the adventures (the eponymous scenario being one of them) felt a lot like that, with strange stuff dropping in and weirding up the place without warning with the aim of entertaining a herd of murder hobos. As with Moorcock, you'll either like it or be put off. Make of it what you will, but I'm happy with to deal with some dodgy verisimilitude occasionally. Besides, we're smart GMs, season to taste.

Considered as a whole, In the Prison of the Squid Sorceror is a solid and sometimes inspired bunch of adventures that I'll be pillaging in the near future. You can get it on RPGNow or Lulu. Go do that.

The Pettiest Gods

The Greater and Lesser Kairnlaws may claim to have many differences, but religion is not one of them. A pragmatic people, they always know what God to speak to for every eventuality. They're not so arrogant to assume that any one being can solve all their problems, so much so that even converts to Vorn or Qadhi will be sure to stay on good terms with the local Gods. It would be a very brave citizen of the Kairnlaw  who would go on a journey without a quick word to The Bartlet, or visit his mistress without an offering to Judith.

Clerics of the Kairnlaw are bottomless fonts of knowledge regarding who to appeal to at any specific time. They are one of the few people who are equally welcome in Greater and Lesser, respected for their deep knowledge and god-given skills.

Honour the Gods
Cleric Level 1
Duration: As per god
Range: As per god

The Kairnish cleric can use this spell to honour one of their pantheon. Typically this will include specific prayers, small rituals and minor sacrifices, but after they are performed their desired patron will make their gifts available to the supplicant.

Our Lady Judith, Sister in Sin, patron of cheating husbands. Many a man has offered up a prayer to her while creeping out a forbidden paramour's window. However her attention is fickle and she is prone to allowing them to be caught by enraged husbands and vengeful wives. In polite circles a wayward husband is said to be "visiting Aunt Judith"

Invocation: Burn a small amount of your pubic hair. One strand would do.

Clerics in tune with the emanations of Judith can lie utterly believably to women, getting them to believe the most ridiculous things. However 1 in 6 times it will be an embarrassingly awful lie and get you immediately caught out.

The Bartlet, patron of sore feet and wasted journeys. No one is quite sure why The Bartlet is named so but they continue to put up a prayer to them whenever they set out their door. The Bartlet is typically pictured as an anthropomorphic cat with a permanent look of disappointment, sitting by the roadside. These images are almost exclusively found in remote roadside inns.

Invocation: Throwing a shoe over your left shoulder while offering up a prayer.

Clerics invoking The Bartlet can ensure an unpleasant journey on a chosen party, unwanted pursuers perhaps. This help is oblique: sore feet slowing them down ever so slightly, taking a marginally longer route. 1 in 6 chance it helps enough to make a difference.

Darrow, god of fish suppers.
Fish for breakfast, 
fish for tea,
fish for you and
fish for me! 

A variation on the rhyme is heard on the way home from the harbour, sung with no great gusto. Children sick of the fish they've been gutting all season often don't appreciate the gift that Darrow and their mothers have waiting for them at home.

Invocation: Singing or humming Darrows rhyme while preparing your fishy supper.

Clerics channelling the spirit of Darrow can prepare even the most foul and rotten fish, turning it into a barely tolerable meal.

The Turnsmith, God of shoe repair and thresholds.

Nemesis of The Bartlet, The Turnsmith is often depicted quietly fixing shoes just inside the door of his house or chasing cats out of his workshop. In Kairnish society cats are considered to be lazy and pessimistic, traits which can rub off wherever they sleep. Cats almost exclusively live outside in Kairnish society, and are most certainly not allowed to sleep where people work.

Many small industries operate from the home. These are advertised by performing the trade by the open door to your house. Thus The Turnsmith is often associated with cottage industry.

Invocation: Leaving a small amount of leftover material from the repair by someone's front door at the earliest possible opportunity. Not doing so will see your work undone.

Clerics channelling this patron can perform small repairs on mundane items and always seems to have a needle and thread handy.

Lusta-Fi, god of goatherds and lazy boys.

The Kairnlaw has innumerable gods dedicated to every possible aspect of livestock care. Understandable for a people who derive the vast majority of their food and wealth from their panoply of domesticated creatures.

Lusta-Fi looks after the young ones, who are traditionally set to watching the goats, the least important and most annoying of herds. While they sleep or play, Lusta-Fi is said to be keeping an eye on the herd. You'll often hear parents chiding their boys for letting Lusta-Fi watch the goats, that they told them not to listen to him.

Invocation: Build a small pile of rocks, a few inches high or more, on top of a small denomination coin or sweet treat. Then paint a pair of eyes on it facing what you want watched. The offering will be gone when you return, and the eyes will be closed.

Clerics call on Lusta-Fi to keep an eye on things. They can leave one mundane situation per day and it'll be fine while they attend to other things. The situation must be low stakes (such as watching a herd, a small child, or a boiling kettle) and not require great intervention to be okay. He would not prevent the goats being stolen, but he could prevent them from walking off a cliff.

Maces Mean Business

Maces and other percussive weapons were specialised tools of war, intended to deal with armoured threats. An un-armoured gentleman wielding a mace vs. a fellow with a sword would be in deep trouble as the swordsman steps back as you swing, deftly chopping your fingers off while blocking the blow. However, put a layer of armour on the pair of them and things swing in the other direction. Good luck slicing through my chain and gambeson you sword using nob!

Medium percussive weapons:
+1 to hit opponents with AC 16 or more. Otherwise, -1 to hit.

Certainly a mace would fuck you up. No doubt about it. But a mace can only kill you outright by hitting the head or the spine, whereas a sword can do terminal harm in all sorts of wonderful and exciting ways.

Other interesting things about maces: they have been used as a symbol of secular power around the world throughout history. Something about a bloody great club just screams I'm in charge. The particular mace pictured above is in fact so important that the House of Commons isn't considered in session unless that mace is there. It represents the royal authority and can be lost just by picking it up and moving it.

See those things police carry? Maces. For hundreds of years keepers of the peace have carried maces of some sort or another. After all, it's peace they want, not bloodshed. Pull a sword and you're saying you're ready to kill someone, pull a mace and you're saying you might kill someone or maybe just make them wish they'd been a bit less rowdy.


The "I Missed Out on the Christmas in July Sale" Sale

So here's how it works: I've only got so much house to store books in, something's got to give. Either I buy a bigger house or I sell some books. So in pursuit of both those aims I have decided to run a morally sketchy and probably short sighted sale in which YOU GET FREE STUFF.

While stocks last, UK residents can purchase a copy of The Undercroft #1 through the new, spangly Lucky Dip button on the right. Doing this gets you a copy of our most wonderful zine, a matching PDF, and a random book from my enormous pile of things I don't want! (some of it pictured above).

I've put it as a separate button as I'm sure some of you don't want more books clogging up your shelves. Yes, you can request something specific, email me. Yes, you can just buy one of the books on its own if you want, email me. Yes, I might consider sending these abroad, email me to find out the insane postage prices that will probably need to be added on.

EDIT- Did a little bit of maths and turns out I'd lose quite a bit of money on postage with the bigger ones, so I put it up by £1. To make it up to you I'll double up on the smaller books. Everyone who's purchased already still gets their stuff, a pound or two won't kill me.

You may have guessed that I have a new red pen

You'd be surprised at how many people have accused me of being disturbed after viewing my handwriting over the years. They claim it's indicative of latent psychosis, I claim it's endearingly ham fisted.

Either way, have a half baked idea I drew as a break from writing about ooglies and giant lizards.

Anatomy of Weird

WARNING: rambling, humour, teaching your granny how to suck eggs

So what is the weird? We're using "weird" in the sense used for Lamentations of the Flame Princess and similar games: an undermining of expectations and the stretching of boundaries. 

What's comedy? The core of comedy is the mechanical encrusted upon the living, the unexpected appearing beside the expected, the improper with the proper.  And we laugh. 

It's no coincidence that Raggi's games swing between funny and horrifying so easily, it's because they're almost the same thing. Comedy merely tickles, while weird pins you down until you start to cry.

The weird can be made with a simple formula:

Take a situation or object, as mundane and everyday as possible. Twist it. 

That's the basic set-up and would be enough for the most part. But there's so much to make it more than a cheap thrill.

Let's use an example. If we look at Death Love Doom the weird is produced by undermining the concept of love and familial relations, knocking it 90° into horrific and metaphorical territory (in Raggi-ist Russia foetus abort YOU, and don't forget sexually violent grannies) and pushing people's boundaries of taste. Nothing goes so far it becomes so strange as to put us into auto-pilot "oh look, another thing" mode, everything is built from perversions of our typical daily experience. Only the mundane is scary or funny. There's a reason that every good horror antagonist is essentially human.

So now to better illustrate how funny this is I'll recreate Death Love Doom in the medium of jokes:

"What's the difference between zits and a Catholic priest? Zits wait until a kid's 13 before it comes on his face."

See? In fairness both the adventure and the joke picked children to get a cheap emotional response but that's not to say it wasn't good value for money. You shouldn't abuse it too much and should occasionally go for higher hanging fruit or else it loses all impact, but it would be a waste not to grab for the low stuff on occasion. 

Before I go further I must curtail any possibility of this turning into a review of Death Love Doom. I liked it, I agree with everything it stands for, done.

Okay. Onwards.

So why am I talking about abusing weird? Well because I've been working non-stop on a weird zine and a weird Dead City of Duven'Ku and ran a weird The Monolith from Beyond Space and Time. All these elements came together as I butted up against another roadblock in building my vision of this horrible city: there is only so much boundary pushing horror you can sling at the players before it stops being subversive and becomes normal. Un-undermined normal isn't weird! 

Oppressive horribleness would have to take the occasional break to recharge the player's terror. Could comedy help us? What if there was the occasional dick monster or bumbling lich official? It still maintains the weird. Switching to comedy from weird is just like switching to your left hand when the right's tired. They do it in cinema all the time.

We need breaks from the horror, and a mega-dungeon doesn't allow for that. Raggi's adventures have worked so well because they are short, the terror will end and the world will settle back to how it was. If it was that way all the time then there would be no weird, just a continuation of a strange normality. This is why the Dead City of Duven'Ku is so hard. The players will switch to auto-pilot, they'll not bat an eye-lid at gutting the ghoul child to retrieve their ring, they won't care that their rations turn to blood in their mouths.

This led me to another thought: Sigil. Sigil, the central town of the Planescape D&D setting managed to run a line close to what would be needed by the Dead City. It was exceedingly strange but had a strong human element. We were grounded and had others to stand alongside us in our confusion in the face of the unknown.

Does Duven'Ku needs to be a functioning city with a human element?

Easy enough. Duven'Ku has themes in place already, themes we've learnt from the Death **** Doom adventures and Green Devil Face zine.

  • Infanticide
  • Destructive love
  • Sexual violence
  • Emotional distance
  • Shame
  • Punishment for wrongdoing
  • Betrayal of those close to you
  • Typical undead-ly stuff
  • Self hatred
One questions how a society like this kept itself together, but that's the challenge. The Aztecs were pretty full on and they did well for a long time. Sigil was insane and that worked well enough. Can we do this again for an undead city? On one side we have a crazy fun-house, breeding detachment and familiarity. On the other we've built just another boring fantasy city supplement with humans replaced with zombies.

Now to tie this rambling essay together. The city must be weird, it must be the weirdest. There is no break from the normal so we need to wander into (dark, dark, barely even there) comedy to look for the players' psychic breaks. We need to nail the theme, nail it hard so there is a definite "Duven'Ku normal".

Next I might have to start making the physical thing and see how it works, planning is an endless process otherwise. As ever, opinions are welcome in this matter.

Cellar door

I went to the basement and what did I find?..

  1. Puss-veined blood lapping against the rafters. Clots and less wholesome things float on its waves like icebergs.
  2. The chef. The smell of cooking meat and the grinding of a turning spit. A zombie is skewered like a pig over the fire while the chef slices thin portions of meat onto a plate for his guests. It stares back in mad silence.
  3. A ghoul breeding pen. Females are tightly chained by their necks to the wall while a single male has the liberty of a longer chain pinned to the centre of the room. D3 ghoul babies lay abandoned on the floor awaiting collection.
  4. Bottles and jars and tubes and racks. In the middle of it all sits a wizened man in a metal chair, pipes coming from every vein and orifice. A number have come loose or been pulled out. It would be a simple matter to put them back in.
  5. My heart's desire. Your childhood sweetheart, the one you left behind, the one you couldn't save. S/he stands there naked with arms wide open. Only from behind can you see what a thin veneer of humanity they hold, flimsy skin covering crooked hooks and pulsating coils of rotten flesh.
  6. Nothing. Sweet, merciful nothing.

Ruminating on dead places

We're in a city full of towering blocks of buildings, massive tombstones on the grave of the Dead God. The streets are narrow and hold a heavy silence lifted only by the shuffling of dessicated feet. Everything looms. Before you your breath freezes in the air, the only sign of life this place has seen in centuries. A valuable commodity for the factions still skulking about.

The king, who hasn't moved in centuries, contemplating his next move while his court waits and plots.

The priests, who undermine the city with the raised dead of the cities past. They will find a way out.

The general, freshly returned from confinement in the Death Frost mountain. In his memories this city never died.

The dwindling population of ghouls packing out the slum. Never truly dying yet possessed by a fierce hunger. The strongest force the weakest to breed, feeding off their young.

Why would the players wander through this progression of awful things? What do they have to gain by entering each and every building in this city? Why, to kill death of course. But we don't have to turn over every stone for that. Broad strokes will serve, they'll fill in the gaps and let us know when something awful needs our attention. Here we find a trap, an encounter, an interesting thing. We know how they link together, we track a rough trajectory and ignore the nuts and bolts. A city isn't packed to the rafters with pertinent content, a city is a series of events, a flowchart or pain that can be created on the fly and run from a huge list of interesting things, small vignettes of soul-rending horror.

It may not be a priority to make deeply simulated structures for every inch. It might just be enough for us to know that the Duven'Ku live in towering stone buildings, one on top of the other in warren-like apartments, life imitating death. Packed in tight.

All we need to build are the choke points, be they physical or plot related. The gates, the monuments and landmarks, ruined buildings that block the way (there was a war!). The building that holds the skeleton whose hand has been carved just so and opens the gate to the sewer, the ghoul king, the Sleeping Queen's wig, the emerald studded maguffin! The players progress through them getting closer to the core of this place. Or dead.

Curated hubs with meandering random encounters connecting them.

As for Duven'Ku himself, the players don't know what will happen by killing him. Or even if they can. To make it even more fun, neither should the GM. Generate that bad-boy. Reach for a table full of interesting possible results of finding Duven'Ku. Maybe he really is dead. It would make sense after all. Maybe he's withered and weak, maybe he's a mindless ball of energy, maybe he turns you inside out, maybe he's not even here?

All this for a little necklace!

The Dead City

What is a dungeon? A series of events with a predictable progression. Typically a fun-house of horror and pain. But is the dungeon aesthetic inseparable from the experience? I think plenty of people have proven that it isn't, and this got me thinking: my players are aware of an item that cannot be destroyed because it is part of a god, they hate said item so much that they are planning to go and kill the god. Specifically, Duven'Ku and the Necklace of the Sleeping Queen.

Of all the horrible things I've done to my players, Death Love Doom struck a cord, thanks +James Raggi. One player retired his character to a monastic life and took a break from gaming because of that session, which I consider a great success. The surviving character hasn't forgotten the almost-TPK that cracking open the necklace caused, and has left a search for the creature on a low simmer ever since.

So, killing gods it is. A dead god of the dead, in a dead city in a dead land. We know his city is at the bottom of a canyon, we know it's dormant or at least incapable of projecting its malignant nastiness any more. Let's assume it has been sealed up as a result of a bitter war or some sort, a war that Duven'Ku got the short end of. The city is sealed, to a degree, and probably large since Duven'Ku was a three-in-one religion/magic-tradition/state. Let's also assume that Duven'Ku resides there, Cthulhu style.

Replace the sand with snow and you're there
Now with these assumptions and requirements we throw them in a bag and shake them up and out pops a mega-dungeon. A sprawling city-scape of the dead city of Duven'Ku with a god at its unbeating heart. Instead of levels we have buildings and neighbourhoods, instead of goblins we have Ancient Obscenities of a dead race of men, instead of treasure we have certain doom. All good so far. The players are motivated to go there and I see no reason to make it more tempting. This is the worst place for anyone to go, chances are they aren't coming back.

The issue with a city is that it is far easier to meander about than in an underground complex. A simple approach would be to roughly map the city, set up distinct districts, and then maybe create an enormous random table for generating buildings within that area. A random building for each "room", which you fill in on the map "here is event #24, it will always be here from now on". Each area will have its own flavour and grow over time as they are explored.

I really like this idea myself, but the execution is going to be another thing altogether. The map has been a right pickle so far, my room is full of abandoned attempts, and writing hundreds of interesting encounters is going to be a stretch to say the least.

This will be an ongoing project, since my players are set on going there eventually anyway. Hopefully it will develop into something usable and scalable.

Fingers crossed.

The Wolfmother

The Wolfmother is considered a folk tale, told to encourage the young men to marry early and bring new hands to the farm. A terrifying cautionary tale used to keep the serfs in line, as far as they town folk know. But the farmers in their homesteads know the truth of it.

Mothers are careful to pair off their children as soon as they come of age, before She appears at the virginal young men's bed sides and offers them presents. Anyone not accepting her wedding gifts will have their innocence and masculine flower rudely taken. Within two weeks the wolfmother will give birth to a clutch of wolf cubs who will hound their young father, bitter at their abandonment. They will kill his friends, steal his livestock, cause as much pain as possible, until finally their father wakes in the middle of the night to see his children at his bedside.

Some are brave or foolish enough to accept the gifts instead of immediately striping to their skin and taking to the road, calling for a wife. After three visits She will take their hand and walk them into the brambles, never to return.

Wedding gift
A mollusc attached to a locket. Anyone approaching the wearer with sinister intent will cause it to emit a high pitched sequel until they are dispatched. Inside is a picture of the wolfmother.
Gloves made of whole rabbits. They don't look much like gloves but they fit wonderfully. They will run away at any loud noises, hiding in your pockets or inside the folds of your clothes, taking your hands with them. Their morale is 6. Taking them off will kill them horrifically as your hands distend their innards out their nethers.
A broom with a brush made of virgin's hair. Cleaning your house with it every day will ensure your past never finds you.
A kettle made from a goat's skull. No matter what is poured in, thick clotted blood will come out. Drinking the blood will give you visions of all the hurtful things your loved ones have said behind your back.
A rat in a cage. It gives good lifestyle advice, except for one time when it will give you the worst advice ever.
A little lost child from under her skirt. It doesn't speak any language you know and is altogether quite exotic looking.
A rope that leads out of your window and into the woods. It will not budge and does not end unless pulled by three stout men. On the end of the rope is a sorcerer of middling power.
Dirt in a jar. Any plants set in it will grow overnight and black lotus flowers will burst forth.
A pen made from the feather of a white peacock. It will only write sonnets fit to break the hardest heart. Readers of said poems must save vs. magic or seclude themselves away for a night and a day. A second failed save will drive them to a fit of passionate suicide as they know they can never know a love so sweet.
A kiss on the cheek. Her face is warm, her fur a rich pelt that gently tickles. Save vs. magic or run away with her, never to be seen again.
Three  mice tied together by their tails, alive and trying to run in different directions.
A burning bulrush. Save vs. magic or fall into a deep sleep, haunted by dreams of the wolfmother, for d3 days.
A hand mirror that will age you 10d10 years if you look at it beneath a clear sky.
A wooden button. If thrown away save vs. magic or lose all your hair and fingernails. -1 to hit until your nails grow back.
A walnut box. Save vs. device when opened, as inside is an adder. It sinks its teeth into your arm and withers away like a rotten fruit. Save vs. poison or die, refilling the snake like a balloon and slinking off.
A handsome set of underwear. While worn (she will insist you try them on) they tighten when in the presence of women other than the wolfmother, dealing d3 damage per round. They resist being torn or cut and are removable only with magical assistance.
A flock of seagulls tied to a staff. They will loyally follow the stick wherever it goes.
An old gold coin. If spent it will always make its way back to you in the most “monkey's paw” way possible.
A black cat that can communicate silently with whomever it pleases. He gives valuable council and has been familiar to many great women. He is here as a favour to the wolfmother and will leave is mistreated. The wolmother will hear of it.
A tiny misshapen human in a jar. He will need to be fed blood to live. Every time he feeds he gains d3hp and grows ever so slightly. When he has 10hp he will escape his jar and go on a killing spree.
A hunting horn that, when blown, will summon three armed men to you aid. They will not remember how they got there and there is no guarantee they will be predisposed to benevolence.
A rope. Anyone tied with it must save vs. magic or run to the nearest source of magical wrongness. Once there they must save again or lose their minds and become a drooling vegetable.
A rose and a song. Her singing is haunting and nothing like any you have heard before. Save vs. magic or never be able to enjoy music again.
A bundle of nettles tied with a yellow ribbon. If cooked into a tea a drank on the solstice in the field of your fathers, you will find a fortune buried in the roots of a old oak.
She slips a wooden ring on your finger. The wearer cannot remove it as it fuses with their flesh. Save vs. magic to resist future gifts.
A book of nonsense and diagrams of plants & animals that have never existed. If read from cover to cover you gain 1 wisdom and become chaotic.
A vial of perfume. It smells of fresh mushrooms and cinnamon.
A cradle made of chicken bones tied together with ligaments. It creaks and cracks but is very strong. A child who uses it until they outgrow it will never know fear and be bold as the dawning sun. He will die too young.
A tiny spyglass that takes you to where you see, as if you were there all along. Every time you use it you shrink by d3 inches.
A basket woven from the wolfmother's hair. Anything placed inside it will rot and tarnish within hours.

It has BEGUN! Again.

Leftovers from the manic printing run

The first batch of hard copies have gone out. It's too late to burn it and pretend it never happened, and besides, all the contributors (well... singular) have been paid.

On that topic, the second issue is already under way. The idea of doing a quarterly seemed like a very leisurely pace before I made a schedule. Damn those schedules and their "facts". So, it's time to put the feelers out to contributors and artists who want to make a humiliatingly small amount of money for their work. But, by golly, it's paid writing work. Who can say they get that with any regularity? Not me for sure.

Anyone interested in getting involved is welcome to email me or contact me on Google+. We're looking primarily for anything cruel and unusual based off of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess ruleset or entirely system neutral. Also happy to look at stuff of a more theoretical nature or maps/artwork.

Send a rough outline of what it is you want to do and a link to an appropriate example of your work and we'll go from there.

We shall resume the normal activities of this blog starting... now!

The Undercroft #1

Oh deary deary me. I only went and made a zine. A whole one, no less. It's got pages and pictures and diseases and death. It really is the deluxe service we're talking about here.

I started making it after reading this excellent article by Matt Jackson and seeing what The Manor had been achieving. It was all far too exciting to not jump in on. So a few weeks and a number of favours later and we have this monstrosity. It's still filtering through the brave proof readers but is essentially finished. The PDF is in front of me now, occasionally mocking me with its spurious spelling, goading me into another editing pass. But I'm strong.

So strong in fact that I jumped the gun and stuck it up for sale. If it's for sale it can't possibly be edited more. What a pity. And once these pesky grammar crimes are tidied it'll start making its way to the post office and out into the wild, alone for the first time.

By Friday it will be out of my hands. I hope it looks after itself.

As I woke up today I realised I hadn't described what the zine was in the slightest. This is what I get for making rash decisions while tired. Essentially The Undercroft is going to lean towards horror and unpleasantness. This specific edition deals with new diseases and methods for inflicting them, lawyers, and an adventure to an old kings tomb with a nasty twist.