Monday, September 30, 2013

Read An RPG Book In Public Week!

Merlin's Rest on Lake Street USA

Let's think back for a moment to the days when Marlene Dietrich, Lauren Bacall,  Frank Belknap Long, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and H. P. Lovecraft sat down to play RPGs together with Cornell Woolrich as their GM.*  What they played - at least while the booze and smokes lasted - was Weird Adventures.

This is Read an RPG Book in Public Week!  We thought it was high time for FATE SF to participate in this public venture. We selected +trey causey's Weird Adventures RPG setting as our RPG book to share!

It's often been remarked that Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the first fantasy book to deal with the Matter of America. Weird Adventures is one of the few RPGs to embrace weird fantastic pulp America. It's got it all, from the nimbus of giddy static-spirits dancing like blue fairies around the mooring mast of The City's highest skyscraper, down to the muddy hoofprints in The City's lowest and slimiest sewer tunnels.

Location names, historical events, nations, and many other aspects of the setting have been altered in recognizable ways, and many aspects of the world have been D&Dified. For example, there's a car called the 5883 Raser "Dual Six" Fitzroy Sports Saloon. Who wouldn't want to drive a Sports Saloon?

Weird Adventures has some 1st Edition-style stats in the back of the book for various creatures, but the bulk of the book is pure setting and adventure seeds to support pulp era weird adventures in an alternate history version of North America. The most detailed place is The City, a pulp era version of NYC.

While the action is centered on human PCs, there are intelligent non-human races (including Hillbilly Giants!) in the world, and classic D&D creatures reskinned for the pulp era. Many of these will be lurking as adversaries in the subways and tunnels beneath the city, or in the dark corners of mazelike alleys behind shambolic tenements.

People have visited The City using 1st edition systems, and Trey Causey has been running it using the Atlas Games' OGL WaRP System (the engine behind the classic Over the Edge RPG). WaRP should work very well for creating distinctive pulp era PCs with one or two special knacks, supernatural or otherwise.

I'll be running it using Fate Accelerated Edition at Con of the North 2014.

Stay tuned for a cool campaign seed for Weird Adventures later this week!

*Of course, Lovecraft didn't show up very often for sessions in The City because he was a racist who hated cities. You may have noticed those towering mountains in the Mountains of Madness? Just a little too much like skyscrapers, don't you think? But when Lovey did take the train down once a year or so for a session, you better believe he demanded a year's worth of experience!


  1. Thanks for the review! I'm looking forward to the campaign seed.

    It's always gratifying to see creative folks take something you wrote and sort of make it their own.

  2. It's a doozie. With probably a tip of the hat to both Banks' Use of Weapons, and Dungeon of Signs' HMS Apollyon, now that I think about it.