East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Weekend in Shimla

I’m getting ready to spend tomorrow playing roleplaying games in the best, most fun, little big gaming convention in the West (and also in the East) – Pinerole 2017.

This will be a great opportunity to playtest and stress-test Hope & Glory with a bunch of hardened Savage Worlds players.
For the occasion, I have prepared a scenario called Weekend in Shimla.

pinerole 2017 Hope & Glory handout 2

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Hope & Glory: Part of the Machine

And this makes three!
As I write this, the slaves in the vaults of DriveThruRPG and Amazon are busy working to put the third Hope & Glory novelette, Part of the Machine on the virtual shelves. Here is the link to DriveThruRPG.


I’m quite happy with the way this is turning out to be.
In the first book, Glass Houses, was set in India, and was a straightforward adventure/espionage story.
Then came Number the Brave, a war story set in the Sahara.

With Part of the Machine we move to snowbound Russia, for a noir intrigue taking place in the “zima krepost’” (Winter Fortress) of Czar Vladimir in Tsaritsin.
Young, jaded Varvara Vorovina Boleslavskaia is about to find more than she looked for as she moves between the apartments where the aristocracy plots and gossips, and the underground chambers where the workers toil and anarchists prepare their revolution.

As usual, the novelette comes with a full appendix detailing life in the Winter Fortress, the Russian obsession with chemicals and drugs, and more gaming resources to be used with the Savage Worlds basic handbook.



Hope & Glory: Number the Brave is now available

I told you there would not be long to wait: Number the Brave, the second novelette in the Hope & Glory series is out and about on DriveThroughRPG, where you’ll get the epub, the mobi and the gorgeous pdf version in a single neat bundle.

If Glass Houses, the first Hope & Glory story, was an espionage thriller set in a steampunkish Indian Raj, Number the Brave is a war story set in that same universe, but in Northern Africa1.
It owes a debt both to old Foreign Legion pulp stories, and to Zulu, one of my favorite war movies, but it turns the premise on its head: what if the besieged defenders are African warriors, surrounded by an overwhelming force of ruthless, savage Europeans?

All the stories in the Hope & Glory series are self-contained and stand-alone, and can be read (and, hopefully, enjoyed) in any order. Each volume includes an appendix providing extra information about the Hope & Glory setting, and gaming statistics for the major elements in the book.
Because let’s not forget it, Hope & Glory will be a roleplaying game, powered by Savage Worlds.
And what better way to discover the gaming universe, than read a few stories?
Two are out, more will come.


  1. the idea being that each Hope & Glory novelette will explore a different sub-genre, to show the full potential of the Hope & Glory gaming setting. 

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Researching far and wide

Something I often discuss on these pages is the joy (and pain) of doing research when writing.
Being a naturally curious individual, I actually enjoy doing research, and quite often I see writing as an opportunity to explore some issues that interest me.


Also, the amount of research is connected with the volume of work I am planning.
For a quick short story, say, set on Titan, the moon of Saturn, a selection of articles on the topic, plus the usual resources found online are normally more than enough.
Something particularly interesting and useful for the story might emerge, and then I’ll go in deeper on that single detail, usually while revising the first draft.
But in general, let’s say that, as a rule of thumb, a 6000-words story should be based on no more than one weekend of reading and note-taking. “For Dummies” books are a great resource when writing short fiction1. Continue reading