East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Two good ideas at the same time

Don’t you hate it when it happens?
Here I am, with tons of stuff to do, and two huge ideas that push on my brain to get to my fingers and through my fingers and the keyboard on a page and then get printed, and published, and read.


Two ideas.
Two whole worlds.
Two potential new series.
Heroes, or at least a decent substitute for heroes, already there, ready to have a go at whatever I will throw at them.
So now what? Continue reading



The Gods of Gondwane

95352Yesterday my friend Alex ran a piece on his blog about Dariel Quiogue’ Gods of Gondwane, and I realized I have never reviewed this small, fun independent roleplaying game. And really, can we ignore a game that is pitched to us as

Think Spartacus meets Flash Gordon in The Land That Time Forgot

Obviously not.
So, let’s get a look at this baby. Continue reading

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Two relics from a forgotten era

Pulp_Cthulhu_Cover_for_Adcopy__99219.1464808396.500.659Today I’ve been lucky – a friend sent me two games that I was missing from my collection.
In the last few years I started collecting roleplaying games with a pulp theme. Now, the definition is pretty loose – after all, a game set in Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian age would be technically pulp, because Conan debuted on a pulp magazine. The same goes obviously for Call of Cthulhu (that now has its own “pulp” subset of rules), considering Lovecraft’s presence in the pulps. And of course, a Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers influenced game like Slipstream would also be “pulp* in theme if not in substance.

So, to clarify the classification, I am collecting roleplaying games, and in particular those that are either inspired by pulp authors (like the Conan roleplaying games) or properties (like the old Masterbook Indiana Jones game), and those that are designed to play in a pulp universe, a pulp version of the 1920s and 1930s. Continue reading

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Gordon’s Alive!

Yeah, I know, the title’s not that original, but let me explain.
I am not a huge fan of the Flash Gordon movie. As I said in the past, I much prefer the animated feature, or the original Alex Raymond comics.
And if it’s the comics or the animation, then I love Flash Gordon.
I was therefore very excited when, back in GenCon 2016, Shane Hensley of Pinnacle Entertainment announced that there would be a Savage World of Flash Gordon RPG.
I waited with growing anticipation, and I was ready to back the Kickstarter, but my bank had other ideas, and only now I’ve been able to get my hands on the actual thing. And boy is this thing a beauty.


Continue reading


Hammer-style sword & sorcery

coverThere’s a thing we’ve been talking for a while, with my friend Alex – that is a fine Italian writer of genre fiction – about doing something somehow similar to the legendary Hammer “failed pilot” Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter1.
And indeed Alex did something like that, with his series about the Uhlan, a fine line of horror/adventure books.
As I said, we talk about something of that kind roughly once a year, usually in the whereabouts of Halloween, when we reminisce like old men about old Hammer movies, old games of Ravenloft and even more obscure geekeries like Chill, the old, classic horror game.
We might call it Hammer Style Sword & Sorcery – that is not a thing, as far as I know, but works with us.

Let’s sum up the basic elements of this project that will never be… Continue reading


Nyarlathotep, probably

Masks_of_Nyarlathotep_(3rd_Edition)I mentioned Masks of Nyarlathotep a few days back, talking about the Pulp Cthulhu handbook.
Now, for the uninitiated, Mask of Nyarlathotep is probably the War & Peace of Call of Cthulhu, if not of the whole horror gaming genre.
Granted, Beyond the Mountains of Madness is bigger, and Horror on the Orient Express is probably creepier, but for globe-trotting variety, implied menace, cast of characters and locations, plot intricacies and sheer gaming goodness, Mask of Nyarlathotep remains a classic, sort of the standard against which Call of Cthulhu scenarios are evaluated. Continue reading


Tits & Sand: the roleplaying game

2nro4lsBack when I opened this blog, one of the titles I had on my list was Alam al Mithral, an expression from Arabian philosophy which means The place where ideas are real.
It was quite good, but too long and too easy to spell wrong, I thought.
That, of course, was before I discovered to some this blog was Karavansahara.
But that’s another story.
Anyway, it looks like in 2017 I’ll finally get the opportunity to use that title – for a roleplaying game I will develop together with my brother, based on a new gaming engine.
A nice, swift, cool game of Tits & Sand – or Arabian Nights Adventures if you prefer.
Or Oriental Fantasy.
You get the idea. Continue reading