Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Leave a comment

Hope & Glory – Talk Like a Pirate!

Ahoy, mateys!
Today it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I’d rather talk about pirates and other assorted ship-based scoundrels and adventurers.
And because I am still promoting like hell my game Hope & Glory, why not give a look at piracy in the skies.251845
After all, Hope & Glory is a game that features airships.
And indeed, the scenario The Man that would be Quinn includes piracy in the sky lanes, the piracy in question being loosely based on South Cina Sea piracy.
And Emilio Salgari.
We’ve been there already, and you know the Tigers of Mompracem did have an influence on my game.

But really, let’s talk about pirates and adventurers, and Hope & Glory. Continue reading


4 Comments

Honobono and Dragon’s eggs

Honobono (仄々) is a Japanese word that is usually translated as “heartwarming” or “feel good”. It’s the sort of feeling associated with Hayao Miyazaki’s movies – stories full of adventure and excitement, but filled with decent people and built on healthy, affectionate relationships. The good guys win and the bad guys lose, and maybe some of them turn out not to be so bad either.

151366A few nights back, while in the whirlwind of the launch of Hope & Glory I discovered a Japanese roleplaying game called Ryuutama (literally, Dragonsegg), and I gave it a look and I was totally delighted.
Because it’s a good solid game, because it’s light on rules and strong on roleplaying, because it’s refreshingly different.
And yes, it’s honobono too, which is interesting. Continue reading


2 Comments

New S & S series in the works

One should never brag about projects as they are still in the development phase, but this one is good and looks solid, so I’ll write a bit about it here.
I am discussing a series of stand-alone novellas, basically fantasy/sword & sorcery, to tie in with a popular small press roleplaying game.
I am currently drawing up a full pitch/proposal, with a general concept, sketches of the four recurring heroes, and a detailed outline of the first four episodes.
I am pretty excited about this, because this is the sort of fun project that’s ideal to take my mind off more complicated matters.

And what I find really exciting about this is, the publisher asked me to make the series friendly to younger readers, but also to subvert cliches and expectations and make this a sword & sorcery fit for the twenty-first century.

Combat-main_Full

I think I’ll have a lot of fun with my characters.
And I get to create my own monsters. How cool is that?

So, right now it’s a new Scrivener file opened, basic publisher requests noted, and it’s time to apply my own wisdom – after all, I sell a course on pitches and proposals, it’s time to put my money where my mouth has been.

I will keep you posted on the developments, and in the meantime… wish me luck.


6 Comments

The return of Lex Arcana

In 1993, Dal Negro, Italy’s foremost producer of traditional games (cards, chess sets etc), launched a roleplaying game called Lex Arcana. The game had very high quality values, as it could be expected being produced by Dal Negro, and was a big success with the Italian players.

lex-arcana

I doubt anyone ever heard about it outside of our borders, but things are about to change: Quality Games, a game company based (quite fittingly) in Rome, is about to launch a Kickstarter to bring back Lex Arcana internationally, and I was given the opportunity to take a look in advance at the Quickstart rulebook.
So here’s not a review, but more a little introduction to the game. Continue reading


2 Comments

Heroes & Villains

The Keep, (1983, F. Paul Wilson, publ. NEL, 0-450-05455-1, £1.95, 379pp, pb)OK, I’ll start this suggesting you a good book, because … hey, because it’s a good book, and because it’s only right that you can get away from yet another one of my rants with something good.
The book is F. Paul Wilson’s The Keep, a vampire story with a Lovecraftian twist, pitching a Wehrmacht unit against a creature called Molasar, during a long Carpatian winter, in World War Two.
It’s really good.
There was also a movie, directed by Michael Mann, that was quite good but got butchered before distrinution and then sank into oblivion.
But check out the book.

The Keep came to my mind yesterday as I got involved in a conversation in which I was asked if I ever raped a corpse.
Yes, sometimes things get weird hereabouts. Continue reading


2 Comments

Welcome to Funeral Point

mana bros base squareI am happy to announce that the first… hmm, the first thing branded with the Mana Bros logo is about to hit the shelves.
As I mentioned a few days back, I’m working on a number of project, one of which is the translation of Il Sonno della Ragione, the indie horror/adventure game by my friend Alex Girola. The setting is very fun, and it’s the sort of gaming universe that gives you ideas.

Last night I went through a bout of insomnia – as it sometimes happens to me – and I started writing to pass the time. The end result is Welcome to the Neighborhood, a short story set in the universe of the game, and the first episode in a series that will go under the name of Funeral Point. Continue reading


3 Comments

The sleep of reason generates monsters

il-sonno-della-ragione-2-1And now something special.
My cellmate Alex Girola is expanding into the world of indie gaming, and I just got my copy of Il Sonno della Ragione (The Sleep of Reason), a neat little game that’s so cool, I blackmailed Alex into allowing me to contribute material.
And while the Mana Brothers are hard-at-work already on a set of scenarios, we are also discussing an English edition of the game.
It would be cool.
So consider the following a sort of preview. Continue reading