East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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The Island of the Screaming Statues

I am pleased to announce that my new novella, The Island of the Screaming Statues, has just hit the shelves on Lulu.com.
It goes for 4.99, but you can get a 15% discount, for a very limited time, by using the code GREEN15 on checkout.

The novella is set in the world of 4 Against Darkness, the solo roleplaying game by Andrea Sfiligoi, that provided a gaming appendix with creatures, characters and other wonders for those that, having read the story, wish to play it.
The story features a mysterious island, pirates (of course!) and a lady with a very bad hair day…

This is my second foray in this setting, after The Heart of the Lizard, that was published before the world went crazy.

The book is available in both pdf and paperback format.

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First steps towards the AMARNA roleplaying game

I’m designing some material for the roleplaying game side of AMARNA and I thought I’ll start with a set of character sheets for the main characters.
Go for high-quality PDFs,to be distributed for free as a gadget.

I was highly impressed by the recently discovered Achtung!Cthulhu handbooks, in terms of overall quality and look, and I’d love to do something similar, creating a file folder or memorandum-style booklet for the good guys and one for the bad guys.
Or do a “fake documents” trying to copy the style of the French Call of Cthulhu handbook.
And I’ll also steal the idea of “statting” the characters for a variety of systems.

Screenshot from 2018-02-27 17-22-53

I’ll certainly go for Call of Cthulhu/Basic RolePlaying (with provisions made for Pulp Cthulhu), and for Savage Worlds, but I’d also try and add other systems – Ubiquity, for instance, to be used with Hollow Earth Expeditions, and maybe the old reliable D6 system. I’ll have to cram a lot of numbers and tables in those files.

Something for the weekend, but also an important first step in putting together the AMARNA campaign.
It will be fun.
And it will also be a good opportunity to revisit a few old systems, in view of my (slowly growing) catalog of pulp roleplaying games.



There was a strong and positive response to my idea of doing a general catalog/overview of pulp roleplaying – so positive in fact that a fan decided to help, by giving me as a present a nice selection of Achtung!Cthulhu handbooks (thanks, Alex!)


The result of a spectacularly successful Kickstarter campaign, the Achtung!Cthulhu line is a set of handbooks designed to allow for playing scenarios against the Lovecraftian horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos during the late 1930s and early 1940s – in other words, during the Second World War. Continue reading

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A community to back my heroes

I’m doing some work on a forthcoming sourcebook for a roleplaying game.
Savage Worlds being the engine, the rules are not a problem.
As long as I do not re-invent the wheel, I’ve ample margin for trying new stuff.

Now, in most “heroic” stories – no matter if we’re talking fantasy, science fiction, historical, western – one of the key elements is, the hero speaks for a group, for a clan or tribe or culture.
It’s a simple mechanism, it has lots of anthropological implications (the hero as everyman, etc.) but it also has a very good, simple  effect on storytelling: the hero (or heroes) have somebody they care abut, and that cares about them.
Maybe non even in a personal, one-on-one way, but community is important.
Think about the way in which Spiderman is an expression of New York and its people… Continue reading

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Outlines and Images

English: A line art drawing of a warrior woman...

I’m doing something I never did before – I’m going through the outline/index of my next book (a roleplaying game supplement) noting the number and kind of images that might be needed for each chapter/section.

This is a first for me, because I normally write fiction – and then there’s only the problem of the cover* – or academical papers – where all the images needed are part of my job: field shots, microscopic photographs, graphs and maps.

I can handle the illustration of my academical work, and I can handle covers (sometimes) – but trying to imagine what images will be needed to illustrate a roleplaying game book… ah, that’s something else altogether! Continue reading

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Across the age divide

Sometimes we have the sheer luck of being witnesses to something wonderful – and I think when it happens we should share it with others.

Cover of "Necessary Evil (Savage Worlds; ...

Cover via Amazon

For the weekend I was in Modena, lovely city, at the local gaming fair, Play – I was helping the Savage Worlds Italia crew, giving game demonstrations.
Short Savage Worlds RPG sessions, two hours to help interested parties to get an idea of the system, the settings, etc.

It was my last game in the very intense two-day event.
I was tired, my voice was going, and I was mastering a game called Necessary Evil – a super-heroes game in which super-villains are all that stands between humanity and cruel alien invaders.
The game is fun, tongue-in-cheek, the sort of game in which to save some innocent civilians, the “heroes” burn down the city hall, blackmail the chief of police, start a huge brawl against alien shark-man warriors and on their way out, they rob a bank.

I had a good solid game ready – some investigation, some devastation, great opportunities for roleplaying.

Continue reading