East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Zweihander + Main Gauche: RPG in the pocket

I wrote about Zweihander, the Grim & Perilous RPG developed, unsurprisingly, by Grim & Perilous Studios and Daniel D. Fox, back in 2017, when I got a copy of the basic handbook in PDF and was quite positively impressed.

Basically, Zweihander is a retro-clone of the classic Warhammer Fantasy RPG (WHFRPG) that made it big – it cleans up the rules and it straightens up a few of the glitches of the olf First and Second editions of WHFRP, and while preserving all the good parts of the old game, it also adds a few bits and pieces – the core rulebook is a hefty 672 pages. The hardback edition is impressive and rather costly – but you can get the PDF version for less than 15 bucks.

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Last night I pulled out two things from my shelf – my copy of the Hammer movie Vampire Circus (1971) and my copy of J. Gordon Melton’s The Vampire Book, a massive encyclopedia of the undead that is part of my somewhat extensive collection of non-fiction books on the subject. I was quite surprised when I discovered The Vampire Book was published in 1994 – is it really been that long?
This led me to reflect on the reason for my general dislike for vampires in the last few years – the Vampire roleplaying game, that first came out in 1992. Suddenly vampires where hot in the ’90s, and as it usually happens, the surge of recent converts to the new faith caused me to look somewhere else for my thrills.

Me, I was a Ravenloft sort of guy, or even better a Warhammer Fantasy RPG sort of guy, when it came to roleplaying vampires.
Even better – a Chill sort of guy.

As for stories…

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In bed with the vampire Genevieve

Sort of a follow-up to yesterday’s post, this one.
A few days back, on my Italian blog, I mentioned The Vampire Genevieve, a volume that collects Kim Newman’s contribution to the Warhammer Fantasy line of books.
Thebook, that’s been resting on my nightstand for ages, is worth a new read – because it’s true, I re-read, year-in, year-out, either Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun or Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, but there is sitill room enough for other big, massive books.
In particular, two books I return always happily are Roger Zelazny’s Amber Chronicles and Kim Newman’s The Vampire Genevieve.


As Newman himself explains in the funny, insightful introduction to the volume, the Warhammer novels were mercenary work the young writer did to make ends meet, lured by a promise of unimagined riches and literary fame.

The end result is weird, in a very good way.
Let’s see a little bit of history. Continue reading