Weird Roleplaying Starter Edition

I am releasing a free starter edition for Weird Roleplaying, a universal RPG system designed for for quick character creation, streamlined preparation and gameplay, and easy adaptability to any genre, setting, or source material.

As far back as 2013, I started looking to develop rules-light RPG rules that could be used with a wide array of adventure modules and setting material. I wanted to be able to run games in different genres, using anything I found interesting, without having to learn new systems or switch between systems.

Of course, I started by looking at the universal systems that were out there already. But they were either too minimal or too rules heavy, or they didn’t have the kind of straight-forward approach I wanted. So — as these things go — I wrote my own rules. Inspired by weird fiction throughout the ages, I called my game Weird Roleplaying.

I tested a couple core variants before I settled on the current system, and I’ve been running my games with it ever since. If you grew up playing old-school games like original D&D, Gamma World, and Call of Cthulu, like I did, the feel of these rules will be familiar. And yet, Weird Roleplaying is a thoroughly modern, streamlined ruleset that makes it easy to run games in any world you imagine.

The starter edition is a fifty page, black and white, print-ready rulebook that includes six quick-start settings. The bare-bones setting material is ready to use as is, and provides clear examples of how to tailor the core rules for different genres.

I am working on a complete rulebook that will have a color cover, illustrations throughout, additional content, expanded setting materials, and possibly even some adventures. Keep your eye out for future updates regarding a possible Kickstarter and launch date. Until then, I hope you enjoy the Weird Roleplaying starter edition as much as I have.

ShadowSpinners Anthology

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Here’s the cover of the upcoming ShadowSpinners anthology to be released near the end of the month. The exact date for the print and ebook release has not been set yet, but I’ve heard print books have arrived at ShadowSpinners press and the Launch party date is set, so it’s definitely coming.

My story “A Darkquick Sky” is inside, along with an eclectic collection of dark tales from many of the amazing authors who have written for ShadowSpinners, including Cheryl Owen-Wilson, Elizabeth Engstrom, Christina Lay, Eric M. Witchey, Stephen T. Vessels, Cynthia Ray, Pamela Jean Herber, Sarina Dorie, Alexis Duran, Lisa Alber, and Alan M. Clark. I’m very excited to be in such good company, to be a part of this project, and to get my hands on this awesome book!

“The Menace of Dupere” ebook coming soon …

 

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My short story “The Menace Dupere,” first published by The Fringe, will be released as a .99 cent Kindle ebook. Djibril al-Ayad, editor of The Future Fire, called it “a gripping, well-written, and intriguingly academic horror story in the best Lovecraftian tradition.”

This is a core story in the mythology surrounding the strange town of Auxerre, Wisconsin, where many of my horror stories are set. A mad professor will stop at nothing to understand an ancient occult secret. The cost is steep, and the creature he summons may destroy the world unless one student can stop him.

Two other stories with connections to Auxerre, “The Music of Timothy Shean” and “Old Growth” are available now.

“Spiral” in Lovecraft eZine Issue #34

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In a cave up past Kegan’s Bluff, Malcom Roberts and his friend Steve find a strange staircase that spirals deep into the earth … and into the dark recesses of the human mind.

My story “Spiral” is now appearing in The Lovecraft eZine, Issue #34. Jump right to the story and start reading here. I was very excited to see the illustration by John Donald Carlucci, a stark black and white image depicting a pivotal scene from the story. Perfect!

Thanks to Mike Davis, the editor of The Lovecraft eZine, and to John Donald Carlucci for his excellent illustration.

“Spiral” to appear in The Lovecraft eZine

lovecraft ezine cover 30I’m happy to announce my story “Spiral” has been accepted to appear in a future issue of The Lovecraft eZine. This is a great source for weird tales and Lovecraft related podcasts, comics, gaming, and interviews. The magazine is available in web, Kindle, epub, audio, and print editions. Editor Mike Davis has done an awesome job of building a multi-platform magazine well worth reading, visiting, downloading, and purchasing.

I’ll post more when the story is scheduled for publication, but in the meantime, head over The Lovecraft eZine and check it out. Here’s a picture of their April issue to wet your appetite. Many other issues are available on the website.

 

“Old Growth” eBook Available Now

ogA young botanist finds more than than he bargained for when he enters an ancient forest in search of a new species of tree. A horror awaits him in the heart of the old growth.

“Old Growth” is now available as a .99 cent Kindle eBook. First published in AlienSkin in 2009, this story links the Pacific Northwest with many of my other horror stories set in Auxerre, Wisconsin.

As I said in an earlier post, this story was inspired by a conversation I overheard. Two girls were talking about how they were afraid to go into the woods behind their house. They were really scared and it stuck with me. A couple of months later this story was born. There’s a lot of woods in Oregon, and some say deep in the old growth, are strange things still unknown to man.

Happy reading! Please share, post, and review if you get a chance.

A Legacy Dark and Strange

320px-FireFantasy, with all its weirdness and wonders, is the deep root of all fiction. Long before people began to write books, for 50,000 years they huddled around the light of fires, under starry skies, in deep forests, and in the shelter of caves to tell their stories. The impulse of fiction was already there, in the myths and legends that were born among them.

Imagine the kinds of stories they were telling. People knew little or nothing of what lay beyond the horizon. And at night, in the darkness, that circle of knowledge shrank to the dim glow of a campfire, if they were lucky enough to have one. The stars were a mystery, animals were otherworldly, and death was a great enigma. A man or a woman who ventured beyond the horizon, or out in the night, might never return. Those tales must have been dark and strange, filled with adventure, monsters, and magic.

There is an element of fantasy in all fiction, an attempt to imagine and understand something beyond ourselves: another person, another life, another world. Modern stories are born from that same original impulse, to weave tales, to entertain, to educate, to warn, and to find meaning in the world and in the often extraordinary experiences of our lives. I like to think my stories can be traced back to the mythic structures and weird tales that started it all, stories woven from the threads of an ancient dream.

Although our horizon has grown wider in a way, there is always an edge, without and within, beyond which dwell things unknown. The unknown is far greater than the known, and that is where horror lives. It lurks in the darkness beyond our meager campfires.

*First published on ShadowSpinners, May 2013.

“Old Growth” Ebook Coming Soon…

og“Old Growth” will soon be released as a short story ebook!

This story got its start when I overheard some girls talking once about how they were afraid to go into the woods out back behind their house. There’s a lot of woods in Oregon, and it struck me as odd that they would be so afraid of something in their own back yard. But the woods are deep and old, and weird tales are told about the old growth.

This horror story links the Pacific Northwest with my other stories centered around the strange town of Auxerre, Wisconsin. It was first published in Alien Skin. Looking forward to sharing it with more readers.

Stay tuned for more release information.

“By the Sword” to appear in Hyperpulp

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“By the Sword” will be published in Hyperpulp, the Brazilian bilingual magazine of fantastic literature and arts. I like the magazine’s literary take on genre fiction and am excited to reach new readers through a Portuguese translation. The story will appear in issue #5, due out at the end of December.

“By the Sword” is the first of several stories I wrote set the islands of Nara, a fantasy setting inspired by medieval Japan.

Isei must discover the true meaning of the sword when Hideo Yamashita returns to the Mizuhashi sword school. It’s a classic battle between good and evil, between the truth, and the tyranny of lies.

I’ll post more information when the issue become available.

“The Music of Timothy Shean” ebook coming soon

“The Music of Timothy Shean” will soon be released as ebook! Check out the cover on my Fiction page.

This weird/horror story was previously published in Dark Recesses magazine, which is sadly no longer available. I wrote it as a bit of an homage to “The Music of Erich Zahn”, one of my favorite Lovecraft tales. “The Music of Timothy Shean” is one of a number of horror stories I’ve set in and around the strange town of Auxerre, Wisconsin.

Stay tuned for more release information.