I am pleased to draw your
attention to the ongoing Kickstarter campaign for Castle Xyntillan, or,
as we should say, Castillo
Xyntillan! The module has been translated into the Spanish by Outremer
Ediciones, and statted for Aventuras en La Marca del Este, a Spanish old-school
game whose name translates as Adventures in the Eastern Marches. To
quote the campaign,
|Foundations of Fantasy Roleplaying Games|
In other news, I would also like to draw your interest to a new book series, Foundations of Fantasy Roleplaying Games. Launched by Charybdis Press, this is a series that
“…explores the literature that influenced the modern genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, and the roleplaying games they continue to inspire. The series is dedicated to all the hardworking game masters the world round and hopes these books provide more inspiration for their games. But while this series orients itself towards genre fiction and roleplaying games, it is also for general readers desiring quality copies of public domain works.”
These are, in essence, nicely edited, affordable paperback printings of works in the public domain. The titles chosen for the imprint are a bit further afield from the pulp classics; they come from the corpus of adventure stories which indirectly inspired the pulps, but are fairly obscure to the modern reader. As such, they are a great source of reading material that would, paradoxically, feel both familiar and new. The titles now available mostly include works from the picaresque tradition:
- Three Northern Love Stories, and Other Tales: A collection of mediaeval Icelandic stories, from The Story of Gunnlaug the Worm-Tongue and Raven the Skald to The Tale of Thorstein Staff-Smitten.
- The Life and Adventures of Guzman d’Alfarache: One of the classic Spanish picaresque novels from 1599, featuring the misadventures of a low-class anti-hero in a world of thieves and reprobates. As usual in the genre, it is nominally written as a condemnation of sin, while vicariously revelling in it.
- The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane: The classic 1715 French picaresque story (although one set in Spain), following another young fortune-seeker and social climber. Gil Blas is one of my favourite books; it is fast-paced (the events of the first twenty or thirty pages would make for a full novel in lesser hands), funny, and filled with wisdom.
- Told by the Death’s Head: A 19th-century neo-picaresque by Hungarian novelist Mór Jókai, this is also a personal fave. Originally titled An Infamous Adventurer from the 17th Century, it is the unlikely tale of Hugo, a gunner put on trial for twenty-two crimes (“including bigamy, regicide, uxoricide, sorcery, piracy, Satanism, and cannibalism”), each worthy of execution, but each with a story behind it that makes Hugo the hero of the story. As always, Jókai is a master of the romantic adventure; he is smart (and a bit of a smartass), incisive, and fundamentally good-natured about human foibles. A paragon of patriotic liberalism, and always a man with a story to brighten your day.