Why So Quiet Lately? Because Big News is Down the Road!

New Misha Burnett Anthology Coming Soon!

We couldn’t really say anything earlier, but since we’ve been told that the signed contract is in the mail [for the second time; the USPS lost the original signed copy we sent] for an all new anthology from Misha Burnett! This is just a tease, though, we’ll have some real information for you soon.

Wild Stars V: Proof Orders

We’ve got 2 of the 3 proof orders in for Wild Stars V [Virgin and Hardcover]. We’ve been wrestling with KDP [because when aren’t we?], but apparently a file processing issue has just been resolved, so we were finally able to take another stab at uploading the interior for the retail version. We’ll have some pictures of those when they come in.

Summer Cirsova

The Summer issue of Cirsova is just about ready to go. We’re going to hit up the contributors soon with information on contributor copies and whatnot. I’ve already got the Lulu proofs in, and KDP should be fine. This is going to be an AMAZING issue. Not only does Orphan of the Shadowy Moons continue, we start off a new novel from Dave Ritzlin, who is a friend of the publication, fellow Sword & Sorcery aficionado, and one of the top indie publishers on the scene right now. This issue features a cover by Apriyadi Kusbiantoro.

Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 2: The Heat of the Chase

Okay, this is easily the biggest deal we’ve got going on at the moment. We’re going to start taking pre-orders at the end of the month. This collects M&M #6-11 in a single volume [the second year of Kat and Mangos’s adventures together]. It also features a cool who-dunnit fantasy mystery thriller novelette as a bonus! Illustrations by Dark Filly and maybe even some new RPG bonus content from yours truly.

2023 Submissions

Whew, this is something I don’t really want to think about, much less talk about. They’re closing in fast, and I’ve got a few people I need to reach out to individually beforehand. I’m already sitting on 100K of publishable fiction from last year, some of which I’ve made arrangements with past contributors to consider or “hold” for 2023. Some of it, I need to see if it’s still available, and if not, be sure to invite that author to contribute something for this year’s submission window. But I can’t tell you how important that The Heat of the Chase will be to our ability to afford acquisitions for next year.

Fall and Winter Cirsova

Things are proceeding on or according to schedule for the Fall and Winter issues of Cirsova. Fall will feature a cover from first-time Cirsova artist Tessa Rose for David Skinner’s The Impossible Footprint. Winter features the return of Usanekorin [Cirsova Vol 2. #7] with a cover for John Daker’s Sister Winter, plus some interior illos!

The Mighty Sons of Hercules

I’ll bet some of you are wondering about what happened with my idea for a strongman/peplum anthology. The plan was always to write my own story to serve as sort of a cornerstone piece to build the anthology around. Not necessarily out of any sense of self-importance, but so that we definitely had at least one story in the can before we solicited authors for additional stories. We would probably do something different from usual, with conditional acceptances and then make offers based on how well the anthology kickstarter did [with stretch goals to include additional stories/volumes]. Then, I’d use the money we raised to actually put out payments on the conditionally accepted stories. This would help keep me from losing my shirt on it. Well, the story I was writing for it is done! Okay, so not “done” done, but the first draft is finished and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. So, I’ll be looking at moving forward with the project sometime next year once a few more of our titles are behind us. Probably after we get out Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 3.

Update:

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All Series

Yes, these will continue, I haven’t forgotten about them, things have just been busy and NGL I’ve kind of neglected the blog for the last few weeks.

Launching Soon: The Heat of the Chase!

At the end of this month, we’ll be launching the Kickstarter for Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat, Volume 2: The Heat of the Chase!

Mangos, the brash and somewhat impetuous swordsman, and Kat, the mysterious Alnessi rogue, have been adventuring together for a year now, and have finally begun to build a reputation as competent adventurers who can get the job done when the price is right.

The duo sets up shop in the city of Alomar, a place where anything can be bought and sold. While seeking patrons for future plans, the Mongoose and Meerkat turn old enemies into new allies, but there’s always cost! While Mangos seeks flashy wealth and fame, Kat has her eyes on bigger prizes… and making some new and powerful foes among the elites comes with the territory when the Crown of Alness is on the line!

The Heat of the Chase collects the second year of Kat and Mangos’s adventures together, including:

  • The Golden Pearl
  • Hunt of the Mine Worm
  • The Grain Merchant of Alomar
  • The King’s Game
  • Too Many Mangos
  • The Wreck of the Cassada

Plus, as a bonus, we’re including the previously unpublished standalone novella, Thunderhead!

The Books

We’re offering The Heat of the Chase in eBook and three physical formats:

  • $3 – eBook
  • $18 – Pocket Paperback
  • $20 – Trade Paperback
  • $30 – Linen-wrapped Hardcover

As a bonus, we’re giving ALL backers a digital copy of Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 1: Pursuit Without Asking so you can get all caught up!

Add-Ons

Signed Bookplate

  • $20

Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 1

  • $10 – Audiobook
  • $15 – Pocket Paperback
  • $15 – Trade Paperback
  • $30 – Linen-wrapped Hardcover

Original Art

  • $300 – The Gate Demon
  • $250 – The King’s Game
  • $350 – Kat Killing Mangos
  • $300 – Mangos and the Submarine

Stretch Goals

$3000 –  RPG Bonus Content

Like with Volume 1, we will be adapting elements of these stories into gaming content! The hardcover’s appendix will contain additional stats, items, and more! Plus, updated character sheets for Kat and Mangos.

100 AudiobooksM&M Volume 2 Audiobook

Show us that there’s demand for an Audiobook of Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 2! We think that Erin Mitchell did a fantastic job reading for volume 1 [she absolutely nails Kat], and we’d love to do another! If 100 backers get the Audiobook add-on, we’ll do what we can to get her on board and record Volume 2 for us!

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All (Part 12)

The UCF’s second PC visitor was Fluid the Druid. This was a much more fruitful encounter for the PC, and also established that the cavemen were partial to druids. [Mostly because they are naturalistic neutral-good, so someone that they see in tune with nature is looked on favorably and blessed, even if druids’ true nature is much more sinister.]

Brian

Hey. This is Fluid the Druid. I’m traveling to Cave 6. Will arrive in five days. Jeffro says play out the encounter now if nothing of note is happening over the next five days.

Fluid arrives riding a bison with his dog Petunia.

Cirsova:

Alright. Not far into the wilderness, you’re challenged by 4 cavemen who have a slight vantage over the trail you’re pushing forward along on your bison. You’re probably not surprised by them, as your dog may have have indicated their presence. The cavemen seem wary of you and await introduction.

Brian

They might have met me. Had earlier contact and did battle as an ally of the Ringo tribe. In any case I’ve come looking for Ringo.

Cirsova

Gotcha. They recognize you after a moment, and 7 more cavemen emerge from the bush. They say they’d be happy to escort you to speak with Chief Fudd who rules the caves of Fug. Ringo is busy conducting tribal business elsewhere at the moment, but Fudd can speak on his behalf for his tribe

Brian

Okay, I’ll go meet Fud. Also, while a friendly greeting I’ll play with my shiny rock in front of him as the somatic component of Charm Person or Mammal. Save v. Spells to negate.

*[Note: Caveman rolls a 20]

 

Cirsova

The leader of the patrol looks at you for a moment, chuckles, says “Funny tricksy man. Save your tricks for Fudd. He may enjoy them, especially after last funny man came.”

You’re led to the caves of Fug. Chief Fudd recognizes you and welcomes you, asking what the cavemen of Fug can do for you.

Brian:

Fluid is looking for help to try to understand what the mushroom men are up to. Next visit I’ll bring tasty animals if they find out anything about the Mushroom men and their doings.

Cirsova

Fudd says that he has no news of the Mushroom men, but a funny man came by speaking blasphemies and discouraging the noble labor of one’s hands. When asked to measure the worth of his god against the God who made the grugs of Fug, his god failed him and miserably. Fudd goes on to say that the stores of Fug are empty and the moon of the Great Hunt is still some time off. There are scraps which are of no use to the grugs of Fug from the funny man which Fluid may find of some use. Fudd invites Fluid to join him and his hunters for a week. With his mighty tricks, he may bring great game, food and ivory, to the caves of Fug and be rewarded.

Brian

Fluid agrees to aid them in their hunt. He will find animals that will give themselves freely to the hunters. Also, agrees to inspect the scraps.

Cirsova

Okay, shift to meta-game. I’ll let Jeffro know so he can adjudicate a week’s worth of hunting with Fluid and a bevy of cave grugs. At the end of it, if all goes well, you’ll get a pretty nice cleric scroll.

Brian:

Awesome possum.

Cirsova

Alrighty. Looking forward to a mighty yield!

Brian

Should be able to use locate animals and charms to find some big game for you.

Plus, healing if anyone gets trampled/gored.

Cirsova:

Great, we should be able to get some good stuff, take no casualties, and have a pretty nice reward for your help.

I’ve passed all the details along.

Brian:

Me too.

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All (Part 11)

The United Caveman Federation was so cool, PCs began to insist on being allowed to adventure there during the Braunstein [the Trollopulous PC game was on hiatus at the time]. What happened to Bob Dobs, the first PC to visit the UCF?

Note: this is also the first significant appearance of Chief Fudd of Fug, who has become a [relatively] major figure in both the UCF and the Trollopulous campaign.

Kes:

So Bob Dobs, Cleric of the SubGenius, arrives safely at Cave 6 on a horse seeking to spread his faith.

*Fighter/Cleric. He’s a half-elf

Cirsova

Okay, you make to the hex of Cave 6, but you don’t exactly arrive safely at Cave 6. You’re stopped by a group of 5 grugs who have been tracking through the wilderness. They want to know what weird man is doing in their forests.

Kes:

Bob bows respectfully and tries to communicate and/or make hand signals about the great Battle of Mt. Glovermore. He also offers them some tobacco from his pipe.

Cirsova:

The leader indicates that he appreciates the gesture, but it would be more appropriate for around the camp fire. What is your business?

Kes:

He states that the cavemen who fought alongside him in the battle were very brave despite taking heavy losses, and was curious about their gods and if they were interested in hearing about his god who brought blessings during the battle (he literally cast bless on his unit of cavemen during the battle)

Cirsova:

The leader replies “God make grug and God provide for grug.” [he gestures to the wilderness around them] “What grug need with new god?”

Kes

“Grug’s god provides, but does Grug sometimes wish life was better? Does he wish that life were easier? That maybe there is more to life than getting eaten by a dinosaur? By achieving Slack, goals can be easier to reach and life can be more comfortable”

“I rode through the wilderness alone on a horse for three days. The only things that came close to me were a group of peaceful dinosaurs foraging. This is the path of Slack.”

Cirsova:

“The grug walk through forest God made. The grug eat what God provides. The grug work with hands God gave him. The grug of Fug know peace of wilderness till ear-man show up and talk of other god!”

“You want talk God? Go to cave, speak with Cleric, we take you. Else go home and leave grug of Fug in peace.”

Kes

Bob graciously decides to drop the subject and agrees to go to the cave to see the cleric.

Cirsova:

You’re taken to the caves of Fug. Your arrival has been expected. runners must have been sent that you did not see. On a stone throne, you see a guy who is obviously the chief, along with several warriors and a man who is obviously a Shaman. Women and children watch the scene with curiosity from a distance, while dozens of other cavemen look on. The leader of the patrol makes a summary of your case. The Chief, Fudd, demands to know what you are doing here. He doesn’t seem immediately inclined to allow you to enter discourse with the clan’s shaman.

Kes:

“Hail, great chieftain! Having seen the strength of the people of the caves during the grand battle of the mountain, I have come to show proper honor to you.” He bows and offers some tobacco.

“Word of your deeds has spread to the city of Trollopulous, and undoubtedly elsewhere, and I have concerns for your people’s safety, both physically, from the armies beyond, and spiritually, from the debauchery of the great, wicked city.”

Cirsova:

[Some underlings take the tobacco]

“you are first man we have from wicked city, and you propose the grug of Fug abandon God who created them for god from wicked lands beyond?”

You notice Fudd doing a point with his chin and some subtle nodding.

Kes:

“I may be of the city, but I have no set place among them and my god is not their god. But I am at peace, because the SubGenius has given me the wisdom to know that my god wants me to be free and comfortable in this world.”

Cirsova

“Your god is greater than God who makes and provide for grugs of Fug? Depart from these lands, never to return, or show us, and we will be convinced that your god and God of grug are on in same,”

[do you leave or accept the challenge?]

Kes:

“What would you have me do to?”

“*do

Cirsova:

10 cave bears attack you.

They have been ushered in by the various cavemen while the spectacle was going on, and the nod was the signal to release them.

Kes:

lol

Cirsova

I’ve let Jeffro know we have a trial by combat to adjudicate XD

Kes

I don’t have my stats at hand, but I’m pretty sure a lvl 2 fighter/level 1 cleric can’t take 10 cave bears in a fair fight. Let me see what kind of spells I have.

Cirsova:

oh, yeah, I think one of them probably tears you apart.

Kes:

All right. I can see the chief from where I am yes?

Cirsova:

maybe, but I don’t know if you have time to do anything.

what are you trying to do?

Kes:

Light takes 4 segments. If I have that, I cast it right in front of his face trying to blind him and scare him into calling off the bears. If not…

Cirsova

lol, sorry friend! The cavemen of Cave #6 were not ready to be proselytized to.

Kes

Lol, ah well. The life of a missionary is often brief.

Cirsova

Indeed. However you can take solace in knowing that your death has affirmed in them that there is no God but God who made the grug!

 

Kes:

AC/BC – You Shook Me All Night Long (PALEOROCK CLASSIC)

youtube.com

HA. May their feasting be merry tonight.

I’ll have to see what Items the grugs looted off his corpse later. I don’t think he had anything magical

Cirsova

All right

Whatever’s left of him will be given a proper burial

Kes

This domain shit’s hilarious.

Cirsova

Yeah, it was fun, thanks!

Kes

Best part is, there was a chance that he could’ve pulled it off. Maybe a different cave. Maybe a different hustle. Maybe casting a spell during the convo to impress the chief.

Cirsova

I’ll let you in on a bit of a hint: the cavemen really don’t need all that much, least of all a new religion. They more or less function as a neutral faction, with no grand designs.

[Also, for some reason I was thinking your cleric was higher level]

[Should’ve known better if he was multi-class]

Kes:

He was trying to get them hooked on tobacco as leverage, so they were probably right to kill him.

Cirsova

Lol

I don’t know if cavemen had taken up tobacco usage. I should look that up.

[I’m running the faction based mostly on having read Clan of the Cave Bear, but don’t know if we’re going to be migratory.]

Kes:

Besides, meme PCs get old after a while. I won’t really miss him.

Cirsova

Okay, Jeffro says that once you have your character sheet in front of you, let me know what loot you had so he can award Fudd XP.

Kes:

Cool. That’ll be after work, so like an hour or two.

“City Man think he smarter than Grug. But City Man not smarter than Cave Bear.”

All right, Bob had 1,291 gp on him, a battle axe, set of plate mail, and a dagger. Also a 10 ft pole, backpack, 50 feet of rope and some yucky city food rations

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All (Part 10)

An early [and somewhat inaccurate] timeline of the United Caveman Federation!

The Elric incident and the death of Bob Dobbs will be covered in later posts.

6/11 – Prince Elric arrives at the United Caveman Federation to conduct negotiations for a pact of non-aggression between their domains and establish trade.

Details: Elric arrives at Caves of Bog [Cave 2] to conduct business in person with Ringo.

6/14 – Negotiations conclude, and the cavemen will trade ivory for iron and women.

Details: 7 tons of mammoth ivory traded for 100 footman’s maces, 600 daggers, 1200 spears, 1200 hand axes, and 96 Trollops [used].

6/29 – Bob Dobbs is apprehended near the Caves of Fug [Cave 6]. Unsuccessful at convincing the cavemen to abandon their god in favor of Slack, the Chief puts for a divine challenge, the god Slack vs. the god who provided Fug with cavebears. The cavebears tear Bob apart.

Bob leaves behind 1,291 gp, a battle axe, set of plate mail, and a dagger. Also a 10 ft pole, backpack, 50 feet of rope and some yucky city food rations. + a Cleric spell scroll with Insect Plague, Animate Object, Blade Barrier, Conjure Animals, Speak with Monsters, and Stone Tell.

7/1 – Caravan arrives from Elric near caves 1 & 2.

7/2 – Cavemen conduct the goods back to cave 2 for later distribution, while Elric’s on his way with the ivory.

7/5 – Fluid the Druid arrives at Fug. Fluid is made welcome and taken to Chief Fudd despite a failed attempt to charm the patrol’s leader. [F3 Caveman rolls 20 on his saving throw vs. spell]. Fluid inquires about the doings of the Mushroom Men, but the cavemen have no news. Chief Fudd invites Fluid to spend a week with his men hunting, using his tricks to catch big game and replenish the stores of Fug in exchange for the Cleric Scroll. Fluid agrees.

7/6-7/12 – Fluid and Fudd hunt big game, at least one large animal per day.

7/13 – Fudd gives Fluid the Cleric Scroll

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All (Part 9)

The Braunstein began with Elric needing gold for something he was doing, and he approached the Cavemen to see what he could get from them. This led to the ill-fated convey that would change the face of greater Trollopulus forever.

Elric’s Caravan

The 7k is being taken from Cave 2, Ringo’s cave. It’s being carried by 5 Paleoscincus.

Our caravan is made up of:

60 cavemen, 20 Cave Bears, 5 Paleoscincus, 5 F3, 2 F4, 1 F5, and Ringo [this is important enough he wants to be there]

The caravan will be meeting Elric at the west base of the plateau to trade the 7 tons of Ivory for:

100 footman’s maces – 800

600 daggers – 1200

1200 spears – 1200

1200 hand axes – 1200

???? Trollops – 2400

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All (Part 8)

If u are in Jeffro’s campaign, please do not take advantage of these vulnerabilities during the full moon.

Cave Defenses during a Great Hunt:

The Caves are at their most vulnerable during a Great Hunt.

Defenders include: 10 cavemen who remain to guard, 1-2 F4 (depending on cave), 20-30 Cave Bears, 5 dinosaurs. Male children may use slings against intruders but will flee and hide after one missile round.

Against a serious threat that cannot be driven off easily [such as a wandering dinosaur or something] the inhabitants will flee and hide rather than stand and fight.

If a patrol encounters a threat that may be heading towards the caves when a Great Hunt is being conducted, runners will be sent both to the cave and to the hunting party. It will be the Chief’s call, based on the threat, whether to send any lieutenants back to the caves with additional men.

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All (Part 7)

The secret of the United Caveman Federation economy revealed!

Great Hunt

At least one “Great Hunt” must be conducted per month, where the 5th level must demonstrate his prowess by bringing down a beast worthy of his stature. [He does not have to do this alone, but basically, he needs to hunt with his men and lts. to show that he’s necessary to the tribe’s survival.]

Great Hunts = anything that brings food, skin, and ivory enough for more than just subsistence and allows for trade with other tribes and the outside world.

For the Great Hunt, the following will be done:

Patrols are reduced to 5 to free up manpower.

The Great Hunt party consists of:

60 Cavemen, 4 F3, 2 F4, 1F5.*

Dinosaurs are ONLY used to haul back game during the hunt or to assist in directing the gauntlet.

On the night of the full moon, the Cleric of each cave will cast Augury, and the hunt will be planned accordingly.

The Cavemen have developed sophisticated hunting strategies that will maximize the yield of the hunt while minimizing individual risk. Prior to the hunt itself, the patrols will have scouted the area thoroughly so they can devise a cunning gauntlet to drive prey through. Each hunter is tasked with either striking a blow or driving the beast further down the gauntlet. After each blow is struck, the hunter withdraws and lets his brothers continue their task. At the end of the gauntlet, the cave chief will deliver the killing blow.

Cavemen don’t fight toe-to-toe with prey, and will attack from the sides and rear angles with jabbing spears and will drive the beasts onward using thrown or slung rocks. Injuries during hunts are rare, but a hurt caveman will withdraw immediately, covered by one of his brothers, and will be healed back at the cave by the Cleric.

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All (Part 6)

Okay, this is getting spoilery, so if you’re in Jeffro’s Campaign, this is not for your eyes unless you have adventured in the United Caveman Federation [in which case your characters would see this in practice].

Standing Patrol Notes:

Patrols:

each hex

60 1st levels divided into 6 teams, each led by 1 3rd level [6 total] These are doing regular patrols on the borders of cave hexes and into the immediate adjacent hexes. Report back on news, traffic, hunting, etc.

If they encounter something worth reporting, they send 1-6 runners to the cave. The cave will send 1-6 runners to contact the other adjacent patrols; patrols will send the 5 1st level cavemen back to the cave if necessary; 5 1st levels and 1 3rd level will remain on patrol, possibly sending another runner if they encounter anything.

[These patrols are “overstrength” and may be drawn down to 5 or 6 in the future so that the forces that the cavemen will react with or go on hunts with will be larger. Patrols with contingents of 5 or fewer will avoid uncertain and hostile contacts, neutral contact if even or outnumbered, and will not hunt opportunity game.]

Reactions:

Normal hunting – If game of opportunity is present, they will hunt it and send it back to the cave; fresh cavemen will replace members who carried the game back.

Exceptional hunting – one runner will be sent to inform the news. Remaining patrol may attempt game at opportunity or observe until better prepared.

Uncertain contact – Observe, then send one runner.

Neutral contact – Warn or parley, send one runner

Hostile contact – Warn or if the patrol can subdue, they will attempt to do so after sending one or more runners.

Friendly contact – Offer parley, send a runner for more info; 4th-level with more men may come to meet and escort back to cave for trade or parley. [known friends, a higher-level meeting may not be required for escort to the caves]

Large attack – 6 runners to warn the cave and other patrols. Hide and observe.

Response Teams & Home Guard

30 cavemen + 3 third levels + 1 4th level – These make up the rapid-response teams at each cave. If other runners need to be sent to other caves, they may do so from this pool.

When not on active missions, these teams will be conducting regular hunting and training and leisure that will let them stay fresh. Members regularly rotate.

Caves may reduce patrols to bolster these numbers as necessary. Patrols will never be fewer than 5, and no fewer than 10 1st level cavemen will remain at the caves at all times.

The remaining levelled cavemen hang back at the cave [1 3rd level and ~2 4th levels] as body-guards to the 5th level, though 1 4th level may be sent on a messenger-mission to other caves as need be.]

Runners and messengers will avoid encounters at all costs. Clerics and 5th levels never leave the lairs except on Great Hunts.

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All (Part 5)

Enough shitposting, it’s time to get to the meaty parts.

Cave 1: Ab (has a lake)

Stores: 6 Tusks [6k gp]

Personnel: Arg (5th), Akk(F4), Ang(F4), App(F4), Arda (C3)

10 F3, 100 Cavemen

100 Females, 50 Children

10 Paleoscincus, 20 Cave Bears

Cave 2: Bog (does not have a lake)

Stores: 2 Tusks [2k gp]*, Plate Mail of Etherealness (20 charges), Rod of Lordly Might (43 charges)

Personnel: Ringo (F11), Brag (F5), Borg (4th), Bel (F4), Brot (F4), Bud (F4), Bagga (C3)

10 F3, 100 Cavemen

100 Females, 50 Children

10 Paleoscincus, 30 Cave Bears

Cave 3: Crug (does not have a lake)

Stores: 8 Tusks [8k gp]

Personnel: Cang (F5), Clo (F4), Cull (F4), Croo (F4), Crem (F4), Crona (C3)

10 F3, 100 Cavemen

100 Females, 50 Children

10 Paleoscincus, 30 Cave Bears

Cave 4: Deg (does not have a lake)

Stores: 4 Tusks [4k gp]

Personnel: Dragg (F5), Dro (F4), Dan (F4), Dug (F4), Droma (C3)

10 F3, 100 Cavemen

100 Females, 50 Children

10 Paleoscincus, 20 Cave Bears

Cave 5: Eg (does not have a lake)

Stores: Empty

Personnel: Enn (F5), Ell (F4), Edd (F4), Esh (F4), Emda (C3)

10 F3, 100 Cavemen

100 Females, 50 Children

10 Paleoscincus, 20 Cave Bears

Cave 6: Fug (does not have a lake)

Stores: Empty

Personnel: Fudd (F5), Frum (F4), Foog (F4), Fegg (F4), Furda (C3)

10 F3, 100 Cavemen

10 Paleoscincus, 20 Cave Bears