We have some enormous stuff just on the horizon that we can’t wait to share with you, but until then, let me vamp by reminding everyone that MANY Cirsova back issues are available from our Aerio store for under $7. If you need to fill gaps in your collection, the best way is to visit our Aerio store!
Friday night, Michael Tierney and I were on with R.J. Carter of Critical Blast talking about the new issue of Cirsova and The Artomique Paradigm.
Saturday, Michael also appeared on the regular Critical Blast feature round-table of comic shop owners.
Here’s a piece of the Red Queen of the Space Pirates of Corsairiana with Achilles Hister the Elder of the Artomiques by Dark Filly.
Be sure to back our kickstarter for our 5th Anniversary Issue!
I recently had the privilege of receiving an arc copy of RazorFist’s new story, The Long Moonlight from Castalia House
It was a fantastic read, and the whole time, it had me thinking, if they ever try to resurrect Thief IP again for a 3rd time, Razor would be a great choice to head the story direction.
The story follows the rising and falling fortunes of Xerdes, a thief who finds himself in the employ of one of the city’s top crime lords. There are plenty of swashbuckling fights, daring capers, and deadly betrayals along the way, for a pretty edge-of-your seat read.
Razor is prone to get a bit florid and certainly has some room to grow, but The Long Moonlight is an incredibly promising first outing that bursts at the seams with his love for sword and sorcery and, yes, noir.
The story bills itself as a pulp noir crime thriller set in a low fantasy setting. There’s definitely more noir, I think, than pulp, and the pulp is more 60s and 70s pulp revival than classic pulp, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a dark and vicious tale, bloody and unpredictable to the very end.
I would absolutely recommend that anyone who is a fan of Fritz Leiber, Thief: The Dark Project, or of our own magazine check out Razor’s new story. I, for one, can hardly wait to read his next one.
As you know, we had some hiccups with our hardcover printer, but we’re back online and proud to announce the 2nd Editions of Cirsova’s hardcovers! The real highlight of this is the 2nd Edition of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars!
This fabulous 700+ page tome collects all four volumes of Michael Tierney’s science fiction epic.
Also available from Cirsova Publishing:
Recently, Barnes & Noble decided to try something for Black History Month that everyone decided was a Bad IdeaTM. No, that wasn’t a Babylon Bee article, they took characters from classic works [in many cases the villains, ironically] and made them black on the cover art as part of a promotion.
Last year, we put out a fully-illustrated edition of Brackett’s Planet Stories-era Stark adventures, and one thing we wanted to be sure to do was portray him on the covers and in the interior the way he’s described: black. No, not ethnically black, but dark-skinned; easily shorthanded as “black”.
Some people take issue with or confuse Stark’s changed nature with the de jour racial politics: “How is pretending Eric John Stark’s sun-blackened skin makes him a different race any better than just straight up race swapping characters?”
Who is Stark? Is he a white man? Is he a black man? Is he a white man with black skin?
His skin is black and everyone calls him a “great black ape.”
He’s stripped of any white ethnic identity by his physical condition as well as his upbringing.
He’s an eternal outsider.
He identifies as N’Chaka, Man with no tribe.
If Stark was ever “white”, he is no longer–he feels no racial kinship with “white” men of Earth. But he’s not “black” either, in that he is not African, nor would he feel any racial kinship with “black” men of Earth, though given his upbringing, he might feel more sympathetic towards them.
Brackett was a huge fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Tarzan, and in some ways Stark may be looked at as an anti-Tarzan.
Tarzan was Nature over Nurture. Burroughs emphasized the importance of his noble Anglo blood that always shone through despite the circumstances of his upbringing; Tarzan was always true to his blood and nothing could change that. When he meets fellow whites, he knows them to be his people.
Stark was Nurture over Nature. His environment changed him physically and mentally; though he was the child of frontier settlers from earth, at his core he is a savage, more kin with the the wild Mercurian indigenous hunters than with the earth men who found him and dragged him back to earth in a cage “to civilize him”. That Stark was at some point in his early childhood a white boy would be immaterial to his ethnic identity as it presents to every other person he comes in contact with, and you can be damn sure he feels no sense of racial connection to “white” people. He’s a character who was crafted to be completely and totally an outsider among any race.
To say “he’s white with black skin” glosses over the experiment Brackett was doing with the character, creating someone with conflicting ethnic signifiers and no racial identity besides “other”.
So, when I say “Eric John Stark is black,” I’m not saying “Eric John Stark is either descended from African American slave stock or is a Sub-Saharan African”; I’m saying he’s literally black.
Pulp Author Steve DuBois recently posted his top New Pulp stories of 2019, and two of them were Cirsova yarns! This means a lot, because Steve is an excellent author himself.
Included in Steve’s picks are Barbara Doran’s The Book Hunter’s Apprentice and Xavier Lastra’s The Elephant Idol.
Apparently Amazon is liquidating their stock of Stark.
Limit one per customer…
This is 80% off and cheaper than even I can get my hands on them [I used my one purchase to send another copy to our artists] Grab this now!
Maze of Nuromen at Arkansas RPG Con
Over the weekend, I ran the Blueholme introductory module, Maze of Nuromen. It’s called The Necropolis of Nuromen now, but I’m Old SchoolTM.
Michael Thomas of Dreamscape Design was kind enough to not only send us some player guides, he also sent a copy of the updated module [which turned out to be a lot of help]. I made sure to let everyone there know that DD had sponsored the game and gave out the Prentice rulebooks as gifts to my players.
We ran the module DCC style, with each player having 3 characters. I gave everyone a Fighting Man and let them pick two other classes; these two other classes were where their “goals” came from:
- Elves and Dwarves looking to retrieve the Elven Crown
- Magic Users looking to find the Book of Power
- Thieves looking to find the chest of the Master Thief
- Halflings looking for the body of a long-ago halfling adventurer [which I made Yolo Swaggins from my B/X B4 game]
- Clerics looking to find and destroy an unholy bible of the ape god
Fighters were hired muscles to act as the “front row”.
This is the first time I haven’t used minis for a Basic game, but this setup made it easy to do things Final Fantasy style–unless there was a “boss” or unique circumstances, fighters get hit, then folks in back as characters go down. Worked out nicely, actually.
My players made surprisingly good progress on it for a con module that lasted roughly 3 and a half hours. If I didn’t have to go run some errands and could’ve stuck around another hour, they might have even finished it.
So quick rundown:
They got into the Maze without any real problems; for some reason, I always forget about the goblins in the first room, so I just handwaived that they’d hidden behind rocks when they heard nearly two-dozen adventurers gathering around the tower entrance. The party crossed the stream and wisely ignored the bottomless pit. Surprisingly, the character they sent to secure the rope across the stream only had dex 7 but he made the check.
Some elves in the main hall told them that they’d seen a boatload of goblins in the dungeon, so they’d been hiding and waiting for a moment to make a run for it.
The party got hit pretty hard with the Harpies’ charm person in the dining hall–the PCs that made their saves managed to pull everyone out, but at least one MU got nabbed and torn to shreds.
They explored the prison corner to little avail [it’s a trolly dead-end with almost no loot and just some encounter bait].
The barracks proved a bit more of a challenge, but some lucky rolls and good choices helped them survive it. A shrieker attracted a gelatinous cube, but they wisely didn’t mess with it–unless you’re determined to get yourself killed by a jelly cube, they’re pretty easy to avoid. The skelies didn’t prove much of a problem, either.
While the party was pretty uninterested in the pantry and kitchen, they smartly guessed that they could use the wax for the candles to plug their ears so they wouldn’t be affected by the harpies’ song. Sated on mageflesh and fairly outnumbered, the harpies were content to leave them be as they skulked out of the dining hall.
A fighter got green slimed near the savage garden, but since he was wearing plate and helmet and it was a VERY SMALL green slime [ended up like 1hp], the fighter took more damage from having it burned off his armor than from the slime itself. The party didn’t poke around the vegetation, and the dwarf kept everyone from tripping up the water features, so fire beetles kept to themselves.
The party raided Nuromen’s apartment, found the keyword to open the door to his lab and made their way there. They messed with EVERYTHING.
At least two characters got blown up by the alchemy lab trap, someone got hurt by the frog, they found Yolo’s stuff, and the trap doors.
With all the magic users dead, no one achieved a “goal” from the Tome of Power, but an elf got permanently infused with Detect Magic. One of the clerics thought the Tome of Power was the evil book they were trying to destroy. It wasn’t, but it unleashed a chain reaction that permanently enchanted their mace with light. If any MUs had been alive, they would’ve lost their mind over it, but elf didn’t really care.
Party dropped down the trapdoor to the temple of the ape god and found the back-way into Nuromen’s ancestral tomb. While the party made pretty short work of the three zombies, Nuromen himself killed 3 party members with Magic Missile and level drains. They managed to drive him off by, of all things, hitting him repeatedly by throwing the silver puppet at him and then dousing him with holy water.
That’s where we called things.
Funny thing, for how many goblins were crawling around the Maze, they never actually encountered any because they never found the room where they were camping out and goblins never came up on the Random Encounter table.
Great part was DMing for old school guys [including Shane Stacks from Shane Plays] who were demanding more blood and more PC death, even saying that it would be great for things to end in a TPK [because Con Game]. It was a blast.
Wild Stars: Breaking the Speed of Light
This comes via Wild Stars author, Michael Tierney:
When I wrote my first Wild Stars novels back in the 1970s, three of concepts that drive the mechanics the Wild Stars universe challenged the accepted views of our reality. One was that mankind made our first migration into space and colonized planets circling the brightest stars in the night sky some 75,000 years ago. Then, around the year 2000, geneticists cracked the human genome and discovered that the human population crashed to only a few thousand people alive on Earth around 75,000 years ago (the Wild Stars explains where the rest went). The other two were the often mocked concepts of time travel and starships that can travel faster than the speed of light. A couple of weeks ago, this story was released:
Also, Michael’s shared the following tidbit about author sales rankings:
For anyone who ever wondered how the rankings work on Amazon, here is today’s snapshot of my sales in Science Fiction, superimposed with new works released at the time. Amazon recalculates hourly, who what might be an upwards spike in the morning could end up as a rankings dip by the end of the day.
We’re opening up advertising for 2020 a little bit early so we’ll have enough money to buy stories for next year. John E. Boyle has already claimed the back cover slot for the Spring Issue [#3], but there is plenty of interior space.
Details on ads are here: https://cirsova.wordpress.com/cirsova-magazine/advertising/
Why are we trying to get our hands on as much capital as quickly as possible?
I need at least another $3k monies to buy all of the stuff that we’re wanting buy for 2020 and still be able to replace the ductwork in my house. I’d rather not have to take out a loan; I mean, I’m probably going to have to take out a loan anyway, but I’d rather it only be for a few thou than