Friday, September 30, 2016

Once in a Black Moon

We all know what a Blue Moon is, right? A second full moon in a month. A rare, but not unknown event. But a Black Moon?
A Black Moon is the opposite of a Blue Moon if you will. A second New Moon in a month.
Why am I telling you this? Well for those of us in the western hemisphere, we can see one this week, on the 30th of September. They are not that rare, coming along every 32 months or so, but as the New Moon is not visible, then a second one in a month is almost literaly an event that cannot be seen. The name, however is so evokative that it is just screaming to be used in a scenario.

Here are some seeds that come to mind.
  • The Black Moon, being an astrological/astronomical event, is a time where certain rituals or spells have a greater effect.
  • The Black Moon, being a type of New Moon, means the sky is darker, allowing for a better view of the stars. what stars are visible now that are not always so? What does this mean for rituals, or alien visitors?
  • The Black Moon is not visible, but under a black moon, certain beings that are not normally visible can be seen.
  • If not creatures, then writing, like that in the Hobbit of the writing that only appears Under certain phases of the Moon, so coudl writing, or symbols only appear at this time.
  • This particular Black Moon follows on from an even rares recent event, the first new moon of this month was a ring of fire solar eclipse, as the new moon also passed directly between the Earth and the Sun. What keeper Worth their salt could ignore such an alignment of astronomical events?
  • The end of the world. There's always someone who thinks it'll be the end of the world.
  • Those in the Eastern Hemisphere however, they're the Lucky ones, they get a Black Moon next month. That's right, the Black Moon over there coincides with Hallowe'en. Now, there's a scenario that just writes itself!
So all these ideas, where the upcoming event is fixed in time, and not to be repeated often give great deadlines, or indeed starting times for plots.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Interview with Mark Morrison on Yoggie

An interview with Horror on the Orient Express (amongst other things) author Mark Morrison is up on YSDC, to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of the campaign.

Also included, some spoilers on an upcoming project, with HotOE links!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Photo of the day

Frontenac Beer
A photograph of a group of men and women drinking Frontenac Beer . This was taken by Rice Studio in Montreal. Brassiere Frontenac was located in the Mile End of Montreal from 1913 until 1926. This image was possibly used in an advertising campaign. James Bedford (Jimmy) Rice of Rice Studio was reknown for his work photographing the hockey players of the Montreal Canadiens, the Wanderers and the Maroons.

Likely this was taken as part of an advertising campaign to show the men and women of The U.S. that coming north of the border to drink Frontenac Beer was one civilised way to get around prohibition.

This makes a great 'before' photograph for a group of adventurers. Especially the guy in the turban!

Sunday, June 5, 2016


In a moment of brash spending, I spent a whole $1.25 in the dollar store on a set of little glass bottles. Why? Well, after the failure of the Masks Props Kickstarter, I was looking to make little Fog-Spawn Larvae or something like it as a prop for a game. I have recently got back into running games through the Cult of Chaos, but I'm a long way from running Masks again. Still, the idea stuck, and the bottles themselves look like they wouldn't take much to make them look realistic for the era.

I've looked up a couple of tutorials for aging the bottles, and they seem really easy. The hard part would be making the larvae, but I have some ideas based another tutorial I found on making maggots from liquid latex. This will be my first foray into propmaking beyond paper handouts, and I'm quite looking forward to it.

It seems that no-one has actually made this as a prop yet, as they're such a small part of the campaign, and only briefly mentioned as a bit of a sidebar.

The description of the 'Thing in the Fog', the beast that the Investigators may come up against in the London chapter of masks is:
The Thing is insubstantial, it can be seen momentarily in bright light - a sparkling gray cloud with thin, whip-like tentacles reaching out up to 35 feet.
The stats declare it to be an Other-Dimensional life form, and explain the creature as having six tentacles of mist.

The only reference to the Larvae are as ingredients in the spell required to call forward the Thing in the mist 'Quicken Fog-Spawn'. The spell is mentioned as being written in Hebrew on the Frisian Scroll. In Gavigan's Workroom, if the Investigators ever get there (or if they do, if they ever get out alive), then they can find:
On a shelf are two one-inch-long metal vials, Each bears an elder sign. Within each is a single, tiny, brittle larva - Potential Things in the Fog.
Google translate gives me Quicken Fog Spawn as לגדול שרצים ערפל in Hebrew, to match the scroll mentioned (that's actually grow fog spawn, but it wouldn't translate quicken as such, and really, how many players are likely to know Hebrew?)

Of course, I was a little miffed when I read this, as I had already bough the little glass vials, rather than metal ones. But I think glass makes for a better prop, as it allows the players to see the contents, without touching them and seeing they're made of latex or plasticine.

I sketched out what I thought the larvae might look like, based heavily on a drawing here (no, I have no idea what that original artwork is for).

As a first sketch, I'm rather pleased with it, and would be fine giving that out as a handout to players. The issue may come when I make a 3D version, and try to stick it in a bottle. The mere dimensions of the bottles I picked may mean this version is too complex to be made as small as it needs to be, so I'll have to give it a second draft. Also the tentacles seem rather thin and may break easily depending on how they're made.

As a final foggy note, when looking for inspiration for this prop, I found this Fog Creature on Yog-Blogsoth, which is a great place to go looking for inspiration, as the art there is tremendous. While this Fog Creature is not the same as the Thing in the Fog, It does have the distinction of being taken from Lovecraft's Commonplace Book.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Montreal Timeline

There's a great timeline of the city of Montreal, prepared by the MtlBlog. Covering the last 500 years history of the city. Very useful to get an idea of what else is going on whilst running a game here in this city, complete with Wikipedia links on many of the entries. All in time for the city's 375th anniversary.

I for one will be going back to this resource, maybe I'll even steal it and add to it with more mythos/gameable events.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016