Monday, July 14, 2014

My Progress on the 'Codex Slavorum' is Russian Along!

A bad joke I know, but it is true! The latest Codex will be quite a complex tome of Mythic and historical data to use at the gaming table for sure. Last year I started on it and wrote in earnest, flying on it like mad, making progress by mid-Summer until I had reached 38,000 words and then I had to rest for a time. I was over six months ahead on my projects because I produce quickly, but now, a year later, I need to keep that pace and speedily make sure I do not slow down. With the Codex Nordica now released and the next, the Codex Germania, to come very soon, I want to get the next edition in the series ready. So I returned to where I left off from last summer, almost exactly to the week! 

Similar to the plethora of Celtic tribes that once populated Europe, the Slavic peoples were a plurality as well, but unlike them a commonality wasn't so easily found and there was room for much variation. What balances out this unfortunate high level of diversity is their more recent entry into history. They came into history following in the wake of the Fall of the western Roman Empire during what is generally termed the Migration Era, and so their period is better documented than the earlier Celtic peoples. These early Slavic peoples are grouped into the category of 'Old Slavs' for an easier reference. It is from this period and peoples that the Codex Slavorum is based.

I introduce three new character classes in this Codex. The Vampirdzhija or 'Vampire Hunter', derived from the real historical counterpart that existed not more than 6-8 hundred years ago that also functioned as a Witch-Hunter in Eastern Europe. Next is the Koldun, or Wizard, not the typical wizard one finds in basic fantasy gaming or other European cultures, but a more modest and humble nature that serves the common man, and finally the Molfar, or Shaman, the most ancient of all spiritual holy-men. In addition to these classes I also have other very particular Slavic racial breeds that can be chosen and played that will be a welcome addition in any game. They are blessed and cursed both.

The monster and mythical beings section is very large, possibly the largest of the Codex series to date, pulling from every Slavic nationality, and there are many! I will be digging ever deeper before this book goes to press still to find more, making sure I don't miss any because as it stands I have plenty now. The chapter is huge. Between the many beings and monsters alone, it could be a mini-book nearly. There isn't much left to go in the completion of this book and it will be finished by the end of the summer. The only section in the book that will be nearly as large is the deities from the Slavic peoples I suspect and that will be written soon by Perun's Bolt! 

Once this Codex is done, I take a breath and then dive into the next volume - the Codex Classicus

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The First Two Modules in My 'Nine Worlds Saga' Series Are Going to Print!

There will be 13 modules in this series, not just because thirteen is the typical number in which all series of Castles & Crusades modules end at, but in Nordic tradition that is one of the 'magic' numbers unique to their beliefs. These first two, along with the Codex Nordica, will enable the gaming group a jump start into the campaign, or saga, to find the Fimbulwinter Runes. 

In the rough mountainous region of Ormr, the earth groans, turned this way and that by forces beyond understanding. The tremors send shock waves across the Nine Worlds, jolting the local kingdom of Eucia terribly. People, high and low, turn to their King, as is their right. But King Hrolfr is in the dark, as are his seers; so he must look beyond his wooden halls, calling to the stalwart heroes of his realm, brave adventurers to venture forth in his name and conquer the unknown.

Little does the King know that the quakes are brought about by a menace sent from the dismal world of Helheimr far below. Raiders carried by dark longships on ghastly winds have come with evil intent, but their goal here goes deeper than anyone could possibly imagine.

The adventurers must search out what is going on in the kingdom of Eucia, but to do that, they'll find more than they ever bargained for, because Hel has her fingers planted deep in the roots of all things. Before they can end the quakes they'll see this and so very much more . . . or die in the trying.

With Hel's plot unearthed, the Nine Worlds beckon, for somewhere beyond Midgaard lies Odin AllFather's scattered Fimbulwinter Runes! And to stop Hel and bring peace to King Hrolfr's realm, someone must fetch the runes and return them to Valhalla, before any take note!

But beginnings are oft as hard as endings and King Hrolfr's heroes must first sail to the frigid seas of the north and seek out the portal to the shadowy world of Svartalfaheimr in hopes of seeking the first of these coveted Runes of Odin AllFather.

Svartalfaheimr, however, is an endless world of shadow and confusion, where Dark Elves rule sprawling realms from deep places, wild beasts hunt for wreck and ruin and the Lord of that world is crafty and altogether evil. Somewhere in the midst of this lies a wise man, Boddi, who can serve as a guide through the Nine Worlds and aid those seeking the Fimbulwinter Runes before either Odin or Hel, or their agents do in time.

To fetch the runes, to find the guide, all this before the wrath of the Dark Elves is unleashed and before Odin AllFather learns of what's afoot, for his fury is one none can withstand and failure, unbeknownst to all, means the end of days . . .

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My Newest Adventure 'A Shattered Night' Is Finally Released!


It has been a long wait, with a lot of delays in the meantime (the Codex Nordica and its two modules Hel Rising and Odin's Fury), but it is now available in PDF and print from the official Troll Lord Games site and on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow

This adventure is the sequel to my award winning 'To Kill a King' and was written not long afterwards, but takes place after the Halloween adventure 'Night of the Spirits', which will be released this October. These were all designed in order in 2012. We are a long way from the end of this successful adventure series, and it has many epic twists and turns to go before it concludes. I even have a campaign series that envisioned to follow up this one with concerning the legendary Arthur involving about 35-40 adventures. It is something that I have spoken about before on here and will again, it would bring everything the Codex Celtarum and Codex Germania (once it is published in the Fall of 2014) books have to their complete potential.

As Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow inspired the first module through the song 'Kill the King', another of their songs, 'Sixteenth Century Greensleeves' inspired the second as well. Each module was my way to honor those song that have been a constant source of inspiration throughout the last thirty years of my gaming and Medieval/Celtic Studies. 

Once I get the covers for the two new Viking adventure modules being released I will post them along with the blurbs and other info as well. I have spent three fourths of my life studying and creating medieval and fantasy, in both music, art and civilization, in a sort of complex fusion. It is nice to finally see it all come together at last with these projects. If you think 'To Kill a King' was difficult and gave a good snap-shot of a Mythic Celtic Britain during the 6th Century (my specialty), this sequel continues that story without a break. 

However your version of 'To Kill a King' played out, you can adjust this adventure to fit to that outcome and move on, or make complete modifications in names, kingdoms, etc. The Saxon prince of Mercia will still kidnap a Celtic princess and drag her to his tower to ransom, ravish and do the same regardless and the adventuring party must stop it to the best of their ability. The module to follow this one is 'The Idle Wizard' and it involves a dreadful menace that the pagan Celtic world feared and revered mightily...

In addition, I will be handling the retail for Troll Lord Games at conventions and, if I can help it, game shops in the state of Oklahoma, very soon personally. So when you see me at conventions my booth will be bristling with my novels and filled with all of the Troll Lord Games publications, new and old! I will be your go-to guy!        

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Prophecies of Merlin, Mab Y Darogan and Welsh/Brythonic Vaticination.

Along with my fiction and gaming I will publish my serious and heavy academic work too!

I have decided to clean it up a little and publish it as a book, preferably through an academic publisher, my Master's dissertation 'Geoffrey Monmouth's Prophetiae Merlini and Welsh Prophetic Literature' very soon just to get started on releasing some academic works finally. I wrote and submitted this to Prifysgol Cymru Llanbedr in 2006!

Then I will eventually finish and publish my study on the Battle of Llongborth someday, it hinges and is dependent on the famous 'Arthurian' victory of the Battle of Badon Hill or Gwaith Caer Faddon. This is, as yet, incomplete and only notes and barely started.

My reasoning is, since I should be starting on my PhD in Celtic Studies soon, and wishing to jump back into Higher Education soon in the form of teaching, ideally, I want to throw in many serious academic works into my long lists of publications and bibliography too. It might be a little droll compared to my usual fare here, but it is still fun stuff!

UPDATE: I have already sent off a proposal to Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru (University of Wales Press) to see if this will be feasible. I believe it will be since I am a graduate of one of their universities and this is a dissertation they had to review and mark (pass). So now I wait....

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Sullen Queen is now published! Book One in the my 'Island of the Mighty' Series is Born!

Cast from the same fires that the ancient Brythonic sagas and tales that we only have the smallest remnants and hints from, as discovered in the Triads (Trioedd Ynys Prydain), the Book of Aneirin, the Stanza of the Graves and the many others sources of early Celtic mythology from Britain, my first story is now published! 'The Sullen Queen' is now in Kindle format and will be in print as well for all to read and review for themselves. Because my specialty is this subject I had hesitated writing tales in it, simply because I dreaded trying to figure out how to fit in EVERYTHING to do with the Post-Roman era and its peoples, so I wrote horror and Weird West instead. Doing so didn't get me anywhere as far as success but it did gain me experience in learning the craft of being an author, acquiring the technical side and humbling me soon enough to see that my skill wasn't as great as I imagined. 

I composed 'The Sullen Queen' in October of 2013 from a spontaneous will of wishing to reinvent my own writing career and taking my earlier Celtic novel project together and suddenly this happened in the result. Not only did I create something new, but related, but I also learned how to write better and proper in comparison to my earlier technique. My first draft was rough of course but by December it was done and then I was already into the sequel 'Within a Dark Mountain', a book that is now edited and ready to go (except for the cover). Where we lack the greater part of the saga of Prince Rhun from a mythical standpoint, I have created one on my own in these tales. 

Carefully I have taken the bits and pieces of the real Prince Rhun from history and myth and filled in the gaps using my three decades of study and research into his era, and plenty of imagination in between to flesh out his life starting from the age of fifteen on. Going from this age on the reader will learn about his past as one journeys into his future on his long and uncertain ride towards the tenuous chance of kingship of Gwynedd. Each book will flesh out his world, and those around it, below it and around it, more as he and his companions adventure onward. 

These novels tie in with my 'Codex Celtarum' and the adventure modules into one large 'set' together with each complimenting and adding to the other as a whole. One could gain the complete picture when all is said and done if you have them all and envision it all. Added to this, soon I will begin my PhD (hopefully) in Celtic Studies and it will be heavy research on the Celtic Otherworld. My Doctoral thesis will be exclusively about every scrap of what my work above is focused on, and so it will place it all into an academic perspective that will make complete sense to those readers that are very concerned and serious and want something MORE than just gaming and rolling dice. Trust me, this is and was a cultural matter long before it was ever placed into gaming context. 

This song is one that has been my motto during the creative process of writing these tales, 'Bring it back...' is exactly what I intend on doing through these tales. I wish to bring back glorious marvelous action packed stories filled with enchantment, monsters, gods and heroes. epic battles and more in the old style. I have put all of my effort forward in doing so. Part three, 'A Perilous Pursuit' is now midway from being written and it is already showing how such a saga is evolving and changing, much less maturing before my eyes. I cannot wait until that tale is published!  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Codex Nordica Shall Be In Your Hands Come This Month (and Beyond)!

2014 - The Summer of Changes!

This summer brings new surprises to my career as an author and writer/designer. I have a newer image, both on the professional level and the personal one that I will project, along with my many publications, past and present. Also, I am pushing a different mode of work compared to my recent past wherein I primarily wrote and published only Steampunk Horror/Weird West genres, now I am focusing on what I know and do best - Celtic and fantasy fiction.

The last thirty years of my life were spent learning, studying and honing the craft of storytelling, and it for some of it, this was easy and natural, but putting it into written form however was not. Only recently has it been overcome, and now that it has, I can unleash the plethora of tales that fill my head into publishable stories. Once my 'Island of the Mighty' series is far enough along I will branch out into some other areas of fantasy, possibly even Sword & Sorcery (Hyborean even - think of 'Conan') style and see where that goes. It was my dream to write this going back to the early 80's when I first read Robert E. Howard. Only now am I acquiring a mote of his skill I believe. It just takes hard and constant work.

I DO have some Eldritch/Lovecraftian horror in mind around the corner however and it will fill the pages of my tales very soon. I won't ignore that part of my literary heritage or origins. First, I need to get those dragons, woad-painted Celtic armies, bands of wild faeries and Saxon hordes out of my system before I move onto non-Euclidean horrors. There will be time for that soon. My early experimental days of writing are over I believe, to learn and discover the mechanics and techniques of writing and what I am best at, that phase is done! Now it is the phase where I intend to shine as a true author in the finest sense of the word.