11❦ The Meat and the Bones

“No, we can’t accept it, I’m sorry. It’s policy, Ma’am. Especially when the guarantor is unknown.

“But honestly, would YOU accept a cheque written entirely in Goetic script? I’m not sure I even want that thing down here.”


It was honor to host James D’Amato (@oneshotrpg) and Adira Slattery (@adiraslattery) this week in the Cellar. You may know James from his previous work on season 1 of A Woman with Hollow Eyes (among many other fine works of entertainment at OneshotPodcast.com), but Adira is possibly new to you? She’ll be joining James and Darcy Ross as Shayna in season 2.

We’ll also be hearing from Jess Meier (@burstofhope), who has been hard at work un-secreting the secrets of the Black Cube.

HONORED GUESTS

James D’Amato (@oneshotrpg)
Adira Slattery (@adiraslattery)
Jess Meier (@burstofhope)

SHOW NOTES

James does all kind of wondrous work in the podcasting/streaming space, over at One Shot Podcast Network, and has recently published a book, The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide! It’s very, very good.

Adira mentioned Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny as part of her prior context with Surrealism in storytelling, and the game Blades in the Dark from Evil Hat Productions for some of its clever narrative conventions.

James and Adira worked together on a podcast project centered around Dream Askew // Dream Apart by Avery Alder (@dreamaskew) and Benjamin Rosenbaum (@ben_rosenbaum). James says listening will give you a good preview of what’s to come from Adira on season 2.

Thanks to Mika Talley (@hireimika), Gavan Keamy (@gkeamy), Ken Davidson (@kdavidson925) and Ian Smith (@iangamesmith) for your thoughtful interview questions!

Alan Linic (@alanlinic) is precisely as fabulous as everybody implies..


Jess mentioned several fine folks who have wandered with her along the Path of Suns: Colin Valkenet (@colinitlikeisee) of Phantom Rollbooth, Alyx Wulf (@alyxwulf), and the inimitable Grant Ellis (@wisepapagrant).


SPONSORS

Gamers Giving logo: heart, inscribed on a d20, with angelic wings

This episode was sponsored by Gamers Giving (@gamersgivingco), a Denver-based 501(c)3 charity by gamers, for gamers. Gamers Giving organizes events and fundraisers which benefit members of the gaming community who have experienced tragedy.

AUDIO DESIGN

Casey Ross (@caseyrawz)
https://www.rawzstudios.com

Sound Effects ©2018 BBC


Monte Cook Games (@montecookgames)
http://MonteCookGames.com

Invisible Sun
http://InvisibleSunRPG.com

Invisible Sun is the intellectual property of Monte Cook Games, with whom Zeros.Bar and the Secret Cellar have no affiliation.

10❦ The More Seemly Professions

Oh, but you really must go and see them recite. The Versifier is truly… resplendent. You may have heard some cautions about joining their audience, but my advice? Throw caution to the wind! Give yourself fully to their words.

You may find yourself on loop for a night or so, unable to think of anything else… but it’s worth it, I promise. Also, Zielony is good’un, and deserves your business.”


If you could construct a Venn diagram of the topics about which I am most likely to GEEK, Matt Gemmell would land right there in the middle. Tonight we discuss Story as joy, as curative, as facilitator of connections — and what it means to order your life around its creation. Matt has recently published TOLL, the second novel in his KESTREL series.

I’ve also got an idea to float by you all — it’s a product I very-much wish to see in the world: a “Walking Simulator Simulator” that facilitates translation of a certain type of video game into a face-to-face dinner party. I’ll take some time to talk through the product design of such a thing at a high level — I’ve also got UI scribblings and implementation details in my mind. If you’re an iOS developer and this sounds like an interesting project to partner on, let me know.

HONORED GUESTS

Matt Gemmell (@MattGemmell)
Matt is the author of CHANGER and TOLL, the first two novels in his KESTREL series — EU-centric technothrillers with an element of conspiracy theory and fringe science. Read more about his work, or become a member for early access and regular writings, at MattGemmell.com.

SHOW NOTES

Making Changes” was the January 2014 announcement of Matt’s decision to walk away from development, and devote himself to writing full-time.

Here is a selection of Matt’s favorite personal work (including the essay “Raw Materials”, which has stuck with me for years). He has also published a book of personal essays, also called Raw Materials.

If you’re interested in sponsoring Matt’s work directly, you can become a member for just a few pounds a month.

Matt’s writing coach and Labradoodle, Whisky, maintains an Instagram account as well.


Gone Home, by The Fullbright Company, is such a lovely game. If for some reason you’ve waited even longer than I to play it, you should rectify that situation. It’s been available for Mac, Windows, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One for years, but recently came out for iOS and Switch as well!

Now it just needs a release for Perambulation. 😛

I would also be remiss not to mention “A Practical Guide to Gone Home by Ian Bryce Jones at Intermittent Mechanism. Spoiler-y, so don’t read until you’ve played, but it deepened my appreciation for the game and its storytelling.

Several thoughtful folks jumped in to this Twitter thread, in which I asked for ideas about how to run something like Gone Home as a TTRPG, to offer resources and ideas. There’s some really good stuff here.

Among others, I was pointed to TTRPG games and systems like GUMSHOE by Pelgrane Press, Bluebeard’s Bride by Magpie Games and Seventh Sea, Invisible Sun and the Instant Adventure format by Monte Cook Games; and video games including Dear Esther by The Chinese Room and CAPCOM’s Ace Attorney series.

In addition, there are a crop of indie and self-published artists who are experimenting with game concepts surrounding solo play or LARPs that lent flavor to my thinking:

Do take a moment to visit the links above, or purchase these game where you can. Each of these designers is brilliant.

In the end, I shifted away from the idea of telling a story like this as a TTRPG, and began seeking a very rules-light way to approach this… Which is what led me to the notion of an app for facilitation of the experience.


SPONSORS

Gamers Giving logo: heart, inscribed on a d20, with angelic wings

This episode was sponsored by Gamers Giving (@gamersgivingco), a Denver-based 501(c)3 charity by gamers, for gamers. Gamers Giving organizes events and fundraisers which benefit members of the gaming community who have experienced tragedy.

AUDIO DESIGN

Casey Ross (@caseyrawz)
https://www.rawzstudios.com

Sound Effects ©2018 BBC


Monte Cook Games (@montecookgames)
http://MonteCookGames.com

Invisible Sun
http://InvisibleSunRPG.com

Invisible Sun is the intellectual property of Monte Cook Games, with whom Zeros.Bar and the Secret Cellar have no affiliation.

8❦ Keep your pen to yourself

“Hello again, Sebbin? You work with the Thah sometimes, don’t you?

“You haven’t heard any… news, have you? Nothing pertinent to my business? I mean. Public houses, and, err, private ones, are an important part of the Satyrine economy, no? And they bring joy and warmth to the populace?

“Just — pass along a good word for me, will you?”


Tonight is a celebration of Invisible Sun. Monte Cook joins the show; we’ll hear a bit about how the Black Cube has been affecting those still trapped in Shadow — and also learn more about “Return to the Actuality,” the currently-active Kickstarter to reprint Invisible Sun.

You’ll also get to hear from several members of the community about the effect it’s had on their own lives.

HONORED GUESTS

Monte Cook

SHOW NOTES

Monte Cook and Shanna Germain are the co-owners of Monte Cook Games. (Also, delightful humans.)

Return to the Actuality”, MCG’s Kickstarter to reprint Invisible Sun, has already funded — but more backers means more stretch goals, which will improve the product. If you’ve been hedging about purchasing this incredible game, please take a look at InvisibleSunRPG.com or the original Kickstarter campaign, and give it a second look.

You may just be… astounded.

Monte also spoke about The Directed Campaign, a sort of… subscription service to receive incredible advice, props, and community support to make your Invisible Sun game as celebratory as possible. Listen to Episode 4 of this podcast for a spoiler-free “virtual unboxing” of the Directed Campaign as well as some of my own thoughts about the experience.


I am so grateful to the “Regulars” who called in to tell us about their experience with Invisible Sun:

Ross Kingston (@hawklord2112)
Rourke Bywater (@rourkebywater)
Eamon Mulholland (Voidlight)
Ken Davidson (@kdavidson925)
Dave Hanlon (@tex_red)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Ian Smith (@IanGameSmith), my dear friend and Co-GM on our Invisible Sun Twitch show The Truth Bleeds at Twilight, will be running an introductory Invisible Sun one-shot for Extra Life, which this year benefits the Children’s Miracle Network.

Monte Cook Games will be matching donations for this and its other streams — find more details here — and your donations during and prior to the stream can also affect the outcome of the story!

The game will be this Saturday, November 3, from 2–6pm Pacific atheld on Ian’s Twitch channel. I’ll be playing as a PC, along with Rourke Bywater, Alexei Othenin-Girard, Richard Kreutz-Landry, and MCG’s own Darcy Ross! Hope to see you there.

I am honored to be co-GMing the Invisible Sun Actual Play “The Truth Bleeds at Twilight”, in cooperation with Ian Smith and Monte Cook Games. We’ll be streaming our final episode on Friday, November 16 at 7pm Pacific on the MonteCookGames Twitch channel — rumor has it there will be a very special guest in attendance! You can also follow The Crepuscule Notion on Twitter or read and contribute at the Notion website.

SPONSORS

Gamers Giving logo: heart, inscribed on a d20, with angelic wings

This episode was sponsored by Gamers Giving (@gamersgivingco), a Denver-based 501(c)3 charity by gamers, for gamers. Gamers Giving organizes events and fundraisers which benefit members of the gaming community who have experienced tragedy.

Episode 8 was also brought to you by Play to Find Out, a Dungeon World podcast hosted by Eamon Mulholland and Arthur Berman. The podcast is just one part of a larger Dungeon World community, featuring high community interactivity on their discord, fan contests, live-streamed episodes, “audio zine” content, design discussions, and awesome links to all over the PbtA + OSR community and beyond!

AUDIO DESIGN

Casey Ross (@caseyrawz)
https://www.rawzstudios.com

Sound Effects ©2018 BBC


Monte Cook Games (@montecookgames)
http://MonteCookGames.com

Invisible Sun
http://InvisibleSunRPG.com

Invisible Sun is the intellectual property of Monte Cook Games, with whom Zeros.Bar and the Secret Cellar have no affiliation.

7❦ More than Reality

“Yes, hello. This is the Proprietor of the Secret Cellar. I’m calling about the Dampening Circle you put in place?

“It is supposed to extend to our entire premises, is it not? I’ve received reports that there’s a painting in the coatroom, near the ceiling, that has been… malfunctioning of late. Would you please look into it at your earliest convenience?”


Tonight, I’ll be talking with painter Molly Holland, about one particular means by which magic can seep into the Grey. Her work is lovely, as are her words. Which, as you’ll discover, is another way of saying the same thing.

You’ll also get to meet Matthew Dimalanta, community member and board-member-at-large of our ongoing sponsor, Gamers Giving.

HONORED GUESTS

Molly Holland and Matthew Dimalanta

SHOW NOTES

Apple’s Podcasts app will display the new-fangled images, but Overcast (for iOS) and Pocket Casts (for iOS or Android) are great alternatives which also have image support.

You can see a single sample of Molly’s work at MollyHolland.com — but if you Google around a bit you can find a few other scattered pieces. Ben Cornelius has made a lovely video portrait also.

Giorgio de Chirico is the surreal artist I mentioned, capturer of frozen melancholy moments. Salvador Dalí also showed up in our chat.

My photographer-friend, Jeff Newton, captures light like a hunter. His professional work is stunning, but his personal work at Americano Mondays is even more my jam.

Numenera from Monte Cook Games is the RPG I’ve been GMing at our office for over two years. It’s weird, far-future sci-fi/fantasy crossover, optimized for quick storytelling and wild possibilities.

When you visit Flagstaff, grab a drink and peruse Molly’s work at Root Public House. Just, beware the heaters.


Matthew is a board member of Gamers Giving. Visit their Facebook page, and join the community!

The Strange and No Thank You, Evil! are the two other MCG products that Matthew brought up. I’m planning to give NTYE to Emma for her 3rd birthday. 🤫

I am utterly embarrassed that on air I could not remember the name of either Caleb Phillips or Vault, his Flagstaff-area gaming events and GM-for-hire service. He is single-handedly bringing great tabletop and RPG-ing to this town. Matthew rattled off just a few of the great stores in Denver: Wizard’s Chest, Enchanted Grounds, Crit Castle, and Total Escape Games.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Kickstarter campaign for a reprint of Invisible Sun is now underway, and literally just met its funding goal as I type this! That means more vislae will indeed be escaping from Shadow, but also means that the door has opened for possible new products! Spread the word. I’ll soon be releasing an interview with Monte Cook, talking about the campaign and some interesting info about the headspace of he and the team, now that the game itself is out in the world.

I am honored to be co-GMing the Invisible Sun Actual Play “The Truth Bleeds at Twilight”, in cooperation with Ian Smith and Monte Cook Games. We’ll be streaming our final episode on Friday, November 16 at 7pm Pacific on the MonteCookGames Twitch channel — rumor has it there will be a very special guest in attendance! You can also follow The Crepuscule Notion on Twitter or read and contribute at the Notion website.

Also, don’t miss Ian’s Invisible Sun one-shot, this Saturday, November 3 on their @IanGameSmith Twitch channel — I’ll be joining as a PC, along with a few other lovely folks from the community. Further details TBA.

SPONSORS

Gamers Giving logo: heart, inscribed on a d20, with angelic wings

This episode was sponsored by Gamers Giving (@gamersgivingco), a Denver-based 501(c)3 charity by gamers, for gamers. Gamers Giving organizes events and fundraisers which benefit members of the gaming community who have experienced tragedy.

Episode 7 was also brought to you by Tabletop Bellhop, your cardboard concierge. Tabletop Bellhop answers your game and game night questions, striving to make everyone’s gaming experience better. Read the blog, watch the live stream and listen to the podcast.

I am so grateful to my advertisers, who make The Secret Cellar… Actual.

AUDIO DESIGN

Casey Ross (@caseyrawz)
https://www.rawzstudios.com

Sound Effects ©2018 BBC


Monte Cook Games (@montecookgames)
http://MonteCookGames.com

Invisible Sun
http://InvisibleSunRPG.com

Invisible Sun is the intellectual property of Monte Cook Games, with whom Zeros.Bar and the Secret Cellar have no affiliation.

5❦ Weep and Whale

 “This is not a co-working space, it’s a BAR, for Trium’s sake.”

I had not been familiar with the notion of ‘Con crash’ until both reading about and experiencing it this year, on the way back from Gen Con.

So, join me as I un-crash myself. You’ll be treated to  conversations about the mind & heart of the most incredible public RPG game I’ve ever played in, a Sunday morning romp in the (literally) wonder-full undersea world of Descent into Midnight. You’ll marvel, or weep, at one of the first live recordings with an actual Goetic to make it out into the Grey. You’ll also hear terrible puns and amateur foley cranked up to 11.

Oh, yeah — and this podcast includes A PLAYLIST (Apple Music or Spotify), courtesy of Stefanie Midlock!

CREDITS

Honored guests:

VJ Brown (@nwfairy)
VJ is the storyteller for the Actual Play podcast Hedged In, A Changeling Story, and runs a graphic design studio at VJ Brown Designs.

Drew Corkill (@drewcork)
Drew is a graphic and user-experience designer, who does freelance illustration and design work at Corkscrew Design Studio.

Stefanie  Midlock (@thenorthfour)
Stefanie is starting a new podcast, Athrabeth, about the lore surrounding the work of J.R.R. Tolkien — watch for it to arrive in September.

James Pierson (@jpierson)
James is an engineer who would like to have more time to do non-engineer nerdy things.

And, in the live segment from Gen Con with “Names” the Goetic researcher:

Evan Saft (@namesequipped) as “Names”
Ian Smith
(@iangamesmith) as “Meldrum”
Jason Robinson (@vafer) as “Drummel”

SPONSOR

Gamers Giving logo: heart, inscribed on a d20, with angelic wingsThis episode was sponsored by Gamers Giving (@gamersgivingco), a Denver-based 501(c)3 charity by gamers, for gamers. Gamers Giving organizes events and fundraisers which benefit members of the gaming community who have experienced tragedy.

 

AUDIO DESIGN

Casey Ross (@caseyrawz)
https://www.rawzstudios.com

Sound Effects ©2018 BBC

Audio design for the “Crepuscule Notion” intro is courtesy of Michael Parker (@the_closetgamer).

SHOW NOTES

Gen Con is an amazing experience. Start saving your pennies now, and plan to join us all next year.

I know that Troy Pichelman has a) traveled great distances with gifts of cheese and b) spoken about PbtA on Cypher Speak, but I can’t point to a specific episode. Maybe just go listen to them all?

Descent into Midnight was the true star of this show. Follow @DiMRPG and its creators, Rich Howard (@umbralwalker), Richard Kreutz-Landry (@rkreutzlandry), Taylor LaBresh (@leviathanfiles), and Brandon Leon-Gambetta (@drcaptainkobold).

I am honored to be co-GMing the Invisible Sun Actual Play “The Truth Bleeds at Twilight”, in cooperation with Monte Cook Games. We’ll be streaming episode 2 tonight (August 17) at 7pm on the MonteCookGames Twitch channel, and biweekly thereafter until Thanksgiving. You can also follow The Crepuscule Notion on Twitter or read and contribute at the Notion website.


Monte Cook Games (@montecookgames)
http://montecookgames.com

Invisible Sun
http://invisiblesunrpg.com

Invisible Sun is the intellectual property of Monte Cook Games, with whom Zeros.Bar and the Secret Cellar have no affiliation.

Chaser: NDA Depletion (ft. Incantations podcast)

The Black Cube’s arrival is imminent. All the rules are changing…

We’re trying something new this morning — the NDA about Invisible Sun was just lifted, so Scott and Dave from Incantations podcast have stopped by for an unscripted, unedited, quick-and-dirty conversation about our experiences GMing Invisible Sun during the beta.

If you aren’t interested in Invisible Sun, or if you have no tolerance for coffee-shop noise, come back for one of our regular episodes. If you join us, though, you may uncover a secret or two about the crunchy bits of Invisible Sun and the future of Incantations.

CREDITS

Honored guests, from the Incantations Podcast:

Dave Hanlon (@tex_red)
Dr. Scott Robinson (@agonseer)

Invisible Sun is the intellectual property of Monte Cook Games, with whom Zeros.Bar and the Secret Cellar have no affiliation.