This has been a busy year here at the Red Room, with six books published by Postmortem Studios – Orpheum Lofts, The Memorial, The Sisters of the Seven Sins, Welcome to St. Cloud, Postcards from Avalidad and As Above, So Below -, a few interviews to independent role-playing game designers (Brian Shutter, Gavriel Quiroga, Liam Thompson, Venger Satanis, James ‘Grim’ Desborough and Chris Miller) as well as some other assorted articles, including the one about Giallo in Alarms and Journeys magazine issue 10. And next year may be even busier! Right now I have four new books already written and waiting for layout: the upcoming Postcards Companion an alternative setting location for Postcards from Avalidad and two Double Feature horror scenarios.
The Double Features are intended to emulate the Grindhouse phenomenon of the 1970s in a role-playing framework. There are now four of those short scenarios, prepared to be paired up in two volumes:
Double Feature Vol. 1
Sexual Holocaust: The fictional town of Hammettville, New York, is shaken by a series of gruesome and mysterious murders. The victim are all members of a S&M private club.
Brides of the Vampire: An anthology of plot hooks, set in different time periods, introduced along one character’s story, an old Eastern European vampire.
Double Feature Vol. 2
The Devil’s Country: A story within a story scenario about a movie cast and crew about to shoot a spaghetti western. Players start out as movie industry people, later slipping into their film characters in a western town situated outside our own reality.
Resort of the Dead: A George Romero/ J. G. Ballard crossover about a Zombie Apocalypse set in a formerly luxurious – but now decaying – summer resort in Portugal, during the 1980s.
Cards on the Table (working title): This is a mini-setting for Postcards from Avalidad. It adds the city of Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, to the Avalidad game world. Lisbon of the near-future is a new entry in the infamous list of gambling and vice cities of the world, such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Macao, Monaco and Singapore. There are several tie-ins to the original storyline through factions in the core book and plot hooks which require the characters to travel to the Iberian city. There’s also enough information to make Lisbon an alternative location for an Avalidad on-going plot.
Then there’s Nouveaupunk: Chronicles of the Belle Époque, the second campaign setting for James ‘Grim’ Desborough’s retroclone role-playing game *Punk. This one is still unfinished, but it will probably by completed early next year. And what is it about? Well, it takes place in the time period known as Belle Époque, dated between the early 1870s and 1914, at the beginning of World War I. It is neither the right time nor the right mood for Steampunk or Dieselpunk, but it is the era of Art Nouveau, an international style of art and architecture which had particular influence in the decorative arts. As it also uses the *Punk system, we called it Nouveaupunk.
This is where Umberto Eco’s Simone Simonini crosses paths with Jacques Tardi’s Adèle Blanc-Sec, Edgar Allan Poe’s Chevalier Auguste Dupin and Maurice Leblanc’s Arsène Lupin, amidst anarchist bombings, the echoes of the Dreyfus affair, the catastrophic side effects of secrets societies conspiring in the shadows and the mysterious results of experiences conducted by mad geniuses. Not quite pulp, not quite historical… but Nouveaupunk. Among the main inspirations for Chronicles of the Belle Époque there’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, a series of mildly Lovecraftian French graphic novels of the 1970s, by Jacques Tardi (also the 2010 movie adaptation by Luc Besson), Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetery (2010) and Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Rogêt and The Purloined Letter, featuring gentleman detective Auguste Dupin.
And there are still other plans… After finishing Chronicles of the Belle Époque I’ll move to an Atompunk setting, partly inspired by Grim Jim’s wonderfully insane ’45 – Psychobilly Retropocalypse. Already on the works is a dark, low-fantasy, high-debauchery campaign setting co-written by myself and Sílvia Clemente. Other partnerships may happen in the future, but that obviously relies on other people’s availability so I can’t add much about it. I’ve been thinking about a few more projects, but it’s too early to mention them.