Monday, January 22, 2018

Incubus: The One About the Rape Demon

Bad Books for Bad People, Episode 18: Incubus

Ray Russell's Incubus has a place of pride even among the outrageous titles of the horror paperback boom of the 70s and 80s. Telling the story of a series of horrific rape-murders in a strangely New England-ish seaside town in California, Incubus combines authorial style with an unflinchingly graphic storyline that combine to create a book unlike anything else Jack and Kate have encountered. It's a rare podcast that carries a content warning AND a spoiler alert at the top of the show, but this is just such an episode.

What dark desires lurk inside the hearts of men? How is Dracula like the incubus? Can you really get a degree in "Exotic Cultures?" What even are women? Find out all this and more in this month's episode of Bad Books for Bad People.

Enjoy our new theme music by the wonderful Andrea Cowan!

Find us at, on Twitter @badbooksbadppl, Instagram @badbooksbadpeople and on Facebook. You can discover where to get all the books featured on Bad Books for Bad People on our About Page.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Krevborna: Cover Art and Book Progress Update

The image to the left is the glorious cover to my Krevborna book, created by the incomparably talented Becky Munich.

I love everything about that piece, but let me pick out a few things I absolutely adore: the details on the moon, the wolves, and the heroine's coat! The glowing eyes of the bats! The moody colors! That nosferatu emerging from the mists! The heroine's look of sly determination to rid the land of horrid monstrosities!

Becky captured Krevborna perfectly. 

The book should be available for purchase in February. I've had proofs from multiple printers to compare quality, I've tidied up a few last things to make the book exactly how I want it, and am currently awaiting one last proof to arrive before I make the book available for purchase in print and pdf form on DriveThruRPG.

Speaking of DriveThru, I'm migrating the pdfs of my previous OSR-era game books to the new Dolorous Exhumation Press page. The old Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque books and the Gothic Earth book are priced as "Pay What You Want," so you can still get them gratis--paying $0 is fine. Of course, if you want to "tip," that's very appreciated and I will toast you with whatever drink I inevitably buy with the donation. The Colonial Ethersea and Ulverland books are also both there for purchase. The point is: I'm not asking you to pay, but I'm letting you, if you want. No harm, no foul if you don't--I'm just happy you took a look at my old D&D stuff and hopefully found it useful.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Old Beef: Disgruntled GURPS Fan is Casually Bodied by Prominent Intellectual

These are from before I started blogging, so I missed them when they were fresh, but they are still hot fire:

Disgruntled GURPs fan slams D&D for being an "endless hobgoblin holocaust."

Ta-Nehisi Coates fires back and bodies the previous guy with a cutting "Sometimes writers have nothing to say."

All this definitely beats the whatever that was between Cornell West and and Coates, which honestly just bummed me out.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Blighted Mansions

† Midnight Syndicate - Fallen Grandeur †
† Evoken - Mare Erythraeum †
† Skepticism - The Organium †
† Opera IX - Fronds of the Ancient Walnut †
† Limbonic Art - Phantasmagorial Dreams †
† Virgin Black - Darkness †
† Windhand - Black Candles †
† Nox Arcana - Path of Shadows †

Friday, January 12, 2018

Aboard a Blood-Hunting Ship

Campaign: The Excruciata

Characters: The Excruciata are a new gang rising in the Tarnished Ward of Umberwell. They are looking to get in on the action of stealing, smuggling, and selling illicit goods. The current members of the gang are: Raymondo Cortiz (Human rogue, former entertainer); "Count" Erron Halethorpe (Human paladin, former soldier); Grumli Fellhammer (Mountain dwarf barbarian, former tribesman); Zanna Cobblestop (Forest gnome wild magic sorcerer, former urchin); Nina Kessler (Air genasi monk, former spy).

Events: In the last session, the Excruciata gang had tracked down a cask of gunpowder that had been magically enriched with sea dragon ichor. The gunpowder was still aboard the Hexencrux, a blood-hunting ship that had smuggled the cask into the docks of Old Scar. If the Excruciata could somehow board the blood-hunting ship and steal away with the gunpowder they would have a very valuable commodity with which to make their entrance into the black market.

The gang's initial casing of the blood-hunting ship turned up a member of the crew, Carson, who was unhappy with his lowly duties aboard and was liable to being turned against his mates for a cut of the proceeds. Carson was duly bribed, and was able to do two things for the Excruciata. First, he revealed that the crew of the Hexencrux had been infiltrated by a cult devoted to the Adversary; the cult leader had alchemically altered the gunpowder with sea dragon ichor because the empowered munitions that could be created with it somehow figured into the Adversary's plans to foster instability within Umberwell.

Second, Carson was able to secretly hang a rope ladder over the side of the Hexencrux so that the Excruciata might approach by boat under the cover of darkness and climb aboard the blood-hunter unnoticed. As the gang climbed aboard, they noticed that the ship stank of butchered sea dragon. Luckily, they were able to get below deck without being noticed. There were some tense moments as the members of the Excruciata were almost spotted as they sneaked down into the ship's hold, but they managed to find the cask of ichor-altered gunpowder--which was strangely unguarded.

The cask was placed in a waterproof canvas bag and...touching it activated the invisible sigils that had been branded into the wood of the cask, summoning a pair of one-eyed, grinning aberrations from the Emptiness that immediately attacked the gang. A hasty retreat, with occasional attempts to hold the creatures off by force, ensued. Unfortunately, this retreat through the ship was very loud and fraught, which brought the ship's cultic crew also into pursuit of the purloined cask.

Once the Excruciata reached topside, they realized that climbing down the ladder without they decided to forgo escape by boat and instead chose to leap into the water and swim to shore. The crew of the Hexencrux manned the anti-dragon weaponry and opened fire with the ship's Gatling guns; the already injured "Count" Erron Halethorpe was caught path of a storm of bullets, and was cut down before disappearing beneath the waves in a red mist. 

The rest of the gang managed to make it to shore and escape back to their lair. The canvas sack had done its job; the ichor-infused was perfectly dry, and promised to fetch a nice profit for the Excruciata.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

My Favorite Hangouts Games of 2017

It turns out that I ran a lot of D&D games online in 2017 via Google Hangouts. It is ridiculously flattering that on any given week I can put out the call to adventure and get a cast of interested and interesting players to traipse through my games. I don't think I had to cancel a single session in 2017 from lack of interest, and in many cases I had more people eager to play than I could actually accommodate. Without interested players, none of these games would have been fun or successful, so thanks for playing everybody.

Every session was fun in its own way, but some sessions stick in my mind more than others:

The House Locked in Enmity
I love a good ghost story, so it was great fun getting to try out some ideas I had for a haunted house adventure that I've had kicking around for a few years. Possibly one of the best compliments I've gotten: one of the players in this session reported having a nightmare afterward.

The Curse of the Moroi
This session had a good blend of the stuff I like in my games: investigation, moral dilemma, and exploration that culminated in a showdown with the supernatural in a horrible, challenging location. The Eastern European fairy tale elements I used here really pulled their weight.

The Horror of Art
The NPCs worked really well in this one; it became apparent that Alice and Nikolai had a more than professional relationship, and it was interesting to see how the player characters treated that. The mosquito monsters were fun, there was some nice social exploration, and Pietra Donna Sangino has the right stuff to be either a recurring villain or strange ally.

One Night at Fayaz's
I had the idea of an adventure that was D&D + Five Nights at Freddy's a while back, and finally got to run it. My favorite bit was the murderous cherub automatons--having them on a "track" added a random element to where and when they would appear and have to be dealt with by the players.

Post-Traumatic Adventure Syndrome
Adventuring inside the consequences of the adventuring life is edges felt like a novel premise, and possibly worked as a cautionary tale. This one became a bit allegorical even though that wasn't the intended effect, but that was a nice surprise.

The Incursion at the Heigelman Clinic
A messed-up medical facility is always already an A+ location for adventuring, but this one played out liked a really good action-horror flick. More than anything, I love that the party had the opportunity to explore more of the basement, but noped out of going further. Probably a wise move--it was pretty horrible in there.

As a player, I didn't get in on many games this year, but it's worthwhile to mention that I did get to play in three playtest sessions of Paul V's GRIDSHOCK (in which I got to play my favorite new character of the year, whose adventures I wrote up here and here and then flaked on writing up the last adventure) and one session in Erik Jensen's Wampus Country which was written up here.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Bad Books for Bad People's Best of 2017

Click here to listen to our Best of 2017 podcast episode.

Jack and Kate take a look back at the year that was and discuss some of their top picks for 2017. The rules of engagement are simple: the hosts each choose one movie, album, TV show, book and "wild card" from any category that was the best experience of its kind encountered during 2017.

Listen and hear about fantastical bookstores, grisly land disputes, pop music about dark episodes in history, melodramatic revenge, melancholy medieval curses, and so very much more.

Find us at, on Twitter @badbooksbadppl, Instagram @badbooksbadpeople and on Facebook. You can discover where to get all the books featured on Bad Books for Bad People on our About Page.