The Trials & Tribulations of Printing Pornographic Card Games

First to give some reference to the pricing poll yesterday, the question was ‘how much would you pay for a professionally printed version of Cthentacle’. To which the answer seems to be that you’d pay around £10-12 or $14-18 in monopoly money.

For your money that would get you:

  • 64 plastic-coated cards
  • A 4-page rules booklet.
  • A clear plastic presentation case.

The quote I got covered all that, plus shipping to me at a per unit price of around $14. Now, ideally I’d want to mark that up by about 50% to cover the time, effort, cover costs in case I didn’t sell them all etc, so that, ideally, should be around $21, or £14. Doesn’t look like that’ll do if I want to sell any, so I need to look at ways of cutting costs.

I could:

  • Ditch the booklet, knocking down the per-unit cost by $2, leaving the rules on rules cards with a weblink to a downloadable booklet of extra rules.
  • Ditch the plastic box and go with a plain white tuck box, but I can’t get art on it unless I order 500 units – fat chance. This would save around 20 cents per unit.
  • Not bother with the plastic coating – M:TG never bothered, I could up the cardstock GSM to compensate a little, but I don’t know how much this would save.

Opinions sought!

***

Getting any card game printed POD is a major league effort, if it’s a pornographic card game you’re going to find things even more difficult. Getting Hentacle and now Cthentacle printed has been a big, long, pain in the arse, fraught with issues.

The first time I got any printed I went to my local printer in Andover. This was, needless to say, traumatic. People know me on sight around Andover and surrounds, even if they don’t know me personally and the print shop was right near the centre of town and staffed entirely by women. Nevertheless I got the job done by them, though their card quality wasn’t that great, very bendy indeed and very pricey. The worst part was being informed that the cards had been guillotined by a lovely little old lady who was almost due for retirement, considering what the cards depict that was severely blush inducing, as was the moment when the rather lovely young lady in the shop started opening the boxes when I went to pick them up, offering to check that they were OK.

Heart stopping.

The local printer wasn’t any good for long term printing, the quality wasn’t that high and the costs were way too high so I was forced to look elsewhere.

Oh boy, is the printing world full of scam artists. There’s a lot of companies in India or China that are professional and handle a lot of card printing for ‘The Big Boys’ but if you’re not printing at least 1,000+ units you can forget it and they often have extremely exacting printing specifications and if you don’t/can’t meet them, you’re boned.

The smaller scale businesses are either run as close knit family firms ‘Print porn? Are you out of your sick little mind?’ who kindly send you Christian tracts by e-mail after you explain what you want printed or are run by people who are a ‘little bit dodgy’ in the same way that a rat is a little bit covered in fur*, naming no names that rhyme with ‘Ben Shit-Pan’. No fewer than three POD companies I approached and were willing to take on the job went bust practically overnight and it got to the point where I wondered if I had the kiss of death.

Fortunately a friend came to the rescue and it wasn’t a printing source I’d ever really considered before, due to the assumed cost and quality issues. I mean, who would think of using FedexKinkos to get their porno card game printed? The quality was as good as I could hope for – outside full on professional printing – and with the dollar as shafted as it was at the time it was cheap as chips. Unfortunately that shop recently ‘upgraded’ its printers and now can’t do accurate duplex or cutting any more. So I’m tossed back out on the street.

There’s a distinct feeling of deja vu all over again, going back to the local printer they’ve now been taken over and have a company policy of ‘not doing adult material’ with an implied comment of ‘you worthless scum, never darken my doorstep again’ and the other local printers haven’t even deigned to send me a reply. A chinese printer sent me something incomprehensible but which did say they only really took runs of 500 minimum, so that was out.

In between all that I’ve had offers from three different companies down the years to take Hentacle at least professional, one had it optioned for a year and did nothing, another offered money then dried up and disappeared and the last is still in negotiation but has to be very careful because of their licensed properties, leaving all that in limbo.

The company I’m currently talking to is expensive (see above) but has great – and communicative – customer service. Unlike others who – in mid negotiations before have suddenly stopped communicating. Others have not replied, given abuse or sounded eager and then not gotten back to me again. Here’s hoping I’ve finally found somewhere I can get a deal together and get a new game out there!

Next time I’ll save myself some bother and do a game about good, wholesome, honest violence!

*I’m re-reading Neverwhere, you’ll forgive the literary indulgence.

Grim’s Tales: Player Styles

As with Games Masters there are as many different types of players as there are players. No two people quite want exactly the same thing in the same way no two people like exactly the same books, TV shows or films. You can identify trends in player desires and play styles though and that can be a very helpful thing in crafting a game to suit the group and individual play to suit the individual players.

The Action Hero
The Action Hero wants to do impossible deeds, swing from chandeliers, fight off ten men at once and get away with the damsel in distress. They tend to like games that encourage or include this sort of over-the-top action and may run aground in games that are more gritty and realistic, trying to do things that – in the real world – lead to a quick and messy death. Games Masters may need to loosen up the game and be a bit more generous with Action Hero players but Action Hero players themselves need to be aware that not every game is Zu Warriors of the Magic Mountain.

The Anthropologist
The Anthropologist finds social interaction to be the key to their enjoyment. As well as socialising Out of Character with the group they like to talk up a storm and understand the situation with the Non-Player-Characters in game. This can be a headache for the Games Master who has to keep dozens of NPCs and their motivations clear in their head at all times. The Anthropologist’s concern with social interaction can bore other players who like to hit things more. The Games Master should include social scenes where they can shine and get their jollies, but equally the Anthropologist should be gracious and acknowledge that not everyone likes to play out two hour long speeches.

The Expert
The Expert likes their character to be really, really, really good at something. Perhaps they’re a sniper or a hyper-specialised magician, perhaps they’re a scholar of ancient Egypt, perhaps a computer hacker. Whatever it is the player likes to be an unparalleled genius in that one specific field. Unfortunately in scenes or encounters where that expertise doesn’t apply they’re probably about as much use as a chocolate fireman. The GM needs to make sure that in every game there’s somewhere that The Expert can be useful and that their pre-eminent status doesn’t get undermined too much. The player of The Expert needs to realise that there’s other people in the game and other topics and ways of going about things, developing some secondary capabilities is probably a good idea.

The Investigator
The Investigator lives to solve the mysteries of the game. They love uncovering layer after layer of plots and schemes until they get to that sublime ‘AHA!’ moment where everything falls into place. Investigators are good from a Games Master point of view since they can drive the plot forward but there can be a temptation to create overly convoluted plots to appeal to The Investigator which can leave less motivated players behind. The Games Master needs to introduce puzzles at appropriate levels for different players and The Investigator needs to remember to let other players have their moment in the sun.

The ‘Me but not Me’
The ‘Me but not Me’ doesn’t quite grasp the idea of playing a character other than themselves, or can’t, or prefers to consider how they would act in such a circumstance. The Games Master needs to be careful not to push too many of the player’s personal buttons, though some of them can be good to put into the game to increase engagement. The ‘Me but not Me’ player needs to remember that the other people at the table may not be playing themselves, at all.

The Snowflake
The Snowflake likes to be something special and unique. Maybe they want to be a lost prince or princess, maybe they want to play a race that’s normally limited to monsters. Perhaps they want some unique powers. This can, frankly, be a pain in the arse for the Games Master who shouldn’t feel that they have to go along with any and all whims of the players. Snowflakes can be good for a game though, excellent for plot hooks and providing something of a focus for the rest of the group. The Games Master should find a way to fit some uniqueness – for all the players – into their games while the Snowflake should try to understand that they make a lot of extra work and perhaps settle for something rare, rather than absolutely unique.

The Thespian

The Thespian craves suspension of disbelief. They want to live the life of their character and work their way entirely into their head. They want to think and act as them and live in their shoes, even for a couple of hours. The Thespian can have trouble compromising their role-play for the good of the group and the game as a whole. As a Games Master it’s flattering and enthusing to have someone so into the game but, on the downside, they can resent the out-of-game chatter and socialising that goes on. The Games Master needs to give The Thespian a little more attention and RP opportunity. The Thespian needs to understand that not all the players are like them and some people just like to eat pizza, kill things and take their stuff and take their enjoyment where they can.

The Winner
The Winner likes to conquer, to defeat, to win. They may view the game in an adversarial mode of thought and may even compare themselves to the other players. They’re driven to be the best and while this is often a hindrance it can be a boon as they can often take the lead of the player group and play ruthlessly to best the antagonists. Games Masters need to watch Winners as they’re more likely to cheat and also needs to up the ante for the difficulty of scenes and encounters to account for how driven they are. Winners need to take a step back, calm down, remember that it’s only a game and give the other players more input.

Cthentacle Hardcopy Poll

Please take the time to fill out this poll and I’ll give you the cost breakdown tomorrow. The PDF sells for $7.50 incidentally, so one might normally reckon on hardcopy selling for $11-15 on that basis.

How much would you pay for a professionally printed and boxed Cthentacle set?
$8-10 (5-7quid)
$10-12 (7-8 quid)
$12-14 (8-9 quid)
$14-16 (9-11 quid)
$16-18 (11-12 quid)
$19-20 (12-15 quid or so)
More
pollcode.com free polls

Neverwhere: Commentary Viewing

So yesterday I watched Neverwhere again, with the commentary on, listening to Neil Gaiman ‘bibbling on’ about it. Most of which seemed to consist of him bitching about the BBC in various ways and complaining about scenes that were cut and that they insisted on lighting for film but shooting for video.

Dude, chill, it’s an excellent and beloved book and series and even if the locations – despite being real – ended up looking ‘fake’ it only added to the dream-like surreality of the series and, in my opinion for what it’s worth, added to the overall feel of the series.

Amongst other details I hadn’t necessarily been aware of before:

  • The Velvets sleep together, hanging upside, in a hall somewhere and emerge at night, mysteriously, as though from out of nowhere, just like the real beautiful Goth Girls of London! (apart from the sleeping upside down in a hall bit).
  • There’s a whole Wizard of Oz theme going through it that I somehow completely missed – probably due to not being much of an Oz fan. Can I use this?
  • The Black Friars names are all something to do with the colour black.
  • The Ordeal was meant to end with a tube train full of dead bodies/ghosts of the previous failures – this DOES appear in the Graphic Novel.
  • Islington was intended to be androgynous – again, this does happen in the Graphic Novel.
  • Stockton is meant to be – ‘Rupert Murdoch, only worse.’
  • The Great Beast of London is meant to be the Great Boar of London, based on a real story – which I think is in Stephen Inwood’s ‘A History of London’ – which is a fine book. I know I’ve read the real story somewhere.
  • Hunter was meant to be more seductive, hidden strength, hidden power, that’s why Richard mistakes her for a hooker. She was never meant to be so blatant.
  • Iliaster – The homeless man who helps Richard to the Ratspeakers, was a noble, perhaps even a king, long ago.
  • The Ratspeakers are meant to have much more rat-like traits, more like Anaesthesia confronting Ruislip, less like a Royal Shakespeare performance.
  • They used The Clink a lot – worth looking into even though it’s not actually mentioned.
  • The Marquis de Carabas was meant to be bald and the character was written pretty much as Neil’s take on Doctor Who would be. Patterson Joseph was definately robbed of the role!
  • Neverwhere was almost entirely shot on location.

Grim’s Tales: What is a Player?

What’s a player in an RPG? This seems like a pointless question to ask but I think it is worth exploring. What are you when you’re a player in a role-playing game? Are you an actor playing a role? Are you yourself – or some part of yourself – thrown into these situations? Are you like a chess player, only with a single piece, are you the controller of something ‘other’? Why are you playing? How do you play? What are you playing for?

Different players have different motivations for playing, some people like to step into the shoes of someone unlike themselves, some people like to win against overwhelming odds, some love tweaking statistics or creating ‘optimal builds’, some play the system, some play the game, some play make believe.

The only thing all players really have in common that they’re participants in the game. In an ideal world all the players have similar playing ideals and goals that compliment each other and the Games Master, but the world is rarely perfect and diversity can have a beauty all of its own. Players are all there at the sufferance of the Games Master and each other though and an awareness of that, of some basis of social etiquette and that – like the GM – each player is there to facilitate each other’s fun, and the Games Masters. This is something that I feel’s being lost, particularly in the CRPGs and MMORPGs where singular play and internet anonymity makes a lot of players very selfish and focussed entirely on their own fun, that attitude can – unfortunately – carry over into TTRPGs.

Tabletop RPGs are a filthy, commie, pinko, liberal pasttime. They require an awareness of other people, of ‘society’ to work really well together and the players, as the game’s ‘proletariat’ are essential to the Glorious People’s Republic of Gaming!Long live the revolution!

Neverwhere 3rd Edition – Re-watching the Series (First time)


So, I re-watched the 1996 series the other day. It’s amazing, and frightening, to think of how many years ago that was now. Overall, the film has held up well, in no small part due to being set amongst timeless craziness and homeless squalor that doesn’t age so badly as high octane, high fashion series. The only thing that sets it in the past like that are the mobile phones which are, mercifully, only briefly seen. Seeing it again floods me with nostalgia, laying in bed watching the series with my girlfriend at the time, time spent in London at the Electric Ballroom or around Camden, which frankly often looked like The Floating Market at the time and many of the extras in the market scenes are people I recognise from those days!

The series takes a lot of flak for being like the Old Style Doctor Who, shaky sets and so on. Personally I found it still looked really good and the restrictions of budget and the type of cameras used gave it a sort of honest verisimilitude that makes it seem more real and helps me suspend my disbelief. Really the only thing that lets it down terrible are the fight scenes which are poorly cut and choreographed. Even though they’re not meant to be high-flying wire-fu spectaculars and there’s not many of them, they really do make poor Hunter look dappy.

I managed to find a few little details I missed before and which I’ll now incorporate into the game A-Z, so it was useful and also reminded me what a tour-de-force the performances for Croup and Vandemar were. Now I need to re-watch it again with the commentary on. I also found myself a DVD player with a very good screen-capture capability. I’m not going to use screen caps for the new book, but it does give me the opportunity to really peruse the detail of certain scenes, which is very helpful.

Feel free to offer any suggests of places/people that might be found in London Below as some people have!

Grim’s Tales: The Lessening Role of the Games Master

It feels to me as though the role of the Games Master in gaming has been lessening for some years and in two directions. On the one hand there are some games – such as D&D4 – that are so codified and clear-cut in their rulings and systems that the Games Master might as well be a games console, running along a set little track nice and efficiently. On the other hand, the reaction to these kinds of systems has been the ‘soft’, narrative type games where player input plays a much more significant role in the game – directly rather than through play – than it used to. Case in point being the character/team creation rules in Spirit of the Century.

In some ways this is good, the more set and codified games are easier to prepare for, they’re ‘plug and play’ in a way. You can just slot in a gang of goblins, treasure option B2 and some environmental hazards and you have an ‘encounter’. With the softer games the shared burden of coming up with plot hooks and character buy-in relieves the Games Master of a great deal of the weighty burden of coming up with something everyone wants to play and finding reasons for the group to be together. In other ways it’s bad, the GM becomes less of an interpreter and gets to put less of a personal spin on what’s going on, or they succumb to being a wish fulfilment engine with less of their own narrative engagement with the game and the story.

Of course, you can always ignore both and do your own thing, damn the torpedoes, but it’s nice when a game works with you rather than against you, where the system, setting and theme harmonises with the way you want to play. Speaking for myself I’m caught in the middle of the whole ideological ‘gaming battle’. My happy place is somewhere between the two extremes.

Grim’s Tales: Games Master Styles (And comments)

There are as many different kinds of Games Master as there are people willing to run games for people but they can, nonetheless, be streamed into a number of different types, depending where their focus on the game rests. If you’re a player it helps to know what sort of Games Master you have so you can have realistic expectations of the game. If you’re a Games Master identifying what sort of GM you are can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and play to them or overcome them. Here’s a few of the more recognisable ones:

Auteur

“The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviews.” – William Faulkner

The Auteur has an idea and you’re privileged enough to be along for the ride. The Auteur isn’t a railroading Games Master in the traditional sense but, rather they have a story to tell and if your irritating player actions get in the way, then they’ll get ridden roughshod over. If they add to their idea then that’s different, they might get incorporated and run with. The Auteur wants everything to be perfect, to shine light on their idea and for the game to be one of the best ever. If you all get on then this may, indeed, happen. If the player’s tastes and ideas differ from those of the GM then you may be in trouble.

Advantages: The Auteur tends to put a lot of work and thought into their games and they’re often great, so long as you don’t go against the flow too much. The Auteur is unlikely to run out of interest in their own project and so you’re pretty much guaranteed the game will run on through to its conclusion.
Disadvantages: The Auteur wants to do everything and they may include playing the player’s characters, or at least interfering with them to the extent that they’re unrecognisable to the player’s original intent. You’re also very unlikely to get a lot of leeway in playing the game and while not on rails per se, you’re at best on a fairly narrow path.

Autocrat
“Dictatorship is without a doubt the most satisfying form of government…as long as I’m the dictator.” – Phil Stromer

The Autocrat desires total and absolute control over the game and will brook no argument, no rules-lawyering and no complaints. They’ll probably be quick to chuck people out of the group for being ‘disruptive’ and arguing their calls and they get off on being ‘in charge’. They may even see the Games Master’s role as being adversarial in a decidedly old-skool fashion.

Advantages: The Autocrat’s game will tend to be organised and efficient, you’ll get a lot of gaming done, albeit on their terms. They know how to keep order at the gaming table and to prevent others from spoiling the game.
Disadvantages: You can never quite be sure whether what you do while playing is going to offend and goofing off, half the fun in a lot of games, is less likely to be tolerated.

Captain Play-Doh
“Too little liberty brings stagnation and too much brings chaos.” – Bertrand Russell

Captain Play-Doh is whatever you want him to be. You want to play a tense Lovecraftian horror using Bunnies & Burrows? You go it. You want to play a sentient otter with Jedi mind powers in D&D? No problem. Captain Play-Doh is an amorphous mass shaped almost entirely by the desires of the players which can often lead to games that are such an incoherent mess that anyone new joining the group wouldn’t have the barest hint of a clue as to what the hell was going on.

Advantages: Whatever you want to play they’re up for. Provided your gaming group isn’t too wild and crazy (in different ways) this can help ensure everyone has fun and a GM with some flexibility is good for helping everyone get on and get their kicks from the game.
Disadvantages: If your group isn’t coherent or of similar taste then you’re going to end up with a growling Frankenstein’s Monster of a game. Without a backbone Captain Play-Doh is unlikely to stick up for the things that they find fun or to be able to apply some necessary discipline to the game.

Enthusiast

“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.” –  Vince Lombardi

The Enthusiast is dead keen on something. Perhaps it’s Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5 or The Lord of the Rings but it could be something much more obscure, like bats*. Whatever it is they’re devoted to it, enthusiastic about it and are a die hard fan. While they know everything about it and can produce games and adventures of startlingly complex subtlety and depth on this subject, outside of it, not so much.

Advantages: Within the paradigm of what they know you won’t find a better GM. Even better, everything they do will fit within that universe and no matter how obscure you go, they should know what you’re talking about. This is even better if their enthusiasm is for a particular game that you all like to play.
Disadvantages: Outside of their favourite subject the Enthusiast isn’t so enthusiastic and their performance will be lacklustre or, even worse, they’ll start introducing things from what they do know into games that they don’t like so much. AT-ATs as dungeons for example, or even worse.

Homebrew
“He who builds a better mousetrap these days runs into material shortages, patent-infringement suits, work stoppages, collusive bidding, discount discrimination – and taxes.” – H. E. Martz

The Homebrew GM never does anything by the book. They build their own games either from scratch or by cannibalising the bits they like from other games and roughly nailing these pieces together and calling them a game, but a game that only they really understand. The Homebrew is a bit different to the professional games designer, who may be looking for playtesting. The Homebrew GM isn’t interested in creating a working, professional product so long as their Rowland Emett-like game system does what they want it to do.

Advantages: You’ll end up with a system and a game perfectly suited to your GM and the kind of games they like to play as well as their game world. At least they’ll think it’s perfect and that counts for a lot.
Disadvantages: You’re unlikely to understand the system, so they could be just making things up for all you know. Whatever system there is, is likely to change from session to session, constantly pulling the ground from beneath your feet.

The Long Haul
“As you journey through life take a minute every now and then to give a thought for the other fellow. He could be plotting something.” – Hagar the Horrible

The Long Haul Games Master is in their element with epic, long-term campaigns rather than individual adventures. They crave the extended story, the slow build up, the reveal and the intricacies and attachment that come with longer games. This long term view covers almost everything they do, meaning that individual adventures can cover… not very much ground.

Advantages: If you have the time and energy to invest in a long term campaign then these are the perfect Games Masters to have. They appreciate character development and if the games are slow to get going, the eventual payoff is worth it.
Disadvantages: If it’s a one-off game you’re after the Long Haul can be worse than useless as by the time the game gets anywhere you have to wind up the session, so you end up with a ton of different campaign starts that never go anywhere.

The Mayfly
“There are three side effects of acid. Enchanced long term memory, decreased short term memory, and I forget the third.” – Timothy Leary

The Mayfly is the opposite of the Long Haul. The Mayfly is a firecracker chain of ideas and enthusiasms but none of them ever, really, seem to amount of much. The constant flow of ideas and distractions pulls them in all directions and makes them a fount of novelty but none of it ever really seems to stick.

Advantages: If you’re after a one-off game the Mayfly is your man. Their scattershot of ideas is bound to get a few good hits and if you’re really lucky you have another GM in your group who can take some of these good ideas and run with them.
Disadvantages: Even if you start a campaign the Mayfly is likely to lose interest and either change the game you’re playing in some way or to want to change to an entirely different game.
Disadvantages:

Referee
“A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.” – H. L. Mencken

The Referee sees the position of the Games Master as like being ‘the guy who knows the rules’ in a boardgame. They’re there to officiate, to see that the rules are applied fairly and evenly and that the scenario is followed. While they’re fair they’re also likely to be fairly uncreative – at least where the rules are involved. A style of GMing that has largely fallen out of favour.

Advantages: You’re going to be able to get a fair showing in the Referee’s games but since most GMs bias in favour of the players, that may feel like they’re picking on you rather than being fair. The Referee is going to know the rules though and you’re unlikely to have huge pauses in the game while someone looks up a rule in the book.
Disadvantages: Referees tend to be the people who buy modules, so you may well find yourself stuck on rails when it comes to actually playing through an adventure. You’re also unlikely to get away with any creative rules bending, even if it makes perfect, logical sense.

*Srsly, I felt really sorry for the guy but it was a non-starter.

***

 

Q: When was this time of which you speak where the plot was sacrosanct? Mine have always tended to getting themselves very violated in personal ways – this said I kind of find that fun … and only moderately soul crushing as I throw aside a few hours of prep… You realise that all of these rules can be condensed under the umbrella of “Things you are able to do if you have a high level of social maturity.”A: By the ‘plot being sacrosanct’ I mean this was the one thing over which the Games Master had control that wasn’t compromised by the rules. Your Big Bad can be killed mid-soliloquay by a lucky roll on the part of one of the players but the evil eunuch is still the main enemy. You didn’t use to have people spending plot points mid game to change the main enemy to General Wang, their own personal nemesis.
Q: I very much like these ‘spend a point to take over being GM’ style systems. Players should get move involved with plot and story.

But all of them have the caveat that the GM can overrule whatever they want to throw in if he deems it too far out. I’d also argue that rules lawyers in a tamer form can be a real help. Having someone on hand who knows the rules so well they can point you to the right place can be helpful. As long as they know to shut the hell up when you overrule them! 🙂

A: I like them too, but there’s a tendency to let them undermine the GMs role a little too much for my taste and a little reinforcement of the Games Master’s role isn’t remiss – in my opinion. It’s worth re-stating the GM’s prerogative to approve or disapprove of things they want or don’t want in their game. Rules Lawyers can be tamed – to an extent – but ceding that also reduces the GMs authority. Better used as a human reference book I think. 😉

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Neverwhere 3rd Edition – Development Diary

Reading the Graphic Novel
The Graphic Novel (Or trade paperback) version of Neverwhere is the collected edition of DC/Vertigo’s comic series of the book by Mike Carey and Glenn Fabry. You can find it on Amazon HERE.

It’s a strange thing to see a completely new visual take on something that was very much established by the TV series but, fortuntely, Fabry seems to manage to keep his tendency to make everyone over muscled somewhat in check. The overall vision is much more out-and-out fantastical than the TV series – unlimited by the BBC budget obviously – but it loses a little something in that I think, there’s less of a feeling of weirdness at the edges, which is important to Neverwhere in my opinion, and it plunges more directly into a complete, Alice in Wonderland, otherspace.

Particularly jarring, though I don’t know why, is the depiction of Croup and Vandemar who were so very well played in the TV series that it’s hard to see them any other way, though the idea of a Dickensian Fagin and a giant Teddy Boy are great they just don’t quite gel with C&V as written, for me.

This is all good stuff to see as this time around I’ve gone more with the idea of a reinterpretation, especially art-wise, so the approach in the Graphic Novel is a good, cautionary tale to see what’s right and what’s wrong.

All the characters, save those from London Above are much more exaggerated. Door looks like a goth-punk princess rather than a homeless girl and The Marquis is a (literally) black skinned dandy in 18th century finery.

There’s some new bit characters, like Don, sniffing after Jessica, that could be incorporated in and some new ideas like Old Bailey claiming to have been trained by Egon Ronay (to stew Rook? I think not…). Islington is a proper, winged angel and very androgynous, which works well as an image and is more in keeping with ideas of angels, though an angel stripped of its wings is also effectual.

There’s a half dozen extra hints, people and background details that can be worked up into something for the game, so re-reading that’s been quite useful. Onto the book next and my DVD copy of the series should arrive in a day or two!