People are asking anyone and everyone with even the slightest historical or current connection to Zak Smith to denounce him, due to allegations made against him by his former girlfriend, Mandy Morbid and two other women in a Facebook post. These allegations are serious, and if true we denounce his actions as would any decent human being.
At Postmortem Studios we strongly believe in the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The basic logical principle that underlies this – the burden of proof – is also a foundational basis of science and we do not believe things without evidence. All we have, at present are accusations.
We also believe in the right to reply, which Zak has not yet exercised.
In light of the absence of facts or an admission of fault (at point of writing), we cannot consider him guilty, nor treat him as such. That said we had no plans to work with Zak in any case, and this is in part due to personal differences and obnoxious behaviour towards us on Zak’s part.
Of course, being obnoxious doesn’t make you guilty of anything else.
This situation does, of course, throw up all sorts of other issues, but they’re more properly addressed elsewhere.
In short, we don’t know if the accusations are true, and while we will no longer be defending Zak we do not believe a mere accusation is sufficient reason to censor and deplatform everything anyone has ever done, nor to punish their associates and co-authors for his, alleged, actions.
MetaCards are a generic system that can be overlaid on top of any other game system.
The cards provide prompts to roleplay in a certain way. The players can then represent a certain mood or perform certain actions that can provide verisimilitude for games that are designed to seem ‘real’, or thematic cues for games that are more narratively focused.
The players are encouraged to follow the cards by a small, mechanical, near-universal bonus. Decks can be customised with prompts specific to your group or campaign if you’re seeking to encourage a specific kind of roleplay. You could customise the deck to prompt players in a horror game to do stereotypical horror-movie things, or those in a romantic fantasy game to engage with the romantic preconceptions of that genre.
This is meant to be introductory, allowing you to take the concept and run with it for your own games.
I’m currently working on a couple of things, Metacards (systemless RP prompts to encourage roleplay and verisimilitude) and Actual Fucking Monsters, my spasm of disgust against the humanisation of monsters and the ‘pussification’ of vampires, werewolves and other monstrosities, inspired in part by Nightbreed (Cabal) and intended as a reaction to the lack of actual fucking horror present in most modern horror RP, TV series, films and so forth.
Rules can only do so much, the way you play a game – or are encouraged to – can also make a huge difference. In the advice section I lay out five ‘pillars’ that are meant to guide playing Actual Fucking Monsters.
Push the Envelope Every player, including the Games Master, should be seeking to push the envelope of horrific and stomach-churning action that takes place in the game. In a time when so many games are bending over backwards to be overly considerate about people’s feelings and to protect them, this is meant to be like a roller coaster or a horror film. It’s meant to terrify and disgust each other – for fun.
There are Consequences Everything you do in the game will come back to bite you on the arse in some way. You eat a child to fill your satiation? The mother tracks you down, even when the police give up. People see your monstrous visage and it goes viral on the internet. The sheriff comes after you, then the state police, then the feds, then monster hunters and witch burners. Everything you do comes back.
There is no Redemption This isn’t a story about redemption or a cure. There is no spiritually pure path and probably no insight into the lore of your people. It is a downward spiral into despair and death and an inevitable bad-ending. This is Near Dark, not Interview with the Vampire.
Everyone is Awful Nobody is good or pure or nice in this world. Every cop is a womaniser, a racist or an alcoholic. Every parent beats their children or never sees them. Every friend is a betrayer, every lover will cheat on you, everyone is out for themselves or out to get you. If you scratch the surface there’s nothing but darkness beneath.
Everyone Dies There’s no ‘winning’ in this game. There’s no grand adventure. The world is reactive to everything you do and eventually, it all catches up to you. That’s the story here, and you ‘win’ by being an antihero, transgressing morality, pushing buttons and dying a spectacular death.
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Firstly and most importantly we are seeking entrants to the Darkzel Art scholarship
Hello everyone, I hope you are all doing well? It’s lovely and snowy here for the first (and possibly only) time this year. We don’t get that many snowy winters any more so I’m enjoying it as much as possible.
It’s a new year and that’s usually a time of setting out plans and ideas. So I’m going to do just that.
Firstly and most importantly we are seeking entrants to the Darkzel Art scholarship.
We have a $500 fund to give away to a deserving genre artist. That is, anyone in art education (college or university) or hard-up in some way (functionally homeless, transitioning, long-term unemployed or otherwise struggling. If you’re not sure if you qualify, you almost certainly do).
This prize money will be distrubuted (preferably by Paypal) at the end of February. So you have until the 28th of February to submit your argument as to why you should be supported, and a sample of your art.
Some quick guidelines:
Any submissions need to be 300-600 dpi and 1/4 page (US Letter or A4).
Black and white or colour is acceptable and will not affect your chances.
Awards are decided on a combination of talent and necessity.
You MUST be a genre artist, that is SF, fantasy, horror and so forth.
You may submit multiple pieces.
Your art will be re-sold as stock art, giving you exposure (I know…) and the opportunity to work with other RPG companies, as well as helping to fund next year’s prize.
If you want to help you can donate art in support of the project, donate money for next year’s fundraiser and you can spread the word.
I have a brand-shiny-new web store set up at POST-MORT.COM which you should all bookmark and to which I’m going to try and drive more and more sales to get out from under the censorship problems and cost associated with using third parties such as Onebookshelf.
I’m also hoping to provide a home for risque, edgy and other badwrongfun material on my site while taking a relatively small percentage (compared to existing sites). This is not a ‘doors thrown open’ thing, but feel free to approach me if you make horror/risque/edgy or otherwise thematically appropriate material (audio, video and fiction/non-fiction too) and we’ll see what we can work out.
Last year was a bit piecemeal, which got a fair bit done – more than I would otherwise have managed – but wasn’t especially satisfying.
I’ve also learned to be a little bit less of a control freak and to let other people play with my babies. The Gor adventures that have resulted – built around skeletal outlines and ideas from me – have sold fairly well, and paid for themselves in terms of the extra cost incurred to make them. That being the case I’m likely to continue in that vein, and perhaps open up other support material projects to others.
I don’t want to write cheques my arse can’t cash, so anything that isn’t ‘done’ or ‘in production’ you can’t guarantee to happen any time soon. That said…
Complete or ‘In-Process’
Fantasy/Satire Novella: Alice through the Garbage Grinder
Horror/Death spiral RPG: Actual Fucking Monsters
Video Education/Advice Course: Grim’s Guide to RPG Publishing
Metacards: A roleplaying and verisimilitude enhancement system for any RPG.
Regularly streamed games at Postmortem Video, probably starting with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition.
Almost Certainly Upcoming this Year
Modern Horror RPG: BLOOD! 3rd Edition.
Kung-Fu and Sixguns RPG: Setting Sun.
Grimdark – A set of ‘hardcore’ and nasty rules for 5e D&D.
As yet unnamed, necropolis ‘megadungeon’ for 5e D&D, this will be crowdfunded.
Thematic ‘RPG Tools’ sets – dice, dice tray, dice bag etc along particular themes and styles.
OPPORTUNITIES & SERVICES
There are opportunities to work with or for Postmortem Studios on various projects and services or assistance that we can offer.
We are looking for writers familiar with the D6 system (OpenD6, WEG Star Wars) and the Gorean works of Jon Norman to continue to provide engaging and knowledgable supplementary material.
We need t-shirt models to help with promotions and sales of our line of apparel and would like to have more cooperation with cosplayers and the broader nerd-sphere fanbase.
Got a game to promote? Want to discuss topics around RPGs, games, nerd media or want to argue with me about them? Great, get in touch and we’ll do a livestream to talk about these things on Postmortem Video.
Artist? We can help you sell your stock art to the RPG publishing community.
Sell edgy/dark/risque or gonzo games or fiction? We’re looking to add you to our storefront.
Basic editing/readability service.
Book trailers and video advertisements for your games/books.
RPG Industry/Game Design/Sales consultancy.
Freelance writing, copy writing, game design.
Ebook covers – Many people create very simplistic covers with terrible font choices and don’t make the most of the art they use. Even five minutes of professional oversight can give you a much more attractive and professional looking cover.