#RPG – Postmortem Studios Update

Hello all,

It’s time for a little update, just to let you know what’s going on.

I’m a bit rammed with work, having agreed to help out a bunch of people, or to layout and publish their material. I love doing it – helping people get their ideas out there and focussing more on presentation – but it does take time away from my own projects. As usual, I’ve over-promised when I’ve felt well, and as such am over-obligated when I don’t feel well.

You’d think I’d learn!

My Patreon has rolled over the amount where I’m committed to daily videos again, and I’m going to try to get back into that habit, but directly paying work has to come first and I’m reasonably sure that my patrons want me to produce work, over meeting that commitment.

Next publication is Welcome to St Cloud, by Miguel Ribeiro, who wrote our well-received systemless/AFM Giallo trilogy. This time it’s a Lynchian investigative horror location, drawing on the style and aesthetic of Twin Peaks.

After that it’s *Punk (Splatpunk), which is an Action!/Interlock retroclone, designed to be coupled with sourcebooks like Cyber*, Bio*, Clock* etc for different types of genres in the ‘x-punk’ genre umbrella, and to preserve accessibility to an important ‘heritage’ game system. There’ll be hardcopy available, but the main rules will either be free or PWYW.

Then we have another book by Mr Ribeiro, called Postcards from ZOA, which will draw thematically on Burroughs’ Interzone and other surrealistic sources.

After that, a medieval bestiary by Neil Coates, who wrote ‘A Lapidary of Won’drous Stones‘ for us, and who seems to specialise in making some sort of sense out of medieval nonsense so it can be used in games.

All this time I am still working on Wightchester, and we have about half the baseline art complete already. Hopefully we’ll still be good to go with the Indiegogo fundraiser at some point this summer. Provided I can get the baseline writing complete in time with everything else going on.

All that and I’m still running weekly 5th Edition D&D games as part of Tabletopless, all for a very adult audience on Manyvids and Chaturbate, and monthly Cyberpunk RED games on the same services.

Given my recent loss of some of my disability funding, focussing on the paying work with what effort I can muster takes even greater priority. I hope you’ll forgive me if anything slips down the line, I have another relapse or something else goes pear-shaped. If you want to help out while I try and get these issues sorted out you can sub to my Patreon for as little as $1 a month, for discounts and priority access.

#RPG – Grimdark: Deadly, Nasty Rules for the World’s Most Ubiquitous RPG RELEASED!


(Hardcopy will be available soon, technically you can buy it now at Lulu, but I’m waiting on a quality check).

Many fantasy games, if not all of them, follow the lead given by Dungeons & Dragons, and rapidly become superheroic parodies of themselves. This has been especially true of the newer editions, since AD&D Second Edition. It’s great, but it’s not for everyone.

At least not all of the time.

There are many kinds of fantasy, and Dungeons & Dragons’ increasingly sanitised, fluffy, generic, high-escapist fantasy – dripping in magical weapons and character invulnerability, isn’t necessarily what people want.

A Grimdark game is in part made from difficulty. In this context, that has to come from encouraging the players to play tactically and carefully. To do everything they can to swing advantage in their favour. 

It’s also as much about encouraging players to deal with difficult and horrifying role-playing and decisionmaking consequences, all with less resources and power than they might be used to. It also encourages them, when necessary, to run away. 

We need to take that, lustrous, heroic, ‘fantasy-Portland’ edge off 5th Edition’s default rules-set, to amp up the difficulty and make people play more carefully. At the same time, we don’t want to just turn it into an unfair meatgrinder. 

So why not a game designer, literally known as ‘Grim’, to do it?


#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters: Breaking the Limits, the AFM Companion RELEASED!


This product is too spicy for DrivethruRPG, which means I cannot use their promotional tools etc, and I can’t link to it off their site. I would greatly appreciate it, therefore, if you could spam the ever-loving shit out of this link everywhere, so that people can be aware of it and buy it direct.

Vielen danke, kiitos, merci, arigatōgozaimashita.

This companion volume to badly named but well-executed horror RPG Actual Fucking Monsters is bigger than the original! 120 pages of content for your Actual Fucking Monsters games, too spicy for Drivethrurpg.

  • We’ve got random character generation if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • We’ve got a whole wedge of new Monster Powers so you can dissolve your foes with vomit or get in touch with their feelings.
  • Want to play a dark, evil magician? Got you covered.
  • Want to introduce boring stuff to worry about, like, ‘humanity’. I don’t think you should, but we’ve got you covered anyway.
  • Want to fight against the Monsters as a Hunter? You can do that now, with more details on the Hunter organisations from the main book, and new ones! Along with revised Hunter ‘Powers’.
  • Want to run your games safely without some absolute head-end crying to mummy that they didn’t know a game called Actual Fucking Monsters was about Actual Fucking Monsters? Details for the M-Card game insurance policy are included.
  • Need victims for your Monsters to do horrible things to? We’ve got a random victim generator and 100 pre-generated victims!
  • Player advice on how to have fun in an Actual Fucking Monsters game? You bet your sweet arse.
  • Some ideas for artefacts, and some examples.
  • A (very scant) idea of a sort of setting beyond the implicit. Learn where Monsters fit into the world.
  • And lastly, a long-ass example of play, to help you grok with fullness.

This is a Post-Mort.com and Lulu.com exclusive, so please, inform everyone you can that this is up for sale!

#RPG – Top Table Comix – What the heck is a role-playing game? RELEASED!

A comic book that seeks to answer the eternal question, ‘What is a role-playing game?’ This format should make it less intimidating and more approachable whether you’re a long-time gamer trying toexplain your hobby, or someone wondering if they should get into it.



#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters – Some Clarification

Hello all,

I figure I might do a companion booklet for AFM, with some rules variations, clarifications and ideas. Ideas for longer, ongoing campaigns, ideas for playing as hunters, rather than monsters, some new Monster Powers people have suggested and so on.

If there’s something you’d like to see covered, leave a comment here on or social media and I’ll see what I can do for you here, before I fully put it together for the companion.

Here’s a few things that have come up from readers and players already…


Apparently this wasn’t clear enough, but Slippage (the physical/material manifestation of your powers and Monster nature) kicks in involuntarily when your Satiation drops below a certain level. Place the slippage from each power in order (typically from least to most obvious manifestation) matching to each die type of satiation from the bottom up.

d4 – Cloud of Sulpherous Mist.
d6 – Fanged maw.
d8 – Red skin


Most of the time it’s anticipated that your Mask describes your human ‘cover story’, or what you do or did before you became or Monster, or besides being a Monster. Some Monsters might feel that they no longer need a cover identity or can do without one, or were never really human in the first place.

In those instances a standard Mask might not be appropriate. Masks don’t have to be these human identities or tasks, you can use them in these instances, like a secondary nature, or to describe what kind of Monster you are in some more explicit terms.

Example: Mr Thinner is a manifestation echo of The Slender Man. He has never been human and in addition to his Stalker Nature, he decides to take Sinister as his Mask, with the skills Intimidation, Stealth and Persuasive under it.

New Power – Dormancy

You can subside into a state of hibernation or dormancy and rest, maintaining your Satiation for longer but rendering you – to all intents and purposes – comatose until the end of your dormancy. Depending on the power level you can awake (and roll for Satiation loss) every 5/6/8/10/12 days, or part thereof decided by you when you hibernate. While dormant you are insensible (until and unless harmed) and cannot defend yourself. Your metabolic activity, body heat and so on are also virtually imperceptible during this time.

Slippage: Slabs of body fat, coated in webbing, mucous ooze, chitinous fragments.

#Starfinder – Starfinder Month – Introduction


June is going to be Starfinder Month here on the Postmortem Studios blog. I’ve been thinking of doing a Machinations of the Space Princess conversion and some rules modifications for the game and that’ll be the core of what I do this month. I’ll take some suggestions too though, so if you have a picture of a cool spaceship, alien or some sci-fi gear you’d like to see statted up for MotSP or Starfinder (or both), comment with a link to the image below!

This month’s content is going to be free for everyone, sometimes – however – I paywall what I write other than a preview. If you want to support me you can do so for as little as $1 a month on Patreon or 1 token a month on Minds.com.


So what we’re going to do, to start with, is we’re going to go through the Starfinder book, chapter by chapter, doing some modified rules and some sexy, sleazy, swords and sci-fi twists.

You can expect balance to be thrown halfway out the window, racial options to be thrown wide open, some potential new classes and feats for your characters to take. You can also expect the armour and weapons ‘levels’ to be fixed in a way that – at least to me – seems less retarded, some new starship options and combat rules and psionics and tech magic.

You’ll also see some new religions and whatever the heck else turns up in my fevered little brain while I’m working away.

You can also consider this a dry run for a potential Starfinder version-book of Machinations of the Space Princess.

Freelancer for Hire

26814826_10159764555225545_5335768016345800984_nAfter a protracted illness, I am trying to ease back into work and freelancing is the best way to control the amount of work and get back into discipline and practice. I’m flexible and willing to work on most kinds of projects – including computer games – if you need an experienced or creative hand to lend some flair.

Links to my profiles on Fiverr & People Per Hour (these will be expanded as I add services):

Fiverr: https://www.fiverr.com/grimachu
People Per Hour: https://www.peopleperhour.com/freelancer/james/writer-tabletop-game-designer/1264912

Currently, my 2018 plate is clear and free for freelancing and consultancy. I’m pretty reliable, despite my health issues, and can offer reasonably fast turnaround. I can, perhaps uniquely, provide detail and grounding to scenarios – even dungeons – to humanise them and give them a bit of depth. Give me a try, see what I can do for your games.

I am a 17+ year veteran of the tabletop game publishing world with lots of experience in freelancing and self-publishing.

I’ve worked for Wizards of the Coast, Steve Jackson Games, Nightfall, Cubicle Seven Entertainment and more. I have also written fiction and worked on social media computer games, packing a lot of meaning into short pieces of text.

As a self-publisher, I have overseen every step of the publication process from concept through to publication including writing, editing, layout and modification. I also produce Youtube material and have begun producing audiobooks. If you need some narration for a video project or an audiobook reading, I can help.

Here are some of the services I can offer, and the minimum prices offered – though anything is negotiable up or down depending on the client. I will work pseudonymously if that is a concern for you.

  • New writing (raw text): $0.03c/word (minimum)
  • Proofreading/Light Editing/Commentary: $0.01c/word (second and third deeper passes are possible).
  • ePublishing/RPG Publishing consultation. Skype/Hangout/Call: $20/hour.
  • Consultation on your game project: $20/hour.
  • Layout (InDesign): $11 an hour.
  • Stock Art Shopfront: Postmortem Studios have a huge stock art catalogue from multiple artists and we’d love to add * you to that storefront. If you’re an artist who wants to sell your stock art but doesn’t want to deal with the accounts and uploads etc with your own storefront (which would be my first recommendation), then I can do that for you for 50% (I round up your payouts). Even if you don’t want to do this through me I recommend doing it anyway for all artists and can consult on best practice if you need advice.
  • Voice Work: If you find my dulcet tones to your liking, I’m available for voice over work and narration, recording audiobooks and more. Rates negotiable, starting at $11 per hour.
  • Promotion/Interview: Free. If you have a product you want to pimp out or would like to just talk game design and culture, you’re welcome to talk to me and appear on my Youtube channel.
  • Book Trailers/Videos/Adverts.
    * Paid Gamesmastering over streams/skype.

#RPG It’s Tabletop Day!

ttdSo have a couple of discounts on Science Fiction RPG aids.



If you fancy checking out my other stuff, go HERE.


#RPG Wil Wheaton as the Ambassador of Gaming?

standbyme2This blog poses a good question about Wil Wheaton’s new show ‘Titansgrave’, which is trying to do for RPGs what Tabletop did for boardgames.

Personally, I’ve found Tabletop interesting, but it hasn’t really switched me on to any games or helped me understand any of the games that it has covered as a learning aid.

RPGs do need ambassadors. Games as a whole and RPGs in particular have almost always been targets of scorn and panic and so they definitely need people sticking up for them. Is Wheaton the guy to do it though?

I’m afraid I’d have to say no, and I’m going to go into why.

1. He Breaks his own Commandment.

Admittedly I’m horrendously biased on this score, but the short version is that Wheaton is a dick, while professing ‘Don’t be a dick’. I’ve suffered this directly from him in relation to him inciting dogpiling and abuse (he publicised that I made a very brief mistake of exchanging in a whole four tweets with a Twitter bot, idiotic, but no huge deal) and I’m sure I’m not alone on that score.

2. He Came Down on the Wrong Side of Gamergate.

You can’t be a consumer or hobby advocate if you’re anti-consumer or if you’re attacking the hobby you’re supposed to be advocating for. Wheaton is supposedly not an idiot, yet didn’t do the bare minimum of research to successfully identify Gamergate as a (big, and remarkably successful) consumer revolt and instead went with the flow against it, buying into the false narrative of harassment and abuse.

Imagine if Rob Halford had testified in court that heavy metal was genuinely Satanic and that Judas Priest had intended to incite suicide, or that John Denver and Dee Snyder had testified before the PMRC against free expression. If those references are too old for you, imagine if Gabe Newell has sided with Jack Thompson.

Maybe via these, slightly hyperbolic examples, you can grasp some idea of the scale of betrayal we’re talking about here.

This single act has smashed his reputation to tatters amongst the broader gaming community and annihilated his credibility outside the ‘SocJus’ circles, eg, amongst your ‘common gamer’ (just ask #NotYourShield or #Gamergate).

Gamers as a whole, let alone RPG gamers, have long memories when it comes to moral panics against them. Wheaton is participating in a moral panic and this alone, quite apart from anything else, would disqualify him as an advocate for RPGs.

3. He Bottled it on ‘Spiritgate’.

Brought to book by ‘Goony Beard Men’ and ‘Rainbow Haired She-Twinks’ (Airport’s Law) over using the turn of phrase ‘Spirit Animal‘, he apologised.

He apologised for something which required no apology, to people who will never be satisfied by any apology, and didn’t learn the hard but important lesson about outrage culture that he should have. The same thing happened more recently to Joss Whedon who, again, failed to learn the necessary lesson.


The new show probably won’t do any harm, but also probably won’t appeal beyond the existing RPG audience. Wheaton, however, is a terrible ambassador for RPGs. Perhaps a year or more ago I’d have thought differently and while I have a personal bias against the man as a hypocrite and bully I think the reasoning is valid there and on the other points.

You can’t be a hobby or community advocate and, at the same time, lie about and defame members of that community and hobby. It simply doesn’t work.

Somebody call Vin Diesel.

‘Nuff said.


Is Tabletop Gaming Good for You? (Yes)

Nobody with that much afro can possibly be having a bad time.

Why Tabletop Roleplaying Games Are Good For You

Berin Kinsman is a writer and game designer. He’s the boss at Asparagus Jumpsuit, and blogs about creativity in its various forms at Berinkinsman.com.
There is a perception among non-gamers that tabletop roleplaying is merely another form of escapism. It’s something geeks do to avoid reality, like going to the movies, becoming obsessed with television shows, living inside of novels, or getting sucked into video games. There are marked difference between roleplaying games and other forms of escapism, though. Here are four reasons why roleplaying is actually good for you.

Tabletop is social
While some people now play online via Skype, Google Hangouts, and dedicated “virtual tabletops”, the majority of roleplayers still meet face-to-face to play. That means putting down the electronics, getting off the internet, and interacting with live people. The game is played largely through conversation, with periodic pauses to roll dice, flip cards, or move counters. Players don’t only have to know the rules of the game; they need to possess some level of interpersonal skills, and for young people it is a way to develop them. There is a greater level of positive social interaction than in many non-geek activities.

Tabletop is literate
Roleplaying is reliant upon the written word. From thick core books to short PDF documents, everything from the rules to the details of the setting requires you to read. It leads to other reading, too, from fantasy, science fiction, or horror novels to history, biography, and all sorts of topics directly or indirectly related to your preferred genre. Anything that gets people to read is a good thing. It also requires some level of writing, whether it’s filling out a character sheet, writing a background story for your character, or creating your own game material.

Tabletop is creative
Roleplaying requires problem-solving and decision making. You aren’t given a limited set of options to choose from, as in a video game, and the choices you’re able to make for your character are wide open. You get to affect the fictional setting in ways that reading and watching don’t allow. Many people paint miniatures or draw pictures of their characters, but even if they don’t, they’re collaborating with other players on shaping a story and building a world. You don’t just get to imagine possibilities, you get to shape them and act upon them by exercising your imagination.

Tabletop is active
Other forms of escapism involve sitting still while entertainment is presented to you. Roleplaying, as shown above, involves active engagement on several levels. In my high school it was used as an effective tool for special education students to help them develop social skills, get enthusiastic about reading, and express themselves constructively. It’s my preferred form of escapism, because I’d much rather sit around talking with friends and collaborating on something than drinking, watching football, or playing a video game where my choices and options have already been defined for me.