Isle of Joy on Kickstarter Now

At the moment, my latest tabletop RPG project, from Knight Owl Publishing, is live on Kickstarter. Here’s the pitch from the Kickstarter page:

Isle of Joy is an adventure like no other—a brooding, psychedelic trip across a haunted island, as well as a fractious exploration of the nature of identity, and a frightening battle to survive in a world gone mad. Imagine if David Lynch directed The Tempest for A24 Films and you might get a feel for the tone of this book: isolated, complex, dream-like, surreal. Isle of Joy is that and much more, as esteemed writer Gord Sellar weaves a complex and touching tale that spans millennia and includes mad gods, living manifestations of human emotion, the remnants of long-lost love, and an island that will do whatever it takes to make you stay on it forever.

The book is written to be directly compatible with Old School Essentials and B/X, but that ensures that it can be used with any old-school RPG system—or, with a little effort, adapted for use with any other system, really. I playtested it with a regular group for quite a series of sessions, and we had a blast with it. The adventure and events were dark, haunting, and really memorable, and the vibe was quite different from any old-school I’ve ever run before. (It still comes up in conversation sometimes, months after we finished with the Isle.)    

If that at all sounds interesting to you, head over to the Kickstarter page for early reviews, wonderful early review comments, a discussion of the project, and everything you need to back it and get yourself a copy.

What’s that, you need a meme to convince you? Okay, have a meme:



Isle of Joy: Kickstarter Coming Soon!

While this blog is not heavily-trafficked, I thought it would probably be a good idea to post this here, because at least according to my site’s stats, a few real people do drop by from time to time. 

If you’re following me on social media, you’re probably aware that there’s a Kickstarter coming up for my Isle of Joy adventure book. One of the elevator pitches I’ve seen is, “If Jodorowsky directed The Tempest for A24, but an RPG,” and that feels right to me. If that appeals to you, then head over here to be notified when the campaign launches!

A recent post included a mock-up image of the book’s cover, which I think is gorgeous, along with what look like new sketches for a couple of my favorite locales in the setting:

The contents were playtested by my Sunday night group, and we had loads of fun playing through it. It’s a dark, spooky, weird setting on a tropical isle—or is it two islands—with a lot of mysterious and weird tragedy woven into the setting, which is to say a setting with a lot of secrets and mysteries to uncover, including a lost magic system, loads of NPCs, plenty of bizarre creatures, and several entire civilizations for your player characters to encounter.

It’s written for OSE, but you can run it with anything loosely compatible with that. The Kickstarter itself is coming in October. 

Oh, and for your listening pleasure, here’s one of the sample tracks I did up for the campaign video. 

It’s one we didn’t end up using, but I still like how it reminds me of really early stuff by The Orb. People are welcome to download it (right click and download the track here) and use it in their game if they like. 

Once again, here’s that link to sign up for in order to get a reminder when the campaign launches!

Another SuperCollider Thing

I’ve been busy over the weekend and wasn’t able to advance much in the book yet, but I did play around with SuperCollider a bit more. Here’s some recorded evidence:

My old iMac was running out of memory near the end, which is why stuff got all glitchy near the end. Not for this reason but for other reasons, I’m upgrading to a newer Mac, so I won’t have that issue soon. 

For now, this feels a lot like twiddling knobs on an analog synth back in the day, which is undeniably fun… but I’m hoping that before long I’ll have moved on to other challenging applications with SuperCollider. Still gotta get a handle on all the basics first, though. 

Harrow County Library Edition, Vols. 1-4, by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook

This entry is part 16 of 21 in the series 2023 Reads

Like all the posts in my 2023 reads list, this four-volume set of enormous hardback graphic novels appaears here on my blog at a slight lag, meaning I read this a while back. Not much of one, oin this case, though: I finished this yesterday. 

I was completely unfamiliar with this comic series, but it was in the holdings at the local branch of the National Library, so I figured I’d give it a shot. The books were heavy—which is to say, really nice quality, large, durable hardbacks with very thick pages, and they’re striking-looking books. 

The stories are fun and creepy, and flavorful in that way one expects from a story where ghosts and things that go bump in the night are referred to as “haints.” The artwork is really well-done, too: especially the watercolour, which gives it a kind of old-timey, natural feel that fit the characters and milieu really well.  But the real standout of the series is the twists and turns of the tale, the way things keep going in an unusual direction with each mini-arc of the narrative. The twists aren’t necessarily all unanticipated, and once or twice I got the sense the pacing would have felt better if I’d been reading the story in its original form, over weeks at a time rather than in a single volume, but I think they’re all executed quite well, and enough is left undefined and weird that I think it all works well. By the time I got to the end of Volume 3, I found myself feeling a little disappointed that the end was approaching, but I also found myself tearing through Volume 4 all the same. 

This, however, seems to be one of the last big graphic novel collections available at the local branch of the National Library. There’s a few volumes of Locke & Key, which I will probably look at this winter, but I think I’ve exhausted the library’s offerings in this genre. It’s just as well that I’m finally able to focus better and I’m reading more prose again, after such a long drought through the pandemic. 

That reminds me, I’m eagerly awaiting the Haffner Press two-volume complete collection of all of Manly Wade Wellman’s John The Balladeer stories and novels. It’s taking forever, but that’s just as well, since I haven’t had a chance to preorder it yet.  Honestly, I’d probably be just as happy with old paperbacks, but some of them are rare and internet economics have caused all the prices to be jacked up so high that a pair of brand-new premium hardbacks is cheaper than trying to pick up the old editions—at least, if you don’t have direct access to some local, offline used bookstore. I mention the Wellman because I feel like he’s the touchstone for this kind of Appalachian horror stuff—from Old Gods of Appalachia to Harrow County, these seems to be credit owed to him for the inroads he made in building an outpost in the world of genre fiction for fantastical tales from the hills.