The Next Feast and the Last Duel
“Each century in the Mansus is a great hall. The Hours feast in the thirty-fifth of its kind. In its last year, they’ll close it up and move on. In our dreams, we can visit their abandoned halls. In our dreams.” – Meredith Blaine
Aficionados of the Secret Histories may recall that Blaine was killed in a duel. There were no duels in the British Isles after the middle of the nineteenth century, so Blaine’s information is probably at least one feasting-hall out of date. If it was ever true to begin with. Although when I was fact-checking dates just now I learnt that the most recent non-fatal duel was apparently 1994, when a lutenist by the name of Salfield fought another gentlemen with antique cavalry swords over ‘an insult made to a lady’.
The only source given for this is ‘Radio Cornwall’, no details or audio, so it’s not clear whether (a) Salfield was avenging or upholding the insult (b) someone made the whole thing up. It happened in the town of Battle, which as UK-dwellers will know is a real place, though the name is suspiciously appropriate. It’s been widely assumed that Battle is not far from Kerisham, which might I suppose be relevant.
The moral I draw from this: it’s easy to overlook things. 2021 was a chaotic year for us as for everyone, and all our plans were repeatedly upset as yours probably were too. But we got a lot of stuff done. Here’s a quick roundup:
- Cultist Simulator rewrite. This took up an appalling amount of my time and is the least interesting thing on this list. I needed it to address some horrible issues left over from the game’s breakneck development in 2018, to add some QOL features, to support more modding, and to provide a solid base for Book of Hours. The rewrite’s on the beta branch now and I’m damned well going to get it live before January ends.
- Book of Hours. Yup, we’re still making it. Coming 2023.
- Against Worldbuilding, and Other Provocations. A good-sized collection of the essays and columns I’ve written elsewhere.
- The Snare of the Tree, and Other Perilous Delusions. A new very long essay or very short book about game design and its dangers. It’s about the size of one of those reworked Orwells or collections of uplifting cat poetry that you buy on impulse at a bookshop till.
- The Lady Afterwards. Lottie’s first project as creative lead: a luxury boxed TRPG experience not quite like anything else I’ve ever seen. You can’t buy it at the moment. The first run of 100 copies sold out in literally a minute, the preorder run of 500 copies sold out a few days later, but we’ll probably do another run this year.
- The Lady Afterwards digital edition. First time a TRPG’s been sold on Steam, which has confounded some buyers who thought they were getting DLC, thank gawd for refunds, eh.
- A whole nother season of our Skeleton Songs podcast.
- The Weather Factory Catalogue. It’s ongoing.
That’s a longer list than I realised when I started writing it, honestly. What we plan for 2022 is a lot more focused.
- Book of Hours limited preview release. It’s not early access, we’re not calling it a paid beta, it’s the Secret Historian’s Pack. More on this soon.
- My third book.
- The Lucid Tarot. Lottie: “… a world-first: we’re making a stained-glass-window-inspired deck, opaquely printed on transparent PVC. This means light (candlelight; moonlight; King Crucible) shines through some parts of each card, but they have an opaque back so you can’t see the image on the other side.”
- And the Locksmith’s Dream, but we’re working with a partner on this one, so Lottie and I really are focusing on three projects between us this time around.
And I’m back on to that as soon as I’ve posted this and trudged through two weeks of support emails. See you in the feast-halls of the Hours.