Free Music: C. Strøm ~ Pastoral Underground

Free/Inexpensive Music: C. Strøm ~ Pastoral Underground

Norway’s C. Strøm has a new release, and it’s “name your price”!

Pastoral Underground

by C. Strøm

Tape-recorded in a cabin by the sea, in the month of January, 2016.

Valderøya, Norway, Universe.

released February 16, 2016

All Music by C.S.

Cover-art by Oddmund Røe, Sunnmøre 1979.

Sometimes Radical~ free and/or inexpensive music from Unwoman

Sometimes Radical~ free and/or inexpensive music from Unwoman

“This album consists entirely of songs, already released by me, of a political nature. It’s free to download as a sampler, or there’s a piece of merch attached if you prefer that. As far as I know I’m the only person who has had black flag lapel pins like this made.”





Free music from 1859 Records, featuring Blackbird Raum~

Free music from 1859 Records, featuring Blackbird Raum~

1859 Records is offering a FREE sampler/compilation for download, and it features Sepiachord favorites Blackbird Raum.

Pick it up here:

Inexpensive music: The Langer’s Ball~ 7 Year Itch

Inexpensive music: The Langer’s Ball~ 7 Year Itch


7 Year Itch

by The Langer’s Ball

  • Includes high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Paying supporters also get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app.

     name your price

ABCD 02:24


7 Live tracks recorded for Iowa Public Radio and 1 bonus live studio track from Hannah & Michael.
released 15 August 2014

Tracks 1-7 recorded at Iowa Public Radio my Phil Maass for the Fol Tree radio program, originally aired 08/03/2014. Bonus Track recorded at The Villa in Savage, MN by John Wright. All tracks Mastered by Greg Reierson at Rare Form Mastering.

Arclight Revelation Tianmar~ free steampunk rpg

Arclight Revelation Tianmar~ free steampunk rpg

Lowell Francis is wonderful gaming scholar, just check out his *series* on the history steampunk/victoriana RPGs, starting here:

Mr Francis has penned is own game, it is wonderful and it is free.

It is called: Arclight Revelation Tianmar

You may obtain the pdf here:

Find out more about the game here:

Arclight Revelation Tianmar: Free RPG




So voting for the 24-Hour RPG Geek contest is over and the results are in. We had 38 entries, all of them offering interesting ideas. I can honestly point to a half dozen of the games and say I’d back a Kickstarter for an expanded version of them. In particular Moe Tousignant’s The Diminiutive RPG andRhiannon Davis’ Men of Romance . Despite the incredible competition, I managed to pull out a win. I’m a little stunned- I had at least two games I expected to beat me. I was also surprised in places at the results. Several games I ranked highly didn’t make the top then. A couple I wasn’t as taken with did very well. But I’m really happy I won- I worked intensely and hard on this game in the twenty-four hours. And then my wife dragged me out to eat and I almost passed out. I believe I turned out a respectable product. Now I want to go back and actually develop the idea and system; I think it is worth revising. The ideas interest me, it has plenty of room to play in, and it offers a new twist on some classic ideas. I’m going to look at some of the process and what I might do differently.

The pdf can be downloaded here. 

The game is called Arclight Revelation Tianmar, which is a play on Neon Genesis Evangelion. From the introduction:




In 1898 the Martian Invasion came, struck down terrestrial armies, overwhelmed all of mankind, and then collapsed – destroyed apparently by the tiniest defenders. The Earth had won and had beaten back the alien menace. From the ruins, the great centers of industry and life shattered, humanity declared that victory had come. But perhaps it had not. Just as our own biosphere had offered a poison to the Martians in time, what they had brought to Earth offered an equally deadly toxin. The Red Weed did not simply vanish with the passing of the Invaders. It seemed briefly to pause and then it returned with a vengeance. What should have been a time of rebuilding became a brief respite before a longer and more insidious war began.


No one knows exactly when the Weed Swarm mutated, when it became some different. Rumors had come from the life-choked countryside, of small animals, insects, birds which had been changed – infected by tendrils from the plants. These crimson animals seemed crazed, rushing towards settlements only to be put down. It drips and drabs it began with a few, then a handful, then a pack off maddened animals. And then after seasons the Weed Swarms became smart – intelligently striking at targets. But even more dangerous were the hybrids and the fusions. Greater beats and monsters – grafted together out of red weed, animal flesh, scrap, and metal. The people of Earth fight a war against this roving menace – utilizing all of the industrial technology they can bring to bear.


And… some say… that is the problem.


There are rumors, dark rumors that the red Weed did not simply awaken itself. They say that experiments, delvings, researches by scientists and engineers across the planet created this threat. The Martians had died but left behind their technology, their organic science, their bodies, and their war machines. How could mankind resist the siren lure? How could they not adapt those techniques to make transports, steam conveyors, high-temperature furnaces, medical advancements, and, of course, weapons?




Great Britain still stands, overseen by her Majesty Queen Victoria. She has lost many of her colonies, but remains stronger and more intact than other besieged nations such as Austro-Hungary, The Ottoman Empire, and Czarist Russia. The British have led the way in the adaptation of Martian technologies, using those to fight back against the Weed Swarm and its many and varied minions. The newest secret weapon in the crown’s arsenal are the mechanized armored suits or mecha, code-named Steamlarks. Many hope that these will be the salvation of the Empire and the means for hunting down and destroying the Swarm’s dens.




In Arclight Revelation Tianmar players take the role of teens recruited by The Crystal Palace to pilot Steamlarks. They will protect human civilization against the predations of the mutated remnants of the Martian Invasion of 1898. The Red Weed, once a simple symptom of the alien encroachment, has gained sentience, polluting and corrupting native flora and fauna. Weed Swarm now comes in many forms and monstrous shapes. To secretly raise and train pilots for the Steamlarks, The Crystal Palace has co-opted the Spencer House Academy. Those who possess the mental talent necessary to pilot the Steamlarks are brought to South London – one of several splintered enclaves made up from the once great city. The Divided by walls, the eleven London subdistricts are a mix of bordering holdings and towns separated by Weedlands.


The Crystal Palace operates in secret from the hidden Crystal Palace Development Fortress (CPDF). They need pilots with discipline, but also balance in their lives. Military-like living conditions and training resulted in catastrophe. Instead the staff have taken a more psychological approach – splitting pilot’s lives between a public face of school-children as a secret existence of training and field operations. But even this is a strain on these young men and women – who must face the awful horror of the Weedswarm and still hope for normal lives. Can they survive?




1. When I’d done the 24-Hour Competition last time, I was disappointed in my results (and to a certain extent my performance). I thought Witless Minions was a decent idea and that I’d managed to put together some playable rules. I still think WM has some legs on it, and I adapted some of the key concepts for my DramaSystem sample pitch. One problem I had in assembling WM was getting interesting public domain artwork. I even drew the awful cover image (thus demonstrating that I shouldn’t be allowed to do that). I don’t think the game failed on the basis of artwork (but more likely on other details). But I wanted to make sure this time I didn’t feel under the gun.  

So when I sat down to work on this, I actually started from the art. I looked around at what materials were available in the public domain. I decided that if I could find something interesting, I would build the game off of that. Right away on Wikipedia’s list of public domain artwork resources, I saw the links to images from the Great War and Child Labour Images from around the same time. That stuck with me, and I began to think about some kind of alt history steampunk. I stumbled on an image in a search from Wells’ original War of the Worlds and at that point things fell into place. I’d always found the idea of the Red Weed the creepiest image in that story. Jeff Wayne’s rock opera of the book only confirmed that for me. I started to think about what the early 20th Century might look like following a global and devastating Martian invasion.  

2. After I decided that and the ideas began to fall together, I built a fairly detailed outline: if this were are fully-fleshed rpg, what would it actually look like? I drafted a table of contents. And then I just jumped in and started writing. If I got stuck on one part, I jumped to another and kept writing. The Distinctions section took shape over the course of the whole project, beginning with just a few items on each list and eventually becoming twenty. Then I’d keep switching back to those lists to fill in the mechanics for a term- even as I was coming up with the mechanics. There was a reciprocal relationship between the two.  

3. I made sure that I took the last quarter of the time limit to do some minor fixing up and then did the layout in Scribus. I did fixes and additions as they occurred to me there. But primarily I laid it out as much as I could with a couple of hours to spare. Then I grabbed the various images and started working on those. I figured around six or seven would be good. I put everything into a folder and started working. I knew the images wouldn’t look great c&p’d together which is how I hit on the “silhouette” approach. That ended up being harder than I thought it would be- playing around with area selection and painting to do fills. I’m sure if I knew the programs better I could have done some kind of edge trace. My technique had an interesting side effect though. Because I didn’t have the opacity turned up, the shadow effect wasn’t solid black, which actually looked creepier to me. I put together all of the art in a two-hour session, staying on task rather than switching around. Then I dropped the images in and did layout and proofing tweaks. The latter was more of a scan for terrible problems, because by this point 23 hours in, I hated the thing. I just wanted to be done with it. So there’s a good deal of real proofing and editing needed on the game.  

4. There’s a double-edged sword to creating such a specific genre and setting. Some people don’t care for steampunk, mecha, and/or school-based games. That’s a tough call for something like this. I know when I read through the games I tried to put aside those concerns in favor of design and ideas, however genres I do like certainly did better when I went to finally check and figure out my voting.  

5. I like some of the systems I used in the game quite a bit. I’m especially fond of the idea of choosing three words from the lists to create a descriptive phrase for your character. I’ll probably use that mechanic for one-shots from now on, perhaps with cards. I was happy with the way I approached the campaign frames at the back of the book. The secrets section is one of my favorite bits from the whole thing. The rules for Steamlarks are a good start, but could be developed. I like keeping the same mechanics functioning at different scales.  

What I wanted to do was echo some of the themes from Evangelion, RahZephon, and other like series- the weird grinder they put the characters through. I’ve only watched the original series of NGE and it was pretty dark. I wanted the game to have at its heart real difficulties- and nasty ongoing problems arising from damage taken physically, mentally, and socially. At the same time, I wanted to incentivize play where characters would work together and sacrifice for one another. So the mechanics for Bonds and taking damage to give other PC’s bonuses came from. I want to see how that actually plays out over time. Several people around here have asked about doing some playtests with the rules.  


I plan to go back and do a major edit pass on these rules first. Then I really want to walk through a see what I think works. I went with a number of mechanics because I didn’t want to use systems I’d developed before. Some of those concepts have legs, but now that I’m not under the 24-Hour gun I want to make the game stronger. One suggestion I received was to look more broadly at parallel fantastic fiction of the period (especially the French) to see if there might be other useful ideas. Could I expand and offer a broader world to play in? Perhaps I could present a more vivid alternate history that treats Europe in more depth. My plan is to eventually create an publishable pdf for RPGNow or a like outlet.

Reasonably Priced Music~ Ruined Your Childhood by Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys

Reasonably Priced Music~ Ruined Your Childhood by Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys

The unstoppable Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys have just released a 22 track album at the NAME YOUR PRICE RATE!

check it out here:

This is the 1st Children’s album that comes with a Parental Advisory!

(and yes, Cthulhu is mentioned!)


Ruined Your Childhood

by Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys

CALL OF CTHULHU’S SONG 00:16 / 03:05
  • Immediate download of 22-track album in the high-quality format of your choice (MP3, FLAC, and more). Paying supporters also get unlimited mobile access using the free Bandcamp listening app.

     name your price



Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys RUINED YOUR CHILDHOOD

Submitted for the RPM Challenge 2014


Guest Translations and Voice Overs by:

Jade Sylvan
Tomoko Nishida and Minerva Divine
Courtney Swain
Kaylee and Amy Danse Macabre

Special Thanks to:

Johnny Blazes for your excellent taco eating

A SteamCrunk WIREFOREST Production
A Dirt-Fi Recording recorded with String and Tin Cans

Recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered
by Walter Sickert @ WIREFOREST studios

This is the 1st Children’s album that comes with a Parental Advisory!

* Strong Language
* Adult Situations
* Interesting Lyrics
* Challenging Art
* Explicit Content
* At least one joke involving a nun, a circus clown and an
excitable bunny
* We also mention that thing you did that one time in college
(which, by the way, we are still very impressed about!)
* We say FUCK alot (like a ridiculous amount – but we’re artists…
and if your kid knows that word, it’s really all your fault)


released 28 February 2014

Walter Sickert – Vox, Guitar, Effects, Programming, Script, Voice Over
Edrie – Broken Toys, Script, Voice Over
Rachel Jayson – Viola, Glockenspiel
jojo the Burlesque Poetess – Uke, Flute, Voice Over
TJ Horn – Drums, Voice Over
Meff – Guitar, Mandolin, Mustache, Poetry, Voice Over
Mike Leggio – Stand-up, Electric Bass

GORE (free RPG), an overview.

GORE (free RPG), an overview.

(it’s the middle of the night, I’m watching Doctor Who and checking out free RPGs, so I’m going to write about GORE, because, well… why not?)

GORE (Generic Old-school Roleplaying Engine)                                                                                         Writer: Daniel Proctor                                                                                                                              Publisher: Goblinoid Games                                                                                                                      Format: pdf                                                                                                                                                        Cost: FREE!

Product description, from the publisher:                                                                                                         What is GORE? GORE uses Open Game Content and newly presents algorithms from 80s role-playing games to produce a generic role-playing game in the tradition of old-school percentile-based games. GORE follows a trend that’s been going on within the last few years in pen-and-paper games, that is, making material available to publishers to encourage competition and the contribution of high-quality gaming material to the market.

GORE is open game content, and Goblinoid Games provides a free license to use this material to produce third-party material that is compatible not just with GORE, but also with any of several old-school games using a percentile-based system with similar algorithms.

What you get: a 58 page pdf (including front and back covers), that’s just over 50 pages of content once you get past the Open License notices.  Illustrated with a dozen or so black & white, line art illustrations of a quality that one would have encountered in an RPG from the late 70s or early 80s.

My thoughts: I guess the easiest way to sum up GORE is that it’s somewhere between Dungeons & Dragons and Call of Cthulhu. You roll some six sided dice to come up with 7 stats (which again echo a bit of D&D and CoC: Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Size, Intelligence, Power and Charisma)… randomness still being seen as inherently Old School. But instead of picking a class and race you spend 250 points to buy skills… which are on a 1-100 scale, so you roll percentile dice *and* skill have a base percentage. As I said, familiar stuff to anyone who’s played CoC.

There are no character classes, but there are (optional) professions that really just tell you the skills you’d expect that occupation to have so you know what to spend your points on.

For instance:                                                                                                                                                  Beggar: Conceal, Disguise, Dodge, Fast Talk, Haggle, Locksmith, Move Silently                                        Pilot: Navigation, Pilot (any)

Professions are dived into Medieval/Fantasy and Modern or Sci-Fi, which made me feel all futuristic and nifty. The lists are fairly short and are clearly only intended to be inspirational and to scratch the Character Class itch that some old schoolers may have.

Next up is Game Rules which basically takes said rules and presents them in alphabetical order. Starting with Acid and moving on to Air Pressure and eventually finishing up with Time and Two Weapon Use. Except for Combat and Magic… which get their own following chapters.

Have to say I really dig the alphabetical approach. It’s so simple and straight forward. Need to know about Disease? It’s in the D section. Explosions? Right between Down and Exposure, Starvation and Thirst. I can really see an RPG book from back in the day using *exactly* this approach.

There is a problem though, being an old school styled game a lot of the rules are focused on combat, as I said it gets in own chapter, but… Armor and Light Blow and Knockback and slew of other combat related topics are under the Game Rules section. Need to look up Aim? That’s in the Combat chapter under Combat Actions. Need to look up Shields? That’s Game Rules…. MISSILES AND SHIELDS is a different topic under Game Rules. eep.

Of course with lots of combat rules don’t expect combat to run quickly or smoothly. But no old school combat ever did.

As I mentioned there’s a Magic Rules* chapter, where the middle ground between D&D and CoC is evident again. Many of the sample spells are straight up classic Magic User: Arcane Lock, Burning Hands, Cure Wounds, etc but instead of Levels and a limited number of castings per day the character gets Magic Points based on Power… yep that’s Call of Cthulhu/Basic Role Playing territory.

I do like the fact that Daniel came up with a one page GORE Lite to for players (like me) who cringe at even 10 pages of rules.

For the Lovecraft fans I have to point out that the cover features Cthulhu itself, and the very first interior illustration of is of the same tentacled baddie. In fact all of the illustrations are pretty durned Lovecraftian.

I have to admit: if this game had existed back in 1983 or 1984 I would’ve jumped all over it, gleefully shrugging off the shackles of Classes and Alignments! As with most neo-old school games, for all it’s rough edges is really is UTTERLY PLAYABLE.

The downsides:

There’s no index. I know, I know. Index are a pain to create an maintain. And most “old school” RPGs didn’t have them and the whole crew who digs their reinvention is all “Fuck you whipper-snappers and your modern new fangled inventions like indexes! In my day we MEMORIZED all the rules so we didn’t have to look them up… or we fought about them and spend 30 minutes paging through game books trying to find the rule we needed.”…. but please, an index for your game, please!

There’s no monsters/adversaries section. For a game that spends a lot of time on ass kicking (ie Combat) it seems weird that there’s not a section of things with asses to kick.

There’s no rules for “special abilities”, thus making it hard on the GM to fudge some character races for players who will pout that there’s no Elves or Trollkin or Martians or Wisconsites or whatever non-humans for them to play. You’re human, live with it.**

No Fear/Sanity/Fright Check etc rules. For all it’s emulation of CoC there’s no mechanic to deal with characters being SCARED, much less having their sanity shaken.

Very little support. GORE has a copyright of 2007, and there are only two items released that use the system Night of the Living Dead: Revisited and The Secret of Whispering Wood since that time. Clearly author David Proctor has found more success with Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future. For some reason the fact that GORE is bound to become a forgotten RPG from the retro-RPG era actually makes me like more.

I’d being lying if I said I didn’t love this game’s name, seriously who should download this free RPG just for the bitchin name alone.

*of course it does! \m/                                                                                                                                           ** the GM of course is free just to say that all the difference between the various “races” are a mixture of stat caps, skill percentages and cosmetic differences.