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For sale; first edition of the Necronomicon (used once)

I don't normally run corporate press releases on my blog, or carry advertising — except insofar as the blog promotes my own writing. There's always a first time, though, and so here it is:

Cubicle 7 Entertainment to publish roleplaying game based on Charles Stross's Laundry Files novels

Cubicle 7 Entertainment is producing a roleplaying game based on the award-winning Laundry series (The Atrocity Archives, The Jennifer Morgue, and the forthcoming The Fuller Memorandum) by the even-more-award-winning Charles Stross, and uses the also-award-winning Basic Roleplaying System (Call Of Cthulhu) by Chaosium Inc.

(For more details, keep reading below the fold. Meanwhile, here's the cover ...)

Laundry RPG box cover

"We love the Laundry Files novels, so we're really excited about this game," said Dominic McDowall-Thomas, Cubicle 7 Director. "The world of the Laundry is a perfect mix of espionage, conspiracy and tentacled menace from beyond the stars."

"The books are Lovecraftian spy thrillers. The best elements from both genres are thrown together with a sprinkling of long lost Nazis, terrorist cultists, other foreign governments wanting a piece of the action, as well as Her Majesty's Civil Service." added Cubicle 7's Angus Abranson.

The Laundry is a branch of the British secret service, tasked to prevent hideous alien gods from wiping out all life on Earth. Players take the part of Laundry agents, cleaning up the mess after things go wrong or, sometimes, even managing to prevent the manifestation of ultimate evil. Agents have access to the best equipment they can get their superiors to approve, from Basilisk Guns to portable containment grids to a PDA loaded up with Category A countermeasure invocations.

The game has been designed and written by industry veterans Gareth Hanrahan, Jason Durall and John Snead.

"I'm really excited to be working with Cubicle 7 to bring the sinister world of the Laundry to a wider audience," says Charles Stross, Hugo award-winning author of "The Atrocity Archives" and "The Jennifer Morgue".

The Laundry RPG is a self-contained rulebook and will be supported by a number of sourcebooks and adventure campaigns. The game is due to be released in July 2010.

For more information on The Laundry RPG, please contact info@cubicle7.co.uk.

About Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd

Cubicle 7 Entertainment is a British-based publisher and events company, specialising in the games industry. Founded in 2006, by Angus Abranson and Dominic McDowall-Thomas, the company has published role-playing games from a list of licensed and home-grown properties including Victoriana, Starblazer Adventure (based on DC Thomson's 80's Starblazer comic series), SLA Industries, Qin: The Warring States and the recent Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space (licensed from the BBC). Cubicle 7 also works with a number of publishing partners helping bring their creations to print and into distribution. In June 2009 Cubicle 7 announced it had joined the Rebellion Group.

71 Comments

1:

Oooh! Shiny! Makes me wish I still had a group to play RPGs with.

2:

I may buy it anyway.

3:

YAY!

Hope there are electric pentacle stats in there...

4:

The "xkcd" t-shirt worn by the Hero Protagonist is a nice in-joke...

(For those who haven't, I can recommend that you try reading www.xkcd.com)

5:

Interesting! Wonder if its amenable to Wave? Or if anyone in North Cheshire / South Manchesrter is intersted? Hmmm. Amusingly recursive, in a way, since it was Charlie that tipped me to the existence of Delta Green.

6:

Good, another tabletop RPG to add to my evergrowing collection of non-played rulebooks :-/

(I'll start thinking about kidnapping players)

Now, it really looks like a fun thing. And BRP, so it will also be a playable thing instead of another convoluted mess of a system :-P

7:

Being BRP, it should be compatible with Delta Green (and other CoC supplements), which is nice. Like some of the other commenters, I don't have a group to play with (or time!) anymore, but I'll probably buy it to read.

The cover is reminiscent of Paranoia.

8:

Holy fuck! That was unexpected, not to say uncanny! It's like two unrelated dimensions of my geeky lifestyle just collided with each other and their many-angled intersection produced a squamous, rugose hybrid ... of FUN.

I've generally been unexcited by RPGs based on existing books, but this is going to make me rethink that. Aï!

9:

I haven't bought a new RPG in a while, but I think that one sounds worth a look. My Call of Cthulhu GM would almost surely like it. . . .

10:

What @6 said: Another rulebook I'll never use. But such fun to read, I imagine...

11:

And now Charlie gets to look forward to spending the rest of his life answering the age old question:

Is it canon?

12:
"I'm really excited to be working with Cubicle 7 to bring the sinister world of the Laundry to a wider audience," says Charles Stross.

Good lord. I never realised people actually said that sort of thing.

There's a strong possibility I might have to get this book.

13:

I assume Cubicle-7 has rights for U.S. distribution of this IP? Or do I have to spend the extra for an import copy? Either way, I've already asked my local games and comic shop to keep an eye out for this to show up in their catalogs.

14:

Nice one Charlie! I hope it turns out well. In any case though, my local games store will be ordering in a copy on my behalf.

However I'd be concerned, if I were a writer/publisher/whatever of this game, that it would have to be made distinct from the vaguely similarly themed Cthulhutech RPG (though that one is mostly mecha centered).

15:

Good lord. I never realised people actually said that sort of thing.

They do when there's a blurb-shaped hole in a press release to fill!

16:

Shades of the Last Starfighter here. If it includes a study copy of The Fractal Geometry Of Nature, I'm out.

17:

Charlie, Did you participate in fleshing out the items/backstory/mechanics at all? I wonder how well their material fleshes with the current material from the novel. My only hope is they keep the entire universe going with the same tone you started with, instead of tying to craft their own items and mechanics and ruining the feel of the Laundry universe.

18:
I wonder how well their material fleshes with the current material from the novel.

I'm horribly uncertain as to whether you meant to say "meshes".

19:

Oh that's so cool I would even consider starting up role-playing again (which I haven't done, in oh, 16 years now)

20:

This is the first I've been tempted by a role playing game in over thirty years. Curses, Mr. Stross!

21:

More and more I'm tempted to start reading your Laundry series, it's the only one I haven't read yet, and with an RPG to go with it, it's going to be hard to avoid.

22:

One horror RPG where it will help to know how to fill out the right forms or two, and know where to file them.

23:

Oh my goodness, yes. Filled with a numinous longing, am I.

24:

david.given: Good lord. I never realised people actually said that sort of thing.

Charlie Stross: They do when there's a blurb-shaped hole in a press release to fill!

Yes, people say things in press releases that are so stilted that they would never dream of saying them in any other context.

Which makes me realise that in the Laudry universe, there are probably documents that are even more dangerous to read than the Necronomicon - Laundry press releases.

25:

Laudry press releases should be safe and do nothing untoward to the public, in compliance with laundry quality in operations policy.
Inclusion of an immune system may only be done at the discretion of the faculty of pan-rational law. The previous policy that permission would only be granted under exceptional circumstances has been rescinded. Permission will not now be unreasonably witheld.

26:

IÄ! I really look forward to this! I hope that listening to VNV Nation gives +1 on my characters hacking skill?

27:

I do believe the sound you're hearing right now is a couple thousand asynchronous geekgasms going off as news of the RPG spreads. Depending on how sustained it gets, it may or may not summon Cthulhu somewhere in the middle of Idaho.

But that's alright. Nobody likes Idaho.

28:

How did you end up choosing the BRP system?

I must confess, I haven't played that system myself, but I've heard good things about it.

29:

But that's alright. Nobody likes Idaho.

Somewhere, a ghola is crying.

I hadn't noticed, but Cubicle 7 also produce the new Doctor Who RPG, Adventures in Time and Space, which my RPG group is about to start up. It appears to be a rules-light, GM-heavy system that's suitable for storytelling games rather dungeonfests, complete with a Story Point mechanism to give the players (limited) scope for screwing over the GM. This sounds pretty good for what I imagine a Laundry-based game to be, but of course we don't know yet what sort of system it's using.

I do suspect that a Laundry game is going to focus more on the sillier aspects of things than the creepy --- making something silly and creepy at the same time is damn hard, which is why Mr. Stross is earning the big bucks --- but that's no bad thing. I've already suggested it to my RPG group as the next game...

30:

Cubicle 7 are awesome folks who are also bringing out a revised and expanded version of De Profundis (a little-known game published in English by Hogshead about ten years ago which is a game of "epistolary role-playing" in a Lovecraftian setting) in April.

Here's hoping the Laundry ends up being as popular a setting as Delta Green!

31:

making something silly and creepy at the same time is damn hard, which is why Mr. Stross is earning the big bucks

This is also why I adore Ben Edlund's work on Supernatural so much- that show is at its best when it's blending creepy and silly in equal amounts, and he has this amazing knack for that.

32:

I have no input in the game mechanics: I left it to the professionals. (I haven't really played any RPG-type games since 1983; I'm so out-of-touch any input I could provide would be less than useless.) However, I should note that it's based on the Call of Cthulhu rules -- licensed from Chaosium -- which has a good rep.

33:

How dark is the game? CoC rules are famous for ending with the player character either dead or insane in short order.

I mean, if we wanted to fight a losing battle where at best we might accomplish a small bit of good before the darkness claimed us one by one, we hardly need the help of fiction...

34:

Squee!

Add me to the list of "I haven't played an RPG for [mumble] years, but... shiny..."

35:

If anybody's in the Metro NYC/NNJ area, roll your dice at bkd69ster at the gmail. You'll also be able to find me at Lunacon. I need to break out the dice bag myself.

36:

I'm one of the writers on the project (handing character creation, system, combat, and the sanity rules), and this game has been an absolute joy to work on.

The choice of system is a natural and a familiar one, letting the world of Capital Laundry Services share the same system as Call of Cthulhu, one of the most critically respected and internationally well-known games in the world.

The use of the BRP system gives Gamemasters the opportunity to use a wealth of material created over the last three decades for Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green. I'm already looking forward to putting some of those great adventures through the Laundry (so to speak).

37:

I will also be pre-ordering this. I believe that there are a number of people here in York who will also be interested. Should be popular amongst a few of the groups here. Sounds like it will go down well amongst the university gamers, even if they are all penniless students.

38:

Me too. This could lead to a worldwide revival!

39:

Marcus, I have a hideous vision. _Diana, Warrior Princess_ crossed with this.

(What do you mean they don't work together? Sufficient dementedness can make anything work together, and _D,WP_ is well over the dementedness event horizon even before the GM gets his brain in gear. I strongly suspect this will be equally demented. I don't have a group to play these things with anymore, and I don't care, I'm getting it anyway.)

40:

Oh, my. I haven't played an RPG since about 1986, but I'm very likely to lose any possible saving throw against buying the rulebook just to get a little more Laundry in my life. I've got most of the Call of Cthulhu books, and was working on the early stages of a Cthulhu campaign when I stopped having time to play; this will fit right in to that mindset.

41:

I wonder which other of Our Host's books would make good games? (Halting State?) Is this the first one that's been done?

42:

The XKCD reference turns me off wanting to buy it ... I read xkcdsucks.blogspot.com if I want to laugh at an xkcd comic :P

43:

Steve, the mere existence of a "[blah] sucks" website in and of itself confirms the awesomeness of [blah].

44:

Congratulations!

45:

Hm, I have a friend who periodically pesters me to return to our teenage tabletop gaming ways. If he gets his hands on this he may even succeed.

46:

As long as it's got decent background information and the rules don't get in the way of conversion I'll be happy. I'm more likely to use HeroQuest or to try to adapt Cold City than use BRP.

47:

The tone is mostly serious, with a touch of Bob's cheekiness, rather than being silly in and of itself.

I think humor works better when it arises from the actual events, rather than being forced down the player's throats.

If you could put Paranoia on one end of the scale and Call of Cthulhu on the other, it'd be 9/10ths of the way towards Cthulhu.

48:

I've been hoping for something like this since first reading The Atrocity Archives! As soon as I can get my grubby paws on this, I know a bunch of geeks/cthulu-heads that are clamoring to start a group. Awesome :)

49:

Aargh!

Add me to the list of people who (1) Think this would be a great game to play, but (2) Don't have the time to play it.

I'll just have to go into the corner and start gibbering and meeping sadly.

50:

Lol, yeah. I think a couple sentences collided in my head.

51:

Forget the tshirt - is that Stross's twin brother on the cover?

52:

Our RPG group has just finished Horror on the Orient Express, and many of us have read Atrocity Archives and others. This could be a lot of fun :_)

53:

Ia Ia Charlie Stross Cubicle-7 nag'lwag'l fh'tagn!!

54:

This is great! Thank you everybody involved!

It's not like I couldn't run Laundry games without this game, but it still makes things easier. And good licensed rpgs are always a brilliant thing.

55:

This is just all kinds of fantastic. I've been dithering over the idea of creating an unofficial 'Arkham Horror'* mini-expansion based on the Laundry, and to see it made into a real RPG, well... that's outstanding. I will definitely be figuring out if I can adapt this as a basis.

And also: These guys are bringing 'De Profundis' back into print? Double nifty. I've heard about it but it's more or less impossible to get a copy of.

* For those not in the know, 'Arkham Horror' is a fiendishly elaborate and very fun board game of Lovecraftian adventure, more or less a Call-of-Cthulhu-lite. Not quite as enthralling as a full RPG, but about 1/10 of the work to set up and play. I got my friends hooked on it last year and now we get together monthly for beer and Arkham. Coming Sunday, Old Rasputin stout and the Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young. Iä! Iä!

56:

Yes, congratulations. Is there anything else coming up ?

57:

Confession time. I have been running a Laundry based RPG for the last six months or so, based on White Wolf's Mage rules.

Needless to say I will be getting this.

Its good to be ahead of the curve for a change.

58:

"the even-more-award-winning Charles Stross"
This is how you shall be referred to from now on.

59:

I have no input in the game mechanics: I left it to the professionals. (I haven't really played any RPG-type games since 1983; I'm so out-of-touch any input I could provide would be less than useless.)

Fair enough. What about the sourcebooks and adventure material?

60:

That is indeed cool, and I will be another willing acolyte burning SAN points to get this.

61:

I do hope there's a status ailment called "Bob, about your time-sheets..." Target is frozen each turn until he can successfully roll to log into the organization's intranet on his PDA and enter his time charging for the period beginning with the current battle and going on for the next 24 hours, remembering to correctly charge those seconds when he/she is actively fighting for his life against charge code 5H1TP4N75 and those seconds when he/she is actively running for his life against a yet to be determined code. Accurate to the nearest thousandth of an hour, please.

62:

Picked 'Trade of Queens' last night, from an independent bookseller. I'll enjoy it over the weekend, while eating Thai food.

63:

Yay...next, action figures plz.

64:

Just realized: that's Cory Doctorow as Bob isn't it?

65:

Oh, I am so going to have to arrange to get one of these.

I wonder if a team of ISO auditors are a viable character concept to inflict on an unsuspecting group of players?...

66:

Actually, Tony, I think PRINCE2:2009 Refresh would be more appropriate than ISO, in view of the Laundry's employers.

67:

Hah! The protagonist looks like the bastard offspring of Simon Pegg and Cory Doctorow. Much kudos to the artist, there.

(I fully expect Rule 34 to apply now. Sorry, chaps.)

68:

How cool! I've long been a fan of the Call of Cthulhu/BRP system, and it'll be neat to see the Laundry done up with that. The inherent deadliness of the system will map well with what I've read of the Laundry so far - a shot to the gut really does kill in both of them.

It'll make an interesting expansion to Delta Green (which is modern day conspiracy CoC for those not familiar), and vice-versa, I suspect.

"Why'd you take Bureaucracy (skill) at 85%?"
"I've read the books."

69:

I stumbled upon Halting State and could not stop reading the rest of Charles' books. I flew through the Atrocity Archives and I am currently reading The Jennifer Morgue.

I am very excited for this game. Congrats Charles'! I anticipate The Fuller Memorandum eagerly.

70:

As you say, writers don't pick book covers. But you/your agent might drop a gentle hint to publishers in favor of whoever did this cover - it's great.

71:

Splendid!
I was thinking about how PIMPF would turn out as a rather cheap Tv-adaptation today, but this is a much better idea. One thing though; Do I have to create my character in triplicate?
First time poster here, so thank you very much for your books Charlie. Not a single bad read so far.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on March 10, 2010 11:59 AM.

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