Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ROLF!: Jesus vs. Muhammad

Jesus and Muhammad square off in the forthcoming ROLF!: Christmas Chaos product. But the battle detailed there wasn't the first time they exchanged blows. That story is told below, in a free combat scenario that's part of our year-long Final Battle series during which we've been counting down to the end of the world. This may be the last rollplaying scenario you'll ever play, so we hope you have fun with it!
    I alone take responsibility for its content. My partner in ROLFing, L.L. Hundal, wishes to disavow hersel from anything involving the names "Muhammad" and "Jesus." She just had her hair done, and she doesn't want it messed up by illiterate idolators and fanatics who might take offense.


Jesus vs. Muhammad: Waiting for the End of the World
The Final Battle (#11.5 of 12) for Two Gamers
Background
It's Thursday, December 20, 2012. The Bolthole, Guardian City's largest survialist store, has been doing booming business as the citizens stock up on guns, food, and camo-toiletpaper in preperation for the terrible and vague doomsday that's been predicted to occur on December 21, 2012. It's been so busy that the store's shelves are almost empty.
    Jesus and Muhammad, both deciding at the last minute that they need to take steps to protect their family in case doomsday actually happens, have come to the store to get supplies. They may both be procrastinators, but when they swing into action, it's with the intent of getting the best for their loved ones. And in this case, it means buying the very expensive Chuck Norris and Cindy Crawford endorsed Complete Delux Doomsday Survival and Fitness Package (featuring soothing ointments and bathsalts made from Chuck Norris sweat).
    Both men reach the sheft at the same time--only to discover that there's only one kit left. Neither of them will back down, because the well-being of their family is at stake. Both men are also to proud and too stingy to try blackmail the other. So, there's only one option left: Violence.

The Battle
This scenario is intended for two players. It starts at Ranged distance and it continues until either Jesus or Muhammad have been defeated.

Pre-Generated Characters
Here are the family men of the hour.
 Jesus Mendez (Male)
Brawn 11, Body 14, Brains 5
Traits: Improv Master, Short-tempered
Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Disarm, Dodge, Double Strike, The Look
Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Pistol (Small Ranged Weapon, deals 2 points of damage. 3 shots).
Muhammad Washington (Male)
Brawn 12, Body 12, Brains 5
Traits: Dour, Improv Master
Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Disarm, Disembowel, Dodge, Withering Insult
Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Switchblade (Small Melee Weapon, deals 2 points of damage).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Have yourself a chilling little Christmas...

Now through December 25th, NUELOW Games's e-book anthology of classic holiday horror stories is on sale for just $1.00, Click here for more information or to download your own copy.

And if you're a lover of werewolves, our collection of offbeat monstrous shape-shifters is also on sale for just  $1. It's not Christmas-y, but one of the stories does take place in Santa's backyard, so you might was well get while you're buying scary Christmas stories anyway! Click here for details, or to get your own copy.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12: Time for 'The Date of Doom'

Check out the Final Battle (#11 of 12) for ROLF! -- "The Date of Doom." It features the return of Millie the Guardian Angel of Supermodels and Myron the Patron Demon of Excess. They're on their first date... and it's interrupted by the hateful actions of Dr. Demon.



Click here to see previews of this great love story... or to get your own copy for just $0.60.

Will Millie and Myron replace Bella and Edward as the world's favorite odd couple? I'm hoping, because my cats need food! (Please... buy a copy! :) )

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Make Christmas Merry! Write for ROLF!

You! Yes, you!



Do you want to be a published game designer whose name is recognized by dozens? If so, do we have an opportunity for you!

We are looking for Combat Scenarios for ROLF!: Christmas Chaos (or possibly for the blog). You can just provide a scenario using any characters who have appeared in previous ROLF! supplements, or you can create a set of pre-generated characters to go with it, as well as new Combat Maneuvers and Traits. The only requirement is that the Battle Scenario be somehow Christmas-y.

Contributors who are selected for publication will receive a a design credit, a free copy of ROLF!: Christmas Chaos, and an additional free NUELOW Games product of their choice. (All products are PDF only.)

Send your submissions to stevemillermail [at] gmail.com in the body of an email. Mention "ROLF! Christmas" in the header. All original parts of your submission remain your property, but you grant NUELOW Games the right to include your work in ROLF!: Christmas Chaos should it be selected for publication.

The deadline for submissions is December 12, so get started down the path to obscurity as a NUELOW Games designer and start writing today!

Click here to see what sort of brilliant items L.L Hundal & Steve Miller have previously come up with; We're sure you'll find that you will be able to do much, much better. And if you want a free copy of the rules to work from, you can download that here.


Friday, November 30, 2012

What should we call the next ROLF! release?


I am currently putting the final touches on the first ROLF! Cyberpunk supplement....

 It's set in the year 2042, a Dark Future in which only the rich and powerful get to wear pants. However, a brave group of cyberpunky freedom fighters are hoping to change all that--the Trouser Snakes are launching a win-or-die assault on the Wearhouse to liberate a billion or more pairs of long pants and return them to the people!

But we're struggling a bit for a title. If you see this post in the next couple of hours (and as I type this, it's roughly 16:00 Pacific Time (4pm, if you will, on the west coast of the United States), you can tell me which title you like best:

 1. Rise of the Trouser Snakes (the title L.L. Hundal and I are currently going with).

 2. Attack of the Trouser Snakes

3. Day of the Trouser Snakes

Voice your opinion by leaving a comment!

By way of a preview, here are some of the character illos that will be in the product:

Rucker
Effinger

Gibson




Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Complete Adventures of
Pepsiman & Lemon-Pepsiwoman!


Over at Cracked.com, they posted an article spotlighting superheroes created to promote products and companies. While most of them are pretty lame, how can one not love Pepsiman and Lemon-Pepsiwoman? In fact, I think they'd be perfect for ROLF! games. Pepsi should pay us to make a series of Pepsiman ROLF! products.

Think I'm wrong? Check out this compilation of all the Pepsiman commercials. That's a whole lot of ROLF! inspiration that is!



Since the likelihood of Pepsi paying us to do Pepsiman products is pretty close to Zero, here are ROLF! stats for Pepsiman and Lemon-Pepsiwoman for your enjoyment anyway. (Which means they may sue us instead....)

New Combat Maneuver
Dispense Pepsi/Dispense Lemon Diet Pepsi: When using this maneuver successfully, the character makes cans or bottles of Pepsi appear in the hands of all characters involved in a fight. All other characters must stop whatever they're doing to drink the tasty Pepsi product in their hands, losing any remaining actions the round the maneuver was used, as well as any during the full ABBA cycle the following round. Characters drinking Pepsi feel refreshed and regain 5 lost Brawn points (up to their starting maximum). In order to have this Combat Maneuver, a character must have the Robot Trait, and he must have the word "Pepsi" in his name. ATT Body.


Pepsiman (Male?)
Brawn 30, Body 18, Brains 5
Traits: Hard to Kill, Robot
Combat Maneuvers: Dispense Pepsi, Furious Fists, Run Away!, Seduce, Strike Pose.
Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Super-Armor (Armor. Absorbs up to 5 points of damage, even from sources that usually ignore armor).


Lemon-Pepsiwoman (Female?)
Brawn 30, Body 20 (includes +1 Hat Bonus), Brains 4
Traits: Busty, Hard to Kill, Robot
Combat Maneuvers: Bitch Slap, Dispense Lemon Diet Pepsi, Run Away!, Seduce, Strike Pose
Important Stuff Worn/WieldedImportant Stuff Worn/Wielded: Super-Armor (Armor. Absorbs up to 5 points of damage, even from sources that usually ignore armor). Yellow Ski Mask (Hat. +1 to Body ATT when worn).

(For more ROLF! superhero goodness, check out "Bullets to the Head" and "Bat Meets Cat.")

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

We've just released our second annual ROLF! Thanksgiving special... and we're thankful for that, because this one was fraught with all sorts of technical difficulties! You can check it out by clicking here.

ROLF!: Turkey Shoot was partly inspired by the Sally the Sleuth comics, and it features game stats for Sally, her sidekick Peanuts, her boss Chief Brady, and all the maneuvers and traits you've come to expect.

It also features game stats for the notorious filmmaker Uwe Boll, as Sally and her fellow crime-fighters are called upon to save him from the marauding film fan Turkey Avenger. And--as an extra special Thanksgiving treat--the product also contains a small selection of the original Sally the Sleuth comics from pulp fiction magazine Spicy Detective Stories.


ROLF!: Turkey Shoot is available at RPGNow. Click here for previews, or to buy a copy now.

Our Thaksgiving release for 2011 is still available if you missed it... click here to experience Edward D. Wood Jr. saving the Pilgrims in ROLF!: Day of the Turkey.

And now, as we go off to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and loved ones, let us just express our thanks for all of you out there who share our love of gaming, pulp fiction, and trashy pop culture. We love you all, especially those of you who also happen to enjoy the stuff we put out through NUELOW Games. You we are especially thankful for.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Have you seen our new releases for OGL d20 Modern?

It dawned on me that I have failed to call attention to a couple recent releases from NUELOW Games. This is double-shocking since they're projects that I designed!

NUELOW Games, as part of an overall effort to produce more material for d20-based OGL games, have recently released three products geared for OGL Modern -- although they are compatible with the most popular OGL RPGs as well... like that one with "Path" in its name.

These new releases are appearing under the umbrella name of Modern Basics and each features feats and skills focused around a theme or type of character. So far, the series contains:

Good Cop, Bad Cop: Feats for Those Who Carry a Badge
Click here for the RPGNow product listing.



















Click here for the RPGNow product listing

Click here for the product listing at RPGNow.


















And if you like to have a little gaming with your poetry, you might find Shadows of Dreams a worthwhile addition to your PDF collection. At the back of this poetry collection are a handful of magic items inspired by them.

Click here for the product listing at DriveThruFiction.

Final Battle #10: Angels, Demons & Death (AD&D)

When the Grim Reaper launches a scheme to destroy all of Creation, it's up to the Guardian Angel of Supermodels and the Patron of Excess to stop him!



That's what passes for the plot in the latest ROLF! supplement, the tenth Final Battle as the predicted End of the World has still not occurred. We have high hopes for December, though.

ROLF!: Angels, Demons & Death features several all new Spellings, Combat Maneuvers, and Traits (some of which let you create your own high-flying winged characters), five pre-generated characters, Battle Scenarios, and manga-esque portraits of the demon and angel. Click here to see previews or to get your own copy for just $0.50 from RPGNow.com.

Another noteworthy fact is that this is the 50th release for ROLF!: The Rollplaying Game of Big Dumb Fighters. Thank you to all who have downloaded our products so far!


Friday, November 2, 2012

RPG Magic Item: Myron's Party Jug

Here's a wondrous item for use in d20 Modern games where the supernatural is present. (Or any roleplaying where a sense of humor is appreciated.)

This item is designed by Steve Miller. It is presented here under the Open Gaming License v.1.0a.

Myron's Party Jug (Unique Magic Item)
This item appears like a large brown jug that is stoppered with a cork. It radiates a faint aura of Enchantment and Summoning magics if such is detected for.

Myron's Party Jug
   When Myron's Party Jug is uncorked, a mist that smells like moonshine pours out and coalesces into a three-piece hillbilly band (washboard, fiddle, and harmonica) within one round.
   The band plays vigorously for 2d4x5 minutes before vanishing. If attacked, the hillbilly musicians defend themselves, fighting like low-level warriors (no higher than 3rd level in level-based game systems), wielding their instruments like weapons that deal 1d6 points of damage per strike. When slain, they vanish.
   The Jug can typically be used once per day in most areas, but it can be used twice per day in the Orzark or Humboldt Mountains.

(If you liked that, you might also like NUELOW Games's offerings for OGL Modern (d20 System). Click here to check them out.)

Available again: 'Doublecross' and 'Vector'!

The excellent (and free) GM-less mini-RPGs by Neal Stidham are once again available for download from NUELOW Games via RPGNow. Round up two of your friends and have yourselves some off-beat roleplaying fun!

Click here to download Doublecross for free!
Click here to download Vector for free!



If you have a game you would like to bring to the public, please get in touch! We'd be happy to distribute it for you--even edit, do light development, or layout for you.  There are strength in numbers--regular releases under the same banner help increase everyone's sales!

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's a Halloween Horror Sale!

Celebrate Halloween with NUELOW Games and some of the greatest horror classics you may never even have heard of!

All our PDF e-book horror fiction collections are just $1 between now and the Big Night of Monsters! (Sales ends at Midnight Pacific Time on October 31, 2012.)

Get one or get them all! Click on the titles for more information.

From the Dark Corners (Tales about ghosts, madmen, and more by Howard, Smith, Stoker, and Wells)

Horror for the Holidays (Tales of Christmas ghosts and Christmas killers by Harte, Hume, Lovecraft, Locke, Poe, and Wallace)

Names in the Black Book (Tales about murderers and dark magic by Howard and Miller)

Shadows of Dreams (Dark and darkly humorous poetry by Howard)

Shadows Over Texas ( Tales about ghosts and vampires by Howard)

White Fell (Tales about werewolves by Housman, Howard, and Miller)


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fiction: The Devil in the Dark, Part Two

We now continue our fiction serial. If you missed Part One, click here before reading this post.

And if you like what you read here, maybe you'd like White Fell and Other Stories, a collection of werewolf tales from NUELOW Games featuring the work of Housman, Howard, and Miller.

We hope you enjoy this offering. Please let us know what you think.


THE DEVIL IN THE DARK: A CASE FOR STEVE HARRISON 

 By Robert E. Howard & Steve Miller 
(Copyright ©2012 Steve Miller. All Rights Reserved.)



Part Two: The Cabin in the Woods

Jim Hong was lying face down in a pool of his own blood, his red-dabbled limbs sprawling drunkenly. He was dead.
Harrison rose from his crouch, shaking out and discarding the match. He thought that Jim hadn’t deserved a death like that—he had been a petty crook, but he had never made anyone suffer like he had suffered in his final moments. The detective gritted his teeth, looking at the surrounding forest that hid the thing that had killed him. That it was a man he knew; the outline, in the brief light of the muzzle flashes, had been vague, but unmistakably human. He also knew that it had been too slender of build to be Ku Chang eventhough Harrison wouldn’t put it past the diseased and psychopathic imagination of Chang to conceive of a weapon that could make a wound like the merciless champing of great bestial teeth. It meant there wasn’t just one killer lurking in these woods, but two.
Harrison weighed his choices. Should he risk his life further by continuing to Shen’s cottage, or should he return to the outer world and bring in men and dogs, to carry out poor Jim’s corpse, and hunt down his murderer? It only took moments for him to reach a decision. He had set out to perform a task, and if a murderous criminal besides Ku Chang were abroad in the piney woods, there was all the more reason for warning the men in that lonely cabin and all the more likelihood that it might serve as a lure to one or both of them. As for his own danger, he was already more than halfway to the cabin. It would scarcely be more dangerous to advance than to retreat.
So he left Jim Hong’s body there in the trail, and went on, gun in hand, and nerves sharpened by the new peril. Where he had been moving through the darkness  by choice before, he now did so without option. The flashlight’s malfunction might have been temporary, but when he had failed to locate it on the ground. After using five matches in the search, he decided to save the rest in the box and just brave the night. His reasoning for not keeping his flashlight on still remained—he didn’t want the light alerting his quarry. Either one of them.
His nerves on edge and all his senses heightened in their anticipation of danger, Harrison kept his calm by reviewing what he knew about the situation. Jim Hong had definitely not been killed by Ku Chang. Harrison had the dead man’s word for it that the attacker was a mysterious white man; the glimpse he had had of the figure had confirmed the fact that he wasn’t Chang. This man who had come at Harrison was tall and spare, while Chang was squat and muscular. And the face? Harrison couldn’t remember the face except for a possible falsh of white. It might have been bandaged as Jim had said, or might Harrison have seen a glimpse of monstrous fangs?
He swore under his breath as an involuntary shudder ran through him, causing his wounded shoulder to throb. Walking along a black forest trail with only the stars glinting through the dense branches, with the knowledge that any one of two ruthless murderers by be lurking within arm’s length in the concealing darkness, was bad enough without needing to spook himself further.
He dismissed all thoughts of monstrous fangs, but the recollection of the butchered Chinaman and his tortured screams burned vividily in his mind. Sweat beaded on his face and hands, and he wheeled a score of times, glaring into the blackness where his ears had caught the rustle of leaves or the breaking of a twig—how could he know whether the sounds were but the natural noises of the forest, or the stealthy movements of a killer?
Harrison stopped dead. Some distane away, through the black trees, he glimpsed a faint, lurid glow. It was not stationary; it moved, but it was too far away for him to make out the source. With his hair prickling unpleasantly he watched as the mysterious glow bobbed up and down and vanished.
“You damned idiot,” Harrison growled at himself. That light had been someone walking with a pine-knot torch, but he had let irrational fear seize him again, and he had stood there like a little child afraid of the dark and ghosts. That was probably Ku Chang that he had just let slip away.
Steeled by self-disgust, Harrison moved on, a little quicker that before. He was out of his element, and that was rattling his nerves, but this fear that kept seizing him was going to get him killed if he didn’t control it.
He saw the light of Kai Shen’s cottage gleaming through the pines. While he sighed with relief, he did not relax his vigilance. Many a man, danger-dogged, had been struck down at the very threshold of safety—because what appeared to be safety might be a trap; either one of the killers in the woods could have gotten here first. Knocking on the door, Harrison stood sidewise, shifting his gaze from the door to the shadows that ringed the tiny clearing and seemed to repel the faint light from the shuttered windows and back again.
“Who’s there?” came a deep harsh voice from within. “Is that you, Ashley?”
Harrison knew Ashley was Kai Shen’s man-servant. “No; it’s Steve Harrison—I’m a detective from the River Street Precinct. We met a couple of years ago. Open the door.”
The upper half of the door swung inward, and Kai Shen’s head and shoulders were framed in the opening. The light behind him left most of his face in shadow, but could not obscure the harsh gaunt lines of his features nor the gleam of the bleak black eyes.
“What do you want, at this time of night?” he demanded, his bruqueness seemingly heightened by his perfect and proper British accent.
“I came to tell you that it’s very likely that a dangerous criminal is nearby. He’s a Tong enforcer by the name of Ku Chang. This morning he killed two police officers and a shopkeeper I think you know, Ming Lee. He fled into the forest, and since he’s a superstitious sort, so I think he’s headed here so you can maie him a good luck charm. I thought you ought to be warned and—”
“Well, you’ve warned me,” he said, cutting Harrison off. “Now be off.”
“I have no intention of going back through those woods tonight,” Harrison answered coldly. “I came in here to warn you, but also because I think I can lay a trap for Chang here. If I stay the night—“
“That is out of the question,” Shen snapped. “I never admit strangers into my home, and if this Ku Chang shows up here, I assure you that I have the means to defend myself.”
Shen shifted behind his weight on his feet and Harrison realized that he couldn’t see the other man’s hands. “I’m not a stranger,” Harrison reminded him. “I’m also an officer of the law. I’m going to take out my badge and show you, so relax. See?”
Shen scowled at the small shield in Harrison’s hand. “Just because I’ve met you doesn’t mean I know you. And I don’t care that you’re a policeman. I know my rights as an American citizen, and I don’t have to let you into my house unless you have a warrant.”
“Fine. But— Can I at least ask you to help me clean and dress my shoulder?”
Shen lifted one of his hands to peel back Harrison’s torn jacket. From his shoulders, the detective guessed the other held something heavy—a weapon of some sort. Shen scowled again. “It is not that bad, but— Fine. I will help you, but then you will leave.”
“Sure. Whatever we can work out.” Harrison thought that once he was inside, he could speak with Shen’s servant, Ashley, and get an ally to help make his case in favor of him remaining here, at least for the night. “But let’s hurry. Ku Chang isn’t the only killer out there tonight.”
At that Shen halted in his fumbling at the lower door, and glared at Harrison. “What do you mean?”
“There’s a dead man a mile or so up the trail. The person who killed him tried to kill me. He may be after you, for all I know. The man he killed was guiding him here.”
Shen started violently and his face went livid. “Who—what man?”
“The dead man is Jim Hong; I doubt you knew him.”
“No! The killer!”
“I don’t know. A fellow who manages to rip his victims like a hound—”
“A hound!” The words burst out in a scream. “Ashley! Did you see Ashley out there?!”
“Ashley? No—isn’t he in the house with you?”
“No, you fool! He went to the city for supplies!” The change in Shen was hideous. His eyes seemed starting from his head and his skin was the hue of ashes. His lips drew back from his teeth in a grin of sheer terror. He gagged and then found voice. “You must have passed him in the forest!”
“Not if he was traveling by motor,” Harrison noted, gesturing to indicate the forest behind the cottage, and the road that lay somewhere beyond that.
“Find him! Bring him back here, or I will not admit you!” Shen shrieked.
“Now listen—“
“No!” Shen screamed. He brought his hands above the lower half of the door and Harrison was staring into the gaping muzzles of a sawed-off shotgun. “I know why you wanted to get into my house! You bloody devil! He sent you! You’re his spy! Get out of here!”
“You’re threatening an officer of the law, Shen,” Harrison growled. “This won’t end well for you.”
“Go before I kill you!” Shen shrieked, thrusting the shotgun forward.
“Be careful with that thing,” Harrison grumbled and stepped back off the stoop. He was well aware of what a close-range blast from that murderous implement of destruction could bring, and the livid, convulsed face behind those black muzzles promised sudden demolition. “I’m going. But don’t think you’ve heard the end of this, Shen. I’ll be back. Meanwhile, keep your doors and windows locked—I don’t want you getting killed before the judge has his way with you.”
Shen made no reply; panting and shivering like a man smitten with ague, he crouched over his shotgun and watched Harrison as the detective walked backwards across the clearing. Where the trees began, Harrison could have drawn his gun wheeled and shot Shen without much danger, for his .45 would out-range the old man’s shortened scatter-gun. But Harrison had come there to warn the fool, not to kill him. There was also the issue of the sound of gunfire scaring Ku Chang off—and it really would be more satisfying to see that idiot Shen up on some charges rather than dead.
When Harrison was close to the trees, he turned to the piney dark. As he did, the upper door slammed, and the stream of light was cut abruptly off. He walked a few paces into the forest, drew his gun, and leaned against a tree.
What now? He had beaten Chang here, so his hope of staging an ambush still stood. But was it still the best move? There was someone else in the area, someone who had asked to be led to Kai Shen’s cottage. Whoever it was, he was a killer even more brutal than Chang and someone who had filled Shen with a fear that bordered on insanity. He must have exiled himself to this lonely stretch of pinelands to escape this person. A person who he knew ripped victims to shreds like a savage dog.
But Shen hadn’t come into the woods alone. He had brought Ashley. Ashley might have the answers Shen was unwilling to give. Ashley might also be in danger, because if Shen’s reaction was anything to go by, whoever this person was, he was just as much after Ashley has he was Shen.
With a grunt, Harrison, righted himself and circled around the edge of the clearing, looking for the rutted path that connected the cottage with the highway. When he located it, he again strode into the darkness. As the faint light shining from the cabin’s shuttered windows vanished among the black trees, a curious, chill, sinking feeling obsessed me, as if the disappearance of that light, hostile as was its source, had severed the only link that connected this nightmarish adventure with the world of sanity and humanity.
Grimly taking hold of his nerves, he strode steadily on up the trail, trying to keep as close to its center as he could, trying to pierce the darkness with his eyes and his ears pricking with every sound. At that point the branches interlaced over the trail, forming a black arch through which not even the stars gleamed. As he passed through this even deeper darkness, he heard a branch snap to his left.
Without conscious thought, he whippd his gun toward the sound and fired. The momentary burst of light from the gun’s muzzle revealed nothing but the rutted dirt road and the trees that lined it—and in its aftermath, Harrison saw phantom lights before his dazzled eyes and had the rapport ringing in his ears. But he was sure he heard no other sounds of movement; it must have been his imagination or a sound more remote than it had seemed.
Reminding himself that the gunfire could draw both Chang and the mysterious killer to his location, Harrison started moving again, a little quicker this time.
He reached the highway. There wasn’t much more light out of the forest as there had been in it, but Harrison found the clear view of the stars overhead and the dull sheen of the blacktop that stretched like a lifeline back to the city very, very comforting.
“Next time you get a bright idea like heading into the forest at night,” he grunted, “damn well stop and get a second opinion. At least don’t do it when your partner’s recovering from a bullet to the shoulder.”
Harrison began walking in the direction of the city, again keeping to the middle of the road. It seemed to him that his shoes were clicking on the blacktop with each step, but he knew that had to be his imagination—his relentless foe this night. But he felt fairly safe with his feet on the pavement that was his natural environment… and he knew that he would easily spot and shoot anyone who tried to charge at him from the woods.
He crested a small rise after which the road started a gradual decline to a bend that took it out of view. But in the distance he saw the lights of the city and the ships in the bay. His heart soared at that sight, and he promised himself that he would take his girlfriend Joan to every play, nightclub act and movie she wanted to see; every resteraunt she wantd to try; every art exhibit she wanted “experience” for the next year. Hell, he might even join her at one of those meetings or whateer it was that she had been going to in order to get more in touch with the Chinese side of her background. Likewise, whenever one of the detectives wanted to go for a drink after work, Harrison would not turn down the invitation. However this night ended, he knew that he was going to spent the foreseeable future appreciating everything glorious citylife had to offer. Even the bums, drunks, and grifters.
As he was making these vows to himself, Harrison heard the unmistakable sound of a car engine drawing closer, out of site as it climbed the hill from the city. Soon, twin shafts of light pierced the darkness, first illuminating treetops and then shifting and angling and vanishing moments moments later a pair of headlights appeared from around the bend in the road.
Harrison holstered his weapon and drew out his badge. He planted himself firmly in the vehicle’s path and held it out before him. As the car drew nearer, he shouted: “Police! Pull over!”
The vehicle slowed, and came to a stop. Harrison went to the driver’s side of the sedan and looked in. A square-faced, elderly white man in a dark fedora looked back. he recognized him to be Ashley. In the front seat next to him, much to Harrison’s surprise, was a young Chinese woman. Her dark eyes glittered by the dashboard lights under the broad brim of a hat not unlike one Joan only wore on special occasions.
“Ashley... Miss,” he said. “I am Steve Harrison, a detective with the River Street Precinct.”
“Another checkpoint?” asked the young woman, putting a slim, gloved hand on Ashley’s arm.
. “No, Miss. I came out here to warn Ashley’s employer about Ku Chang possibly heading for his cabin. There’s been a development, so I thought it best to stop you here on the road.”
“Is Mr. Sheng all right?” Ashley asked, his voice carrying a tone of apprehension rather than concern. Harrison also saw the inquisitiveness ebb from his countenance and horror grow there. It was clear to Harrison that he wouldn’t have to go into too many details; Ashley was obviously already concerned about danger to his master.
“Mr. Shen is fine for the moment,” Harrison said. “But I need to ride with you back to the cabin. And, pardon me, but who is the young lady with you?”
“She’s Mr. Shen’s niece.” The answer came tonelessly through dry lips. “Please, get in the car.”
Harrison opened the back door and slid into the car. He grunted at a painful twinge in his shoulder.
“I’m pleased to meet you, Mr. Harrison. I am Sarah Shen,” the young woman said, turning in her seat as Ashley set the car moving again. She continued in a cultured accent, “I’ve come down from—oh! You’re hurt!”
Harrison pulled his coat tighter, trying to cover the red that stained his white shirt. “It looks worse than it is. You’ve no reason to worry, Miss Shen.”
“My uncle will take care of you,” she said confidently and sweetly; it was a real struggle for Harrison to not make a bitterly sarcastic reply.
“Whatn was it you were saying about coming down from somewhere?” Harrison asked.
“I’ve come down from New York, because Uncle Kai wired for me to come to him at once—”
“I’ve seen the wire,” Ashley muttered. Harrison got the feeling that an argument was about to restart. “You showed it to me. But I don’t know how he sent it. He hasn’t been to the city, to my knowledge, in months.”
“And I can’t understand why the telegram was sent to me, instead of to somebody else in the family—”
“You were always your uncle’s favorite, Miss,” said Ashley. He turned the car onto the unpaved road leading to Shen’s cabin.
“We should all be blessed with such close relations,” Harrison said, hoping to disrupt the repeat. “But if Ashley wasn’t expecting you, it was awfully lucky that you should arrive on the very day Ashley was picking up supplies—and even luckier that you should happen upon each other."
“Oh, it wasn’t luck. Uncle’s telegram was quite specific in the train I should take. I was leaving the station and abot to hire a car when I saw Ashley coming out of the shipping office.”
“I always check to see if there are packages from the Master’s business interests abroad that I need to collect when I’m in the city,” Ashley muttered. “It’s always my last stop.”
“And you’re always very precise.” Sarah said cheerfully, patting his arm. “Uncle Kai knows that you’re like a Swiss clock when it comes to your routines.” She turned to Harrison and said: “Tell him there is nothing fantastic about me being in the train station at just the time to meet him.”
“I’d need to know a little more about the circumstances, Miss,” Harrison said distractedly, glancing out the window at the black forest, then back to the girl, to look past her at the dirt road being illuminated by the headlights. A large pine to the left stood out from his brothers, leaning drunkenly in the direction of the road; Harrison gathered that is what had blotted out the stars for a stretch as he was heading to the highway. Shen’s cabin was’t far .
“My uncle is a very clever man,” she continued. “He and Ashley have been together longer than  I’ve been alive, so it wouldn’t be difficult for him to arrange it so our paths crossed. He—”
Harrison noticed the sudden rush of movement to the car’s right. Ashley let out a startled cry. Something massive, like the fist of God Himself, shot out of the shadows and slammed onto the car’s hood. The windscreen blasted inward, showering the car’s inhabitants with glass.
The silence that followed was absolute.

To Be Continued...?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fiction: The Devil in the Dark, Part One

Over the next few days, we're going to present a story revised from "The Black Hound of Death" by Robert E. Howard. We hope you'll enjoy it. Please let us know--that's what we have a comments section for!

(You can read more horror-tinged detective fiction by Howard (with revisions by Miller) in NUELOW Games's Names in the Black Book. Click here to see a preview, or to purchase and download a copy.)




THE DEVIL IN THE DARK: A CASE FOR STEVE HARRISON

By Robert E. Howard & Steve Miller
(Copyright ©2012 Steve Miller. All Rights Reserved.)

Part One: The Death of Jim Hong

There’s no blackness this side of Hell’s abyss as absolute as this, Detective Steve Harrison thought, as he groped along the narrow trail that wound through the densely timbered pinelands.

   He once again found himself entirely too far from his normal beat of Chinatown's River Street Precinct, and the darkess that pressed in around him as he clutched his unlit flashlight in one hand and his pistol in the other still filled him with a creeping dread that maybe there were unseen things lurking in that blackness; things that skulk in the deep shadows and shun the light of day; slinking figures that prowl beyond the edge of normal life. He had faced down drug-maddened Tong assassins, psychopathic killers, and even a crimelord reputed to be immortal, but the darkness of this lonely stretch of forest still filled his mind with vague fears.
   The trail Harrison followed was but a half-guessed trace winding between the walls of solid ebony. He went as hurriedly as he dared, with his ears whetted to knife-edge alertness. But there was stealth mingled with his haste, because he had reason to be wary beyond figments of his imagination. He listened for the snap of a twig under a great, splay foot, for any sound that would presage murder striking from the black shadows. The creature he was hunting, and which he feared might be hunting him, was more to be dreaded than any phantom.
   Earlier that day, Ku Chang, a Tong enforcer had chosen to fight rather than surrender to the law, leaving a ghastly toll of dead behind him. Every available officer and detective of the River Street District and neighboring preceincts had turned Chinatown upside down hunting for him, and all leads soon indicated that he had fled the city for the woody hills beyond.
   Down along the river, bloodhounds were baying through the brush and hard-eyed men with rifles were beating up the thickets. Harrison glanced toward the bobbing shafts of light that pierced the darkness while keeping his own electric torch turned off. The chief of police had directed the officers to focus their search on the river with the assumption that Chang would doubleback and follow the waterway to the sea and steal away on a boat.
   But Harrison was certain Ku Chang had a different goal in mind, because he was more familiar with the people of the River Street District than most of his fellow officers. So while the hunt flowed away in another direction, he plunged into the black forest alone, on a mission that was as much one of warning as of hunting.
   Six months ago, an elderly herbalist and rumored mystic named Kai Shen had quit Chinatown to move to a cabin within mazy pine labyrinth. Shen was reported to create exceptionally powerful good luck charms and Harrison knew that Chang was deeply superstitious like many other of the city’s Chinese. Given the manhunt he was trying to escapes, Chang was sure to seek one of Shen’s charms—and Harrison was certain that he would get get it over Shen’s dead body. If Harrison didn’t intercept Chang in the woods, he was hoping that he would beat him to Shen’s cottage and save the old man from death while putting six slugs in a vicious murderer.
   Harrison stopped dead, all thoughts of what might happen banished in favor of the immediate by sudden shriek that was edged with agony and terror. It came from somewhere ahead of him. Silence followed that cry, a silence in which the forest seemed to hold its breath and the darkness shut in more blackly still. Again the scream was repeated, this time closer. Then he heard the pound of feet along the trail, and a form hurled itself at him out of the darkness.
   He brought up his revolver as he flicked on the flashlight. He squinted against the harsh light and the only thing that kept him from pulling the trigger was the sounds the object was making—gasping, sobbing noises of fear and pain. It was a man, and direly stricken. He blundered full into Harrison, shrieked again, and fell sprawling, slobbering and yammering.
   The form cried out in Mandarin: “Oh, my God, save me! Oh, God have mercy on me!”
   In the pool of light Harrison stared down at blood-splashed body of a burly Chinaman. The hair stirred on Harrison’s scalp at the poignant agony in the gibbering voice and the terrible wounds on the man’s body. Blood jetted from torn veins and arteries in breast, shoulder and neck, and the wounds were ghastly to see, great ragged tears, that were never made by bullet or knife. One ear had been torn from his head, and hung loose, with a great piece of flesh from the angle of his jaw and neck, as if some gigantic beast had ripped it out with its fangs. He was dying, and only abnormal energy rising from frenzied panic could have enabled him to run as far as he had.
   “What in God’s name did this?” Harrison exclaimed. “A bear?”
   But even as he spoke, he knew that there had not been a bear in these woods for more than 30 years.
   The mauled man clawled weakly at Harrison’s knees and stared up at him, recognition dawning on his blood-smeared, contorted face. He moaned something in Mandarin.
   “Speak English, damn you!” Harrison growled, kneeling next to him.
   “Officer Harrison, keep him away! He kill my body, and now he wants my soul! It’s me— Jim Hong. Don’ let him get me!”
   Jim Hong?! The blood and grimace of pain had obscured the man's features, but Harrison recognized him now. He was a small-time crook who hung around the waterfront looking for drunks to roll and sailors to scam. He had occasionally helped Harrison by relaying information from within the insular Chinese community that he needed to put away more dangerous criminals. Harrison barked, “What are you doing out here?! What happened to you?!”
   “He did it!” Jim mumbled thickly, his hands twitching weaking in the flashlight’s harsh glare. “The white man come to me on the dock. He ask for guide to Master Shen’s house. He say he have tooth-ache, so he has head bandaged; but bandages slipped and I see his face—he killed me for seeing his face.”
   “He set dogs on you?” Harrison demanded, for as he looked closer the wounds reminded him of a case last year where a man had killed his wife in just that fashion—by trapping her with vicious junkyard dogs.
   “No, sir,” whimpered the ebbing voice. “He done it hisself— heeeaaggghhh!”
   The mumble broke in a shriek as Jim twisted his head, barely visible in the gloom, and stared back the way he had come. Death struck him in the midst of that scream, for it broke short at the highest note. He flopped convulsively once, and then lay still.
   Harrison checked to see if life had indeed left the prostrate form—but then he caught movement at the edge of the flashlight’s radiance. He brought the light up, but has he did, its light died with a sharp and sudden pop. He was plunged into an immediate darkness that seemed even more eternal than before. The silence was also complete; he couldn’t even hear the baying dogs down by the river.
   He was certain that he had seen a vague shape on the trail some yards away as the light went out. In his mind’s eye, he could still see it standing there—erect and tall like a man. He aimed his gun into the darkness, trying to sight along the barrel he could barely see at a target he could only envision. He opened his mouth to shout a challenge to the unknown person, but no sound came.
   A chill unlike anything he had ever experienced flowed over him, freezing his tongue to his palate and emptying his mind of all thought. It was fear, primitive and unreasoning, and as the longest seconds of his life passed, Harrison stood paralyzed. Years of police training, experience, and his naturally curious intellect brought a small degree of reason back to him, but it was an almost hysterical thought that did nothing to dispel his dread—what sort of devil had he half-glimpsed that should rouse such instinctive terror?!
   Almost without warning, whoever—or whatever—was upon him. The figure had closed soundlessly and it was only the ferocious snarl it uttered as it flung itself against Harrison that gave him a chance to react at all. He pulled the trigger on his gun—once, twice—almost involuntarily and without aim, and its flash dazzled his eyes, obscuring rather than revealing the tall man-like figure that struck at him.
   Then with a crashing rush through the trees, Harrison’s assailant was gone.
   The detective staggered to his feet and whirled to face the diminishing sound of breaking branches. He raised his gun to fire after the man—his analytical mind now once again in full force—but that’s when he became aware of the pain in his shoulder and the warm wetness on his chest.
   Harrison moved to a tree by the trail and squatted. He holstered his weapon and touched his chest and shoulder—his shirt was soaked through and his suit coat was quickly becoming so as well. He swore with anger and surpised pain  as he touched his wound through the shredded shoulder padding of his coat. He fumbled and eventually found a match in his vest pocket. He struck it and examined his injury in the frail light.
   It wasn’t as bad as it had seemed in the dark—another shirt and suit coat were ruined, but his shoulder wound was little more a couple of parallel scratches. But their arrangement caused another chill to sweep down his spine. The thing he had glimpsed, the thing that roused nameless fear in my mind, was the same thing that had killed poor Jim Hong and it had left its mark on Harrison as well. 


Sunday, October 14, 2012

ROLF: The Final Battles (#7 - #9)

We're halfway through October 2012, and the world still hasn't ended!

Can it be that the ancient wise Mayans weren't all that wise, or that maybe those who thought their calendar predicted the end of the world in 2012 were as stupid as a person who would think the "Wonderful World of Cats" calendar in my kitchen would predicts the end of the world in 2012... because there's nothing on it past December 31, 2012?



We're going to continue to produce our "Final Battles" for ROLF!, just in case the world DOES end so you will have a chance to go out rollplaying. Here are the "Final Battles" that NUELOW Games released for August, September, and October.

FINAL BATTLE #7: DRAGON VS. TIGER--It's a well-known fact that Chinese dragons hate tigers, so can it really come as a surprise to anyone that Tiger Woods finds himself battling one on the golf course? This one brought the fun new Improv Master trait to ROLF! (because there's no other way to describe Jackie Chan, who joins Tiger Woods in this fight.)




FINAL BATTLE #8: R.L. McSTERLINGTHONG & NIKOLA TESLA VS. THE DAUGHTER OF SKULL-FACE--It's the most epic battle in the history of epicness! The man who IS fantasy teams up with the universe's greatest mad scientist to defeat the evil that is Skull-Face's daughter.





FINAL BATTLE #9: "BOND. JANE BOND."--Chinese dragons return to ROLF... but this time Britain's greatest secret agent and her License to Kill stand ready keep the ability to control them from falling into the wrong hands. Such as the hands of The Great Question.

Will there be a Final Battle #10? Time will tell, my friends. Time will tell... UNLESS IT RUNS OUT!!!!



Friday, October 12, 2012

MercyMe does 'Thriller'

If we could, we'd hire MercyMe as the NUELOW Games houseband... we love their cover tunes! (I admit we're not terribly familiar with what they're most famous for--which is Christian rock.)

And in the spirit of the approaching Halloween holiday, we present them performing "Thriller", Michael Jackson's famous tribute to monster movies. And we feel that the approach MercyMe takes to monsters is about in line with what we did with our Halloween product "Creature Feature." Check out the great song, below, and the check out the ROLF! tribute to the classic monsters of film and literature by clicking here.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

'Shadows of Dreams': Our most unusual book yet

The latest entry in NUELOW Games's Robert E. Howard Collection series is also one of the most unusual projects we've released to date--it's part poetry collection, part dual-system RPG supplement.


Shadows of Dreams: Poems and Verse by Robert E. Howard collects a small but broad sample of poetry from the creator of Conan and Solomon Kane, thus offering a look at what is perhaps the most obscure of is output. Poems featured range in length from a couple of lines to a couple of pages, and they range in tone from the humorous through contemplative and into the horrific. Here's a sample page (click to enlarge):

Verse by R.E. Howard. Illo by Derek Stevens.
(Illo Copyright 2012 Otherworld Creations. Used under license.)
 In addition, the book contains "Artifacts of the Eternals", which features four magical items created by NUELOW's lead designer Steve Miller with inspiration drawn from Howard's poetry and the artwork selected to illustrate it. Each of the four items has game stats for OGL d20 Systems and OpenD6.

Click here to read more and to see previews of Shaodows of Dreams at DriveThruFiction... and download your own copy for just $1.25.

While you're checking out the latest offering from NUELOW Games, we want to recommend you consider grabbing a copy of a very excellent roleplaying game from the mind of James Desborough--ImagiNation.

It's been speculated that Robert E. Howard suffered from clinical depression, and that the condition was what caused him to obsess about death and to ultimately take his own life. Desborough has commented that ImagiNation was "made around my experiences with depression and creativity" and that the game was written to help people gain an understanding of what depression is like.

The PDF version of the game is available free of charge. Click here to read more and to get your own copy.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Robert E. Howard & ROLF!:
Two great tastes that go great together

While in high school, Robert E. Howard wrote several satirical short stories that were published in "The Tattler," the school newspaper. Being big advocates of recycling, we here at NUELOW Games have incorporated one of young Robert's stories into our latest ROLF! supplement, The Sheik: A Literary (?) Spoof.


The Sheik is a savage spoof of romance novels that features Howard's short story, ROLF! stats for its main characters, and a battle scenario--although the story itself is probably the best series of ROLF! Battle Scenarios we have never published.

"Robert E. Howard wrote better ROLF! fiction than anyone we might ask to write ROLF! fiction," said L.L. Hundal, the co-creator of ROLF!: The Rollplaying Game of Big Dumb Fighters and designer of The Sheik: A Literary (?) Spoof by Robert E. Howard. "I didn't think anyone would ever have the combination of silliness and writing ability to capture the spirit of ROLF!... yet here's someone who was doing it in the 1920s. And he grew up to be the creator of Conan no less."

Click here to visit DriveThruFiction.com to see previews of The Shiek: A Literary (?) Spoof by Robert E. Howard, and to purchase your own copy for just $0.60.