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Tales from the Sanctum

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Welcome

The Sanctum Secorum podcast plumbs the depths of Appendix N as it applies to DCC RPG. Each show reviews one piece of Appendix N media — be it literature or film — and then discusses how to bring aspects of it to the table for your DCC game. We explore how the selected piece might already easily fit into particular modules and DCC settings, and we highlight one specific DCC module that really ties into the Appendix N material.

Enter the Sanctum Secorum… and be inspired.

Some thoughts on the Goodies

Recently, at the end of Empire of Cyclops Con’s celebratory wind-down, Goodman Games hosted the “Goodie” awards. There were a number of worthy folks there and there were many people congratulating the winners…but I’d lean more towards calling them “recipients” rather than winners…and here is why.

Now first, I’ll point out that I was one of those recipients this year – for being on track to run over 100 games this year. Despite this award, and the rarefied company I found myself in this year, such an award differs from many of the others given out last night. While I do include my award as part of my “recipient” commentary, it isn’t really illustrative of my point. I ran a whole bunch of games and, while I’m sure we can agree that it is a nice thing to do, it is NOT on the level of the people I want to talk about today. I’m not trolling for compliments, I’m happy to have my goodie and thrilled that I was nominated. It is just that I think there are some awards that had FAR greater meaning and while there are so many possibilities, it is two of those recipients in specific that I will be addressing to illustrate my point.

Mica Fetz – What an amazing human being. I had the opportunity to see one of the nomination letters for him and I wholly understand why Jen was moved to near tears last night while giving out that award. Mica represents the best in all of us, working diligently to break down the real, physical barriers that prevent some people from being able to play. Their efforts enrich our community by bringing people to the table who otherwise couldn’t do so. Just ponder that for a moment. Mica is ACTIVELY bringing people, not just to our community, but to the table in general. People for whom this is a very important thing. Mica is literally, no exaggeration, changing people’s lives by helping them find friends, community, and gaming.

Raven Shadowz – Those of you on the DCC RPG Rocks page have likely encountered Raven. If you haven’t, you have missed out. This exuberant member of the Order of Shanna, is much more than simply a “part” of our community. Raven Shadowz really came to my attention during the Crypt of the Devil Lich kickstarter when they mentioned their plan to purchase extra copies as prize support for an event they are planning to run after the project ships. Now, lots of people do prize support for events, I wholly understand that. But, the Crypt of the Devil Lich as a prize is only the beginning…

In OSR circles, much is made of the term “the Old Guard”, referring to those individuals who brought us the gift of gaming in the first place. In a more local form, DCC has its own “Old Guard” from the days before its release. Not only the people who worked on the game, but those who were there at the beginning, play testing. I, certainly, do not fall into that group – I came along later, in what could be termed the second wave. Each subsequent wave has gotten larger, and each wave has brought us new faces with boundless enthusiasm. Both of these people are at the forefront of these waves. Hell, enthusiasm just doesn’t seem to describe it. They represent exactly what our community wants, good people, open, welcoming, kind, and giving.

The DCC community is rare in gaming, in that newcomers can come in and ask questions, without getting flamed for asking something simple. Indeed, it is the sort of people that attack newcomers who are generally shown the door from the social side of DCC. Anyone can play, but if you aren’t at least nice? Well, unkind people don’t find themselves welcomed with hugs and hearty greetings when we gather. The DCC community is something truly special.

That is why I think that the people awarded Goodies are “recipients”, not winners. People like Mica and Raven Shadowz show us that the REAL winners at the Goodies are the members of the DCC community. We all win when we have folks like these, as well as so many others, as part of our circle.

  • Steve Barnett
  • Eric Daum
  • Mica Fetz
  • Ray Franklin
  • Hugh Kaserman
  • William Keller
  • Erica King
  • Alex Kurowski
  • Christian Ovensik
  • Yorkus Rex
  • Matt Robertson
  • Jim Searcy
  • Raven Shadowz
  • Haley Skach
  • Jonathan Snodgrass
  • Ed Stanek
  • Mica Stanton
  • Harley Stroh
  • Rev. Dak Ultimak
  • Jon Wilson
  • Dieter Zimmerman

Those are the people who are going to be taking our community to the next level.
Those are the people who are making our community greater.
Those are the people who I am thrilled to call my peers in receiving a Goodie this year.

Not a single one of those awards last night was a throw-away presentation. All of those folks really help form the foundation of where we are. They, and so many others who weren’t named this year, are integral to who we are as a community.

Like I said at the beginning, I received an award for running lots of games. I’m pleased with that accomplishment, and I’ve had a great time this year meeting and playing with so many people. So, while I’m not holding myself to the same level as the other recipients, I recognize that a whole lot of people had fun. It is just weird writing about the recipients of an award that I too received – especially while trying not to sound like a pompous ass.

What I did, anyone with the time I had could do. I managed to do it because I had the freedom to do so. While that has earned me praise, I think most of you out there would do the same if you had the opportunity. I mean, last year James Spahn ran through all of the Road Crew swag levels in what… one week? I didn’t do anything that everyone in our community doesn’t WANT to do. I mean, who doesn’t want to game more? Who doesn’t want to play at least 2-3 games a week? What I’m getting at is that, in my long-winded way, is that I received an award, but it is different. I won an award for something that any number of you would’ve done had you the opportunity.

Most of you reading this know me. I’m loud and larger than life, I’ve had the amazingly good fortune to create things that folks enjoy, I’m a pretty familiar face. While I singled out Mica Fetz and Raven Shadowz, there are so many people I could point to as examples of what make our community so amazing. Names that many are familiar with already, Jonathan Perkel, Yorkus Rex, Eric Young…even members of the creative team itself like Harley Stroh and Brendan LaSalle. There is no shortage of fine examples… Having people of their caliber among us? That is the prize. It is why *WE* of the DCC community are the true winners of the Goodies.

Recently, I’ve given thought to what sparked the Sanctum Secorum in the first place. In part, it was because the DCC community was large enough to support a second podcast, but it was also to support the community that we have come to love so much. While people may give me credit for my support of the community, I’d say that my support of the community stems from the community itself. I can’t see myself going to the lengths I have for a different RPG community. It is all of you, that is what makes the community what it is.

Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients!

 

News: What is on the horizon for the Sanctum Secorum

The Keepers of Mystery have been fairly quiet of late. Indeed, the last, regularly released episode was in 2019, with only sporadic specials since then. So…what gives? Obviously, having all three of the Keepers of Mysteries working on DCC Dying Earth has taken up a great deal of time, and free time has been precious, but fear not!

In January 2022, the Sanctum Secorum will relaunch with new episodes, new zines, and new content. As a small preview…

Episode #46 – Dead Birds (2004) w/ Keeper David Baity
Episode #47 – Hills of the Dead by Robert E. Howard w/ special guest: Judge Eric Young
Episode #48 – Night’s Master w/ special guest: Artist James V. West

So, you can see that things are progressing along, plans are being hatched, and the library is stirring back to life. In addition, a few folks have agreed to join our ‘zine’s creative team and, while you might not see them in every issue – you definitely will be seeing them: Daniel J. Bishop, Mike McKeown, James A. Pozenel Jr., and Jim Yoder. We are thrilled to have them aboard as contributors – and are always looking for more hands so that we can bring you more, and better content.

As the Sanctum Secorum celebrates its 50th episode, and the 50th regular issue of its zine, we have so many thoughts on what to do that we’re still in discussions. Additionally, the idea has been floated of perhaps hiring an outside audio editor to aid in getting the show out on a more regular basis again (audio editors truly do the Dark Master’s work) – but those things aren’t set in stone.

What is still set in stone is that the Sanctum Secorum will continue to bring you episodes, and FREE ‘zines chock full of gameable goodness. So, keep your library cards current…you won’t want to miss the new arrivals.

Do you want more episodes of the Sanctum Secorum Reading Room? Let us know.
Do you want more episodes of the Sanctum Secorum Live? Let us know.

There is even yet another Sanctum Secorum podcast lurking in the shadows…wondering what that is? All we can say is that 2022 is going to be a big year!

News: TWO Upcoming Special Episodes – THIS WEEKEND!

The Sanctum Secorum Reading Room Discusses Dying Earth This Saturday

We are kicking off a new show, with a new format. The Sanctum Secorum Reading Room, starting with a focus on Dying Earth. Join the Keepers of Mysteries, and special guest Judge Julian of Spellburn, as they discuss the Dying Earth, focusing on a reader’s eye view of this masterwork of Appendix N literature. No gaming experience required!

This show is all about the books themselves, and an excellent chance for you to share an appreciation of the Dying Earth with other fans of the same. It airs 9:00 PM EST Saturday night, on the Goodman Games Twitch channel. The audio will also be made available via our regular stream.

 

Sanctum Secorum: Live Interviews John Vance This Sunday!

We’re very excited to announce that we’ve been given the special honor of interviewing John Vance, son of Jack and Norma Vance, about his father’s enduring legacy and the special appeal of Jack Vance’s many worlds of imagination. In addition to John we’re thrilled to also be able to host Koen Vyverman of Spatterlight Press, the Jack Vance specialty press dedicated to preserving and promoting Vance’s fiction for new generations of fans.

This special episode of Sanctum Secorum: Live airs on the Goodman Games Twitch channel Sunday at 2:00 PM EST. The Keepers of Mysteries are thrilled for this opportunity to host this special  honoring the extraordinary life and work of Grandmaster of Science Fiction Jack Vance.

News: Artists and Writers Wanted

The Sanctum Secorum Companion is the longest, most prolific, DCC zine out there. With forty three regular issues and six special issues to date, that is a whole lot of free content for the community. That said, it is a great deal of work, and it often falls on only a few people to generate this stream of content.

This is where you come in.

The Sanctum Secorum wants to build a pool of regular contributors,  writers and artists willing to contribute to the companion when it goes back to its monthly schedule later this year.  What’s in it for you? About the same that is in it for us, not much.

Being the longest running DCC ‘zine is great, but we’re also a FREE publication. So, even contributor copies are a bit of a moot point. What you do get out of it is being able to further contribute to our community. To get your work and ideas in front of other people to enjoy. Not for “exposure”, but simply for the love of the game. Of course, you will become part of our team, an insider with more information about upcoming episodes and projects – a part of the Sanctum Secorum.

Are you interested? If so, drop a line to TheHub AT Sanctum.media

We will be talking to interested parties, working to expand our team as we revamp just what the Sanctum Secorum provides. Upcoming features include

  • The Sanctum Secorum: Returning later this year with new monthly episodes.
  • Sanctum Secorum Reading Room: A new series focused on Appendix N literature for those wholly unfamiliar. A crash course for those just beginning to delve into Burroughs, Howard, Vance, and more.
  • Sanctum Secorum Live: More episodes, more special guests!
  • Tales from the Sanctum Secorum:  An actual play podcast featuring some well known DCC Road Crew personalities.

We’re getting ready to really ramp things up, and we’d love to have you aboard!

Review: Dicey Times

Here at the Sanctum Secorum, we don’t do many reviews and so, when we do? It is generally because something really stands out. This is another such case.

Dicey Times, a play on both the product and the troubled times in which we live, is a subscription box delivering a set’s worth (but not a set) of individually curated dice. We ordered a one-time box ($30) to give things a try and eagerly opened the box when it arrived.

I’ll start by pointing out that everything about this box is handled with a real attention to detail. Even the mailing box itself is chosen to be eye-catching and fun. While there is nothing wrong with a plain white box, just the simple act of bringing in the mail was already filling me with anticipation. Now, there is no unboxing video (although we may do one next time – see below) so here are a few more packing details. Wrapped in tissue was a bundle of confetti-colored excelsior, nestled in which were two small pouches and a box. Also included was a personalized note with wax seal.

Cracking open the seal revealed a note to the early adopters (we got in on the first shipment) and a curation list of the individual dice. The dice represented are the “traditional” polyhedral dice chain d4 through d20 with a bonus d6 thrown in. So, here is what we received.

Looking at the dice individually is where things got to be really fun!

“D20 – A weighty monster, this D20 is a unique dragon-themed die made of solid zinc alloy, and sized slightly above average. Guaranteed to make an impression on friends and surfaces alike, best to use with table protection!”

This die is beefy. It has a great weight in the hand and, upon close inspection has some really dice detailing. On the downside, it is a little tough to read at a distance, but a quick black wash would resolve that. This is one of the standouts in the box.

 

 

“D12 – Your D12 comes from a workshop in Poland known for its intricate designs.”

The copy for this die, one of my other favorites, is a bit light and I would love to know a bit more. Still, the pattern evokes Polish porcelain and my family has strong Polish ties. While your mileage may vary, I absolutely love this easy to read d12. How often does one say that?

 

 

“D% – I took a chance on these and only got one to try out – this die is fossilized coral, which is what gives it such interesting depth and detail.”

I recognize the numbering on this die (although the manufacturer doesn’t leap to mind). This is a nice looking piece, one I would be more likely to use as part of a set than individually, but a really nice addition to a dice collection.

 

 

“D10 – …I admit this D10 comes from a set. I included solely as a Star Wars tribute. May the Force be with you as you use it!”

While not a standout die (probably from a Chessex set), I understand that there are going to be some “ordinary” dice in the box to keep the price reasonable. This fits the bill, nothing special, but fully functional.

 

 

 

“D8 – A gorgeous acrylic, with iridescent swirls of sea blues and greens.”

Another “ordinary” die – but – it is a nice looking “ordinary” die. Every die doesn’t need to be cast of mithril, or carved from fire giant bone for me to enjoy it. This is simply a nice die. This one will go into one of my gaming bags and see use. Score another one for keeping the box affordable.

 

 

“D6 – Your D6 was lovingly handmade by a crafting duo who have spent the last ten years touring events in Europe to share their historical and fantasy creations, and have recently been able to open up their own store back home in Italy.”

This one gets a longer write up because this is what I’m calling “my conflicted die”from the box. The die itself feels like a laser cut balsa d6, that has been assembled, glued, and painted. It is really light in the hand and, bluntly, I’m never going to use it. That said, I do like the background of the die. I know a number of traveling entertainers and crafters who are wholly out of work at the moment due to Covid-19. Those folks are really struggling to make ends meet. So, as a die? Meh. As an act of support for a struggling crafter? Hell yes! Opinions on this die are likely going to be fairly strong among gamers; for me, the benefit outweighs the negative. It’ll go up with my other unused dice – and I am fine with that.

 

“D4 – Made from a zinc alloy with an enamel paint, this durable die is styled in an iron finish, with large, clear numbers for easy reading.”

Somewhere between a normal-sized d4 but not a micro die, this is a clean, easy to read d4. It’s actually easier to read than many of my larger dice. This will definitely go into one of my dice bags, but it not one for a place of honor among my collection. It is a nice little metal die though.

 

 

BONUS! I really appreciate you chipping in on this project. Thanks to your generous contribution, I was able to source a great selection, support some small businesses, and gather a few more dice than I expected! I’ve included an extra “thank you” die in your box – a black resin D6 with pirate skull pips. Hope it amuses you!”

So, I absolutely ADORE these dice. I first saw them in a targeted ad on Facebook and Judge Jen gave me a set of these d6s. They are great, and getting an extra one in this box was, for me, the icing on the cake. While I don’t know how much these cost, this certainly adds to my perceived value of what was in this first box.

 

As you may have guessed from the bonus text, this originally was put forth as a way to source some really cool dice as a gift for someone’s first set of dice. This allowed for the purchase of a number of really cool dice and everyone who chipped in ended up getting some really cool dice.

As someone who doesn’t often purchase loose dice, I was a bit leery of what I was going to think when I opened the box but, with shipping (and thanks to the bonus die) it worked out to $3.75/die. For the price, I’m really happy.

I’ve gotten related RPG-style boxes before of varying (and sadly oft-declining) quality. Those have often had dice but those dice were generally packs that one can buy on Ali Baba for $3 a set or so. Either that or REALLY ugly Chessex speckled dice that many stores cannot even give away. In short, they’ve always been giveaway dice. If a new player needs dice, I could give them a set and let them get started. There is a place for that sort of thing, but I’ve got enough sets like that to last me for years.

What came in the mail from Dicey Times was something wholly different. Every detail is meant to elevate the experience: the visually pleasing box, the bright tissue, plucking the pouches and box from the excelsior, and the satisfying act of breaking the wax seal. I was, quite literally, enjoying the opening of this box long before I had gotten to the dice.

Opening this box was fun!

I’ve bought a lot of dice, dice that I’ve really enjoyed getting (especially from our friends over at Crystal Caste) but I never imagined that getting a selection of unknown dice would be such fun. Dicey Times really sets a high bar for RPG boxes. This doesn’t feel like a bunch of thrown together remnants that are gathering dust in a warehouse, there really is an experience here. Additionally, if you really love one of the dice and wish you had a set? Dicey Times buys a lot of dice and will be happy to look through their remaining stock to see if they can help you assemble one.

There is nothing not to love here. Gamers supporting gamers and crafters to provide great stuff for more gamers. There are all sorts of interesting dice being manufactured out there these days and I’m looking forward to seeing where Dicey Times takes me next. Needless to say, we’ve gone from a one-time box to a subscription.

The business is VERY new, still working on getting a full web-presence up (again this just started out as a “do something nice for someone” project that has blossomed into something bigger), but you can jump in now by heading through the link below. Not only that, but you get to set your own price to help determine what you will end up receiving.

#DICEY TIMES

Sanctum Secorum LIVE

For those who missed the live broadcast of the Sanctum Secorum (which, after about 8 minutes, was everyone) here is the entire episode for your enjoyment. The Keepers of Mystery reunite to discuss the Goodman Games releases for DCC Day.

Announcing Skull & Crossbones Classics #1

1650-1720: The Golden Age of Piracy, a time where the seas were ruled by those with
the most powerful fleets – but those desperate (or greedy) enough could live like kings.

You are no hero…

You’re a pirate: a corsair, a buccaneer, a sea-beggar, a whipcord-tough cutthroat plying the
devil’s trade. You seek gold and glory, taking it with sword and cannon fire, awash in the
blood of those who would oppose you, and the tears of those too weak to stop you.

There are treasures to be won upon the seas, and you shall have them.

Issue #1

  • Core Rules – Character Basics
  • Mechanic – Star Signs
  • Character Class – The Jonah
  • Mechanic – The Devil’s Own Luck
  • Inspirations – Sailing Superstitions
  • Mechanic – Ill-Fortune
  • Monsters – Sea Beggar’s Bestiary
  • Inspirations – Appendix S

Print w/PDF
$5 + $1 S/H

  

PDF
$2 DrivethruRPG