168: our dumb, bulging soup-sack

Hullo.

Humblebag
Ludo-no-more
Livia Didn’t Do It
Byyyyeeee!!!

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This is fun. Humble Bundle have just launched a bundle highlighting Jamie McKelvie and my own work, both together and with other collaborators.

You likely know Humble, but if you don’t, the core is that it’s a pay what you want bundle deal. As in, you pay what you want and you get stuff. If what you pay if over certain tiers, you get more stuff. The money gets split between Humble, the creators and the charity the bundle is supporting. More so, you get to tweak how your money is split between the three. It’s all DRM free. I’ve supported a bunch of Humble Bundles before in the past, so it’s excellent to be part of one. The full details of how Humble works are here. The charity we’ve chosen to support is the Tegan and Sarah Foundation which works to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ women and girls. It does amazing work, so that’s another huge plus.

Humble is always also a ludicrously good deal. Here’s the tiers, at the time of writing. You get everything the amount you pay and below. (So if you pay for a higher tier, you get all the lower tiers as well.)

Cripes.

These will likely (in fact, definitely) inch upwards as folks pay more than the advised number, and so on, so will be likely higher when you click through. But it’s still going to be a startling way to grab a bunch of our work, for yourself or friends, or just to have them digitally. It’s very much the complete works thing, with a lot of Jamie and my more obscure stuff in there, as well as the stadium-filling bangers.

The deal runs from now until (er) September 21st? Something like that. There’s a countdown on the page and everything.

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And lo! Ludo-ends, out in Ludo-shops, and Ludo-comixology.

I suspect I’ll download at length when the trade drops for this, which is already at the printer and will be with you in November. You can pre-order now. This… issue… is…

Well.

The whole back half of the issue is something I had running through my head back in 2007, as I was walking around graveyards near Jim’s house and pining after C. In my head, Hades shouting “Cue Gravity’s Rainbow by Klaxons” before a key bit. Which is about the only thing which didn’t make the final version, really.

I also think of sitting with Eric Stephenson in a fancy-ish burger place in London, pitching Ludocrats at him in 2014 or so. I don’t normally pitch in person, but I’m basically describing everything in this issue, beat by beat, towards the final release. He says sure. We get to it. And then things get to us, slowing it. But we get it.

And eventually, it’s done, and at every step of the thing, the strangeness of getting to do this, exactly how we wanted it. Image is a hell of a publisher. Outside of self publishing, I can’t think of anywhere we could have made this work the way it does.

It is also as dumb as a sack full of soup.

I am so proud of our dumb, bulging soup-sack.

You can get it from your local comic shop, or digitally. You can also read a preview here.

Oh – here’s the house Ad we did for inclusion in other comics.

It has been a time.

****

I finished off reading Emma Southon’s overview of murder in Ancient Rome, A Fatal Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed her Agrippina, and it creates similar difficulties of how to talk about it. My immediate urge, especially in the earlier, relatively lighter chapters was to turn to words like “gossipy” or “catty” to describe its tone, except they’re words which drip misogyny and always imply a lack of seriousness. Conversely, something like “conversational” absolutely undersells its charm (and patronises). Equally, when she turns her eye to the darker areas, and she writes with anger and empathy, it’s easy to talk about its political astuteness and understanding of lives as lived between the lines in the sources, which also misrepresents the book. It is serious of intent and determinedly unsomber in approach.

What I’m reminded of is a moment when I was researching THREE. Talking to historians, I was struck time and time over how careful they are whenever I asked a question, or said something that reached a bit too far. The possibilities of where truth could lay was delineated carefully.

However, there was one night. I went to the yearly Classics association gathering. As well as revealing how much they were all fans of all the classics (7 Abba songs in a row) there was one moment. Two drinks in, a historian leans over to me and says “Now, let me tell you about bloody Cicero” and lets rip.

This book is a lot like that. It’s conversational, only in the way of a highly opinionated and highly educated friend, who’s taken you to one side and giving you it with both barrels, and not even pretending they’re not having fun doing so. It has strong opinions on what it describes, but Southon shows all her evidence as she unveils her take. She lampshades when it is her take, but without any “this is all just opinions” cowardice. She is scathingly funny, constantly. It marches into the arena, and asks you to come at it, bro. I enjoyed it enormously, and has had me reading random bits out to C all the time I was reading it.

I also suspect my use of the word “yonks” repeatedly in last week’s column was 100% its influence.

You can buy it here.

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It’s my birthday. I have many Scotch Eggs. I am the luckiest of boys.

I got the scripts off I mentioned last time, and cleared my desk. Eternals’ had its final bolts slid into place yesterday, which is a heaving beast. Mainly, I’ve been clearing my head enough to look up. I’m aware there’s less projects I am committed to than usual, so there’s been some sifting through the options. I also managed to get the Master class to a state where I may do another beta update for DIE RPG Beta – same as last time, in terms of just being character sheets and a few notes of explanations in how to play it. It’ll also likely update the Godbinder a bit, as what I have planned for the Master involves separating the two classes more than they are. It also simplifies the Godbinder very slightly, which is a welcome side effect. Perhaps I’ll also include the basic quick start one-off DIE game adventure I was thinking about too. And then, I swear, last beta update before the full thing bar bugs and typos and whatever else I inevitably add when I break my word and release another one.

(One of the joys this week was seeing folks start to play Come Dice With Me. The very real joy I helping enable an evening of actual human fun when you’re not present is definitely addictive and I recommend it. Game design is a useful and emotionally fulfilling sideline right now, and actively giving a workout for certain critical narrative muscles.)

Anyway – that’s enough. I have a dinner to eat, and thinking to be getting back to. Look after yourselves in the hell times.

Speak soon.

Kieron Gillen
London.
30.9.2020