I won in court and I'm innocent, publishers have decided to start making Zak books again:
Fierce Ponies is a publishing company run by transmasc gamer Molly Scanlon and Ponies is putting out a new print edition of A Red and Pleasant Land!
And Boonie Dog run by Alex Hopson is, well, I'll let him explain:
To do my part to decancel Zak, I will be publishing a major LotFP-compatible product with him…..and here it is……
The setting is a love letter to Okinawa, the island where I grew-up beginning in 1978 as a pre-schooler and continuing to graduation from high school, summer breaks during my university and law school days, and every year since to visit my wife’s Okinawan family. I retired from the legal profession about 10 years ago to the island as a restauranteur to help preserve the indigenous cuisine and a dying local culture.
For this setting, I pulled from almost every source available to me: Histories and folklores of various groups on the main and outer islands of the Ryukyu chain, mainland Japan, China's Fujian Province, Taiwan, Hong Kong, my gaming groups which are, depending upon the group, local Okinawan, Japanese, American and European expats gamers, my experience as a TTRPG player, GM, my experience as an attorney, my experience in researching and preserving ancient local foods, my 89 year old Okinawan mother in law, Japanese college professors, linguists, calligraphers, local karate and kung fu masters, dietician, folklorists, traditional hajichi tattoo artists, and lastly, my dear, wife. I originally conceived a “Japan Only” release, but decided to open it up to all, so there will definitely be an English version.
The impetus of the setting and theme came to me after reading a 2016 article. The article discusses how archeologists working deep within an Okinawan cave unearthed a Roman coin dating to approximately the 4th century A.D. What in God’s ( Yaweh, Buddah, Allah; or your deity of choice) name was a Roman coin doing buried on the far side of the world on a tiny pacific island, deep inside a cave!?! There are countless theories, but I romanticized (pun intended) that some Roman envoy had circumnavigated their way all the way out here as explorers, traders, conquerors, seekers of treasure or enlightenment; or all of the above. But what must foreign eyes have glimpsed of this subtropical island in those times? I pulled a few books and websites concerning the island’s history and found that in those days, the island suffered quite a bit from volcanic activity. In fact, the whole island chain was believed formed from extinct underwater volcanos in prehistory. But those fault lines and resultant volcanoes are not really extinct, we still suffer through a number of significant earthquakes and active eruptions on the outer islands, as well as from the effects of new underwater volcano formation every year.
Fantastically and rhetorically speaking, what if the someone or “someones” could magically or druidically stop a volcanic eruption? What form of magic in the current gaming-world canon could do that?? …..and who would be powerful enough to wield it? And, what if that magic wasn’t quite perfect? E.g. a ritual’s timing was off by only a few seconds or minutes??……the idea of the “Nebulith” was thus conceived…… a plume of volcanic ash turned to stone, mid-eruption..,,containing creatures from above; the living (and dead!) on the surface that were thrust skyward; and foul creatures from the deep that need now only climb the walls of the cavity created. A billowing, vertical mega-dungeon that touches the sky, if you will.
The Nebulith is for me, a mistake borne of magic and good intentions that has created a physical, philosophical and metaphorical tendril between the heavens and hells of this world and all that lies in between. A tangible, bi-directional ladder that may be traversed by humanoids, beasts, demons, gods and goddesses. It has the billowy texture, color swirls, and dream-state magical qualities of a solidified cloud and the inhabitants to match.
The Nebulith is set against the backdrop of the island that I love and which:
-is the birthplace karate;
-is an intersecting port of ancient Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean (and possibly Roman!:-) trade, settlements, culture, art, cuisine, folklore and ideas that have functioned to produce a wholly new and unique culture that is intermingled, yet simultaneously, wholly individual and original;
-mysteriously houses the longest lifespans of any human population in the world;
-and, has one of the worlds few primordial religions still in existence.
In the game besides the fantastical Nebulith itself, there is a whole island to explore with mysterious characters, philosophical conundrums, bizarre encounters, 1000 year old temples built atop 1000 year old temples, political drama, pirate-infested coastlines and new bad-ass, martial arts fighting mechanics with weapons and leveling.
Compiled with LotFP* in mind, it can easily be converted to any OSR setting. Campaign or one-shot, bring your existing characters and weapons by boat to the Nebulith or roll -up new ones local to the island chain.
*For the LotFP crowd and those that like it, a lot dark and a little twisted, take the trails down to the lower Nebulith, we’ll have few surprises waiting 😉
Im really geeked for this new setting…. New player classes, monsters, items, magic, karate dojos, female samurai, ninja, pterodactyls, royal houses and that’s tip of the iceberg…..plus brand, new art, design and crunch by the one and only Zak S! Zak games are back!
More details as they become available…..