Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Speak, False Machine

 Good news! Demon-Bone Sarcophagus is finally stumbling to a close. Files are away to the printers (though there will likely be feedback on those) and PDF editor, fees have been paid and though there may be delays with fulfilment which stop shipping until October, the book will actually definitely be made.

Bad News - I am utterly fuuuuuuucked financially.

Blame Putin. 

Also my own financial and organisational failings, VotE going out of print, our map-maker disappearing for several months without any contact, general slowness and the book being roughly eight months over my assumed timetable leading to print costs rising 40% between our first quote and our final one.

Tis truly a glorious disaster in every respect other than that the book will actually exist.

Yet the spice must flow and the end of one book means only the beginning of another. As one book is born another is already conceived, so I shall tell you now about my plans for 'Speak, False Machine', a substantial tome which will hopefully not bankrupt me (more).


test print only

Is essentially a (near) complete record of the first ten years of the False Machine blog.

"Near" because I removed anything I thought was pretty bad and anything that appeared in a different form in other books, or that is expected to appear in future books. So much of the development posts for things like FotVH and VotE won't be there.

Still its... substantial, at least in its test print version. A crown-quarto hardback with around 650 pages and half a million words.

space marine for scale

Know peace because it is not simply a chronological cut and paste with every post in order. Instead they are arranged by subject;

History of the Blog - "event" posts, these are actually arranged chronologically.

On Games; I do (or did) occasionally write about game design, broken down into 'Adventures', 'Characters', 'Gaming Culture', 'Making Adventures', 'Play', 'Time', 'Tools', and 'Worlds'.

False Readings; fiction and short stories, there were a handful of these.

Uncertain Worlds; more on the side of world building rather than just world design, 'Chivalric Encounters', 'Cryogenic Rats', 'Knights of Mars', 'Modern Heroes/Modern Monsters' and  'Fantastic Lands'.

I Read a Book; I write about the books I read, 'Culture', 'Comics', 'Fiction', 'Games', 'History' and 'Nature'.

Cryptoculture; my cultural ramblings, broken down into 'Film', 'Marvel', 'Miscellanea', 'Star Trek', 'Television', 'Warhammer' and 'Weebery'.

And finally 'Kleinplastik' where I talk about sculpture largely through the lens of minis.


I am aiming for a black and white print to keep costs down. 

There are three main kinds of art in the book. The first is made up of diagrams and small illustrations which illuminate descriptions or just fill odd spaces. There are about 50 of these.

There are extensive images in the 'Kleinplastik' section, this is the only part here I worry about not having colour as many of the arguments interrelate more with colour. I was half-thinking about having a central 'photographic' section like you used to see in old books, depending on the cost.

And finally there are eight 'title pages' which I have left blank. My hope is that through the Kickstarter I can maybe get B&W images from actually-famous artists. I was hoping for Ian Miller, Killian Eng, maybe Adrian Smith? We will see I suppose.


Promises to be _less_ of a nightmare than most D&D books as, compared to a gaming book, a normie book is easy mode, but still quite hard due to the sheer volume of text. 


I am leaving the blog posts as they were written partly for authenticity, partly because of the huge difficulty of editing the actual contents and partly because even if I did "even them out" with spelling and layout a lot of the life and particularity of some of the more odd posts would be lost.

HOWEVER - I do want an index for the book, and considering the capacious range and strangeness of the contents that looks to be a very difficult project.


I will need;

- A layout person.
- An editor willing to take on the insane requirements of the Index.
- Someone to do black and white diagrams and small illustrations.

If anyone wants to volunteer hit me up in the comments or my email pjamesstuart at Work would be paid for via Kickstarter, which won't run till late in this year, depending on when DBS can ship out. Experience and a proven record of not being a flake is important as I can't live through the utter chaos of my last project again. Considering who I am immunity or indifference to being cancelled may be useful.



  1. Have you considered allowing James/LotFP permission to republish VotE hardcovers for another year to help you financially? With used copies selling online for over $500, there's obviously still a strong demand for the hardcover.

    1. Considered and decided long ago. A print run isn't really something you can do for a single year, need to print at least 2000 or better 4000 for it to be worthwhile so it would mean another 5 years probably of LotFP VotE.

      We will produce our own it will just take time.

  2. I would be happy to provide some illustrations for cheap! My Instagram is @autumnkingdomsart for an old sample of my work

  3. I'm 100% in for False Machine: the blog: the tome.

    Sorry to hear about you getting shafted with fluctuating commodity prices. They're totally wild right now. How about setting up an online tip jar or something, so those of us who backed the Kickstarter can defray it a bit?

    1. Thanks Rob. I probably won't do a tip jar mainly just because it feels not right for me. Difficult to rationally explain but I am ok capitalising products and actively selling particular things but not in hoovering up money for just kinda vaguely existing.

    2. Yeah, appreciated - I don't participate in any patreons myself, for the same reason. But by tip jar I meant more like a specific place the people who backed the Kickstarter can put money in to bring DBS up to the 'actual' price, if they want.

      Just an idea! I don't like the thought of the creator getting the short end of the stick for the thing I'm buying, and I'm sure many others feel the same.

  4. Woooah that's huge! I will let here my ig so if you should need some B&W illustrations you could see what I do: @orb_oldragingbarbarian
    And hope the best for this gigantic project <3

  5. I'm an editor, still need one?

  6. I'm an editor, do you still need one? Huge fan of your work, would love to help you with this.

  7. Oops double sent, my bad haha

    1. Triple now. If you have a CV or list of previous projects, please send it to

  8. Artist here willing to do art, you can find some samples over at https:// and send me an e-mail on the same username at googlemail

    1. Thank you! I will note you down and will be in contact closer to the time.

  9. will this book include the posts' comments sections? feels like that's an important part of this whole thing, this whole OSR community-blogosphere-experience, divorcing the blogposts from their comments is separating a mother from her children 😔

    1. A handful of the more important or productive posts will have comment chains included yes

  10. Please stop me from volunteering to index the thing for you.

    Also, please may I index the thing for you?

    1. Dan do you have any experience at all with things of this ilk?

    2. Absolutely not! Slightly irritatingly, I rarely have any interest in doing things I've done before. I do, however, have about 98% confidence that I'd make a good job of it, and I'm 90% confident I have people in my network who do have experience and can alert me to pitfalls. 99.999% that I've got such people in my network's networks.

      What I also have is STRONG opinions. I recently, when prepping my DCO campaign, noticed the index that you put in there. While I haven't checked it for thoroughness, one of my strong opinions is that it's the best index I've ever seen, by quite a margin

      Damn, I'm genuinely really interested now. Pick me, pick me!

  11. Do you still need layout? I have no proven track record of reliability but I could easily do layout in LaTeX for a pittance, and I'm happy to send samples of past projects. If you're not familiar with LaTeX: it's a FOSS typesetting engine normally used for academic and particularly mathematical or scientific works. It produces elegant, simple, typographically sound layouts extremely quickly. Since this is a normie book with occasional illustrations I think it'd work perfectly.