Saturday, October 24, 2020

Deep Madness Board Game - Tour Guide of scenarios, book, campaigns

Deep Madness Scenario Chronology v8

UPDATED Aug 2021
21 total scenarios (canon) 
+ 1 fan campaign (4 scenarios)  + 1 fan-made expansion set (7 scenarios)

Seth (S.E) Lindberg and Phil Blake

Starting place for Deep Madness:
·       (optional) Read the Shattered Seas novel by Byron Leavitt
o   Many key characters (People of Interest) in the novel are colored purple in the table

·       Note: the Chronology Table below is not necessarily the suggested order of play
·       For newcomers, the suggested playthrough order of Expansions is:
o   Drowning in the Depths (tutorial scenario, provided in Faces of the Sphere/Profundum)
o   Core Box (scenarios 1-8)
o   Endless Nightmares (3 scenarios, any order) & Uncounted Horrors (1 scenario)
o   Other scenarios/campaigns


Chronology Table Scope:

The original intent of the table was to organize the chronology of the canon scenarios to further narrative gameplay.

We include a representative fan made campaign (Premonitions of Despair led by Phil Blake and Fabio Faletti) to highlight the community involvement which included feedback/support from Diemension Game (Byron Leavitt sourced PDFs from their master files, DG gave permissions to use their art, and DG encouraged them). Check out the Facebook group, link below.

Exalted Blasphemies: Fans created expansions focused on the Epic monsters (colored red in the table) that did not have scenarios. (Phil Blake championed this and played a role everywhere; graphic design by Fabio Faletti, includes cover art by Chang Yuan, several stories by Seth (S.E.) Lindberg and Sam Parsons to complement Phil Blake’s writing; Oscar Bok and Mark Turner got kudus for playtesting. This was made available for the public Aug 2021.

 Versions of this will be posted in:


Expansion Game Title


Epic Monster  Person of Interest

Character Focus (or those come with the expansion)  Person of Interest


Shattered Seas (complements novel of same name)

1: Shattered Worlds  (requires a game tile from Uncounted Horrors)

Lucas Kane (marine biologist)

Pre-Core Story


Rise of Dagon

1: Rite of Bile

Ward Phillips (novelist)

Regan Waite (cultist)

Meredith Waite (executive)

2: Virulent Whispers

3: Dagon Rising

Premonitions of Despair

Fan-Generated Campaign

1: Malfunction

Christopher Dalton (mystic)

Lisbeth Gibson (hacker)

Charles Ryan (heavy miner)

Jacob Clarke (relief expert)

Dakota Johnson (officer)

Sophie Brigman (diver)

2: Mutilation

3: Hallucination

4: Exit Wounds (Cthulhu sculpture)

Profundum/The Faces of the Sphere

1: Drowning in the Depths (tutorial)

Same as core story

Core Story

Core Box of Deep Madness

1: Crawling Asphyxia

Arthur Weyland (engineer)

Felicia Armitage (doctor)

Jared Drake (soldier)

Randi Carter (researcher)

Roman Asimov (biochemist)

Samuel Smith (captain)


Oracles Betrayal:

Hannah Cobb (little girl)

John Murdock (detective)

Dr. Clarence Branom (psychiatrist)


2: Last Shuttle to Hell

3: Bathphobia

4: Through the Looking Glass (William West)

Oracle’s Betrayal

1: Trimming Victims (William West)

2: Collecting Tissue (William West)

3: Lobotomy (William West)

Core Box of Deep Madness

5: Madness Within

6: Lost in the Mist

7: The Horror Beneath (Edgar Kayce)

8: The Substance of Terror

“True Ending”

to Core Story

Uncounted Horrors

1: Another Dawn

Core story characters, plus:

David (pilot)

Pris (secretary)

Dakota Johnson (officer)

Stephen Cooper (physicist)

Charles Ryan (heavy miner)

Jacob Clarke (relief expert)

Amanda Weaver (quartermaster)

Sophie Brigman (diver)

Jon (cat)

Post Core Story

Profundum/The Faces of the Sphere (cross-over to Dawn of Madness board game)

1: Faces of the Sphere

Same as core story + Hannah + Ward Phillips + Jacob Clarke (Visages of them!)

No fixed timeframe


Play at anytime

Endless Nightmares

1: Fathoms Dark (Unbound)

Christopher Dalton (mystic)

Emma Kruger (special agent)

Franklyn Christie (navigator)

Amanda Weaver (quartermaster)

Isaiah Wiesenthal (prophet)

Lisbeth Gibson (hacker)

Sophie Brigman (diver)

Scarlet Romanov (special agent)

2: Fevered Dreams (Obscure)

3: Expectant Terror (Nest)



Exalted Blasphemies

Fan Made Expansions

1: Dimension Sickness (Dimension Rift)

Edgar Kayce (Dimension Sickness)

2: Wisdom of the Mad King (Drifter King)

3: Hunger Pains (Omega Ravenous)

4: Devoured (Devourer of Worlds)

5: Infected Memories (Insidious)

6: The Dreamlands (Spawn of the Sleeper)

7: Purgatory (Penitent and Forsaken)


Friday, October 23, 2020

Nov-Dec Groupread: Charles R. Saunders Tribute and Sword & Soul


For the Nov-Dec 2020 Sword & Sorcery groupreads, the topic will be Sword & Soul in honor of Charles R. Saunders's passing (by royal decree). So Saunders will be a focus, but the sub-Genre he championed is all fair game. Including the works inspiring an HBO series for the Asuna works (Sebastian A. Jones) and all of Milton J. Davis's work too. Please join us! Discover and rediscover Sword & Soul!

Link: Discussion Folder for Saunders/Sword&Soul 

Link: Poll used as a means to declare which book you intend to read (and see what others are choosing!) 

Banner Credits: Saunders and Sword & Soul Groupread Banner. Cover artists for Charles R Saunder's works:
- 2013 The Quest for Cush cover art by Alain Brion
- 2011 Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology cover by Natiq Jalil
- 2008 Dossouye cover by Mshindo Kuumba

Friday, October 2, 2020

Sword & Sorcery Writer's Track at Bride of Cyclops Con - sharing from Goodman Games

Goodman Games just post a wonderful Update on Kickstarter (ostensibly for Tales from the Magician's Skull campaign) that advertises the Sword & Sorcery Writer's Track at Cyclops Con.

I wasn't sure if non-backers could see this (link) or not, so I spread the news here (yes, I simply copy and pasted).  Looks like they are broadcasting the panels via Twitch. Coming in two weeks!

Goodman Games writes: 

Sword & Sorcery Writer's Track at Bride of Cyclops Con

Bride of Cyclops Con is our upcoming online gaming convention, scheduled for October 16-18. Among many other things, we'll be broadcasting a sword & sorcery writer's track to our Twitch channel! There are four seminars that will air from October 16 to October 18. If you're a sword & sorcery fan, mark your calendar. You'll want to check these out!

“The Best Sword & Sorcery Stories of the 20th Century” – Friday, October 16, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm EST

Six sword-and-sorcery fans and scholars compare notes about the important works in the genre, starting with foundational fiction and moving on to more recent times. This panel will talk details, not just an author’s name, but why a particular story or novel is worthy of note.


  • Brian Murphy, author of Flame & Crimson 
  • Dr. Jason Ray Carney, author of Weird Tales of Modernity, editor of Whetsone and co-editor of The Dark Man 
  • Bill Ward, Online Editor for Tales From the Magician’s Skull 
  • Howard Andrew Jones, Editor Tales From the Magician’s Skull 
  • Jeff Goad, co-host of the ENnie nominated podcast Appendix N Book Club 

“Finding the New Edge for Fiction Writers” – Saturday, October 17, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm EST

Seven modern crafters of heroic fiction and sword-and-sorcery sit down to discuss how they plot stories and create characters.

Panelists: James Enge, John C. Hocking, Violette Malan, Clint Werner, Nathan Long, Adrian Cole, and Howard Andrew Jones

“Getting Sword-and-Sorcery into your Role-Playing Game” – Saturday, October 17, 4:00 pm-5:00 pm EST

Four veteran game masters talk about tips and tricks for getting your game sessions to feel more like a rip-snorting sword-and-sorcery tale.

Panelists: Michael Curtis, Harley Stroh, Joseph Goodman, and Howard Andrew Jones

“Behind the Scenes with Publishers of Heroic Fiction” – Sunday, October 18, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm EST

Where can you find heroic fiction in the modern age? Well, at least five of those places are represented by the members of this panel, who’ll be talking about trends in the industry, how to get your story ready for the editors, and related topics.


  • Adrian Simmons, Publisher and Editor of Heroic Fiction Quarterly 
  • Christopher Paul Carey, Director of Publishing at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
  • Douglass Drass, Editor of Weirdbook 
  • Milton Davis, Publisher of MVMedia 
  • Joseph Goodman, Publisher of Tales From the Magician’s Skull 
  • Howard Andrew Jones, Editor of Tales From the Magician’s Skull 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Dungeon Vol. 1: The Black Tower - Review by SE

SE rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Black Tower (1988) is full of forced action and lost opportunity. In any event, I thank the Goodreads Sword & Sorcery groupread that enabled me to revisit a series I thought I missed out on. If you like to be constantly bait-n-switched without reason, then this book is for you. Since it is the anchor for the series, I don't plan on reading more.

The Concept: Set ~1870, the aristocratic Englishman Major Clive Folliot goes exploring across the world for his missing brother Neville. The premise has a "lost world" pulp vibe (i.e., an alien world in which the protagonist is teleported/transported to and cannot return to earth) and that world is essentially a hostile prison for beings across time & space. A few instances, the book evoked emotions I last felt while watching the 1967 TV series The Prisoner or the 2004-2010 TV series The Lost. As the introduction explains, Byron Preiss had asked Philip José Farmer to edit and oversee the Dungeon series. Richard A. Lupoff was chosen to lead this (but it is unclear if Farmer selected him) with Volume 1: The Black Tower (1988).

What worked:
-Farmer's introduction to the series & the concept of the "Dungeon"
-The pull of the mysterious disappearance of Neville; this premise kept me in the book the duration.
-Bonus sketches/illustrations ostensibly drawn by the protagonist
-Occasional, brief scenes that deserved more than a paragraph (i.e., the plight of enthralled giants, and the impregnation of spider eggs into human bodies)
-User Annie's futuristic (~1999) language (which mention motherboards, and downloading); for a 1988 novel, this take on future vocabulary was entertaining and fairly accurate.

What did not work:
(1) The promise behind the cover and title: The cover by Robert Gould is awesome. It has stuck in my head for 30+ yrs. However, it promises a Heroic Fantasy or Sword & Sorcery story, and the book is Sci-Fi adventure. My initial, ignorant impression was that the book may be like the 1984 Deathtrap Dungeon experience in which a hero is trapped a grim prison and must fight his way out (at least that cover matched the milieu).I don't think Major Clive Folliot ever wears a cape while wielding a sword either. The first third of this book is set in ~1870; then it's a mix of modern and futuristic elements. "The Black Tower" title seems off too; there is a black tower which is termed the City of Q'oorna, run by a khalif who spares the explorer's crew and puts them into a dungeon of sexy women! (an exclamation used to mirror the author's style) ... but we do not return to this tower or khalif, so...whatever.

(2) Embarrassing Sexism: Clive's constant desire to have sex with every woman undermines his deep feelings for Annabella Leighton, his love interest (stuck on earth as he explores the Dungeon). It is laughable to read chapter after chapter with him observing women as sex objects; expect descriptions of boobs, hips, and lips. Clive even has carnal desires for his relatives stuck in the dungeon! Cripes. Here's my favorite as Clive meets an alien lady with alabaster white skin:
"The magnificent woman touched the emerald that lay against her bosom, and Clive found himself wondering at the likely color of the areolae of her breasts." (p310)
(3) The conflict is "Clive vs.... ??? ". Maybe the conflict is against the Q'oornans (which are labels for people/things that might be ruling the strange Dungeon) but Clive fights people/things that are not Q'oornan constantly. Several prisons and military outpost exist, but they are all run by other prisoners. The final climax is not at the original Black Tower (i.e., the center of Q'oorna, the first outpost we experience in The Dungeon proper, and the title of the book) but features some other random tower with other random antagonists.

(4) The cool stuff relating to the main mystery is sidelined. Beyond the Black Tower bait-n-switch, the few links to a real story are sparse. For example, Clive's brother's notebook appears abruptly (mysteriously providing communications), then disappears for a long time; when it eventually reappears, it is given scant attention. On the other hand, the book is full of random conflicts that don't matter from chapter-to-chapter. In short, the pretense of "mystery" allows Clive to randomly explore, attack, befriend, and wander without reason.

(5) The author seemed lost: The formula was clear for each chapter: introduce new ideas then toss them. Many times the main story arc was disregarded and we are treated to campy, fireside discussions amongst the characters echoing the author's lack of direction. Here is my own distillation of these silly discussions:
"Why are we banding together?"
    [no answer since no ones knows why]
"What should we do now that we are stuck again?"
    "Let me tell you, the plot calls for us to do something, dammit sah (~sir)!"
When first stumbling into the Dungeon, and climbing a mountain, the characters find themselves stuck (they can't descend). But wait, there is a mysterious coffin here...and it seems tall. Yes it is. In fact, there is a trap bottom under the body and inside are ropes to climb down. Perfect, let's take them and go! (That is actually a true spoiler of a minor scene) and it represents the constant pseudo-action. Essentially, the action has to keep going, and every few pages when the group is in a bind, a meaningless solution presents itself.

Conversely, in the middle of action sequences we are treated with forced sides, i.e., when Shriek is introduced and spearman threatens the group, Clive decides to calmly experiment with telepathy to someone back "home" (for a few pages of dialogue).

Instead of closing the loop on the key story arcs, the final chapter (named "Chang Guafe") even springs a new character on us. In Farmer's intro, he actually calls out Chang as being a great element (maybe, but it is poorly placed in the story, and poorly utilized).

View all my reviews

Friday, September 25, 2020

Nov-Dec Sword and Soul Topic

For the Nov-Dec 2020 Sword & Sorcery groupreads, the topic will be Sword & Soul in honor of Charles R. Saunders's passing (by royal decree). The Poll will be used to help identify which books folks want to read and to help buddy groups form. Please add some options. 

So Saunders will be a focus, but the sub-genre he championed is all fair game. Including the works inspiring an HBO series for the Asuna works (Sebastian A. Jones) and all of Milton J. Davis's work too.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Books-for-Beverage program, and a nice review

So the Books-for-Beverage program continues. This time, Sir Dick Ward got complimentary. hot Green Tea Latte for reading even more Dyscrasia Fiction and Perseid Press books. He's read a bunch by now, and his wife even helped inspire the annual Larvae-cake celebration (the third event coming up again Halloween time, though the Covid culture may prevent me from sharing the infested cupcakes). Anyway, I appreciate his support and comradeship. Great guy. BTW, we were safely socially distance on an exterior porch for this photo opportunity.

The Books-For-Beverage program works as follows: buy a book that I author or co-author... and when you want a drink (coffee, beer, Tang, whatever), let me know; when we can meet I'll buy a round. This has worked pretty well, except for Liz Jacobs, whom I owe two drinks (her moving to Tenessee didn't help... but I haven't forgotten).

Also this week, Lords of Dyscrasia received a great review (excerpt below). 
"Lords of Dyscrasia by S.E. Lindberg reminds me of a Lovecraft/Moorcock lovechild
..... This is epic in a Dante sense. You plummet with the characters into a devil's playground, a nine pits of Hell kind of world where all the players are dead, dying or parading about in the flayed flesh of the fallen. This is full-length Lovecraft. This is completely unveiled Old Testament"  -- JR Koivu

More updates coming very soon about future installments of Dyscrasia Fiction. Cheers!


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Free Audible Codes for Spawn and Helen!


Free Audible Book Codes available now!

Just click on the link and grab it from First come, first serve for (16 for Helen and 25 for Spawn) listeners (US Audible). Please share and forward.
Narrated by the hauntingly beautiful Kathy Bell Denton
"... a post-apocalyptic sort of fantasy world where the 'good' guys are undead necromancers and hybrid monsters, the remaining humans must make difficult choices to ensure that there's a future for any of them." -
Bob Milne
Beauty in Ruins
"Helen is one of the stranger heroes to feature in swords & sorcery. Is she delusional, mad, gifted? I was never quite sure — she is only a little girl — but I was never able to take my eyes off her. With a cast as strange as this novel has, Helen remains the focus throughout. Even when she’s off stage, the question of what she is doing always seems to rise to the fore." -
Fletcher Vredenburgh
from Black Gate