Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The License to Slay and Lapsus Calami (or Look at What Folks Are Doing Now)...

Ok, so we like stuff; and people who like stuff are fortunate to be part of a small-press community that makes good stuff.  So get ready for a post where we gush about something awesome we've discovered, but also a post about how our corner of the world world is breaking boundaries and generally coloring outside the lines.  We're doing things, making stuff - and all for the good of the scene!  Yeah, this is a post about that...     

So first off, there's the License to Slay from the Bureau of Dragons and the good folks at Damn Elf Press (who also run a nice little blog).  We've all fantasized about slaying dragons in our favorite suit of mail.  All of us.  Happily, the Bureau has us covered with the Official License to Slayimpressively rendered and suitable for framing.

The License comes on a classic 8.5 x 11 parchment with gorgeous calligraphy and your name (or that of a lucky recipient) emblazoned thereupon.  And it's stamped for authenticity by the Bureau, so accept no substitutes!  Each comes individually numbered and with a wallet-sized card to boot.  It's a nice presentation and a unique gift for the dragon lover on your list.  Suitable for framing, the License is just $9.95 in time for the holidays.

And while you're applying for your License, be sure to check out the Case Files and Dispatches, which add a nice sense of lore to the whole thing.  It turns out dragons are real and in need of slaying.  But the only thing worse than getting on the business end of a genuine fire-breather is running afoul of the law, so make sure you're dressed in asbestos underwear and covered with a License.  Don't mess with Louis Baston...

Now the cool thing about this (aside from being cool) is that it transcends the usual downloadable PDF paradigm and does so with something original.  We anticipate t-shirts in the near future (Damn Elf wore 'em at at GenCon).  More importantly, as the means of production and distribution increasingly falls into the hands of mere mortals, perhaps we'll see miniatures and other so-called "professional" items from small-press creators.  

We know, Kickstarter is making things happen, but we anticipate a time when 3-D print on demand becomes a thing and we'll release an official line of P&P miniatures...

OK, so the next big thing is Lapsus Calami by Matt Jackson, already a well-known cartographer and blogger.  To know him is to love him - and to know him means knowing he loves the old-school with an admirable passion.  Well it turns out that Matt has started an excellent little zine called Lapsus Calami.  He's made this available on his Patreon page for free but also mailed out a few hard copies as well.  You know, snail mail and stuff. 

Matt's not the only one doing this, and we don't mean to slight our other friends in the community.  We love 'em all.  But getting that two-page, yellow card-stock zine took this old man (Robyn wasn't part of the 70s scene) back to a time when your favorite small-press publication just might be a couple of photocopied and barely legible pages...

Of course, Lapsus Calami is very legible owing to Matt's excellent maps and also quite readable thanks to his great writing and clever back stories.  But in a world where everything is available 24/7, it sure felt nice to read something in a simple and delightfully low-tech format.  It's small-press designers breaking the mold and finding new (old) ways of making things and delivering them to their audience.  If you can, support Matt's Patreon.  

At the turn of a new century, print-on-demand technology enabled a new generation of publishers to get their ideas out.  And the innovation hasn't stopped.  Those same publishers are finding new ways to do old things (or vice versa), stealing some of the big industry's thunder and taking our esteemed hobby back to a time when the small-press scene was the scene.  The chickens come home to roost - and that's a good thing for once! 

Well, that's a wrap.  We're finally going to a monthly format, so see you in September...


  1. Hey, you really did gush. That's was great. Matt is great, too. I don't think I know Damn Elf Press but love the name.

  2. Thank you for the review. All of us at the Bureau of Dragons appreciate it!

  3. Thank you for the feed back! I really enjoy doing these as it combines many of the things I enjoy: making maps, writing, producing print (layout and all that). Plus maybe I am old school or something, but I love putting something in the mail for others to receive.

    Number two is almost wrapped up and you should be receiving it shortly!