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Copies of THE SASSOON FILES Ordered Destroyed by Chinese Government

JetstreamGW

Seeker
Validated User
Is there a good reason to believe this isn't just a repeat of the Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine kickstarter fiasco (which also involved Jesse Covner)?
Well, I mean, the Chinese government is verifiably cracking the censorship whip on a lot more books these days. It's hardly unbelievable.
 

Weisenheim

Baroque Space Orc Mage
Validated User
Is there a good reason to believe this isn't just a repeat of the Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine kickstarter fiasco (which also involved Jesse Covner)?
I think the situation there was a bit different - the money person on that project had all the money in a private/family account (which apparently is typical practice over there I read), IIRC, and the money was vanished in one way or another. It was definitely a disappointment, but thankfully someone in the backer pool with the money to bankroll it bought replacement copies POD for the backers. Just got my last print book from it within the last few months, actually.
 

Argent

Anywhere... just not here
Validated User
I think the situation there was a bit different - the money person on that project had all the money in a private/family account (which apparently is typical practice over there I read), IIRC, and the money was vanished in one way or another. It was definitely a disappointment, but thankfully someone in the backer pool with the money to bankroll it bought replacement copies POD for the backers. Just got my last print book from it within the last few months, actually.
Yeah, the Chuubo fiasco was pretty much all on Hsin, the CEO of Eos.
 

NiTessine

Geek of the North
Validated User
My understanding from the KS page is that Jesse Conver lives in China.
According to the KS page, both Covner and Jason Sheets live in Japan, these days:

the KS page said:
Sons of the Singularity is an indie RPG design and publishing house established by Jesse Covner and Jason Sheets in 2018. Our goal is to make role-playing games and scenarios which are entertaining, exciting, thought-provoking, and genuine. We are two left-handed American guys who met while living in China more than a decade ago. We now (2018) live in Japan.
 

Cloud Divider

Registered User
Validated User
I ended up not being able to resist, so I bought the PDFs for the Sassoon Files and the Brother of Jesus adventure. As my current Savage Worlds campaign is 1930s Macau/Canton, it was just too relevant to pass up on.

I've been doing some basic research on the location and era, and there is a metric ton of really gamable real history to alt-up for play.

I've only read Brother of Jesus so far (pretty good, a fair number of typos, and a little heavy-handed with the "someone's getting corrupted during play", but that's maybe how Call of Cthulhu games go).

I can kind of see how the censors might have taken some...concern. Fictional alt history is /fictional alt history/, but if you're the type to take umbrage when a real historical figure (the leader of the Tianjing Rebellion) is painted up as a cultist of an Eldritch horror that is taking vengeance on the powers-that-be of Shanghai from beyond the grave...there's probably enough you might find questionable throughout the rest of the book to decide to ban the it.

Annoying to our Western sensibilities. But if your government is trying to alt history their own history for propaganda points, this is pretty antithetical.

All that said, I'm really digging the books from what I've read so far. 19th and early 20th century Chinese history is wiiiild.
 

jesse_covner

Registered User
Validated User
Hey all, I don't usually post on rpg.net.

We have a new printer in the USA now. So now hope to put this hiccup behind us and get the book out. Just to point out, the books are meant for export and therefore we believed are not subject to inspection as books with with a Publishing Number, meant for China's own market.

I've only read Brother of Jesus so far (pretty good, a fair number of typos, and a little heavy-handed with the "someone's getting corrupted during play", but that's maybe how Call of Cthulhu games go).
The Brother of Jesus is an "add-on scenario". I'm happy that you found it "pretty good" after reading that before reading the main Sassoon Files book, where we have more background, overall maps, "campaign drivers", and plot hooks. It was a worry of mine how people would see it if read separate from the main book.
 

Cloud Divider

Registered User
Validated User
Hey all, I don't usually post on rpg.net.

We have a new printer in the USA now. So now hope to put this hiccup behind us and get the book out. Just to point out, the books are meant for export and therefore we believed are not subject to inspection as books with with a Publishing Number, meant for China's own market.
That's great news! I think I'd be quite tempted to pick up the paper copy. PDFs work in a pinch, but they're not the easiest thing to navigate if you end up needing to do a bit of flipping back and forth.

Brother of Jesus is laid out in a way where you'd do a /lot/ of flipping around. Is there a scene map (I don't remember seeing one, but I may have scrolled past while reading on my phone)? When I was reading it, that was one of the features that would be handy. It wouldn't be hard to build one after-the-fact, since every scene section identifies "Here's the links you'd have followed to get here," and "Here's the links you should have before you leave". Incredibly useful for the GM for planning purposes, especially when the "scene flowchart" gets complicated with lots of side routes (which BoJ has).

The Brother of Jesus is an "add-on scenario". I'm happy that you found it "pretty good" after reading that before reading the main Sassoon Files book, where we have more background, overall maps, "campaign drivers", and plot hooks. It was a worry of mine how people would see it if read separate from the main book.
I went for the Brother of Jesus scenario first because I'd already run across the Taiping Rebellion and the God Worshipping Society in my research for my own campaign, and I wanted to see someone else's take on where to go with it. The blurb you had on your website had me really interested. From the KS page, I was actually thinking I'd have to buy the PDFs until after the backers had been satisfied, so when I found the link to the product on DriveThru it turned into an irresistible impulse buy.

As a GM reference/idea fodder, I wanted to hit Brother of Jesus first to see how someone might present 1930's China through the lens of gameplay. One of the fun parts about Indiana Jones-style campaigns is the sort of "capsule summary of exotic locale and culture" you get in a scripted scenes, but I was struggling a bit with what that should look like. Brother of Jesus did a pretty good job of that - there's quite a few great scenes that tackle the "east meets west" aspect quite well.

I think my favorite parts were the Kung Fu Funeral Procession and the Speakeasy Summoning (with the Face Changer). The Long Bar is pretty cool, too. I might have to steal those scenes in particular.

And finally, I wanted to see where you went with gamifying a particular Weird Thing in Chinese (Modern) History. I wasn't disappointed in that regard.

To be honest, I think what really grabbed me about your product(s) was the "GM's Guide to Weird History of China" aspect. I'm only a few pages into Sassoon Files properly, and I'm liking what I've seen so far.

My campaign isn't strictly Mythos-centric, but it's something a but closer to the Indiana Jones pulp action style. The "Wierd History" bit I'm centering on orbits the Nestorian Church, a Lost Apocrypha, the Jesuits and Ruins of Saint Mark in Macau. I didn't know it at the time the campaign idea was germinating, but the fact that the facade of the church was carved by Japanese Christian refugees, and that the church mysteriously burned down in the middle of a typhoon. Tie that to the Chinese Rites controversy (admixture of Chinese ritual practice into Roman Catholic practice), which then touches the God Worshipping Society, and you've got this explosive stew of Weird Pulp Action McGuffins.

And even better, you've got an outstanding rogue's gallery of villains (or allies). German soldiers spying for the Reich, White Russian expatriates (BoJ mentioned some), Japanese military conspiracy (Black Dragon Society, Gen'yosha), remnants of Chinese dynasties past, warlords, remnants of the Boxers, the Chinese Nationalists and Communists, and so on.

I'm only a few pages in, but so far, Sassoon Files has not disappointed....
 

Jenna Moran

Active member
Validated User
Is there a good reason to believe this isn't just a repeat of the Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine kickstarter fiasco (which also involved Jesse Covner)?
To the best of my knowledge, Jesse was not responsible for the printing funds for CMWGE.

It is unclear to me if Eos actually approached a printer at any point; if they did, to the best of my knowledge, he was not involved with it.

Best wishes,

Jenna
 

Cloud Divider

Registered User
Validated User
Would this be a good place to report some issues with the PDF? Reading through the Sassoon Files, I noticed the pregen character sheets for some of the latter scenarios (page 96 and on) seem to have a layering defect in the PDF where it's got a character portrait of a later character in one of the character info text fields. There's some textbox overflows, too, where the text string exceeds the allowed space.

I noticed it reading on my phone, I'll see if I can verify it on a computer.
 
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