Fly from Evil

(Information provided by author S. John Ross)

When emailing Cumberland Games to tell them about this site I received several cordial emails from the author. I asked if I could put up the information that I gleaned from him on this site and he gave it the OK. So here it is:


I was wondering what sort of focus the game has. It is billed as a  game of crime, does it have input for law men? 

Yeah, there's material for both private and public cops, as well as fringe concepts like house bulls. 

San Francisco is an interesting choice for a city setting. Was there any particular reasons for choosing this city? 

Gah. Dozens :) A few of the basics: The broad ethnic diversity gives the city a great sense of romance... that, combined with the city's history of deep internal corruption provided a buffer-zone against the incursion of corporate-style Mafia dominance (which allows smaller gangs, including PC gangs if applicable, to have a shot at being big-shots without contradicting history, which would be impossible in, say, New York anytime after the early 30s), and it was Hammett's city during his prime writing days (and the home of both Sam Spade and the Continental Op). Plus, SF Chinatown is cool :) A more obvious choice for this particular type of crime drama would have been Los Angeles, but Los Angeles, even pre-war, is too seedy for my tastes. I wanted a more romantic locale, one not quite tainted in either direction. San Francisco can be nice and it can be nasty and in both cases feel right; it's still recognizably San Francisco. If  you try to make Los Angeles feel nice, nobody who knows anything about Los Angeles will be convinced :)

Does it have a historical focus or are there elements of the books that are not going to 'accord' with the historical nature of the city? 

It's historical/romantic, drawn mostly from the "black mask" school of pulp crime drama with history filling in any gaps and answering any untouched questions, with a gloss provided by the early gangster and private eye films. Any adventures I write will likely focus on fictional characters and micro-locales, but everything _macro_ will be 100% historical. The San Francisco material, in particular (and the general period and genre material), includes no invention - it's all research presented in genre context. Like literary crime drama, it's about possible but unlikely  things happening against a backdrop of reality. 

Will it cross-over with other products of yours? 

Well, there will certainly be at least one Sparks set for it. 

Will you have adventures and other supplements? (Personally I think that all of these games [with the exception of Gangbusters] have lacked focussed adventures)

Yes, and the game will include some full-length adventures as part of the basic package, as well. 

What format will this product take?

 The Cumberland edition will be PDF. I've had several paper-publishers inquire about licensing the hardcopy-market rights, and I may consider it after the game's had a year or so to stand in its original format. 

Is there a release date set?

 I'm proud to say there's not! But, this autumn will be what I'm _hoping_ is the final round of playtest and production. But since that playtest hasn't happened yet, there's no way to know what kind of work may still be necessary to make FFE great. 

I'm very glad that you are taking the time to get the product as great as possible! I am looking forward to the release very much. 

Well, it's a niche genre, so I don't see much cause for taking a "commercial" approach. :) Instead, I'm just focusing on it as a kind of Magnum Opus. The end product is likely to be 300+ pages, most of it resource material. 

Thanks to S. John Ross for the friendly emails and all the valuable information. Visit him at There is also an official FAQ on this website now! 


Get the hell outta here!

Back to the games page

or News