New Release: Dark Eras and Hunter’s “Doubting Souls” set in Salem

Dark Eras

I am pleased to announce that Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras, a book that spans multiple eras for the Chronicles of Darkness game lines, is now available. As the Kickstarter text explained, the Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras starts out presenting a chapter for each of nine historical eras. The sections were written for the currently available edition of the game line, but they are designed to be usable with any edition. Each terrifying time period and location is examined through the supernatural creatures that dwell there, and my section is:

Hunter: The Vigil — Doubting Souls (1690-1695): Immigrants and tribes struggle to co-exist on the eastern seaboard. Violent clashes, supernatural beliefs, and demonic influences spell disaster for Salem Village and its surrounding towns, while other hunters fight werewolves and vampires on the frontier. With so much at risk, only god-fearing men and women are deemed innocent — and those are few indeed. Monica Valentinelli writer & Matt McElroy developer.

“Doubting Souls” is, in many ways, my commentary on the Salem Witch Trials; the chapter primarily focuses on the gut-wrenching decisions hunters have to make and how they are caught up in the hysteria. It also, however, offers possibilities for other styles of play and expands the setting a bit so we’d hit as many notes as possible within the confines of this tightly-woven section. There are opportunities to explore multiple locations, including Boston and Ipswich, and new compacts are offered as well. Since offering the first draft to fans, there have been some additions and expansions to the chapter, and we added additional reference materials to highlight our research, too.

Though this Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras chapter, in no way shape or form, could ever replace a set of modern history books on the time period, I feel very strongly about the necessity of research; I hope that you will notice this effort reflected in how we put together this alternate history perspective. “Doubting Souls” is a depiction of a world in the 1690s that’s slightly different from this reality–but much, much darker…especially for hunters of all types.

I hope that fans will enjoy “Doubting Souls” for Hunter: The Vigil, and I encourage you to check out the other chapters, too! Huzzah!

[New Release] Firefly: The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Phrasebook in the ‘Verse

Gorramn Dictionary

Insult your enemies in magnificent style and learn brand new declarations of love! This comprehensive Firefly language guide and phrasebook takes in both the history of language in the ‘Verse and modern usage. Explore the cast’s challenges with Mandarin, get the inside scoop from the show’s language consultant, and learn everything from proverbs to put-downs! A must-have for all Browncoats.

You’ve heard me talking about this book before, but the big gorramn day is finally here. It’s the Firefly: The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Phrasebook in the ‘Verse release day! Check out the reviews from ICV2.com and the San Francisco Book Review.

The book is a hardcover, fully-illustration reference guide that provides fans with an overview of the language. Words and their definitions relate to setting material found in the Firefly TV show. When I was selecting the words I paid careful attention to specific words and names, but I also chose common words and slang to paint a picture of the ‘Verse. The spelling variations I found during my analysis are also included as well. Members of the main cast, along with tips on how to speak like them, are each featured on their own page.

Additionally, we had the pleasure of featuring Jenny Lynn who was the show’s translator. You’ll get to read a fantastic interview, and dive into all of the English-to-Chinese translations from the show.

I hope you enjoy the latest addition to the Firefly universe. This project was a lot of fun for me, and I hope I get to do more of them. Shiny!

[New Games Release] Codex Infernus: The Savage Guide to Hell

Codex Infernus

I had the pleasure of helping develop the game world for Codex Infernus: The Savage Guide to Hell, which is a book about adventuring in a hell for the Savage Worlds system.

A holy warrior fighting back infernal beasts on the precipice of a fiery pit. Cloaked figures chanting an incantation to bring forth a nameless beast. A man standing at a crossroads bartering with a demonic temptress for fame and fortune; the price of which is his very soul.

Advisers to kings and queens, dictators and presidents, whispering lies at the behest of their demon lords with the fate of nations resting on whether or not the advice is heeded. A scientist examining a strange artifact found on a distant planet that, unbeknownst to him, opens a mysterious gate to a nightmarish dimension when a button is pushed.

These are just a sampling of the myriad images which come to mind when we think of Hell. Codex Infernus: The Savage Guide to Hell, brings those images to life and shows you how to plug them into your games, regardless of what genre you love to play!

Codex Infernus: The Savage Guide to Hell is now available for download on DriveThruRPG.com.

[New Games Release] Battle for the Undercity for D&D 5E

Battle for the Undercity

Today, I am pleased to announce the release of Battle for the Undercity, a D&D 5th Edition adventure I designed and wrote for a DM’s use in any Forgotten Realms™ campaign. Rules and editing were provided by Scarred Lands developer Scott Holden. This adventure, which is available on the new www.dmsguild.com website, would not have been possible without Wizards of the Coast’s recent announcement.

Despite wearing multiple hats in the gaming industry for over a decade, this adventure is my first foray into writing for Dungeons and Dragons, and I had a lot of fun designing it and the monster variants. The adventure is right in line with my design philosophy as a writer and gamer myself: providing value, which is what (I hope!) is reflected in the final result. So, for my first adventure I wanted to write something that could be run in any city found in the Forgotten RealmsTM with an underlying theme with a variable mood that can be amplified or downplayed according to the locations and characters the party encounters. Designing locations, characters, monster variants, plots… These sorts of things come very easily to me, which means my writing output is all that much faster, when the structure is established. (GAH! As I’m writing this, I’m getting all excited designing a new, experimental hybrid structure… DOWN BRAIN BUNNIES, DOWN!)

Regardless, I feel every writer (aspiring or established) benefits from the quality and structure of the existing D&D 5E material–and that is a no b.s. comment. I wouldn’t have written an adventure that has no guarantee of benefiting me creatively or professionally if I wasn’t impressed with it, and I feel it’s easier to manage expectations based on pre-existing material. My decisions to do future adventures and material will depend upon sales, because I do need to make up costs in order for this to be viable since I’m writing full-time. ‘Course, writing this wouldn’t have been possible without playing 5E myself, since this is a different style of game than what I normally work on.

Battle for the Undercity takes place underground in a section of a major city. The party will navigate sewers, worked tunnels, forgotten crypts, and freshly dug passageways to fend off adversaries in order to rescue hostages and return them safely to the surface unharmed. Can your party emerge victorious and save the day?

In this adventure you will find:

  • Adventure background and hooks
  • Map to the Undercity
  • Detailed location guide
  • Suggestions to increase and decrease the Challenge Rating
  • Advice to customize the adventure to your party
  • New! Crimson Coins thieves’ faction and characters
  • New! Ten Legs tribe, Goblin Beast-Master, and Beast-Rider monster variants
  • New! Corrupted Shield-Guardian monster variant
  • New! Ancient Revenant monster variant

This adventure includes three, separate three-to-four hour long missions that can be run in any order, depending upon the needs and composition of your party members. While this was designed as an adventure module for 7th- to 9th-level characters to be run in the recommended timeframe, you will find notes to adjust the missions to increase or decrease their difficulty and length.

If you’re interested in supporting my work, buy a copy of Battle for the Undercity.

[New Releases] Gaming Cookbook and Mistborn RPG Supplement

Dinner and Dice

Now available! Dinner and Dice: a Gaming Cookbook is a collection of recipes and first person game anecdotes from game industry professionals. Originally produced as a stretch goal for the Carolina Game Tables Kickstarter, you will find appetizers, entrees, and desserts from the people who make the games you love!

Each author includes a look at how they think about games and food with a first hand game anecdote. Learn what Jason Buhlman served for one memorable Halloween, and what Emily Care Boss prepared for “Matrimonicon.” Hear about the famous ratatouille Marsha White ate and why Steve Kenson’s character sheets are always spotted with cheese.

I wrote a poem in iambic pentameter, “The Seven Levels of a Roleplaying Group”, and Ivan Van Norman talks about traffic in L.A. Get a peek inside the minds of the people who make games and a tasty, time-tested recipe to boot!

Just in time for the holidays, too. Enjoy Dinner and Dice: a Gaming Cookbook!

Cover Mistborn Tin and Ash

From the ashes, hope rises

The Final Empire was built on the backs of the skaa — the downtrodden descendants of those who opposed the Lord Ruler’s ascension a thousand years ago. They are the faceless masses of Scadrial, tasked with plowing the barren fields, sweeping the ash-covered streets, tending the opulent nobility, and serving at the whims of their “betters.” But a few skaa cast off the chains of their destiny to be something more. They are thieves, Allomancers, firebrands, and rebels. They fight the system of oppression and brutality to give their people something they lost long ago — hope.

Skaa: Tin & Ash is an essential supplement for the Mistborn Adventure Game, designed for players, Narrators, and fans of the Mistborn novels. Developed in cooperation with Brandon Sanderson, this guide expands the canon of the novels, providing new insights into skaa throughout the Final Empire. Inside you’ll find detailed information on the history and beliefs of the skaa; the lives of city, canal, and plantation skaa; the skaa criminal and political underground; and famous skaa such as the Citizen, Mare, and the Survivor of the Flames. I was one of the contributors to this supplement.

For players of the Mistborn Adventure Game, there’s a bounty of new rules for creating and playing your own skaa Hero, including new Stunts, equipment, Networks, and locations to explore and liberate.

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