An Interview with my Comic Publisher

Dropping in a quick note to let you know Red Stylo Media interviewed me on their website about my comic. If you notice, I didn’t talk about specific influences for this comic. I didn’t tap into comics for the story nor did I look at Frankestein-related renditions, like the Dean Koontz rendition, I took a page from the film The Last Man on Earth. I wanted to write a period zombie piece that emitted the feel of that movie and approach some of the larger Frankenstein themes. I feel comics as a medium has so much to offer storytelling-wise; it was awesome to write this. Anyway, I felt I’d be cheap CHEEP! if I mentioned comic titles here, since the story was inspired by a movie, so I opted not to.

Eventually, I’ll follow up with a post about some of my favorite comics, but for now… The self-promotion train is a-chugging along for “Last Man Zombie Standing,” Unfashioned Creatures, A Frankenstein Anthology.

Q: If you could be any monster, who/what would you be?
A: Well, it’s quite possible I already am one. Last I checked, I could be a cylon? If it was any monster, I would say a shapeshifter. Because really, being able to transform shapes at will is extraordinarily useful with or without the “monster” attached.

Go on… Read the interview!

Hunter: Mortal Remains Preview

Popping in today to give you a preview of my work for the upcoming supplement HUNTER: MORTAL REMAINS by Onyx Path Publishing. I wrote interstitial fiction for this and provided art notes to thematically tie all the chapters together.

What follows is one of my favorite pieces; it’s an interview between a Hunter named Carlos Gutierrez and a Changeling named Zanthus. For updates on the upcoming supplement, visit the publisher’s website or forums.

    Carlos: Do you mind if I record this?
    Zanthus: I encourage you to do so.
    Carlos: Then let’s begin. I wanted to —
    Zanthus: — I agreed to this interview on two conditions. Do you remember what those are?
    Carlos: I promised you a favor.
    Zanthus: And?
    Carlos: You would ask the questions.
    Zanthus: That is true. May I ask what you were doing in Central Park? Odd time of year to summon the fae, and you don’t exactly look like the sort of mortal who’d seek us out.
    Carlos: No, I’m not. I just wanted to ask you a few questions.
    Zanthus: I will gift you with an answer for any question you ask, provided you agree to perform a favor for each one in return.
    Carlos: What? No, that wasn’t… Fine. I’ll do it.
    Zanthus: Oh, you must be desperate. Go ahead. Ask your first one.
    Carlos: Did one of your kind murder my friend? Here’s what he looked like before he was killed, then after.
    Zanthus: No.
    Carlos: Do you know what did?
    Zanthus: Yes. You now owe me three favors.
    Carlos: Wait! Just two, right?
    Zanthus: That’s four. You clearly asked me if this conversation would be recorded.
    Carlos: Fine. Have you seen my friend, Mags? Here’s her picture.
    Zanthus: Yes.
    Carlos: Where?
    Zanthus: The Museum of Conjurers, Spiritualists, and Charlatans. That’s six favors, Mr. Gutierrez. Would you like to know how to wipe the slate clean?
    Carlos: Yeah, sure.
    Zanthus: Then ask me.
    Carlos: Unbelievable. Fine. How do I combine all six —
    Zanthus: — seven
    Carlos: — seven favors into one?
    Zanthus: If you survive your ordeal, I will make arrangements for you to replace me as guardian of this ring.
    Carlos: You don’t sound too confident.
    Zanthus: No, Mr. Gutierrez. I am not. Now, you will give me the recorder as proof of our contract. In return, I will send you a printed transcript of this conversation. Of course, upon your death our contract will be null and void. We may be magical creatures, Mr. Gutierrez, but we are not creators or destroyers of worlds.

New Firefly RPG Release: Freedom Flyer

Cover for Freedom Flyer - Copy

    Folk do what they can to scratch out a living in the ’Verse. Seems like some folk push their luck to scrape by in these tough times. Maggie Miller’s bad history and rotten luck are keeping her from achievin’ her dreams. She wants to get out of the Georgia System to make a fresh start out on the Rim, but she needs three things to do it: a hidden pile of cash, a ship she’s hidden with an old flame, Hollis Mason, and enough leftover credits to wipe Ma Millers’s medical bills clean before she goes.  The Crew will have to dig for treasure, outwit a wily Alliance officer, and steal a ship hidden in orbit to help Maggie safely on her way. Trouble is, there’s a kind of hitch: Hush Jackson, a tough-as-nails bounty hunter who’s hopin’ to cash in on Maggie’s head. Will the Crew turn Maggie over for the bounty? Or, will they help Maggie out and pray there is enough cash left over to cover their costs?

    Friends in Low Places is part of the Echoes of War role-playing adventure series, which is centered on a common theme: the Unification War. Echoes of War adventures include basic rules to get you started. Main characters are found in the Serenity Crew, which is available separately. All releases in the Echoes of War line are compatible with the FIREFLY ROLE-PLAYING GAME, which is based on the television series by Joss Whedon.

This new release for the Echoes of War line is the brainchild of Nicole Wakelin. She wrote about her experience working with us on her blog. Here’s what she said:

Like so many of you, I fell in love with Firefly when it first aired. It was my new favorite show and I was nothing short of heartbroken when it was cancelled. The end, but not so fast. Fans asked, demanded, screamed for more and more we’ve been given.

There was a movie and there are comics and games and now there’s a new RPG that I had the joy of getting to work on over the summer. I wrote an adventure called Freedom Flyer and I am still giddy that I got to play in that universe. I got to not just dip a toe in the wonderful world created by Joss Whedon but I got to take a full-on swim. It was amazing. — Nicole Wakelin

I hope you get the chance to check Freedom Flyer out. It is, as they say… SHINY!

Nightmare Alley… With Nightmares from Yours Truly

Cover Art for Exquisite Replicas

An alien reality is infiltrating our world, replacing it piece by piece. Horrific creatures slink about unseen, stealing indiscriminately and leaving exact replicas in their wake. These simulacra are indistinguishable from the originals, and there’s no telling what will be the next target. It might be the fire hydrant down the street, the local post office, or an aged Merlot in a private wine cellar. A person can also be replicated and replaced… your neighbors, your friends, your family—anyone can be next. Even you.

There are a few men and women who can see the invaders creeping about our world. They wage a quiet war against the enemy while those who they struggle to protect recognize nothing of their sacrifice. They are the Anonymous, tragic heroes who risk more than just their lives in the struggle against the enemy; they risk their humanity.

Exquisite Replicas is a role-playing game of paranoia and horror where intolerable choices collide with the fragile hope of what it means to be human. The war must be won, but it is up to the players to decide at what cost.

A blast from my proverbial past, Exquisite Replicas is a game I had contributed to a few years ago. You can read my design notes on titled: “Initiation to Exquisite Replicas.”

For a few days, you can get a copy of this game and five other horror-related titles through the Bundle of Holding.

If you miss out, don’t worry! You can still find a copy of Exquisite Replicas on

Scare thee well!

New Release: Friends in Low Places

Friends in Low Places_Firefly RPG_Valentinelli

    Sometimes meeting up with old friends in Serenity View is cause for celebration—but not this time. Over drinks, you and your Crew discover that Monty’s new wife Daisy has gone missing. Worse, your pal thinks that Virgil Morningstar, a Guild trader with a heap of Alliance connections, had something to do with her disappearance. By the time you find out Daisy ain’t the only one who’s vanished, you and your Crew’ll be neck-deep in trouble and hard-pressed to find your way out of it. Thing is, if you do unravel this little mystery, you’ll claim a big reward and be heroes to boot.

    Friends in Low Places is part of the Echoes of War role-playing adventure series, which is centered on a common theme: the Unification War. Echoes of War adventures include basic rules to get you started. Main characters are found in the Serenity Crew, which is available separately. All releases in the Echoes of War line are compatible with the FIREFLY ROLE-PLAYING GAME, which is based on the television series by Joss Whedon.

I’m really excited to see this new Episode go live today. I had a lot of fun writing and playtesting this Episode with the following people in two, separate playtests: Matt M McElroy, Bill Bodden, Maurice Broaddus, Robert Farnsworth, Dylan “that bastard” Birtolo, Kelly Swails, Molly Findley, Donald Roberts, Mark Tassin, Douglas F. Warrick, Kyle S. Johnson, Danielle Friedman, and Gary Kloster.

What I found through GM’ing the Episode for two differently-sized groups, was that smaller groups might tend to hone in on the setting more, because there’s less banter happening at the table. This resulted in an enhancement to the Episode structure to address a concern Margaret and I had early on, about adding in setting. Since this is a very character-driven game, each location I developed incorporates a new character or “Extra.” Combined, those tweaks ensure that the setting helps flesh out the overall plot instead of distracting the Crew from their goal.

For larger groups, I saw how the system facilitated a full cast of nine players, and how important it was to clearly direct scenes. By using the phrase “cut to commercial” at the end of a scene, the group could wind down some while I managed the Assets and Complications on the table. Then, when we faded back in to the new scene, I offered the players a chance to recap what happened so far (to earn a plot point) and then set the next location.

So why all the playtesting? First, understand that while we do have a systems lead, I love this game and it’s my responsibility to be able to play/run scenarios so I can offer feedback from my perspective. The team did a fantastic job; the way the system was designed really, really lends itself to the feeling like you’re on the set of a Firefly television episode. Here, playtesting was a “must.” This Episode has five acts, true, but it also has a unique plot structure where (not spoiling anything by saying this) the players choose their allies over the course of the adventure. The decisions they make in their encounters with other characters, from the Prelude onward, impact the final showdown — and it’s a doozy!

I hope you have fun playing this Episode. There’s a lot more Firefly fun coming and I’m very excited to share with you what’s next for the line. The entire team has been head down for the past few weeks as we wrap up the corebook and continue working on the first supplement. Enjoy!

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