[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.

Read a Preview of Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling



Hello dear Readers! Jaym Gates and I are hard at work wrapping up the cover design, initial Table of Contents, and the submission guidelines for our upcoming anthology titled Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling for Apex Book Company. We’ll be launching a Kickstarter for this anthology, and I’ll be sharing more details about that soon.

Today, I wanted to share with you a preview of what this anthology is all about. Maurice Broaddus has written a story titled “Super Duper Fly” which appears in the October 2015 issue of Apex Magazine. Follow the link and you can read it on the company website!

In his own words, Maurice talks about the trope he wanted to tackle and why.

THE MAGICAL NEGRO—It’s easy to believe that this trope came from a good place or at least rose out of benign neglect. After all, a white writer is “writing what they know” or appealing to their target demographic, which is typically people like them, but they want a more diverse world. So the easy solution is to put an “other” at a critical place in their hero’s journey to help them along. The Magical Negro is one such other (see also: Magical Native American, Magical Asian, etc). One sees The Magical Negro in such movies as Ghost, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Family Man, and Bruce Almighty. Or in an unusual amount of Stephen King novels/movie adaptations such as The Stand, The Talisman (written with Peter Straub), The Shining, and the ultimate ode to The Magical Negro, The Green Mile.- Maurice Broaddus

In the upcoming Upside Down, you will find tropes and clichés that writers chose to tackle and examine through the lends of their stories. These range from race-based tropes like the Magical Negro to others grounded in genre, like the City Planet. Our submission guidelines, which will be posted shortly, will include a wish list of the types of tropes and clichés we’d like to see. This will help us ensure we’ve got a good mix of stories that’ll cover a broad range of tropes for the reader.

Hope you’re as excited about this collection as I am!

Revised Cover and Title for the Firefly Dictionary

Firefly Dictionary_CVR front new copy

The Gorramn Shiniest Dictionary and Phrasebook in the ‘Verse has a revised cover and a fabulous new title! I’m happy to share this with you today. Huge thanks to my editor at Titan Books for giving me the chance to update you with the revised cover. Spring 2016 can’t come soon enough!

My Departure from the Conan RPG, Update on Apps, and a Thank You

Today, I wanted to let you know that I’ve decided to take a step back from the Conan RPG as project manager. The extremely talented Jason Durall will be taking my place, and he’s working with our REH experts and systems team to finish up the corebook. I did contribute some setting-related material to the corebook as a writer, and I’ve been invited back for the supplements. I wish the team well, and am lucky to have worked with such wonderful people.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been overwhelmed with the receipt of over 400 applications for new writers, 95% of which were women, that wish to contribute to the line. I can assure you that there is plenty of work to be done, and there are a lot of supplements planned for this line. Before I depart completely, I will finish sorting through those e-mails and provide a long list of recommendations to the rest of the team. I have also had three requests from other game publishers for the list of applicants and, pending approval from the applicants themselves, I’ll be sharing their names with other companies who also which to expand their creative teams, too. Please know that this [e.g. sorting through the applicants] is a responsibility that I do take very seriously, and no one has been forgotten. Everyone will be sorted via e-mail, and my plan is to finish those efforts by the end of next week.

With all that said, I have a few “Thank you’s!” to mention. First, I want to thank Chris and the rest of the team at Modiphius Entertainment for being so welcoming and supportive. You’ve all been fantastic to work with, and it’s my pleasure to know such talented people. Second, I’d also like to express my gratitude to everyone who applied, and I’m very appreciative of your patience as I sort through your e-mails on top of trying to get projects out the door. Last but not least, thanks to you, Dear Reader, for continuing to be supportive of my work and my efforts.

Should you have any specific questions about the game itself or Chris’s plans going forward, I’d like to direct you back to the company website and its contact page.

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