[New Release] Tales of the Dark Eras Anthology

Tales of the Dark Eras

Today, I am pleased to announce that Tales of the Dark Eras, a collection of alternate history stories inspired by Dark Eras, is now available. I wrote a Hunter: The Vigil story set in the early 1690s called “Suffering of the Unchosen”, about a distraught father who has accused the local hunters of killing his wife and child near Salem Village. Motivated by his grief and anger, the local farmer intersects with the Knights of Saint George to bring his family’s murderers to justice…or so it seems.

Walk through the ages…

As a companion to Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras this anthology reveals secrets of the mystics, whispers rumors of the dead, and shines a light into the darkest corners of the world.

Tales of the Dark Eras includes historical stories based within the shadowed past of Vampire: The Requiem, Mage: The Awakening, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Changeling: The Lost, and other Chronicles of Darkness settings.

In the Chronicles of Darkness…

Explore the shadows with tales by Howard Ingham, Malcolm Sheppard, Pete Woodworth, Renee Ritchie, Jess Hartley, Monica Valentinelli, Danielle Harper, Matthew McFarland, Mike Tomasek, Eric Zawadski, Meghan Fitzgerald, and Dennis Detwiller.

Tales of the Dark Eras is now available in print and digital!

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!

Progress Report #9: A Storm Has Passed

Last time in Project #8, I updated you with news about the Firefly RPG, including several awards the line won, and mentioned several balls in the air following a Twitter/FB sabbatical in September. As of today, I’m caught up on everything (e-mails, included), and am heavy on the pitch phase, but I’ve got some updates for you that follow after some words about the intersection between research and reality.

This year, I wrote a lot of alternative history and that required loads of research, ranging from the Inquisition to Western colonization and Mussolini-era’s Italy. The key refrain, over and over, that kept coming up was the difference in motivations and values between oppressor and the oppressed, colonists and natives, religious and less devout. This translates, of course, into the way that history is written, but also in the way that it’s perceived. There’s a lot of knowledge that has been obscured for many reasons, in part because the past is not always reexamined to incorporate a different perspective, especially if that alternate view represents a people (or in this case, several peoples) that were hurt, murdered, victimized.

Why go this deeply into the past? Roleplaying games, in particular, provide players with the unique opportunity to examine the past in the context of a game. In my experience, gamers are excellent, fantastic readers who will devour anything you put in front of them, and take that a step further by reading more on the subject. By addressing these topics within the confinement of the space provided, I know that other players and designers, such as myself, will dive into the past and learn more about it. And, while a lot of players might not make a correlation between past and present, especially since this research is put through the lens of alternate history, the material and the game can be both challenging and compelling because it makes villains, heroes, and the people caught in between all that more real.

In addition to roleplaying games, I find historical research is a fantastic way to dig deeper into worldbuilding. Though problematic tropes can be avoided, I feel that the only way to do that is to read multiple perspectives. For example, you might have seen the heated discussions about the Washington Redskins. The word “redskin”, however, has deep historical, cultural, significance that you can read about here. Reading how the past has led to the present, gives writers a deeper sense of the semantic and literal significance of words, and I feel this is why it’s so important. Writing stories and designing games can be entertaining, sure, but I feel the future of media isn’t to repeat the past for the sake of repeating it, especially since we have faster access to more materials to do deeper research than ever before.

Games

Speaking of gaming, I have some fantastic updates for you. As of today, all of my current gaming commitments are complete, but there are more in my future.

  • World of Darkness: Dark Eras – Wrote the Hunter: the Vigil supplement for this book for 1690s Colonial America. My role in this project is now done, and it’s off in the ether of post-editing and development.
  • Vampire the Masquerade: Ghouls – My role on this, too, is now complete, and is in post-editing and development.
  • Conan RPG – I finished my contribution to the corebook, and stepped down as the project manager. Jason Durall has taken my place.
  • Codex Infernus – The Kickstarter was successful, and my role is now done.
  • World of Darkness: Dark Eras II – Contributed to the Geist: the Sin-Eaters supplement for the 1580s-90s Roanoke Colony. The chapter has since been sent off to editing. Of all the things I wrote this past year, this was the most challenging for me.


Comics

I have been talking about how challenging comics is. So I’m going to continue mentioning what I’m doing to make this a reality.

  • Starry Alpha – Last time, I was working on outlines for an established property. Unfortunately, the line has been canceled so this fell through.
  • Pinefresh Theta – Pitch, full script, and sample sketches sent off to an anthology. I was rejected in favor of a different author, who wrote a similar story.
  • Sparkle Mega – Full pitch is still in the works for a short-term series. The pitch window hasn’t re-opened yet, so this got put on hold.
  • Red Sigma – In addition to pitching, I am going the small press publishing route for a collection. Still in planning stage.


Fiction

Phew! So many updates here… I got through half of NaNoWriMo (e.g. 25K) before I had to stop in favor of zombie projects and proofing that ate up a lot of time. The writing sprints greatly impacted my creativity, and the story got out of control so I had to rein it back in. There’s other stuff not listed here, too, but as 2016 progresses it’ll make more sense.

  • Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling – Core of the anthology is done, and we’re working through open submissions.
  • Red Byte – Revisions put on hold.
  • Pratchett on Acid – 25K into the new novel, and it is…creative? Inventive? Heh, heh

  • Non-Fiction

    No new movement, here, but I wanted to remind you what I’m working on and what’s coming out.

    • Worldbuilding Book – I’m working with my agent to hone my pitches for interested publishers. Pretty excited about this!
    • For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher – A book of essays written by Jason Sizemore, the publisher for Apex Book Company as part of the company’s 10 year celebration. I have written a satirical essay which is titled “The Case of the Mysterious Splatter.” It has footnotes. Many, many footnotes. It’s now available.
    • The Gorramn Shiniest Dictionary in the ‘Verse – This language guide for the Firefly TV show will be out this Spring from Titan Books. You can pre-order it now. Awesome!

    Thus endeth the latest update!

    Vote for Expanding Hunter: the Vigil on Dark Eras

    I am pleased to announce that Doubting Souls, our Hunter: the Vigil chapter covering 1690 to 1695 in Salem Town, Salem Village, and Boston is part of the next stretch goal for the Dark Eras Kickstarter.

    You can vote for Hunter: the Vigil per this latest update, and any additional wordcount will be devoted to Native Americans.

    There’s been quite a few questions about how we might expand that text, and we’re mulling over different options that are related to this Era and its overall plot should we win the vote. We did present some Native American material in the existing chapter that puts this Era in historical context, and you can read the entire chapter through the Kickstarter page.

    Should you vote for Hunter, we will take the same, special care we did with the rest of the material to present new material for Native American tribes in context for this chapter. While this is alternate history, specifically designed for the World of Darkness, this topic in particular means a lot to both my developer and myself. We take it very seriously, and we feel it’s our duty to do the best job we possibly can for you, the fans, but also because we feel it’s our responsibility as writers, too.

    Good luck to our fellow writers and developers on this neat stretch goal!

    Dark Eras Kickstarter Update: 1,000 Backers and Hunter Stretch Goals

    World of Darkness Dark Eras

    Popping in briefly to mention that we’ve reached a new milestone on the Dark Eras Kickstarter–over 1,000 backers! We’re now enhancing this World of Darkness supplement with expanded content that fans can vote on.

    Hunter: the Vigil is featured in the next two stretch goals, with a “Doubting Souls” chapter expansion written by yours truly as the second one. Matt, my developer, and I have been talking about careful ways to enhance our chapter to incorporate relevant tribes from the period and surrounding areas should fans vote for that option.

    Up next, you can vote on one of three options for our $77,500 stretch goal:

    Hunter: the Vigil – The Book of Judges (the Middle East, ~11th century BCE)
    Werewolf: the Forsaken – Forsaken by Rome (the Roman Frontier, 1st century CE)
    Demon: the Descent – After the Fall of Constantinople (1453 CE)

    After that, at $82,500, is your chance to decide on expansion for one of three existing chapters. Requiem for Regina adds new monsters, while Into the Cold and Doubting Souls add new peoples. These additions will be 10k each, slightly under half as long as the chapter they extend.

    Vampire: the Requiem – Requiem for Regina: The Changeling Courts of London
    Demon: the Descent – Into the Cold: America’s stigmatic spies
    Hunter: the Vigil – Doubting Souls: Native American hunters

    Thanks for your support!




    Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

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