[New Release] One Night in the Catacombs Urban Fantasy Party Game

One Night in the Catacombs | a party game for three or more Guests | Monica Valentinelli | Cover Art

One Night in the Catacombs begins with your invitation to a fancy party that takes place in Naples, Italy. You and your friends are influencers invited to explore a newly-discovered section of the Catacombe di San Gennaro at midnight. You are all Guests who begin play as yourselves, just as you are now.

One Night in the Catacombs is a party game for three or more Guests (or players). In this edition, you’ll find:

  • set-up instructions
  • setting
  • rules
  • suggestions for props
  • examples
  • advice for your Maven (or host)
  • customizations for LARP and tabletop play
  • …and more!

As the title suggests, this party game can be played in one evening.

When asked why she set her party game in the catacombs, Monica said:

“After getting caught up on my favorite shows, I wanted to design a fun party game that didn’t take a long time to learn and could be played in one night. When I was brainstorming themes, my first thought was ‘How about necromancy?’ Only, it’s really hard to find an affordable lich these days and teach folks the proper spells in a few hours. Frustrated, I skimmed Twitter and was inspired by #MosaicMonday. The catacombs seemed like a nice, thematic compromise–with huge apologies, of course, to actual archaeologists and historians.”

Worried about dice? Playing cards? Need to skim the rules first? Don’t worry! The setting, rules, and objectives are presented to you as part of your gaming experience. When you download this game, you’ll find you already have everything you need to play.

Your Maven will also find stylistic suggestions to help guide your party with a feather-light or firm hand. And for the gaming aficionado, you’ll read about the game’s design philosophy, player tips, suggestions for props, and a FAQ, too–plus bookmarks!

For more games by the designer, browse games by Monica Valentinelli on DriveThruRPG.com.



Hunter the Vigil Second Edition Now Available

Hunter the Vigil Second Edition Logo

Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition has been officially released!

Please help Monica extend a hearty congratulations to all game designers and artists who contributed to Hunter the Vigil first and second edition. Want awesome designers to follow? Check out her FlamesRising.com interviews with several Hunter the Vigil Second Edition creators on her team. This game would not exist without them.

Monica would also like to thank James, all the streamers, and backers. Like all Kickstarters, the Hunter: The Vigil 2E Kickstarter was extremely time-consuming. The good news? Monica said recently that: “James was a joy to work with. I greatly appreciated his support and Hunter love from backers. Couldn’t have cheered for Hunter without them.”

You can purchase a copy of Hunter the Vigil Second Edition on DriveThruRPG.com or check out Monica’s other games including the free-to-play Lit RPG Underwater Memories.



My GameHoleCon 2021 Schedule of Guest Events

Hi everyone,

At the moment, I am planning to present at GameHole Con 2021 in October. Barring cancellation or changes due to the coronavirus, this is the schedule of events you can sign up for. The 5th Edition adventures are set in Ravenloft; you can find full descriptions in the event listings.

Thursday, October 21

Noon: The Box of Knowing 5th Edition adventure

4:00 pm: Working With Established Worlds seminar

Friday, October 22

10:00 am: City Building Workshop

1:00 pm: The Shadow Labyrinth 5th Edition adventure

6:00 pm: Rethinking Fear in Horror Games with Dr. Megan Connell

Saturday, October 23

6:00 pm: One Night in Ravenloft, a live stream to benefit ExtraLife

Sunday, October 24

10:00 am: The Shadow Labyrinth 5th Edition adventure

Monica Valentinelli GameHole Con 2021

[New Release] Eyes of Spiragos RPG Adventure

Eyes of Spiragos

Eyes of Spiragos is a Scarred Lands adventure that takes place after Gauntlet of Spiragos on the Fangsfall Peninsula on Ghelspad. This Slarecian Vault scenario has been written and designed by Monica Valentinelli, the co-developer of Dagger of Spiragos and Ring of Spiragos, to deepen the impact of later events and uncovered secrets in this Spiragos-themed series. Typesetting and layout design was performed by Scarred Lands developer Travis Legge.

During the introductory adventure, Gauntlet of Spiragos, the PCs uncovered titanspawn artifacts. With the discovery of these unholy relics, the PCs faced an uncomfortable truth: Though the War between gods and titans is over, true evil lingers still. The events in Eyes of Spiragos deepen their understanding of what that revelation means and how they can overcome its taint.

Eyes of Spiragos is a three-chapter adventure optimized for 3rd level characters. It includes suggestions for further setting and rules modifications for ease of use. Gameplay is flexible but has one, narrative requirement: The PCs must have played through Gauntlet of Spiragos. It is also strongly recommended this scenario is completed prior to the finale: Ring of Spiragos.

The horror in Eyes of Spiragos is primarily physical and psychological to build off of the spider-themed elements introduced in Gauntlet of Spiragos, and to foreshadow what awaits them in future adventures.

Rules and setting information are drawn from the free, introductory adventure “Gauntlet of Spiragos” and the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide. Recommendations drawing from Creature Collection have also been included for a strong, thematic tie and to flesh out options for new encounters.

Eyes of Spiragos is now available on DriveThruRPG.com for $2.99.

Game Producer Journals: The Jumpstart

In the kickoff for my game producer blog series, I wrote about demo materials for different types of games, defined a few terms, and dove into quickstart design.

Today, I want to talk about jumpstarts. First question: why do you need one? Well, the answer is “it’s complicated”. A jumpstart is one method for obtaining fans of your game and, like any promotional tool, it has its utility. Some people believe jumpstarts deter corebook sales because they encapsulate the game and often have a lower price point. I am not one of them.

Jumpstarts are best designed when they are not conceived in a vacuum. When the jumpstart has a clearly defined goal like: “teach new players how to play our game” or “give existing players a sample of what they’ll find” or “use it as a free, promotional tool to attract all players”. Jumpstarts can be designed with several goals in mind when they’re produced with the understand that anyone–even those players unfamiliar with a publisher or gameline–might pick up a copy.

Like quickstarts, jumpstarts are marketing tools for a gameline. Unlike quickstarts, I don’t believe they’re always necessary provided the corebook teaches players how to play their game. Most corebooks do not have actual play examples, sample dice rolls, a step-by-step outline for a sample campaign, a full adventure, and a full page ad to show where new players should go if they need more information (YouTube!, Twitch, Discord, forums, etc.) Many corebooks, especially second editions, serial games, or collector’s editions, are not designed with new players in mind. Many games are crafted for people who already know how to run a tabletop gaming session.

Jumpstarts are often needed because they serve players who need a different type of game design. Often, jumpstarts employ word conservation by focusing on what players need to know in order to play the game. Jumpstarts are great for a) complex settings b) complex rule sets c) new or debuting rule sets d) games with multiple playing styles e) original settings and d) messaging/visibility showing how the publisher is new-player friendly. Players who have fun with a jumpstart will have more confidence when running the game–and that player confidence is key.

It can be challenging to distill a corebook into a jumpstart. My approach to writing/designing in this form is to empower the player while providing value. I’ve found the easiest design method is to utilize a 3-to-5 act narrative structure, 3-5 non-player characters, and a sample fleshed out location. All games need setting–especially places where the players can hunt, search, investigate, etc.–and a jumpstart helps ground the players in it.

My last post included five steps to producing a quickstart. These are the same steps to follow when plotting a jumpstart with one, major caveat: conceiving a jumpstart requires greater analysis of your corebook’s content. You could repurpose some material for the quickstart. A jumpstart that rehashes all of the corebook’s materials is less useful, however, and you’ll miss out on residual sales–even if the jumpstart’s release precedes the corebook’s.

Lastly, I want to mention that while there’s no “one way” to design a jumpstart, I do believe a good jumpstart provides value. The jumpstart shouldn’t be an exact replica of your corebook’s content–there’s a different type of product for that called a “beta”. Instead, use the jumpstart to frame your corebook’s material so players transitioning from one to the other are confident they know the basics and are eager to learn more.

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

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