[New Release] Dead Man’s Rust 5th Edition

Scarred Lands: Dead Man's Rust Cover Art

Hello, dear readers!

Today I’m excited to celebrate the release of Dead Man’s Rust. It’s a Scarred Lands campaign, set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world, that’s compatible with 5th edition. Developed by Travis Legge, I’m one of many contributors who wrote for this campaign book packed with narrative value.

“Welcome to a broken world, a place where mortals try to eke out a simple existence within these Scarred Lands. Not long ago, the gods and titans clashed in a war that ripped the earth asunder. Now, the titans lie defeated and the divine victors have retreated to the celestial realms, leaving their mortal followers to settle disputes among one another. This is not a peaceful time — far from it. Belief is not as simple as it once was when the gods regularly walked the lands, and nations eye one another’s resources as they embroil themselves in wars and conquest in the wake of the Titanswar.

However, there is still some brightness in Scarn. There is hope of rebuilding a world where all people can live together in peace. Within the Broadreach Horizon, bucolic villages come together in solidarity; within Leoni, people of all creeds celebrate under one banner. However, there is also fear that the world will fall into greater darkness. The question is, how will your heroes influence what comes next?” — Dead Man’s Rust: Introduction, pg. 6

Keen on picking up a copy of a detailed campaign book filled with sidequests, lore, loot, and so much more? Head on over to DriveThruRPG.com where you’ll find the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide and Scarred Lands: Dead Man’s Rust in both digital or print.

If you’re brand new to the Scarred Lands, I also recommend checking out these 5th Edition-compatible adventures.

    Gauntlet of Spiragos – You can download the introductory adventure for free and learn all about titanspawn artifacts and the creatures drawn to them.

    Eyes of Spiragos – I designed this Slarecian Vault adventure and Travis helped lay it out. The story fits neatly in the timeline and strengthens connections to the remaining adventures.

    Dagger of Spiragos – The players have retrieved two titanspawn relics—the dagger and ring of Spiragos—and are tasked with destroying them. I developed and contributed to this adventure but, like all my games, I’m part of a team.

    Ring of Spiragos – On this team, I also developed and contributed to this adventure. It’s the grand finale filled with gut-wrenching decisions and jaw-dropping scenes.

The Spiragos adventures are themed around the recovery and destruction of accursed titanspawn artifacts. Be prepared to fight off cultists, thieves, and more!



Designing Tension in Cyberpunk RED

Tales of the RED: Street Stories Cover Art

Heya choombas!

Wanted to share that my Cyberpunk RED adventures are titled “Bathed in RED” and “One RED Night.” While their stories can be told separately, I wrote them as two distinct parts of a larger narrative included in Tales of the RED: Street Stories.

One of the reasons why I wanted to write for Cyberpunk RED, is because I was keen on exploring narrative tension in Night City as you moved from scene to scene. My approach to introducing that tension is through the introduction of hard choices to shape your story and advance the plot. If you were reading a novel or comic book, those choices would be made by the protagonists. In a game, however, you are the protagonists actively contributing to the narrative fulfilling your own motivations and your group’s goals. Ultimately, it’s not my decision what happens next. It’s yours. My job is to present those gut-wrenching decisions that help you feel vested in the game.

I love presenting difficult choices, because they’re a great way to add depth to your story. To make them emotionally-compelling, I took the project’s guidelines to heart and made these choices personal. Smart technology, cool locations, even corporations aren’t enough of a story hook. They’re just props to interact with and cool set designs. What makes a story personal, are the characters you interact with during the game. In Cyberpunk RED, there are compelling challenges like that computer virus designed to wipe out your data. What I consider is who designed that virus and why they’re targeting you. Same thing with corporations, too. After all, a “greedy conglomerate” isn’t as interesting as a CEO who decides to cut your salary to give themselves a bigger bonus.

Characters also give you ways to interact with the story, learn more about the setting, and provide clues. That said, I didn’t design them according to their plot delivery function, because that wasn’t interesting enough to me. Instead, I prioritized “who” they were and “where” they were from before I worried about the plot. This approach allowed me to revel in what I enjoy writing—worldbuilding and characterization—even though I had some rules already in mind.

Though I had the basic idea for a mystery plot in the outline phase, I didn’t figure out the specifics right away. My breakthrough happened after I finished my first draft of both adventures. Oh, I remember that eureka moment very, very clearly—and not only because I had a wonderful Ah-hah! feeling. I was having so much fun writing in Night City, every character and cinematic scene I imagined flowed together as if I was watching a movie. I could even imagine this exact plot in a video game. That visualization is the moment I knew this story was cohesive and filled with jaw-dropping moments.

I’m extremely lucky to write for Cyberpunk RED, because Tales of the RED: Street Stories allowed me to explore new-and-existing aspects of Night City and its people. That said, this two-part story scales more toward cyberpunk thriller with horror elements than a straight-up adventure.

If you’re keen on learning more about game design so you can write your own adventures, I encourage you to sign up for my upcoming campaign planning class.

Thank you for listening!

[New Releases] Article, Cyberpunk RED supplement, and Class for GMs!

Tales of the RED: Street Stories Cover Art

Hello, hello!

Huge update today, so let me dive right in to a fancy-pants bulleted list. That’s right, dear reader. You get FIVE FANTASTIC THINGS.

  1. Thank You! Rickshaw Bags is awesome. I ordered some masks and was surprised with a quality pen case as a free gift. Now my pen stays warm and I’m less likely to lose it. Oh.
  2. Crunch is Cancelled. Crunch should be part of the discussion when we’re talking about the future of work. I write about crunch for Talenthouse’s Media Foundry.
  3. Ia! Ia! Okay, do you want a fun distraction? Think NeoPets but 8-bit Cthulhu Virtual. Cthulhu Pets 2 is out now!
  4. Sharpen your Campaigns. I’m teaching DMs how to plan a tabletop game on Saturday, August 20th. Scholarships and sign-ups are available through Academy Rambo! Yaaaay!
  5. Is your Cyberpunk RED? R Talsorian Games has posted a series of previews for Tales of the RED: Night City Stories. Read my Tales of the RED Twitter thread for previews!

Tales of the RED: Night City Stories is out in the world! You can get a copy from your friendly local game store or you can pick up a digital edition from DriveThruRPG.com.



[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.



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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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