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Updates from Monica Valentinelli for 01/07/2016
Weekly Update from M. Valentinelli
This week's news and posts from Monica's website includes:
In the 01/07/2016 edition:
By Monica Valentinelli on Jan 05, 2016 05:26 pm
To the esteemed design team at Bioware and the publishing team at Electronic Arts:
I wish that time had permitted me to acquire Dragon Age: Inquisition when it was first released, but I was away on travel in lands currently unknown to natives of Ferelden, Tevinter, and Orlais. Sadly, as circumstances would have it, my schedule did not permit me to devote the required resources to play it. And, as the year went on, a series of misfortunes had further, negative effects on my ability to venture into the lands of archdemons and the Fade, magisters and the Imperium, mages and templars.
This has since been rectified, thanks to the gift I received from my partner in life and love during our Christmas (which is your Feast Day). I had just finished traveling through Ferelden for the first time as a mage, in Dragon Age: Origins and Awakening, and the events that occurred were fresh in my mind. While I did not revisit Kirkwall (I have been the Champion, but never the political leader as apparently the choices I made have never led to a full takeover of that fine city), I had played it before and had certain expectations for Dragon Age: Inquisition.
I am happy to report that Dragon Age: Inquisition has exceeded all of my expectations. I am a storyteller and designer of amusements by trade, and I was greatly surprised by the complexity and various levels of interaction with the characters–not to mention the love letters to the fans scattered throughout Ferelden and beyond. The reappearance of minor personages such as Dagda was a welcome sight, and the ability to immerse myself into stories littered behind every soldier, rock, cabin, and cave has allowed me to set aside my gloomy outlook in these dark days of winter and revel in my own curiosity as I travel throughout Thedas collecting shards, bottles, and (of course), herbs such as spindleweed and rashvine.
Though the darkspawn are a familiar, if not bleak, sight–the tales of the Black City, the stories the citizens of Ferelden, Antiva, Orlais, and Tevinterand are the beating of the Inquisition and I cannot go enough of them. Sadly, other stories and amusements require my time, for gold speaks louder than love, but had I the opportunity I would gladly negotiate the possibility of spinning yarns in this epic era. Truly, while it may seem I am a traveling merchant seeking to trade–there is no higher compliment I can give. For, any story I play, read, or watch that draws me in to tell stories of my own? To me, such an occurrence is the mark of a masterful storytelling team. And, while no work of art is without its flaws, I wish to thank you for your artistry, your willingness to listen to feedback, and your attention to detail. This is, by far, one of the best and most noteworthy experiences I have had in a long time.
May your futures be filled with new stories of your own, and your blades be sharp.
The Lady Inquisitor
By Monica Valentinelli on Jan 05, 2016 04:32 pm
Following my announcement from last year that I am the developer for Hunter the Vigil 2nd Edition which features the Slasher Chronicle, I uploaded my first OpenDevelopment post titled: Hunter 2E OpenDev and Ashwood Abbey and the second one which is Tier Two Compacts and Globalization.
There are a lot of approaches to development, and managing this line will be very, very different from the Firefly RPG for the simple reason that the licensing and setting restrictions aren’t based on a TV show. Hunter: the Vigil was (and is) a widely popular game where you play a human hunter–for all the good, bad, and ugly that entails–fighting the supernatural. The line, which has had continued support since the corebook’s debut eight or nine years ago, will be getting a new edition and this is why I’m on board. In a way, I’m very lucky because I’m focused on enhancements as opposed to creating something from scratch. Since other second edition books for the Chronicles of Darkness have already been released, I have a lot of pre-existing material and systems to draw from to create a new edition–which is great. However, there’s a lot of tweaks I want to make, but to help me make better decisions I am using Open Development as a way to get feedback prior to writing the outline for the corebook.
This, too, is a huge departure from Firefly, as setting restrictions for Hunter aren’t overly specific, nor are they related to the show so I have more flexibility to start with within the conceit of hunting monsters. Here, I’m building a new edition off a hugely strong foundation, and I get the opportunity to have fan feedback because of the relationship between Onyx Path Publishing and Paradox Entertainment. This is a pretty big deal to me, because though as a developer I have to weigh decisions for all kinds of players (meaning I need to avoid one-true-way-isms and focus more on the toolkit approach that Hunter originated with), I can hear from fans what their reasoning is behind what they like about the game. And, most importantly, how certain decisions impact play at their tables as opposed to what they’re gleaning from reading the text itself.
It’ll be interesting to see how OpenDev shakes out, once I get to the rules portion of the conversation, but for now I’m tightly focused on clarifying what those enhancements might be (e.g. tiered play, slashers, etc.) to set some bones down before proceeding. This will also enable me to see where the holes are before proceeding with an open call for writers, especially since I’m keen on lifting the game to a truly global level.
If you’re interested in reading OpenDev, I’ll link to them in my project updates or you can follow along by visiting the Onyx Path website at www.theonyxpath.com.
New Releases: Gaming Cookbook and Mistborn Supplement
Progress Report #9: A Storm Has Passed
Update on Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling
NaNoWriMo Prep from a Pragmatist. Yep, that’d be me.