Archive | Blogs

A new season of Black Mirror on Netflix

Posted on October 26, 2016 by

The new season of Black Mirror hits Netflix soon. Have you seen it? The IMDB synopsis for the show is quaint and simple:

A television anthology series that shows the dark side of life and technology.

It’s the show that recently sort of predicted that a British Prime Minister would copulate with a porcine animal.


Godzilla, the Stuff of Dreams

Posted on October 14, 2016 by

Like most children, I wanted to stay up late and watch the “grown up” television shows and movies that my parents would watch. I would beg, plea, and attempt to make a deal in the hopes of having one night of being able to be just like them; watching a late-night syndicated Star Trek marathon, the comedy of Saturday Night Live and SCTV, or the sultry stylings of Benny Hill.

One evening I was sent to bed and was allowed to read some comic books and other stories before sleeping. One of those comics was an issue of Godzilla from my Dad’s collection. It was the first time I ever heard of it and I read it from cover to cover ten times straight before falling asleep.

Monica Valentinelli

The Story Behind “Suffering of the Unchosen”

Posted on September 6, 2016 by

“Suffering of the Unchosen” is one of many stories found in the recently released anthology titled Tales of the Dark Eras. Set in and near Salem Village in the early 1690s, the story follows a grieving husband and father who, at first glance, is the victim of a terrible crime. His wife and step-child had […]

Monica Valentinelli

Want a Fresh Take on the Fae? Check out Court of Shadows!

Posted on July 26, 2016 by

Shadowrun Court of Shadows Cover Art
Court of Shadows is a brand new setting for Shadowrun 5th Edition that takes place on a metaplace filled with faeries, the Seelie Court, and rich details and characters. I co-designed the setting with Jason Hardy for this supplement, and contributed a huge chunk of the writing, too. I’m so excited to present this alternate setting, and hope fans’ll dig how I blended inspiration from previous sourcebooks into this unique metaplane.


Saying Goodbye to my friend Steven

Posted on July 10, 2016 by

Last week, I was horrified to learn that Steven D. Russell of Rite Publishing was killed in an car accident on July 5th, 2016. Steven was one of the first DriveThruRPG publishers I was able to build a friendship with that I had not already known from my previous experiences in the RPG industry. Having run Flames Rising for several years (and a little freelance writing here and there), I had naturally built up a number of friendships and working relationships before I started working for DriveThruRPG. But, those friendships represented only a fraction of the industry, and jumping into the publisher services role offered me a ton of opportunities to get to know even more people from companies big and small. Steven was one of them, and that friendship was built over time as his company (and DriveThruRPG) grew.


Markov on The Evolution of Tropes

Posted on March 16, 2016 by

Recently, Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates launched a Kickstarter to fund an anthology titled Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling. Today, in an exclusive update for, one of the collection’s contributors, Haralambi Markov, is here to share with you his insights into tropes and cliches. For more about the author, visit: For more about the anthology, visit Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling on Kickstarter–and be sure to read our updates!

Monica Valentinelli

Designing Battle for the Undercity a D&D 5E Adventure

Posted on February 19, 2016 by

Over the years, I’ve worked on (and have played) a lot of games with folks from every corner of the industry, but I’ve never had the opportunity to write for Dungeons and Dragons. Battle for the Undercity (5E) is a release that changed all that thanks to Today, I’d like to share with you my process for designing this adventure.

The first thing I did was review the adventure structure. Having played D&D 5E, I understood how important that was but, at the same time, I wanted to put my own twist on it. After I read the DMs Guild Creator Adventure Template and refreshed my memory by referencing Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat, I came up with a plan. I wanted to design a location and fitting monster variants that could be used in any Forgotten Realms campaign, in part because of my own experiences playing D&D. By tapping into the two elements every city tends to have which, in this case, was the undercity (sewers, worked tunnels, etc.) and a tavern, I felt DMs could use Battle for the Undercity as a break between campaigns or intense sessions.


As Atlantis falls, how will you use your fate?

Posted on February 14, 2016 by

As Atlantis falls, how will you use your fate? Where will you stand in the face of the coming wave? Chariot is a fantasy role-playing game set just before the final fall of an occult, theosophical Atlantis tempered by my boyhood imagination. It uses Tarot cards rather than dice, and has a heavily occult and […]


The Best Game Designer is an Evil GM

Posted on February 2, 2016 by

I love to be the game master. There is nothing quite like the feeling of presenting a challenge that the players will fear, loathe, complain about and eventually, climactically overcome. I don’t mind being the bad guy. I know that I’m the catalyst for great gaming and great storytelling. Of course, all of this sounds like roleplaying but really it applies to game design as well. A game designer has to have a certain sense that he is setting these fascinating objects in motion and the players bring them to life and create the unexpected interactions that make the game worth playing. Semi-coop games such as Battlestations or Descent invite the boardgame referee to be more than just a rules arbiter and I think part of the fun for everybody is to dial up the drama and go for it.


Flames Rising Staff Picks for the Cthulhu Mythos Sale!

Posted on August 20, 2015 by

H. P. Lovecraft was born August 20, 1890 and the DriveThru sites (RPG, Comics, Fiction) are celebrating with a huge sale on hundreds of Cthulhu Mythos eBooks, audiobooks and other goodies.

We’ve gathered a list of some our favorite titles from each site here on Flames Rising


Research, a guest post from author Eric Brown

Posted on July 4, 2015 by

I don’t do research for any of my novels or stories.

A part of me, as I typed the above, felt a sense of guilt. It’s the received wisdom these days – and, for all I know, always has been – that a fiction writers must assiduously research the background to their works in order to present a credible ‘world’ to their readers. After all, if you’re writing about a World War II fighter pilot, isn’t it wise to have read up on what it’s like to be a fighter pilot? And that goes for any other specialist profession or area of expertise, of course. To lend greater fidelity to one’s visions, research is essential.


What it Means to Work with Everyone

Posted on April 10, 2015 by

Normally, it can be difficult for me to talk about my day job and/or part-time gig as a freelancer here on Flames Rising due to any number of reasons. However, after learning so much over the past few years I wanted to start talking about various aspects of what I do.

Today, I want to address what it means to work with everyone…

There are thousands of active titles on the sites I manage for,, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with publishers and creators that are beyond awesome. I’ve also worked with publishers and creators who say and do things I disagree with in any number of different ways.

Monica Valentinelli

My 2014 RPG Releases in Review!

Posted on January 11, 2015 by

I had one of those moments a few weeks back, the kind where you’re forced to stop and wonder what you’ve been up to for the past several months. We were driving through the redwoods, and we stopped at the base of a very large tree. I suppose that’s an understatement, given the fact that they are, indeed, “the” redwoods, but to actually be there… To listen to nothing–no birds, no frogs, no crickets–nothing… The only bit that’s left when there’s total silence is either that or the thoughts swirling around in my head. Usually it’s the latter, which often turns into some musical refrain. Sadly.

Monica Valentinelli

A Letter to Humans Regarding Halloween

Posted on October 1, 2014 by

Dear Humans: As we understand it, you humans have now changed your Julian calendars to mark the tenth month in your year. Though it is apparent you eagerly anticipate the end of your annual cycle by buying gifts, flocking to mercantile centers, and hanging confusing decorations to acknowledge this passage (e.g. we have yet to […]

Monica Valentinelli

Awaiting Universal’s DRACULA UNTOLD with Bated Breath

Posted on September 9, 2014 by

Slated for an October 10th release in the U.S., Universal’s DRACULA UNTOLD returns to Bram Stoker’s story in an action-filled, heart-wrenching way. For many reasons, I’m excited about this film on a personal level both as a writer and a fan of all things vampire. It’s no secret I’ve been disappointed with the blurry way […]


2013: Our Year in the Horror Mines

Posted on December 31, 2013 by

We’re Lillian Cohen-Moore and Ryan Macklin, a couple in Seattle who love to play with horror. You might know us from our work on the recent Mage: the Ascension books that focused on factions within the Technocratic Union. What you might not know, though, is that we met and bonded over playing another horror game: Don’t Rest Your Head. Horror and dark fantasy is near and dear to our hearts, and Flames Rising wanted to give us a moment to talk about our time working as a couple in horror gaming.

During our time with the Technocratic Union, horror was a subtle constant throughout the books. Since we live together, we could turn around in our desk chairs to propose ideas for how to keep the horror elements in the Technocracy from becoming cartoonish, like some of the early material for them.


Gamers Give Kids Extra Life

Posted on October 10, 2013 by

I’ve been a gamer for my entire life. I’ve seen games provide entertainment, education, and bring families together. But one of the coolest (and most important) thing that games and gamers can do is to make the world a better place!

Over the last few years, gamers have organized to raise money for a fantastic array of causes: to support relief efforts after the Haiti earthquake of 2010, and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. To provide toys and video games for children in hospitals across the world. Blood drive, fund raisers, awareness campaigns. Every one of them shows that gamers are interested in more than just games—we are eager to use the community and cooperation we build around the gaming table for good causes.

Enter Extra Life.


Ghouls by Night, an Outline via Open Development

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

I’m doing a little freelance RPG development for Onyx Path Publishing in the off hours from my “day job” as Marketing Director for DriveThruComics, DriveThruRPG and related sites. As a developer I get to pitch new ideas for books and focus on the overall concept and design, while bringing on talented freelancers to bring those concepts to the written page.

One of the books I pitched last year was an expanded look at Ghouls and Revenants for Vampire: the Masquerade.


Little Fears Nightmare Edition – Blessed are the Children Kickstarter

Posted on August 29, 2013 by

Blessed are the Children is the third book in the acclaimed tabletop horror game line Little Fears Nightmare Edition. Little Fears Nightmare Edition Book 3: Blessed are the Children is the third main book in the acclaimed roleplaying game line of childhood terror. The new edition of the original game of childhood terror launched in […]


Geek.Kon approaches! Panels! Games! Fun!

Posted on August 21, 2013 by

Geek.Kon is Madison Wisconsin’s very own anime convention, sci-fi convention, and gaming convention all rolled into one! As the name implies, Geek.Kon is a place to celebrate all that is geeky from strong foundations in anime, science fiction, video gaming, tabletop gaming, and costuming to up and coming fandoms like steampunk and gothic lolita. From Lord of the Rings to Doctor Who, Mario to Solid Snake, Geek.Kon covers it all.

Several of the Flames Rising crew will be at the convention and on panels throughout the weekend.


11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

    Monthly Newsletter Sign Up

    join our monthly mailing list
    * indicates required

    The Devil’s Night WoD SAS

    Free Devil's Night | White Wolf

    Become a Fan on Facebook!

    Reviews Wanted!

    The new Review Guidelines have been posted on the Flames Rising website. We are currently seeking a few good reviewers to help us expand our collection of horror and dark fantasy reviews. RPGs, fiction, movies, video games and more are all welcome on the site...

    What do you get out of it?

    Beyond helping out fellow Flames Rising readers by letting them know what you think of these products, we're giving away some pretty cool stuff. Regular Reviewers can earn free products to review, which is their to keep after the review is submitted to the site.

    Note: We are especially looking for folks interested in reviewing eBooks (both Fiction & Comics). We have lots of great titles in digital format and even get advance copies sometimes.

    Use the Contact Page to submit reviews or let us know if you have any questions.