An Author’s Monster Manual Featuring Ricardo Victoria

An Author’s Monster Manual has to include Ricardo Victoria, author of the Tempest Blades, a series that was a least partially inspired by a TTRPG. This is a fantastic series, full of action and heart.

D&D has played quite a big part in the development of Tempest Blades, even before the novels’ inception as they stand now. I started playing during college when my best friend was DM of his homebrew 3e campaign with his classroom friends and I kinda forced my way when I dropped my three core books, the Oriental Adventures expansion, and my first character sheet, with a newbie character by the name of Fionn… yeah, that Fionn, the MC of the Tempest Blades novels. And that was the start of my descent into fiddling around with the game. So when I’m writing the novels, there is always a voice in my head asking “how this would work to be played in D&D”. I guess in a way I keep writing the novels as if they were my own D&D campaign with a Final Fantasy 7-8-10-13 aesthetic.

That’s why I loved being included in this event… except that I have never played 5e, just recently bought the books, and was familiarizing myself with the system. So I hope you don’t expect balanced stat blocks just yet.

Forsaken Gate of Flesh. (Tempest Blades: The Withered King)

This monster draws inspiration from Hellraiser, The Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood, the monsters from the Shadow Skill anime, and Abomination by Gary Whitta. It’s an incursion –a form of demonic materialization into the real world- but a heinous one because it uses Arcanotech –which mixes magick and technology-, with “willing” human sacrifices, plural. Its apparition into the story unveils a larger, more dangerous plot for Fionn, the Main Character of the 1st book, allows him to meet a new ally, confirms his fears of an ancient enemy of his coming back, and also sets the reader for the reveal of why Fionn is at that point in history, a living legend, showcasing his powers as Gifted and those of his Tempest Blade, Black Fang. Forsaken Gate was made to make the reader witness the dangers of cult following.

 Artist Salvador Velazquez
https://www.artstation.com/salvadorvelazquez Twitter:@rodavlas_

Wyrm (Tempest Blades: The Cursed Titans):

This monster draws inspiration from a trip I made with my wife to Tokyo (her dream trip), just before the pandemic. Once as we walked through the streets of Asakusa, I imagined a metallic dragon flying over the streets. And that’s where the main idea came from. Add the visuals of an HR Geiger exhibition in Mexico City that we attended a few months later and the visuals were locked on. The final inspiration was King Ghidorah from Godzilla King of the Monsters. As dragons are extinct by that time in Theia, the world where my stories take place, it makes sense that the villain of the story created a sculpture that would come to life to mock the dragons’ sacrifice, that’s why it’s a wyrm. In-story, it comes when the Main Character of this book (my books have the same cast, but rotate the MC role), Alex, is undergoing a severe bout of depression, compounded by a big fight with friends and mentors, taking him into a dark place mentally, as the villain tricks Alex into entering a Gaunlet of sorts that will leave him exhausted, both mentally and physically, by doing several heroics that drain him. The wyrm in this case represents the way depression can appear out of nowhere, in the most unexpected place, and set everything on fire (yes, this book is very personal to me as it’s inspired by my own struggles with depression).

The monster design was made by my friend and cover artist Salvador Velazquez, for the Cursed Titans cover.

Tempest Blades.

As a special bonus for Witty & Sarcastic, I designed the stat blocks for two of the titular (and the most famous in-universe) Tempest Blades: Black Fang, which is Fionn’s fangsword (a fancy way to say katana), and Yaha, Alex’s longsword, which is the equivalent to Excalibur… if Excalibur was a lightsaber. Funny enough, it’s Black Fang the one that has its origins inspired by the Sword of the Lake from the Arthuric Myths. Both weapons are meant to be legendary items of incredible power, being sentient (sort of) and all, so they are not suitable for a regular campaign like the one I will start in a few months with some friends and their kids that want to play in the Tempest Blades universe. In a way, the adventures in my novels feature characters that either start above the 11th level, or reached said levels really, really fast (there is an explanation in the story, but won’t spoil that). But I wanted to see how these weapons could look in a D&D system.

Black Fang is meant to represent Justice, and its inspiration comes from the katana of Duncan MacLeod from Highlander the Series (I love that show). While Yaha is meant to represent Hope and it’s inspired by a sword I dreamt of as a kid when I was watching Thundercats on TV, so yes, the Sword of Omens might be part of the inspiration. There are more Tempest Blades in the novels, but these 2 are the main ones, story-wise.

Artist: Kike Fernandez
 https://www.deviantart.com/victor-karnage  Twitter: @Bufon_VBDO
 Artist Salvador Velazquez

About the author:

Ricardo Victoria is a Mexican writer with a Ph.D. in Design –with an emphasis in sustainability- from Loughborough University, and a love of fiction, board games, comic books, and action figures. He lives in Toluca, Mexico with his wife and pets, working works as a full-time lecturer and researcher at the local university. He writes mainly science fantasy.

His first novel, Tempest Blades: The Withered King, was released in August 2019 by Shadow Dragon Press, an imprint of Artemesia Publishing. The sequel, Tempest Blades: Cursed Titans was released in July  2021. He is currently working on the third book of the saga. He has a number of stories published by Inklings Press, and other indie outlets, and has collaborated with the horror podcast The Wicked Library.

His short story Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon, jointly written with Brent A. Harris, was nominated for a Sidewise Award for short-form alternative history. He co-authored a chapter (No elf is an island. Understanding worldbuilding through system thinking) for the book “Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction, currently nominated for the BSFA.

You can find out more at his website, http://ricardovictoriau.com, or follow him on Twitter, @Winged_Leo

Purchase Links:

Tempest Blades 1: The Withered King
Tempest Blades 2: The Cursed Titans

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