In my role as Creative Director of Story & Setting for Fantasy Flight Games, I had the opportunity to talk along with designer MJ Newman to NPR’s James Perkins Mastromarino about the ways Arkham Horror differs from “pure Lovecraftian” horror, as well as the recently released The Scarlet Keys campaign expansion for the card game. Working to make the game world one where everyone can have fun and feel included hasn’t been without its challenges, but I’m so proud of the team and grateful to our cultural and sensitivity consultants for making The Scarlet Keys so special.
I recently had the opportunity to appear as a guest on the 80th episode of The Last Province Podcast, which features a behind-the-scenes look at my novella, Ice and Snow. I talked with hosts Daniel Tickle, George Maney, and Robert Denton about my writing process and how the idea for Doji Hotaru’s coming-of-age story came about. We also discuss the centrality of romance to the plot, the challenges of writing fight scenes, and why I felt it was so important for “the Crane Clan novella” to feature the other Great Clans. You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or on the web.
In this episode of the Nice Games Club podcast, I got to chat with hosts Ellen, Mark, and Stephen as well as fellow guest (and good friend) Jon Kiehne about some of my favorite topics: roleplaying games, game mastering, and game design. The Nice Games Podcast is a Minneapolis-based crew that usually focuses on gamedev in the video game space, but in this episode we examined the subject of game design through the lens of tabletop game mastering. Some of the things we talked about included the dynamic between system design and session design, the balance between planning and improvisation, and how players can be encouraged to participate in the process. You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, on the web, or in the embedded video below!
As part of the #GenConOnline programming this year, I got to chat all things Arkham Horror with my colleagues MJ Newman and Philip D Henry as well as some of the awesome authors at Aconyte Books.
Arkham Horror is the classic board game of Lovecraftian adventure originally designed by Richard Launius in 1987 and revitalized in 2005 (2nd edition) and 2018 (3rd edition) by Fantasy Flight Games. As a setting, its stories primarily revolve around a group of ordinary folks investigating mysteries of cosmic horror in and around Arkham, Innsmouth, and creepy New England. Unlike some traditional Cthulhu Mythos games or stories, Arkham Horror has strong pulp and even noir influences, so during the game players can end up with a nun riding a motorcycle shooting Cthulhu in the face with a blessed shotgun. That’s one extreme, anyway, and other games and novels explore the creeping dread and horror aspects of the setting.
Like many people, Arkham Horror 2nd edition was actually my first “hobby” board game. I’ve been working on the Arkham Horror brand since 2014, first as the editor for the Investigators of Arkham Horror anthology and the seven Arkham novellas that are soon to be collected in Aconyte’s first omnibus, Dark Origins. As time went on, I also began coordinating FFG’s internal story group for the Arkham Horror setting, so I’ve gotten to work with MJ and Phil on games such as Mansions of Madness 2nd edition, Arkham Horror 3rd edition, the Living Card Game, and more. Now I get to work closely with Aconyte to get the tone and feel and details of the setting right.
I was recently interviewed for an article in WIRED magazine regarding my thoughts on why there are so few women in wargaming, especially compared to similar hobbies such as board gaming and tabletop roleplaying. The article also goes into possible solutions to make the hobby more welcoming, not just for women, but for anyone who’s new to the hobby.
Welcome to the professional portfolio and personal blog of Katrina Ostrander, a writer of fiction and games who works full-time in the tabletop games industry. Here you can find resources and advice on writing, roleplaying, and gamemastering, as well as updates on her latest publications.