Its been almost eight years since I revealed the Ministry of Thunder on this blog. In fact, back in the 1st edition days. It funded as the second stretch goal of the second edition, and after a few playthroughs, writer’s block it’s now coming to completion.

The overall concept, a short collection of adventures set around the Ministry of Thunder of the title that people can run either as one-shots or as a short campaign, which can be used to an introductory prequel to a longer Journey to the West game (which is the default in campaign-style in the main rulebook).

This bit of text from the introduction sums it up:

“It is a self-contained story arc’, like a mini-series of comics or a series of interconnected short stories, designed to introduce beginning players and narrators to the mythological worlds of Monkey. It’s designed to be straightforward and not depend on the constant player and narrator invention like the standard Journey to the West set up of the default game. Each adventure takes roughly three to four hours to complete, as it befits their origins as convention games. In short, if you want to run a short ‘campaign’ that is as traditional as Monkey gets. to see if you and your players like the game, with it still being a meaningful experience, this is the book you want.”

There’s a reason why I first put the Ministry together during the 1st edition days. I attempted to get people on board who were coming from a more traditional “get the rules, run the prepackaged adventure next” way of doing things. Who perhaps found Monkey’s free-wheeling make things up as you go along method a bit intimidating.  In itself, it inspired me to do a second edition of the rules to make them more accessible, based on how I had settled on running the game to complete newcomers at conventions.

Here’s the current line up of adventures that has changed since I first announced it.

  • Welcome to the Ministry of Thunder.
  • King Tiger.
  • The Magical Painter.
  • The Ministry Saves the Universe.

Of the original line up, only King Tiger remains. While being fun to run once, the others didn’t hold up to repeat plays and were weak on paper. That’s one thing of spending near on eight years of navel-gazing on this one that I’ve become a stronger adventure writer, and I have a clearer idea of what works for Monkey and what doesn’t.

Jon Hodgson’s cover still holds up.

Ministry of Thunder cover by Jon Hodgson

Dan Barker returns to do the internals.  This is a detail from my favourite piece, his take on the Moon Goddess and her friend and companion the Jade Rabbit.