James Vail is an independent game designer and artist known for his first book, Xas Irkalla and Strain, an original hardcore rule system.
James aims to create free adventures for Strain, an expansion for Xas Irkalla, and has outlined his second book, "The Call of the Wretched Sea", which will focus on historical whaling, one of James's fascinations. Its title was inspired by doom metal band Ahab's album of the same name, used with permission.
Originally from San Marcos, California, James attended Palomar college and California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). He spent nine years in New York with his wife, Mina, who operates the business end of Atramentis Games. They met online during their teenage years on a heavy metal forum and met in person September 2009. They now live in Valley Center, California where Mina's chronic pain and James's psoriatic arthritis have eased from the climate. He is a full-time retail manager aiming to make Atramentis Games his occupation.
James has always had an interest in game design; remembering creating custom maps for StarCraft, Warcraft, Neverwinter Nights, and more as a child. After being introduced to tabletop RPG's, James soon began writing and GM'ing his own campaigns. It didn't take long for James to want to customize his tabletop experiences. Though game design is James's passion, he also enjoys video games, hiking, extreme metal, and playing guitar. He has always had an appreciation for gothic and scifi themes in artwork, books, movies, games, and even music.
Mina is a metalhead, bookworm, and PC-gamer. Her professions include freelance editing for a high-profile client of a world-renowned death metal band, personal assisting, artist management, and small business ownership. She has formerly booked and produced black and death metal concerts in the NYC area.