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Hunter the Vigil Second Edition Kickstarter Launch and Mysterious Places Interview!
Posted By Flames On February 6, 2020 @ 1:47 pm In Interviews | No Comments
To celebrate the release of the Hunter: The Vigil Second Edition Kickstarter , Monica reached out to members of her team for a series of in-depth interviews. Today, Monica chats with Trip Galey and Matt Miller who worked on the Mysterious Places chapter.
Trip Galey juggles writing stories, games, and novels whilst also completing his PhD in London. Currently, that means he is deep in the woods of researching all things pursuant to bargains, exchanges, and compacts of a faery nature. It is inadvisable to attempt to make a deal with him. He has been, in the past, a reluctant cowboy, an Ivy League collegian, and an itinerant marketing professional. You can find at least one version of him at www.tripgaley.com . Matt Miller has previously written for Green Ronin, Onyx Path, Vigilance Press, and most recently on the John Carter of Mars line for Modiphius Entertainment. When not writing, he works as a web developer, and has about a dozen other hobbies including acting, singing, and swordfighting.
Trip: It’s the thrill, for me. The feeling you get when you don’t quite know something, or when there’s something unusual happening. It’s like the drop in your stomach on a roller-coaster but all through you all at once. There’s a vitality and an excitement in possibility, and that’s what you’re looking at when you face down something strange or unexplained: possibility. It might be a terrible possibility, granted, but it might be wondrous as well. I like that edge of exploration. Of potential.
Matt: I love that feeling that you almost have a grasp on something, that you almost understand what is happening in a situation, but it doesn’t quite fit. I get it sometimes from things like references to really ancient history or mythology, and also from modern, urban legends, too. It’s this great feeling of just a few pieces of the puzzle being missing, and if you can just find (or invent) the right pieces it will come together. But I think it not quite making sense is also part of what makes it fun, and makes it more real. Stories hang together and make sense, real things, even weird and scary real things, don’t.
Trip: So many things! In researching mysterious places that already exist across the globe I fell down so many research rabbit holes, and got to read about an amazing breadth of stories and folklore and urban legend. When one is part of the hyper-connected information culture we have it is very easy to think of this planet we live on as a known quantity, and one of the best parts about researching this chapter was being reminded how much of our own world remains unexplored, unknown, or mysterious.
Matt: Many, many things. We had something like 50 or 60 places that various people had suggested, and I really enjoyed reading and researching all of them. There were a lot of abandoned theme parks and the like, and I really like how often you’ll find these almost forgotten places in some of the most densely populated areas.
Trip: Look for the gaps. There are all these things we take for granted, all these things we don’t know that we don’t know until we’re face to face with our own ignorance. Where does that door go? Where does the fresh meat at the local butcher’s really come from? Why is that one house in the row a burned out husk? There are all kinds of urban legends and tiny museums and local historical societies that provide pathways for mysterious places to insert themselves into a chronicle. If you don’t know something, it’s an opportunity to fill it with new mystery. If there is a question your players ask that has no answer in the setting material, that’s a gap you can exploit.
Trip: I loved it! I’ve been a fan of these gaming systems for years and it was amazing to take part in the creation of a new edition. From a practical perspective, it helped that I was working on a second edition, and even though there were massive changes the presence of existing material to draw on for guidance and inspiration was hugely beneficial to my during the whole process. From an experiential perspective it was energizing (the chance to be a part of something I’ve loved for so long!), intimidating (my first time working with professionals in the game-writing arena), inspiring (the material I worked on was the kind of thing I absolutely love), and humbling (so, so thankful to get to be a part of a massive creative effort like this). So yeah, I’ll say it again. I loved it.
Trip: Twin Peaks is the first to spring obviously to mind. I think it’s an excellent example because it starts with a surface reality that matches our mundane expectations but then slowly the veil pulls away, illuminating this strange place and the ways it has influenced and changed a whole host of characters and events. It’s a show full of mystery and one I think could be a great source of not only inspiration but also examples of how to thread a single mysterious place throughout an entire chronicle.
Matt: Hmm. It’s not specifically monster hunting so much as just horror, but the movie Session 9 is fantastic at taking a (real) abandoned place and turning it into a beautiful backdrop for a horror story. The film Oculus is a good example of how to make an inanimate object a malevolent force that characters need to deal with. The recent Netflix Haunting of Hill House is also excellent – by the time you get half way through, you really get a feeling for how the house itself is the real danger. And I strongly recommend the book as well, which had some of the best mood setting and some amazing horror sequences that the show could really only do pale imitations of.
Trip: I found it fairly smooth. We had clear divisions of work and the systems in place allowed us to post what we’d done, review what the other had, and go back and forth figuring out what fit.
Matt: We had a lot of tools in place to collaborate across not just us, but the whole writing team, which was quite nice. We divided up the work well, though, to be honest, I wish I had reached out more during the actual process of the writing the chapter and done more collaborative brainstorming.
Trip: This is a tricky one because I really just want to say ‘it depends which mysterious place you’re using!’ I’ll try to take that further, though. As a general note, I’d personally go with smell. Smell is visceral, primal. Smell connects to memory on a deep, instinctual level. It’s something unseen, that can come and go, and is something that can easily be overlooked in our visual culture (and thus easily be forgotten when describing a place).
Whatever imagery you choose to conjure, I’d say the most important physical description to set the mood of a mysterious place is whatever detail hints to the players that something is out of true: a clammy breeze on a sunny day, a smattering of mildew on fresh paint or wallpaper, the curious sensation that the statue is following you with its pupil-less eyes. Whatever that detail, it should fit with the personality of the mysterious place.
Matt: I think the hardest thing to convey is the way a place makes you feel, separate from how it looks or sounds. For that, I often personify places – treating them like characters that have a story to tell the players can help get me in the right mindset. And telling someone that abandoned house looks angry helps set the tone for any additional descriptions I want to give.
Trip: I think it relates to what a house is to us. Nominally, it’s a safe place we retreat to, a place we live, a place that is more familiar to us than anywhere else (if it’s our own house, anyway). A haunted house, then, is so compelling because it inverts the house, transforming it from a place of refuge to a place of danger. The fact that someone entering a haunted house can’t generally tell they are in danger with any of the five conventional senses only heightens this effect: not only are we in danger, it’s not a danger we can perceive. It makes the haunted house a trap, and almost a betrayal.
Matt: Haunted houses, by their nature, have a sense of history and tragedy to them. There is almost always a reason why a house has become haunted, something terrible that happened there. I think we all have a tendency to walk by houses and wonder about the people who live inside, and how they are the same or different to us. In a haunted house, those wonderings are given teeth. Particularly if the haunted house is your own. Because, then, you have to find out who the people who were here before you were, to make sure you don’t end up the same as them.
Trip: I have a soft spot for ‘lost’ locations: ghost towns, abandoned Tube stations, and the like. If we’re picking from the list of mysterious places included in the book, my first choice would be Canfranc Railway Station. I’m all about beautiful ruins, mysterious tunnels in the mountains, and a hint of international intrigue. I’d like to say I’d have a master plan, but I am, at best, methodical-to-a-point. We’d have a decent array of supplies, and the outlines of a strategy, but when push came to shove there’d be a healthy dose of trusting to Lady Luck in there. Sorry, Matt!
Matt: I’m definitely in on the Canfranc Railway Station! I agree, lost locations are fascinating – though I often prefer ones a little closer to home. I love how we can lost track of things in our own cities, and find abandoned rooms, tunnels, and even whole buildings that you’ve never seen by turning down an alley or going through a gate you’ve never been through before. Kinda makes it easy to believe in stories about ending up in faerie or under the hills!
In terms of actually exploring Canfranc, I’d probably start with a bunch more research before going in. I like really digging into the history of things, so that is a good place to start for me.
Trip: I’m a bit agnostic toward the whole matter. I’m very much in the camp where the more I learn, the more I realize how little we actually know or understand about the wider universe (or even the unexplored reaches of our own planet). I default to scientific explanations, but I’m admittedly deeply romantic in my soul and when it comes right down to it I want to believe in magic and the paranormal, so I keep that door propped open a crack, in the back of my mind.
Matt: Not really – or, at least, I’ve personally found no compelling evidence for it. I think most of the things that people describe as ghost stories can usually be explained by some combination of psychology and unusual physical circumstances (like low frequency sounds, unusual chemicals, etc).
That said, I think everyone has a story of something that they can’t quite explain that they saw once. And just because I don’t have proof doesn’t mean that I’m not tempted to leave my light on at night, sometimes.
Thanks to Trip Galey and Matt Miller for dropping by! To learn more about mysterious places, visit the Hunter: The Vigil Second Edition Kickstarter .
Article printed from Flames Rising: https://www.flamesrising.com
URL to article: https://www.flamesrising.com/htv2e-kickstarter-interview-mysterious-places/
URLs in this post:
 Image: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/339646881/hunter-the-vigil-second-edition-tabletop-roleplaying-game
 Monica Valentinelli: http://www.booksofm.com
 Onyx Path Publishing: http://www.theonyxpath.com
 www.tripgaley.com: http://www.tripgaley.com
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