Sunday 31 March 2019

Marching On

You'll probably be unsurprised to hear that March was a busy month here in the writing hovel. As well as moving up to the advanced class in hieroglyphics, the last few weeks have seen a few changes, the biggest of which is that my contract with Chaosium is now on a full-time, permanent basis.

I think I can safely say that, when I sent those early Talislanta scenarios off to Wizards of the Coast, I never envisaged that, 25+ years later, I'd be working for one of the most iconic gaming companies in the field. As I think I said 18 months or so ago when I was first taken on as Assistant Line Editor for Call of Cthulhu, it's a great honour to be able to bring old classics to a new audience and develop new material for such a well-loved, and respected, game. Plus, I get to work with some wonderful people. I still have a lot to learn, but I know Mike (Mason) will steer me in the right direction!

I actually managed to get to one of the North East Ancient Egypt Society meetings this month. (Usually I'm away or already booked for something else.) This one was about the recent findings at Deir el Medina, the craftsmen's village for the Valleys of the Kings and Queens. The most fascinating part of the talk was about the partial mummies they discovered, particularly the torso of a woman with numerous symmetrical tattoos, and the disarticulated woman's thighs with a tattooed lotus flower garter belt. So, as you can imagine, that set the old brain a-whirring...

I've been working on numerous game-related things this month, most of which I can't tell you much about, but it included more development work, sending things out for proofing and compiling things into new collections, along with some more art and map direction. And things are only likely to get even busier as I move into my updated role.

The other highlight of the month was, of course, my trip to Berlin for the company summit, followed by CarcosaCon. It's always fun to be back in Berlin, and this time, we got to release the Berlin: the Wicked City sourcebook PDF while we were there. (Where we were staying for the summit was in the same area the first scenario in the book is set, so we all wandered down to the Elephant Gate at the Zoologischer Garten to take some celebratory photos!)

Held in the wonderful Zamek Czocha, CarcosaCon was the first Call of Cthulhu convention run by the lovely people at Black Monk Games, Chaosium's Polish-language licensees. Funnily enough, my husband, Richard, had already been there three times for various College of Wizardry LARPs over the last two years, so I was aware of what a spectacular venue it was, but it was even better to see it up close and personal, rather than just through photographs.

If you're going to hold a horror game convention in a castle, then it really needs to have secret passageways. Czocha has loads of them, often hidden behind movable bookshelves. It was always lovely to see gamers pop out from a bookcase, dirty great grins plastered across their faces.

You also need dungeons and wine cellars, spiral staircases, a mirror room, lots of portraits of people who are probably definitely not vampires (honest), a tower with a narrow, winding staircase and amazing views, a well in which to drown unfaithful wives, an actual oubliette and a small horde of cats and bats. And a gazebo, which, because of the wonderful sunny weather, you can sit out in and play games. (And yes, there were a couple of Knights of the Dinner Table gazebo jokes - this was a games convention, after all)

As is always the case at these conventions, I was lucky enough to spend time with some old friends and have the opportunity to make new ones in between panels, interviews, running a game and the copious quantities of good, hearty food served up by the castle's catering staff. The Polish Cthulhu players were a wonderful bunch, as were all the other gamers, some of whom had travelled quite a way to be there.

I also got to know Andrew and Sean from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society, who are responsible for the jaw-dropping Masks of Nyarlathotep Gamer Props Set and the wonderful Call of Cthulhu and Whisper in Darkness movies, both of which they showed in the library at the castle over the course of the convention. I also got to hear the opening act of their beautifully produced Masks of Nyarlathotep radio play - it's always a bit odd to hear dramatizations and live-plays of things you've worked on, but I'm thoroughly enjoying listening to the rest of this one now I'm home.

So, April is going to largely be a month of finishing off outstanding projects for other companies, but that's a tale for another day...

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