2016 Year in Review: Matthew Dawkins
Most fun project: The V20 Dark Ages Companion was my first solo development project. To develop and write for a book set in my favourite Vampire era was superb fun. Something I added to the outline for this book was that I wanted the writers to make it the book everyone refers to as “that brilliant sourcebook with all the cool stuff inside.” I genuinely feel we hit that mandate, with strong material on multiple domains, a streamlined combat system, an excellent chapter on era-appropriate arms and armour, detailed clan apocrypha to provide players with a host of new options, and even a mini bestiary for when you want your coterie to go off the beaten path. I’m proud of my writers, and myself, for the work that went into this book.
Most interesting research: In A World of Darkness 2nd Edition, and a couple of other Vampire sourcebooks, allusions are made to vampires native to South America. These lines are never defined, but within the Beckett’s Jyhad Diary‘s chapter “The Drowning of Rasputin” we finally begin to give some of these vampires coverage. In designing these vampires, I wanted to aim for authenticity. I didn’t want exotic vampires in war paint, styled in some jingoistic way or seen through the lens of a non-South American. So, I spent the time doing the research on mythology appropriate to the many civilisations that rose and fell on the continent, and consulted with a few friends and former colleagues of mine who I’ll cite — the wonderful Paola, formerly of Bogotá; the effusive Felipe, recently returned to a village near Rio (apparently Rio’s too loud these days for such an old, yet strangely energetic man); and Felipe mk2 (sorry mate) who regularly travels between the UK, Mexico, and Cuba for reasons he’s never defined. These three scholars gave their anecdotes, folklore, myths, legends, and horror stories — both urban and rural — freely, and happily. Only Felipe mk2 is a roleplayer, but he was delighted to know some of the legends he grew up on might influence some of the material in an upcoming Vampire book. For me, the experience was a joy from beginning to end. An excuse to talk with my friends about horror is always a cause for celebration.
Favorite passage: From Half-Damned, for Vampire: The Requiem:
Krissie Gold smiled demurely, turning her face from the camera and into her master’s shoulder; a rehearsed move to imply intimacy and coy embarrassment. The vampire was in no mood to play along. Staring coldly at the journalist, he uttered a simple instruction, forcing the film crew away, and taking Krissie’s chances of a red carpet interview with them.
The vampire felt the sting of Krissie’s hand on his face before seeing it coming. Opening his eyes to examine the ghoul, he recognized the indignation on her face. There were no angry tears, just pure bottled wrath. He wanted to admonish her for drawing attention. He wanted to deny her Vitae, and leave her alone and embarrassed on this treadmill of fame.
But she was a Gold.
“I apologize most unreservedly, Miss Gold.” The vampire bowed, in the middle of the red carpet, and kissed his ghoul’s hand. “Please forgive me.”