I asked Chris, who runs Modiphius, the company behind Mutant Chroncicles, if it would be ok for me to write a post about the process of writing the NPC descriptions, short pieces of fiction, art briefs and miniatures briefs that came with some of the Kickstarter reward tiers and backerkit addons. He said yes, so…
I’ve loved every minute of writing for Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition, but writing the backer stories will be one of the highlights for me.
A quick bit of background: I’ve been a gamer for over 30 years now and I bought the original edition of Mutant Chronicles on the day of release and fell in love with it then. I consumed every sourcebook I could get my hands on and also played the Doomtrooper card game more times that I can remember. I loved the world and especially loved the short pieces of fiction in the game. They were evocative and painted a rich picture of the Mutant Chronicles world. I was really sad when the game vanished. Meantime I made computer games (as designer, writer, producer and eventually studio head) for 14 years and then became an author three years ago, but the world of MC never left me – Luna City did much to influence my depiction of sci-fi London.
So when I heard Chris was bringing Mutant Chronicles back I badgered him day and night to be part of that, and I was really excited to become line manager and lead writer on all the background. I loved watching the Kickstarter unfolding and learning that I was not alone in my love of Mutant Chronicles. Your enthusiasm is infectious!
I have loved every minute of it.
On the Backer Stories
So my current task has been to write the NPC descriptions, short fiction vignettes, art briefs and miniatures briefs for those who backed the relevant pledge levels.
It has been a fantastic and challenging task for a professional writer. There are very few times when you get asked to create 81 different characters and come up with stories and art briefs for about half of those and then also write briefs for miniatures for a handful. It is both creatively challenging and satisfying for a number of reasons:
· Your enthusiasm and ideas: It really makes this job a joy for me
· Giving something back: I want you all to open the books up and go “Wow! That is me!” and get thrill from seeing yourself on the printed page.
· Developing cool characters: Your characters are helping populate and flesh out the world and that makes the game better for everyone.
· Amazing practice for an author: This is the kind of task I think every newish author should have a go at.
But it has one drawback:
· It is hard to leave each character behind as I have to switch gear once each vignette is written and move onto the next. I get really attached to each and every one of your characters.
I could have handed these stories out to our wonderful team of writers but I believe that your enthusiasm and support demanded a level of personal attention to detail and consistency, so I volunteered to write them all myself.
The entire task is roughly equivalent to writing an entire additional faction guidebook! There is an additional limit which is that of quality. When I feel my creative process drying up I have to stop for the day because I don’t want to produce pieces I am not happy with. That has meant I’ve written 4-5 per day, every day. It has been like an intensive gym session for my writing, and I have no doubt it has made me a better writer.
My first task before even sitting down to write was to go through all your entries from Backerkit, emails, photos and everything else you have sent us and get it all collated, indexed, filed, stamped, numbered, process and fed to the Praetorian Stalker in my basement. Well, maybe not that last step…
When you see your stories you might not notice it on first read through but I’ve been subtly building as many as I can into various Mutant Chronicles metaplots, so that when you read the stories you get a sense of the large events beyond the simple vignette that your character is part of.
So where am I at?
I’ve written 70 of the stories so far and hope to have the remaining ones written over the next week or so. After than they will go to Chris and Paradox for approval and then off to editing. We will double check key details with you – correct spellings and factions primarily – before they go to print.
Thank you once again for your support and enthusiasm – it is because of you that I get to write on one of my all-time favourite games and I hope that passion shows through with the end books.
PS. If you’ve not heard from me, it is because the information you gave me on Backerkit was complete! I will get in touch if I have any questions.
If you have heard from me, please do reply!
Stay classy Luna City!
Gunnar Roxen, Oxford, August 2014