Insider 10-25-2013

That Machinations story is still available in its original serialized form on the Privateer Press website, but as of today, you can download all five parts collected in a single volume through Skull Island eXpeditions and the Kindle Store.

This novel-length collection is entitled Through the Darkness: The Story of Machinations, and if you download it through the Skull Island eXpeditions website, you can get it absolutely free until January 5th, 2014, by entering the coupon code SKULLISLAND when you check out.

As one of the authors of this story, I’d like to talk a little about the writing process. When Organized Play Coordinator Will Hungerford approached Will Shick and me about writing Machinations, we both knew we wanted to jump on board but didn’t know what to expect. Several meetings with Lead Writer Doug Seacat later, we settled on a story that would be told in multiple parts from the perspective of three well-loved mercenaries: the ’jack marshaling Rutger Shaw, the gun mage Taryn di la Rovissi, and the Illuminated One Harlan Versh. As a bonus, the story would also answer long-standing questions about Rutger’s mystery warjack.

As soon as the name Harlan Versh was said, I called out, “Mine!” Fortunately, Will Shick blurted out a similar sentiment with regards to Rutger and Taryn. Literary fight to the death avoided, Will drafted the initial Machinations story outline, which was then divided into chapters corresponding to the Machinations Leagues. Once the outline was approved, Will and I got to work on fleshing out our respective characters.

When I sat down to write the first segment of the story from Harlan Versh’s point of view, I realized he was pretty much a blank slate. We had details about his history and his methods but very little about the man himself. Obviously, there are a few well-known literary parallels to Harlan Versh—Robert E. Howard’s puritanical badass Solomon Kane paramount among them—but I wanted Versh to be a bit more sympathetic. Sure, he’s a zealot, but he at least makes an attempt to understand those who operate outside his faith. I mean, how else could he work alongside a lapsed Morrowan bravado and a merciless Llaelese gun mage?

Rutger and Taryn proved to be ideal sounding boards for Versh’s more personable qualities. You know, the qualities he displays when he’s not gunning down infernalists or hacking the heads off drudges. I certainly wanted to maintain Versh’s cold, methodical approach to his job, but I found there was plenty of room to explore the man behind the quad-iron. Honestly, I can’t wait to tell more stories about Versh; I think there are many layers to western Immoren’s most-feared witch hunter.

By the way, Will Shick and I have been tapped to write the fiction for next year’s organized play league. We’re both looking forward to it, but Will Hungerford has a rather frightening gleam in his eyes, and he keeps muttering something about dragon blight . . .