The Gauntlett
The Return of Chill, A Horror RPG Classic

Adam Gauntlett | 19 Nov 2014 12:00
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AG: You obtained the English language Chill publishing rights from Martin Caron, the current owner. What was that process like? How did you go about tracking Caron down and making the pitch?

MM: I mused aloud to my wife (Michelle Lyons-McFarland) one night that I would really love to know who owned the rights to Chill, because I'd love to do a new edition. She promptly did some research, found Martin, and contacted him to ask him his plans for the property. We corresponded for a few months, came to an agreement, and drew up a contract allowing us to produce a new edition of Chill. It was actually all very painless; Martin's a huge fan of the game and he's been very supportive all through the process.

AG: Publishing's changed a lot over the last few years, particularly with the introduction of .pdf format. Growling Door offers a .pdf edition of its work to its customers; where do you see dead tree editions, in the next five to ten years? Will people still want them, or will electronic editions have taken over the market?

MM: I don't think the "dead tree" version of books is ever really going to go away, at least not anytime soon. I think, though, that a lot of gamers are coming to realize that the convenience of having a pdf far outweighs having a physical book - pdfs are portable in ways that books aren't, and they're searchable. Also, especially with regards to Kickstarters, pdfs don't cost shipping, and shipping remains the number one headache I've encountered in running Kickstarter campaigns.

But for all that, there is nothing like opening up a new book and flipping through real pages. So, again, I don't think books are going away quite yet.

AG: The Pacesetter edition of Chill had some pretty fun supplements, including adventures against Dracula, and a collection of scenarios hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Is it at all likely Growling Door will try to reprint or recreate some of those old resources, after the Kickstarter?

MM: I don't think it's likely. For one thing, I'm not entirely sure where our rights begin and end with regards to 1st Edition material (I know we can use pretty much everything in 2nd Edition). But also, I'm less interested in reprinting older material than I am making new material. I loved the old Chill books; that's why I was so excited to get this license. But I want to bring some new ideas and approaches to it, I want to bring our company's voice to the property, and I want to develop and keep a consistent tone and mood.

With all of that said, one thing my time at White Wolf taught me was never to say, "We'll never do this book." Always safer to say, "We have no plans at this time." So, at this time, we have no plans to reprint or reuse the older resources.

AG: Favorite Chill monster? Why?

MM: Oh, tough call. I used a lot of those monsters in my Chill games - I probably ran upwards of 200 games of Chill in college over a two-year period. I always like the infective werewolves from Lycanthropes. They were superb for injecting real tension into a game, because if they bite your character once, that's it, you're done.
The other one I enjoyed was called the Black Tamanous. It was this horrible creature that fed on the flesh of cannibals, so it would trick people into eating other people so it could kill and eat them. Because its endgame required some setup, it had to be tricky and patient, and so it lent itself to the kinds of games I like to run - lots of leads and clues, all pointing to something but requiring interpretation and analysis. Also, the scene where the characters realize what's in the stew they've been eating is a fun one to run.

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