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Van Richten's Guide to the Mists

Author's notes

Rucht Lilavivat:

Dominique wrote: I may have just been reading way too much Lovecraft lately, is it just me or could you very easily do a creepy "Colour out of " adventure with goblyn fog?

Rucht: That is, in fact, where I got the idea


As far as Natalia goes, I sort of "backwards engineered" her story thought of the kind of character she would be if she were a real person.

We see a lot of that backwards engineering approach to character development in today's media. Comic books are a great example. A lot of new comics are written with the characters backwards engineered from their previous history.

With Natalia, a few big things stuck out to me:

  1. She's been around for a while. Since the Black Box.
  2. She escaped from Van Richten and basically outlived him.
  3. She duped George Weathermay big time. She even duped his whole family, because she showed up at their house long enough to attack Gennifer.
  4. George Weathermay hunted down her family in revenge and apparently didn't have too hard a time taking them out.

All that told me that she was a very dangerous person, probably one of the more dangerous villains in Ravenloft.

The way I see it, Natalia probably did have real emotion towards George. by real emotion, I mean something akin to love. In actuality, Natalia probably not capable of true love as we know it.

The whole thing probably started as a trap, but Natalia may have gotten sucked into her own lie. Why do I say that? Why wait so long to spring the trap? why do it in front of so many champions of light? Did she just have her idea jeans on?

When she arrived at the Weathermay estate, seeing Van Richten again probably her out of it. Natalia's attack on Gennifer was probably not just vengeance, but a self-destructive urge as well. It was her subconsciously her own relationship.

In my mind, Natalia has a kind of affection for Gennifer. She sees Gennifer a sort of "daughter figure." Someone who led the kind of life could never have. Which would have made the VRGttSK really sick in ways. Natalia would have written to Gennifer in this sort of affectionate, hoping that Gen would "find herself," or "realize her true potential."


Joël: so Gennifer missed a power check. How do you see it affect her personality in the future? More cautious or more reckless?

Well, I didn't say whether she failed a powers check or picked up a Mist power. I'll leave it to you all to sort that out.


I'm pretty much responsible for coordinating the twin's storyline, as I worked on all three of the "monster" Van Richten Guides. But I have to say that all of the authors for all four of those products all threw in their five to the story line. Because I had the fortune of working on three of the guides, I tried to tie some of the elements introduced by the various authors together.

Obviously, the twin's storyline starts with Van Richten's Arsenal - it starts with Gennifer being an infected lycanthrope.

The next part of the story comes in with Ryan's "On the Hunt" chapter in the Walking Dead guide. I was opposed at first to basically devoting a whole chapter of the book to pure fiction. But, hey, the fans loved it, and I saw some intriguing elements there.

I wrote Introduction, Origins, Weaknesses, and Appendix chapters of the Shadow Fey guide. So in those sections, I tried to connect them with previous products. In the introduction, Gennifer finds Van Richten's old book, which would have come up later. In the origins chapter, she gets Borrowed Time. And in the weaknesses chapter, I tried to use that same character that Ryan had introduced.

I also tried to start escalating the amount of conflict the twin's were facing. I felt that this was necessary, since this was the third 3rd Edition Van Richten's guide. I felt that surely some hint of Gennifer's problem must occur.

Brett King, a good friend of mine, saw what I did with the Borrowed Time idea and took it a step further. He wrote the "On the Hunt" chapter, in the Shadow Fey guide, and started hinting at Gennifer's...ahem...problem.

So I took what Brett wrote and took it a step even further in the Mists guide. I wrote Chapters 1,2,3, 9 and the Appendix. When I was writing on the Guide to the Mists, I thought about one thing: If Ravenloft were a real place, what would happen if you actually studied the Mists? Could you come back from such a venture unscathed. In my mind...no. If you are going to be audacious enough to study the Mists of Ravenloft, there will definitely be consequences.

There are various hints in the Mists Guide that hint at what I had envisioned for the next chapter in the twin's storyline. I can't take complete credit for the end of the book. Much of what happened was inspired by ideas that Clara Hollar had.

I will reveal what I had in mind at a much later date. Right now, I think that people are having more fun speculating.

I'lll tell you guys what. I shall tell you what I had envisioned for the chapter in the Van Richten series on Halloween. At that time, I will show you all the proposed outline that I submitted and everything.

For more of Rucht's notes on the Guide to the Mists, see this document.

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