Getting to know London through the Chronicle of its Fall
Vampire the Masquerade V5 Develepor at Modiphius Matt Timm discusses his experience in learning London through his work on the Fall of London Chronicle for V5.
I am well aware that many people that will get and play the Fall of London Chronicle don't live in and may never have even visited the City of London. Before working on the Chronicle, I hadn’t lived in London either.
As I was getting to know the city, I was also working as part of the development team of the Chronicle. As I reviewed the first draft, I learned about how London transit worked; I read about the so-called Boris bikes, publicly-usable bicycles that I had seen around the city. When riding the Tube (the subway), I would often hear about the DLR and wondered what that was. Fall of London taught me it is the Docklands Light Railway, a fully-automated train line, which, if you ask me, sounds straight out of science-fiction.
Years ago, I remember reading somewhere on the internet that someone had passed their history exams on the knowledge they’d acquired from their Ars Magica books. I learned quite a bit of my English from roleplaying books, but they also taught me about the world I live in, and worlds beyond. Fall of London, in this case, taught me about the city I was starting to live in.
From names of neighborhoods to the local pub culture, the aforementioned transportation systems, and even the names of a few “vampire” hotspots in the city, the book has proven very useful to me. Recently, we revealed its cover and a few asked about the main building in it. Is that even in London? Many of us non-Londoners may have never heard about it before, but the Shard towers over the city as the Kindred lord over the masses of humanity. The tallest building in the European Union, this 95-story skyscraper was inaugurated in 2012, the year of the Olympics, the year the Chronicle is set in.
I believe our team did a great job in portraying the city as a character in the chronicle, not just a backdrop, as it could have been. The main person to thank for this is Mike Nudd, who among other things designed the board game that was originally going to be for Vampire: The Masquerade, and ended up being for Vampire: The Requiem. Mike is one of the writers and is our London consultant on the project, being a Londoner himself.
All other writers and developers (Andrew Peregrine, Hilary Sklar, Kira Magrann, Klara Horskjær Herbøl, Matthew Dawkins, and Steffie De Vaan) either are Londoners, have lived in the city in the past, or have frequently visited, and fully understand the city’s culture.
It’s been a pleasure working with such an outstanding team on the project, of who I’ve learned so much from. Most of all, I can’t wait for the Fall of London to get into the hands of Vampire fans all over the world so that they can learn and experience London through the lens of the world of Vampire.
By Matt Timm
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