Douglas Seacat Interview Part 2

Doug Seacat

Doug Seacat’s long history of working in the Iron Kingdoms has resulted in a wealth of fiction that will soon see publication with Skull Island eXpeditions (this spring). In preparation for this awesome release, Doug offers some insights into what’s coming and what he still sees in his future endeavors while writing the tales of western Immoren and beyond...

Q: Of those in the upcoming collection, which one are you most excited to see promoted on Skull Island?

DS:  There are several stories in this collection that have never been printed before (or have had very limited exposure). At the time, these stories were a bit “fringe” to the core of the Iron Kingdoms. We didn’t have a good place to use them, since No Quarter didn’t exist yet, and even if it had, these stories weren’t tied to specific releases and would have felt out of place. Despite that, several significant aspects of the setting have their roots in a few of these stories, concepts that would later come to life in the RPG, WARMACHINE, or HORDES. Looking back at them now, I feel these stories are a lot less fringe than they seemed at the time. 

Of these, “Stand at Midfast” is the one I’ve been wanting to put in front of our readers for a very long time, being a novella featuring the events that led to the ascension of Markus Graza of Ord. This is one of the most legendary moments in Ordic history and I enjoyed writing it as a longer narrative. I took this on as a personal challenge to see if I could manage the pacing of a story centered on a series of consecutive duels. In the process I got to explore some of the “wilderness versus civilization” concepts behind so much of what defines our current depiction of the Iron Kingdoms, as well as figuring out important aspects of the Morrowan faith. I’m quite excited to take this story out and dust it off. 

Q: Have you ever written a piece that you thought was just too—graphic, terrifying, wild—to be published? 

DS:    Not exactly, though there have certainly been some occasions where we have explored some dark and disturbing subject matter. One of the stories in this collection, “Eyes Are a Window,” was written years before we’d decided to make the Retribution of Scyrah a game Faction. Matt Wilson and I had been discussing the concept of soulless elves and considering how they would be treated by regular Iosans. I wrote that story to examine what usually happens to these children. These were some pretty dark themes. While I can’t say for sure, I feel fairly certain this discussion and story may have had an impact on the creation of Goreshade for WARMACHINE, another of my favorite characters. 

There was one other piece we didn’t include in this collection, which depicted Thamar and Scion Ekris negotiating with dark powers to bestow the Gift of Magic on humanity. While I wouldn’t consider it especially terrifying, it was otherworldly, and I loved the chance to explore in narrative what Urcaen might be like, as well as to feature a scion and the goddess Thamar as characters. Ultimately, we decided this sort of story was too demystifying and we’d better not feature the gods in stories directly, so that one will stay in the archives. 

Q: What story are you carrying around that you just haven't had a chance to write yet?

DS:  Quite a few! There are always more stories to write. This collection features two stories showing the final moments of Morrowan ascendants. I’ve always wanted to do more, perhaps eventually a short story for each ascendant and scion. Some of them make for easier fiction than others. Scion Bolis is one of my favorites, being the conman and gambling king who put the city of Five Fingers on the map. I’ve always imagined his story as Deadwood meets Game of Thrones. On the other side of the Twins, the story around Asc. Corben curing the rip lung plague in the midst of the early Rebellion against the Orgoth seems like a great backdrop. Those would both be historical stories, which is often where my mind goes. Closer to the present, I’ve been wanting to do more involved fiction featuring Aurora and the Iron Mother. While both characters have appeared before (such as Dave Gross’ Dark Convergence and my own At What Cost), we’ve not shown them interacting together except briefly. I feel there’s a lot more to get into with this twisted mother-daughter relationship. So full of drama and strife, plus I like any excuse to feature stories with people who are also robots or who want to be robots. This latter one has the potential for some fun and unexpected cameos as well…

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Doug's collection of short stories will be available this spring from Skull Island eXpeditions!

Next update: Thursday, January 26