By now, you’ve heard the news: the Faction Grymkin is coming in 2017! Well, Skull Island is in on the action, too, with the release of Wicked Ways, a Strangelight Workshop novel due this summer in time for Lock & Load and the Grymkin release.

Wicked Ways coverSo, what exactly is the Strangelight Workshop? Where did it come from? And how does it connect to the Grymkin? Privateer Press founder and Creative Director Matt Wilson answers all this and more in a brand-new interview, including special insight into the upcoming novel!

SKULL ISLAND: What are the creative origins of the Strangelight Workshop?

MATT WILSON: The Strangelight Workshop was first mentioned in The Iron Kingdoms World Guide in 2005. It just got a passing mention, but the concept is something we have always loved and wanted to develop. Several years ago, Jason Soles and I started brainstorming about what form it might take. But rather than focusing on a game, we really just dove into the story and background of the Strangelight Workshop, knowing that at some point we would find the right application for it. As the Iron Kingdoms developed, various concepts in the setting converged, and we suddenly realized that the Strangelight Workshop was destined to be at ground zero to some incredible, world-changing events.

SKULL ISLAND: How would you describe the SW to someone who's never heard of it before?

MATT WILSON: The Strangelight Workshop is equal parts Fox Mulder from The X-Files, John Constantine, BPRD, and the Ghostbusters, with a dash of 007’s Q—shaken, not stirred—poured into the cool, dark corners of the Iron Kingdoms.

Their motto is “Occult & Otherworldly Investigations & Solutions.” The Strangelight Workshop is an independently operating fringe organization that specializes in paranormal research and elimination. That might sound like an awfully big task in a world inhabited by magic users, undead, and all manner of supernatural creatures. But the SW deals more with cases associated with haunts or ghosts—restless souls trapped in Urcaen who are causing someone else grief due to their inability to cross over to the other side. The organization, though, is funded and run by a mysterious (and perhaps mad) benefactor, Jacob Strathmoore. Strathmoore has given the SW investigative teams a mission to gather a wide breadth of paranormal-related data and evidence for a purpose only he knows, so in addition to wayward spirits, the Strangelight Workshop can be called to help deal with anything from gremlins in your garage to an infernal in your attic.

SKULL ISLAND: So, why is 2017 finally the year of the Strangelight Workshop? What connection do they have to the new Faction announcement at Smog Con?

In the ongoing story of the Iron Kingdoms, some huge events are unfolding, like on a cosmic scale. While the scope of these events are unknown to most inhabitants of the Iron Kingdoms, whatever is going on seems to have stirred up the Grymkin, a classification of supernatural entities that the Strangelight Workshop has long had an interest in. Grymkin are creatures of folklore, uncommon enough in the Iron Kingdoms that most people think they’re largely myth. Gremlins are common enough, but the Grymkin are composed of a wide spectrum of strange creatures, from boogeymen that lurk behind trapdoors waiting to snatch unwary children to hypnotizing imps that will scoop your eyeballs out with a spoon. Traditionally, while being grouped under a single moniker, Grymkin act independently with no organization per se. But something has mobilized them en force, and the Strangelight Workshop aims to find out why.

If you want to know more about the Grymkin, check out the big Smog Con reveal video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuOur7YPiS0


SKULL ISLAND: There’s a Strangelight Workshop book on the way... the Wicked Ways, that is. What can you tell us about it?

Wicked Ways is the first in what I hope will prove to be a multi-volume series that follows one Strangelight Workshop investigative team through a series of somewhat related cases as they discover the catalyst for the cosmic events taking place in the Iron Kingdoms setting. It’s presented as an anthology, and each story is written by one of the Privateer staff or Skull Island contributors: Matt Goetz, Doug Seacat, Aeryn Rudel, Zach Parker, Mike Ryan, and myself. It was an amazing collaboration unlike anything we’ve done before where all the writers worked together to create these stories around the same set of characters and an overarching storyline. It’s completely unlike anything we’ve ever done that relates to WARMACHINE & HORDES, and at the same time, provides a new point of view on the setting that I think makes the Iron Kingdoms feel more realized than ever. Whether someone is already a fan of the Skull Island titles or just wants to experience something completely different than anything they’ve ever seen in the IK, this is going to be a great book to read. There’s also a really great seed planted in one of the stories that will pay off as an Easter egg in the next Acts of War book by Aeryn Rudel. It’s really one of the best fiction projects I think we’ve ever brought together and I think it’s going to be completely unexpected by our readers in a way that's going to thrill them.

Wicked Ways will debut in June 2017. Check back for more sneak previews, special excerpts, and behind-the-scenes reveals about the new book!