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Ravenloft: Mist Hunters Designer Interview: Marcello De Velazquez

As the Ravenloft: Mist Hunters series of adventures  are published, we're chatting with the designers to learn more about their writing process, their experiences working in the Domains of Dread, and more! Today we hear from Marcello De Velazquez. He is the designer of the tenth stand-alone adventure in the Mist Hunters series, RMH-10 The Scion of Darkness.

Can you share a brief synopsis of the adventure in your own words?

This adventure picks up where 'The Deadliest Game' ends!  The predatory pursuit continues in the Trial of Hearts competition. In the Domain of the Hunter, Valachanthe Mist Hunters make for Kiru Island, where they press through the oppressive jungle (and its dangers) to their goal: a shrine sanctuary and its hidden Amber Sarcophagus. But victory won't be that easy. There are still other competitors in the race, the domain's Darklord, Chakuna, also hunts, and something else is out there waiting for them. 

What does your writing process look like?

To bring this adventure to life, I took the outline given to me by my lead, Travis Woodall, then I immersed myself in it. I imagined what I would do if I were in Valachan, myself. I asked myself, "How would I feel if I was in this Trial of Hearts?"  I did put in some time researching the jungle environment; however, I also relied upon my military experience working in this type of terrain. I looked at what D&D has already done with jungle environs and of course, Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft to ensure that I kept true to the elements presented in Valachan, The Trail of Hearts, and Chakuna. Travis gave me the space (and templates) to capture many of these elements. I think I hit the mark. 

Did any media influence your Mist Hunters adventure?

Yes. Almost immediately, my mind went to some movies that I thought best captured what I wanted to present: PredatorJurrasic Park and First Blood, the first Rambo movie. There is a part in that movie that takes place in a mountain forest. You'll just have to watch it. 

Is there anything you'd include in a 'director's cut' of this adventure, or anything that didn't make it past editing?

I did think about adding an abandoned village where the spirit of an old shaman still lingered. This spirit would have been linked to the weapon that the Order of Guardians provides the Mist Hunters for this journey.  I did have to make some changes that hinted at old D&D settings from the background of some NPCs. Lastly, an NPC ocelot that The GM Tim had designed was to make an appearance in this adventure, but it didn't make the second round of edits. 

What Domain of Dread (from Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft or imagined) would you like most to visit?

If I was a Mist Hunter, I think I would likely set up shop in Dementlieu. I appreciate that even though the people struggle, they also make an effort to dress up and play at facades and that everyone is trying to get tickets to the big event!  I compare the intrigues to getting tickets to the Super Bowl of this domain and letting everyone know about it!  I never was a good dancer, but I appreciate the elegance of masquerade/ballroom dancing. I would do everything I could to master it on the chance that I could win people over, and get to attend The Grand Masquerade!