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- A novella by William King.
- Written in 1988 as an one-off short story!
- 1st ever Gotrek & Felix story!
- 1st published story of Gotrek & Felix.
- Originaly titled : Geheimnisnacht.
- Can be found in the following books :
- Notes :
- William King stated in many Interviews about this story and generally about how he created Gotrek(first) and then Felix: ”Originally I ran a WFRP campaign (which was how I got into Warhammer in the first place). Slayers were very popular character types with my players and I really, really liked the idea of them so I just ran with it. When I wrote the earliest version of Geheimnisnacht, Gotrek died but I wanted somebody to survive and tell his tale to the world. (If you look closely in the story you can actually tell where Gotrek gets it.) Of course, then I thought-wait a minute, what am I doing, there is a series in these two so Gotrek survived in the rewrite. By the end of that first story, Felix had become a character in his own right. They both just took on a life of their own after that.
- In his introduction to the 2013 edition of Trollslayer(Black Library Classics), William King revealed that :
- He wrote Geheimnisnacht as a one-off story, in 1988, in which Gotrek was meant to die at the end, but later revised it based on his liking for the characters (Gotrek’s fake death in the story was initially written as permanent) . The story led to the commissioning of another by Games Workshop, and then another, which led to Wolf Riders and The Dark Beneath the World.
The success of these three stories led to King being commissioned to write a full-length novel, which he approached by writing three novella-length stories in episodic format, which became The Mark of Slaanesh, Blood and Darkness, and Skaven’s Claw.
- However, Games Workshop Books closed unexpectedly, and the publication of the novel was delayed until 1999, when it also included The Mutant Master and Ulric’s Children, which had previously been published in Inferno! magazine. The novel also added the prefacing excerpts from Felix’s journal.
- The Mark of Slaanesh and Blood and Darkness were eventually published as part of Trollslayer, while Skaven’s Claw became the first chapter of the subsequent novel Skavenslayer.
- In his own words :
- ” People often ask me how Gotrek Gurnisson dies. I usually give an evasive answer, but the truth is that I have already written his death scene. I did it in the very first version of the very first story of this book, ‘Geheimnisnacht’. If you look closely, you can even see where it happens. There’s a moment where the Slayer (and he was a Slayer a long time before Buffy) goes down beneath a tide of mutants. In the original version of the story, that’s where he dies and Felix has to save himself. Reading over my first draft on that long-ago day some time in 1988, I thought wait a minute, what am I doing? These are great characters. They could run and run. ”
- ”The plot of ‘Geheimnisnacht’ came from a game I ran for friends and family in Edinburgh one summer. It really was that simple. I just put Gotrek and Felix into the same situation as my players had been and watched them run with it. The fun of it was not in the plot but in the way they dealt with it and in the interaction between the pair. There was as much conflict between them and their world views as there was with the sinister followers of Chaos. It was a pattern I was to follow in the next few stories.”
- William King discusses about this story quite often in interviews. Here are some references. For more details check their posts.
- A scenario I once ran for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay provided the plot for my first Warhammer story (from Modern Author).
- Originally I ran a WFRP campaign (which was how I got into Warhammer in the first place). Slayers were very popular character types with my players and I really, really liked the idea of them so I just ran with it (from Games Workshop) .
- When I wrote the earliest version of Geheimnisnacht, Gotrek died but I wanted somebody to survive and tell his tale to the world (if you look closely in the story you can actually tell where Gotrek gets it). Of course, then I thought-wait a minute, what am I doing, there is a series in these two so Gotrek survived in the rewrite. By the end of that first story, Felix had become a character in his own right (from Games Workshop) .
- It all started something like 23 years ago if I am not mistaken. In my misspent youth I used to play a lot of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I noticed that trollslayers were a very popular character type and I thought their image was really original and striking. When I was involved with Games Workshop’s first book line, a trollslayer seemed like an obvious and interesting hero. Felix was there to provide contrast and humanize a fairly inhuman character.In my original version of the first published story, Geheimnisnacht, Felix was the only survivor. Gotrek died in the climactic fight and thus achieved his doom. I looked at it and thought, What the hell am I doing, there is a series in these characters! The rest is history (from http://civilian-reader.blogspot.gr ).
- I noticed that among my WFRP players trollslayers were popular and I could see why. I mean what’s not to love about demented suicidal dwarves with big axes? When I sat down to write Geheimnisnacht , the first appearance of Gotrek and Felix I used the plot of a scenario I had run for my Warhammer campaign. I actually killed Gotrek at the end of the story, you can see the moment it happened in the story if you look closely. Then I thought wait a minute, what am I doing? These characters could have a whole series in them. Turns out I was right about that. I was just winging it for the most part. I always wanted to write a classic sword and sorcery series where the hero wanders around and has adventures– you know stuff like Conan and Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. This was my chance to do it. I was still finding my way as a writer when I started. I had only sold about 3 short stories at this point. It took me about a decade to work my way up to being able to write novels competently. That said, Daemonslayer was a book I brooded on for five years. At the time no one knew whether Black Library was going to be around for long (Games Workshop Books had been a failure after all) and I wanted it to get in everything I could about the characters. I figured it was my one chance to do things right. That’s why it has our heroes facing the biggest toughest monster they are ever likely to. If I had been sensible I would have saved that for later (from http://realmofchaos80s.blogspot.gr ).
- Also, in White Dwarf November 2018 William King also revealed that :
- ‘About 30 years ago, I was asked to write a short story for Games Workshop. As an avid player of Warhammer Fantasy RolePlay, I knew it had to be about a Trollslayer – they were the most interesting character type to me. Come on, punk rock Dwarfs with death wishes and big axes – what’s not to love? Looking around for a Warhammer-ish Dwarf name, I stumbled on one in the old supplement Shadows over Bogenhafen. That’s where Gurnisson bit come from. I wasn’t sure about showing the world through the eyes of a non-human, so I decided to give my doomed hero a sidekick – someone who would survive the inevitable death I planned to end that first story and return to tell the tale. That was Felix. Only his name wasn’t Felix. In my original, it was Eric! Obviously Gotrek didn’t die at the end of the first story as I planned. He’s clearly not taking his Slayer oath very seriously!”.
- In his introduction from the 2019 edition of Trollslayer (20th Anniversary Edition), William King revealed that :
- ”I was a big Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay gamer back in those days. Dwarf Slayers were among the most popular character types with my players. People loved the concept. I mean, what’s not to love about suicidal punk dwarfs with big axes? That’s where Gotrek came from. I lifted the name from an alcoholic dwarf called Gottri Gurnisson in the scenario book Shadows over Bogenhafen. I changed a syllable, modified the personality to that of a dour Scottish hard man, and I was up and running. I even had a story ready. ‘Geheimnisnacht’ was based on a scenario I had run for family and friends in Edinburgh. Since I planned on Gotrek meeting a suitable doom at the end of the story, I needed another character to live and tell the tale. That was Felix’s job. The oath-swearing arrangement formalised it inside the narrative.”
- ‘In my first version of the story, Gotrek died slaughtering the cultists. By that point though I was thinking, what am I doing? I can get a whole series of stories out of this pair. So the ending got rewritten, Gotrek survived, and the rest is history.‘
- Note :
- This post includes only what has to do with it and not the whole interviews, intros, etc.