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THE BLACK RAINBOW SOCIETY – Talking With Gavriel Quiroga

Gavriel Quiroga is back with a new project on Kickstarter: THE BLACK RAINBOW SOCIETY. We talk about the book and, at the end, Gavriel offers a limited time freebie for EN World readers.

Gavriel Quiroga is back with a new project on Kickstarter: THE BLACK RAINBOW SOCIETY. The Kickstarter goes live Monday, April 22 and runs for 40 days. In this interview, we talk about the book and, at the end, Gavriel offers a limited time freebie for EN World readers.

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EGG EMBRY (EGG): Gavriel, what can you share about your latest Kickstarter, THE BLACK RAINBOW SOCIETY?
: This is my next project! A sequel deriving from the Hell Night universe. The premise goes: A group of radical psychonauts with anarcho-punk tendencies strive to comprehend our reality through paranormal investigation and lysergic exploration. After stealing an experimental drug from a military complex they find more than they can handle. It will be my most experimental work yet, a tribute to the 80s punk zine era and the works of William Burroughs. My creative process involved cut-up techniques, meditative states and collages. It is already written and conceptualized, it will be a visual tour-de-force even more than Hell Night.

: I think of it as a spin-off from Hell Night, similar to what Worlds of Darkness did with Mage, Wraith, Vampire, etc. It will use the Hell Night engine system but propose a slightly different atmosphere and overall game experience, concentrating on the premise of interpreting rebel psychics being hunted by the supernatural forces that control our reality. But you do not need to own Hell Night to play it.


: The book has a d20 table of professions that range from horror writers and porn stars, to anthropologists and gonzo journalists. These people have all joined The Black Rainbow Society for their own reasons and have swallowed an experimental pill which opens their third eye and gives them all kind of psychic powers, there are 12 very different powers to choose from. We experimented a lot with mechanics that break the fourth wall and dissolve the Player-Character differentiation, a concept that interests me and which started with Neurocity.

EGG: Who are you fighting against? Can those same villains be taken back to Hell Night?
: Absolutely. Hell Night is the same universe, so this can also work effectively as an expansion if you like. There will be a race of astral centipedes who are seeking to infect our reality and minds, annexing their hiveworld with our own (an idea reminiscent of William Burroughs), there is a mysterious order called The Nameless, deranged mystics who worship an entity which embodies Oblivion itself and thus seeks to devour all knowledge, there is also a clan family of shapeshifting cannibals called The Blavatsky which are replacing key political figures with their own members, and much, much more which I dare not reveal! The antagonists are all quite strange and terrifying, with their own dark agenda in which human beings are treated as puppets or cattle.

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EGG: You list the inspirations for this project as Scanners, Hellraiser, and The Lost Boys among others. What elements did you pull from each?
: The whole list from where I took inspiration is huge! Mandy was an inspiration for Hell Night so it made sense to use the previous Panos Cosmatos movie Beyond the Black Rainbow to make a sequel to the book. I clearly love Scanners and its whole vibe with psychic powers within the horror genre. Hellraiser is also a must, together with Nightmare on Elm Street gave birth to the Rubber Reality horror subgenre which is pretty much what we are aiming at. Quite similar to the current popular liminal horror sub-genre but within an 80s over the top, horror B-movie context. The Lost Boys provides the awesomeness as well, the bikes, the hair and cool sunglasses while listening to heavy metal tunes. That´s what Black Rainbow Society is about. The idea for the game originated from a 6 months campaign in which my playgroup wanted to play mortals in the Hell Night universe. The result was so revealing that it spawned the book. I feel it also probably feeds from two other great TTRPGs: Kult and Delta Green.

EGG: You’re the creator of Warpland, Hell Night, and Neurocity. For those that don’t know your games, how do you describe the general vibe of a Gavriel Quiroga TTRPG?
: I think they are usually visceral and have a strong visual aesthetic that supports an engaging literature which challenges the reader and the players. All the settings have their own album published as cassette in Heimat Der Katastrophe. Every book is a personal process of creation and disintegration in which I first seek to challenge myself by following a couple of interesting ideas, I have a profound respect for any reader willing to spend their time and attention with my work, so I make an effort to deliver both style and substance. Sometimes a reader just scoops at pages for months until they decide to actually read the book, then they might take some more time to eventually have a game session. I want them to have a memorable experience of each stage of that process and I need them to trust me enough to make that significant effort. This art form is weird in many ways, with the added bonus of being transformative and malleable to each DM and its players. So I take that subjective aspect and use it to propose an experience which is enriching and that goes beyond mere entertainment.

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EGG: In the past, I’ve talked about TTRPGs as artbooks. Your projects straddle that line in the best possible way. How do you convey both art, atmosphere, and TTRPG rulesets? Who do you work with for your art and layouts?
: Gracias Egg! I think that´s very interesting that we challenge these categories. They are artbooks, that can work as gamebooks but include literature, philosophy, music? And they will be used for a game that is very much like improvised theatre? Wow! This is what is cool about them. They are flexible medium in which an artist can tackle the subjects and themes that interests them from various perspectives effectively. I mostly use a single system for my three main works (Neurocity, Warpland and Hell Night), it is a very polished, minimal system that allows flexibility and little effort. I am blessed with a big playgroup and we receive people that have never played RPGs before so I need easy mechanics that give room for improv to improvisation, this is why my books are ridden with random tables and they pretty much work as plot/ideas generators. Each project has its own team, its own aesthetics needs. Sometimes I use collages, make doodles, take pictures of weird movies and use them as a canvas. Other times, like with Hell Night, I assemble a big team of artists to provide their own creative input, more than 18 artists worked for Hell Night and the book still manages to feels cohesive. My main people for layout and graphic design are Tomas Spicoli and Nicolas Szcyszka, I am lucky to have those guys help me take my work to its full potential.

EGG: Speaking of your past projects and artbooks, you’ve published Neurocity: Colorblind Edition. Why re-imagine your game in for a colorblind audience?
: It was a no brainer! The society of Neurocity is divided in shades of grey, white and black. There is no color. So it made perfect sense. Neurocity has always been a colorblind setting. It was amazing to find many friends and colleagues approach me and reveal they were colorblind. It's a malaise that we are seldom aware of.

EGG: Will you create a THE BLACK RAINBOW SOCIETY: Colorblind Edition?
: I don´t think so but it can certainly happen. If the setting requires it. These worlds have their anima after so much nurturing, all we need to do is listen and feed them with our own energy.

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EGG: You’re based out of Argentina, correct? Let’s talk about tabletop roleplaying there. You have a gaming group there. What’s the state of Argentine gaming, in your opinion?
: I have a large game group called Los Caoticos of about 8-9 rotating people. It pretty much works like a club, we get together every Friday night and we can bring guests. Amazing therapy for all of us. I literally don't know what we will play until only a few hours before they arrive. We got a few ongoing campaigns and I have a very careful notetaker, my friend Constanza. Argentine game designers are very creative, intelligent and passionate but we are crushed by an economy that offers close to zero market opportunities, so most creations are works of love but it is difficult to publish professional material with our economy.

EGG: Do you publish any of your works in Spanish?
: I published Neurocity in Spanish. My first game. It was poorly misunderstood. My audience consisted of outraged Pathfinders players. We are also publishing Warpland in Spanish with Hills Press soon.

EGG: Beyond THE BLACK RAINBOW SOCIETY, what else are you working on?
: I am working on a video teaser for the Hell Night universe and trying to get funds for a short film. I am also playtesting a GMless competitive game about power crazy wizards. Currently on the last painful, technical stages of Sygil The Mirrored Reality, my card game based on the Hell Night universe. By the end of the year we might find ourselves wrapped in the mind-bending challenge of a Warpland expansion, we are also looking to publish a UK edition of the corebook soon.


EGG: Thanks for talking with me. Where can fans find your work?
: Thanks for the kind opportunity to talk about my work and your great service to the community, Mr. Embry. My site will take them to all my books, most of the deluxe hardback versions can be found at Exalted Funeral. We also have a cool Facebook group called Worlds of Quiroga which tackles everything from weird sci-fi and dark acid fantasy to B-movie horror, we are a bunch of passionate geeky nerds.

EGG: When we talked about this article, you offered a ‘thank you’ to EN World readers. What are you planning?
: As a token of gratitude to EN World and its readers the Hell Night corebook will be free to download for 48hrs from the moment this article is posted!

  • On Kickstarter starting Monday, April 22.
  • “A mind-bending rollercoaster RPG into the frontiers of our reality. A tribute to 80´s Punk zines and the works of William Burroughs.”
EN World Readers: Get a copy of Gavriel Quiroga's Hell Night corebook free for the next 48 hours here.

Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.

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