In response to my last post, Bret posted some thoughts on historical research for the Aylesbury setting. So before I can be accused of being remissed, let me publicly thank him for his astounding amount of help with the book. It’s really helped to ground the piece in an authentic Massachusetts background, and to bring out the richness of the setting. I did some research of my own on the area, but that was conducted at a distance, and Bret had access to many sources I could not access.
Perhaps Bret’s greatest contribution was his suggestion that I add waves of ethnic immigration into Aylesbury. You get some of this in the original Arkham book with the Italians and the Irish, but Aylesbury has seen successive waves of Anglos, Irish, French Canadians, and even Armenians, each making their own contribution to the town and adding something different to its character.
You can also find some other surprises through research that can lead the book in surprising directions. During my research, I learned that the Ku Klux Klan had been a minor but vocal voice in central Massachusetts at this time, sometimes being involved in armed clashes with protesters. After talking with the MRP guys, we decided that we could have a local Klan chapter detailed in the book to make matters more interesting.
That’s just the big elements, though. There’s been a wealth of detail on every tiny aspect of the setting, and even knowing I’ve likely committed some errors of which I have no knowledge, there’s still a large number of neat little details. For example, did you know that creating a still was illegal during Prohibition, but it was not illegal to own a store that sold you all the equipment to do so? Fun, fun, fun.
If I get a chance in the next couple days, I’ll talk about the Mythos in Aylesbury.