All Work And No Play Makes Matt A Dull Boy

I’m of the opinion that when it comes to writing a game book, producing something is better than producing nothing. I have sections of the rules that need to be addressed, but I haven’t been able to get myself to focus on them. So instead of trying to force myself to work on that, I decided to allow myself to do something more fun; to work on something that will rekindle my interest in the project; to create something that may not be as crucial, but is still necessary to the final product. In short, I decided instead of writing rules, I would write some fiction.

For those not familiar with RPGs (role playing games), they typically do not come in a box like other consumer games. When you buy an RPG you buy a book that includes a set of rules – a framework, basically – for creating characters and role playing in different scenarios. In addition, and more important than you may think, the books typically include art and fiction to set the mood for, and fire the imaginations of, the players. So yes, I need to finish the text for the rules, but I do also need some fiction, so it isn’t like this was a waste of time.

It’s been a long time since I tried my hand at writing fiction. Turns out just like any other skill, if you don’t use it you get rusty. Getting started took me a while, but after struggling through the first half I started to find a rhythm and it started to flow a little better. The piece needs to be cleaned up a bit, but overall I’m happy with the outcome. See what you think.

*      *      *

Sam cautiously peeked around the corner. When he was satisfied that there was no movement in the darkened hallway he dashed across and took refuge behind the base of a floor lamp. He glanced this way, then that, and then beckoned to a figure back at the doorway.

A small, pale blue car bolted out of the bedroom and streaked toward Sam. When it reached him it quickly unfolded into a robotic form and took its place alongside him.

“Is this really necessary?” asked the robot, mimicking Sam’s cautious examination of the hallway, “The family is out of the house for the day. Who’s going to see us?”

“I’m not worried about the family, Bug” Sam growled back, “I’m worried about Sweety.

Bug visibly stiffened at the name. “D- Do you think they left him out of his crate?” he stammered in a whisper, “They normally keep him locked up.”

“They were in a hurry to get out of the house this morning and I don’t recall hearing the crate door latch.”

Once again Sam dashed across the hallway, this time taking refuge behind the stairwell bannister. Bug waited, alone in the dark behind the lamp, his joints quietly rattling as he waited for the signal. The shadows around him seemed to deepen and press in as the seconds ticked by. All was still by the bannister.

“Whatcha doin’?” Bug jumped at the voice suddenly behind him and let slip a high pitched squeak. He spun around and found himself face to face with a large, worn, plush bunny with droopy ears. “Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you” the bunny said apologetically.

“Shhhhh!” Bug said waving his arms frantically as if he could swat the sound away. “Quiet Flopsie!” he hissed, “Can’t you see we’re in the middle of a mission?”

“Oh!” said Flopsie, his ears perking up a bit, “What’s the mission?”

Emboldened by Flopsie’s interest, Bug straightened up, smiled, and puffed out his metallic chest importantly. “Well, if you must know,” he said, clearly enjoying having an audience, “Alex couldn’t find his blankie this morning and he was really upset, so we’re going to find it and bring it back so he’ll have it when he gets home tonight.”

“Isn’t that dangerous with Sweety out of her crate?” said Flopsie looking behind Bug.

“Well,” Bug continued taking no notice, “when you’re a trusted member of the Room Guard like I am, you can’t let fear rule you. You have to be ready to lay down your parts for the good of the room.”

Suddenly a clear, viscous fluid landed with a splat on Bug’s shoulder and oozed down his arm. He instinctively inspected it with his other hand and his face twisted in disgust as he pulled it back and found slimy strands of drool draped between his shoulder and fingers.

“Aw, gross!” he exclaimed, but then he froze as the realization slowly washed over him. Flopsie, he noticed, was staring wide-eyed just behind and above him. Slowly Bug turned his head only to be greeted by a massive set of schnauzer jaws. “H- Hi, S- Sweety,” he stammered, “We were just t- talking about you…”

*      *      *

Yes, that’s where I’m leaving it. As I said, these pieces are here to help fuel the players’ imaginations, so I want to leave them wanting more. I want them to think about how the story might continue. But, of course, I’m less than objective. So, do you think it works?

Posted in Game Design

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *