October 21st, 2020:
I finally got the draft done for the Arium Kickstarter commission on Sunday. Working to craft five short adventure seeds was a much bigger challenge than I thought it would be when I signed on to do them back in August. Being assigned the peculiar writing theme of “Gonzo” for open-ended role-playing flash concepts is largely responsible for that. But I’ll admit that writing these funny, action-packed little adventures between grieving a death among my friends required my stepping back several times and lengthened the process.
The last seed of the quintet— originally intended to be a chop-socky martial arts competition idea— just wasn’t feeling “over-the-top” enough when written. And one-on-one tournaments emulating things like Enter the Dragon or Mortal Kombat are difficult to keep from becoming boring for every other player in a tabletop game except for the player in the one-on-one match at the time. So I changed it to a team-fighting tournament idea with giant robots I called Pro-Robo League. But mecha-sports is such a niche concept that I doubt many would find a useful way to work it into a created Arium setting. Not feeling confident after writing it, I dropped that one too and went back to the drawing board.
A day later I came up with an idea that stuck: Parasaur Island. Kind of a The Lost World: Jurassic Park setup, but instead of cloned dinosaurs the creatures are “Para-Saurs”: Genetically engineered animal analogs of known dinosaurs in size and shape, but distinctly mixed with the traits and appearances of modern birds… such as Parrot-Deinonychuses and Raven-Tyrannosauri— done for copyright reasons because a rival company had secured rights on “biological dinosaur simulations”. ;-) The satire on corporations and copyrights and “birds are dinosaurs” may be a little too subtle, but the story structure should make it easy to run as a good adventure game.
On Monday I gave the Arium seeds an editing sweep and to a second draft. Currently they are in the hands of some experienced gamemaster friends willing to give some feedback. Once I work in any changes arising from that, I’ll call them done.
With the commission on the road to being finished, my goal for this week is to write a flash fiction or possibly a short story I’ve been itching to do for Halloween.
Take care everyone. Be safe, and keep writing!
~Jason H. Abbott