Occasionally I get inspired to start writing a connected narrative, an overarching story that can’t be easily contained within one or two post entries. As with other arcs, often the source of my inspiration is video games with emergent gameplay—events aren’t necessarily linear or predictable, and the story changes between each playthrough. So too I’m taking this approach with my newest series—this time I am thinking of writing the chronicles of a small group of space-farers, stranded on a rocky planet when their ship combusted in orbit.
Previously I’ve written chronicles loosely based on the video games Tyranny, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, The Division 2, Stellaris, World of Warcraft, Neverwinter, and Fallout 4. This time around I’m planning on tackling a game with a great deal of emergent story potential: RimWorld. Largely based around untrained colonists crash-landing on a foreign alien world, they have to battle hungry beasts, hostile tribes, and their own internal politics in order to survive. I’m very familiar with the game and the many, many divergent paths it can take (or even start off on), and am looking forward to presenting a new tale of struggle and survival in an unfamiliar wilderness.
To give my colonists at least a small shot at survival I’ll be making some custom tweaks to make sure I have at least one person who can help defend the base, one who can practice medicine, one who’s very gung-ho about construction, and someone who loves farming. A well-balanced crew is more likely to cover all the bases when it comes to settlement development, and make for a successful story all around.
I’m thinking of doing it in first-person style, where each entry is a page out of someone’s journal detailing the major events of the day, the week, or the season. I’m heavily influenced by the White Vault podcast, which tells a great story with this single-person, alternating-narrator method. With any luck I can replicate some measure of their success in a written form. I want each character to be distinct and have a unique voice, even as they (largely) work toward having the same goals.
Will the colony survive? Will individuals abandon the rest, will strangers join? At the outset my intention is to have the refugees try to maintain their civility long enough to develop the means to escape back to the outer reaches of space, but we’ll see what the cruel and uncaring hand of fate (i.e. the game itself and the random events therein) yields!
I hope this premise sounds interesting, and with any luck the end product will be an engaging look into how these individuals make the best of a terrible situation. Stay tuned for stories in my new Fallen Ashes series, set to launch in October!
Header image drawn by Oleg Danylenko, who has a great portfolio of space- and robotic-themed pieces. Definitely someone I’ll be keeping an eye on in the future.