Battling Dragons was the first game here on Reality's End more than eight years ago from the time of this writing. It also holds another prestigous first -- it was the first real interactive fiction written here on Reality's End, starting a proud tradition that continues to struggle to this very day.
It wasn't always like this, however. The original stories in the RE Forums were a hotbed of activity. Stories grew every day, not every month. Even as time went on, the fad mellowed to a normal RE flatline, and the writing systems improved on this site, it remained an obvious choice to use the main draw, Battling Dragons, as the setting for various stories throughout RE's writing tradition.
|May 19, 2004||December 7, 2004|
Dracon, Lee Tupper, Bimblesnaff, Geirrek, Boyachi, Zedd, Rook, Lieutenant Eagle, draggy1234, Ice
Leander, Bimblesnaff, Zedd
|Length||90 Posts (usually short)||Status||Finished|
- The Search was an unexpected anomaly, to say the least. In the summer of '04, I had just added FtRPG to the forums as a joke. The Roleplaying board was created to further this; there never was any intention for RPing to be done on Reality's End. In fact, I hate RPing. When I saw what Dracon and his friend Lee Tupper were doing, however, I saw this as a chance to start some interactive writing on RE.
Prior to this, a project then known as Bestiary Warrior was attempted and scrapped due to the perception that it would fail miserably. It heavily relied on member participation and writing. I had been a big fan of interactive stories from some of my old haunts, but I could never find a good way to get into it on my own site. Well, here Dracon had just tried to start an RP, but I saw a much better opportunity to turn it into an IAS. (Bestiary Warrior, by the way, later became Black & White, later known as the RPeX and the REWS. So, yeah, my original assumption was right.)
- Major Players
- Although Dracon created the story, his creative ability was severely limited. Lee Tupper's early involvement, on the other hand, was probably the only reason this story wasn't deleted as some form of spam. Even though he didn't write throughout the later parts of the story, his character Leander remained a staple in the saga.
Search also marked the beginning of the reign of Bimblesnaff. No character has appeared in more RE stories than this little goblin. He's fun to write, he's fun to read, and he gets on a lot of veterans' nerves because they are so tired of writing for him!
Now, the cast did not end there. There were nine authors for this tale; most of them introduced their own character into the story. These characters brought their familiars -- characters in their own right, and sometimes more than one for each human(oid). Search certainly did not lack authors or characters, which was its downfall at times. To give you an idea of just how bad things were, Zedd was one of the most developed characters. Yes, the very Zedd from Key of Ages. The guy whose entire purpose is to be secretive and sort of lurk. The little details revealed about Zedd were unfortunately heaps more than the description given to others in the story.
- If you read the beginning of The Search, you wouldn't think that it would become one of the most epic tales RE has ever produced. Actually, there are several parts in the middle that would give you the same impression, too. Indeed, Search was not without it faults. Back in the forum writing days, there was no way to report a plot hole to fix a story.
That's what comedy was for.
If a problem ever came up -- and boy howdy, did they ever -- it was the duty of the subsequent authors to insult the situation back into compliance. Here are some memorable moments:
As already covered, there were too many characters in this story. Perhaps it would not have been so bad if these characters had, well, character! Most of the newcomers were relatively bland and seemed to be added out of a sense of necessity; authors tended to add themselves, even if it didn't make a whole lot of sense to do so.
- Geirrek Appears: Sure, I was an author for the story, but never once did Geirrek ever appear in the story. That is, until author Ice made him fall out of the sky. This was largely done in response to other authors trying to interact with some elements Ice introduced, something with which he apparently had a problem (despite this being, y'know, an interactive story!). Nonetheless, it leaves one to wonder just what Ice was reading up until this point if the cast in his mind was plus-one...
- Akilokipok: The Man, The Myth: The man is a myth. Akilokipok was an evil group, as outlined in the first post, not the name of a single person. Unfortunately, they really didn't do much by name throughout the rest of the story, making room for the Gilded Hood and Falak. This led author Lieutenant Eagle to have a very hilarious introduction in which he referred to the group mistakenly as an individual. He took the even more hilarious backlash to this pretty hard and swore off writing for RE ever again (although he didn't stop, so he must have got over it).
- Dracon of Many Sizes: Although he was technically supposed to be the main character, Dracon largely fell to the wayside in the story and in our memories. His initial, bland description didn't help keep a mental image of him fresh. As a result, there are many times in which Dracon changes from being puny to suddenly being a hulking brute, all in an attempt to give him some depth. Hey, even the elite authors are guilty of this one!
- Primitive Tools: Back when writing was this fast-paced on RE, we really could have used some of the more modern writing features -- especially Locks. On multiple occasions, two authors would write up new additions at the same time. This led to us "reserving" the story by making a reply with our intent and then editing it. Unfortunately, if everyone didn't do this (and they didn't), simultaneous writing still occured. This resulted in some pretty ugly moments. Good thing we don't have this problem now. (Not the simultaneous writing -- just site activity in general.)
It also didn't help that three whole individuals used Tatzelwurms; that got pretty repetative.
- Despite its shortcomings, The Search turned out to be a very great experience. The problems seem so much smaller when you work at a fast pace; instead of dwelling on how the story was just ruined, you can concentrate more on how to correct it (or bitterly insult it!). It turned out much better than it should have for the first creative venture here at Reality's End.
And most importantly, it was actually finished. Few IASes here can say that.
Would any other BD story be able to live up to the standard set by The Search? Although enjoyable, the bar wasn't set very high. It should be no problem to make something as good as or better than Search in three years, right?...
Read The Search
See the next installment in BD Writing History!
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