Working with a team to create a new world with new experiences can be great fun. I had the pleasure of working on The Tinderbox Book of Lore, a companion book to Red Genie Games highly successful first tabletop game, The Brigade.
The Lore book contains some background to the town of Tinderbox, including the locations found in the game, editions from the Tinderbox Times (newspaper), the playable Wardens as well as the recruits you can bring into your squad.
The team of Ivan Neville, artist Antonio “Nunoh” Jose Diaz Fernandez, the Red Genie Games team (Alex Wynnter and Ben Hoban) and myself got to build stories about the game and expand the universe of Tinderbox and The Vague World.
The part that interested me the most, aside from being able to create some short fast fiction, was the way we worked together to create elements that interacted and worked together.
Sometimes Nunoh would sketch a character who was just a name with some statistics or skills, and I could create a story around them. Or Ivan would mention them in an advert or story in the Tinderbox Times or mention something in a classified and I could expand that into a story about a character.
The integration and interaction between us was great.
In one instance I wrote about a giant, Kulari One Shoe. All I had was her name and some stats on what she does in the game. The following is the short piece I wrote to flesh her out some more.
Kulari awoke. Not in the way that a child does, not in the I’m up and ready to take on the world way. She awoke in the way that a mountain might wake.
Her body rumbled and shook. Sinews stretched and popped, bones shifted and ground together. Material of clothing built more like house cladding strained and bent, becoming pliable again.
The earth around the giantess groaned and creaked. The pavement moved in waves as her body moved to wakefulness.
Kulari had found this quiet corner sometime last autumn, she was tired and the warmth from the forge was comforting.
A giants slumber is never short, nor can it be stopped. For nearly half a year the laneway behind Chests-R-us was blocked from the east. It was just a fact of life, living with giants.
Shaking loose the small tree that had grown in the crook of her arm, Kulari rubbed two massive hands over her face. A small deposit of alluvial soil was knocked from her opening eyes.
Shifting from one side to another finally Kulari pulled herself from the crater formed by her slumber.
She looked around, bleary but becoming aware.
Her blinking eyes cleared into focus.
“Shit!” she said. “Where’s my shoe?”
From that Nuno created the following art.
Another example would be when Nunoh created a sketch for Selina Blackflow, a thief in the style of a cat burglar. Along with this Ivan had written a advert in the Times about a lost purse… putting these together – well you will see below.
The moon shifted behind a cloud again. Selina let out a small sigh, and thought for the hundredth time why had she chosen to be out on a full moon night.
She knew the answer, she needed the work. The job was pretty basic really, something she would normally not bother with. A small repossession, a redistribution of assets. Besides, she had reasoned, the Ignis family had enough, they wouldn’t miss a bracelet or two.
What she hadn’t bargained on was the barred window. Who barred a window on the third storey, with a 2 inch ledge? She thought. Reaching around behind Selina’s nimble fingers loosened a strap and extracted a taut piece of thin leather. Slipping the leather carefully between the window and sill she slowly slide the paper-thin steel stiff tool upwards. The bar began to lift.
A breath in, a breath out, with almost preternatural speed Selina flicked the bar up, flipped the window open and slipped into the room.
With casual grace Selina opened her hand and caught the tumbling metal bar. Selina allowed herself a small smile as she slipped her leather tool back into place.
The smile faded as her sensitive fingers noticed something wrong, something out of place. Where is my wallet? A sudden image of the wallet slipping from its place as she removed the thin leather thieves tool.
Too late to go back now, Selina resolved to search after she had completed the job. After all it couldn’t have gone far.
The world of Tinderbox is vast, the town while small has so many stories in it. It’s great that we as a team have been able to create these working together sharing and learning about this world together.