Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pony Island Adventures: Upon My Weary Shoulders

Last night, I was listening to the second Onder Librum podcast featuring an interview with The Ed Greenwood Group's deputy publisher, Marie Bilodeau. She was talking to Dave about the project codenamed: Pony Island Adventures (the actual name to be released Summer 2016).

So far, I haven't discussed what I've been working on with TEGG all that much.  I have written a couple of short stories that I submitted to Onder Magazine, our monthly ezine publication, but other than that, mum has been the word from me.  After listening to how excited Marie was, I really wanted to open up more about this new campaign setting coming from the master world builder, Ed Greenwood, and my little project, "Upon My Weary Shoulders".

My novel for Pony Island Adventures will not be released until 2022 (unless I'm lucky enough to get moved up on the publishing schedule).

When I was playing Dungeons and Dragons as a teenager, I always had a fascination with bard characters.  One of my personal favorite PC characters that I played was a Blade from the 2nd Edition Bard's Handbook.  The biggest issue I've always had with bards in general though is that most players I know never retire them.  They always end up in some kind of gruesome death, immortalized by their magnificent departure from this life.

I drew inspiration from this and decided that my story would be about a bard type character who simply had had enough with being in the public spotlight.  In my mind, the minstrel bard is a trope, so I wanted to do something new and unique.  So my main protagonist is a former strongman, similar to the ones seen in the carnivals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  I also wanted my antagonist to be another bard styled character as well, so the story has a reminiscent feel to Ray Bradbury's famous "Something Wicked This Way Comes".

Of course, Pony Island Adventures is not set in a 20th-century setting.  It is fantasy, so the setting of "Upon My Weary Shoulders" is more like a renaissance faire than a carnival.

My strongman lives in seclusion in the Firefall, a "no man's land" that divides two empires who have been at odds for centuries. He avoids entering the local villages and instead offers the local children money and items for when he needs something from a merchant to avoid scrutiny over his large and deformed size.  This bond with the local kids is something he holds precious because it gives him hope for a future without war.

And then a traveling faire comes into town and the children start disappearing. Some locals even blame him for heinous deeds.

I could go on about this, but I don't want to give too much away.  Needless to say, I can't wait to tell the whole story...

~Will


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