Elite Encounters

October 21, 2017

Elite Encounters RPG

Elite Encounters RPG

Almost exactly four years ago (November 2013), I wrote a blog (here) about my trip to Manchester to meet up with a bunch of people who had all fallen in love with the computer game Elite or one of its many, later, derivatives. Well, a lot of time has passed since then. Elite: Dangerous was released in November 2014, just in time to still be ’30 years since the original Elite was released’.

My friend, Drew Wagar, who I knew through one of those derivative games, Oolite, released Elite: Dangerous Reclamation, via my own publisher, Fantastic Books Publishing. Indeed, Dan Grubb, who co-owns FBP with his wife Gabi, had never heard of Elite until, Drew, plus a host of other authors (including BBC Click Tech reporter Kate Russell) produced a brilliant collection of themed special edition Elite: Dangerous Novels. Dan has now fully embraced the Elite: Dangerous family and his own Con, FantastiCon, is one of the many highlights of the Elite: Dangerous social calendar.

Drew has gone on to write and publish the only authorised follow-up novel to the Elite: Dangerous game, Elite: Dangerous Premonition. I can see my own copy sitting on the coffee table from where I am sitting writing this. This novel is rather unique in the sense that events in the game determined the final outcome of the book. If the main protagonist Salome survived an event in the game she’d survive in the book, if not, she wouldn’t…

Throughout all of this, I had a small vested interest in the fictional world of Elite: Dangerous – the Elite Encounters Role-Playing Game. My friend Dave ‘Selezen Lake’ Hughes, like Drew, had raised, via Kickstarter, the funds to buy a Writers Pack during the Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter. Now, I didn’t feel I could write a whole ED novel and so had not considered trying to raise the funds to buy a Writers Pack. I had also missed out on the opportunity to buy my place in an Elite: Dangerous Short Story anthology when Frontier Developments announced that the anthology couldn’t have any more than fifteen short stories in it. However, there was still the Elite Encounters Role-Playing Game. Dave had offered a limited number of slots to write a drabble (a 100-word short story) for the game and as you know, if there’s one thing I love, and I’m good at, is flash fiction.

So, I invested in a slot for a drabble, knowing it would also go through the Frontier Developments vetting process, and that if Elite Encounters was signed off, then, so would my drabble. I’d be ‘in’, I’d have some of my fiction weaved into the Elite Universe – my dream since I’d read Robert Holdstock’s, The Dark Wheel, way back in 1985, when I was just 14yrs old.

So, time passed, quite a lot of time actually. Elite Encounters was a massive project and Dave was working on it pretty much completely on his own. I was still writing my flash and so offered Dave a few more Elite themed drabbles that I had written, just in case he need some padding here and there amongst his own words. He took them and filed them away. Then Dave announced via Kickstarter that the project had properly stalled, his ‘Lore’, the backbone of the Role-Playing Game, reaching back into the original history of the original game had to go, Frontier Developments no longer considered it to be canon, or anything to do with the Elite: Dangerous universe. I was heart-broken for Dave (as were many other old-timers) and figured that would be the end of my drabbles too – figuring they wouldn’t pass this new scrutiny and attitude from Frontier Developments.

Dave, pressed on, slashing hundreds of pages, hundreds of thousands of words of the old lore and content from the game. Eventually, finally, Frontier Developments said ‘yes’.

Five of my six drabbles survived and are in the game.

At the time of writing this blog, the game has been available for purchase for three days. It’s happened. It’s real and for my friend Dave and all his hard, hard work and, no doubt, many tears, I am so very delighted to be even a tiny part of this amazing piece of work.

As those involved in the fiction side of Elite (Dangerous) fiction say – ‘Write on Commander’

o7

John ‘CMDR DaddyHoggy’ Hoggard

 

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