Longtime lurker here, looking to share details of my ongoing WiP to see if it sounds like something people would be interested in. I’m currently getting to the end of the first chapter (of 6). When finished, it’ll be about 300,000 words (that’s an early estimate: it may change!) Anyway, I’ll put up a demo once Chapter 1 is done, and keep expanding it as I go. I’ve put some details below, in case you are interested: I hope you like the sound of it!
Title: I wanted to call it “Dr. Spillane and the Relics of the Lost Age”, as I thought this had a cool old-timey Indiana Jones feel. However, it turns out there’s a limit of 30 characters, so I’ll have to go for the less distinctive-sounding “Relics of the Lost Age”.
Elevator Pitch: Post-colonial Indiana Jones.
Blurb: Step into the weathered boots of a swashbuckling 1930s archaeologist, in a race against time to locate six powerful occult artefacts from different periods of history. Travel the globe in six self-contained adventures, all set within a framing narrative which brings these disparate stories together and builds to an epic climax. Shoot goons, punch Nazis, tangle with gangsters, fall in love, come face-to-face with the bitter legacy of colonialism, make things explode and do a whole host of highly inadvisable things in various Old Timey vehicles as you race to prevent the forces of darkness unlocking unimaginable powers, hopefully winning fortune and glory on the way.
Chapters: I don’t wanna give too much away at this stage. However, I’ll give you a list of chapter titles and locations, to give you a sense of what kind of places you’ll be seeing over the course of the story.
Chapter 1: The Oracle of God (set in Jerusalem, British Mandate Palestine)
Chapter 2: Shambala (set in Inner Tibet)
Chapter 3: Devil Music (set in New Orleans, Louisiana)
Chapter 4: The River (set in the Belgian Congo)
Chapter 5: The Eye of Kali (set in London, United Kingdom)
Chapter 6: The Lost Emperor (set in Hong Kong)
MC: You play as Dr. Spillane (you can choose gender and first name, but you’re always Dr. Spillane), a young archaeologist at Tulane University who finds their world turned upside down as they are propelled on a series of high-octane adventures across the globe.
All romance options will be available, irrespective of the gender chosen for the MC. Poly will be possible too.
Lady Esme Fairfield, Duchess of Dewsbury. Raised in wealth and privilege and moulded in accordance with the stifling conventions of the English aristocracy, Esme Fairfield rejected her destiny in favour of freedom and adventure in the Middle East. Modelled in part on some rather brilliant real-life female adventurers of the period (above all the excellent Gertrude Bell), Esme is wilfully unconventional, tough, capable and fearless, a peerless explorer and spy and a magnet for scandal.
Abdul. Lady Esme’s hulking, moustachioed manservant, Abdul is clearly more than he appears. Loyal and devoted to his mistress, he travels with her on all her adventures. But who is he really, beneath the buttoned-up façade? I really can’t tell you much about him, because that would spoil his story: all I can say for now is that there are secrets there to be unlocked!
There will be two other ROs in the finished game. However, they do not appear in Chapter 1, so I’ll hold them back for now.
Friends and Allies
Not romanceable, but available as good buddies.
Sam Hopkins: The best of your Tulane PhD students, Sam is motivated, dedicated, brave and loyal. A funny, spunky, punky, non-gender-conforming Ohio native, Sam will be a valued companion in a number of your adventures.
Dr. Nigel Rothermere: The director of Tulane’s antiquities museum, Nigel’s book-learning is second to none, but in the field he is useless. A longstanding devotion to fine wines, rich foods and luxury living has left him intolerant of any discomfort, but as a library researcher he is a valuable asset, and his caustic, patrician wit will always keep you grounded.
Ted “Stevo” Stephenson: A hard-drinking, hard-living Australian pilot-for-hire, Stevo tours the world in his battered, decrepit biplane, picking up fares when and where he can and using his downtime to pursue his two greatest passions, hard liquor and high adventure. He’ll have your back when the bullets start flying; just don’t trust him with your wallet.
Others too, to be added later.
Villains and Nefarious Types
By the end of the book, there will be a veritable Rogue’s Gallery of baddies encountered across the six stories (though some of them will recur, and there is a main villain). Here, I’ll just list the ones encountered in Chapter 1:
Obersturmfuhrer Albrecht Schneider: A commander in the Waffen-SS. Not the sharpest tool in the box, but he makes up for his dullness with ruthlessness, discipline and tenacity. He despises being humiliated above all, which is quite entertaining, because you’re going to end up humiliating him over and over again. Hooray!
Dietrich Paulus: A self-described “civilized man” who fancies himself a scholar and connoisseur, the skeletal, scarecrow-like Paulus is also one of the most feared Gestapo operatives in Europe. He claims not to enjoy the nastier side of his work. The look in his eyes when he’s torturing a prisoner suggests otherwise.
Dr. Maria Garcia Perez: A Spanish native and contemporary and classmate of Dr. Spillane at Oxford, Garcia Perez is a brilliant archaeologist, uninhibited by any moral scruples whatsoever. After obtaining her doctorate she went private as a ruthless treasure-hunter, finding valuable relics for a long string of ethically dubious employers. She will stop at nothing – including murder – to get to the treasure before her rivals.
Anyway, I hope it looks like fun. It sure is a lot of work, but I’m having a blast putting it together and I can’t wait for some of you guys to (hopefully) play the demo when it lands!