Saturday, April 18, 2015

Of Mice and Weredragons. Or Mostly Weredragons.

Hi, my name is John, and I like dragons.

But if you knew me for any length of time you knew that already.

Well, that and the fact I love pugs, Green Lantern, Transformers, and eating chips in batches of 4, but that's neither here nor there.

I'm writing about the fact I like dragons because I'm incredibly excited for a friend Marissa's Kickstarter that she's running. It's called Epyllion. You and your friends play as clutch mates descending from several noble houses of dragons. It's powered by the Apocalypse World engine and it has some amazing people working on it, including John Wick.

When Marissa started talking about Epyllion it reminded me of some of the daydreams I used to have when I was a kid. Thanks to shows like Mighty Max and Gargoyles I was obsessed with dragons. I used to draw them in a folder I kept in my desk, and I used to pretend that in the creek bed next to our school there was an entrance that led to hidden caves where a colony of weredragons lived.

Sure, they were a child's indulgence. They mirrored everything in my environment that I thought was cool. They were mysterious. They were powerful. They were superheroes. And, during a lonely time in my life, they were friends.

So in the spirit of Marissa's really awesome game (seriously, IT LOOKS SO AWESOME YOU GUYS CHECK IT OUT) let me introduce you to Dragonfire and his friends, as well as his old rogue's gallery.

(Please pardon the names. They were created when I was 8, and were really bad.)

The hero, AKA who I imagined myself as, is Dragonfire. One day while exploring the creeks near the school I saw something shining in a nearby tunnel. When I went to investigate it I was bitten by a mysterious creature which caused me to transform into a weredragon. I was taken in by a nearby colony who taught me how to control my powers and told me how I was descended from an ancient bloodline of noble dragons whose task was to keep the Dragon Titans imprisoned beneath the caves that made up the colony.

That was hard to write, not because it was so difficult, but because how corny it seems now. Still, it was so cool to me.

Physically Dragonfire was very much like one of Disney's gargoyles. He had wings, ditigigrade feet, and a head like a T-Rex. I sometimes went to battle wielding the Sword of The Ancients, a golden long sword with a winged hilt guard. I could breathe fire and regenerate.

There were tons of other dragons and weredragons who lived in the caves, but I'll focus on the important ones:

-Dragonknight, another character with a silly name, who was a weredragon but had a more humanoid face. He could project unbreakable rings of psionic force around his opponents. Noble and kind, he gave his life to service.

-Razorwing, a drake who had was born without wings and had collapsible metallic ones that could fire razor blades at his opponents. Could only glide, but was the daredevil of the group.

-Cookie the cook, an Asian style dragon with long whiskers and who could cook anything. Strangely whenever I think of him he looked like a muppet.

-Cassie, an Amazonian dragon who wielded a short sword and shield. A member of a nearby Drake clan, she earned the emnity of her people to help my clan out.

-Battle Dragon, who was me but only after a convuluted storyline that mirrored the Thor/Thunderstrike storyline from Marvel comics. Essentially it was me but with brown scales and blue armor and wielding a battle axe alongside Dragonfire.

-Talon, a burrowing reptile who could create weapons in his hands and who spun across the ground like a buzzsaw.

But no heroes are complete without their rogue's gallery.

-The Dark Dragon, the villain who was later revealed to have been the one who bit Dragonfire and made him into a hero. He looked like Dragonfire save for black scales, a triceratops head, and black plate mail. Not completely evil, he would sometimes aid Dragonfire if it worked in his favor.

-Zexyss The Doom Dragon, an ancient cthonic deity who tried to free the Dragon Titans who lived beneath the caves.

-Pythanos, a snake monster inspired from nightmares I had. A creature of living snakes who tried to kill me in my human form. Wanted to wipe out all humans and dragons from the planet through use of his serpent men, who could assume the form of family and loved ones before turning into giant snakes.

-Orgg, who wasn't a villain so much a race of triceratops-like creatures that lived deep underground and occasionally escaped to the surface. Dragonfire once saved the Children's Museum from a rampaging Orgg.

-Maxim the (insert cheesy last name), a Xanatos analog who tried to hunt down Dragonfire to steal the secrets to his shapeshifting.

There were all kinds of adventures. Meeting the Space Dragons, preventing Zexyss from escaping from beneath Clearwater Farm and destroying the Earth, being welcomed into the ranks of the Avengers AND the Justice League, It was pure escapism but those adventures were amazing. I could bore you guys pretty quickly.

As an adult I'm able to understand where all of these things came from. Sure, wishing to be a superhero with all the powers of a dragon were probably a young mind yearning for the power and respect he didn't get, but I'd like to think there was more going on there. It was where I dreamed. It was where I saw things in my environment and wanted to interact with them on my terms.

Looking back, I can see multiple things to change about it to make it a much more interesting story. Perhaps some day I will return to that world and see how the story has evolved. It would make one yell of a YA comic.

First thing I'd change? THE NAMES! I was a kid in the 80s and 90s, and back then TV shows named things like that. I remember in Double Dragon when they kept naming new bad guys they found by where they were. "My god, it's the Shadow Lord! The Shadow Boss' leader! He leads the Shadow Clan, with his buddies Big Shadow, Shooty Shadow, Double Shadow, Shadow Gumbo, Shadow Kebob, Shadow Sautee, and more!"

....OK that last part may have blended in Forrest Gump, but you get the point.

I'm excited to get my hands on Epyllion and making my own adventures with some friends. You guys should check it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment