80 Days dev inviting community to submit “campfire stories” for upcoming Arthurian adventure Pendragon


Earlier this month, 80 Days and Heaven's Vault developer Inkle unveiled its latest project, Arthurian-legend-themed strategy game Pendragon, and now the developer is inviting its community to submit bite-sized "campfire stories" to appear in-game.

Pendragon, as Inkle revealed previously, unfolds in the year AD 673. Camelot is on the verge of destruction, the Round Table is in disarray, and, among this chaos, players are charged with leading a band of knights, heroes, and peasants across Britain in an effort to reach King Arthur.

In some ways, it's a big departure form previous Inkle titles, offering an experience built around "deeply strategic" turn-based combat, as players battle the likes of bandits, knights, and deadly creatures across the "randomised game board". More inline with Inkle's hugely acclaimed past games, though, is Pendragon's promise of story-rich adventure, full of "love, suspicion, revenge, sacrifice and murder".

And it's here that Inkle is seeking assistance from its community, having earlier this week put out a request for "500-word, lightly-interactive 'campfire tales'" to include in Pendragon.

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As characters settle down for a night under the stars, it explains, whether that's "in the ruins of a castle, or beside a trickling brook", they tell each other "ghost stories, fairy stories, tall tales of magic, or the deeds of old heroes". Interested parties are invited to try their hand at creating such a tale, which must be presented as dialogue between two characters, "the first telling the story, and the second butting in with the occasional dialogue choice to pace the flow."

Inkle has provided an example of the kind of yarn it's looking for on its website. "Tonally, we're more Ishiguro's The Buried Giant and Tennyson's Idylls of the King than T. H. White's The Sword in the Stone (too goofy) or Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising (too mystical)," it says, "We're definitely not heroic fantasy, Tolkien or D&D. The only jokes we tell are bawdy ones."

Stories must be submitted by 5th May using Ink (the fantastic, and free, online tool Inkle has developed for creating interactive fiction), and the developer says it will pay £40 for the tales it uses in-game. "So please don't spend too long on your submission", it stresses, suggesting writers don't spend more than an hour on the work.

"If we use a story, we'll pay…for the right to use it in the game, in perpetuity, with no other royalties due," it explains in its small print. "We reserve the right to then not use it (things change sometimes!); or to edit it, embellish it, and otherwise squodge it into shape."

It notes, however, that "Outside of the usage in Pendragon, the story remains otherwise your property, to reuse, develop, turn into a film, or whatever, for yourself, and we won't release, reprint, or expand upon entries outside of Pendragon ourselves. You can release the story for yourself before Pendragon comes out, if you like, so long as it does not stop us using it ourselves. Please note, there may be coincidences between material submitted and material already in the game; you'll have to take our word for it should any of those arise."

Those interested in contributing a campfire story to Pendragon should take a look at Inkle's related document, which goes into considerably more detail.

Pendragon is currently scheduled to release on Steam this summer.

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