A new feature where I share short scenes that can be used to prod the imagination, all written in the standard screenplay format to aid visualization. I’m not sure if it is just me or not, but I find the screenplay format an easy style to use that doesn’t seem so hung up on grammar as with short stories. They tend to be very efficient story devices where a page is assumed to be about a minute of filming time and so lacks a ton of exposition that would be filled in by visual elements on the screen.
These snippets can be used by readers to influence elements for their games because often all it takes is a slight spark from a 3rd party to trigger the creative process in scenarios and encounters. The indent structure of screenplays is pretty specific but I haven’t been able to get the blog to match it quite correctly yet so you’ll have to bear with me.
EXT. ROMAN FRONTIER FORT - BRITANNIA - EVENING CASSIUS kneels beside a tall pile of dried tree limbs a few hundred feet away from a Roman frontier fort. His weathered hand lowers a torch, dull red and nearly extinguished, into the pile. Flames rise to life as a crackling hiss turns into a low roar. He raises his head and directs his attention to the shadowy tree line nearby. CASSIUS Do you hear that? MARIUS, pacing on the cleared dirt around the fire near CASSIUS, furrows his brow and angles his gaze into the setting sun. MARIUS I hear nothing, save the fire. CASSIUS Even the insects are in quiet hiding from them tonight. I can feel their eyes on us from the shadows. Rising to his full height, CASSIUS rubs the stubble of his rough beard and scans left and right across the meadow clearing. His gaze lingering on the nearby wooden palisades surrounding the legion's camp. CASSIUS (CONT'D) (NODDING AT THE FORT) Tell them to send out the hounds. Full compliment. MARIUS The handlers will curse your name. CASSIUS If they can curse me it means they are still among the living. MARIUS You know they won't see it that way. MARIUS extends his arms over his head, each brandishing a flaming branch in an X. Shouts can be heard from the camp and in the following moments the unmistakeable baying of dogs reaches CASSIUS. He exhales slowly, watching the last of the sunset's orange glow fade to black. He reaches down and pulls a hatchet from the ground and puts into a holster on his belt. MARIUS (CONT'D) So you believe the report from Angicet? About the demon spawned wolves that can scale walls and set fires? The pair of men walk back towards the fort as other flames erupt in the meadow, watch pyres being set like their own. CASSIUS I wasn't there but the runner was certainly covered in gore and shaken badly. Something happened. A dog handler with a pair of wolf hounds on a lead walks past them towards the watch pyres. CASSIUS (CONT'D) We wont know for sure until the scouting party gets back in the morning. MARIUS You mean if they come back. CASSIUS slaps MARIUS on the shoulder like old friends. CASSIUS When, or if, still gives us an answer of some sort, which is more then we have right now. Marius smiles warmly at Cassius and shakes his head. MARIUS Well I've kept you alive so far, one more night isn't going to kill me. Marius turns his head in reaction to some of the wolf hounds barking excitedly in the distance. MARIUS (CONT'D) (TO HIMSELF) At least I hope so