So… before Stablehand, I had this homestuck “fan adventure” called Dinostuck: Cretaceous Square.
Stablehand itself sort of had two phases, or more precisely, was sort of formed out of two separate projects fused together.
The original phase was basically just a short story where I was vaguely imagining some unlikely hero who would much to everyone’s surprise prove to be interesting and competent. I came up with the pun “Stablehand” for this, i.e. the hero had a firm grasp on the situation and ‘um uh stablehand is also just a regular noun… something’.
The second phase, i.e. RFS/Sixteen Hues, started with me taking note of a forum thread where homestuck was run through an online translator about 35 times. I loved the bizarre atmosphere of the nonsensical yet almost-grammatically-correct sentences and the entirely different “universe” they created, and wanted to try to create an actual coherent fictional universe which would have a similar feel. This became the Stablehand/Aluma universe, which I later started making a gamebook-style game consisting of multiple character stories around. I picked up my recent “Stablehand” story idea for one of these, deciding maybe Lance would be a fit for it, and because it was the first one and I didn’t have a name for the game/universe yet, I tentatively just called the whole thing Stablehand too. Later, I lengthened the game out to Retrolark Fantasy Stablehand formally, and called the system of mechanics Sixteen Hues, while still calling the universe from RFS (as well as Lance’s story) “Stablehand”.
Okay here’s one way to describe it:
I want Stablehand to be complicated so it’s basically impossible to spoil, in fact, you’ll be happy to hear “spoilers” because the more you know about it the better off you’ll be
Like, there’s a guidebook and a game and I want each one to stand on its own so you could play the game without the aid of the guidebook or you could read the guidebook without playing the game, or you could read the guidebook and play the game and they will both complement each other and you’ll go “so that’s the real significance of that”
And the individual stories are similar, in basic terms you don’t need any of the stories to understand the other stories if you’re just going for the solo ending. But stuff in one story will tell you stuff about other stories, and there will be a few combo endings where one character “interferes” in another’s story and things go differently
I want to build a world and story that’s maximally intriguing
(And also like, gives me an excuse to be lazy, cause when you give a vibe that you’ll never know everything about this world there’s more excuse for you as the author to not know stuff either and just say ‘there is most likely a good way to explain this based on the stuff I’ve established, you tell me’)
Some vaguely-related drawing pages I’ve been sitting on for too long waiting to finish, and finally got off my butt to finish and scan this weekend.
The vvagra! Finally. I’ve been sitting on this creature half-designed for like ever and finally here is a proportional drawing I can call canon.
Stablehand is a libre gamebook in development centred around eight “attributes” (or 16 in total) that people express in different ways. First, everyone is described by a balance of and relation to attributes, unlike similar systems such as zodiac signs. For another, every attribute can be used many different ways, some good… some evil… some magical… some mundane.
Find out what attributes you would likely be by taking this quiz!
I finally found a way to articulate the madness that is Stablehand
I mean, story design wise
It’s kinda basically like nothing is not an AU. There are just a million AUs (well, realistically more like tens but yeah) and no main canon plotline
It’s cool because like for every “AU” I get to make up new stuff so it’s always fresh
Hoo boy. This is the big one. It takes so much explaining to explain properly I have a whole other tag just for that.
But in a real nutshell (seriously, please look at that tag) Stablehand is a visual gamebook and libre universe (the Sixteen Hues universe). It has a “retrolark” aesthetic I made up (retrolark:1980-1990::steampunk:1800-1900) and a system of mechanics revolving around “cirque” (transformative magic kinda) and “attributes”. It also features a lot of cladistics-based (and otherwise) fantasy creatures.
See also: the about page!
Work in progress. Will be published under /rfs/ (that link contains a wip of the guidebook right now) when in some kind of presentable state.
“Retrolark Fantasy Stablehand” is the name of the gamebook. Stablehand is the name of the story continuity (i.e., if I had some sort of adaptation of the gamebook that wasn’t the same thing, or maybe a side story, it would just be Stablehand). Sixteen Hues is the name of the universe/scheme of mechanics and aesthetics and stuff.
Thus, Fuchsia White could potentially be a Sixteen Hues thing even though it isn’t Stablehand, and if I were to make, like, a Stablehand monster game that would be a Stablehand thing, but not a Retrolark Fantasy Stablehand thing.
All of the above is tentative but I think it will stay.
So as you may or may not know, I’ve had a specific approach on Stablehand up to now.
There’s a good bit I haven’t told you, and a lot more things I’ve told you about but haven’t actually explained […]. I’m trying as much as I can to only tell you things the main characters or other relatively ordinary people already know.
I have discovered that while this makes for a great story, it is a horrible way to gain fans and feedback in the early stages.
And so comes the worldspoiler primer. In it I’m basically going to
give up on trying to pretend I can pull off the “mysterious world is mysterious gee I wonder what the explanation for that could be wow what is up with that” thing […] and (without changing my plans for the actual story), just start by telling people all the background like in a conventional story
I will assume nothing in this. I’m literally gonna start from zero, apart from especially clear tumblr posts I’ve made. And I’m gonna go up to everything I have figured out but actual current story plot of the actual main character stories
(partly because they’re all in a bunch of little vague pieces in my mind anyway).
Obviously if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want any spoilers or doesn’t like to see worldbuilding explained all the way through before it’s relevant, this is not for you. My about tag might be a better place for you to learn about the story. But if you wanna know what’s up with Stablehand and its world and/or help me on it, and don’t mind background spoilers, I recommend you read it.
With that said, let’s get started. ~10500 words follow.
Stablehand is a libre universe which will begin around a visual gamebook I’m currently developing. The goal is to give you the first fandom in which fan stuff will be 100% legal by default, no caveats (ok, two if you wanna be technical), and on roughly equal footing with canon stuff. It’s a little bit like a Wikipedia universe!
Now, the visual gamebook I just mentioned, of the same name.
It is, as someone once made me describe, a sort of “choose your own adventure with attributes”.