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Shared Universe - Printable Version

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Shared Universe - probablyASalamander - 11-16-2019

This is a storytelling game, and a world-building game. No signup is required.

To play, simply write and post a short story, and feel free to keep posting them (though no double-posting, of course). Each post will add a new short story. Though these stories may be about different characters, settings, or time periods, all stories that are part of this game canonically take place in the same universe.

That means that stories posted may reference each-other. The protagonist of one story may make a brief cameo in another; A story may be referenced as a well-known historical event in others; pretty much any linking device you can think of.

Over time, we’ll get an increasingly fleshed-out world.

IMPORTANT RULE: Individual stories can be a maximum of 500 words.

A couple of things to keep in mind

- Though referencing other stories is encouraged, it’s not required. However, any story you post here is fair game to be referenced by other players.

- Do not feel confined to a specific tone or genre. Comedy, drama, and horror, etc. can easily take place in the same universe. Heck, even mostly-sci-fi and mostly-fantasy settings can coexist.

With that, I will post the first story.

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I am a shapeshifter with no true form. Or, if I have a true form, it has long since been forgotten.


My powers are complicated. I can’t just assume any form I want. In fact, only a handful of forms are accessible from any given state. For instance, I cannot transform from a dog to an owl. However, I can transform from a dog to a cat, then from a cat to an owl. It doesn’t always make intuitive sense. I’ve had to transform into a weird alien-looking creature as an intermediate step between two similar-looking humans.


None of that would be a huge issue, except that a single transformation can take hours, and can occasionally be very painful.


But that’s not the strangest thing about my power. I don’t merely change in physical form. My personality changes too. This makes my powers as much a liability as an asset. If I spend too much time in any one form, I will begin to identify more as that form than any of my previous ones, and will often lose interest in transforming back. I’ve had many temporary “default” identities which I kept returning to, until I either got tired of them, or I just didn’t transform back to in time.


The dog and owl were just an example to illustrate a point, by the way. I never transform into a non-sapient. It’s not that I can’t. It’s just for safety’s sake. I fear I’d not be smart enough to remember I can transform at all.


Changing forms also messes with my memory. It’s subtle if it’s just one transformation, but after shifting many times, memories from before the shifts can get increasingly foggy. Which is why I don’t know what my original form is, or where I came from. My earliest memories are just flashes, though I have no way of knowing how long I existed before them. Judging from some of the things I remember, I know I’ve existed for at least 150 years.


So what’s the point of me writing this? Well, I’ve done a terrible thing. I’m not sure you’ll believe me, reader, but I feel I must confess it anyways.


You see, a few decades ago, I assumed a form I’d never tried before, and I didn’t realize until too late that this form was a psychopath. An extremely intelligent psychopath.


In this new form, I founded a company. Caulton Technologies. That’s right. I was Roderick Caulton. You don’t have to dig deep to know of some of the evil things my company’s done.


And why did Mr. Caulton finally decide to vanish? Did he have a change of heart? No. He was simply abandoning his sinking ship.


Having a conscience again feels terrible. The guilt is suffocating. But I don’t ever want to give it up again. I hope to someday make up for all of the harm I’ve caused.