Game Night Tales: Sometimes things are prophetic

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for Twisted Magics. So please, if you don’t want me to ruin a particular event, stop reading now.

Why did I put up a spoiler warning? Couldn’t I have told this gaming tale without it? Nope, because I had written the scene long before an all too similar event happened in game. It kind of freaked me out to be honest.

I’ve held off posting this tale as it happened roughly a week and a half before Twisted Magics launched.

Now, for those of you that have read through Twisted Magics know what happens to Big Black…

Savanas was first a D&D 3.5 (then Pathfinder) character of mine. We still use Mystara as a setting, which is vastly different from Terra, but I easily brought her skills and personality into my world. This included Big Black whose game name was Sirius. Retanei has Remus – totally made their animal companions when I was on a Harry Potter kick years ago. No regrets, but figured I should revamp their companions at least in name going into Terra. (Remus ended up being Artemis’ father)

Now, keep in mind, the mix of characters is vastly different from story to game also. Different fight. Different world… actually a totally different plane, but that’s a tale for another time. Going from game to story is one thing, but vice versa – that’s something else altogether. Especially when it is not at all intended to mimic the story.


This is an Italian Mastiff. It’s what I had in mind for Sirius/Big Black.

What happened in game? Well, my bard, Lindale, Savanas, and Sirius snuck past the rest of the group fighting on the floor below. On the next level, they spot soldiers trying to hide to create an ambush. Six total. Lindale creates a Minor Image of our paladin, Brunnhilde, (who is still downstairs) and manages to confuse four of the guards into attacking it.

Savanas and Sirius manage to get the jump on the remaining two guards (who are trying to convince the other four they shouldn’t be attacking the Imaged Paladin). Savanas decapitates the boss of this group and Sirius enjoys mauling and dragging the other soldier to the floor.

Those two are quickly dispatched – Savanas went over to the one Sirius was working on and immediately killed him with two natural 20s and a confirmation. They moved on to the next two who finally realized they were fighting an illusion. And on a fun note: one pissed his pants after witnessing Savanas take down his boss so swiftly.

The rest of the party (sans the rogue, Pick, who is on the roof trying to figure out how to break a window and start blowing up the boss with his wand of fireball) gets upstairs and are now seeing a path of death being created by the two. They also see the Image Paladin. Most of them are confused and think that both of these Brunnhildes are real (it’s actually scary because she’s very violent).

Lindale thinks it’s hilarious and keeps up the image, which continues to confuse the remaining enemies. Savanas is wearing down, her strikes not so solid anymore. Sirius keeps hurting and bringing down his foe.

Then he gets up. The DM rolls 20. 20. And then confirms the hit, which is an instant death in our house rules. Our Brunnhilde’s player is in tears at this point. She was one of my beta readers and had gotten upset over the death of Big Black.

I have never seen so many people trying to figure out how to save a character and be utterly vengeful over it. Any of the normal characters it probably would have been a “oh well, reroll” kind of attitude. The death of this massive black dog just brought everyone low.

Savanas did not get her vengeance on the enemy that murdered her dog – the others jumped him before she could get a chance. The game ended that night with Savanas standing, swords dripping with blood, her anger barely contained (we didn’t continue on after this to the boss as it was late).

Admittedly, I had to haul myself out of Savanas’ head. I knew I’d be getting upset, but as a player, I had to rationally think through what would happen next. I never had an animal companion die before and needed to start thinking ahead and begin working with our DM to figure out how/when to replace Sirius.

And it broke my heart to write that. Here, have a puppy.64c1fef3233eacc8f9666284d3b7f15f

Please note that the images are not mine, but I could not tell who they originally belonged to in order to give credit.

Muse Monday: Shattering

Today’s post might go in a few different directions, but I’m announcing book 2’s title. Just no date – way too much work ahead of me, but the title I’ve had on it a while has stuck.

I had this song on in my vehicle and ended up hitting repeat (much to my husband’s dismay when he realized I had left it there for a while). Eventually it gave birth to the finalized title for book 2: Shattered Illusions.

No, don’t take this as a general plot. I also won’t say more on this as I don’t want to spoil anything.

I suppose the next question I should answer is if Lindsey Stirling was the reason I gave Ketayl the instrument I did. The answer to that would be no. I won’t argue that I find inspiration from her now (and others), but initially it was because of my grandfather. Granted, when he played, it sounded like someone was killing a cat slowly. He was good when he was playing the guitar and 3 harmonicas at the same time though. Just not the violin.

I’ve used this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo to do some heavy editing. Not that it would really change things in terms of getting Shattered Illusions edited, but watching my little arrow get closer and closer to center amuses me.

Shattered Illusions has undergone significant changes – all for the better as far as my too eager beta reader is concerned (we’ll see). Still have more in mind to make, but I’m hitting the point of not wanting to look at it anymore right now.

And of course just as the challenge kicked off for the month, I came up with an idea for book 3. That one is really untitled – even I’ve got nothing right now. At least it looks like I’ve got my project for NaNoWriMo in November (even though I kinda want to work on it now).

I suppose that’s enough wandering for one post.

Muse Monday: In rememberance

Some people like to put in things for people who have been in their lives. I’m sure someday I will, but my latest little cameo was to a player character in our gaming group that one of my characters killed.

He took a swing at her first. It was the last thing he did.

Anyway, I didn’t give him a glamorous or even remotely nice little place, but his name was mentioned. At the very least it entertained me and I’m sure once a couple of my upcoming beta readers (who are also players) get their hands on that part, it will make them smile (at least it wasn’t one of theirs I inadvertently killed).

Perhaps not the most Muse Monday worthy topic, but he ended up in a large section I rewrote and I had people look at me funny for giggling maniacally. Did I mention my characters were not fond of him to begin with?

Muse Monday: Creating from the real world

Last October, my husband and I took a road trip up through Oregon, Washington, and then came back down through Idaho. Along the way, we stopped in two different cities that helped form the base of the open market area in book 2.

The Olympia Farmers Market is probably not as well known as the Pike Place Market (and the throwing of the fish). Being able to walk through and take in the two markets gave me more of a base for the location than the physical buildings themselves. I only hope I can do the experience justice.

Sadly, I did not take any good pictures of either place. I want to go back at some point and I look forward to traveling to new places and hope ideas are sparked.

What places inspire you?

Pick up the pace #IWSG

I ran into some serious issues early on with book 2. Got them sorted out a few months ago and now it’s down to editing (and maybe add an epilogue). I’m just not sure how fast I can turn around this book given how long Twisted Magics took to come to completion.

Yeah, I know, no book is ever completed, but you get the idea.

It took close to three years to get the first one to where it is. The first draft was horrid. I scrapped the whole thing a year later and rewrote it. Learned a ton from my critique group in the process, but I still make a mess on first drafts.

Holy crap do I make a mess. There were sentences that I must have been flying trying to get down in November during NaNoWriMo because I was missing a number of words for it to make sense. Others I obviously changed my mind while writing and didn’t back up enough so trying to make heads or tails of that was fun as well. I have sections that are purely dialogue that I need to go back and fill-in. I could keep going.

There is a strong preference from a few that I try to get it out about a year from when Twisted Magics launched (if not sooner). I’m not sure if I can and I’m afraid of letting people down with the next book. Especially given how small it is right now.

For this month at least, I’ll be tackling book 2 in revisions during Camp NaNoWriMo. With any luck I’ll get to the point of being able to have it printed before leaving town for a few days so I can start attacking it with a red pen.

Anyone else get worried over non-existent deadlines?

And now for the new IWSG Day question: What’s the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

Um…[insert long pause here] Did we have to start with a hard question?

Most recent is “where’s the next book?” But the one that has stuck with me for a while is about my characterizations. Since I let my characters drive the plot (I probably shouldn’t as some of them don’t even have a license), it meant a lot that I gave them each unique voices and have them be full creations rather than flat.

Even so, I still had to fight with one to get her stubborn streak to override her natural shyness and insecurity. I still have a lot to learn, but it did help in those early days of the first drafts to know I had nailed something.

About the Insecure Writer’s Support Group


Muse Monday: Paladins

2016-06-16 20.55.16I saw this image on my Facebook feed and of course sent it along to the paladin in our gaming group. Brunnhilde takes this as far as she can on a regular basis. She’s got a really good diplomacy, but her violent tendencies make it ineffective. One of these days, they’ll let the bard take over for talks.

However, I suppose the same could be said of Silver Blaise, though he’s not to Brunnhilde’s extreme. He’s more of a protector and a healer, though I can’t say how events outside of the church may change his disposition over time.

No, that wasn’t a hint at anything – I really don’t know.

PaladinsWhat I find interesting about the alignments in tabletop RPGs is that they are far more flexible than most people give them credit for. I bought my husband a shirt with this saying to the right a while back. And I love the complexity that can be brought to the otherwise “goody two-shoes” character.

Though I still enjoy playing chaotic neutral characters predominantly, but I’m also enjoying the struggle right now in game of my one lawful neutral character. Brunnhilde might get decked (or worse) for kill-stealing from Savanas who is currently out for revenge. More of that story in a later post.

Do I adhere to the alignment system for my characters in my books? No, I don’t keep that stuff in mind while I’m writing and I’ve never assigned an alignment to anyone that hasn’t come from gaming. Silver may be the exception as he is a paladin and  I usually walk the line at points with him. Case in point in Twisted Magics is when the reporter approaches him and Ketayl. I’ve got another fun one in book 2, but obviously, I’m not sharing right now.

Things like this sometimes help generate personalities or help determine the course of action a character might take when I’m not certain, but like I said, I don’t typically keep this in mind while writing.