Final Prophecy Update and Finishing Things

The second draft of my fantasy short is done. I’ve written about “The Final Prophecy” before, but I will add that finishing the second draft was tougher than expected. When I got to the last chapter and a half, I stalled. That’s usually a good sign, because the harder it is for me to finish something, the more I’ve loved working on it. So much so, I don’t want it to end. Luckily, I eventually got tired of procrastinating and went back to work.

The next step is more revision. Editing used to scare me, but now I see it as a chance to polish and tweak where needed – and in the worst case scenario spot a dud before I send it out into the world. Finishing the second draft is still a milestone worth mentioning, because this is the part of the process where I involve a few trusted readers. They are the Wise Ones who point out where the holes are, and the inconsistencies as well as the gems and the exciting stuff. Their feedback provide the setup for writing draft three.

There is also inspiration coming from the gaming campaign, I’m running parallel to the writing. We just finished running an adventure set a few years after the events described in “The Final Prophecy”, but in much the same location, and some of the questions posed by the players as part of our game, provided excellent fodder for the story. Details about the daily life, geography and mythology that had not crossed my mind before.

And it doesn’t end there. I recently read two excellent pieces that helped kick me back into writing mode. One is an interview with Stephen King by Neil Gaiman. The insight into King’s process and approach was highly motivating to me. Then I read Second Drafts are a Way of Life by Ryan Macklin, the timing of which could not have been better. Both are recommended reading to any writer.

Now I’m going to take a short break from the story, while I filter it out to the Wise Ones. And in the meantime, I hope to ride the wave of finishing things, and get my arcade iPhone game – Nebula Rescue – done and out the door.

Into the Deepest Dungeon

Deepest Dungeon is a song about crawling around in dungeons, killing monsters and collecting loot. Or what some people call “a great way to spend the weekend”. It’s my second song inspired by gaming, and probably not the last…

I’m crowdsourcing, kind of.

After I wrote Save or Die, I decided to let “the crowd” (that’s you) decide whether the world needed more nerd rock songs by yours truly. I am humbled and happy to report, that there were people out there who wanted that to happen. If you’re one of them, thank you for helping me overcome my own insecurities!

Anyway, here is it, download Deepest Dungeon from Bandcamp. You get to name your own price, starting at free. Again, thank you for the support and encouragement.

Let’s rock ‘n’ roll some dice!

Norkol Campaign – First Session Recap

Last night, I ran the first gaming session on the island of Vitas. I’m using the game as inspiration and to help me build a detailed, hopefully interesting fantasy world, and if the first session is any indication, that was a smart move. Having others play characters in the world naturally conjures up questions and details that I would have never thought of on my own.

The adventure we’re playing is set in a small village built around an old abbey, sitting atop a hill from which an underground river springs; Chillriver. It’s early fall, harvest is over, the big markets are winding down as people prepare for winter. I will be sharing the adventure in a downloadable version, once we’re done playing it.

The characters, Johann Horsemaster (trainer of horses) and Orville Grimm (tracker), were asked to deliver a small shipment of cloth and salt to the monks of Chillriver Abbey, and return with a few barrels of their fine ale. They were given plenty of time and promised a reasonable payment, and since both men needed gold to survive winter, they took the job.

The story took a twist when shortly before arriving in Chillriver, they encountered a boy around the age of 12, looking pale and sick. They stopped to help, only to find that the boy was mad, incapable of speech – and tried to bite and stab poor Orville. They ended up pacifying the sick boy and taking him along, hoping the monks could shed some light on his condition.

Upon arrival in the village, they found it shuttered up and closed down, even the monks had closed their gates. Only after tying the mad boy to a nearby tree and proving that neither had been bitten, were Orville and Johann allowed inside the abbey walls.

The monks eventually explained that this mysterious malaise hit their area a few days prior, infecting a large number of villagers. Some were killed, others were rounded up and isolated. Abbot Greystone and potion maker, Brother Halthor, said they had studied the stricken, both dead and alive, and they believed a cure could be made. To concoct it, quite a few herbs were needed from the nearby forest, and though Halthor would normally go find these himself, the abbot would not allow it given the circumstances. Reluctantly, Johann and Orville agreed to help.

Finding the needed ingredients proved harder than expected, though they did discover a small shack in a hidden clearing. Upon further investigation, they found a primitive altar inside, with a dead baby goat on top, and next to it a small leather journal…

That’s more or less where we left off. It was very much about setting the scene and introducing the world to the players. They could have chosen to kill the sick boy, but saving him ended up adding to their sense of commitment, and it added a nice touch that as a couple of normal travelers (as opposed to battlehardened soldiers, for instance), they tried to do the right thing instead of taking the easy way.

They did encounter a crazed elk out in the forest, the only actual combat encounter, which began and ended with one well placed arrow. This was definitely not a meat grinder session, but it was a lot of fun.

Huge thanks to Lee and Nick who took on the parts of Orville and Johann, and helped Norkol, Vitas and Chillriver come alive.