Welcome to the Island of Vitas

Next week I run the first session in my new fantasy roleplaying campaign (still to be named). It takes place in the same world as my recent short story – The Final Prophecy of Jalahar, currently in editing. The events in the game unfold a few years after those depicted in the story. This would make a lot more sense if you knew either story, I know, but I can’t reveal those just yet.

What I can reveal is some of the background information; my notes, essentially. This is basic stuff, outlining the geographic area and hinting at both political structures, trade and so forth. There’s even a crude map! Norkol is inspired by a mix of early Nordic middle ages and dark fantasy. You won’t find jolly gnomes or aloof elves here, but a goblin might steal your firstborn in the night.

I will be sharing the progress of the game, once we get underway. In the meantime, here are some notes on Norkol and the island of Vitas. Continue reading “Welcome to the Island of Vitas”

The Creation of a Creation Myth

My very first novel length story was a fantasy tale based on a roleplaying campaign I had run with a group of friends, a couple of years earlier. It was back in the 90s somewhere, when this idea first took hold of me. I wrote the story, made a handful of photocopies and handed them to friends and family, and that was the end of it. Except not really. A decade and a half later, here we are.

Some of the basic ideas in the story kept coming back to me over the years, and eventually, not too long ago, I stopped resisting and started taking notes. I was excited to have given in and returned to an old source of inspiration, but I soon discovered that I had unleashed an unstoppable force. So many ideas for details, myths, legends, heroes, villains and places popped into my head, my note taking couldn’t keep up.

I wanted to write a specific story, but found I needed to know more about the past for it to work, so I set about writing another story, about one of those past events. Only to find that I needed to go even further back in time. So finally, I said fuck it and started at the very beginning – with the creation myth!

I took a look at the notes I already had about my pantheon of gods and the earliest ages, and then wrote them out how I imagined they would be written in the Allbook, the holy scriptures of my imagined world.

What my ultimate ambitions are for this, I honestly cannot say. It started with old, festering inspiration, an itch to write some fiction, and because I missed the nerdery of running a roleplaying campaign. But because I am having so much fun with it, and because I hate the thought of anything gathering digital dust on my hard drive, I thought I’d share the creation myth.

Continue reading “The Creation of a Creation Myth”

A Nerd Comes Home

I am a nerd. I always have been, from my early memories of playing with Star Wars toys in the late 70s and graduating to Dungeons & Dragons, video games and comics in the 80s. Then the 90s, where I was deeply involved in the Danish gaming community, writing for a magazine, active on the con scene and even getting paid to game with kids! However, that was also the time I started feeling the pressure to “get a life” and “grow up”.

I spent the late 90s and a good part of the 2000s looking for a new identity. It’s clear to me now, but back then it was just life. I had wanted to be a writer, a photographer, a filmmaker and tell stories for a living, but that did not seem to fit with the rest of the world (as in: paying my rent). So I adapted, got a haircut and a “real” job in IT. It was vaguely creative, and I even made pretty good money for a while, but I also felt the joy of life getting sucked out of me.

Me, with my novel in 2001.
In 2001 my mystery novel "Det perfekte offer" (the perfect victim) was published in Denmark. I was one proud nerd.
I still played the occasional game with friends, but that was about it. The urge to tell stories was satisfied by writing novels and song lyrics, I even got published and played on the radio – but I had given up on making any of that into an actual job. It’s easy to say, that I should have pushed through and stuck to my guns, but I didn’t have the self confidence to do so. Maybe I was just too young and inexperienced.

I found photography as a way to tell my stories and make some cash, but I still supplemented my income as a bartender for the first couple of years. My nerdier interests remained firmly planted in the back seat.

Eventually, I started running into people with similar backgrounds, but who had stuck to their nerdy interests in their professional lives. Some had become established authors, others were designing story-based team building events. The range was larger than I had imagined, and that inspired me.

Since 2009, I have made a conscious effort to reawaken my inner nerd, and I truly believe it’s the best thing I have done for myself in years. Luckily, I have a wife who is also a nerd at heart, and who supports me completely.

I started a fresh gaming group, playing D&D for the first time in more than a decade. Even though the campaign died out, it got me back to writing game material — I wrote maybe 150 pages of notes for that campaign, some of which was put online. And it felt right. It felt good. It felt like home.

So for me personally, I am naming 2012 as the Year of the Nerd. I will be working on as many nerdy projects as I can, and for the first time since the 90s, I will be attending (at least 2) conventions this year. I’m even a panelist at one of them. So here’s to you, my fellow nerds. And thank you for the inspiration.