On Tuesday, I wrote a post about adapting an RPG (role-playing game) into a book and how changes have to be made. I mentioned writing another post showing how I had to alter the 6 champions. Let’s get right into it then.
Luke stayed fairly close to his game self in terms of appearance and gear. I gave him some scars over time and his powers changed to make him more shamanistic, but the biggest change to him was personality. Even though I’d been playing D&D since I was 13, I never played a deep character until 18. I went from hack-and-slasher to Luke the young warrior who wants to be a hero. He wasn’t arrogant in the game and I played him closer to my milder personality. This didn’t work out in the book because I wanted him to be wilder, less cautious, and more ego-driven. There weren’t any levels or experience points in the book, so why would he act like there was? So, I started him at a higher skill level and with a habit of diving into dangerous situations without thinking.
Unlike the other champions, Luke benefited the most from not having to rely on dice. In a game, you can only do a stunt if the dice roll correctly. This meant Luke was held back a lot because I didn’t want to risk a bad roll. In the book, he just had to do it and work hard to succeed. He had much more control over events than in the game, which is also what amplified his arrogance. Oddly enough, he retained his obliviousness and short-sighted behavior that plagued him throughout both the game and books. You’d think I’d remove that one, but nope.
Nyx stuck to her personality and habits when she switched over. I made her a more successful brawler and took away her magic items, but she had the same progression from temperamental amateur to a the matriarch of the champions. Although, she never really hit that final point in the game because it ended around the time of Tribe of the Snow Tiger. Not to mention I had to alter her magic a lot and that’s where the channeler concept came from.
The problem with wizards in D&D is that they start off really weak. Attack spells are very tame and they can’t use much in the way of weapons and armor. It’s assumed they’re bookworms too, so they have really bad hit points. In earlier versions, making a Fighter/Wizard doesn’t fix this, which is what Nyx learned the hard way. She continued running into battle and getting knocked out since she lacked any decent attack spells or was scared to waste them. To remedy this, I had two choices. One was to alter her personality, which I obviously didn’t do. The other was to start her off as a powerful prodigy and make her real issue about self-control. I had to explain her ability to use magic without words and gestures, which is why I designed the channelers. This also cleared up the problem of Nyx having limited spells, having to learn them by doing weeks of research, and only have a certain amount of specific spells a day. All of these work for game limiters, but not good for a book.
We’re getting into some of the simpler changes now. Sari is fairly close to what she was in the game. All of her powers and her personality remained, but the changes happened in terms of her story. Sari and Luke were a couple in the game, which didn’t have Kira Grasdon, who made for a great rival. This changed her romantic storyline. Yet, the biggest difference is that she was actually in the book. In the game, the player behind Sari left about halfway through Family of the Tri-Rune. This caused a problem because Luke and her were serious. Without Kira, he was fully dedicated to Sari and I couldn’t rationalize him continuing on without a care if Sari was killed. That was what the game master wanted to do. I convinced him to keep her in the story in case the player came back or we found someone else. Didn’t happen, so Sari was kidnapped, comatose, and then an NPC that we tended to forget about. This means everything she does for 2/3’s of the series never happened in the game.
This was a tough one because he began as an NPC and then was handed to a player. As an NPC, he was the wise and noble barbarian that you see in the books. He wasn’t afraid of magic, but had a great respect for it and thought that someone like Nyx should be treated like a shaman. This also allowed him to gladly accept a variety of magic items and champion powers, which were changed. I made him a lot more apprehensive about magical things. It’s really just the reflector axe, the Ifrit vest, and the Ring of Aintaranurh that he has in the books, which is really enough.
Now, here are where the changes happened. When he was handed off to a new player, Timoran turned into your standard barbarian. Rather simplistic in thought, but he could still come up with insight. Quicker to jump into battle than Nyx, which meant both of them had to be restrained at times. The biggest change that I didn’t include in the books is the drinking. Timoran does drink a lot, but not to the point where he’s guzzling all of the booze and breaking into a temple’s wine cellar. As the game progressed, this became borderline comical and I made a note to ignore those events. This shows that you can’t always include what a player does. They care about the game while the author is focused more on the books.
Winner of ‘The Least Altered’ award is Delvin who stayed fairly true to part. He never went back home like in The Mercenary Prince, but bullies putting him on an ice floe and pushing him out to see was true. He was the protege of Selenia Hamilton as well, but I did add his experience as a mercenary once I changed her history. In the game, we only knew that he was a warrior with a lot of battles under his belt. Book Delvin was more of a strategist than the game one who would occasionally join Luke in his crazy stunts. A few times there was almost like a contest to see who could make the biggest splash in a battle. The romance with Nyx was established in the game too, but everything stopped just as that was leaving the flirting level.
Perhaps the biggest change to Delvin was that I gave him actual powers at one point. In the game, a full warrior can only gain magic by dual-classing or magic items. I had to make Delvin something else because he didn’t have the time to train as a caster and there were only so many relics that I could give him before it got silly. That and relics can be lost while powers can be used even after you’re disarmed. I never knew what the full plan for Delvin was too, so I had to go by hints that the game master gave me.
This was another change more of background than abilities and personality. Dariana was played by a first time gamer, so she had a mild personality. That is until Timoran taught her the art of drinking, which isn’t a good idea with a telepath. She would go along with a lot of stuff since she was learning the game, which is where the character’s apologies and near timidness stems from. Psychic powers also worked off points, so she was very limited in using them in a similar fashion as Nyx and Sari with their magic. Dariana being a martial artist made things complicated for battle too because dice rarely favored the person without a sword. Anyone with strong armor was a problem, which is why I made her immortal and superhuman strong in the book.
Now, the other change here was that the game Dariana had a different origin. In the game, she was a half-angel who had issues with her father casting her out of the angel city and not caring that her mom died. We ran into this guy a few times and his actions were adopted by Isaiah in the book. Not that the relation stuck because I wanted to put more drama into Dariana. I know it was kind of cliche, but having her be the daughter of Baron Kernaghan caught my attention. Then, I had her mother be Zaria the Purity Goddess, which is what caused those two to have a more complicated history. Originally, Dariana was going to learn about her origin or reveal it during a betrayal, but I went in another direction. Stephen Kernaghan flat out says it when she appears, which is a tactic designed to cause suspicion and hurt the champions as a team. This is the biggest change to Dariana that one couldn’t really do in the game. Players can be awfully suspicious and a fight would inevitably break out. In a book, I can control their reactions and make sure it doesn’t send everything into the gutter.