(Kind of funny how I’ve been pushing this Sunday post back for about 2 months. I keep having other things that I need or want to post. Sorry if things are bit off here.)
My mind is already inching towards the series that I’m going to tackle once I retire Clyde and the Dawn Fangs. Hey, everything comes to an end eventually. War of Nytefall will have 8 books by the time I’m done, so I expect to finish the publishing side by the end of 2021. I’m unsure of what my free time will look like after Grad School begins, so take these dates and plans with half a grain of salt. Now, what comes next?
Tales of the Slumberlord
This series is going to be taking place after Legends of Windemere, so you’re going to get some classic cameos. It stars a character I played in a D&D game and he’s way different than Luke Callindor and Clyde. With Luke, it was my first time playing a story-based game and I went for true, but inexperienced, hero. He used swords and was a half-elf, so I wasn’t straying into challenging territory. Clyde was created a little after that as my anti-hero, dark side persona. I mean, he’s a violent vampire who enjoys fighting even though I toned him down for his books. Both of them had been retired by the time I hit this new game and I wanted to be something other than a warrior. I was always focusing on fighting, so I wanted to play with magic. Little did I know, I was in for a really wild and confusing ride.
Morpheus . . . Sorry, the DM threatened me if I kept that name. Yeah, that’s the comedy we started with here and that was character creation. I actually picked a favorite spell before anything else and it ended up being the underutilized ‘sleep’ spell. This is a level 1 enchantment and it gets used, but it’s kind of just there for sneaking around and gags. I couldn’t get my brain away from this gem, so I made it a focus of the character: DARWIN SLEPSNOR! I never played a halfling before, so I went with a halfling. Never played a caster before, so I was a sorcerer to skip training since the game had already been going on for a bit. Needed a familiar, so I gave him a hamster since I had one in my dorm room. Then, I was reminded that I had to pick one high and one low stat, which is what caused things to go in an odd direction.
Now, D&D has six stats that are Strength, Dexterity/Agility, Constitution/Durability, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. For Darwin, I gave him a high charisma because that’s what his magic was fueled by. I figured I would get into trouble, so I left his physical stats as average or a little above average. So, the low or negative stat meant that he would get minus points on rolls in regards to mental abilities. I went with wisdom, so he was adorable with the common sense of a child. For example, the group came to a bridge that was destroyed by a boulder. While everyone else figured out that the boulder rolled down a hill, Darwin failed the check and went with ‘a dragon dropped it here’. Any attempt to correct this was met with an adamant and logical rebuttal that continued the belief of a dragon-based sabotage. He was very impulsive and made very black/white connections. I remember getting a glove that was blessed by a Destruction God who uses lightning. Of course, I put it on and grabbed a door that had a lightning spell because ‘a god would never kill his own people even if he stands for destruction’. Somehow, I survived the entire game and was also the only hero to have wanted posters around the enemy city.
This is where I have to step back and consider how to write Darwin. He’s brave like Luke and Clyde, but mostly because he doesn’t really known any better. He’s helpful, honest, and fairly innocent. After getting his magic, he’s going on a grand adventure because he’s an omen that Gabriel the Destiny God doesn’t like. Every story will have him working alongside one or two other characters in an almost sidekick role because his presence changes the destiny of those around him. Like Gabriel and Clyde, Darwin is an anti-destiny being, but he has no idea how to work with that or why anything goes on around him. In fact, he’s entirely unaware of his status and simply wants to help people because that’s what those with magic are supposed to do. So, I have to write a hero who isn’t marching towards a goal or even aware of the events he’s in the center of until it is practically stapled to his face. I’ve been struggling to pinpoint how I played him because I can’t take away his foolishness and innocence without ruining his character, but those can get on people’s nerves. What to do?
It hit me recently that Darwin Slepsnor might be autistic. High-functioning, but his mindset reminds me a lot of my son. They both take things literally or come up with a crazy explanation for something simple, which is logical to them and technically true once you think about it. While weak in some areas, there are one or two that they are able to excel in even with a lot of work. There is a habit of panicking when things change too much, which I might enhance for Darwin. Not sure I want to give him meltdowns, but maybe confusion that leads to mistakes and making a big mess. He will be in his early 20’s at this point, so he can be more mature. He can’t lie very well and he’s quick to trust anyone he runs into including a demon at one point. I’ll admit that I’m nervous about openly making him autistic even though the term won’t be in the book. People are sensitive about such things and I’m one of those types because of my son. Once I get over this hurdle, I should be able to pinpoint the other issues though. What do other people think about this?